Thursday, April 30, 2009

Story time- by Josiah

I LOVE story time! My mom is the BEST at story time. Largely because she is SO easy to manipulate. Man, I can get that woman to do just about anything if 1) she thinks it's educational and 2) I am witty about how I demand. I mean, how I ask.

For every nap and bedtime, Mom, Gabby and I all sit in the big chair in Gabby's room and read books. Every time Mom says, "Josiah, tonight we're going to do 3 books." Do you know, if I could count on one hand, I could count on one hand the number of times we've only read 3 books. Here's how it goes:

Mom: Jobster, let's pick three books.
Me: How about five books?
Mom: Three.
Gabby: Train book!

- Okay, just to interrupt, this is where I am SO smart. Gabby is just starting to figure out how to be a brat, I mean, how to ask for things she wants rather than just going along with whatever I want. Some big brothers would let this slow them down. Not me. I USE this to my advantage. Watch carefully...

Me: I don't WANT to read the train book!
Mom: Josiah, that train book is the one YOU picked out from the library.
Me: I want three OTHER books!
Mom: Okay, Gabby, we will read the train book, Josiah pick out two books.
Mom: Okay, okay, we'll read the train book, and whatever three books you pick.
Gabby: Mouse book!

- Man, I'm training that girl well! She learns very quickly, and I'm quite proud of her progress.

Mom: Okay, Josiah, you pick two, Gabby picks two, and that's four books. Okay?
Me: Okay, I want the dump truck book, the pigeon book and the monster book.
Mom: Josiah, we'll just do the first two, we're not reading all three. I already promised Gabs the train and mouse books. What two do you want?
Me: But MOM! I promised me the dump truck book, the pigeon book and the monster book. We have to keep our promises!

- AND- VICTORY! Seriously, isn't that the cutest thing you've ever heard, "I promised me." Man, I'm good. And, you guessed it, we read 5 books. As we do for most story times...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Freedom- by Gabrielle

Some days I wish I were a cat.

We have two cats in our house- Taco and Bandit. Taco has been around forever, and he seems to do his best to avoid me. I'm not really sure why- I sing to him, hug him, play with his food and water, give him toys (even thought Mom's always saying things like "Don't shove the toy in his face, Gabby!" Like she'd know what anyone likes about toys...) But Bandit- she's new to our home. She actually came after me, which kinda makes her the baby. I don't mind, though, because Mom doesn't really give her all that much attention as the new baby. I mean, she never gets sung to or has her hair braided... she's totally dumb to not try to reap these things, but I'm not telling her about it.

But what Mom does give Bandit, that she doesn't give me- FREEDOM. That little fur ball gets to run around wherever she wants. She eats off the floor, climbs on the bed, fights with Taco, and no one ever says anything. Because she's a cat. Like that matters! I'm the only little girl in this house, and usually that allows me to get away with things. But Bandit has me totally beat.

Spring is here, and Mom's letting us play in the backyard more. Bandit comes, too. But Bandit, being the spoiled-rotten, gets-everything-she-wants-and-then-struts-around-about-it twit that she is, gets to go OUT of the backyard. I know, right?? Mom's always whining, "Stay on the grass, stay away from that hole, don't climb the fence, don't pull up the tree, yada yada yada." Geez, woman, I'm two years old! I know what I'm doing! And don't get me started on Josiah "Gabby's leaving the gate!" big brother extraordinaire. I tell you, these people just want to keep me down. Don't they see the big field on the other side of the fence?!? Don't the SEE the endless possibilities, the wide open spaces, the big blue skies?!? I don't know what a "dangerous ravine" or "sharp hidden rocks" or "rattlesnakes" are. But can they be at all interesting in comparison to a cat chasing a butterfly? I MUST go see! But, again, there is Mom with her "If you can't stay in a safe place, we'll have to go inside" all sweet and simple, like she's not tearing my life apart.

But I've found a way around this woman and her tyranny. It is called, as it so often is, Grandma. Yep, Grandma came over to watch us the other night, and we were already outside, so she let us stay. Chump. I mean, wonderful caring generous woman... Well, once I saw that Mom and Dad weren't hiding in the house just waiting for me to do something "wrong," I knew I had my chance. As soon as Bandit crawled under the fence to play in the field, I was right behind her. Yeah, I heard Grandma calling me, I heard Josiah, too. I knew that Grandma couldn't climb the fence, and she'd have to run through the house and back around the corner to get in the field to get me. OF COURSE I knew this, why would I have tried this stunt otherwise? Oh, the wind on my face! Oh, the itchy, spiky weedy grass things that scratch my legs! The wild abandon, the soul-soaring music I'm singing, the- hey, Grandma, that was pretty fast. Oh, yeah, I guess we'll have to go inside now. Not without one last protest, though- I'll kick and scream and call "Bandit!" the whole way.

