Saturday, February 27, 2010

I love

Mimi watches the water
The way Moira says Zebra (bebah), yes (Yeeeaah!), all right (awight), blueberries (booee).
How she lets me know she's done sleeping (Play mama! Play play!)
That every morning, the first thing she does is try to convince me it's time to do art.
That when we go for a walk, she frequently insists we both hold Mimi's hands (Mimi, mommy! Mimi, Moira!)
That whenever we are doing something exciting like eating or taking a nap, she likes to list everyone she can think of and have me tell her that they are doing that thing too (Nain? Mika? Pearl? Cows? Stewie? etc...)
That our Ken doll is named Daddy dolly and his favorite thing to do is to kiss me.
That she actually likes rice and beans more then fries, something I didn't realize until we at a Mexican place where there was a choice between the two and she screeched with glee at the idea of "beans rice!"
That suddenly the way she asks anyone else to pick her up is "Up mama!" but when she wants me to pick her up it's just "Up!"
Every day she is more a part of this world. She remembers that Stewie snapped her hand two days ago, and that he did it because he wanted to be left alone. She is trying to convince me to give her treats when I say no because she bonked her head, remember when I bonked my head Mama? When I show her something, she shows it Mimi, so Mimi doesn't miss out on the excitement of watching the water run through the storm drain.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Moira picked you a bouquet

Originally uploaded by Maydela
All by herself.

Moira recommends: Vroom vroom!

Moira was much more interested in this stack of books then I thought she would be. There were a lot of long ones, and a couple of those actually made it into the request rotation.
The Rattlebang Picnic by Margaret Mahy: The McTavishes decide they can either have a nice car that will never break down or lots of children. They compromise and have only seven, and get by with an old rattlebang. The first time we read this out loud, Walker said "Wrong decision!" Moira's favorite part is that the family takes their cat and dog with them on their adventures, so she spends the whole book looking for the kitty and thens aying "Meow? meow?" until I agree that she is pointing at the kitty. My favorite part is when they give up on eating the indedible lunch grandma packed and make do with apples and cupcakes which was the mother says is probably better for them anyway.
Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy E Shaw: Sheep are bad drivers. Walker started complaining when he heard this one that I was giving Moira the wrong idea about cars with these books. But I say, it's never too early to learn the important lessons like don't let sheep drive your car.
The Great Mulilteo to Friday Harbor Auto Race by Seth H Seabloom: A local book that I am not at all surprised my dad tracked down. The bunnies of Lopez Island are holding a race and invite all the other rabbit warrens from Victoria to Bremerton to participate. I am surprised Moira liked it since it has black and white illustrations, but I guess bunnies are just that awesome.
The Little Auto by Lois Lenski: Cute, simple illustrations. Mr Small is driving his auto through town (in the early years of automobiles). I guess it's cute. I have no strong feelings about it.
Maxi the Hero by Debra Barracca: Why does Moira always love the rhyming books? It's not so bed when it's done well, bit this is a little forced. It's easy to memorize though, so at least I don't have to pay attention when I'm reading it to her. This is one of the first books we ever read her, before we had many board books, when she was a few months old. We changed Maxi (the dog) to Stewie and Jim (Maxi's owner) to Moira and she loved it.
Berta Benz and the Motorwagen by Mindy Bingham: Berta Benz decides to take her children on a trip to her mother's house in one of her husband's prototypes to prove that automobiles are, in fact, more then just a gimmick. Without his knowledge. This is another one that I was surprised Moira wanted to read, but we broke it up into a couple of sittings, so that likely helped.

Most of these books are out of print, which I didn't realize until I was adding the links. That's what happens when most of your books are used, I guess.

What is all this talk about princesses for?

A long time ago, when I still saw every animated Disney movie that came out (I was 18, 19?) my boyfriend took me to see the Lion King at the theater our friend worked at. Another friend of his was there, someone who would probably be diagnosed on the Autism sepctrum now, but back then was just one of the creepy, older, social awkward guys in our gaming group. We got to talking and I mentioned how cool it was that this was finally an original script for an animated Disney movie; although the themes have been done many times in many ways, this was their original intellectual property.
"What do you mean?" he asked, "Most of their movies were written by Disney. Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty..."
I, not very gently, explained that no, those were folk tales that have been written and rewritten for centuries. That the Little Mermaid was written by Hans Christian Anderson, and until Disney's version, very much his story. That Cinderella can be directly traced to a Japanese folk tale. He didn't believe me, so I started to tell him the Grimm version of Cinderella. When I got to the part about the birds pecking out the step sisters eyes, he blanched and ran off.

