Sitting at the top of the slide, she lifts her hands, scotches forward, yells “Release”, and slides down.
*** *** ***
Scene: We enter the house peacefully. Suddenly, in a fit, while tearing off her onesie.
Little Elephant: Mommy, mommy. Hurts! Hurts!
Me: What hurts!
Little Elephant: Duele! Mama. Duele! Hurts!
Now I am helping her tear of her clothes.
Me: What hurts? WHERE DOES IT HURT?
Little Elephant: Tummy! Hurts! Cracker!
Turns out, she was just hungry!
*** *** ***
Little Elephant: Mommy! Mommy! Harley!
Me: Do you want to pet Harley (the dog)
Little Elephant: Yes. Mommy. Harley!
She pets the dog. The dog licks her fingers.
Little Elephant: Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!
Me: Yes. Harley gave your hand a kiss. Doggies lick to give kisses.
Little Elephant: No! Fingers!
I stand corrected.
*** *** ***
She and her little friend are jumping on the trampoline. They have a ball, but he won’t throw it to her. All three parents are telling him to throw her the ball, but no. Every so often he bounces it off her head or back to pretend he is sharing. Finally all revved up, she looks him in the eye and yells “SHARE!!!!”
For fear that my memories will fade into all the other memories just like my daughter in this photo, I give you my list of 10 current favorites.
With each new age and each new stage of Little Elephant’s development, I redefine my favorite thing that she does. The truth is, in my eyes, she is just the cutest, most amazing, wildly intelligent, interesting little person that exists. But… as each new thing comes along so does the risk that these tiny quirks that I revel in now will be forgotten. So, I am going to document them here. And as they change, I will update the list.
- How she has started to give me kisses on the lips to wake me up. She usually balances her hand on my neck and presses down so the lack of air wakes me up. Still, she only gives kisses in this way to me. No kisses for Dada in bed.
- How she announces “bye-bye” when I am in the middle of a conversation or we are on skype and she has decided she is bored. How, if that isn’t enough, she re-announces “bye-bye” much louder and gives everyone a kiss.
- How she demands to nurse by pointing at my chest and saying “no!” “no!’. I can only assume this is because I told her no at an earlier stage where she just tried to pull my breasts out in public.
- How she grabs two fingers and pulls me to the dog’s food so she can help feed her.
- How she really really hates fizzy water yet insists on drinking it when I do. Then, she makes a funny face, shakes her head, and says “mamaaaaaaa” very disapprovingly.
- How she has started cupping her hands around my breast when she nurses.
- How she pretends to have “boo boos” so she can get extra kisses.
- How she pats the ground to invite people to sit or lie with her and then how she reorganizes everyone until they are in the correct order.
- How she know understands names and family relationships. The neighbors are all Anna. All of them. 3 kids and both parents: Anna.
- How she insists upon carrying the baggy with the dog poop because she loves being Mama’s little helper.
Sunset it Reñaca, Chile. January 2013.
We took a one day trip to Viña and Valparaiso to visit some of my friends. Since it was Little Elephants first time at the Pacific, we had to stop by the beach before heading home. We headed over to Reñaca, dug our feet into the sand and splashed in the salty waves up to our calves. Little Elephant didn´t even complain because the water was cold, she was too busy giggling at Dada running her in and out. When we were done, we made sandcastles, ate sandwiches, and drove three hours home.
Friends since high school. Note: This is one of the amazing friends who I have kept since High School and who has always been supportive and affirming.
High school graduations, and graduations in general, are a big deal. They are times to celebrate. They are times to look back. They are times to move forward. And, in our consumerist culture, they are times for presents.
For my high school graduation, I got lots of gifts. I was privileged to grow up in middle-class America where my family, friends, and friends of my family had the economic ability to buy presents. But, the best present I got was one that I gave to myself: permission to cut people (“friends”) out of my life. Permission to make them not exist in my world. I promised that for select individuals, friends since elementary school, I would leave for college and never look back, never email, never chitchat if I ran into them in the store, never accept invitations while home on Christmas break to see them. Never.
