Molly’s First Job

Molly has been looking for ways to earn money by doing extra jobs around the house like scanning or shredding. The sweetest thing is that sometimes she gives back some of the money I want to pay her because she feels that it’s too much. โ˜บ๏ธ Usually I’ll insist she keeps it, of course.

But Molly landed her first non-home job as a “leader in training” at a local summer camp. She liked the work, “helping little kids with crappy art projects” ๐Ÿ˜†, and she came home wiped out every day. She made a routine of turning on The Office (her favorite show) and falling asleep.

At the end of the week, she got paid $80 — all in a nice crisp envelop full of $5 bills, or โ€œcrisp fivesโ€ as Molly put it. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Computer Claire

In the past, Claire has had only passing interest in computers and video games.  She had tried some Wii games and mildly enjoyed Wii Music and Wii Fit, especially the Yoga exercises.  And she kind of likes playing some non-competitive kids games on the iPhone and iPad.  But seemed to find most games frustratingly difficult, and did not have much interest in the big desktop computer, our iMac, with its tricky mouse and keyboard.

But Claire has recently discovered the joys of playing web-based kids’ games on the big computer.  Her interest seems to have grown since kindergarten started.  She has computer class once a week and has gotten comfortable with the mouse and keyboard.  She says the hardest part is logging in.

At home, she started playing web games related to books and TV shows.  She started out with Fancy Nancy and moved on to Ni-Hao, Kai-Lan on Nick Jr.  Since Kai-Lan, Claire started exploring other games on Nick Jr, including Dora the Explorer and Fresh Beat Band.

Kit and I were concerned about a couple of things with this new enthusiasm for the computer.  One was that all her “clicking around” (as we say) and generally messing the computer could delete/damage/send/export our stuff.  She could delete a file, send an unexpected email, post gibberish on Kit’s Facebook feed, and so on.  So we set Claire up with her own account where can’t touch/delete/damage/send/export our stuff.  She likes having her own account and always logs into it to do her games.

We were also concerned about “exploring” the internet in general.  But the computer is right here in the loving room where we can see what she is up to, and the account has some nice parental controls built in.  Claire really just sticks to, etc. so this has not been a problem so far.

We were also concerned about how much time she would spend on the computer.  But on weekdays, she only has about 30 minutes of free-form time to herself before bed, and she often uses that for computer time.  She just doesn’t have more time available than that.  On weekends, she has more time on the computer, and much of that is borrowed from time she would otherwise spend watching TV.  Personally, I prefer seeing Claire do mentally active, creative computer games over sitting, just watching TV anyways.  Let’s exercise those brain cells!  This is within limits, of course.  If Claire is like me, she may one day want to stay up all night doing “computer”, which is not always a good thing (yawn).

Getting Clean by Getting Messy

I missed this misadventure personally since I was off working, but apparently Molly and Claire discovered the whiteboard cleaner that had been sitting by their art/whiteboard easel.  The first thing they did was clean the heck out of the whiteboard.  Logical enough, right?  They sprayed it and wiped it, sprayed it and wiped it, until it was absolutely spotless.  Then they decided to clean the floor.  They used up so much cleaner that eventually a small puddle of it formed on the floor beneath them.  By this time, they were giggling and feeling extremely silly, and Molly was sliding around in the cleaner and having trouble getting on her feet.

This was just too much fun, and since they still had some cleaner left, and Molly had the bottle of cleaner, it was up to her to decide what to clean next.  What do you think would be the next logical thing to clean?  A window?  A countertop?  Well, Molly thought her own face would be fun to try.  She pointed the sprayer at herself and repeatedly sprayed the non-toxic cleaner all over her face, much to the delight of herself and Claire.  Apparently there was lots of giggling.  Kit had thought all the giggling was just from playing around, but at this point she went over and had to take the cleaner away.  Molly’s face was clean very clean and, I assume, completely free of dry erase markings.

We were a little concerned, and we checked on Molly throughout the night, but she was fine.  That stuff really is non-toxic, thankfully.  This was as a good reminder not to leave the bug spray laying around!

Claire Interview #2

One of Claire’s school projects a couple of weeks ago gave me the idea to include a series of “interviews” with Claire.  These are going to be quick Q&A sessions with Claire (and eventually Molly).  Along this theme, I bought a “Kid’s Chat Pack” at a store recently.  The pack is is a deck of dozens of little cards that you can pull, each card containing a random question to ask someone (ostensibly a kid) to start a conversation.

I wasn’t sure Claire would be into this idea, but when I proposed asking her a few questions from the Chat Pack, she loved the idea and asked me to keep going as we got into it.  We did this while driving to pick up Molly from school a couple of days ago.  Below are some of Claire’s answers, at least the ones that I can remember.

