Friday, August 27, 2010

Freedom

We watched Kiki's Delivery Service tonight. It's a sweet, sweet movie about a 13-year-old witch who leaves home to live on her own during her one-year witch-in-training period. Because, ya know -- that's what witches do (I guess). 

Simone asked a LOT of questions during the scenes showing Kiki preparing to leave and saying goodbye to her family and friends. "Why is she leaving her Mommy and Daddy? Where is she going? Is she going to come back home?" These questions made me feel good -- like she still needs me, even though she's a big Kindergartner now.

The very next scene shows Kiki happily flying away on her mom's broom to become an independent young witch. Simone stood on the couch on her imaginary broom and said "Mommy, I want to try THAT!" I smiled, thinking she wanted to fly around on a broom (because wouldn't that be a blast?).

But no. All of my pumpkinhead's angst about Kiki's departure from all that is familiar had disappeared.  

Poof!

She continued her thought: "I want to leave my home when I'm 13 and learn how to be a witch!"

I tried to appeal to her earlier fears about Kiki leaving home. I told her that I would miss her, and reminded her that she is not, in fact, a witch in need of training. She looked at me with pity and said "Don't worry, Mommy. I'll come back home when I'm finished."

Sigh.

I'm not really liking this growing up business.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Kindergarten Quotes

A few things I've heard Simone say since starting Kindergarten:

While reviewing numbers with her stuffed dog: "Choppy,  that's right! You're awesome at numbers! You earned a check mark!" 

Again, while reviewing numbers with Choppy:  "You're very good at this. The rest of the class is not as good at this as you." (Surely she made this one up herself and didn't hear this at school?!?)

While explaining to me why she doesn't want to stay for after-school care:  "The octopus always tags me. I don't want to be tagged." When I suggested that it might be her turn to be the octopus soon, she informed me that that does not interest her, since the octopus has to stay in its circle. Whatever.

While drawing with Choppy: "Choppy, don't laugh at my picture. I'm doing the best I can! It's not nice to laugh when someone is doing the best they can!" 

To no one in particular: "It's my opinion that boys should not talk in the hall." (Haha! I have a similar opinion about boys!)

Tonight she asked me if she could draw me a picture on the back of a worksheet she'd brought home. Well, of course you can draw me a picture, pumpkinhead! She drew a beautiful picture of herself, Angie, and me, then labeled each figure with our ages (!). Later, while stalling before bedtime, she told me that she wants to take the picture to her teacher tomorrow.

It appears that I may have a new arch nemesis. It's ON, Ms. F! I'm putting cookies in her lunchbox tomorrow!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I knocked out my kid's tooth!

Don't worry - it was nothing that requires a call to the authorities. The tooth was very loose and threatening to come out on its own anyway.

Last night I was brushing Simone's teeth before bed, and forgot about the loose tooth. I may have brushed a little too vigorously, trying to hurry since she was whining that I was taking too long and she didn't need to have her teeth brushed anyway. On the final swipe of her bottom front teeth, I noticed some blood mixed with the toothpaste dribbling down her chin, and she was screaming rather than just whining. The blood and screaming scared me and I thought that I'd really injured my little pumpkinhead! I finally got the bleeding and screaming under control, both achieved by stuffing a washcloth in her mouth, (again, totally innocuous and there is no need to contact the authorities!). I asked her why she was so upset; she's lost two other teeth, and hasn't freaked out about it this much. She wailed, "My tooooooth went doooown the draaaaain!"

Oops.

I looked around the area for a stray tooth, and even shined a flashlight down the drain. No tooth. I must have washed it completely down while trying to stop the bleeding.

Oops.

I told her that we could write a note to the tooth fairy to let her know that the tooth went down the drain, and Simone was OK with that. I got pen and paper and asked her what she wanted to tell the tooth fairy. Despite all her nonstop chatter throughout the day, she is a girl of few words when it comes to notes.



As we were putting out the note and the little box we use for the tooth fairy, I peeked into my wallet. Ya know, just checking out my cash situation. I had a five and a ten. No ones, which is the standard tooth fairy payment around here.