Grandma didn't let me back outside that night. Even after I tried all my patented sure fire tricks on her- I batted my eyelashes, full of big real tears, I sat and snuggled her lap and said please, I even pulled out the big guns and sang her a song. No dice. I may have pushed her too far this time.

But I don't care. It was totally worth it. For one short minute, I was a cat...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Soccer- by Josiah

Today I went to my first soccer practice. It was AWESOME!

It started so well. First, I completely bailed on my nap. Mom was a little worried about getting there on time- she signed us up a little earlier than she probably would have normally, but she wanted me to be in the same group as our neighbor Tyler. Tyler has to go earlier because Tyler doesn't nap anymore (genius!) and goes to bed about 2 hours earlier than I do (sucker!) But Mom agreed to this time, saying maybe I could go ahead and drop my nap once a week! WHAT?!? The queen of sleep is giving me a pass on a nap?!? Once a week?!? Remind me to buy Tyler a nice present...

AND we got to leave Gabby at home with Grandma. I guess Mom has wised up to the fact that Gabby does not follow directions very well. Like if you tell her, "Gabby don't run on that field!" she's pretty much going to figure out how to run on the field as soon as she possibly can. Normally I kinda resent the fact that she's so disobedient, because I don't always think Mom calls her on it. Seriously, she gets away with murder. But this time it's come back to bite her in the patoot- she doesn't get to come to soccer with me. Just me and Mom. And Mom isn't even going to bring a book or talk on her phone, I asked! She's actually going to sit and just watch me! (Mom says weird things like, "Isn't 6 hours a day of uninterrupted attention enough for you, can I please have just a few minutes to myself???" and it's getting a little old...)

So we got there, and Mom talked to this lady and I started kicking around this ball like these other kids were doing. Then this Coach person called us over and said we're going to "warm up." So we played Red Light, Green Light and practiced running on the field lines. She picked me to go first. Probably because I was holding a ball. I don't know what was wrong with those other kids, but no one else brought their ball to warm up. Uh, dummies, it's soccer, which is played with a soccer ball. Maybe you should have one... I tired to help lead by example, and I carried my ball just like Dad's been teaching me. All over the field, back and forth, I held that ball for all to see. I'm thinking my teammates maybe aren't that bright because none of them caught on and picked up a ball. Oh well, you have to work with what you've got, I guess.

Then we did these other things that were called drills, which is basically standing around waiting for someone to say, "Okay, it's your turn! No, over here! Get closer! Don't use your hands! Just your feet! Good job!" I didn't really listen much or pay attention, because it was clear these people have no standards. Every single one of us kids did something completely different, and they all said, "Good job!" each time. Yeah, that's helpful. If you're not going to be specific about what I should do, I'm just gonna do what I want. It's worked so far in life.

At the end, we played a game, and that was the BEST. I got this great yellow mesh thing that could fit Mom, and the Coach person gave three more to three other kids. I was told they are my team. (Which is a bit confusing, because I thought all 8 kids were my team. But it's okay, I won't remember this tomorrow...) We were then given the ball and told to try to kick it into one of those goal things. I guess the other 4 kids without the yellow shirts were going to try to stop us. Yeah, let them try! That Coach person kept saying "Pass!" which I remembered from one of our drills meant kick it to someone else. Well, I looked for the other three yellow mesh shirt things. One boy and girl were practicing their dinosaur yells, because we chose T-Rexes as our team name. That's important, so I didn't want to bother them. The other yellow shirt girl was sitting in the grass crying about something. So it was just me. So I kicked the ball and ran. And you know what happened?!? Some kid without a yellow shirt took the ball from me! Can you believe that?

Well, they obviously haven't met my dad. He's taught me to tackle, and to "Cover the loose ball!!!" So, that's what I did. I laid myself out across that ball until they stopped kicking it. Then I picked it up, and ran with it to my goal. I put it down right in front and kicked it in! GOAL! I was awesome. And all because I PRACTICED! Remember how in warm-ups, I was the only one carrying a ball? Yep, that's why I was ready. I'm sure if any of the other kids had thought to work on their ball skills, they might have had a chance. But, well, they'll learn.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying being the star of my new soccer team. I scored 5 goals today. Maybe if I don't bother to waste any time kicking the ball at all, I can do 10 next week... Something to think about...

