OMG Slime!

Claire’s ongoing¬†slime-creation project has finally yielded the perfect slime, thanks primarily to Sta Flo liquid starch, which works so much better than Borax. ¬†This slime is gooey and stretchy and never wears out or sticks. ¬†Plus it’s sparkly and just the right color.

Now that we have lots of slime, Claire and I just sit and play with it for long stretches.  We roll it out into perfect sheets using a ruler to get the edges straight, then roll the sheet up into a perfect slime cannoli, and then Рand this is the topper Рwe cut the slime cannoli right down the middle with scissors.  Somehow the inside has a little different color and is extra gooey.

The ultimate relaxation for Claire and me is to just mess with the slime while watching Last Week Tonight.  John Oliver just kills us.  Claire is really into Last Week Tonight, or any other political/comedy combination such as Saturday Night Live.  So political comedy combined with slime is just the ultimate luxury.  Pure heaven.

Molly likes slime alright and can tolerate political comedy, but her obsession is still Rayman Legends on the PlayStation 4. ¬†Molly is getting incredibly good at this game. ¬†Molly plays Rayman while Claire and I do slime and TV. ¬†We could spend all day like this. ¬†Luckily, we usually only spend Sunday evenings this way as a way to wind down the weekend. ¬†We all get so relaxed and zoned in that¬†don’t want to disrupt our leisure activities. ¬†We become slime / TV zombies and then scurry off to bed, a little upset that the day is ending.

Rainbow Claire

This is a picture of Claire in her handmade paper-and-tape Rainbow Dash costume. ¬†The lovingly-made costume is a tribute to Claire’s enduring fascination with My Little Pony. ¬†She is even talking about publishing to YouTube a video of her playing with the My Little Pony. ¬†There are video like that that have over 30,000 views.

One time I said something offhand¬†to Claire about, “When you move on to the next thing after My Little Pony‚Ķ” and Claire, shocked, said “What? ¬†I will never move on from My Little Pony!”

The only other rival for Claire’s attention is the movie Frozen. ¬†Claire and Molly both know all the songs, etc. and talk about who is better, Anna or Elsa (the consensus is Anna, although Claire has some sympathy for Elsa). ¬†Claire and I can perform the song “Reindeers Are Better Than People” with me on guitar and Claire on vocals. ¬†It actually sounds okay. ¬†Maybe we should put that on YouTube, huh?

Still, MLP is king no matter if some people Claire’s age think its “babyish”. ¬†Claire is a loyal and proud fan, and her paper costume shows it.

The Main Six

Claire showing off her own My Little Pony sketches
Claire showing off her own My Little Pony sketches.

Today I asked Claire this question: “Is Twilight Sparkle the only Alicorn of the Main Six?” ¬†The thing that surprised me was that really was curious if ¬†Twilight Sparkle was the only one of the main My Little Pony characters¬†to have both a horn and wings. ¬†Huh? ¬†Claire’s My Little Pony fascination had rubbed off on me. ¬†I don’t really sit and watch the show, but it is on a lot, and Claire loves to talk about it. ¬†She will rant about each character as long as you will listen. ¬†The very first thing Claire brings up when she has a friend over is MLP.

The TV show in question is¬†My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic¬†and is¬†just about the only show Claire has been watching for the last several months. ¬†The only other show she chooses to watch, besides the occasional movie, is Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse, which she can watch only once a week since it’s too, well, Barbie-ish (although it is funny and pokes fun at itself a lot). ¬†Some of Claire’s friends tease her a bit for liking a “babyish” show like My LIttle Pony, but Claire proudly stands by her ponies. ¬†I have to side with Claire on this one — the show is fairly complex and layered with morality tales, not just a bunch of generic pink ponies acting cute. ¬†The characters are unique and independent and learning lessons through trial and error. ¬†Claire hates — hates! — My Little Pony: A Very Minty Christmas since it is pretty babyish and shallow and has a whole different feel.

So is Twilight Sparkle the only Alicorn in the group?  Claire tells me that yes she is, at least at the end of season 3.  She is dying for Netflix to get season 4, though!

BTW, Claire’s friend say that Claire is the most like Apple Jack since she is honest, dependable, and helpful.

The official portrait of the Main Six ponies.
The official portrait of the Main Six ponies.

New Year Magic Charlie Brown

Last fall, around her third birthday, Molly discovered the joy of television, but only if it was a Charlie Brown show. ¬†Now in the new year, she is still locked on Charlie Brown. ¬†Kit recorded the New Year special, “Happy New Year, Charlie Brown!” a few weeks ago. ¬†Molly loves this show and always calls it, “Magic New Year Charlie Brown.” ¬†As such, she seems to think that the character Charlie Brown is actually named Magic Charlie Brown, perhaps from mis-parsing her previous favorite,¬†“It’s Magic, Charlie Brown!”, apparently interpreting the title as “It’s that guy named Magic Charlie Brown.” ¬†At first, we corrected Molly on the name of the show, but now we all sort of enjoy calling it “New Year Magic Charlie Brown”.

