Mind your own business, Octavian

Claire’s love of ancient history has been reinvigorated with a book sent to her recently by Noni. ¬†It is a National Geographic book called Secrets from the Past, and it used to be mine and Tim’s. ¬†Claire loves to read this book every night before bedtime. ¬†These stories of real things form far away and a long time ago seem to be more interesting to Claire right now than the fairytale worlds of the Disney princesses. ¬†This book has harrowing tales of lost cities, ice age hunters, sunken treasure, and of course, Egypt — still her favorite ancient empire by far. ¬†She loves the mummies, the weird wigs, the linen robes, the tombs, and the mighty pharos. ¬†I think it is the golden mummy masks which really won her over.

This is more exciting than a Disney princess book.

Recently, in another book which her mom gave Claire on last year’s trip to DC, we covered the sad story of¬†Cleopatra VII, the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt. ¬†The whole thing was covered in a few short paragraphs with colorful illustrations. ¬†Long story short, this Roman guy named Octavian¬†(aka, Augustus) invaded and ruined Egypt and caused Cleopatra to commit suicide. ¬†This was the end of the Egyptian pharos, and basically the end of¬†of the classic Egypt that Claire loves so much. ¬†At this point in the story, Claire was really upset with Octavian. ¬†She was saying something along the lines, of “Boo! ¬†Go back home, Octavian! ¬†Leave Egypt alone!”

Previous to this, Claire may have had some sense that the Romans were trouble. ¬†She just did not like the looks of them, or at least she was not really into them. ¬†Now Octavian has confirmed Claire’s worst fears about the Romans. ¬†On the other hand, Mark Antony did represent the Romans well, and he even married Cleopatra! ¬†Claire asked us if the Romans were good guys or bad guys. ¬†We told her “it depends” — if you were Egyptian, they were not so good at this point in history. ¬†But we also told her that the Romans did a lot of good things, and their country Italy is a really great and beautiful place, and maybe we could take a trip there one day. ¬†Claire was not impressed. ¬†She would still rather go to Egypt. ¬†(Maybe the latest news footage would change her mind.)

Claire does not directly admit to loving Egypt.  She says she like dolphins ten times better.  But you should see how she reacted to that darn Octavian conquering Egypt!

One-Shoe Molly

Molly sees no need to always wear both of her shoes. Wearing one is just as good — if not better — than two.

Sometimes one of Molly’s shoes comes off by accident, such as when getting out of her little toddler seat at the dining room table. In this case, there is no need to bother retrieving the lost shoe under the table and put it back on. That is a waste of time, people!

Other times — and this variation has yet to be fully explained — she specifically stops and sits down to take off one shoe. Sometimes she takes off the sock too, and sometimes she leaves it on. Then she gets back up and wanders off, proudly wearing a single shoe.

Molly makes this look so natural and purposeful. Could you image an adult walking up to you, wearing a solitary shoe, and just saying, “Hi, can I have a crayon?”, as Molly does. One time Molly had her pants on backwards too, which was a real sight.

Another variation, used mostly in the car, is to take off both shoes, and usually the socks too. This approach seems more sensible and mostly valid, I think. I think we all do this from time to time. The only issue here is the frequency. Some mornings, I have to put Molly’s shoes on three different times before school: once on the way out the door, again when we arrive at Claire’ school, and again when we arrive at Molly’s school.

Maybe Molly’s teachers will allow her to wear those easy-on, easy-off Crocs to school next year, so she can manage most of the repeated donning and doffing on her own.

Trampoline Madness

Claire has been enjoying her trampoline from Santa last Christmas. She likes to do this trick as shown below. When she say “high!”, she jumps up on my shoulders. Sometimes she says “hi” and waves her hand ¬†to try to trick me.

President Claire

Claire’s class has been learning about America and the presidents recently. ¬†One assignment was for each kid to write what they would do if they were president. ¬†Claire’s, as usual, focuses on being nice:

"If I were president, I would help mean people be better."

