I tried to come up with a witty way to begin this blog. A creative and entertaining way to open while seamlessly transitioning to a collection of little stories have little or nothing in common with one another. I tried for a while, only to discover that NaNoWriMo has taken all of my limited creativity and interesting wordage. So, you’re left with this boring intro. It can only get better from here on out, right?
We had a really fun weekend. The weather around here has been gorgeous and unseasonably warm, and we decided to take advantage of it by visiting the zoo. Ana and Emma, as always, loved the giraffes, the zebras, the tigers, and the “country bears” (which is the exhibit they were observing in the picture above), but this visit had a bonus moment. When we got up to the lion exhibit, one of the lionesses (lionessii?) was staring at something very intently through the glass. There was a gentleman just to our right who had a service dog with him, which was obviously the point of interest. The lioness jumped down off her perch and began pacing back and forth, back and forth, right behind the glass. I thought this might scare the girls (as it was kind of scaring me), but Ana, looking from the lioness to the dog, jubilantly exclaimed, “She’s going to EAT him!” She even seemed kind of disappointed when the dog trotted away with his owner, denying her a little live Wild Kingdom action. No fear in that one, y’all.
The running theme lately for Ana is “I do it myself,” and we had plenty of “I do it myself” moments at the zoo. My favorite, though, was when she insisted on buckling her own car seat. I left her fumbling with the straps and clips while I put the strollers in trunk, and I came back to find her all tangled up. “This is HARD!,” she told me. She said the same thing when she emerged from her bedroom the other night, post-bathtime, with her pjs on backwards and inside out.
Emmy, on the other hand, has no desire to do anything on her own. She’s been a bit of a love sponge lately and has spent all of her time permanently welded to either my legs, my lap, or my face, which she is constantly holding in her own little hands. I’m not sure what I did to deserve such sweet Emmy affection, but I’m not complaining. We’re working through some two year old issues right now and have realized that we’ve been a lot less structured in our approach with her than we were with Ana at this age. I would say that it’s because she’s the baby, but I think her super positive attitude about everything makes it easy to overlook those rare times when she screams and stomps her feet in a fit of rage. Rare as they are, she still needs to be corrected, and we’re working on it. She’s learning, though, as are we. (And would you believe that she thinks her name is Emmy? I’ve been asking her to tell me her name lately, and every time she answers with “Emmy Faulk.” My term of endearment just might have turned my Emma into an Emmy, y’all.)
I had to have a little talk with the girls the other day about something that greatly disturbs me. And it will likely disturb you that this even bothers me. Ana and Emma have somehow figured out that it’s cute to act stupid. I don’t know that boys do this, but I know that girls of ALL ages seem to think that they’re cuter somehow by being ditzier, sillier, or just plain stupid. I’m not sure where my two picked it up, but as they were doing puzzles the other day — puzzles that they’ve done entirely on their own several times before — they kept putting their little hands on their cheeks, batting their eyelashes at me, and saying, “Oh, no! What do we do now?” I told them, in my super-serious voice, that it is no crime to be intelligent and that women who do this don’t value God’s gifting in their own lives. I told them that God made them very, very smart and that I never ever wanted them to pretend not to know something that they so obviously DO know. (I said this all in toddler-speak, of course. Lest you read this thinking that it was verbatim and that my girls are baby geniuses for understanding it.) After I finished my little speech, they finished their puzzles without any help at all. LIKE I KNEW THEY COULD. Seriously, why do girls do this? Why do women do this? Since when does being feminine mean we have to act weak and helpless? I’m not a feminist by any means, but I sure don’t want my girls acting incapable or needy in order to be more girly. I’m sure they hadn’t thought through why they were doing what they were doing, but the simple truth remains that they were doing it. They had somehow figured out that giggling and acting like they were clueless was cute. No, ma’am, it is NOT.
So, now you probably think I’m crazy. Maybe I am, but I’m not stupid. Ha!
And speaking of stupid, we just recently heard that Baby Einstein is being sued because their products don’t make children smarter. I have to tell you that my girls never really got into the Baby Einstein videos, and I seriously thought that their inability to watch it without playing with toys or turning away to do something else was an indication of inferior intellect. (I know, right? I’m so Mother of the Year material.) As it turns out, the experts are now saying that those babies who CAN sit through them are more likely to have decreased intelligence because of their ability to do so. And to that I say “eh.” I’m fairly certain that toys can’t affect natural intelligence, just like I’m fairly certain that putting a pair of Air Jordans on my feet won’t affect my athletic intelligence. (Although I haven’t tried it yet. Watch out, WNBA!) I’m pretty sure babies are born with their natural intelligence already determined and that all of the learning toys, schooling, and programs they employ from that moment on are simply tools used to help them tap into the full potential of that intelligence — not increase or decrease it.
Or maybe I’m just irritated because the research went on to indicate that the Christmas gift we got for our girls is supposed to make them stupider. Oh, well, look at that! I’ve only played it in the store to test it out, and I’m already forgetting proper grammar! After a few months with that toy, they won’t have to pretend to be stupid to be cute, will they?
I just need to stop reading all of these articles. We Gen-X mommies tend to be a little crazy all on our own when it comes to thinking that we can somehow really ruin our children’s lives because we don’t feed them organic foods, we let them watch more than a few minutes of television a day, we can’t get them into the fanciest preschool on the block, etc. I certainly don’t need a panel of experts second-guessing my parenting. I do a good enough job of that on my own, thankyouverymuch!
Anyway. Like I mentioned before all of that ranting, I’m still doing the NaNoWriMo. I’m up to 15,555 words, which is actually AHEAD OF SCHEDULE. Only by about five hundred words, but since I started three days late, I feel fortunate to be that far along. I’m not sure I’m writing anything of any quality, but it’s been fun to spend so much time working on this. I think it might — gasp! — actually be possible for me to write a whole book. Who knew?!
That’s about it for now. I think I’ll conclude with some Ana-isms heard at seven o’clock this morning, when she came into our bedroom, climbed into our bed, and started reading an ESPN magazine while waiting for us to get up. (Not that she prefers ESPN, but that was all that was available.) Enjoy!
“He got BIG shoes on!”
“Jesus doesn’t like spiders.” (She actually told us this during our dinnertime Bible story, for some unknown reason. I’m not sure why she concluded this or why she repeated it while browsing the magazine, but who can really know the mind of a three year old?)
“I know what I do! I count the lambs on this page. One, two, three, four…. sixteen, seventeen — too many lambs!” (An ad for counting sheep, apparently.)
“I don’t like the green team. I like the blue team. There are lots of blue team. YAY, blue team!”
“We don’t like cats. They’re stinky. We like dogs.” (I can only assume there was a picture of a cat. We tried to tell her once that Wes is allergic to cats, which she didn’t seem to understand. So, he told her that they stink and make him sick. This she seems to understand and, as a result, she has concluded that all cats are stinky to everyone.)
“He step on that guy! Hehehehe — SO funny!” (A picture of a football player tackling another football player.)
And, the best…
“Mmm… strawberries!” (Pretending to pick them off the page and eat them.) “Mmmm! So good! Mommy,” (poking me in the face) “Mommy, Mommy, you want strawberries?”
Hope your week is off to a great start!