Friday, June 29, 2007

Future Sunday School Teacher?

Yesterday I caught Claire reading her Children's Bible to herself. Here is what I heard...

Claire: And then God made the world. And He made the stars and the flowers. It was soooo beautiful.

Me, thinking to myself: What a sweet girl! She must really listen during Sunday School class.

Claire: And then God made Jesus.

Me: I'll have to tell her Sunday School teacher how much she's learning in her class!

Claire: He was bald.

Me: She's so smart to remember all that-wait, what did she say?

Claire: And then there was a mean man. He was not bald. And then he said 'You bet, Jesus."

Me: OK, so she's taken some liberty with the details, but she's got the gist of it, right?

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Claire had gymnastics today, which is one of her favorite things to do. She loves the other little girls in her class (except for one girl who always tries to steal her hula hoop) and is so proud of herself for doing cartwheels and walking on the balance beam. Let me stop here and assure you that my child is no future Mary Lou Retton. When I say she does cartwheels, I mean that she squats on all fours and moves her legs about half an inch to the side. She is pretty good at stepping over the stars on the beam though, so maybe there's hope.

Since school is out, some of the older girls are in the gym practicing at the same time as Claire's class. The little ones are seriously in awe of these big girls, and, I have to admit, so am I. Since my own gymnastics experience is limited to one humiliating year (topped off by a meet in which I stubbed my toe on the springboard during my vault event and fell to the floor crying in pain) and watching the Olympics, I think it is really cool when these little bodies can fly through the air and land on their feet. Or when they can swing around and around on the bar and then let go. And land on their feet. Or when they can tumble all the way across the gym without stopping. And land on their feet. Clearly, I'm fixated with the fact that they always seem to stick their landings. This is probably because I never could, but that's something for me to work through on my own..

Today, a group of nine year olds was practicing and I caught myself watching them more than I watched Claire (Oh! Hi Claire! Yes, I saw that cartwheel! Good job!). Not because they were doing awesome gymnastics stunts, but because they seemed to be in boot camp. One little girl was jumping from the floor onto a waist-high mat (yes, I must admit I did try this at home and no, I can't do it). Another was jumping, legs bent, across the gym. Another was straddling the beam and using only her arms to work her way across it. And yet another was pushing a mat across the gym floor as fast as she could.

I was impressed. Their coach, however, was not. I watched as the coach (a college girl, home for the summer) called them all together and begin barking at them, just like a drill sargent. She called them lazy, told them they weren't trying hard enough, that they needed to work harder and asked them why they were there. The girls looked at the floor, at each other, at the the ceiling, anywhere but at the coach.

I found myself feeling angry. Indignant. Who did this coach think she was? These girls were only nine, and, let's be honest, probably not future Mary Lou Rettons either. Shouldn't she be encouraging them instead? Building their self-esteem? Allowing them to have some fun?

And that's when it hit me. Maybe I'm going to be one of those moms. The one who thinks the coach is too hard on her kid. The one who thinks there must be a "personality conflict" with the teacher. The one who can't handle constructive criticism when it's aimed at her child.

So, please, when Claire is old enough to be in sports where they actually keep score or activities in which there is some level of expectation placed on her, remind me not to be that mom. Or at least get me a muzzle.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Sign of the Times

Signs that Arden may not be as laid-back as I originally thought:

1. She hates her car seat and throws a fit every time I strap her in. I wouldn't really think this was a big deal except that, most of the time, she screams for the entire car ride. Like the entire way to Little Rock, for instance.

2. Diaper changing is now dubbed the "Diaper Rodeo" in our house. If you can keep Arden on the changing table for eight seconds, you deserve a much bigger award than a really huge belt buckle.

3. If you put Arden in her high chair and don't have food immediately available, you will hear about it. Loudly.

4. She refuses to be comforted, unless it's on her terms. If she's crying and you try to give her a paci, she will either swat at your hand or take the paci and then throw it down. This is completely opposite of Claire, who would take a paci anytime, anywhere.

5. She doesn't like the person holding her to sit down. She's all about being carried around, but don't even think about sitting down. If you do, she does what I call the "twist and roll," where she twists her body around and then basically rolls out of your lap. It's nearly impossible to keep hold of her when she does this, so I have to give her credit for such a clever maneuver.

Toddlerhood should be quite an adventure...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Consider Yourself Warned

One of Claire's favorite outdoor activities is driving her Barbie Jeep. She takes it very seriously, making sure her seat belt is buckled (SO WE CAN BE SAFE!), and, of course, that the radio is tuned to her favorite song. Her jeep does have an actual radio but she prefers listening to the Barbie Beach Songs on the "CD player." I promise you, hearing Barbie sing "Let's go to the beach and have a rockin' time!" over and over is almost enough to make me wish for an MRI complete with the face-cage, jackhammer and "My humps" going through my head.