This assignment was posted outside the classroom. ¬†Almost every kid in the class said something about helping other people, especially people in need. ¬†Prospective presidents would “help kids go to school”, “help people that don’t have food”, “help people who were really hurt”, “help homeless people”, “give the people clothes”, and even “give the people money.” ¬†This is basically the opposite of what we hear in the current Republican presidential debates, the theme of which is largely¬†not helping people. I’d vote for the kindergarten kids. ¬†There was one loose cannon in the class, though, who promised to “go into a war” as president. ¬†Claire thought maybe he was confused when he wrote that.

Here is Claire’s other America-relate assignment, which also came out pretty sweet.

"I love my country because there is lots of loving people."

A Better Valentine’s Day

While we were all enjoying our family Valentine’s dinner tonight, we were trying to remember last years’ Valentines. After a minute, I remembered that it was such as disaster that I had blogged it as an example of how ridiculous things can sometimes be. We were dealing mostly with Molly’s screaming last year, and hoping that she would “pull it together” for next year’s Valentines dinner. Well, our little Molly has really stepped up. Thanks to a maturing Molly, things were much more peaceful and enjoyable for all…

Thanks to my working from home while everyone else is off, I was able to (hurriedly) deck out the dining room in Valentines decorations. And thanks to a new semi-regular babysitter, Nesi, I was able to prepare a proper dinner of linguini, green beans, sale, and rolls (mostly pre-made from Whole Foods) for everyone in relative peace. Claire was very impressed and excited with all the Valentines decorations. We even put on some special harp, flute, and cello music to make things seem extra fancy. Claire’s only complaint was that the food itself wasn’t very “Valentinesy”. I assured her that dessert would be fully Valentines-compliant, and sure enough, everyone enjoyed the tiny Valentines cupcakes.

There was no screaming this year. The only time things got loud at all was when Claire and Molly got silly with each other, which can be bit much at tomes. Still, I like the direction this is going.

Pull my finger

When I was about to unpack Molly from the car today when she looked at me and said with a smile, “Pull my finger!” ¬†her little index finger was outstretched, waiting for me. ¬†Like a sucker, I pulled her finger. ¬†She just smiled, no fart sound or anything. ¬†But she did get me in a sense… Her finger was all slimy and greasy from snot or something. ¬†And within a few days, I was sick. ¬†So I guess the laugh was on me. ūüôā

I’m not a toddler!

That is no baby there, brushing her own teeth.

It has come up in conversations around the house recently that Molly is a toddler. Usually Claire brings up the topic out of pride for her growing sister. When it is said by anyone that Molly is a toddler, however, Molly takes great exception to this assertion. “I’m not a todd-el-ler,” she says, looking confused. “I’m a baby!” she insists, poking at her own chest for emphasis, as if it were self explanatory. This is not a sad, “I’m just a little baby” type of reaction. Molly seems proud to be a baby. Baby pride! Still, Molly may be small, but she is clearly no longer a baby, with all her walking and running and talking and brushing her teeth and big talk of using the potty.

Like I always say: If you can say you’re a baby, then you’re not a baby.

Time for pull-ups!

Molly has gotten very interested in ditching her diapers for the more grown-up and mature pull-up.  This is basically just a diaper, but she can pull it on and off by herself.  Many of the kids in her class are doing it, so it may be some positive peer pressure leading Molly to the pull-up.  So we are sending Molly yo school with pull-ups now.  Bye bye diapers!

Molly often calls her pull-ups “underwear” and seems to think they are real underwear. ¬†She is somewhat interested in using the toilet, and sometimes even sits on her little started toilet, but to date we have not had to clean it out.

Molly begs to wear her pulls to bed at night, but that is the one time we are still requiring diapers.  We have a vague sense that a pull-up might not be as thick and durable as a diaper and might not last a whole night.  One step at a time, people!