Thursday, August 31, 2006

Going Swimmingly?

Jooge has been enrolled in swimming class every day for the past two weeks. She loves going and is doing really well. Three and four year-olds are a kick to watch too because they're in perpetual motion, heads bobbing, bodies bouncing, all the while the teacher gives commands and they follow them when they're not distracted by splashing or saying hi to their nearby moms. Hilarious.

Well today Tessa, the normal teacher, was gone and in her place was Malcom. I mentioned to Jooge that Tessa would be gone today, and expected that it would be an issue, but wasn't sure how much. Luckily, as we arrived, the other three year-old in the class, Dana, was clinging to her mom and pouting. But eventually she went in. And the Jooge? She did a facedown rigid collapse on the wet deck of the pool. Tears. No way was she going in the pool with a new teacher. I swept her showered pre-pool body up and sat with her for awhile. She came around a little. I talked to her about being brave, we sat and watched. Malcom beckoned with a game of her favorite: Ring Around The Rosy. But when we decided to go and sit closer to the edge, it turned into another freak out, and we were done.

I am really getting to know my child better through these new experiences. She does not like change. She does not like someone new to present themselves. It takes TIME to ease into these transitions, and a half hour isn't usually enough. All the persuading in the world may not have moved her into that warm water today. As a result, she missed out on a favorite part of her day.

I am really wrestling with the correct way to respond in these situations. Knowing how sensitive she is, it would have traumatized her to MAKE her get in the pool. Plus, she is so headstrong that there would have been no way because it's impossible to MAKE her do anything when she's made up her mind she doesn't want to do it. It helps to just accept her as she is, especially developmentally. Three year-olds and change? Forget about it!

But at the same time, there's a part of me that really wishes that I would have persisted in getting her into the dang water, giving her the message that I expected her to be brave, that I wasn't going to give her an out because I knew she could do it. IS she the wimp or am I?

After about ten minutes of gentle coaxing, I had to follow through with what I'd threatened: it was either in the pool, or we were heading home. And when we left, I felt frustrated, sort of like I feel a lot of the time when our wills are meeting for a showdown. I yearned for her flexibility. I'm sure I even said, "Someday you'll be more flexible." In the car I was able to breathe deeply enough to voice my understanding. In allowing her to be nervous she opened up more about it. It was OKAY that she like Tessa better. Validation goes a long way with anyone, but especially a reluctant three year-old.

With motherhood it seems there is no such thing as an easy stroke. All I can I do is plug my nose and keep diving in. There are tantrums lurking beneath the surface and new wakes I must daily cross no matter WHO is teaching the class, breathing and persisting, the only way.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006


For those of you who care, I apologize for the infrequent posts. I am currently coming to you thanks to Blue's Clues, which has both girls captivated so I can...sigh...write. Last weekend I went to Seattle to visit my friends who are nearly ready to hit the hospital for the birth of their firstborn. It was a great visit punctuated by some shopping, delicious cupcake eating, my first pedicure, (why was that my first?!) relaxation, tasty meals out, sleeping in. You know, basically a deserved reprieve and quality friend time. I did feel bad leaving behind two sick kids with my husband. Poor guy. I brought back these, made by Manhattan Toy for presents. They are the softest and oh so hugable. Basically pig and bunny have been going everywhere with us, to swimming lessons, the grocery store, etc.

The dirt babies have grown afros. They're a little irksome with the roots poking from beneath too. Pretty rich though.

I made Jooge a book the other day, "Julia's Amazing Summer." We did so much this summer, yet I keep wondering where in the HECK did summer go? I am in awe of time's ruthless pace.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A Darn Good Time

We are pictured here at the Clackamas County Fair, a fair I attended in my early teen days when we lived in Canby. Good times. This time, we went as a family and dined on GREEZY corndogs, pork sandwiches, funnel cakes, and for Jooge, ice cream. (Poor Avery had "cack-oh's"). Jooge rode on her first ride, the one that my brothers and I always tried to imitate the noise of....(can't you just hear it from your youth, it was either cars or motor cycles and they went "EH EH EH EH EH" in punchy little syllabic sounds). Also, we watched a dance troup from Lake Oswego, "beautiful ballerinas," played in the big box of corn, and made "dirt babies."
These are nylons stuffed with grass seed and dirt, then adorned with faces. You soak them in water for two minutes, then let their "tails" soak in water and eventually they grow hair (sprouts) which you can cut. Pretty fun.
Oh and the animals. We loved seeing the animals. Check out this goat that totally posed for the picture with Jooge....