But Claire loves to hear Barbie sing, at full volume, as she completes circle after circle in the driveway. I've tried to get her to actually drive the Jeep, in something other than a circle, but why steer when you can turn the wheel all the way to the left and just go in circles for half an hour? If the astronaut or waitressing gigs don't work out, I think she may be a good NASCAR driver someday.

Until recently, Arden has sat in her own little pushcar and watched Claire make her circles. But now that she's a big one year old, she isn't content to sit back and watch. She wants in on the action. She yesterday, I buckled her in so she could ride around with Claire.

As I watched Claire taking Arden for a joyride around the driveway, it occurred to me that in less than 13 years, she'll be driving for real. Consider yourself warned.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Look Who's Walking

In all the birthday/Father's Day excitement, I forgot to mention that Arden is officially a walker. She's been taking steps and cruising around furniture for a while now, but hadn't been brave enough to put it all together until last week. She made it across the living room and never looked back. And in case you were wondering, yes, she does think she's hot stuff now.

Here is what Arden looks like right before she falls. Which is pretty often. Luckily, she's got a little extra padding thanks to Huggies.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Happy Birthday, Arden!

Arden Kate is one today. I will restrain myself from going on and on about how I can't believe how fast the time has gone, since that is usually the theme of all my posts. Instead, I'll just post some pictures of the day's festivities.

If you think I'm wearing this hat, you're crazy....

What's with the singing? And did you know that cake is on fire?
Not bad....Not bad at all...
This seems more efficient--cut out the middle man--make that middle hand...
That's the stuff.
This is the best birthday ever!
Yeah, these presents are interesting. But did you know there are toys out over there?
Let me know how those presents go....
Arden had a great first birthday. She got lots of clothes, toys and some new sippy cups from Claire (let's just say that Claire has been a little territorial with her own sippy cups). Unfortunately, Jason and I are big losers and forgot, in all the excitement, to bring out the present we got her. Good thing she's only one and not old enough to realize we forgot. Or old enough to remember and bring it up in twenty years.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


My MRI results were great--no abnormalities. This means that I most likely had a migraine, even though it didn't get better with the shot the doctor gave me. I would like to take this time to publicly apologize for ever thinking that a migraine was "just a bad headache and can't you just take some advil and get over it already." It took out my peripherial vision, made my neck so stiff that I couldn't turn my head and basically knocked me out of commission for two days. Now that I know how bad my head is capable of hurting, the next time I get a little sinus headache, I'm going to be all "Ha! Is that all you've got?"
So, I had an MRI today. This was my first experience with any kind of medical testing, but I watch a lot of Grey's Anatomy, so I sort of knew what to expect. What I did not expect, and is certainly never shown on GA, is that once you lie down on the table, they encase your head in a plastic cage. A plastic cage, people.
Now, I don't consider myself claustrophobic, although I much prefer wide, open spaces to small, cramped ones. And I think I'm a fairly well-adjusted, intelligent, logical person (I heard those snorts, peanut gallery). But once that plastic cage fit over my face, well, all that went out the window and irrationality took over. I had to force myself not to rip open the cage. I focused on my breathing. I went to my happy place.
Just as I was settling down, it got worse. The tech slid me under the giant circle (love my medical terminology?) and then went to leave the room. "Be very still," she said and then went out the door. I was staring up at the giant circle when I heard the door seal with a whoosh and then lock. WHAT??? They don't lock the face-caged patients in a room on Grey's Anatomy. And where was Patrick Dempsey talking me through this ordeal from his place in the sound room?
My survival instincts kicked in at this moment and I found myself plotting my escape. Could I wiggle my head out of this face cage? I definitely could wiggle out from under the giant circle. Surely the door unlocked from the inside too? Where those windows sealed or could they be opened? Could anyone hear me or was this room sound-proof? Was this all a big set-up and had the tech locked me in here so she could steal my jewelry from the locker I had left it in?
As the questions swirled in my head, I realized the actual test had begun. The tech told me that once the machine started, it sounded like a woodpecker was in there with you. Right. Only if by "woodpecker" she meant "jackhammer". If my head wasn't killing me before this stupid test, it would be by the time we finished.
I could feel the panic starting to rise up again, so I racked my brain trying to think of a song to sing to myself. Something soothing. Something rhythmic. The sound of the jackhammer was making it difficult to think. Something soft. Something slow. Maybe a hymn. Maybe a lullaby. Maybe kumbya?
Anything. Anything, that is, except what finally did pop into my head. I'll leave you with a bit of the chorus: "My humps, my humps, my lovely lady lumps."

Monday, June 11, 2007

Safari Saturday

On Saturday, as we were trying to think of a fun family activity that didn't involve yard work or a trip to Wal-Mart, Jason and I decided to take the girls to the nearby Wildlife Safari. Now, I know what you're probably thinking. A wildlife safari? In Arkansas? I, too, had my doubts. I envisioned a dirt road with a couple of caged hogs and maybe a lion or jaguar that had been rescued from the property of some red neck who thought they would make a cute pet until they got to be full grown.