When we talk about bullying in America, we think of bullies being these others that wander school halls or troll Internet sites. They are the mean kids. Often, the popular kids. We never talk about them being our friends or our kids’ friends. But, as people like to say (partially excusing the bullies of the world), kids are mean. Sometimes, kids are mean to their own friends, sometimes kids are bullied by their so-called-friends. I was.
I had some great friends in high school, some who still stand amongst my best friends today. That said, finding the strength to get rid of this dead weight and value myself more as a person was an important lesson. Truth is, I have never looked back and am a more balanced person for it.
***This is part of a series on bullying. Check out the other posts: Intro, Physical Violence, They reached their peak, and researching LGBT teen suicide..
I first heard about No Name Calling Week over at Lesbian Family. I thought the idea was great.
I have been thinking about bullying and what I want to say about it. This is a hard topic for me. I was bullied. But I was lucky– I have the personality and a strong support system that allowed me to walk away only slightly damaged. I certainly see how it affected and affects some others deeply. I worry about how my daughter will be treated and seen. So, this week, I am going to try and talk about bullying. Wish me luck!
About No Name-Calling Week
Coordinated by GLSEN in collaboration with over 60 national education organizational partners, No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.
***This is part of a series on bullying. Check out the other posts: Friends vs. Bullies, Physical Violence, They reached their peak, and researching LGBT teen suicide..
You know those really annoying people? The ones who do their taxes as soon as they have the paperwork? The ones who do their taxes by hand and smugly say that they always find errors when TurboTax or other services do their taxes? The people who won’t spend money to have their taxes done and say so in a way that comes across as condescending?
Big confession: I am one of those people. Except. Except, I really try not to be smug or condescending. I try very hard to rub it in. I think I just comes off that way because I think my taxes are easy which to anyone who hates taxes just sounds rude, arrogant, and possibly impossible. Heck, this year they are way easier than when I had to do multiple state taxes or deal with Virginia! Also, honestly, my taxes are easy compared to many people. I only have earnings listed on my W2. No property. No investments. No business. No fancy deductions and very few credits. The only complication is having a non-US Citizen spouse with whom I jointly file, but that really only took one year to figure out how to deal with.
Please don’t hate me. There are so many other areas of my life that I fail. Plus, I need the return. I budget for it. I also, after that one year (damn you 2008) that I had to actually pay taxes, and it almost killed me (I had no real job at the time), I have always made sure that I will have a return.
So, the problem? I decided to do my taxes while on vacation. I swear that this is easier. I work a full time job and come home to a toddler who I love to give attention to. Weekends are filled with errands, spending time with the Little Elephant, and hoping I get to take a nap. Vacation allows me to spend time with my daughter and then hand her off to the grandparents and take a nap. Then, well rested, not worrying about work or getting up in the morning, I can do my taxes. However, in an epic fail, we failed to bring my husband’s SSN with us on vacation plus my bank changed ownership and therefore has a new routing number which I don’t know and don’t have. Grr.
Guess my taxes will late (for me) this year and my vacation even more laid back.
Mom and Dad in the cable car— don’t they look calm?
My mother loves to tell the story of riding in the Cablecar over Cerro San Cristobal in Chile in 1996, how my father and I bruised her hand and arm by holding on so hard. How she tried and tried to explain to us that she had no magical powers and if the cable line broke, our holding on to her would not save us. We both remember how she rocked the car making the fear all the stronger, like our grips!
That said, I blame my Grandmother who passed her irrational fear of heights to my father. He then passed his irrational fear of heights to me. Thanks Dad!
The view from the bottom of the Cable car
I am trying not to pass my irrational fear of heights to Little Elephant, so we all took her up the cable car in Tirana, the Mt. Dajti Express. In 15 minutes, this Austrian built cable car took us 1230 feet above sea level and about 2/3 of the way up the mountain. The view is spectacular. At the top, there is a very nice restaurant (we had pizza, pasta, and salad), a hotel, a play ground for kids, and some bunkers. For $7.00 USD roundtrip, it was quite a nice day.
