Fall Program Intro

Claire was chosen as the “stage manager” for her first grade class’ fall music performance, the Fall Program. ¬†She even got to dress up for the part! ¬†Claire originally had a part introducing one of the songs in the middle of the show, but her song got cut, so she was assigned the role of letting the parents in the door and introducing the show. ¬†She did not have a chance to memorize the whole script, so what you see here is Claire basically reading the script aloud. ¬†This is amazing, considering that she is still learning to read!

The first and last song of the show was Fifty Nifty United States.

Fifty Nifty!

Claire’s class sings “Fifty Nifty United States” as part of their Fall Program. ¬†Claire had been practicing and singing this song for weeks, and we were absolutely amazed to hear at home her gradually list off all 50 states in alphabetical order, eventually with ease. That is hard! ¬†The theme of the program was the various United States, and this song was the centerpiece of the show. ¬†Other songs included “New York, New York”, “California, Here I Come”, and many more.

Ponyo

If there is a single song which defines this time period, it is the Ponyo song, hands down.  Claire loves the movie Ponyo, as do Kit and I.  But Claire and Molly really love the theme song, Ponyo On the Cliff By the Sea, sung by by Frankie Jonas And Noah Cyrus.

This all came about when I made a movie-themed CD for the girls to listen to in the car.  The CD had the Ponyo song and a few others including a couple from some Barbie movies.  Claire was pretty happy about this, especially the Ponyo song.  And after a few listens, Molly was nuts for the song.  I think its cheerful melody and squeaky voices play well to the budding toddler set.  Literally every time we get in the car now, Molly says, “Pono please!” (the “y” sound is still a little tricky for her).  When the song ends, or even when it takes a momentary lull, Molly says, “More Pono!”, putting her fingers together to sign “more” for emphasis.  Sometimes she even gets quite perturbed when the song is not immediately restarted.  we must have heard these words hundreds of times by now…

Ponyo, Ponyo, Ponyo fishy in the sea.
Tiny little fishy, who could you really be?

Ponyo, Ponyo, Ponyo magic sets you free.
Oh, she’s the little girl with the round tummy.

Molly has even learned to sing small pieces of the song, usually just a syllable or two at a time, but she gets the right sounds and the right timing.  This is officially the first song I have heard Molly sing, at least on her own.

After a couple weeks of this, even Claire was getting sick of the song, and I was tiring of it too.  But not Molly, she is all about the Ponyo song.

Bouncing Off the Walls

We were all at home for another extended weekend, this time for the New Year.  This time we did not have the energy or courage to take a day trip like over Thanksgiving, so we just stayed around home. Claire and Molly love staying and just playing at home all day, but sometimes the fun turns into just bouncing off the walls.  One time Claire actually did literally mimic bouncing off the walls, running from one wall to the next, spinning around like a pinball.

One January 2, we found ourselves lounging around the house in the morning just letting little the girls do whatever they want.  Molly ended up sitting in a drawer, contentedly babbling and fiddling with stuff.  Meanwhile, Claire started a zany dance interpretation of a butterfly, jumping up on a stool for a better stage.  Claire does this kind of thing occasionally, but normally she is pretty camera-shy about it.  This may be wise.  Perhaps this post is exactly what she was trying to avoid!  But for whatever reason, she did not mind the camera this time.  See for yourself.

New Year Rock ‘n’ Roll

Today Claire went to a friend’s house for a New Year’s Day (school is closed) play date. This kid had every musical instrument you could think of. One room was covered in toys as well as a real drum set and various guitars. At first, I assumed the kids had taken over the dad’s old music room, but that was not so. The instruments were intended for the kids.

Anyways, it was a fun time, and I got a couple of interesting pictures of Claire rocking out in her very favorite outfit of late, which just happened to be a great rock ‘n’ roll outfit.

Claire has not shown a lot of interest in actual rock ‘n’ roll music so far, but she has been telling me she wants to be a “church singer”, which I think means singing in a choir.  Still, the choir clothes are not as cool.

Sing-Song Sister

This morning, Molly was having an especially fun time watching her big sister Claire. She as just laughing and grinning at Claire. So Claire decided to put on sort of a show for Molly to get some extra grins. She got up on a step stool next to Molly’s changing table and started hopping and dancing and singing a silly sort of song without any real words, like “La la la la, fa la la dee dee da!” Molly went hysteric with giggles! They kept this up for a while, with Claire dancing and singing and Molly laughing. Finally, Claire tired out a bit and decided to take the music down a notch. She sang her favorite song, Hark the Herald Angels Sing, all the way through to Molly. It was a really nice rendition of the Christmas classic. Molly liked the song too, but she did not giggle and grin as much as before. I think she wanted more hopping and senseless singing.


Crooner

Claire likes to sing her own little songs about different people now. She’ll pick a person and sing a little song. Sometimes it even sounds pretty good. Normally her songs go like this one about Muffin.

“Muffin is a wonderful doggy, Muffin is a wonderful doggy, so wonderful, Muffin, Muffin, Muffin.”

She doesn’t sing it to any tune I can readily identify, but it might be inspired by “Frere Jacques”. She adapts this same format to the people in her life, like, “Grammy is a wonderful lady…”

One day Kit and I were driving to dinner with Claire, and she started singing a different variation, about our jobs. “Mommy is a doctor, Mommy is a doctor.” Then she started singing, “Daddy is a ….” After a long pause she sort of mumbled something quietly to herself, like “Daddy is a …. mrpahpahpah”. She couldn’t figure out what I was besides a daddy! After a few more seconds, Claire found another way out of the conundrum. “Daddy is a … handsome guy!” (Later, she changed it to “office guy”)
Thanks for compliment, Claire, but for future reference I am a “systems analyst”. Don’t worry, I don’t know what it means either, but it seems to have something to do with computers.

