Want to watch TV? No? Really?

I had a loose plan to record the girl’s favorite TV shows and movies every few months, thinking it would be fun and maybe silly to look back at what they used to watch. ¬†I am happy, I think, but a little confused, to say that there is not much to report.

Molly still has no interest in the TV.  She just does not care to sit still and watch some silly show when there are so many things to mess with around the house.  We have actually tried to get her to watch a little TV, with fairly disastrous results.  Why would we want her to watch TV?  We thought she would like Sesame Street, due to her fondness of Elmo, and maybe  get some small educational value out of it.  And yes, the idea of Molly sitting still, not messing with anything, for 30 straight minutes was appealing.  But alas, she has outsmarted us and will not have any.

Even Claire’s once fine interest in TV has waned. ¬†She does not really watch TV shows, opting mainly for movies. ¬†So I guess she is a film snob. ¬†She will usually pick a movie and watch it over and over in bits and pieces. ¬†The first time, she is absorbed, if it is a good movie. ¬†The second time, still fairly absorbed. ¬†Then her interest fades but she keeps kind of watching until she just doesn’t care about it enough to watch any more. ¬†Sometimes we rent a movie at the RedBox when we want her to spend a little time on the couch settling down. ¬†Since she no longer naps, this is our best bet at something resembling real rest time for Claire during the day. ¬†But she has even turned up her nose at fresh rentals lately. ¬†We rented The Muppets¬†(her choice) last weekend, and had to return it the next day unopened. ¬†Claire has even actively declined the use of her DVD player on the last two trips our of town.

Claire Pease Park splash pad
Claire doing something apparently more fun than watching TV.

Like Molly, I guess there is just too much more interesting stuff going on for Claire to sit down and watch a long movie.  Still, Claire does watch some movies.  She likes to have her current movie on briefly during breakfast before school.  Sometimes I skip turing on the TV, and she usually does not say anything.  And there is valuable little time in the evenings after school.  Claire watches some TV (movies) on the weekend, but preferably if someone else will sit with her while she watches to talk about the movie or just act silly.  She seems to be a social watcher.

I should note that we have never had strict time limits on Claire’s TV watching. ¬†In the past, when she used to watch more TV, we would occasionally encourage her to do something else if she had been watching for a long time. ¬†Not so much like, “Get off your lazy keyster and go do something productive!” but more like, “Do you want to help cook dinner?” ¬† Personally, I think strict time limits may backfire by making TV seem more alluring and valuable to kids. ¬†All I know for sure is that Claire does not especially value watching TV unless someone is sitting next to her cuddling and talking about it.

Anyways, Claire’s current favorite movie is Bye Bye Birdie, which she watches occasionally, thanks to her mom’s recording from¬†Turner Classic Movies¬†(Claire does tend to like the 1960’s musicals.) ¬†Claire especially likes to watch and giggle over the ads for the other movies at the end, especially the¬†1938 edition of Robin Hood. ¬†She roars and says that the guys look like babies when they are sword fighting.

Kit and I are hoping to get Claire into the upcoming Olympics, though.  We have fond memories of watching curling on the 2006 Winter Olympics while cuddling with little baby Claire.  Maybe that is how she got started on the whole social watching thing.

Pretty good new word

Over the last few months, Molly has made frequent use of the ¬†classic¬†toddler’s ¬†favorite word: “No!” ¬† This word is usually given sharply and as a reflex, often without thought on what she is resisting. ¬†She has literally said no to eating cookies, being offered a toy (especially by her sister, who wants to play), and going for a fun outing. ¬†Molly has never said the exact following phrase, but I had started imagine it as her motto: “No! ¬†I don’t wanna, and I ain’t gonna!” ¬†The teachers at school had also, in a kind way, remarked on Molly’s toddlerish affinity for the pure negative word.

Moly Eating Raisins with two pants on
“Put my second layer of pants back on? Okaaaaay.”

I am happy to say that Molly has discovered a new word, one which is mature and says, “I can work with you. ¬†I may not like it, but let’s work this out.” ¬†Her new word is “Okaaaaaay”. ¬†This word is always said in the same slow, prolonged way. ¬†It has a calmly resigned sound to it, not irritated or upset. ¬†This word usually comes in response to a calm, brief discussion on why we are asking Molly to do (or more often, not do) something. ¬†More than any other single thing, the shift from the automatic “No!” to the thoughtful “Okaaaaaay” seems to illustrate Molly’s growing maturity.

Molly seems to have moved, at the moment, from rebelliousness to a constant state of distraction.  It does get tiresome to ask Molly 6 different times to brush her teeth while she clambers up and down the foot stool yet again to grab something else for her little purse.  But I will take that trade any day.

Off to Anacortes

The girls took their big summer trip to Washington state this year, to visit Grammy and Granddaddy and their namesake boat, the Molly Claire, in Anacortes.  I was all set to go on this trip, but ended up staying back in Austin at the last minute to make a big push on my secret project.

