The Mama: How do you like New York?
Alice: I never want to go back to my house!
The Mama: How do you like New York?
Alice: I never want to go back to my house!
The Kidling loves animals. I know all kids love animals, but she seems to love them even more intensely than other kids. Dogs, cats, birds, horses, dinosaurs, dragons, unicorns (no one said they had to be real animals)… she adores them all. As such, we knew our trip to New York must include a visit to the American Museum of Natural History. Some things are nonnegotiable.
The museum did not disappoint. Alice ran from diorama to diorama, peering inside and providing thoughtful commentary and asking difficult questions:
“Why is the owl in there (pointing to a display with a brightly painted background)? They are nocturnal and it is day time.”
“It’s a raven!”
“Why are that antelope’s horns curved backward? How does he protect himself, then?”
This went on for hours.
Later, we approached a diorama with a buffalo and several birds. Alice asked how the birds would escape the buffalo. I told her that the birds would fly away (neglecting to point out that a buffalo, being herbivorous, would have no interest in catching a bird. You win some, you lose some). The Kidling remained unconvinced of the feasibility of that plan and predicted that, to catch the birds, “Buffalo stand on their tippy hooves!”
The Mama went on a business trip, The Kidling went on vacation, and The Dada had Our House to himself.
Not a bad deal, really.
Upon The Family’s reunion, I asked The Dada how he enjoyed his time alone:
The Mama: (to The Dada) Did you like having a nice, quiet house?
The Dada: (nods)
Alice: Now there’s lot’s of chit-chat and stinky smells. (to The Mama) Toot in your own room!
Heh heh. Why, um… Kids say the darndest things…
The Family had some conspicuous consumption to do this weekend (as discussed here), so we headed to the nearby outlet mall (and Costco, but that isn’t nearly as exciting).
As we were heading out of town, The Kidling asked where we were going. “The outlet mall,” we replied. But that wasn’t helpful.
She wanted names.
“Whartonville,” we told her, as we pulled into the parking lot. She said — No, she insisted — she had absolutely no idea what we were talking about. And she was adamant:
“I have not been here at all. Under any circumstances. At all.
(one minute elapses)
I remember I’ve been in this place, but I do not remember Whartonville.
(30 seconds elapse)
I do not remember this place at all. I can’t remember Whartonville.
(3 seconds elapse)
Now I remember it.”
Yeah, I bet you do. Stinker.
Whilst shopping this past weekend, The Kidling and I slipped into a handbag shop while The Dada was paying for a purchase at a nearby store. I looked at the offerings for a few minutes before telling The Kidling we needed to move on. My rationale being that, since we told The Dada we would meet him at J. Crew (yes, I am a yuppy), we had better actually be in J. Crew when he arrived, lest he worry.
Alice, however, took a different message from my declaration that it was time to leave the handbag store. She sighed, “You know how Dad is about girl things…”
Seeing as how I actually didn’t know how he is about girl things, I asked for clarification. “Dad would never have a purse!”
I guess he wouldn’t. But I didn’t realize she knew that.
The Kidling went cold turkey on napping about eight months ago.
It must have been peer pressure. They say pre-school is a bitch these days.
Since she gave up the mid-day snooze so long ago, we are prepared for the worst on those rare occasions when she actually does fall asleep: crabbiness, insomnia at bedtime, and just general unders-in-a-bunchedness.
But that didn’t happen Sunday. On this fine day, The Kidling asked to go to the playground around 5:00 pm. Since The Dada and The Mama accidentally skipped lunch (How? Hell if I know. But it happened), I told her no. It was too close to dinner, I told her, but we might go after. Pouting ensued. In an attempt to remedy the injustice, I offered to put on some music so she could have a dance party while I made dinner.
Yes, I am the best mom ever.