I've been thinking a lot about Princesses lately. No one has tried to ask Moira which is her favorite princess yet, but it's started happening to her friends.
I loved Disney when I was little, but while I know the marketing wasn't as intense, I think I was less likely to really get into the current princess craziness then some of my friends.
Reason 1: I knew there were other versions of the stories. Mostly scarier, more dramatic versions. Occassionaly more fantastic, fabulous versions. The French Cinderella gets to go to the ball 3 evenings in a row! With a better dress each time! We didn't have the movies available to watch all the time, but we always had the books. A few times I did a sort of chose your own adventure, looking at my favorite sections of the same story in different books.
Reason 2: My parents were in the SCA when I was a child. They were Prince and Princess of AnTir (Oregon, Washington and BC) when I was Moira's age, and Baron and Baroness of Madrone (the greater Seattle area) for years afterwards. When I was four, we made friends with a very nice couple who were becoming the next Princess and Princess (the job changes hands every 6 months) and I thought that Pam was the most glamorous person in the world, so much so that it took me years to remember her name, because she was just The Princess to me. At any rate, I knew that the job involved actual work. Diplomacy and paper work and listening to people's crazy ideas. Or you know, trying to not get killed by your parents or be forced into slavery. Somehow, neither of those options seemed that appealing.
But I love faeries and castles and dragons. I hope Moira does want to play medieval themed games. I'm okay with her being a princess in her play. I just hope to be able to lead her gently away from the Disney only variety. I had favorite princesses at different times in my life. Maelin, Amy & Winnifred. The two imaginary ones were very rough and tumble, tree climbing, bog dwelling sorts, which was exactly what I liked about them. Contrary to popular belief, you can climb trees in a dress. I did it for much of my childhood. It's just a little harder, and you have to not care if your dress gets torn. I would like to point out that that last part is true about pants too.

I think what bothers me more then anything about the Disney princess brand is that it wipes out their origin stories. What happened to them before they got married is the interesting part; happily ever after is always dull. But that's that they are concentrating on. When I played princess as a kid, I always focused on the before part of life. Usually making up my own stories about things that happened in between or before the written versions. But much of 'imaginative' play for little girls nowadays is focused on non active pursuits. Boys are encouraged to be race car drivers, pirates, firemen, military men. They get to save people and fight. Girls are encouraged to shop and be pretty. Both of those things are fine, but what are we teaching them when that's all we expect? What are we teaching boys when they can't do those things too?

Recommended reading (Interesting note, every time I search for something with 'princess' in the title on Amazon, it gives me a link to the Disney Princess store at the top of the page):
Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch - I've recommended this before, and I will keep doing so until everyone on the planet has a copy.
Princess Pigsty by Cornelia Funke - We read this for the first time today. Not only does the princess get to do the interesting and messy things, but her father learns to be very encouraging of her.
The Ordinary Princess by M M Kaye - Amy's parents are much less supportive of her, but she is completely capable of taking care of herself, with minor help from her fairy godmother. I loved this book so much as a preteen. My copy is completely falling apart, but I can't bear to get rid of it. I suppose I could just buy another.
Any of the 'color' fairy books edited by Andrew Lang - The link is to the lilac one. These are great collections of old fairy tales. You know your kid best, so you should read them before introducing them. The tales are sometimes violent and usually scary, but even though I was an easily scared child, I loved the visceral thrill of reading these. If you read enough of them, you will see many versions of the same basic stories.
Classic Treasury of Grimms Fairy Tales edited by Danielle McCole - Slightly altered to be less grim and terrifying, but still with a lot of the meanness of the world. My favorite version of Snow White as a child is in this book.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Moira has a story to tell you

Moira has a story to tell you
Originally uploaded by Maydela
Sitting on the potty is her new favorite thing to do. She doesn't actually do anything, but she wants to sit up there for >10 minutes at a time. I took a video because it was funny and she got annoyed when I turned it off. She wanted to tell you this story, internets. I hope you like it.

The songs we sing

I have always been a singer. In childhood (and as a teenager) I sang all the time, without realizing it. When I became and adult and had to not be the annoying girl who sings at her desk all day at work, I made the conscious decision to stop, but it is, of course, creeping back in. It's the first thing I think of to comfort or entertain. Sometimes, it's the thing that keeps me from screaming. I've been asked by other mothers where I get all these songs I sing for different things, and the answer is, I've been collecting them since childhood. Here is a list, it's likely to be very long.

