Claire and Molly saw their first real, live spaceship today.

Kit read in the newspaper that NASA’s new Multi Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV) was parked about a mile away in the parking lot of the Bob Bullock Museum tonight.  The spacecraft was on it’s way from California to Florida and just happened to be passing through town.  We decided to go check it out after dinner, even though Molly would be late for bed.  I mean really, a spaceship sitting there a mile away for one night?  You have to go check that out.

So we did go check it out, and it was pretty cool to see this space-pod thing sitting there on the back of a flatbed, and we waited in a long line to take look through the window.  We even got to talk to some of the engineers who designed the spacecraft.  Claire and Molly ran around on the grass while we waited, and Claire made a couple of friends.  It was a good night.

All Orange

Molly is all about the orange.

Tonight for dinner, she had macaroni & cheese, mashed carrots, and orange slices.  I didn’t realize until the end that everything she was eating was the same glorious orange color.  Well, okay, fortunately the milk was white.

To top it off, I then realized that she was wearing an orange shirt, as was I.

Molly’s teachers tell me that that she only eats orange-colored vegetables.  Sure enough, she still gobbles up baby food carrots and sweet potatoes, but normally won’t touch any other kind of baby food.
Where does this orange obsession come from?
Maybe this fondness of orange, combined with her disposition on yelling “AGGIE!” when upset, show Molly, the family’s only Austin native, to be a huge fan of the Longhorns, her hometown team.  She’ll be yelling “Go horns!” soon enough.

Down with Rock & Roll

Today when Claire was in one of her occasional sour moods in the car on the way home from school, we were discussing different kinds of music to put on to maybe cheer things up.  Kid’s music?  Beach Boys?  An audiobook?  Rock & roll?

Claire did not like the rock & roll idea at all.  “I hate rock & roll!” she proclaimed.  “It’s the worst kind of music there is!  I hate rock stars too!”  She then paused to add, “And I hate movie stars!”

Yeah!  Eat it, Bono!

Once she got that out of her system, she was calm and relaxed, and we drove home a little more happy but with no music.

Oh so ironic… that was such a “rock & roll” way for Claire to work out her emotions.  Take down the man!  Yell it out!  I think she might have slammed a guitar into an amplifier if she didn’t hate rock & roll so much.

Running Scared

Molly is usually curious, and often brave.  She will climb, grab, or throw any unknown object with the best of them.

But Molly does at times get scared by ordinary things.  For instance, she used to have a paralyzing fear of shredded paper in her old classroom as a baby.  When they got out the shredded paper for a special festive play activity, Molly reportedly screamed and cried and crawled out of the area as fast as she could.

Apparently she still holds a fear of unexplained, colorful, festive items in the classroom.  The picture below appears among dozens of others from Molly’s classroom.  In the picture, you can see a teacher wearing a colorful parachute on his head, surrounded by delighted toddlers.  When you look a little closer, you can see Molly, alone among her peers, running away as fast as possible.

Molly seems to be thinking…

That man has a poisonous octopus on his head!  No, wait, that IS his head!  Run for your life!

Happily, later photos show Molly contentedly playing with said teacher and parachute, so she was able to calm down after the initial panic.  I should not make too much fun of Molly, though.  This quick, irrational fear may have been useful for some long past ancestor when, say, a colorful snake appeared in a tree above.  While her fearless friends stuck around to see what it was, maybe this ancestor ran for her life and was able to produce a long line of similarly panicked and embarrassed offspring.

Shower Time

Inspired by her after-swim rinse in the shower at Deep Eddy Pool this morning, Claire has decided that she is a big fan of showering.  So much so, in fact, that she asked if she could take a shower instead of a bath for bedtime tonight.  I had actually wondered at what age Claire would want to switch from baths to showers, and I supposed it would be somewhere around ten years old, but now she has that beat by half.

This is a major change for Claire, who in the past could hardly stand any water on her head or face.  And now she is making major leaps in the area — literally.  At Deep Eddy today, Claire enjoyed repeatedly jumping into the pool, with water splashing around and sometimes over her face and head.  This was followed by said shower in the surprisingly fresh and clean, open-air public changing room (featuring a courtyard of tropical plants).

What may have helped pushed Claire over is her twice-weekly swim lessons at summer camp.  Learning to swim with her long-time friends seems to be helping her develop a new boldness with water in general.

Anyways, Claire went ahead and took her first real shower tonight, the whole nine yards, including a shampoo.  She did not have any help from me except getting the water running at the right temperature, and some help with the shampoo. The only mishap was when she accidentally swallowed a little bit of shampoo, but she quickly recovered by spitting it out and rinsing with fresh water.

