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The girls are playing house. Rio is the mommy. They are apparently getting ready to go for a picnic, and are packing their lunches.

Rio-as-mom, “You have to show me what you packed so I can see if it is healthy for you.”

Her friend/baby shows her.

Rio, “No, no, no. Just gum is not a healthy snack.”

Her friend, “What about gum and something else.”

Rio, “OK. Gum and something else. Here, have a donut. Gum plus a donut is healthy.”

I’m trying to stifle my laughter while they set off on their journey to the music room with their healthy donuts. Clearly my work here is not quite done. I love how she’s figured out that:

  • what the kids put in the picnic basket probably does not count as a healthy meal on it’s own, and
  • a healthy meal requires more than one type of food,

while totally failing to register in any way that:

  • certain foods are healthier than others, and
  • donuts are not food

On the plus side, they have learned that gum is not food. There’s hope for them yet.

Serena has been sneaking up on having a two-year-old temper.

This afternoon, she pitched a ferocious wobbly, at the height of which she maliciously (yes, maliciously, with clear intent and an evil gleam in her eye) peed on a book in the middle of the living room floor because I would not let her use her outdoor potty indoors. The outdoor potty is a potty seat with no bottom, so the result would have been the same if I’d caved, only possibly not with her aiming at a book.

The book, which I threw out after attempting briefly to rescue, was a collection of sappy poetry titled, “My Daughter, My Joy”.

The Shrinking of Treehorn

The Shrinking of Treehorn

Serena took this book out of the library. I think she chose it because it was a nice shade of green and charmingly square.

When we got it home, I noticed that the drawings were by Edward Gorey, a favorite artist of our entire family’s. We’ve been to visit his house on the Cape, and generally find his whimsical, creepy art about our cup of tea on most occasions.

The story is a lovely, strange tale about a little boy with clueless parents, too much TV and a breakfast cereal fixation who one day begins to mysteriously shrink. The author deftly avoids wandering into drab moral lessons while skirting close enough to let the reader come to her own conclusions about the value of 56 favorite television programs and endless plastic toys in a child’s life.

The book is novella length, but all the kids in my morning program have sat through it several times and keep asking for it again. Unlike most books the kids adore, I actually enjoy reading this one and have been happy to oblige them.

Yesterday, Rio said that even though she is not going to have any babies when she grows up and explores the world as a singer, she will have just one baby, and name it Treehorn, just to see if it shrinks.

“It will be an experiment, Mama,” she explained. “First, I will be pregnant. Then, I will give birth to the baby. Whoosh! Then, I will see that it is a boy, and name him Treehorn. After that, I will see if he grows until he is three or so and then starts to shrink again. That is the experiment part.”

1. On the drive up to my mom’s yesterday, I speculated about what the Easter Bunny might have left for the kids.

“Mama, you know the Easter Bunny is NOT REAL.”

“Oh. Why do you say that?” I am not invested in her belief in fairy tale beings, but as far as I know she has a totally uncritical acceptance of Santa Claus, the Halloween Fairy and fairies in general, so I was surprised to learn that the Easter Bunny is not real to her.

“My brain told me. Last Saturday.”

Eventually she elaborated that the Easter Bunny is a “fake ghost” who might come to Nana’s house *if* the Halloween Fairy waves her wand and makes him appear.Halloween is closely associated with Easter in Rio’s mind because these are the two days of the year she reliably scores a stash of candy.

———

2. On the way home from Nana’s, Rio announces that she will be a musician when she grows up, or possibly a magician. She begins listing some cities she will go to on her world tour: Buenos Aires, Boston, Somerville, Haverhill, Tuscon, Newburyport (basically all the places she has ever been).

Then she says, “Mama, you know how when I am a grown up, I can go anywhere I want?”

“Yes.”

“Well, when that happens, I am not planning to have any childen. Not until I am ready to give up my job. I mean, if I had some kids, and they were teenagers and I could find a babysitter for them, then I could have a job and kids. But if they were going to be babies, I am not planning to have any kids for a very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very long time.”

I think I left out a few dozen “very”s there, but you get the idea. Dear feminist self, please do not panic. She is four, and I am sure her ideas about gender and parenting and work will continue to evolve. Love, Stay-At-Home Mom Self

Rio’s favorite read these days is the Frog and Toad books, which I love because it was my favorite when I was her age.

Right now, we are both loving the chapter called “Cookies”, in which Toad bakes far too many cookies, and he and Frog have to figure out a way to stop eating them before they make themselves ill. After many false starts, and the consumption of many cookies, Frog gives the whole box of cookies to birds, who fly away with them.

It ends thusly:

“Now we have no more cookies to eat,” said Toad sadly. “Not even one.”

“Yes,” said Frog, “but we have lots and lots of willpower.”

“You may keep it all, Frog,” said Toad. “I am going home now to bake a cake.”

Flickr Photos

Holding hands

Emerson graduation smiles

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More Photos

A little bird told me…

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