Barges A lovely song about boats. I was told at camp it was written by a dying boy, but the internet seems to disagree with that.
All Things Are Quite Silent I sing the Steeleye Span version. I was obessed with their rocking versions of English Folk music as a teen.
Maps We played Rock Band a lot while I was pregnant, and this song was one of only three songs I could remember the lyrics to in my post partum haze. I sang it so much it is now something that comes out automatically when "Barges" ends.
Sing Me A Rainbow (Note, not the Shel Silverstein/Dr Hook version) I've always thought this song was unbearably sappy, but it still made me cry when I first sang it to Moira.
Somewhere Over the Rainbow A late addition to the sleepy songs, from when she wouldn't want to fall asleep ever at all. This is the only one from a huge batch that I started adding that still gets sung on a regular basis.

Run Baby Run No lyrics online that I can find, but they are pretty easy to remember. Moira likes to make requests for which verse to do next with her favorites being run, clap and jump.
Head Shoulders Knees and Toes
We're Going to the Zoo Zoo Zoo I love making up verses for this. She has recently taken to grabbing one of her toy animals and that's what we sing about. Occasional other requests are for babies, Nain and Zombies. When we do the chorus she will frequently insist that I add anyone she names in, so it gets pretty long (Daddy can come too, too, too, Mika can come too, too, too....).
Bumping Up and Down We use the names of people we know instead of the generic people. Also, I added a blowtorch.
If You're Happy And You Know It I tried singing "If you're angry and you know it" once and Moira looked at me like I was crazy. She played along with "If you're happy and you know it, lie real still" though.

The Sharing Song I wish I knew a good song for this topic that didn't focus on the "mine" part of sharing, but developmentally, this is an appropriate way to phrase things. Sometimes I switch the pronoun to ours or theirs, depending on what's not being shared.

It's Alright to Cry Oh how I love Free To Be You And Me. I haven't found a purpose for William's Doll yet, but I'm going to try.

You might ask why I don't have any potty songs. Back when I was changing poopy diapers all day long, I used to sing medleys of early 90's music with lyrics (Jeremy pooped and, that's okaaaaaaay!) but I never remembered what I was singing five seconds after I was done, so you'll just have to imagine it. There has recently been potty play, so I expect a song will emerge soon enough.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RTT: I want to be Quiddler!

I was going to say that it seems like I have only been posting on Random Tuesday lately, but looking at my blog for the five seconds it takes to log in has proved me wrong. Whatever.

Last week was a horrible horrible week, starting with the day with no nap and also containing among other things: being yelled at by another mother, someone trying to hit my car while I was backing out of a parking space, baby's first head wound, a super creepy dancing man and Walker losing all the coolant in his car and needing to be towed from Bremerton to Bellevue. This week is better already, but it kind of has to be.

"You don't want it to be like, 'You're playing Scrabble? I guess I can play Scrabble, if we must.' You want it to be, 'You want to play Quiddler? I LOVE Quiddler!'"
"I'll even take, 'You want to play SkipBo? I like that game, I guess we could play that.'"
"But you really want to be Quiddler."
"Of course."

You don't know me well enough to ignore me.

Walker made dinner for Valentine's Day and we ate it off our fancy plates. I forgot the candle light though. I told him that I don't think I would have done a better job, which I hope he took as a compliment. He even managed to find a jarred sauce I liked; That's a feat I haven't managed.

I watched some of the Olympics opening ceremony in a bar with Sika and Pearl without the help of sound. It made the tribute to the plains provinces even more inscrutable.

Moira has recently started to repeat two word phrases I say, like "Make bed." and "Find Daddy!" She also started saying "Bebah" in the car the other day, and I had no idea what she was talking about until we were singing "We're Going to the Zoo" later in the day and she she said it again. Zebra. Awesome.

This morning my computer is stuttering everytime I ask it to play sound. What's especially weird about that is that I just ran the virus scan Saturday. Time to restart!

I just realized that my tag for Random Tuesday is misspelled, and I can't figure out how to change it. Nice!


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Scene from the end of a nap

Not the end of all naps, which I was worried might be coming after yesterday's disaster.
Moira woke up with a happy "Mama!" and I went into her room to snuggle her awake. After a few minutes of nursing and starting to maybe fall back asleep, she rolled onto her tummy and lifted up her head with her eyes half closed. It reminded me so much of when she was an infant; her little rooting always reminded me of a video I'd seen once of Stevie Wonder playing the piano. I started laughing, this made her laugh and she proceeded to do it again and again to make me laugh. I love the times when she tries out her funny side.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RTT: Ranty pants


It's really nice of you to take your friend's kid out so she can have fun while Mom is home with the new baby, but could you possibly actually pay attention to what they are doing rather then talking to the teacher the WHOLE CLASS so that neither of you could help her up on the equipment and keep her from running into the other kids? I heard you talking about your daughter, so this concept shouldn't come as a huge shock to you.

