Monday, June 25, 2012

father's day

 This is a week late, yes, but the girls' complete adoration of their father must be documented.

We had been planning Father's Day for weeks (at Junie's insistence). Though we intended our plans to be a secret, Junie spilled the beans dozens of times over: pieces of paper with Junie's writing on them littered our floor and kept reappearing as fast as I could dispose of them in the recycling bin:

father's day

breakfast (bacon)
dinner (ribs)

We made the pajama pants - I use the word "we" legitimately: the girls helped cut them out and sew them. I stayed up much too late putting the finishing touches on them. And then I woke up late on Sunday morning. I knew the girls would find cold cereal an inexcusable breakfast for such an occasion, so I hurriedly began putting together a Dutch Baby. Emerging groggily from her room, Junie was still coherent enough to instantly gather that something was amiss: "Mom, I thought we agreed upon bacon!" Well put, Junie.

The rest of the day came off according to plan, with the addition of a hilarious booklet completed by each of the girls in primary:
 Junie's Book:
 Olive's Book:
Olive is the taller one with the curly hair.

Their explanations of Cody's job - to make money (to pay the people who live on top of our house*, as Olive explains) seem to trivialize the significance of Cody's profession, carefully chosen in an attempt to make service a part of his everyday life. But it is the explanation we give when they demand to know why Dad has to leave every day.

Cody, pulling off bedtime solo this past Friday and Saturday, sang Olive's bedtime songs in my absentia. Olive is in a "Leatherwing Bat" and "Pony Man" phase lately, probably because they are the bedtime songs I grew up with and can mindlessly rattle off at the end of a long day. Cody, who regularly makes up songs (with lyrics that rhyme, no less) at the girls' bequest, sang both songs to Olive with some poetic license. After listening patiently, she said, "Dad, you're not good at Leatherwing Bat or Pony Man, but you're still the best daddy in the world."

And so he is. After a long day at work, he musters up enough energy on the drive home to be fully engaged when he walks in the door. He obligingly throws the girls "out the window", swinging them around to their delight. He tries to remember back to what it felt like to be a kid, then uses that insight to help our kids make it through long car trips or a few consecutive hours indoors. He makes up stories and songs at the girls' every whim.

Happy Father's Day, best Daddy in the world.

*our landlords live on the second story of the house we rent

Sunday, June 10, 2012

snails, slugs and the sort

Cody captured a renegade slug oozing along our kitchen counter the other night. He imprisoned it between two empty baby food jars, knowing how much it would delight Juniper and Olive the next morning.

No, we do not regularly hold animals against their will, even of the slug variety, simply to entertain our children. In fact, I always advocate for their speedy release. "Olive, that [insert insect of your choice here] doesn't want to be in our house! He wants to go back to his family!" Not entirely noble - I admit, there's not much love lost between bugs and I. But the girls do seem to have a special affinity for snails, slugs and worms - perhaps a little too special. There have been some experiments on them in our backyard that would horrify PETA. Junie's subsequent essay documented the disproving of the neighbor girl's theory that if you peeled snails' shells off, they would turn into worms. Yikes.

So I left the slug in the jar on the counter. The next day I discovered a love note, courtesy of Junie, in the jar. But, alas, no slug. What was the fate of this unfortunate slug? Loved to death by Junie and Olive? I'm nervously anticipating a slimy encounter someday soon as I'm wiping down the counters.
Speaking of slimy encounters, our bike ride up to the grocery store on Monday was delayed a bit by the girls' discovery of a herd of snails making their way across the sidewalk. Do snails even travel in herds? Likely these snails were unrelated. Or at least had no qualms about devouring their traveling companions who were unfortunate enough to have been squished. This unnerving behavior didn't stop the girls from rounding them up into pile. Then, worried they wouldn't stick around until we returned from the store, they began removing them to the "safety" of our front steps. Junie lined them all up according to size. I kept Henry from picking them up and eating them.
And then, oh the snail carnage! Junie, suddenly off balance, stepped backward and crushed the entire lot of them.

As the objects of Junie's (at times somewhat aggressive) affections, I thank my lucky stars that Cody and I are not gastropods.

Happenings of note:

- Summer vacation began for Junie! Less hectic mornings. More bike rides and trips to the park and library.
- Junie, Olive and Henry (with Mom) started swim lessons - enjoyed by all, except for the cold aftermath. The
   perfect excuse for hot cocoa in June.
- Henry is throwing temper tantrums in earnest, especially whenever I suggest he sign "please" for something.

And some pictures from the week:

father and son bonding over broccoli