Monday, May 23, 2011

K's Old McDonald Remix 

K has been working on her musical performance skills lately. Here is some of her best work to date. Don't miss the long improvisational piano solo in the middle or the Old McDonald/Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Battle that she gets into with E.

Adventures in Capitalism 

I recently had to return a piece of electronic equipment to the manufacturer for replacement, and I just got the new item in the mail. My extensive knowledge of economics lent me comfort as I figured that this profit-maximizing firm would find the most efficient way to ship the item back to me. Capitalism = little waste. That's what I teach my students. So consider this an experiment.

E helpfully agreed to serve as my model:

The package seemed large, given the object, let's see if you agree.

Wait, a second package in the box? Bubble wrap no less? Well that is one safe object.

Wait, there is packaging in the bubble-wrap mailer that was in the box! Well now we have gotten to the end, right?

Nope, there is a tiny plastic container in the packaging in the bubble-wrap mailer in the box! Well the thing was safe, anyway.

And we finally come to the object. An SD card. No, wait, a Mini SD card. E is somewhat confused that so small a present would come in so large a box. I am confused too. E asks: "Daddy, is this efficient?" (OK, she didn't, but it would have been sweet if she did.)

A birthday card 

My four year old, E, made me a card for my birthday. She loves to write letters, but she doesn't always intend to make words. Often she'll just write a bunch of letters down, and then AFTERWARDS she'll figure out what it says. That's what she did this time. S had the girls in the arts and crafts room in the basement most of the morning so that I could sleep in. While he took my 2 year old to the potty, E snuck up the stairs, snuck into my bedroom, and handed a very blurry eyed mama a card. "Happy birthday momma!" she said, "I made you a card. It says... ... Fumpy." I looked, and there, in large letters on the front of the card, were the letters FUMIMIP. Which, I guess, spells "Fumpy." Which is about how I felt that morning. Older and much frumpier.
What a fabulous way to wake up -- a thoughtful card, AND a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously.

Friday, May 20, 2011

A dust of cloud 

S & E & K walked to day care today.
They saw four rabbits and six ducks.
They also saw a lot of fog.

S explained that fog was a cloud. E and K saw that there was cloud all around them, just out of reach. They walked across the lawn trying to get into the cloud. Then they turned around, saw daddy, and said, "Daddy, now YOU'RE in the cloud. Let's go walk to daddy so we can be in the cloud, too." Sadly, as soon as they got to daddy, it seemed the cloud had moved just beyond their reach yet again.

E kept referring to the fog as "a dust of cloud."
"Just like when the Berenstain bears land on the moon," she said, "there was a dust of cloud there, too."

Thing is, I thought it looked like just a dusting of cloud on the horizon as well.

K spelled her name for me today. She does this a lot, and it always goes like this:
"I'm K-I-M-I-A, 2. That spells Kimia." She knows that two is how old she is. She always holds up two fingers when she says two, right after spelling her name. She also knows that she will soon be three. Why she throws it at the end of her name, I'm not sure. I think it's "just in case." You never know what adults are REALLY asking for.

She also practiced spelling "life" today. Because it's her favorite cereal. She explained to me this morning that she doesn't like coffee, but "Life cereal is my FAAAVORITE."

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Early literacy 

E made some valentines for her grandparents today. She was especially fond of drawing people and writing things on the hearts. On one side of the heart she wrote "Mimi" (for K-, since she can't write her own name yet and so therefore E "helps" wherever she can). On the other side she wrote (unconventionally from right to left, with all the letters backwards, so you could tell you were supposed to read it through a mirror) "AEFL"

me: "What does that say, E?"
E: "I don't know... [looks at her letters] it says 'Ah eh fuh luh'"

OF COURSE! How could I have missed it? AEFL mirror image or not says "ahehfuhluh"

Now I just have to figure out what it means.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The cost of kisses. 

Kisses cost $5. E told us so today. She ran out of them, you see. And if we wanted to see any more E kisses, we'd have to go to the store and buy them.

When we expressed our disbelief at the high price of kisses, she explained that the $5 was for a box and then further told us that a box has 31 kisses. That price isn't as bad.

Now I just need to figure out where the kisses store is.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Not so worried any more 

At preschool, E is learning all sorts of things. She can read many words now. She yells "S-T-O-P STOP" at every red stop sign, and she is sure to point with much animation every time she sees "God" on the screen at church.

Sometimes, though, I wonder about some of the things she might be learning. I was shocked when I walked into her empty class room one morning and saw two poems on the story board, side by side. One said "I am a boy, and I like toys" and then went on to explain how the boy also liked cars, etc. It had a nice picture of a boy in blue. On the girl half the girl said, "I am a girl and I have curls" and she likes dolls. And she wore pink. Ick - pink.

