Amy bits

My child has a special occasion nightgown.

“I’ll help you wash the dishes!
What can I wash?
I don’t want to wash the dishes.
I wish I could wash dishes with you.”

“1+2+2 is 5, and that’s how many candles we’ll put on my cake for my next birthday!”

“One of my dresses is oscillating!”

Me: “Remember the story of the boy who cried ‘Wolf!’? I’m going to write a story called ‘The girl who whined so much that no one wanted to listen to her anymore.'”

Amy: “I want to read it when it’s written!”

Amy is making play mail — she used an old envelope, cut and glued on her own flap, and sealed it with old address labels. She’s so pleased with herself.

Today, Amy shot a deer, a bear, and a buckwheat hull.

We talked about God, pee, and other things on our way to school.

I am currently eating lunch at the computer because Amy, angry because she thinks I should have known that she doesn’t like peach puree, said she didn’t want to be with me today. 50% of the time, she wants the peach puree mixed with her yogurt. The other 50%, separate. She seldom lets me know ahead of time, and seldom keeps her opinion for more than thirty seconds at a time.

Just went down the hall to ask Amy (who’s using the bathroom) something, and saw her quickly hide a book behind her back. She said she’s reading in the bathroom, like Daddy.

Amy, playing all the characters:
“Knock knock…”
“Who is it?”
“It’s Maribel — do you want fourteen little girls?”

“She’s trying to kill them by saying MEAN THINGS!”

“Is ‘pothead’ a nice thing to call someone?”
She likes to attach all sorts of words to “head” as a silly teasing nickname… we told her “poophead” is not nice even when you’re not saying it or intending it in a mean way, and now she asks about all the other variations — pretzelhead, pantshead, and so on. She was lounging on the floor in the kitchen when I got out a pot, in the process of making dinner, and then she asked the status question.

“I’m going to have a lot of money when I grow up. I’m going to get $92 — no, I’m going to get $100~”

“She’s not dead at all!”

“This is my automatic kisser!”

Amy: (playing with a knitting needle) “My stepmother killed my first cat.”
Me: “Are you knitting a new one?”
Amy: “No, I’m making a fur coat from the fur.”

There is a lot of politics involved in explaining words to your kid. Today’s word was “plump.” It’s nice when you’re talking about raisins, not so nice about a person, but better than “fat,” and on and on.

Snow White (calling the police): Hello?
Police: Hi.
Snow White: My mother is mean. Can you take her away?
Police: Yes.

More politics — Amy’s interested in the handicapped, the foster system, the police… she made a separate Lego “cooling area” just for the handicapped, which then meant the handicapped were not allowed in the “regular” cooling area… And yes, she made wheelchairs by sitting a person on a set of wheels. I helped her make a brake so the wheelchair could stand up. She made a handicap accessible desk in her Lego school, too.

“Dear Jesus, thank you for bank, button-sewing, and handwriting. Amen.”

Bank: Amy takes an empty tray and basket to the teacher, who asks for, say, five ten-bars, or three thousand-cubes, or seven unit beads, or some such, and she goes and fetches the items and returns, and the teacher counts them, and then she puts them back and fills another order.

Button-sewing: On a bit of fabric in an embroidery hoop. I imagine the teacher gets the button started, and the student sews extra stitches.

Handwriting: They teach a somewhat italic script that is sort of between printing and cursive. She started with quite a list of letters — I think eight or so. She has been writing her name for about a year — usually it looks like H mmmmmmmmmmm x, but recently the top of the H has closed to become a real A. And the other day she copied “The End” rather well. This stage is so exciting.

Mark to Amy (playing Barbies): “That doesn’t go with her dress.”

Amy’s second thing she has learned to write: The End.
We do a lot of book-writing around here. She draws pictures and tells me what to write down. And one day she copied my “The End,” and then again, and again. She also spelled “apl” on the fridge today. (Apple, of course.) And “and.”

Amy, eating leftover chickpeas masala: “I feel the strong smell of coriander.”

