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Monthly Archives: March 2010

maybe this is a bad idea

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The shower we are hosting in a week is really a shower for the soon-to-be big sister as well as the soon-to-be mother of two.   We thought it would be fun to honor the 3-year-old who will soon step into the very important role of big sister instead of the role she has had for the past 3 years, the role of “sun, moon, stars,and universe” to her parents.   So, at the shower she will be crowned “big sister” and have to take the big sister oath (all big sisters have to take that, right?).  I made this crown following the pattern in Soule Mama’s book the Creative Family.  It was so much fun to do (I really need to do more needlework) that I think I need to make dozens more.

I wonder if associating Big Sisterdom with royalty might lead to problems down the road for the little sibling.  Hmmm.  My big sisters were always benevolent and kind to me, so surely all big sisters are sweet all the time to the younger sibling who stole their limelight?


I’m thinking of a number between one and ten…

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First and foremost, I want to be very clear  – I don’t believe in this stuff.

Secondly, as a reader you must know that in this post, all parentheticals were thought by me, but left unspoken.

Tea might have ESP.  Please refer back to the first sentence.

I first noticed this possible connection between my brain and his one morning in January.  I was reading a blog post by a quirky young New York artist who used chalk to color footprints along the sidewalk outside her building.  She then sat in her apartment and photographed passersby who interacted with the colorful chalk.  It was cute, and it made me smile to read it.

As I read, Tea said “I want sidewalk chalk, Mama.  Can we play with sidewalk chalk?”

OK, big deal.  Except that he was sitting on the other side of my laptop.  Facing away, even.  And it was January.  And we hadn’t used, discussed, or seen any sidewalk chalk in 3 months – our driveway was buried with show.

I am a logical, scientific person by nature.  This was absolutely a coincidence.

Until it happened again.  And again.

But then it was still a coincidence.  Just a more and more entertaining one.  And I realized that perhaps all of the times he seemed to read my mind were just cases of me becoming hyperaware of any sort of relation of what I was thinking to what he said.  I was probably seeing it just because I was looking.

So last night I set up a test as we were snuggling in to bed.  Please refer back to point number 2 above.

Me:  Tea, what letter am I thinking of? (k…K…k…K…k…K…k)

Tea:  I don’t know.

Me:  Just try.  What letter is Mama thinking about?  (K…k…K…k…K…K…k)

Tea:  Ummm…I don’t know.

Me:  OK, that’s alright.  It was a “K”.  No big deal.  Now, what animal am I thinking about?  (WALRUS!  WALRUS!  WALRUS!!!)

Tea:  A Bear!

Kyle:  Wow, you have confidence in that one!

Me:  It was a walrus, but no worries.  Good job.  Now how about a color.  (PURPLE PRUPLE PURPLE PURPLE)  What (PURPLE) color (PURPLE) am (PURPLE) I (PURPLE) thinking (PURPLE) about (PURPLE)?


Kyle:  You didn’t hesitate at all, buddy!  You must really know that one!

Me:  I was thinking about Purple, Tea, but no problem.  Now, just one more.  I’m thinking about a food.  Which food am I thinking about?  (Pudding.)

Tea:  TOAST!

Me:  Great try, Tea.  Thanks for playing with me.  I was thinking about pudding.  Good night.  I love you.  Sweet dreams.  (Well, that settles it.  I didn’t really think he could read my mind anyway.  But wouldn’t that have been fun?  We could have traveled with the circus to the great cities of the world.  COME ONE AND ALL!!  STEP RIGHT UP AND SEE THE AMAZING MIND-READING TODDLER GUESS WHICH NUMBER HIS MOM IS THINKING ABOUT!  Oh yeah, people would pay big bucks to see him yell out FOUR!   Thrilling stuff!)

Tea: Four!

Me:  WHAT did you just say?

Tea:  Nothing.

Me:  No really, WHAT?  Did you just say, um…Kyle, did YOU hear him?

Kyle:   I’m trying to sleep over here.

Me: But…Tea, what was it you said, sweetie?  Really.  Please tell me again?

Tea:  Four.

Me:  Why “four”, honey?

Tea: I dunno.

So is he just messing with me or what?

I’m afraid I just used up all my Easy Trip karma

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We took the longest car trip of Tea’s career this weekend: 6.5 hours of solid driving each way – not including stops.  While Tea tolerates our trips to the grandparents, we’re he’s often reaching our his limit by the end of a 4 hour journey.  So I was a little nervous, but prepared.

In addition to the bucket of toys and books he has access to in the car, I brought along goodies he’d never seen before:

  • a blank hardcover journal (with “t” on the cover) for him to destroy use at will
  • crayons
  • stickers
  • lacing cards
  • finger puppets
  • snacks

I was prepared to sing and dance and distract my way through 4 states, but in the end, Tea entertained Kyle and I instead.