Molly had a nanny recently, and while I was working, I heard Molly ask to watch “New Year Magic Charlie Brown”, to which her nanny replied, “What’s a Magic Charlie Brown?” ¬†After attempting in vain to explain that Magic Charlie Brown is on the big black thing on the wall (the TV), Molly eventually gave up and moved on to playing puzzles with the confused nanny.

Molly still refuses to watch any television show that does not involve Charlie Brown and the gang.  I have to admit, we are all kind of hooked on the various Peanuts holiday specials, whether in season or not.

It’s the TV, Charlie Brown

its-the-great-pumpkin-charlie-brownUp to this point, Molly has not cared about or even really noticed the TV, that big black rectangle on the wall that sometimes puts off random pictures and sounds.  Even when the TV is showing her beloved Elmo, Molly has been fairly hostile about TV.

Now, not watching TV is a good thing. ¬†But like all good things, it should be taken in moderation. ¬†Yes, Molly needs to be more moderate about not watching TV. ¬†I mean, if she completely boycotts the TV, then we have no simple and easy way to distract her from her frequent rampages around the house, harming herself or the furniture, or just making a mess. ¬†In fact, all of this happens almost daily. ¬†Now, if Molly could just watch some TV — just a little — then we could all get a little break now and then.

Watching The Peanuts
Molly and Claire relax together while watching “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”

We finally had a break through on this front. ¬†The trick is not Elmo or Dora, but the good ol’ Peanuts. ¬†Charlie Brow and the gang finally hooked Molly. ¬†We don’t know why. ¬†But when we broke out the classic¬†It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown for Claire for Halloween, Molly started actually watching. ¬†She actually just sits there with Claire and watches for a little while, maybe 15-20 minutes. ¬†It is a sensation. ¬†This is literally the first time Molly has really watched TV.

Now, of course one day, maybe not too far away, we may regret ever introducing Molly to the TV. ¬†But our experience with Claire in this regard has been pretty positive. ¬†She doesn’t watch very much TV, very little on weekdays, more on weekends, mostly due to time constraints. ¬†And what she does watch is generally movies provided by me and Kit, usually the same ones over and over, and not much junk TV with all those corrupting ads. ¬†In fact, I don’t think she’s really watched a TV show in a couple of years now. ¬†Let’s hope Molly follows the same pattern. ¬†Then again, for all we know, she may only like The Peanuts, which would be alright too.

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.

The Power of Advertising

Claire has suddenly developed an opinion on how we should do the online backups for our home computer. ¬†This morning, after watching TV with her breakfast, Claire approached me and said in a serious voice, “Dad, I think we should use ¬†That way if you lose a file, you can, like, restore it.” ¬†(The way she said “restore”, you could tell this was a new word for her, or at least a new usage of that word.) ¬†Clearly, Claire was doing her utmost to be helpful. ¬†I said, “Thanks for the tip, Claire. ¬†I’ll keep that in mind. ¬†We already use something like that called Mozy.” ¬†Claire’s response was, “Okay. ¬†But maybe we should change to” And then she wandered off to get dressed.

If you ever doubted the value of a TV advertisement, as I do from time to time, then let this be a lesson. ¬†It sure worked like a charm on Claire. ¬†I am not in a hurry to switch to, though, since it means weeks of uploading all our data to the new service, which means weeks of slow internet access. ¬†Trying to think how to frame that for Claire…How about, “That’s a nice idea, but it would mean¬†¬†and¬†¬†would be really slow and annoying for a while.” ¬†That just might do the trick.

These books don’t work!

"Something is wrong with these Elmo books!"

Molly still does not really watch TV. She just isn’t interested. I guess there are too many other things to do, like explore, mold some playdough, or browse books or magazines. This preference was well illustrated recently when we got out a few old Elmo video tapes we had inherited from a¬†friend. Molly still loves Elmo and was very excited to see the tapes. We put them in the VCR and started playing a Sesame Street show featuring Elmo. Molly did not like this development. These were supposed to be books, like everything else about that size with Elmo on it! Molly asked us to get the tape out of the VCR so she could see it. After taking the tape in and out a few more times, and trying some other tapes, Molly was still not satisfied. These were not very good books! They don’t even have pages!

I think Molly is an Elmo purist. She doesn’t like his sell-out TV stuff.