At the thrift store today, Amy wanted to try on: 1) a black and leopard print velvet dress, 2) a purple sparkly leotard, 3) a hand-made old-fashioned dress with fussy lace neckline and hem, and 4) an exquisite pale blue and dark brown gown.

Unintended consequences of reading the Bible with your child:
She accidentally staples her thumb, and when you suggest she suck on it to help it feel better and stop bleeding, she insists she can’t — why not? “The Bible says you can’t drink blood!” I don’t even remember when we ever read a part that says that.

Further explanation — she saw a picture of Pharaoh’s daughter pouring out a bucket of blood — so there we go. She was confused about the plagues on Egypt.

My child, asked what she wants for her fifth birthday, replies with a long list of books and cds, and, oh, a purple marker, and a blue one.

Amy, drawing: “This is a football player. She’s a princess.”

Amy read a book to me today. (The “Dot” book from Bob Books.)

“Amy, are you allowed to climb over the back of the couch?”
“I thought you didn’t see me.”

This morning, Amy was very pleased to show me her pee can. It’s a can you pee in at night, and then you dump it out in the morning. Her own invention. I was less pleased than she expected.

“Mom, I think the house is a camel. Because it holds things.”

Amy: My booty is going so high.
Me: What is your booty?
Amy: My chewing.

Amy (singing): The loaf of bread that Jesus made… and he gave it to his disciples saying “This is my body…”

“Good morning everyone! These are the Ellens, Ellens, Ellens…”

Today Amy let me watch her do her neti pot. She tilts just until it starts to drip through, then stops to blow her nose, then repeats. I’m so proud and pleased.

Amy, singing: “I can’t believe you changed your house into a church…It was just a silly wimple… but you know who that belongs to…”

At dinner tonight, Amy read, almost without help, “Great Value Woven Squares Whole Grain Snack Crackers.”

Amy is wearing sweatpants and a magnifying glass. And socks.

“Sometimes I just want someone to go with me [into the music room]. I’m not afraid of a silly well pump [noise] anymore.”

We had the Talk today. Yeah, that one.

It all started with “But how do the sperm get to the egg?” and “They travel up the Fallopian tubes” wasn’t adequate — “But the man makes the sperm,” she protested… I’m impressed with how long she was able to know about sperm fertilizing eggs without wondering how they got there. I prefaced it with “This is something people talk about privately” — usually she’s pretty good about that. So far she hasn’t blabbed about Santa either! 🙂

And then we had a long conversation, I mean monologue, about how she was going to grow up to be a princess, live with her grandparents forever, and have dresses with puffy sleeves and puffy skirts, and other dresses with straps, and others with Snow White sleeves, and, and, and.

Amy (whining): “I want this to be glued at some point today.”
Me: “I will do it when I am ready to.”
Amy (whining): “It’s taking so loooooong.”
Me: “Yeah, it’s hard for you that I’m a real person with my own ideas of what I would like to do.”
Amy (whining): “Yeaahhh…”
Me: “You have plenty of toys you can control.”
Amy (brightly): “Mm-hmm!” (Leaves the room.)”

Amy: “Sheets and towels, sheets and towels…”
Me: “*You’re* a sheet and towel.”
Amy: “No, I’m not, I’m just a little comforter.”

Amy is going back and forth between the Hallelujah Chorus and the national anthem, sung with “meow” either way, while she plays with the dollhouse.

Working with play-doh, Amy says “Look, I made a worm shedding its skin!”

Amy has set up the scrabble board and put letters in all four holders, and is now building words. She started with “U. S. Mail” which she read on a truck on our commute this morning. She says, “Mom, is scrabble like homeschool?”

Someone is really volatile this morning…

Sits on my legs. Gets off. Mom, may I sit on your legs? “You already did. It’s fine.” You didn’t say I could. “You can.” Whiiiiiiiine. “You may. *looks at her gently but steadily*” Nearly crying whiiiiiine. You said it too many times… “Oh. Okay. I’m sorry.” … suddenly cheerful. Mom, look at my knee — it’s almost gone (referring to an old scab). … silent thumb-sucking…

Oh, and then there was the mustache. We had reached something of an impasse working on chores in her room, and a little paper mustache was on the floor so I put it on and played Daddy for a while… humor sometimes doesn’t work for me but it often works for her…

Amy: I feel like you’re not really nice.
Me: Really? Why is that?
Amy: Because I don’t like peach puree in the morning and you always give it to me.