So E and I had a talk. "Do boys sometimes have curls?" I asked. She named a few boys in her class who had curly hair. "And do girls like to play with toy
s and cars?" She assured me they do. "And can boys play with dolls?" She was sure they could. She'd seen it happen before. So, I was relieved. That is, until her teacher (not the lead teacher, thankfully) came in the class and saw what I was doing. I explained that I was just pointing out how girls and boys could BOTH do the things listed in each poem. The teacher said, "Well, it's just to teach them r
eading." As if the content were TRIVIAL! I lost a LOT of faith in that teacher that day. THAT was her excuse? With that reasoning, almost ANYTHING could be used, as long as the phonetic sounds were right. That's a bit scary. (And they weren't even good poems.) -- Sigh.

Today, however, E assured me in more than one way that she has not decided what to like and dislike based on gender norms. For that I am grateful. This morning E told me that she wanted another Cars cake for her birthday again this year, just like last year. (I wonder if she'll want the heart on the road, too, again this year, or if she'll ask for princesses instead.)

This evening she told daddy all about the lego men she built with her friends. She was so excited, because together they had made Batman, Cap'in 'Merika, and Two Face the Bad Guy.

One thing I can tell you for sure: She wasn't the one lead
ing the play at this point. She didn't even realize that Cap'in 'Merika was supposed to be pronounced "Captain America" until S pronounced it back to her. That said, at least she doesn't think she must contain her play to only girls. Or, if she is, her girl friends like to watch "boy" cartoons. :) (It's been confirmed-- she was
, indeed, playing with two little boys when they built lego men.)

Alright, since you've read this far, you deserve some pictures.
First, K being cute (hasn't she grown?). Second, E on her first ice skating adventure, skating on the very same rink that I used to learn to skate. I am happy to report that she was brave and, even though she tired easily, she really did remarkably well and ended the adventure skating herself to the other side of the rink so she could go home. (I was astonished that she didn't ask me to carry her.)

Friday, August 27, 2010


My mother and my grandmother are both at least bilingual.
As such, they are acutely aware of words and meanings that may exist in one language that either don't exist in the other, or exist but not with quite the same meaning. While I was growing up they would use a foreign word because it didn't QUITE have an English equivalent.

As a kid I'd be just as likely to be called "yawili" as "rambunctious," and probably more likely to be "yawili" than "mischievous," for example. Or there would be days that I'd be talking to Grandma and she'd have only the French word come to mind, because the English equivalent didn't quite fit in the situation.

I'm not bilingual. That said, I understand the concept. There are words in Russian that just don't have an English equivalent, that I have to explain my way around. Cало (Sala) is one of those. Or, so I thought. Then I stumble upon today's Russian word of the day on a favorite blog and discover I'm wrong. The English word does exist, it's just not in my lexicon.

Ready for today's "learn a Russian word and its now existent English equivalent" adventure? Here we go.

Cало (Sala) is a "delightful" dish that I downed in Khabarovsk only to make my host father proud. He was sure that, since I couldn't roll my "r"s I couldn't be a real Rrrrussian. BUT, if I could down some raw pickeled pigs fat? THEN I could prove my Russian-ness. (In hind sight, it was really a loosing battle to begin with.) So, I downed the salted inverse of bacon. I consumed the fat with no meat that could keep a fisherman alive for a month. And then I decided I better learn to roll my "r"s. And I was glad that we didn't have the equivalent in English.

But, wait, WE DO! "Fatback." Fatback? OH! SURE! I've read about it in novels. I guess that makes sense. But I've never consumed it -- except, it's cало -- so I guess I have. Fat back. Got it. Now, someone translate the Russian on this page into English and see if Google Translator agrees. And someone else, who grew up in a culture that eats fatback, tell me what it is, so that I can see if it fits my definition of cало.

You learn something new every day.

Saturday, July 31, 2010


My one year old just smoked me in Memory.

In an effort to get K- to stop crying after Daddy and E left on a fun errand without her, I offered her the chance to play a NEW game, one of E's games. A game she's never been allowed to play before (and hasn't really even seen played more than once, as we normally don't take it out until after she's in bed).

We took out the classic Memory Game.

She smoked me. I blame it on not enough caffeine this morning.

Well, I really didn't play against her, so I don't know who won, persay, but 80 to 90% of the time, if I knew where the match was, so did she.

She clearly grasp object permanence, matched well, and remembered well. She was able to name all the objects as she turned them over. And when I set out 12 tiles and she started to "tag team" counted with me (I said "one," we both said "two"and "three" she said "four" I said "five" she said "six" etc.) all the way up to 12. (She said "seven" for "eleven" but I gave her a little grace on that one.)

I think sometimes she forgets she's only one.

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