Oops.

I thought about raiding the pumpkinhead's piggy bank, but that just seemed wrong, especially since I'd just caused her so much trauma. I dug around in the bottom of my purse and came up with four quarters. When she told her dad about the tooth today, she started with "Daddy, my mommy made my tooth come out." I had to take the phone and explain. I let her have the phone again, and he asked whether the tooth fairy brought her a dollar. She answered, "No, she didn't bring a dollar, just four quarters."

I guess we need to cover currency values before the next tooth is lost!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Kindergarten

Simone started Kindergarten on Wednesday.

For all the build-up over the past six months or so, it was pretty anti-climactic. She just hasn't been excited about Kindergarten lately. I think it started when she realized that her friends who were in Kindergarten last year would not still be in Kindergarten this year and she would not be joining them in the Kindergarten fun, but would be more or less on her own with this whole Kindergarten thing. We've tried lots of things to get her to start looking forward to school.

Reading Ramona the Pest (in which Ramona goes to Kindergarten) didn't do much for her.

Shopping for school uniforms did not get her pumped.

Shopping for school supplies did not do anything for her either.

"Meet the Teacher" day did not work.

Getting new socks and underwear (Toy Story panties!) was pretty cool and made her smile, but still none of the Kindergarten excitement from this spring.

Wednesday morning came, and she put on her new uniform, ate her special oatmeal (with princess sprinkles), got a donut from Daddy, hugged Biscuit and Choppy goodbye, and pouted through the mandatory picture-taking session...

She even got straight gangsta on me...

Things got a little better when we got to school and she saw all the other kids, including some little girls wearing the same jumper she was wearing. We got her to pose for more shots in the middle of the parking lot (yeah, we're responsible parents)...

Wednesday night, she didn't want to talk about school at all. She didn't want to tell me the names of any kids in her class, what she did during the day, whether she played on the playground -- nothing.

After a couple of days, she seems to be warming up to it all. Tonight she sang me a song about her school that she learned in music class, and told me about a game they played in Spanish class. I think she's going to end up liking Kindergarten after all.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Pumpkinhead's Toy Story

If you know Simone, you also know Choppy. However, you may not know the story of Choppy.

When Simone was about a year old, she was obsessed with dogs. In fact,"dog" was one of her first few words. For Christmas that year, I gave her a stuffed dog. I remember standing in front of the stuffed animal bins at Toys R Us picking through all the stuffed dogs. I didn't really care what breed it was, and Simone wouldn't have cared either. I just wanted one with "fur" that wouldn't come out too easily, and that had a cute puppy dog face.  I chose a Bernese Mountain dog, and it was love at first sight.
  
The dog slept in her crib with her and a host of other stuffed dogs, but this one always got the prime snuggle spot next to Simone...

...most of the time, anyway...
The dog had to suffer a few indignities in order to be the favorite toy. When the pumpkinhead's pacifier was taken away by a mean mommy and daddy, the dog's snout became the substitute. Yuck. When that novelty went away, she began digging her index finger into his nose, eventually making first a large indentation in his snout, then a hole that needed repair. He ended up with no nostrils, only a white snout with some stitch marks where his nose used to be. He was still loved, regardless of his Michael Jackson-esque nose job.

The dog never had a real name; he was just called "dog" or "doggie" or "puppy". He became our constant companion and went everywhere with us. When Simone moved into the toddler room at day care and no longer napped in a crib, her teacher told me that it was very hard to get her to lie down for naptime. I suggested that the dog might help her relax and stay on her nap mat. Thus began the dog's daily trips to and from school, and Simone's reputation as a "good napper". Everyone at the school soon became familiar with Simone's dog. On the rare occasions when we forgot the dog, I could see the mild panic in the teachers' eyes. Sometimes if the meltdown (Simone's, not the teachers') was particularly bad and I could see that substituting some random toy from the back seat of my car was not going to work, I would even take an hour or so off work to go back home to get the dog. He was that important!

