Pease Park

Claire continues to love going to the park, and the king of the parks is Pease Park.  She asks every weekend to go to the park.  Sometimes she wants to go more than once in a day (although we pretty much can never do that).  Claire almost always ends up making a friend like this random girl.

Sometimes Molly stays back home with Kit and naps, but sometimes she comes along.  Molly is not quite old enough to make friends, and for the moment she likes to hold back and observe from a distance.

Oh, Molly

The last few posts have been about Claire.  Claire is doing school assignments, earning allowance, inventing creative sayings, and doing other things which can be described with words.  Molly has been left out of the last few posts because she basically just wanders around, smiles, messes with stuff, talks a little, hangs out with Claire, and acts really cute.  These things are not usually a specific event that would trigger a blog post, and they cannot generally be described well with words.  So to catch us up with Molly, perhaps a few pictures would do the best service.

Claire Has a Dream

For Martin Luther King Day, Claire’s class had an assignment write their own dream.  They had to fill complete the sentence, “I have a dream to…” with their own writing.  Claire’s used her hard-earned writing and phonics skills to come up with this:

“I have a dream to help others when they are hurt.”

Nice touch, Claire.


After several months of off-and-on deliberation, we finally got Claire started on regular chores and allowance.  We were having trouble deciding on the details.  What exactly would Claire have to do to earn her allowance?  How much would she earn?  Does she get paid daily or weekly?  What exactly happens if she did not do her do her chores?  And so on.  But on a recent Saturday night, when we hired a baby sitter for a few hours, we finally hashed it out over dinner.  This date night, we had a babysitter for five hours and did nothing.  We just had dinner, talked, and strolled around South Congress.  It was great!  And among other things, we finally nailed down Claire’s allowance plan.

It works like this… Every day, Claire needs to complete three items: get herself dressed, put up her shoes whenever she takes them off, and take her dishes to the kitchen after each meal.  These are pretty easy chores, but we wanted to set Claire up for success.  Of all of then, we have had the most trouble in the past with Claire dressing herself, of all things.  She just really likes when we help her get dressed.  Anyways, for every day that Claire does all of those things, she gets 50 cents.  And on Sundays, we all clean up the play area together.  If Claire participates in the clean up, she gets a bonus of $1.50, bringing her weekly total to $5.00.  The allowance would be distributed as cash immediately after the clean up.  This whole thing may sound a little confusing, I guess, but basically she gets $5 a week as long as long as she does all her chores, and we have some gradual ratcheting back from there.

When we told Claire about the allowance plan, she was pretty happy.  She understood the rules right away, and she was really excited to get started.

I am happy to report that Claire completed all of her tasks in her first week of allowance, collecting the full $5 today.  She went with Kit to Michaels craft store to buy some supplies for her “100th day of school” project, and she took her $5 spending money with her in a little glass jar.  Claire came home with a wide assortment of stickers and a special Santa Claude card, her very first purchase made with her own hard-earned money.  Michael’s being very affordable, the total came to $3.33, leaving her $1.67 in change to add to next week’s haul.  Way to go, Claire!  With any luck, I can’t wait to see what you do with your $6.67 next week!

Sleeping in silly

This was one of those great Saturday mornings when the kids slept in, and Kit and I were able to just dose until 7:30 or 8:00. Eventually we heard the tell-tale giggling from the girls’ room. The girls were certainly together in Molly’s crib having their weekend-morning wake-up fun. When we finally walked into their room, this is what we found.

Somehow Claire had convinced, or Molly had asked, to be put into the Annie costume. Luckily, Molly looked much more happy in the oversized costume than Claire did when she first got it for her fifth birthday. Another morning the girls followed a similar drill, but that time Molly’s crib was piled high with every stuffed animal in the room. I can’t wait to see what the come up with next.

History Buff

The other day, Claire said she wanted to have a party at our house.  She wanted to have either a Valentines party or a history party.  That’s right, a history party!  The idea would be for people to come and dress up as mummies, cowboys, etc. and, you know, do historical activities.  I loved the idea and started to dream up historical snacks and drinks.  But I had to explain to Claire that we probably could not manage a party.  There are already so many birthday parties, and we can barely scrape through a weekend as it is just getting our basic chores and survival done, and hosting a party was going to be a tall order.  Still, I love the idea…

Anyways, it is nice to see that Claire’s interest in history has continued well past her trip to Washington DC, where she first discovered those glorious mummies and all things Egyptian at the Smithsonian.  Her Egyptian fascination continues.  She has lots of questions.  Is Egypt a real place?  What did the mummies do before they died?  Did the Egyptians ever come to Austin?  Who came before the Egyptians?  Do people live in Egypt now?  “No fair!  I want to live there!” she says and mock cries when I tell her yes, Egypt is real, and yes, people do live there.  It is almost like Egypt is Disneyland for her.  It is a place of golden masks, great pyramids, mysterious gods and goddesses, and fashionable wigs and sandals.

Claire’s interest in history continued when we got Claire a copy of the movie Night at the Museum and its sequel, which is set at the same Smithsonian museum that we went to in DC.  In the movies, all the museum’s characters come to life at night, including Teddy Roosevelt, a Roman general Octavius, Napoleon, Attila the Hun, an Easter Island statue, a playful dinosaur, and yes, a (fictional?) Egyptian king named Ahkmenrah.  Claire got really interested in the characters and was fascinated that they were (mostly) real people, not just storybook characters.  We have spent a lot of time telling Claire that such and so story or character is not real, only a story (Star Wars, Ponyo, Barbie), so it was pretty wild for her to think that all these interesting and sometimes scary people really did exist.  She had more questions.  Was Napoleon a bad guy?  Was Custer from Europe?  How did Amelia Earhart die? Was Octavius a real Roman general?  Were there Ro-women too, or only Ro-men (i.e., Roman)?  (Really, that was a question.)

But I don’t want to push this history thing too hard for fear of spoiling it for Claire.  Well hold off a few years before tackling the Oxford History of the United States.  She should be at least 9 or 10 years old, right?

If you tap a birdhouse…

Tonight when I was getting Claire ready for bed, I was trying to hurry her along, as I tend to do.  Claire does not like being hurried, and she often gets grumpy about it.  “Dad!  Just quit hurrying me!”  But tonight she took a different tact.  When I gently tapped her on the shoulder and said something like, “Claire, are you ready to brush your teeth?”, she just smiled ask said:

    If you tap a birdhouse, it won’t go any faster.

After a few seconds, she added:

    But if you spill it off the bench, it will fly!

Kit and I cracked up at this turn of phrase.  The funny saying lightened up the mood a bit, but sadly, Claire did still have to brush her teeth.


Here is a good snapshot of how dinner often turns out with Molly.  Her yogurt has been removed since most of it ended up smeared on the table.  Molly’s pushed away her own beans and flauta in protest.  She could not be convinced to eat the flauta, despite Claire’s enthusiasm for them and reluctance to give one up for Molly.  Molly has drained her milk and eaten half of a tortilla, which are consistent favorites.

Molly making a mess at dinner
Molly making a mess at dinner


Rather than just the usual “darks and lights”, we normally have three loads of laundry around here: darks, lights, and pink/purple.  The pink/purple load is by far the largest.  That is life with two little girls.