Friday, April 17, 2009

Art- Gabrielle

My Mom has no taste.

I know that's horrible to say about someone, but seriously, this woman is so uncultured. I'm realizing that she might be beyond hope in this, too, because she's just not catching on.

See, my Mom likes to do these "craft" things. Usually it's things like making pictures for someone's birthday or thank you cards or presents for adults that are supposed to think we're cute. Other times, though, I suspect she gets out the stickers and crayons just to keep me out of the cat food or the kitchen cabinets or the bathroom sink. But I'm trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and trust that she is actually trying to encourage me to express myself artistically.

But here's the thing- she has all these rules! Like "Don't put glitter glue on the back of the paper or it will stick to the table," and "Don't put your stickers in the stamp ink before you put them on your picture." She thinks telling me "Crayons won't work on the foam paper" is going to really matter to me, because you know I'm smarter than she is and I can make it work if I really want it to. She doesn't want me to color my face, my hair, my clothes, my brother... If this isn't censorship, I don't know what is.

And the worst part- her home decorating. I mean, the woman has been working on painting the house since I've been born. And you know what? She paints an entire wall without a single line, scribble or smear of color. What is that taupe nonsense? Seriously, there are hundreds of square feet of walls in our house that are the same colors! I decided maybe she is just tired and busy and overwhelmed with everything she never gets to on any given day (or, at least, that's what I hear her whining about week in and week out...) So I'm going to help her. I've started adding some art work to our walls. I started small, in little places she couldn't see, like the wall space under my crib. After I'd been working on that for a while, I tried out a small space in the living room, to see what she'd say. She SAID we shouldn't color on the walls, but then she didn't clean it up right away, and showed it to both Grandma and Dad when they got home. So I decided she secretly really liked it and was hoping I'd do more.

Well, turns out, she just feels threatened by my superior taste. I think she's embarrassed that I, at just two years old, have already grasped the importance of making your home warm and homey and comforting. That people like to see self-expression and abstraction in a home-made gift. That the educational workbooks and crafts are giving guidelines on how to draw a circle or square. These are for the unimaginative- they really do intend for you to practice on the couch and table. At least, that's the conclusion I've come to with all the thinking time I've had while spending time alone in my room.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Accessorizing- Gabrielle

I like being a girl.

Being a girl, especially when you're older sibling is a boy, is a great gig. When your brother does something especially boyish (and Mom calls it"obnoxious" and "exhausting") then people are grateful that you aren't going to do the same. But when you do something girlish, Mom's always unprepared for it, so you usually get away with it a few times. Plus, there's all these extra things you get- hair bows and nail polish and purses... Josiah is GREEN with envy.

Recently my Aunt Debbie came to visit. She's so much more fun than my Mom! And the coolest thing about her- her hair ties. You know, Aunt Debbie has "long hair that Mom used to be able to have until certain little someones came along and threw food in it and pulled it out at the roots all day long..." AND, this is the best part about Aunt Debbie's hair, she puts it up and down all by herself. ALL BY HERSELF! And she does it more than once! Not like at our house, where Mom "does" my hair in the morning and then it's "please don't pull that out Gabby, it took me forever to get your hair untangled and out of your eyes this morning!" No, Aunt Debbie gets to play with her hair. And to make this possible, she wears hair ties around her wrist. I think this is super cool, so I started doing it too. Every time Mom puts me to bed, I pull out my hair tie and put it around my wrist.

One thing you should know about this- my hair ties are tiny. They actually fit snuggly around Mom's thumb. So it's not very easy to get them around my wrist. It's even harder to get them off, after my hand has turned all red and swollen. Especially the first time when Mom didn't notice I did it during nap time until the next day- I think I had a red mark on my wrist for almost a week. But, you know, I've heard you have to sacrifice comfort for fashion (at least that's what Mom tells Dad when he asks her why I have to wear tights and dress shoes to church every week when I'm clearly uncomfortable...) Mom did everything she could think of to stop me from doing this, but I'm pretty darn stubborn. And committed to fashion.