As a side note, Claire is always a little lawyer at bedtime, and a rather capable one at that.  Her goal is to push off getting ready for bed as long as possible.  Tonight after announcing she would take a shower instead of a bath, Claire asked if she could have a few extra minutes to play since we wouldn’t have to wait for the bath to fill up.  Well played, Claire…well played.

Knuffle Molly

Molly’s favorite book right now is Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale.  Today alone, we read it to her six times, and each time she asked for more.  She loves this book.

Molly loves big books with lots of fun pictures, and this is indeed a big book with lots of fun pictures.  But she also seems to enjoy the actual story, which she can probably relate to.  In the story, a toddler girl named Trixie goes on an errand with her dad and ends up with a personal crisis on her hands which only she sees and which she tries desperately to communicate to her dad.  Trixie screams and cries and yells things like “AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!”  She is frustrated and sad but doesn’t have the words to tell her dad what is wrong.  Eventually, they figure it out, and in a toddler happy ending, Trixie says her first words ever.

Trixie is a good stand-in for Molly, who spends a fair amount of her time frustrated and unable to tell us (bone-headed) adults exactly what is wrong.  Molly’s version of “AGGLE FLAGGLE KLABBLE!” is “AGGIE!”  She’ll yell “AGGIE!” or sometimes “HAGGIE AGGIE!” adamantly, over and over, often pointing at something which either cannot be specifically located or has no inherent meaning to us.  That said, one time during a bath, we successfully narrowed “Aggie” down to a bottle of Claire’s strawberry-scented shampoo.  But Molly did not want the shampoo when I offered it to her.  In fact, she tried to slap it to the ground.  What did she want us to do with it exactly?  Further, “Aggie” is a mercurial term; once you have it pinned down to a bottle of shampoo, it changes into something else, such as “something on the shelf over there, dammit!”  The thing on the shelf cannot be specifically located, though, and besides, from our perspective, nothing on said shelf can possibly have anything to do with anything.  But that is just our crusty old adult logic, I guess.  Maybe that stack of paper on the shelf is the key to Molly’s happiness.  Maybe she wants to build a paper airplane or write a thank you note… Maybe a thank you note to Mo Willems for writing Knuffle Bunny, a book that really “gets” frustrated toddlers.

As a side note, Molly’s other favorite books at the moment are The Pout Pout Fish and Go Away, Big Green Monster.

Fresh Lettuce

A couple of months ago, during the more spring-like growing season, Grammy brought some lettuce seeds up here to plant with Claire.  They planted the seeds in a container in the back yard, and before long, the lettuce was off and growing.

Now that it is hot and dry, the lettuce is just starting to wilt and die back.  So last night I asked Claire if she would like to try eating some of her home-grown lettuce with dinner.  She said yes, and was pretty excited about it.  So I went outside and cut some lettuce off to serve up as a basic lettuce salad with our ravioli.   It looked pretty nice, actually.  I even made a big deal about how fresh the lettuce was. “Fresh lettuce, coming up!”  Claire is not a big salad eater, and not really into salad dressing, so she just went for a tentative bite of the stem.

From the look of her face, the lettuce did go down so well for Claire.  Even after adding dressing and croutons.

At first I thought Claire just wasn’t used to the (rather mild) taste lettuce, but when I tried some myself, I had to admit it was really bitter.  Even with a generous amount of ranch dressing and croutons, the bitterness still fought its way through.  It tasted like something you’re not supposed to eat.  I hope I haven’t ruined Claire on salads!

Anyways, it was great to grown some of our own food, and I am glad the lettuce survived this far.  Maybe next year we’ll try tomatoes or oranges or something.  Or hot dogs.  Oh wait, now that would really ruin her on hot dogs.

Hugs All Around

When Claire’s class comes in from the playground at school, they pass through the “activity room”, which is a shared, open space that different classes use throughout the day for things like gymnastics or just some indoor play time.  Apparently today, as Claire and her friends came through the activity room, they discovered Molly in there with her class.  Claire ran over and gave Molly a big hug.  Several of Claire’s friends also thought that looked like a good idea, and maybe they should give Molly a hug too.  Eventually,  Molly’s teacher had to seal off an area around Molly to protect her from the horde of hugging friends.

“No more hugs, people!  Nothing to see here!” I imagine the teaching saying.

Molly does have many fans among Claire’s friends, but she usually doesn’t have to deal with them all at once.

Pes, Love, Citn

For her Mom’s birthday this year, Claire created a large picture of a princess. She spent all of her morning TV time on it. The princess is framed by glitter stickers. The picture is inscribed with some words that Claire spelled phonetically without any help, and with varying degrees of technical correctness: peace (“pec” or “pes”), love (which she had already learned to spell), and kitten with a creative but nearly dead-on phonetic spelling.

Claire also created a large sign with some spelling help that reads, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMY!”