Claire Breaks a Heart

Claire may have broken her first heart today. It happened on the sidewalk in front of the Carter’s baby clothing store in Sandy Springs. That is where Claire left a 15 month old boy crying on the sidewalk, not because she hit him or bit him, or because he had skinned his knee. He was crying because Claire was leaving, and he wanted her to come back.

My mom and dad (Noni and Granda Phil!) were in town for the weekend to get a Claire fix to hold them until Thanksgiving. We all took a rare trip OTP (Outside the Perimeter) to the Carter’s store near Perimeter Mall to find Claire some new pajamas. Her venerable old ones had served us well but were finally starting to get too small.

Fresh off a fun lunch at La Madeleine, we headed to Carter’s. Kit sorted through the PJ’s while I kept an eye on the kid. Claire was pretty happy to be out and about, and was in a playful, chatty mood. She sorted through the floor-level clothes racks repeatedly saying “How cuuuute!” and then pointing at the tags and saying, “It’s twenty months!” (even though the tag actually said 24 months. I mean, get with it, kid!) As I checked out, Kit tended to Claire, who was happily playing with some small stuffed toys in the back.

As we all left the store and were on the wide sidewalk walking towards the car, a little toddler boy was heading towards the store with his parents and gramma. Claire ran forward and jumped right in front of the boy, patted herself on the chest, and declared, “This is Claire! Nice shoes!”

This little display just about floored all of us, including the little boy’s parents. The boy was shocked and speechless. Claire then proceeded to pull out all her tricks as everyone watched on. She sang parts of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and The Wheels on the Bus as she danced and spun around. She ran around and tried to do some hopping, although that was less successful. She gave a heartfelt but largely unintelligible monologue. As her finale, she patiently recited the entire alphabet, almost flawlessly. The boy’s mom said, “Oh my god! Is she saying the alphabet?” The little boy watched Claire this whole time, engrossed, with his mouth half open.

Finally I had to pick Claire up since it seemed like she was just starting to show off at this point. We talked for a bit with the boy’s parents. The boy was 15 months old and was named Conner. They were in “the city” for the day to do some shopping. Little Conner did not have any brothers or sisters and stayed at home with his mom every day, so he had not been exposed to many other little kids. Maybe he would have been fascinated with Claire even if she had not put on such a show. But I felt a little bad for him because it seemed like his mom was thinking, “Why can’t Conner do that?” Either that or, “Them city kids is smart.” Just kidding. Anyways, we tried to explain that Claire was barely even talking at 15 months.

Eventually, we had to part ways. As we walked off, Claire looked back, waved, and said “Bye Conner!” Then she said quietly just to me and Kit, “That was fun.” At this point we heard Conner crying. Looking back, he was trying to run towards Claire, and his parents were trying to grab him. I think he wanted to see Claire’s second act.

Now that I have finally written this up, a couple of weeks later, we still talk about Conner occasionally. Sometimes Claire lists him along with her other friends, like Grace and Reese and the kids from school. She even named her new wiggling pig head toy after him. So I guess Conner made an impact on Claire too.

Zurikoo and the Deathly Hallows

This morning we went to Borders for story time, which is at 11:00 every Saturday. Besides just being something fun to do, we are hoping this will help Claire become more comfortable in large groups of unruly kids. Granted, aside from the occasional kid hopping around the story circle, the kids are not that unruly, but there certainly are lots of them, from little babies to school-aged kids.

Coincidentally, the last Harry Potter book also comes out today, so we half expected some sort of mad house at the book store. Entering the store, the mad house turned out to be only a guy at a card table with a clipboard and a highlighter, distributing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to people who had pre-ordered it. Kit had ordered it on Amazon already, so we expected to see it on our doorstep sometime today.

We made it upstairs to the children’s book section for story time. In the past, Claire has generally opted to sit in my lap and listen during story time, usually getting up to explore and mix with the other kids only in the last five minutes or so. This time around, Claire was mixing it up sooner, doing some nice dancing and stomping during Miss Wendy’s more upbeat sings like “Driving in My Car” and “Wheels on the Bus”. Then she would clap enthusiastically and retreat back to my lap during the book readings or quieter songs like “These Are My Glasses”. After this happened a couple of times, Kit said I should “get smaller” so Claire would actually sit in her own lap sometimes. Apparently my lap was too cushiony and expansive, and it overpowered Kit’s lap for sitting comfort. I managed to scrunch up some, although I was quite uncomfortable. But it did the trick, as Claire hopped in Kit’s lap (and I got to loosen up again).

After story time, another mom came up and told us in a thick accent that Claire “Looks just like Zurikoo”. “Excuse me?”, I said. The lady said more clearly this time, “She looks just like Suri Cruise.” I don’t know, I think Claire might be a little cuter than Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ kid. Well, maybe it’s a toss up.

After we got home, the Harry Potter book magically showed up on our doorstep with special instructions for Muggles like our mailman. Now we finally have the full series, consisting of several thousand pages, that Kit plans to eventually read to Claire. I hope Claire likes Harry Potter!