I know that you only commented on a picture in my photo stream because I commented on one of yours, but I commented on a photo you posted in a community we are both part of, and you commented on the first photo in my photo stream. Which was a picture of my daughter in the bath. Which was kind of creepy, not thoughtful.

I was out somewhere and there was a little girl named Emelyn, which is Moira's middle name. It made me happy to hear that.

The chiropractor is really helping with my long term problem with headaches and tingling in my arms. It's a little annoying though that I never seem to have a headache on the same day as my appointment, so I no longer get the feeling of relief. I think I'll take fewer heacaches rather then that feeling though.

We had an hour to kill between my chiropractor visit and gym class today, and so we went to the Kirkland library. My mother's group was having a meetup there that I had forgotten about, so Moira and I joined the older kid story time for a bit. She really liked it at the beginning, but after about 20 minutes, she ran out of steam.

That's it for now. Go visit The Un Mom for more.

Moira recommends: Love love love

We have a couple of stacks around the house right now. Books about sleep by the bed, foreign languages in the TV room, and in the living room a stack of books about cars and the favorites from the stack of books about love I pulled out mid January. I had originally intended to leave the love stack out until Valentine's Day, but Walker was getting antsy for everyone in the house to properly celebrate his new car (he may be a little excited about that), so that stack came out early, and I wasn't ready to put away the love books that she loves so much. So, without further ado!
The Kiss That Missed by David Melling: The king is very busy and his goodnight kiss misses his son, his loayal knight heads out to retrieve it. Moira loves all the kissing that happens during the quest. I just found out that David Melling made more books with the same characters (The knight babysits the prince and princess!) and I really don't think it was a good enough story to warrant sequels.
Olivia by Ian Falconer: I love the simple graphic black, white and red illustrations. I think Moira loves that Olivia is wild and crazy.
Whose Mouse Are You? by Jose Aruego: Very sad and sweet. Moira seems to love stories where the kid is alone and then manages to find or rescue their family, and this one fits the bill. This was one of my favorites as a child, so I'm happy she likes it too.
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M Joose: I think this one has a similar appeal to Moira as "Whose Mouse Are You?", only in this one the kid is trying to see what she can get away and still have Mama love her. Plus it ends with a kiss.
I Lost My Bear by Jules Feiffer: Jules Feiffer is a favorite of my Dad. I like that his stories are always quirky and odd. I also like that his illustrations manage to capture the perspective of a child where everything is huge and your bookshelf goes on forever and ever. I don't want to ruin the surprise for you, but the bear gets found.
Will You Be My Friend? by me: This is totally cheating, because who doesn't love a book full of pictures of themselves. Since it was about Moira's friends, it got put in the pile.

Monday, February 1, 2010

New new!

Bite!  Bite!
Walker's new car has finally arrived (pictures here) and so he and Moira spent a lot of time this weekend giving people rides and generally driving around to try and get through the break in period before the next autocross.
I spent some of my time alone at home to finish up some presents for a friend. Today, while taking pictures of them, I discovered that Moira is old enough to start modeling for me. She loved this dress and the shorts. She really wanted to try on the baby pants and very annoyed when I made her take them off. The dress was super easy, so I think I will have to make her one, although she'll have to settle for a different pattern. She did like the teeth on the skeletons, but I hope I can distract her with candy or chickens.
I'm glad I tried the shorts on her. The rise is way too short to cover a diapered butt, so I will have to add a waistband before I send them off.
New bed
We also got her room set up for her to sleep in it this weekend. She's been waking up when we come to bed, and climbing into bed with us in the middle of the night, so it was time. I was worried that she would be upset by the move, but she couldn't be happier. She climbs into her bed at naptime saying "New new!" and rolls around smiling. I had been regretting the stripes we painted on the wall, but as soon as we put up the curtains, blue blackout curtains I ironed yellow and red ribbons onto) and now I love it. It makes me smile every time I look in there. I even found a rug with a city and road on it the last time I was at Goodwill.
We still need to get an overhead light and some better storage for her toys. I also need to repaint the dresser which is currently a dusty pink and does not go with the walls at all. All in all, I'd say it was a good amount of work for a weekend.