Saturday, December 25, 2010

How do you know...

The pumpkinhead has gone to daycare/preschool basically her whole life. She has learned a lot in those five years, some completely awesome, and some not so awesome.

Things that I may not have taught her otherwise, like....

Basic colors and numbers in Chinese and French.

How to paint the soles of your bare feet and make a Thanksgiving turkey centerpiece from footprints.

What constitutes a "bad word" - like "hate", "stupid", "butt", and more often than not, some made-up nonsense word that only she knows.**

Or things I probably wouldn't have even chosen to expose her to, like...

Hannah Montana. 

Moxie Girlz. (I'm not sure exactly what to think about these dolls, but I do like hearing Simone say "moxie"!)

Saying "sweeeeeeet" when she really likes something. (Not really bad, but just annoying when you hear it from adults all day, and then from a five-year-old all night. Luckily, she forgot about this word quickly!)

So when she spouts some new-found knowledge with me that was obviously learned elsewhere, I ask her what she knows about it, and who taught her/told her about that. This has become a futile process, because I've apparently grilled her enough times that now she doesn't want to share this information with me, and tells me that Choppy taught her whatever she's been talking about.

The pumpkinhead and I were waiting in line to check out at a store this week, and she stuck her head into one of the refrigerated drink displays. I heard her say "OH! They have Big Blue!", and pulled out a bottle of blue liquid. Sure enough, it had "Big Blue" written on the label. So the standard line of questioning ensued...

Me: Have you had this drink before?

Pumpkinhead: No.

Me: How do you know about Big Blue?

Pumpkinhead: Because I just saw it in this refrigerator.

Me: Then how do you know what it's called?

Pumpkinhead: Because it says right here, B-I-G B-L-U-E. I read it. (said while looking at me like I'm bad word #2).

Oh yeah! She has also started reading during those five years (more specifically, the last five months)! So guess what we bought, and is now sitting in our refrigerator with exactly four sips taken from the bottle (one mine, three hers)???

** - I'm trying to teach her at home that words themselves are not bad, but we need to be careful how we use them. At school, or at least with other kids, there are words that are apparently "bad".

Saturday, December 18, 2010

What's been occupying my time lately...

So I've not posted much on here the last few months. I've been doing something...really. But first a story...

Several months ago, the pumpkinhead became obsessed with a movie called My Neighbor Totoro. It's a Miyazaki anime, and it is my favorite kids' movie ever. Yes, mine. Even though Simone wanted to watch it several times per day for several weeks on end, I never minded. It is beautiful and sweet makes us both feel happy. I understand that Totoro is to Japan what Mickey Mouse is to the U.S. Simone and I both love Totoro, and every time we see a picture of him or hear his name, we both smile.

Totoro toys are not readily available in U.S. stores, and the toys I found online or on Ebay just didn't seem very special (especially for the price!). While I was searching, I kept running across pictures of Totoros that someone had crocheted. Now, those were special!  Some were available in a couple of Etsy shops, but it still felt not-so-special to have a stranger make a toy by hand for my kid. And a little creepy, given how much personal attention is involved in making something like that.

Because my last attempt at crocheting resulted in half of an oddly-shaped, very heavy* afghan that is still wadded up in a paper bag in a closet somewhere around here, I considered taking crocheting classes. That didn't happen though, because it would have taken up several Saturday mornings -- yuck! I looked up a few crocheting websites and checked out some books from the library and taught myself how to crochet again. I practiced making various stitches and crocheting in different styles for a couple of weeks, then I started on this pattern for the small white Totoro. After a week or so, I had several little cone-shaped ears lying around (that we were using as gloveless fingers -- as opposed to fingerless gloves), and was finally brave enough to continue with the Chibi-Totoro body. The whole thing only took a few days to finish at lunchtime and after Simone went to bed. Then I started on the pattern for the medium-sized blue guy, Chuu-Totoro. That took a little longer, because he was bigger and had more parts, of course, but also because Simone found one of my learn-to-crochet-toys books and wanted me to make some toys for her. So I interrupted my Totoro-making to crochet two small bears and an ice cream cone.

I finished both the small and meduim Totoros about a month or so ago, and have had them hidden in the top of the closet so Simone will be surprised when she opens them at Christmas. A pattern for the big grey one, Oh-Totoro (our favorite), does not seem to exist, and I'm experimenting with modifying the pattern for the blue one but not getting very far. It's difficult because the grey Totoro is so much larger than the other two, and I wan them to be at least a bit proportional in size. So she'll have to live with just the two smaller ones for a while.

Anyway, here are a couple of pictures of the Totoros I made. Just don't tell Simone yet because Christmas is still a week away! I think the blue one's ears need to be repositioned closer to the top of his head, but I'll have to take care of that later.

Oh, and I'm also making some soot sprites. Mine aren't anything especially creative, just black pom-poms with googly eyes glued on. There are crochet patterns for the soot sprites, but I think these will work for now -- until the cat pulls the eyes off, anyway!

* - It seems that I remembered only how to make a slipstitch, and was using a LOT of yarn in my afghan-making efforts and getting nowhere very s-l-o-w-l-y. With my new-found crocheting skills, I may unravel that thing that has been sitting in the closet for eight years and try again.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Our New Family Member...

Her name is Aurora Sweetie-Pie Cutie Patootie. Oh, I think I got a cavity just writing that name.

Simone has wanted a cat for a while now. I've been putting it off because of logistics with Biscuit. Some of those logistics have worked themselves out, and I really didn't have a reason for not getting her a cat except the "mean lazy mommy" reason.

We went down to PetSmart today with the intention of looking at cats. This is nothing out of the ordinary for us. We frequently spend an hour or two there looking at all the animals. It's usually cheaper and less walking than a trip to the zoo. In the adoption area of the store, we petted a few cats who didn't really care whether we were there or not, then we were introduced to Minnie and her sister, Aurora. Upon hearing the name "Aurora" (Sleeping Beauty's "real" name for those who are not up on your Disney princesses), the pumpkinhead's ears pricked up. She sat down and Aurora jumped into her lap. Just like that, we had a new cat! The cat rode home on Simone's lap (in a carrier), and on the way was bestowed with a middle (Sweetie Pie) and last (Cutie Patootie) name.

Simone and Aurora are now sleeping quite peacefully on Simone's bed. Merry early Christmas, Pumpkinhead!