Saturday, April 20, 2013

I guess it ain't so bad.

E: I really like this house.

M: What do you like about it?

E: I like the colours. It's like a rainbow when I look around. There's not too much black…imagine if we had a black house. I don't know about that. That would be terrible. We wouldn't be able to see the walls…we would keep bumping into things...

I like the flowers.

I like that there are lots of comfy pillows.

I like the pictures, and the candles, and that we have outside stuff inside for decoration. (Editor's note: E has an obsession with "bringing the outside in", as evidenced below…)

I like the squiggles on the walls and on the furniture. (??)

I like that it's quiet and there's lots of space.

I like that we're safe. I like that it's made out of brick.
I like that we have pancakes and the ingredients to make pancakes. I like that we have extra stuff in the basement and we can buy a whole bunch of paper towels if we want.

I like that there's so much fresh air. Some houses don't have fresh air, so it's nice.

I like that there are so many toys.


I complain a lot about our house. E used to always ask me when we were moving back to Brooklyn, when we were leaving this house, when we were getting a bigger house, etc. From our dinner chat this evening, it seems that she has finally found a home here. Maybe I should too.

P.S. Here is a song that she began composing a short time later…unfinished, of course:

"If you love me and I love you and rainbows are in the sky, flowers bloom, and you know…just a minute I have to have a bite of pancake…"

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Too many doctors in the house

I have been diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis Type I. By a four-year-old.

E and I were enjoying breakfast together this morning, chatting and making silly faces. At one point we were opening our eyes as wide as we could…when all of a sudden…her wide silly eyes took on a look of concern.

E: Uh, mom?
M: Mmmhmm?
E: I think there's something wrong with your eyes.
M: Oh, they're not actually that big, I was just opening them really wide.
E: No, I remember seeing a rash in dad's derm book, and I think you have it.
M: A rash? Where?
E: In your eyes. See? Right there.
M: I can't see my eyes. What does it look like?
E: Well, there's some orange, and some green, and it's all around inside your eyes, and it look just like in dad's derm book.
M: Let's go get a second opinion.

It turns out that my daughter believed she was seeing Lisch nodules, which are spots on the iris that are a symptom of Neurofibromatosis Type I (NF-I), a genetic disorder causing nervous system tumours. (Do yourself a favour and don't Google it.) Now obviously I don't have this…right?

E: Dad? DAD! I think mom has a rash from your derm book in her eyes. Can you look? MOM! Turn on the light! You need the light on.
J: Oh, I think you're talking about NF-I.
J: Are you talking about the spots on the dark part of the eye?
E: Yeah! Does she have them?
J: I don't know…maybe…
M: WHAT??!!!
E: I told you mom.
J: Well, it's hard to tell because she has brown eyes.

At this point I decided to rescind my consent and terminate the examination. J has a doctor's appointment later this morning. I think I need a third opinion.

Friday, April 12, 2013

How much is that vacation in the window??

In three years time, I hope to be here. E has wanted to go to Hawaii ever since she first learned about volcanoes when she was about 2 1/2 years old. I've wanted to go for at least a couple of decades and J, well, J just needs a vacation. I think he'll take any place with a beach and no pager. In three years, residency will be over and that is a milestone worth celebrating in style. When he completed his PhD I took him to Vegas. When he finished medical school I took him out to a dinner in NYC that cost as much as our trip to Vegas. (Seriously.)  When he completes residency I think the only reasonable option is to take him to Hawaii.

Of course, we can't afford a trip to Hawaii. But we're taking steps to rectify that. At least one of us is. E has recently started receiving an allowance - presumably just for being cute, although we like to fool ourselves into thinking she's "earning" it. When we started it, we explained that part of her allowance each week would be for spending, part for saving, and part for donating. She asked what kinds of things she could save for, and we explained that it could be little things like a cd or a toy, or something bigger like a bike or a trip. She immediately announced "I want to save for Hawaii!" Now that's a plan I can get behind.

We collected all of the change in her various piggy banks and counted it up, and she decided that she wanted all of it to go to her Hawaii fund, along with part of her allowance. So, in Week 1 of Project Hawaii we are sitting at a cool $30.59. By my calculations we have raised about 0.6% of the cost. And after three years of squirreling away part of her allowance we'll have skyrocketed to 4.2%.

Hm. It looks like J and I might have to chip in on this one.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Priceless art and the preschoolers who create it

E had a birthday a couple of months ago and I keep meaning to tell you about it, but my daughter recently diagnosed me as suffering from short term memory loss (must be reverse genetics at work) on account of my forgetting to bring the juice bottle for her eagle to drink on the way to school, so I guess I have that to blame.

In any case, her birthday was super awesome and I've got some great pictures to prove it. Including this baby:

That is the totally impressive end result of about an hour of this:

Which then necessitated a bunch of this:

She's already planning her next birthday. So far she's going to be Ariel, and there will be more rainbows. If that's even possible.

E: No one is allergic to water mom, right?

M: Well, except for that seahorse from Finding Nemo, no.

E: And no one cannot digest water, right? Cuz that's crazy.

M: Word.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

The Menu

I thought I'd write up a handy list of E's dietary preferences/restrictions - you know, just a little guideline for those of you who might be called upon to look after her once in a while. Nothing serious, she's not a picky eater or anything. And she's super well-behaved. (Note: Might be best not to read any previous posts that may have been written on here about somebody else's kid, also named E.)

