After dealing with Olivia getting up a dozen times after being put to bed for a variety of excuses, our babysitter was done seeing our five year-old.

“Unless you are dying or bleeding profusely, I don’t want to see you out of bed again,” she told the tyke.

To which Olivia replied, “I am very dissatisfied with the quality of your babysitting… AND you’re a horrible person.”

Isn’t it just too bad for Olivia that my satisfaction survey counts more than hers? And I don’t think our babysitter is a horrible person.


This song sums up the world of my five year-old today:

I go to kindergarten
I go to kindergarten
I go to kindergarten
I just lost a tooth!
(repeat, ad nauseum)

One tooth down, 19 to go.

'nuff said?

Like a slap of aftershave after using a month old razor, summer came to an abrupt halt today. Both girls started school, one in 4 yr. old pre-K and the other in kindergarten. If the emotional pulls weren’t enough, a parent also gets bombarded with forms, information, rules, numbers and whatever else. All nice enough and from good people, but I thought it was the kids that were supposed to be overwhelmed by the end of the day. I don’t even know where to start. So I won’t, for tonight.

Now that I’m back, I’m sure you’ll hear more.

Olivia has “pretty good” memory for jokes; unfortunately, the wording for joke punchlines requires a precision that she is still working on. I am mentioning that in part as a reminder to myself to note some of the specific instances of this soon.

This note has no punchline. I have taken a break from most posting for July and August. I’m having too much fun (and too many projects around the house) to keep up with the dozen a month that I’ve been doing lately. You’ll hear more often from me again in the fall.

Our city has two holidays: Memorial Day and the 4th of July. Legally, we have other holidays, but on those two days the party sign is out and friends from around the area come in celebrate. On our block of ten or eleven houses there were four backyard parties in the late afternoon and evening, and at dusk most of the city gets up and starts walking to the city center with blankets and wagons for the fireworks display.

Throughout the fireworks display, Olivia sang loudly and Lily plugged her ears. Olivia’s singing had so much volume that people in front of us turned around above the din of the display to see what the source of the noise was. And what was she singing? Beats me — it was mostly a stream-of-whatever-crosses-her-mind.

Lily needed cuddling for much of the show, was very impressed by any rocket that was a “sparkler” (and, no, I couldn’t figure out exactly what she meant about that), and in the middle of the show started her own song, fingers still firmly planted in her ears. Her words were very minimalist (she’ll make a good pop song writer), and went like this:
a-MER-I-can fire-works
a-aa-MER-I-CAN fire-woo-orks
a-MER-i-can fire-WO-OO-OO-ORKS!
a-Mer-i-CAN fire woooOOORKS!

So, it is a good thing that fireworks are loud, because their singing was relentless.

The day did not start so well for Olivia. Our neighbor’s daughter was over playing with our children this morning, riding bikes in the driveway, and Olivia slowly rode past the friend and with her sister a little distance away quietly said “Hey, wanna go on the swing with me?”

There are only two swings on our swingset, and it seemed clear to me that Olivia’s intent was to cut her sister out of the swing action (like, maybe I’d seen this maneuver a few times before, hmmmmmmm?). However, Lily’s ears are sharp and mind keen and she wasn’t on her bike, and immediately and without fanfare she bolted for the backyard swings. So did the friend — after all, she had been asked to go swinging. Olivia took a little smidge of time to dismount her bike and didn’t realize that both other girls had a big headstart on the run to the backyard until too late, and ooooooooo, what a tantrum there was! Oh, her sister was a tricker and a sneak! And it wasn’t FAIR (oh, that F word again).

I failed to be won over, which eventually earned me a big fat “I HATE YOU!!!!” Don’t fret about me — I was in good company, because she placed her mother and sister in the same boat. So, only Lily got to go to the bike parade. This meant that She-Who-Would-Like-To-Be-Having-Fun-With-Our-Children ended up at home with the whirlwind child, which did break our “rule” of not having a consequence for a child be a consequence for an adult. Sometimes, it is unavoidable, and this was one of them. Next time, it will probably be my turn.

Lily came running to present me with this drawing, two people parachuting under the sun and a rainbow. What she was most proud of was that one parachute was further away (the smaller parachute, bottom right).

090626artLily003A few moments later, Olivia showed me her drawing (below), and seemed to complain that her sister had been copying her. I explained briefly that this was because her sister looked up to the work she did, and that her drawing was well done and that it was a compliment to be copied in that way.

090626artOlivia002I don’t know that Olivia sees it that way. Reflexively, she wants to feel cheated that her sister is imitating her. We try to suggest that she provides an older example for her sister. The trick then is to watch out for the hint of bragging or belittling that can come. It’s familiar to me. As the eldest child, I remember dealing with similar feelings when my little sister tried to copy me.

This isn't the one from my wallet

This isn't the one from my wallet

Today at the convenience store, I caught a quick glimpse of a corner of a fifty dollar bill in my wallet as I was paying for some two-cycle engine oil. Since I typically don’t have much more than $40 total in my possession at any one time, this was a happy and perplexing discovery.

When did I get that? Was it a mistake? Did I have it from some recent weekend away, not yet returned to the family money stash? Leaving the store, I pulled out the wallet to look at it again.

Oh yeah. Then I remembered. It’s fake. Fairly good quality copy, but smaller than an actual bill. It might be just barely at the 75% legal limit for print reproductions, but it was printed on both sides (not permitted by law). When Olivia found it on the ground, I explained to her that it was not real money. When asked more about that, I tried to explain about counterfeit money, but in order to do that you have to explain about how currency has any value at all anyway, and even a bright five year-old quickly loses interest. That is to say, she lost interest in the way I was trying to explain it.

“The government prints the money, and then we get it, but if anyone could print it, then why would we work, or uh… well, that would be like cheating and, um, anyway you’re not supposed to do that.” I said something like that, but probably not so elegantly.

How would you try to explain currency and counterfeiting to a kid?