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Okay, Cue The Tears

We've been going to Beaverton Library's Toddler story time for over a year now and today was the last day for the summer session. When it picks up again very late in September we will already be in preschool on Tuesdays. So, today was our last day! (For Jooge anyway). I got choked up when I thought about it. We are about to abandon one of our favorite weekly rituals so that she can begin SCHOOL! It is officially the end of an era. I think I might start blubbering.

Shannon, one of the children's librarians, has really made our story time experience. She wears a constant large smile, is patient and fun and does things like making the kids nametags that relate to the stories. She always starts with a song in which kids can volunteer to have the group sing about something special they are wearing. We've volunteered everything from Tevas to leotards. ("Julia has her leotard on, leotard on, leotard on, Julia has her leotard on, at story time today.") And then there was the BOO BOO day. I'm afraid we were trendsetters that day because once we'd sung about the one on Jooge's knee, everyone wanted to sing about theirs too. After that song, kids sit a little taller and shine a little brighter. And the parents? Today when one of the kids blurted out, "Blue shirt" we sang about his blue shirt and I snuck a peek at his mom, aware that she wore the expression we all wear, a flushed mixture of delight and surprise, but also an unmistakable tinge of awkward embarrassment.

The last few times we've come to story time, Shannon has greeted us and said, "Julia! Hi!" Today she said, "Julia, how are your new sandals?" (We sung about them last week.) It is very touching when someone else remembers something that was important to your kid. I just can't help but think about the fact that as she grows, more and more people will have a chance to react to her, to address her by name, to ask her what matters to her and sing about it. When I took this picture today, Shannon gladly posed and then laughing, said, "She won't remember. You will, but she won't." I said, "I WILL! What would we have done without you?" I meant it. I appreciate the people like Shannon who are part of this great big village that is helping Jooge feel good about the person she is today.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Dad Commercial

You have to see this commercial if you haven't yet. It is totally rich and every time I see it I laugh.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Brought To You By the Letter WHY

Last night Jooge was dropping the, "WHY?" bomb after everything I said. I found myself asking her, "Is why your new favorite word?"

Her response? "Actually, no, W is."

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Calgon, You Know The Drill

Jooge has been known to squeal, "Don't be such a grouch!" She usually pulls it out to interrupt a heated discussion. I can't believe she hasn't yet thrown it my way today. I am living breathing Grouch times nine. All I wanna do is go back to bed.

I keep wondering if I get this way when I'm either about to ovulate or have just done so already. It's one of those days where everything seems to be conspiring against me, from straps on shoes, to the little people in my charge. In one corner is Julia (who still will not deposit dung in the toilet in my midst) saying the words, "Mommy, I want a diaper!" In the other corner is a fussy strawberry-stained, nap-ready toddler who just smacked her head on the floor because she tripped on something and I can't help her because I'm cleaning her sister's poopy diaper. And cooking my Lean Cuisine panini? Since when should microwave directions overwhelm? Less is more people. Just tell me to PUT IN MICROWAVE on GRILL TRAY and cook.

As far as the scene before me, which I usually like to clean up before the next thing, it has won. I am done. I don't want to clean up the strawberries that Avery has plopped on the floor, a map of madness including strewn corn kernels and a puddle of milk. The cream wafers I made last night (tasty little buttery swedish cookies) are perpetually popped into my mouth. No, they do not help this frame of mind. I don't really want them, I'm just indulging an impulse.

Writing feels better. I will snap out of it. But I'm sure while I'm snapping out of it, I will have a squirmy preschooler on my lap and I'll be stubbing my toe and I will really just want to escape to the lands of Calgon's bubbly heaven. It's one of those days. And I hate those days. All I can do is sit and eat my microwaved "panini" counting down the seconds until N.A.P.