Last night we were eating pasta, and SOMEONE was eating a bit noisily.
"Try eating as if The Queen were watching you," I said. "Or your grandmother."
"Can I suck the noodles up like spaghetti?" Sparky asked.
"No," I said. "That's what I'm trying to get you NOT to do. Imagine there's a man outside with a gun, and if he hears you eating, he'll come in and get you." A bit crude on my part, but they saw the opportunity for imaginative play. Or so I thought.
"What if he hears me clank the fork against the dish?" asked Smedley.
"No," I said triumphantly. "He can hear only slurps and smacks and food sounds."
It is foolhardy to try to play outside on a day in which the temperature climbed past 100 by lunch time, but Smedley and Sparky were bored. They took the new white chalk out to the sidewalk and drew a hopscotch court from hazy memories. Two rocks were found to use as markers.
"Do you remember how to play?" Smedley asked her little sister.
"Um," began Sparky. "When it's your turn you take the rock," she guessed, "And throw it at the other person. You ask her how much it hurt, on a scale from one to ten, and that's the number of hops you take."
I can see we're going to have to give Family Game Night another chance. At least the rules reading.
Sparky and Smedley had outstanding report cards today. Smedley called me to tell me about hers after school. I found out about Sparky's on the ride home. We drove up Grandma and Grandpa's driveway to go get Smedley, who had been hanging out with them.
"Go into the living room, Sparky, and tell Grandpa about your report card. He's got something for you," said Grandma. Into the living room went Sparky, dragging her feet in advance of the ceremony to come.
"Here's a nickel for math, and here's a quarter for reading," said Grandpa, dropping coins into Sparky's hand. "And here's another nickel for being lucky, and here's a dime for not having hair in your eyes. A dime for not being married. Here's a penny for being lucky again. A quarter for a trip to Hawaii, and here's a dime for not having a stinky diaper tonight, and here's eleven cents, for no reason."
Report card season is always interesting in Fooleryland.
I'm sorry to have to break it to you, but your niece Smedley totally has your number.
Tonight after reading our bedtime book (which had more than one mention of super powers) Smedley declared, "Uncle Mantle Man is like a mini version of Grandpa."
"He's just like Grandpa. He could be Mini Wonder Dave!" While I wasn't sure of the logic at all, I wasn't going to miss her explanation, which definitely delivered. I was laughing too hard to catch most of it, but I remember this:
Mini Wonder Dave! Clip him to your backpack and take him with you!
Don't sit with him too long or he'll make you learn about MATH!
Press his button and he'll say something grumpy, but don't press it too many times or he'll make a PURPLE CLOUD!
So, Mini Wonder Dave, will you order your Spandex suit and cape, or shall I?
Smedley brought this to me here at my computer this evening. She had written on both sides of the paper. Side one:
In case you can't make it out, side two reads, "Dear Mom, this is for you because in every heaven, there is a hell. Like getting dogs. Dogs are heaven, cleaning is hell. From, Smedley"
Wanna know what precipitated this? I told them if they didn't get their rooms in order and keep them from going to hell in two hours, like usual, that there is no way I'm gonna invite the dog people here this weekend to interview us to make sure we're a fit home to adopt their doggies. Yeah. Cleaning is hell, gimme a break! Parenting is hell.
Smedley took her camera outside yesterday morning to get pictures of the sunrise. Then she remembered that her camera takes movies, so she shot a 360 degree view from the fence line south of our house. The bathroom light? is mine. I was getting ready for work. Smedley missed the bus.
When I got home for work she showed me the movie she had taken after sundown. I cobbled them together with a Nick Drake song that seemed perfect. Ever the art director, Smedley insisted upon yellow for the typeface. Here is the result. Watch it carefully; you may wish to take some Dramamine first.
We had a family outing recently which turned out terrible, mostly. Sagging spirits piled on let-down heaped upon disappointment left us irritable and grumpy, trapped in the car together for the drive home. So when Smedley asked if anyone had a hair clip, I barked at her.
"Why would I have one of YOUR hair clips, Smed?" I snapped. This was a familiar theme. "You're supposed to take care of that, right? I'm always telling you that. OF COURSE I don't have any of YOUR hair clips."
"Here's one," Chas said calmly, handing a hair clip back to the back seat. My mouth fell open.
"Are you kidding me? How -- why -- where did you get a hair clip? Wow, Smed, your Daddy saves the day."
Without missing a beat, Smedley turned to her father and quipped, "Got a donut?"
We have big news on
the kid hobby front. (Photo stolen from these
After years of not being interested, Smedley finally tried to learn
her bike without training wheels two weekends ago. She was very
close to getting it, but very scared of
falling, and since she didn't start trying to learn until sundown, her
Her little sister Sparky took one look at her
bike on Wednesday afternoon, said, "I can do
that," and proceeded to teach herself in about 15 minutes, no lie.
Being upstaged by her little sister really chapped Miss Smedley's
she decided to try the bike again Thursday. It was, unfortunately, just
about dinner time, I was still in a dress after work, and mentally and
physically drained. But I went outside to watch or help her.
After about two minutes of halting attempts and near disasters,
Smedley began scolding me, her basic tenet being "SEE?! I TOLD you I
couldn't do it!" etc.
etc. ad infinitum ad nauseum. I'd had it. I told her NO WAY would I
further part in The Martyrdom of Saint Smedley, and went into the house.
I could hear Smedley hollering outside, then stomping inside to holler
(and sob) at me some more.
I squatted down in front of Smedley
her she had all the tools, and when she was ready to really try I would
help her, but she didn't even need the help. She just needed to change
priority from "fear of falling" to "will to ride," and she would do it.
Of course she glared and cried and begged and glared some more, but I
Until later when, by myself, I beat myself up for being a crappy
I got home from work at 7:00, tired, hot and sore-footed from a long
video shoot, and Smedley
greeted me with a huge smile. "I taught myself to ride my bike today,
Mama! You were right and I was wrong, Mama," she said. I thought I might
cry. You should have seen how proud she was, and I can stop beating
myself up.For now.
So the two girls are riding all over the place now, and leaving
their bikes in the driveway
behind our cars. One problem at a time.
All of the little kids in our
family LOVE their older cousins Brady and Riley, and treat them like
rock stars when they visit. Brady is an especial favorite because he
gets down and plays with the kids. This game is called Egg Balancing, I
Overheard this weekend . . .
Sparky, to Brady: "Well, if I
can't kill you, will you at least watch me tap dance?!"
I have no idea which
particular game that was, or how to win it.