Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fun Art

Simone and I spent the afternoon at the Nasher Sculpture Center in Dallas. One of the exhibits there was a room filled with almost 9,000 orange balloons. And you are allowed to touch this particular piece of art - you can actually go into the balloon room! I wasn't sure what Simone would think about that, but I wanted to see it myself.


It was so much fun!

We ran around the room completely blinded by the balloons - they reached a few feet over my head.

We raced around in there for about half an hour (and I am not kidding!), and she was so excited when she found out a little later that we could go into the room as many times as we wanted. So we went in again. And again. We shut down the place and left with the employees.

In between sessions in the balloon room, we saw the rest of the museum...

After the museum, we had dinner and walked around the JFK Memorial and Dealey Plaza. Simone agrees with the theory that there was a second shooter near the grassy knoll.

The highlight of Simone's day? Not what you would think. She talked all the way home about the homeless man who gave her a penny to throw into a fountain and make a wish. I hope it was a good wish!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wow. She's tall.

The pumpkinhead is tall. Very tall. At six years, she is 4'2". Depending on whose height chart you look at, she's either completely off the chart, or within the 97th percentile in height for six-year-old girls. And she has been in those upper percentiles her whole life. All six years of her life.

As you can imagine, everyone comments on her height. Adults, anyway. Kids don't seem to notice it. Strangers at the grocery store; other parents at school, the library, day care; teachers; my co-workers; her doctor; family members who don't see her every day; neighbors...and the list goes on and on.

Sometimes it's said like it's just so remarkable that a kid can be so tall; sometimes it's just small talk - something to say while watching the kids play or while waiting in line; sometimes it's said like they think they're actually giving me new information. Like I didn't know my kid is tall.

I don't mind people telling me that she's tall. At least they're not telling me what a brat she is or how annoying her cute little giggle is, or that she just broke something. I just never know what to say. I always agree and confirm that she is, indeed, very tall. I think I'll start telling people that I keep her into a stretching contraption at night because I want her to be in the Guinness Book of World Records one day. Or not. People don't have much of a sense of humor about that kind of stuff nowadays.

The best one came this weekend. We visit some people in a nursing home a couple of times a month. One of the patients we visit has ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), and cannot talk or get out of bed, but is otherwise just fine - sharp as a tack. She has a letter board and points to letters to spell out words when she needs something. This weekend, while Simone was poking around her room that is filled with stuffed cat toys and various feline knick-knacks (she is Simone's favorite patient to visit), the lady pointed to her letter board. I held it up for her, expecting her to ask for a nurse or to say something about one of the cats. She spelled out: S-H-E  I-S  T-A-L-L.

Yes, folks. She is tall.


Simone turned six last month. In true Simone fashion, she had a big blow-out party. In true Debbie fashion, I forgot to take any pictures.

But trust me when I say it was a fun time.

There was an inflatable castle bounce house with water slide, a kiddie pool, a balloon banner, a heart shaped cake (that was awesome! a huge improvement over last year's pink brick), hot dogs, nachos, a book swap (instead of gifts - yay!), and about 20-25 of Simone's friends and family and their parents.

My house and  yard were crawling with people. There were daredevil kids in the front yard jumping and sliding, silly kids splashing each other in the kiddie pool, water-averse kids riding scooters, tricycles and the electric car, giggling girls playing dress-up and house in Simone's room, curious kids looking for kittens under my bed, hungry kids and parents munching hot dogs and nachos, and parents trying to stay cool under trees, under the mister, and inside.

Everyone had a blast and went home tired with a new book to read.

The kittens survived and were glad to be able to make it to their food bowl and litter box unimpeded. Simone made it through, took a short rest (no sleep, just rest), then headed out with a friend to the dog park, sno-cone stand, and McDonald's. She's an insatiable party animal!

Pride, self- and parental-

The pumpkinhead and I went to Chick-fil-a last week, and she met a new friend in the play area. After they played for a while, both girls came out and asked for ice cream. As it turned out, Simone's new friend's grandmother was sitting in the booth behind me. So both girls stood on their knees backward in their respective booths, facing each other while chatting and eating ice cream.

Two six-year-olds can learn more about each other in 10 minutes than a lot of adults can over the course of a first date! They discussed pets, ages, siblings, first grade, Hello Kitty, and whatever else is important to little girls.

Then, apropos of  nothing, Simone made an announcement:  "I can speak English, Spanish, Chinese and French."

Everyone at the two booths (and a couple of other nearby tables) looked at her in shock. Me, because it is kind of an obnoxious thing to say in this context. The new friend's grandmother, I'm guessing maybe for the same reason as me, but she looked a little doubtful that this was a true statement. The new friend, because apparently she did not know that other languages even existed.

The new friend looked a little confused, and asked her grandmother, "What do we speak?" The grandmother told her that they speak only English, and the girl seemed a little disappointed at that news.

Sensing her new friend's disappointment, Simone offered, "My mommy and I can teach you Spanish, because we both know how to speak Spanish." Then she started enunciating, "Ho-la. Ho-la." Her new friend repeated it and asked what it means. Simone told her that it means "hello" in Spanish, and the little girl seemed very happy and proud of herself for learning something so exotic.

Then they both skipped off to the play area again and climbed into the highest tunnel to hide and tell secrets.

I never told the grandmother that Simone knows only a few words - mostly counting to ten, colors, and a few other vocabulary words - of Mandarin and French because I didn't want to diminish Simone's pride in announcing her brilliance to all of Chick-fil-a. And technically, she can speak a little of each language, and is learning more all the time.

But mostly, I didn't say anything because I was just so darn proud of her! Not only is she learning new languages, she's proud of it and wants others to learn along with her.  
A mi me amo a esa nina! 
Wǒ xǐhuan nàgè nǚhái!
J'aime cette fille! 
I love that girl!