the view from here

All Hallows’ Eve. 8:30 pm. The Parents wait patiently in The Kidling’s room while she prepares to scrub every last milligram of sugar from her pearly whites. Silence. Then,

“Uh oh! It exploded!” she said.

“No big deal, Sweetie,” The Mama calmly responded.

“It might be when you get in here…” 

_________

As with all things, the magnitude depends on the perspective.

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life with a filterless observer

Monday night. Bath time. The Kidling plays while The Mama sits tub-side. We chat. The Mama gets up to grab something before returning to her seat on the floor. The Kidling turns to look, then stops.

The Kidling: You look different.
The Mama: How?
The Kidling: Your face has more reddish brownish spots.

In summary:

  1. Adult acne sucks, and
  2. A filter is a good thing.

Instagram is popular for a reason.

cue barbra streisand

Memories…

Most of you, Dear Readers, do not know this factoid about The Kidling. She is a prolific artist. Yes, all five year-old children draw. Yes, they are all irrationally attached to their work products. But… The Kidling is different.

I know. Shut up.

After a scarring event involving one of her masterpieces and the recycling bin, she has become uncompromising. We keep every. single. thing. she brings home.

Did you catch that? Every. Single. Thing.

The caveat is that The Kidling is responsible for finding a location in her bedroom to store the piles and piles of paper. My hope is that she will eventually lose the ability to navigate the room, get fed up, and beg me to ditch a few gems.

I’m not holding my breath.

Misty water-colored memories…

This evening, The Kidling found a recent work from her sizeable oeuvre that I missed when emptying her backpack after school. This particular work–Opus 9,215–consisted of a sheath of five sheets of 8.5 by 11 inch printer paper . The stack was folded in half width-wise to make a small book and each page contained a series of squiggly lines.

You guessed it: her memories.

The Kidling gasped when she saw me with the journal in my hands, “My old memories!” Then, wistfully, “Old memories are important.”

Her eyes glazed over in contemplation. “Old memories are important,” she repeated. “It makes me think of when we were young and things were harder. When we were young and (pauses) We didn’t get to play on the playground.”

Confused, I asked for clarification. “Who didn’t get to play?”

“At pre-school,” she replied.

And then I remembered: the first week of pre-school. Bliss. Fun and learning and good old-fashioned gross motor skill development. Then one fateful day someone marched into the classroom and told the teacher that the playground equipment was only safety rated for kidlings aged five or older.

So it ended. After that, recess involved balls and an open field while the gleaming play structures taunted them from thirty yards away.

What’s too painful to remember…

If only The Kidling had come with a “forget” button. Alas, she will carry this indignity to her grave. Or to junior high.

 
 
 

dietary consequences

“If you eat only fruit, then you’ll have diarrhea. And you’ll be a rainbow color.”

-The Kidling
December 15, 2012
(I just found a lost notebook…)

on the road… again

Another week, another work trip.

Fine, I’m being dramatic. I really don’t travel often at all, but I happen to have been away for quite a few days this month. That, however, doesn’t make for a pithy opening line.

When I am away, The Kidling misses me. Well, she usually misses me. Sometimes she has fun activities to keep her occupied. Then she only misses me a wee bit. And sometimes she has Nana to hang out with. Then she doesn’t miss me at all. You can be damn sure I miss her (and The Dada, but this blog isn’t called Dadaville and he doesn’t ask cute questions and say silly things when I’m away).

This week while I was in DC, I chatted with The Kidling on the phone. She told me about her day and about the exciting evening she had at school. In her pajamas.

Confidential to my readers who are responsible for a small child: are daycare, preschool, and school way the hell more fun than when we were kids? Because The Kidling does new and exciting things all the time. Water parks, apple orchards, picnics, library trips… I do not remember my life being quite so charmed when I was a kidling.

The Kidling and her classmates went home, changed into their pajamas, and returned to school for spooky story hour in the media center.

There’s another one of those fun kid things. “Media Center.” What the hell is a Media Center? When I was a kidling, it was called a library. Also? I am old and crotchety.

She was super excited to tell me about it, and gave me what I am certain is an accurate count of the attendance (800. Or 1000!). What chatted for a while longer before The Kidling said mournfully into the phone, “I wish you could come through there.” 

Cue Mama guilt.

This, of course, reminded me of other funny little things The Kidling has said or asked about in the course of my travels. On one recent trip to New York, The Kidling was interested in the details of my accommodations: something about which I had given little thought.  Apparently she wanted to ensure the rooms were suitable for The Mama, because she grilled me:

“Do you have a kitchen?” she began.

“No.” I replied. Then, a logical follow-up. “Oh, then you have to go to restaurants?”

“Yes.”

“Do you have a potty room?” she asked. I replied with a giggle, “Yes.”

Then, another one (seriously, no one has ever cared so much about my hotel room), “Do you have a stove?”

“No.”

Eventually, she got to the important question: the one that had been bothering her for entire seconds “Can you roast marshmallows?”

“Nope.” I told her.

Clearly disappointed, she abandoned her questioning and allowed me to ask about her day. I honestly don’t remember much more of our conversation, but I do know one thing:

The next time I book a room, I’m going to make damn sure I can roast a marshmallow in it.

five years, nine months, and eleven (and twelve) days

This weekend was epic for The Family. And I mean “epic” in that mundane, internet age sense in which events come in two varieties: 1) epic, and 2) lame. Given that neither of the two events was particularly uncool, I have unilaterally decided as mayor of Kidlingville that they were epic. If you’ve got a problem with that, then you can take it up with the boss, Queen Kidling. She’s magnanimous, but don’t push your luck.