The view from the top (and through a window– sorry, should have gotten a better shot)
More on the bunkers another day.
This is a great video. It’s one of my favorite from my childhood. You should watch it! However, if you don’t, what you need to know is that the most important line is, at least, in terms of this blog post, “some kinds of help are the kind of help, we all can do without.”
Confession: I usually wear my PJs for at least one week before washing them, sometimes it’s longer. Recently, it seems that I’m changing my PJs. Often. Or, at least I have been opening the drawer where the PJs live with an alarming frequency. Last night, I opened that drawer because I could not find the PJs from previous night to wear, to find the drawer was empty. Shocked, I looked around. I was too tired to launch a full investigation. I were shorts and tank to bed.
This morning, the mystery was solved. As I was getting ready for the day, I noticed my daughter playing with my clothes. When I watched her, she stopped. So, I pretended to put on socks. When she thought I wasn’t looking, she took my pajamas into the bathroom where she put them in the hamper. I went to look in the hamper, and found the pajamas from the entire week in there! She already helps me to put my work clothes in the hamper at night, I guess she thought my pajamas should go in there too. Maybe she’s right. She is wrong, however, when she puts my dirty socks in the garbage!
Here is where the PJs go!
Little Elephant recently took a big step. She moved into a big girl bed and she has done it with strength and grace and acceptance that one does not expect from a toddler.
While living in Kazakhstan, we did manage, once, to transition her to a crib. But, then we traveled and stayed in hotels and moved around the world (several times) and she somehow always ended up co-sleeping. Or, more accurately, co-kicking. Because she spent all her time in her bed kicking me out of it inadvertently with her flailing and her ability to take up all the space and my fear of rolling over her since I am such a heavy sleeper.
So, she moved to a “big girl bed”. Everyone else would refer to it as a crib, but we convinced her this is a step up in the world. She is still in our room, she still sleeps next to me, but she sleeps in her own bed.
And she is proud of it.
She also is exploring all the other ways she can do big girl things. She is rejecting sippy cups in favor of big girl cups. The kind with handles. The kind without tops. The kind where oh so very often water or milk or the liquid contents end up on the floor or down her front. She has learned that tipping the big girl cup over your head to see the liquid flow out just leaves you wet and with milk in your eyes. No fun. She has also discovered that many things float in the liquid in the big girl cup. I can see that there will be no end of entertainment with this discovery.
She likes big girl chairs too. The kind that don’t tie you down. The kind that leave free movement for kicking, climbing, spinning, and jumping off. The kind that give Mama a heart attack— especially when she has climbed up them and onto the kitchen table and is picking up the nice pottery from Kazakhstan.
And, like all big girls. She likes the word “no” and to do it herself. She puts her boots on herself. She chooses her clothes. She doesn’t want people to touch her. Or look at her. Or smile. Or pay attention to anything but her. She likes to play toys herself. And kick over monsters by herself. And try new things by herself. And climb up the slide by herself.
She is very self sufficient. And big. And glorious.
This is Little Elephant’s very first piece of art. Chalk on chalk board, Dec 27, 2012.
A couple weeks back I posted about buying paints for Little Elephant to start playing with. They haven’t arrived yet so I don’t have an update. She did, however, get an easel (both magnetic side and chalkboard side with a clip for paper) from Santa. She loved trying out the chalk and understood right away what she could do. She was a bit dismayed that I only let her have one piece of chalk the first time— we will explore color later when I am ready to keep her from coloring my whole house with chalk!
I love watching her explore the arts and I hope that this is something I can encourage for her whole childhood. I want her to try all different arts and craft from a practical perspective, but also to see art. I want to take her musicals, art fairs, museums, and architecture tours. I am not saying she will grow to be a great artist— but hopefully to at least have an appreciation and general knowledge.
Plus, as a bonus, Parenting Magazine tells me that art makes kids smarter.