So, and here's where all this is going, Mom got creative. I love it when Mom gets creative because it usually includes her spending some money on me. When she went out to get my Easter clothes, she bought me some bracelets and purses to match. Man, those are fun! I like to carry them around, with my arms raised all day long. I've actually decided that they are even more interesting than regular clothes, which was my latest obsession. I no longer feel the need to go in my room and put on clothes on top of clothes on top of clothes until Mom says something about me looking like a walking laundry basket. Nope, don't need to do that anymore. Actually, I'm pretty much done with clothes all together. I don't need them any more- I have accessories. Now, I go in my room and take off all my clothes, put on my bracelets, and carry my purse around. I know that people say your accessories should just accent your clothes. But I think that clothes just distract from the beauty of the accessories, so I'm wearing them solo.

I heard Mom telling someone the other day that she thinks it's a little strange to find me completely naked with three bracelets and two purses on, sitting on the floor reading a book to the cat. What does she know- I'm precious. Just ask Grandma.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter eggs- Gabrielle

So, today Mom introduced us to this "fun thing" called dying Easter eggs. It almost killed me.

Here's the thing- I'm two. I'm a growing girl who, after many months of pickiness, is just now discovering the wonders of food. And my newest favorite food- omelets. So Mom says we're going to color eggs and I'm thinking FEAST! But instead of a nice, fluffy, yummy slab of egg wrapped around delicious cheese she hands me this little ovoid thing. I thought it was an egg, and I wanted to show my dissatisfaction with the fact it was not in omelet form. So I threw it on the floor. It didn't even break and spray yolk all over the kitchen like it usually does! I don't know what that thing was, but I don't appreciate being told it was an egg.

Then Mom pulls a chair up to the island for Josiah to stand on while she's "mixing the dye" and tells me, "I'll get you a chair in a minute, Gabs, when we're ready." Oh, yes, she did. Like I'm standing for that nonsense. So I push my own chair over and climb on up. And, just like I suspected, I discover that she's trying to give Josiah some beautiful, shiny drinks of all sorts of colors! Why wouldn't I get some pretty drinks in some pretty cups!! Just to show her who's boss, I picked up the blue cup and proceeded to drink it. Now, I'll be the first to say, it really didn't smell very good. Mom and Grandma kept yelling things like "Gabby, no, it's vinegar, you won't like it!" (while Grandpa just kept walking around laughing and taking pictures- I'm not so sure about that guy...) Yeah, whatever. All I can think is "You always tell me I'll like things I don't like (remember the spinach disaster??)" so I'm not even slowing down. But I swear, those two women are quick. Every time I got that cup up to my mouth, they just got it away from me. I did manage to spill some pretty blue drink on the island, the floor and my clothes, so it wasn't a completely wasted effort.

After a few minutes of this, I noticed something strange- Josiah was having fun with those "eggs." He had put one in a cup and was stirring it all around. So now I realize he has a spoon, too! No one gave me a spoon! Well, I got me a spoon, all right. There was some drama about it being in a cup of some pink drink with an egg already on it, and how I was going to spill everything, blah blah blah, but I honestly wasn't really paying attention. Once I got my spoon, I put my "egg" in my blue drink and stirred. That was fun!

But, of course, those crazy women just can't leave well enough alone. They start in with, "Gabby, don't you want to color another egg? Wouldn't you like a pink egg, too? Look, this cup can make an egg orange!" Like I was even buying that "egg" nonsense. I knew what they were up to- they liked my blue drink, regreted they let me have it, and were going to take it from me. So any time they got close, I just yelled "Mine!" and picked up the blue drink cup. That backed them off... But then they started up again, "Gabby, don't put your hand in the cup! Gabby, don't pick up the egg with your hand! Gabby, don't rub the egg all over the front of your dress / face /hair, you're turning everything blue!" Geez, people, give it a rest!

After spilling my blue drink all over myself and everything near me in protest, they took away my "egg." Well, you know what? That was the last straw. There's only so much a girl can be expected to take, after all. I very carefully and explicitly expressed my anger and disappointment. But that did not get me my egg back. I gave my best "poor little tortured girl" face and cry, and still no egg. So I had no choice. I threw myself on the floor and delivered my absolute best tantrum to date. And you know what happened? I looked up and there is my Mom, laughing at me and TAKING PICTURES! Like she was enjoying this! And she probably was, the psycho.

Grandma eventually came to my rescue and took me to the bathroom. She got most of the dye off, but I still had a faint tint of blue on my face for a day or so. Grandma rocked me and sang to me while Mom finished torturing Josiah with the rest of the "eggs." I worry about that kid, though, he seemed to like it. Whatever. I ended up with the best part of the deal, I nice long rocking spell with Grandma. He can keep that pretty drink and "egg" thing, next year just give me the candy.