On Saturday, The Kidling spent her own money for the first time in five years, nine months, and eleven days.

On Sunday, she competed in her very first road race.

The former is significant because The Kidling, master of instant gratification and expert in now-Now-NOW, has saved every penny she has been gifted or earned in her wee life for one thing: a trip to Africa. Yes, really. Whenever someone gives her a dollar, she mentions lions. When The Mama doles out allowance on Sundays, there is talk of the African Savannah. And when she finds a penny–yes, a penny–on the ground, she clutches it in her white-knuckled fist until it can be safely deposited in one of her piggy banks, talking all the while of giraffes and elephants.

Thoughtful kidlingville readers surely recognize the competing concerns involved here. On one hand, The Kidling is learning patience, planning, prioritizing with limited resources, delayed gratification, the joy of anticipation, and, and, and… I could go on, but you get it, right? Saving = Good.

So I will go to that pesky other hand. The problem comes when a child saves to the exclusion of all other alternatives. How can The Kidling learn the value of money when she has no sense of what things actually cost? When she has no point of comparison other than the elusive $7000 safari for which she would spend her entire childhood saving… and that’s assuming she would get a decent job in high school to earn some real dollars, because The Family is pretty stingy with allowance funds.

Don’t judge: You would be too if you still had four of five degrees to pay for.

As I was saying: kids and saving theory. In order to help The Kidling gain some practical knowledge of the value of money, I gently remind her that she has money to spend when she asks for something and I tell her no. Although she has seriously considered buying things, when it comes down to it, she always declines when it is her money.

Always.

All of this history accompanied us to our local bookseller on Saturday. We had had a terrific morning and we hadn’t been there in several weeks. What better time to have a treat and pick out a new book? I submit there is none.

The Kidling in a bookstore is like a kid in a candy shop, minus the sugar and plus some paper. Otherwise, precisely the same. She looked at book after book before narrowing it down to several that she was really excited about. She asked whether she could have two, and I–wicked Mama that I am–declined.

“Just one today!” I told her.

She pouted. I remained steadfast.

Then I remembered the stash o’ cash.

“You know, Sweetie,” I began, “you could always buy the other book with your own money.”

She gave me the what-on-earth-are-you-talking-about-I’m-five-I-don’t-have-my-own-money-oh-wait-yes-I-do look. Then her eyes brightened.

“Yeah!” She said. And I’ll be damned if this child o’ mine didn’t spend nine whole dollars of her very own money on a classic book.

The latter–

Did you forget that this was a two-part story? Yeah, me too. Sorry…

The latter was important because, sheesh, every kid’s first race is important! It is doubly important when said kid is sick as a dog and asks to participate anyway because it is a run to benefit the local schools and she doesn’t quite understand that we already paid the race fee to benefit the schools and no one gives a damn if we actually run. But hey, if she wants to follow through with a commitment that isn’t going to cause her any serious harm, then who am I to say no?

A damn fool. I would be a damn fool to say no. Besides, this would give her a taste of what The Mama and The Dada like to do for exercise. Don’t get me wrong: The Kidling sprints everywhere. Always. And she is fa-ast. Yes, two syllables fast. But she doesn’t do the “conserve your effort to go further” thing.

So Sunday was a big deal. She took off at the start line at full speed and raced up the first hill.  Holding my hand. I tried to explain how much easier it would be if she had both arms to swing, but she refused. And I am glad she did because it was the damn sweetest thing you’ve ever seen. Just as my heart was about to explode with love, The Kidling exploded with coughs.

So we walked.

In the end, The Kidling’s first “run” was a run/run faster/sprint/walk/walk really freaking slowly/jog/walk/damn near crawl/walk/power walk. At mile 0.75, she turned to me and said, “Races are harder than they look. I didn’t know that before I did one!”

So it occurred to me that she found two things that don’t get much easier with time: spending your own money, and running. But they do get a helluva lot more fun. And you get to celebrate with a Bloody Mary.

Cheers, Kidling!

don’t inhale the concoction

Sometimes, The Mama can be a little indulgent.

No comment, The Dada. It’s my blog and I can understate if I want to.

I like to think that letting The Kidling do what she wants every now and then–even when her request is unorthodox–is  good for her creativity. And, fine, I get tired of saying “no” all of the freaking time. So when The Kidling asked for a bowl for her pine needles the other day so she could “make truffle oil,” I complied. No harm done, and I drew the line at wet ingredients.

See!? I set boundaries. So there.

As The Kidling sprinkled and stirred, she requested additional ingredients. I chose spices that met one of two conditions, 1) they were white, or 2) they wouldn’t stain. Salt, cream of tartar, coriander, pepper… Just as I was running out of ingredients that fit my criteria, The Kidling declared her truffle oil complete. I asked how it turned out, and she told me, “It smells marvelous, but it doesn’t feel marvelous if it gets up your nose.”

Remember that the next time you have the cinnamon nearby.

psssssssst

Hey.

You.

Yeah, you. It’s me, The Mama. Yeah, I know I look different in this get up. I didn’t think the horizontal stripes were flattering any more.

And yeah, I’ve got a new name. This isn’t a “the artist formerly known as” sort of thing. It felt right. Pretty sure it is right. I would definitely entertain an intervention, but mostly I just want you to stick around.

The Kidling is here.

The Mama is here.

Welcome to Kidlingville.