I'm happy to say I was wrong. The drive-through part was pretty long and we saw most of the same animals you see at any zoo (minus the penguins and polar bears). Claire loved it. We let her out of her carseat so she could get a good view of all the animals as we drove around. Many of the animals were roaming free (well, as free as possible given the cattle grates and high fences, but you know what I mean) and would walk right up to the car. Like this guy.

He is proof that God does indeed have a sense of humor.

Once the drive-through part was over, we went on the walking tour. Claire got to hold a bunny, which she said scratched her (but didn't), and pet a baby jaguar (just like Diego!) and ride a camel.

Claire's favorite part was petting the kangaroos, although it was a little too tempting to chase them.
By the end of the afternoon, both girls were getting tired. Poor Arden had only slept about 20 minutes that morning, so she was barely hanging on. Once we got in the car, it didn't take her long to sack out.
The perfect ending to a great day. Unfortunately, nap time lasted only as long as the 30 minute car ride...

Friday, June 8, 2007

Toothbrush Fetish

I told you Arden loves her toothbrush. She also loves everyone else's. Heaven forbid you should brush your teeth in front of her and not give her a turn. And if you're crazy enough to try and wrestle her toothbrush away from her so you can take her 11 month picture, well, you better be prepared for a fight.
I'm outta here. And I'm taking the toothbrush with me.

I shouldn't be too surprised at her devotion to the toothbrush, after all, her big sister has fixations with both toothpaste and bandaids. Luckily, she doesn't carry the toothpaste around all day, although at any given moment she does have several bandaids on...

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Conversations with Claire Part 2

Talking to Arden: "Well, I'm sorry, Arden, but that's your only option."

Talking to me: "That is making my very frustrated."

And to me again: "Why are you freaking out, Mom?"

A conversation with my mom, when driving by a golf course:
C: "What's that?"
Nana: "That's a golf course."
C: "Grandad Tracy plays golf."
Nana: "What about Mimi? Doesn't she play golf too?"
C: "No, only boys play golf."
Nana: "Girls can play golf, too. Girls can play anything boys can play." Girl Power!
C: "Oh, maybe I can play golf someday. Then I can wear golf shirts and golf shoes. And golf shorts..."

C: "Where's Daddy?"
Me: "Daddy's at work."
C: "Oh. He has to go get the money."
Me: "Yeah, that's right."
C: "Girls don't go to work."
Me: "Well, some girls don't go to work, but some girls do. Some girls go to work just like Daddy. And some girls stay home like me. Girls can do anything boys can do. " Girl Power!
C: (looking skeptical) "You don't go to work."
Me: "Well, I stay home and take care of you and Arden."
C: "Maybe you could go to work sometime."

Tuesday, June 5, 2007


The past few days have been so busy I've barely had time to sit down in front of the computer. Well, I had enough time to check out some pictures of Paris Hilton going to prison, just not enough time to blog. It's all about priorities, people.
In the interest of time, I'll give you the highlights from the past couple of days.

*Taking Claire to the book fair at the elementary school by our house. She got to pick out 10 books (all the books were 50 cents a piece) and also got to check out where she'll be going to school in a couple of years. Unfortunately, the concept of "in a few years" is lost on her and she keeps talking about how she's going to her "new school" after the summer.

*Taking the girls to Storytime at the library. If you live in our area and have never been to the library, you need to go check it out. It's seriously the best library I've ever seen and the kids' section is enormous, with tons of books, board books, puzzles, computers and sitting areas. Claire loves storytime and did a good job of sitting still and listening to the teacher (which is a vast improvement from last year's storytime experience when Claire got on the stage every week).

*Playing outside!

*Claire's day at the Lake with Grandma Becky. According to Claire, her favorite parts were: picking flowers on the bank, getting splashed by a big boat (not sure about that one) and of course, her new Dora the Explorer life jacket. Everyone she's talked to since Sunday gets to hear about the new life jacket. And they also get to hear "LIFE JACKETS! SO WE CAN BE SAFE!" which is what Dora says every time she gets into a boat (in case you've never seen the show, Dora's normal talking voice is actually more of a yell, which is why I felt the need to capitalize that entire sentence).

*Seeing our favorite friends for a quick visit last night. We spent the entire evening outside, watching the big kids run around like crazy people and the little ones try to keep up. We were having so much fun we didn't realize it was after 8:00 until I saw Arden lay her head down in her swing and try to go to sleep.

So much for a lazy summer! This week we've got Ladies Supper club at my house, a trip to Chuck E. Cheese with Max and Riley on Friday, VBS starting on Sunday, swim lessons next week, Arden's birthday the following weekend, plus our weekly activities of gymnastics and speech. I think we're in for a quick summer break.