Claire was rightfully upset that I was not going, saying, “This is the worst plan in the world!” ¬†But we all knew she would end up having tons of fun up in Washington, exploring islands, riding on boats, escaping the Texas summer heat, and of course, seeing her grandparents. ¬†Molly is at that lucky age where she did not especially care (or understand?) that I was not going along.

Kit was brave enough to fly out there with both girls by herself.  The trip out sounded like it went pretty well, but the trip back was a little tricky, including turbulence that kept Claire buckled into her seat and caused her first peeing accident since she was a baby.  Yikes!  The girls arrived back in Austin jet lagged and urine soaked but in very good spirits.  They made quite a loud, happy racket in the airport when I greeted them, and I ended up with two girls hanging off of various limbs all the way to the car.

Since I did not go along, I can only post pictures of the trip. ¬†I am sure the¬†MV Molly Claire blog¬†will cover it, though! ¬†BTW, this is both of the girls’ first visit to Washington state.

While Kit and the girls were up galavanting around the islands, I took advantage of a huge amount of time — six full days — and got more work done on my project (80+ hours) than I had in about the last five months of working on Sunday afternoons. ¬†I missed everyone greatly, as did our dog Muffin, who seemed “off” and confused with the house so quiet. ¬†By the time the girls got back, I was pretty worn out from solitary working and definitely ready for the silliness, smiles, and yes, even all the yelling and stomping that comes with the girls.

Huddling with Grammy Huddling with GrammyTossing stones Tossing stonesClimbing on the rocks Climbing on the rocksExploring the harbor on the dingy Exploring the harbor on the dingyClaire sketching away on the ferryClaire sketching away on the ferry

Picking strawberries
Picking strawberries

Molly on the Molly ClaireMolly on the Molly Claire

Welcoming the girls back home
Greeting the girls at the airport



I just took this picture of the girls’ bikes because I think they capture their personalities pretty well. ¬†Claire’s bike says, “I am a cute, dignified girl.” ¬†And Molly’s says, “I can do it too!”

Happy Birthday, America!

Happy 4th of July!Independence Day fell on a Wednesday this year, and we all had the day off from school and work.  Having a holiday on Wednesday threw everyone off a bit.  I though it was Saturday and started sprinkling the yard in the morning, Saturday being the only day we can legally use the sprinkler in Austin.  Five minutes later, I realized it was Wednesday and had to run out and shut off the water.

Kit also thought it was Saturday, which is odd when you think about it, since she will be flying out of town with the girls on Saturday, to go visit Grammy and Granddaddy in Washington state.  If it really were Saturday, then Kit would have been scrambling pretty hard to make the plane.  It was that kind of day.

Claire thought it was the weekend too and was a bit surprised that she had to go to school for the next two days.

At dinner, we discussed how it would be cool of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln could have met each other, and they probably would have liked each other a lot. ¬†George and Abe are subjects of two of Claire’s favorite books lately: Young George Washington: America’s First President¬†and Young Abe Lincoln: The Log Cabin President. ¬†Claire likes when young Abe leaves footprints on the ceiling of the log cabin, as a joke on his step mother. ¬†These gentlemen are also subjects of my occasional outbursts of admiration around the house, especially when reading a history book on the topic. ¬†Boy, did those guys have trouble, and boy, did they take care of business.

For her part, Molly was also excited about the Fourth of July. ¬†At dinner, Molly chimed in loudly, “Happy birthday, America! ¬†Way to go! ¬†Flag!!!” ¬†Then she smiled proudly at the rest of the family as we laughed at her “flag” comment.

It was a good day, and although the fireworks were too late for the girls to see, we did enjoy a nice, slow day all together, even if half of it involved dragging the girls around on errands the big trip to Washington, which they are super excited about.  We even finished off the day with steak, watermelon, and an evening walk.  Way to go!  Flag!

BFF in Beaulieu-sur-Mer

Today’s mail included a postcard addressed to Claire, from¬†Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France. ¬†It is a note from her kindergarten¬†friend Juliet, on vacation in the South of France, enjoining Claire not to forget her “BFF”. ¬†I was actually hoping to set Claire up with a play date with Juliet, but I’m not sure we can afford to fly her over to France.


Postcard from Beaulieu-sur-Mer, France

Formal request for food

Today after school, Claire was really hungry. ¬†This is always a struggle. ¬†She is always starving right after school and really wants to eat, but it is also almost time for dinner. ¬†So she has to sit around while her tummy rumbles in pain while I cook (or rather, “prepare”) dinner. ¬†Sometimes she has a little bit of popcorn or something, but I always enjoin her not to spoil her appetite right before dinner. ¬†The timing is tricky here, and this can be one of the more difficult aspects of the weekday routine.

Anyways, after some discussion with Claire on the topic, Claire disappeared and, a minute later, she handed me this note.

I need foodI need food

You can tell from the handwriting that her blood sugar is low, and she has the shakes. ūüėČ ¬†Claire usually puts more care into notes like these, such as this one I found that she wrote to Molly.

You are a helper. You are a helper. Love, Big Sissy.