Except for the fact that we rarely have it. And when we do, I usually eat mine with yogurt, and she wants hers separate. In all the myriads of times that I have not served peach puree, I have not been alerted to any best mom notices. And in the times when I have served hers mixed with yogurt, I have been subject to scathing denouncements.

This afternoon, we had another gracious leave-taking — Amy said to her friends, “I have to go now. Bye!” And left the room.

As I, the fairy godmother, waved my wand over Amy, Cinderella, she described how her clothes were being transformed — the leggings became beautiful ballpants. You know, analogous to ball gowns.

Even though she missed the bubble-blowing, Amy did not explode; and even went to bed peacefully. (So far.) Happy birthday, Ella!

Amy played checkers with me today. She had a good time and was just starting to understand a little of the strategy.

At the library Amy picked out a Mozart music box CD called Sleepytime, then listening to it in the car proceed to fall asleep with one hand in the peanut butter half of her sandwich and the other hand in the jelly half.

Amy picked out a parsnip and a turnip to try. Wondering what I will do with them.

(I’m going with roasted — since we just got one of each, I cut up some carrots to go with. Tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper and a few sliced garlic cloves. The verdict is that we all liked the parsnip, and none of us cared for the turnip, although it was okay. Mostly a texture thing.)

Amy seriously just lay down next to me, watching me check email and such, and just fell asleep.

Nothing like a rude voice proclaiming loudly “No! Those are MY responsibility to take care of!”

I thought it was funny, and was glad I wasn’t the one being addressed, because I might have laughed. Anything to delay going to bed!

Amy just made her own Montessori bean-transferring work. There were two big spills complete with banging tantrums, and now both have been picked up and she’s working contentedly.

Amy says, “Dolly Parton, the littlest girl in the world!” That’s right — she’s never seen a picture.

Apparently she has named one of her Polly Pockets Dolly Parton… hence the little. She knows of Dolly Parton through one song, a duet she sings on one of Norah Jones’ CDs.

Amy, playing with Pollys or something — singing cheerfully as she narrates the action… “We don’t like you! We don’t like you!” Hmmm.

Glad that my girl didn’t seem horribly upset by being called a “boy-girl” by a classmate (for her short haircut), and for that reason excluded from a game… and yet, my opinion of that name-caller has dropped many points.

Today, Amy made her own breakfast. She got out the toaster, set it on the floor and plugged it in, toasted two slices; used a chair to fetch the butter bell from the counter and a plate and knife.

We’re going to the beach. She may or may not find the water too cold, but the sand will be fun to play in, and there’s the playgrounds on either side.

It was a little heartbreaking, actually, watching her chase one group of people after another, hoping to persuade someone to play with her. (I wasn’t up for playing today…) Sometimes she remembered more polite / winsome ways like “would you like to play” and other times she barged in (announcing “I’m drowning and I need someone to save me!” while next to the playground shaped like a ship) or otherwise tried more controlling tactics. Some folks did play with her — some did their own thing, some (like the local teens) gave her some half-attention, and others played but had to leave soon.

Amy mentioning her plan to marry a prince led to a discussion of forms of government… everyday conversations and ordinary life are learning.

Amy and I are enjoying the Handel station on Pandora today.

And now Amy has cut a piece of fabric and pinned a patch over it, and wants to sew the patch on. This could be interesting.

Yesterday Amy explained that she was wearing a “skin shirt” — she was wearing just a tutu and another skirt around her neck — I asked what a “skin shirt” was, and she said it’s made from people skin. I ask how, and she said “when there’s a dead giant, you take off the skin, get rid of the blood, and then make a shirt out of it.”

Amy: “I make pleasant music with my tongue.”