About a year later, Simone's teacher told me one afternoon that the dog had been lost at school. The dog was supposed to stay in her cubby and be used only for nap time, but let's be real -- a special dog in a room of two-year-olds is not going to stay in one place for long, no matter what Mommy says. I made a trip to the toy store and luckily found a bin full of the special dogs. I had doubts that "the dog" could be replaced, but I bought two and hid one away in a closet, just in case. The replacement dog worked, and was dubbed "new dog".

A few days later, the original dog reappeared. Great! Now Simone had two dogs, and she was ecstatic to have "dog" and "new dog" to play with and snuggle. When the original dog disappeared at school again about a month later (under suspicious circumstances, I might add), it was no big deal because "new dog" was right there, ready to step up to the challenge of being the lone favorite toy. He did not escape any of the indignities that came with his new title, though. By this time, Simone had discovered baby clothes and hair bows. Her dog had to be dressed to the nines at all times. Sometimes it was a simple lilac satin frock with lace; sometimes it was a tiger-striped lacy number that any exotic dance would be jealous of; sometimes he went au naturel with only a bright pony tail holder on his ear or tail.

Everything went along smoothly for about another year or so with the new dog. Then Simone and I took a short trip out of town. New dog wore a pink grass skirt all weekend -- and was stunning, I might add. During the confusion of packing up at the hotel and getting everything into the car, the dog somehow disappeared. His absence was noticed after we'd been driving for about an hour, and repeated calls to the hotel asking about a small dog wearing a pink grass skirt resulted in nothing. Nada. New dog and his skirt had apparently vanished into thin air. Needless to say, it was a looong drive home.

Remember my brilliance in purchasing two dogs when the first disappearance occurred? When we got home, I broke out the third dog, and all was well in la casa de calabazas. This dog was called simply "doggie" for a few months, then Simone made up a way to describe her love for the dog: she would hold him around the neck and shake him, saying "Doggie chops. Doggie chops.", then hug and kiss him. A bit disturbing to think that she was effectively strangling the thing she loved most, but it was a loving strangle hold, so I didn't worry too much. Eventually, "Doggie chops" evolved into "Choppy", and this became his name. Choppy is subjected to certain humiliations, just like his predecessors. He gets left behind more often than the other two dogs did, and once was left out on the playground at school overnight. But Choppy prevails. He's a survivor. Sometimes it makes me sad that Simone does not seem adversely affected when Choppy gets left at home or overnight at school...then I snap myself back to the reality of daily life with a preschooler, and am grateful that she is so well-adjusted that she can cope for a day or night without a toy. I think I love Choppy as much as she does. I may have even cried a little when the original dog was lost!

I can't tell the difference between the three dogs in pictures; I have to reference the date and try to remember the approximate dates of each disappearance to figure out which is which. Somehow, Simone can tell the difference. Once, I showed her a picture of the second dog, and called it "Choppy". She corrected me, saying "No, Mommy. That's not Choppy. That was my new dog that got lost at the hotel in Austin. He's Choppy's sister and his name was Chippy." Oh. OK.  You may notice that Choppy and Chippy are female dogs, but we use masculine personal pronouns when talking about them. I'm not sure why. That's just the way it is.

Despite the fact that Choppy is only about a year old, he has quite a past. Simone tells me daily stories of their adventures and travels.  Apparently, she, Choppy and Choppy's sisters (about nine of them) live together in a house in Alaska, and frequently go on vacation to the beach, China, Fort Worth, New Hamster (New Hampshire to you and me), Colorado, and outer space. Not a bad gig being the favorite toy, huh? I might even wear a pink grass skirt if I had a chance to go to outer space!

Tomorrow, the pumpkinhead will start Kindergarten. We have been reminding her over the last few months that Choppy cannot go to Kindergarten. She understands this, but seems to have stepped up her imaginary travels with Choppy and his sisters. I guess she's giving herself a good dose of Choppy to last throughout the long Kindergarten day. I told her I would put a picture of Choppy in her backpack that she could look at if she missed him too much at school. I think I'll put a copy of the picture in my purse as well.