29 April 2007

This One's for Wendy

Yesterday, we did some spring cleaning, including going through Katrina's clothes and getting rid of what didn't fit. In one of the drawers, Katrina found a dress that I had put away, oh, about a year ago, when spring turned into summer.

"Look, Mama!! I love this dress! It's my favorite!!"

"But, sweetie, it's a size 5. You're a size 6 now. I don't think it will fit."

"It fits, Mama, see? Can I wear it today? Can I?"

"If you really want to, but it's hot today. I think you'll get hot in it."

"No, Mama, I'm cold. I want to wear it."


(By the way, Katrina pulled this dress off the clearance rack at the BX last year, so I think it is her first non-parent-guided clothing choice.)

Jon says he doesn't understand why I don't like this outfit. He thinks it's cute. I suppose it would have been cute in 1985 at the Deb Shop. And of course, for 4-year-old girls who love both pink and sequins.

24 April 2007

Just Call Me Barnabas

8:00 am, Thursday morning

Me: OK, sweetie, time to get up.

Katrina: I'm tiiiiiiired.

Me: I know, darling, it's hard to get up. But we need to get ready for school. Time to go potty and get dressed.

K: I don't need to go potty!!

Me: You need to try when you get up in the morning. Come on...

K: (much mumbling and complaining and dragging of feet)

Me: All right, sweetie, time to get dressed. Let's chose your clothes. How about this?

K: I don't want that.

Me: OK, then what do you want?

K: I don't know. I'm tiiiiired.

(after a few minutes of high-level negotiation, we come to a solution that satisfies both parties, but not without my patience running thin)

Me: All right, time to put on your panties. Can you do it yourself?

K: (whining) I need heeeeelp.

Me: Oh, you can put them on yourself. You did it yesterday!

K: No, I can't! I need heeeeelp!

Me: (steaming) All right, come here. (helps her get dressed)

8:00 am, Friday morning

Me: Time to wake up, sweetie, and get ready for school.

K:I'm tiiiiiiired.
Me: I know, darling, it's hard to get up. But we need to get ready for school. Time to go potty and get dressed.

K: I don't need to go potty!!!

Me: Oh, that's right, you're too little. You don't know how to go potty by yourself. Wait just a minute. I have to finish making my coffee and then I'll help you, 'cause you can't go by yourself.

K: (sits up immediately and smiles)

Me: (leaves room)

(I putter in the kitchen, listening to K running to the bathroom, washing hands, running back to her bedroom. I walk back to her bedroom.)

Me: What?! You went potty all by yourself?! I can't believe it!

K: (grins like she put one over on me)

Me: But I bet you can't get dressed by yourself. No, you're too little. Hold on, I need to go do something in the other room, and then I'll help you, because I know you can't get dressed all by yourself. (leave room)

K: (closes bedroom door, gets dressed by herself, runs into the kitchen grinning)

Yes, that's right. My child is best motivated by trash talk. I wonder why I never read about this method in a parenting book?

20 April 2007

Lyrical Friday

what am i supposed to do about it now?

past regrets and long laments they find me somehow

o, what am i supposed to do about it now?

what have i to do but fall down?

--Fall Down, by Jennifer Knapp

18 April 2007

I Am From

I've been thinking about my childhood lately, and I remembered a meme that went around a while back on some of the blogs I read. It's a simple formula, really, but every one I read was evocative and many were just beautiful. So I thought I'd try my hand at it. Better late than never!

I Am From

I am from weathered mountains and woods of pine and oaks. I am from up the hill, just off Janesville Pike, up near the park. I am from Raggedy Ann with red-marker boo-boos, Little House on the Prairie, yellow stenography notebooks full of ballpoint scribbles, and a long white bookcase crammed with books.

I am from the brick-and-white house on the corner, just as you reach the top of the hill. From the white birch tree encircled with pachysandra in the front yard, and the tulip tree in the side yard, and the maple climbing tree in the back. From the floor-to-ceiling built-in bookcases around the fireplace and the television relegated to the basement.

I am from mountain pies cooked over the campfire, from waiting till Christmas Eve to eat any cookies, from harmonizing to “In the Garden” in the car, from Penn State football, and from sitting on Gram and Pap’s front porch. I am from one father who walked away, and from another one who stepped up. I am from Bob and Linda, Ruth and George, Harold and Leona. I am from a colorful mosaic created from the pieces of two broken families, with love and commitment as its mortar.

I am from storytellers and readers and gardeners and uproarious laughter. I am from bad tempers, stubborn pride, and even more stubborn loyalty. I am from steel-toed shoes and grading papers and working hard to support your family.

I am from “You’re being antisocial” and “Jenny, will you play with me?!” From “My, it’s quiet—everyone must be hungry” at Thanksgiving dinner and “Let’s go up to the Bellwood intersection” for ice cream in the summer.

I am from Church of the Good Shepherd, over by the football field. From primary choir, junior choir, youth choir. From singing “My Hands Belong to You” two weeks after heart surgery and wondering why the adults were teary. From seeing hypocrisy up close. From seeing faith up close. From Wednesday morning youth Lenten breakfasts, and from singing in old country churches clad in light blue polo shirts and white skirts. From "Ring the Bells" at Advent and "Were You There" at Lent. From Betty and John, Karen, Ron, Edie and Joe, Norman, Craig.

I am from Bethesda Naval Hospital, where a cutting-edge surgeon saved my life almost as soon as it began. I am from the Pennsylvania Dutch, stalwart Germans all. And from mysterious Italian and Swedish forebears swirling unrecognized through my genes.

I am from pork and sauerkraut at New Year’s, homegrown lettuce and spring onions, pickled beets and eggs, patty-pan squash, chives plucked straight from the garden, Way’s orchard apples in the fall, and Grammy’s special Christmas punch.

I am from Pop-pop hearing his mother’s favorite hymn on the radio after asking God for a sign that baby Jenny would be all right. I am from a blind date set up by my great-aunt, with my mother expecting a short, bald man and being relieved when my tall father (with a full head of hair) showed up.

I am from big brown photo albums under the coffee table, from yearbooks stacked somewhere upstairs, from a line of smaller black albums on the shelf, from the framed pictures on walls and tables. I am from the black-framed pictures that now march up and around my stairwell, of grandparents now gone and children now almost grown, and of the new generation, my daughter and nieces and nephews, who will be from somewhere new and yet still familiar.