Also, when I was talking about how well-liked Mark tends to be (by students and colleagues), and said it’s like “there’s some part of him I don’t get to see,” she said, “Like his face?”


Amy’s camera

I just uploaded all the pictures from Amy’s camera that she got for her second birthday. I haven’t uploaded any since June 2009, apparently! There were over two hundred, and that’s not including all the ones she’s taken and trashed. Her favorites included things like pictures of videos she was watching on youtube, all the pictures of her blanket, pictures of toys, of the new CD player, of Mark’s mentees, and such. Most of them are blurry.

These are my favorites:

Watermelon and tomatoes. I love the composition and the color contrasts.

Milk and stuff. This kid looooves her milk.

Mark eating watermelon. Intriguing framing.

The best beloved. I like how the feet are included.

Ceiling fan. Nicely composed with the fan hovering upper right.

Lamp. This might be my overall favorite, for composition and light and shadow.

Tomato sprouts. Lovely how the light shines through the translucent leaves. And she captured something I had forgotten to take a picture of.

Kitchen drawer. Lovely colors. And, again, interesting how it's framed -- what gets cut off, what parts are included.

Floor. Another nice one for lines and lights and shadows.

Daddy. Love that light and dark; and still crisp.

Hands. Grandma P's hands; lovely framing.

Hair. Grandma P again. The curls fill the frame.

Christmas tree. I guess she moved the camera after clicking -- such neat lines.

Family group. The only clear shot of many she took of these and other figures.

It’s interesting what she chooses to photograph — the ridiculously ordinary, the best beloved…

I realize that a lot of what I love about these particular pictures — the framing, composition, colors and lighting and lines, is completely out of Amy’s intention or consciousness, considering how many of her other pictures are dark, blurry, and so on, without bothering her in the least. I think it’s a rather difficult camera to use, with a small screen, hard to keep it still long enough, and no cues to help with lighting and focus. But I think as / if she gets interested in such things, she’ll be able to get better with it. No matter — I like these, and she likes just about every picture she takes. And if she doesn’t like one — or even if she does — she knows how to delete it.

What we’ve been up to

Amy has been drawing some new things lately. For a long time it’s been all people, mostly girls, and now sometimes there’s a sun, or a horse, or these cats (two on the bottom row) or a house. It’s interesting how it seems to be correlated with her expanding writing and reading skills. That’s right — reading — she can read simple words now, and has read two whole Bob Books to us in the last two days, things like “Dot has a hat” and the like. It’s so neat to watch her in process.

She’s also been doing a lot with writing — half the time she writes backwards, and some letters bear little resemblance to their intended form, but there is clearly progress and great interest. She spends a lot of time with the movable alphabet at school. This is a divided box of many letters, which she can use to spell words. Today her teacher said she spelled out “Mama and Daddy and Amy and Miss Ann and Miss Natalia,” with her own spelling, of course — I think she said Natalia came out something like Nutoua. She’s constantly chattering, trying out and listening to words and sound combinations and asking things like “What does ‘ppy’ spell? Can you sound it out?”

I’ve finished all of this block for our quilt — eighteen blocks, twenty-five squares each, including eight squares made of half-square triangles.

This is the block I’m working on now — I need twenty. I’ve been using strip-piecing for part of it, which means I sewed strips of the white paisley and the green paisley together and then cut them to make the center five-square row and the three-square bit in the rows above and below the center row. It’s much more efficient.

Amy’s school has generously allowed me some space in a basement room that is rarely used; it’s wonderful to be able to stay at the school instead of having to drive off to the library or something, and wonderful to be able to do something productive while there.

Amy tore a button out of the back of this dress — it’s relatively new and a great favorite, so after several unsuccessful efforts, I came up with this floral patch. She wishes they were on the front instead… I may have more work to do.

On paper

She’s also starting to do letters. She can write “THE END” and her name.

The one on the bottom left is a horse.

And so is the one on the far right.

Yesterday she drew a horse with all four legs. She explained that these had two legs showing because there wasn’t enough room to draw the other two legs.