Q: Suppose you always had to use the sound of a farm animal to great people, instead of saying “hi”.  What sound would you use?
A: The sounds of a cute duck quacking

Q: What particular quality above all others do you look for when choosing your friends?
A: A good heart, because that’s where their love comes from

Q: If you could bring to life any creature that is now extinct or any imaginary creature, what would it be?
A: A dinosaur
(I was surprised she didn’t say a fairy, but I think she was focusing on the “extinct” part)

Q: If you could choose one item and be guaranteed that it would never break, wear out, or get lost, what would you choose?
A: My daddy!
(This was very sweet, but I had the advantage of being right in front of her as she answered this question!  She often answers based on what she sees.)

Q: What do you think is the worst thing you could eat before getting your teeth cleaned by the dentist?
A: A house!
(She said this loudly and laughing wildly.  This answer was a sign that the interview was losing steam…)

Art Samples #1

Another new recurring idea I just had for this blog is to show regular samples of the girls’ drawings every few months.  I recently got pretty quick with the scanner, so now I don’t mind scanning some art to include here and there.

Claire’s drawing has taken a jump in sophistication lately.  Her recent pictures now include large, complex scenes and a range of ideas and emotions (not just hearts/flowers/butterflies, although those are still quite prominent).  Some of her pictures even have a little bit of a story to them.  Here are a recent few samples, along with Claire’s explanation.

Drawn in Halloween colors, this is a picture
of a flower with a separate picture
contained within each of its pedals.
Plus a bunch of other stuff going on.

The boy has the jumprope.
The girl on the left wants it.
The girl on the right wants to help.
The girl on the right is so nice
that she has a cup of “bug food”
stuck to her head to feed the bugs.

I don’t actually know the explanation for this one.
But it is certainly fun and interesting.

This one is based on the cover art for
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots,
an album by the Flaming Lips.
Claire likes the underdog girl protagonist Yoshimi,
but she also likes the robots
because they’re pink, and pink = good.
So it’s a toss-up.

I wanted to include Molly’s art too, but of course Molly just turned two and is not able to do art like Claire yet.  But Molly did recently create a sparse and provocative piece, which I like to call “One Star Sticker, and a Slight Footprint”.

Okay, so Molly is concentrating on other things right now besides art, like honing her talking skills and learning about the potty.  You’ve got to start somewhere, right?

Tough Time, Sweet Picture

Claire has been picked on more than usual the last few days. For starters, on the drive home from school, Molly has been scratching and pinching Claire. Claire is always in the back seat saying, “No, Molly! Stop doing that!” When I look back, I sometimes see Molly’s hand grasping at Claire, fingers outstretched towards Claire’s shoulder. Claire says that scratching and pinching is “non-negotiable” and is talking about moving her car seat away from Molly.
Then, yesterday, our dog Muffin peed all over Claire’s bed. We have no idea why she picked Claire’s bed, but there it was, soaked through the comforter, both sheets, several blankets, and a pillow.  Claire had to sleep in the guest room while her blankets were in the washer.  Claire was a little concerned that Muffin would sneak into the guest room and pee on her while she was sleeping.
And today, just before I picked her up from school, Claire had a run-in on the playground with a kid named Henry. Claire and Henry have had an ongoing love-hate relationship.  Apparently today, one of Claire’s “Croc” shoes came off during a race. Claire tried to put it back on, but Henry tried to grab it from her. Then he called her some sort of mean name and kept grabbing at her shoe. Then he scratched at Claire’s arm, ruining her very favorite temporary tattoo that she has been wearing for about two weeks. When I arrived, Claire’s friend Renee had rushed to her aid and comfort, I was told later that her friend Jack had somehow gone after Henry. Anyways, Claire was mad and was chasing down Henry and telling him that he should treat others the way he wants to be treated.  I was proud of the way she stood up for herself but did not yell or hit or otherwise attack Henry back.
When we got home, Claire said that she had been having some tough days, and she was going to draw a picture of what tomorrow would look like. Tomorrow was going to be a very good day (dammit!). Here is what she came up with.  Claire asked for my help to spell the words.
You can’t read some of the faint print.
Basically one girl says, “Hey, can I play too?”
The others say, “Sure!” and “Yeah!”

It’s a Walking Baby!

Molly is walking around really well now, as we have stated.  While on errands, she occasionally receives a surprised reaction from an amazed bystander.  “Wow!” they say, “That little baby can walk already?  How cool!”  Molly is so small that she looks like a little baby walking around.  She does not appear to be over 16 months old.  That’s our Molly, a big baby or a tiny toddler, either way, she is amazing and surprising.