Tuesday Night Book Club

Although Claire enjoys snuggling together for a bedtime story, she also likes to mix it up sometimes.  She likes to add an element of pretend drama to story time.

Her latest idea along these lines is Tuesday Night Book Club. ¬†Instead of reading a book in bed together, we pretend it is story time at Austin Public Library. ¬†I sit in a chair and read a story (currently¬†Henry and Beezus¬†by Beverly Cleary) while Claire sits on the floor and listens. ¬†She becomes a girl named Sally who was dropped off at the library for story time. ¬†Actually, Claire calls it “book club” since that sounds more grown up. ¬†I act the part of the story reader and say stuff like, “Thanks for coming out to the book club tonight, kids,” at the beginning and “Looks like your parents are here to pick you up” at the end. ¬†Claire encourages me to ask questions about the book. ¬†For example, “Why does Henry not want Scooter to know that Ribsy picked up all the newspapers on Klickitat Street?” ¬†Then¬†Sally (Claire) raises her hand to answer the question. ¬†Claire uses her official public / school voice while answering the question. “Um, he doesn’t want to lose the paper route while Scooter is on summer vacation. ¬†He want to earn a dollar for his bike fund.” ¬†Claire asks that I put a blanket over my lap to make it more sleepy. ¬†Then the “parents” come for pickup, and it’s off to bed. ¬†It really does put a fresh new twist on bedtime stories.

Bedtime Madness #2

Molly's camp site, down the hall in the guest room.
Molly’s camp site, down the hall in the guest room.

The latest tide of bedtime madness had ebbed some in recent weeks. ¬†Molly basically moved, voluntarily, into the guest room, where she set up camp on the floor. ¬†She has blankets and pillows surrounded by books, magazines, and a little sketch pad. ¬†She quietly puts these to use while staying up until about 10:00 or 10:30 every night. ¬†At least Kit and I can get something done around here after 8:30 now. ¬†And Molly may realize she just can’t handle being in the room with Claire at bedtime without causing trouble. ¬†She is just not tired enough to go to sleep at 8:30 or 9:00, even though she gets up at 6:30 every morning. ¬†The two-hour nap at school doesn’t help matters.

Claire missed having Molly in the room the last few weeks and would try to convince her to come back for another try, but Molly has decided she belongs in the guest room for now.  Claire has gotten over being scared and gets to sleep quickly by 8:30 or 9:00.  So basically, Molly is awake up to two hours past her older sister.  There is just no good way to deal with that.

So last night Molly sheepishly said she wanted to try sleeping in the room with Claire again. ¬†We all said “great!” and moved Molly’s stuff back into her bedroom with Claire. ¬†All was quiet for the fist 30 minutes. ¬†Then Molly was in Claire’s bed talking quietly with her. ¬†I was afraid Molly would keep Claire up (as she is like to do), but Claire said she would tell Molly when she wanted to go to sleep. ¬†Seriously, Claire needs her sleep. ¬†I talked to Kit, and we¬†decided to relax and let them be and maybe it would be fine. ¬†I went for a run.

When I got back 30 minutes later, Kit said things had gone badly. ¬†Molly had grabbed all of Claire’s stuffed animals and thrown them across the room. ¬†She had taken Claire’s iPod Shuffle and wouldn’t give it back. ¬†There was crying and screaming. ¬†Molly was back in the guest room with all her stuff. ¬†Claire was deep asleep by herself in her room.

Claire just wants someone to sleep in the room with her, maybe a little chit chat before bed. ¬†Molly just wants to not sleep and, further, to keep Claire awake. ¬†She has actually told us that is her intention. ¬†It’s back to the guest room for Molly tonight, like it or not.

Molly Turns Four!

Molly is now officially four years old, just like her favorite TV character, Caillou. ¬†When Molly woke up this morning and we said “Happy Birthday!”, she looked a little confused and said, grumpily, “It’s not my birthday. ¬†It’s Kamile’s birthday.” ¬†Kamile is her friend who had her birthday party on Sunday, while Molly’s party was on Saturday. ¬†It’s a little confusing to Molly why we would have her party one day, then her friend’s party the next day, then Molly turns four the next day. ¬†We must have our dates wrong!

A few minutes later while getting ready for school, Molly looked at herself and said, “But I’m not any bigger. ¬†My feet are the same size. ¬†And my whole body.” ¬†This was cute and almost straight out of a¬†Caillou episode. ¬†After some explanation of both the date and her not being any bigger, she seems to get comfortable with the idea of being four.

Molly had also been marking her fourth birthday as the day she would give up diapers completely.  She has mostly learned to use the toilet now, and she said diapers are babyish and she wanted to put them in the trash when she turned four.  We later talked her into donating the unused diapers to a friend.  Molly has backed down from this self-imposed deadline, though.  She is going to wait until she runs out of diapers instead.

Molly chose to have her party as a bounce house, so we set it up at Pump It Up! in North Austin. ¬†Since Molly recently switched schools, we were afraid we would not get a big crowd at her party. ¬†We invited her whole new class, some favorites from her old class, and some other friends from work, etc. ¬†With siblings, we ended dup with 24 bouncers. ¬†It was a good party, and we were happy to meet some of the new (to us) parents in Molly’s class.

Molly’s presents included a Skuut balance bike from Kit and me. ¬†Molly called this her “scooty patooty” bike. ¬†She got¬†some plastic “Sofia the First” jewelry that Claire got at Target. ¬†Claire was a little sad that Molly was not very excited about the shiny necklace and earrings that Claire paid $5 for from her own allowance. ¬†Molly got an awesome “M” cape from Noni, which she often asks to wear and which she keeps with her at bedtime. ¬†Other presents are mostly books, puzzles, dolls, and hands-on art sets.

Happy birthday, Molly!


Nanny High Rollers

Today I got a call that we had a special delivery. ¬†Would¬†I be home between 12:00 and 12:15 to collect it? ¬†At first, I thought this was a trick or a joke. ¬†But I said yes and prepared myself for anything. ¬†I mean, normally you don’t have to be there to receive a normal package. UPS or FedEx don’t call ahead to let you know they’re on the way.

So at 12:15 I found myself signing for¬†a box of homemade chocolate chip cookies, still warm from the oven. ¬†They turned out to be from our nanny agency. ¬†We had hired so many babysitters over the summer that they thought it necessary to thank us by having a batch of homemade cookies delivered. ¬†Sure, it was nice to get the very, very yummy cookies. ¬†But it was a shock. ¬†I can honestly say this is the first time I have been treated like a “high roller”, with unexplained gifts of appreciation like this. ¬†Of course it makes sense now that babysitters would be what pushed us over.


Had we really been using that many babysitters?

Yes.  Yes, we had.  With Claire out of school and in lots of half-day camps, we had been burning through the sitters and camps.  It is nice (on the wallet) to have the kids back in school!

But Claire loved some of her sitters.  She would just play Legos with the best of them for hours, literally like 4 hours of straight Legos.  Lots of the sitters were  interesting people, too.  There were a couple of real musicians who had shows that night.  There was a screenwriter.  A police trainee.  Even some career sitters.  In the end, some great afternoons for Claire and some warm cookies just might be worth the small fortune we paid for then.