Here we go:

1. Loves tomatoes. Except in omelets.

2. Enjoys omeletes with all kinds of vegetables, meat and cheese. Except tomatoes.

3. Loves peppers. Except in pasta.

4. Enjoys pasta of any shape. Must have red sauce. Unless being packed for school lunch, where it must contain butter and peas. Lots of peas. Or corn. But peas are better. No peppers.

5. If pasta is erroneously prepared with a spinach-based sauce, adding honey will improve the flavour.

6. Likes cheese, but only if it's melted. Or not melted if she forgets that she only likes it melted. We might have Gramma Barby to blame for this one.

7. Always has room for dessert.

8. Happy to accept fruit for dessert, but prefers "something sugary".

9. Fruits must be served whole when possible. But please remember to remove the sticker.

10. Raisins can be added to anything to make it more palatable. Anything. Including dishes in which you would never want to see them. Like pea soup.

11. Soup is a big hit. Particularly hot and sour soup. Hold the "hot".

12. Food that is arranged into the shape of a human face is always appreciated. Carvings are also accepted, but are subject to intense scrutiny.

13. All-time favourite dinners include omelettes with blueberry pancakes. Also adores pancakes for breakfast. On the other hand, leftover pancakes from dinner served for breakfast the next morning will not be tolerated.

14. Other all-time favourite meals include pizza, especially with olives and sausage, hot dogs, especially the gigantic Costco variety and "girl cheese" sandwiches (yellow cheese, please).

15. Is a staunch proponent of the theory that everything tastes better at a restaurant.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Regrets, I have a few.

This morning I was impatient. I didn't yell or lose my temper, but I was crabby. Crabby in an embittered martyr kind of way (which is definitely the worst kind). It all started when I gave E a few minutes to play when she woke up, hoping that she would then be so appreciative that she would quickly and efficiently get ready for school. Snort.

She wanted to have exactly the same breakfast as I was having. I was having a smoothie. She didn't want that. So I sat with her while she ate her breakfast and made my smoothie later. Seemed like a good compromise.

She wanted me to read her Chirp magazine to her after I had already sat with her for ten minutes and had just gotten up to make her lunch.

She wanted me to read a chapter of The Little Prince as I was going upstairs to put on my makeup.

She wanted to pick out a tattoo to wear to school as I was brushing her teeth.

And, when we were all finally mostly ready and at the front door, when I was getting on my own boots and begging her to put on her rain pants, she began rifling through the bags of craft supplies I came home with yesterday, picking out all the pretty pastel eggs and spreading them out over the dining room table, asking if we could make an Easter wreath when we get home.

Of course we can. That's why I bought them. And how awesome is it that she is excited about doing it?  But that's not what I said, because I'm a jerk.

Instead I complained about how I'll have to clean up all the stuff she's taking out of the bags when she inevitable comes home and announces that she no longer has any interest in making an Easter wreath. Something about how frustrating it is when she continually asks me to do things when she knows that we don't have a lot of time in the mornings. Blah, blah, blah, crappy attitude. Mine, that is.

Her response was exactly what I deserved. She sat on the step, looking sad, no doubt feeling badly that mom was frustrated. Again. I told her at least five times on the way to school that she hadn't done anything wrong and I am often stressed out in the morning trying to remember everything and that I shouldn't have gotten impatient with her. I told her that I was super excited to make an Easter wreath with her, and that it made me really happy that she was excited about it too. She said "I'm just trying to make your life happier by making an Easter wreath with you." Ouch.

When we got to school I saw the little boy in her class whose father died last month, sitting outside the classroom with big, sad eyes.

At the grocery store there was a mom with her two boys and she was constantly touching them, playing with them, smiling.

In the mailbox there was a card from my friend who is fighting a terrible battle with cancer, thanking me for being there for her.

All reminders to stop getting caught up in the small stuff. Enjoy more. Let go more.

I'm writing this down because I want to remember it, and because I want E to read this one day. I'm sorry babe. I'm sorry for putting sadness into those eyes that were wide with excitement. I'm sorry for not sharing your enthusiasm, and for caring more about getting you to school on time than enjoying a spontaneous moment with you. I hope that by the time you read this, memories like this one are completely overshadowed by the ones when I decided to have what you were having for breakfast, I read just one quick page of your Chirp magazine, and stopped to show you all of the fun stuff I bought for us, so that you could think about it while you were at school and look forward to coming home to create with me. It would have made us about seven minutes late for school today. And it would have been totally worth it.

Monday, April 1, 2013

In Common

There are a lot of people out there who are 36 years old.

Lots of people who are looking forward to Spring.

I bet there are a ton of people out there right now wearing sparkly nail polish.

There were at least 30 other people who loved candlelight yoga last night, and probably many more.

So many people with perfectly wonderful 4-year-old daughters.

I can't imagine the number of people who wish they could solve the world's problems.

Just about everyone likes ice cream.

I know of one or two other people who still love to rock out to Def Leppard.

There are definitely whole cities worth of people who are terrible drivers.

And about the same amount of people who complain about them.

(And because no one is perfect those last two groups are continually trading places.)

I bet that there is at least one other person in this world with my first name and my birthday.

I wonder how many people love Ferris Bueller's Day Off as much as I do?

So many people would rather be on a beach right now.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, loves.

There is someone out there who feels exactly the same way I do about something.

I have at least one thing thing in common with every other person on this planet.