But The Kidling declined. I could barely hide my shock when she asked instead for “some quiet music.” I obliged, then headed to the kitchen to remedy the empty belly situation (otherwise known as “make dinner”). At one point I shouted into the living room something about going upstairs to get a book, to which, The Kidling replied, “No, I’d rather blah blah blah.” *
That sounded like a reasoned explanation, so I resumed chopping. Shortly thereafter, The Dada got home from his run and went into the living room to discover The Kidling sound asleep in a fort she had made in the chair. He attempted to wake her for dinner, but she was not to be roused from her slumber
So we ate alone while The Kidling got her brilliant sleep. ** Finally, much later, The Kidling stirred. She awoke a little out of sorts, so I decided to go to the park before we fed her dinner.
See? Best mom ever.
The evening progressed without incident. Park, dinner, then bedtime. The Kidling happily did all of the usual bedtime stuff, then climbed into bed and went to sleep.
About an hour later, she stumbled out of her bedroom, bleary-eyed, and asked me to please make her bed. Her blanket and sheets had gotten quite tangled, and in her fatigue, she was unable to fix it herself. Or so she said. A pretty small deal, though, so I went ahead and fixed things up. Because she had three glasses of water at dinner time, so dangerously close to bedtime (bad idea), I asked her to please use the toilet while I straightened her tangled sheets.
I finished, then went into the bathroom to ensure The Kidling was doing what she had been asked to do. In yet another example of The Kidling surprising the hell out of me, she was, in fact, finishing up on the toilet and heading over to wash her hands. whilst making bubbles and suppressing a yawn, she turned to me and asked, “So, you guys doing anything fun downstairs?”
We weren’t. I told her as much, and she shuffled back into bed.
Perhaps we could get used to these little nap things again.
* What?! I can’t catch every word out of her perfect Kidling mouth now, can I?
** Like beauty sleep, but better.
Monday night, The Kidling improvised a magnificent song. It was a lilting ballad, sung in her pitch-perfect contralto. A love song, if you will, and the object of her affection was The Mama—Not muffins. Not Nana. Not Clifford, spaghetti, nor even the mighty theropod. No, on this one, glorious evening, her lyric told a story of love, and it was all for The Mama.
That’s right. Me.
And she delivered every note of this wee tune whilst staring at The Dada.
I didn’t bother to stifle my giggle.
The Kidling’s ability to observe, synthesize, demonstrate, practice, and master new concepts never ceases to amaze me. A little sponge, she learns
especially even the things I wish she would not. Still, some new tasks and concepts are difficult for my wee Einstein. The things she picks up with ease and those with which she struggles are neither predictable nor classifiable. She adds new vocabulary to her repertoire with astonishing ease, yet cannot consistently distinguish her ”M”s from her “N”s. She skips like an old pro, but is still struggling with the ever-elusive cartwheel.
Perhaps the funniest of Alice’s struggles is dressing herself. Now, I don’t mean The Kidling can’t put on her socks, shoes, pants, or sweaters herself. She even has buttoning under control. I mean, seriously. Buttons are hard. But they are no match for The Kidling.
Though she may have a seemingly inexplicable phobia of cardigans as an adult.
But The Kidling has met her match with her undergarments. Underwear, underwears, undies, unders… No matter what name we give this formidable foe, they present a challenge. And because The Kidling does dress herself every morning, The Parents often aren’t aware until bathtime that she has been foiled, yet again, by that tiny swath of cotton. On that final step before sweet, sweet freedom to play to her heart’s content in the tub, the ever-present adversary presents itself with a baggy front and a too tight back, with bows on the inside and tags on the outside and, my personal favorite, with one butt cheek entirely exposed because she squeezed her tiny little body into a leghole and has one leg through the waist.
But The Parents remain steadfast that The Kidling needs to get this figured out. We are more than happy to help with those tricky undergarments whose printed-on tags have since faded, but otherwise, The Kidling is on her own to figure out which way is up. Last night before bed, when Alice was getting into her jammies, she was unconvinced of her ability to conquer the panty puzzle. I suggested that she hold them up and try to figure out which way they needed to go, then go ahead and put them on. If, after trying and testing, they were on crooked (or backwards, or sideways), then I promised my assistance.
But she didn’t need my help. Why? She had figured out the answer to the underwear quandary. She had learned a universal truth, and told me so, declaring the answer to be simple: “My labia is smaller than my bum.”