He is infatuated with TRAINS! and AIRPLANES! and let me tell you, driving through Chicago was more exciting than Christmas morning.  On the way home, I didn’t break out a single treat (apart from coffee crackers).  He was thrilled enough with the view out the window and the new discovery that he can record original ditties on his phone to play back for us.

So I am not complaining, but I feel a little uneasy.  Today was supernaturally simple – and fun!  Being that we’re planning a trip that involves transatlantic flight in May, I can’t help but fear that we already lucked out with our one and only easy trip, and he’s doomed to fidget and tantrum all the way to Belgium.  Or?  He’s a stellar traveler and we have to hit the road more often.  I’m fervently crossing my fingers that it’s the latter.

yellow mondays and pink tuesdays

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Pia adores her daddy and the first words out of her mouth every morning are “daddy have to work today?”  To help her figure out what happens on what days we made a little banner of flags based on the Thai colors of the week (each day of the week in Thailand has a color assigned to it that is considered lucky… Sunday is red, Monday is yellow, Tuesday is pink, Wednesday is green, Thursday is orange, Friday is blue, and Saturday is purple). Then we attached a little yellow sun to a clothespin that we can move from day to day. On each flag we glued a picture of something that always happens on that day, like on Saturday and Sunday we put pictures of Pia and her dad because the weekends are always daddy days.  On tuesday and friday we glued pictures of her and her speech therapist, on wednesday a picture of her playgroup, etc. As she moves the clothespin from day to day she can see what is happening that day and, perhaps more importantly, how many more days until the weekend when daddy doesn’t have to go to work.

To add an element of dorkiness fun to it we also dress in the color of the day.  I love this, because instead of hemming and hawing at my dresser each morning, I just have to think “ah!  It is a monday! I will wear my only yellow shirt!”  Pia gets a kick out of it as well because it gives her motivation to pick out her clothes and dress herself.

Tomorrow is Saturday and our little family will, of course, all be wearing purple.

and the house now smells like cumin

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While looking for something in the cupboard this morning (what that was I have no idea now) I found a tin full of old spices.  The little baggies cried out to me… use us for something fun! Always up for a little kitchen chemistry, I started boiling and mixing up possible dyes for Easter eggs.  I chose cumin, paprika, red tea, boiled spinach, and a can of sweet red cherries that had been loitering in the dark corner of the cupboard for far too long.  I heated them all up and added some vinegar to strengthen the dye.  My eager assistant set to work dying a dozen eggs.

We set our faithful pig timer for 3 minutes and I hoped that my little science experiment wouldn’t disappoint. Edit – after some poking around on the internet I discovered that when using natural dyes to dye Easter eggs you are supposed to let them soak for about 30 minutes, so that could be part of our problem. Here are the results:

From left to right: cherries, cumin, paprika, red tea (the boiled spinach didn’t work at all… come to think of it, it might not have been spinach).  As you can see, the results aren’t exactly spectacular, but I think they are pretty.  I really like the lavender from the canned cherries.  Pia wasn’t exactly wowed by the color explosion, but it was the end result that she was really looking forward to, the rehearsal egg hunt in the backyard.


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In two weeks I am hosting a baby shower for a friend, so there is a flurry of activity here trying to sew all sorts of things for the occasion.  Tonight I made napkins, which sounds totally boring, but are quite satisfying to make.  I knew I wanted double-sided napkins in an assortment of patterns, but when I cut out the squares last night at sewing club I ended up with a variety that I wasn’t wild about.  I blame this mostly on my so-called friends who were harassing me about my schooling dilemma (merits of private vs. public, much too lengthy and complicated to get into here and at much too late of an hour as well) and therefore distracting me from focusing on color theory. I jest, of course.  But tonight, with a clear head upon my shoulders I was able to select colors and whip up a set of napkins for the shower.  I think the colors and the patterns say ‘happy!’ and therefore I am as well.  I plan to tuck the silverware in the pocket that is created by folding the napkin in half and then thirds, showing off both fabric patterns, like this:

It’s hard to wait

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Tea has difficulty understanding  time.  Everything in the past is either “yesterday” or “two months ago”.  Everything in the future is “tomorrow”.  Since he’s obsessing looking forward to lots of great adventures (and the arrival of the Easter Bunny), he has been driving me crazy with incessant questioning about if it’s time to: visit Grandma Cookie, see if “The Rabbit” brought chocolate, go see friends, etc etc.  I hear him say “it’s hard to wait” at least 8 thousand times each day.

So we made a paper chain calendar and pasted symbols on various links.  A book for library days.  Stars for playing with friends.  Cars (and airplanes!) for upcoming trips.  I think he might be starting to get it now.  Each morning we’ll tear off a link and be that much closer to The Rabbit.

The colors corresponds to the Thai color of the day.  I stole this idea from Courtney, who should share what they do with this.

Tea is a little skeptical about the finished project.  He wants to know why it doesn’t have chocolate in it (like his Advent calendar) and why it doesn’t buzz.