Tuesday, April 28, 2009

pooka, the spider hunter

our house, like many others, has spiders. mostly just the translucent yellow variety, although we have seen a much larger, and hairier, species once or twice. the yellow ones are essentially harmless. which is good, because lately they have been quite numerous. we typically take a modified live and let live stance. they have a safe 'spider' zone: anywhere higher than we can reach without aid. if they venture into the 'people' zone, we usually dispose of them. they congregate mostly in the kitchen, but perversely, they seem to like pooka's room second-best.

unfortunately, pooka has a fear of spiders. this, combined with her unnatural flair for melodrama, creates hysteria whenever she spies one. (in our house, that could be more than once a day.) since pooka has a loft bed, she is closer to the spider zone, and that amplifies her anxiety. we have had several nights post-bedtime where she left her room crying for us to kill a spider.

one night the hysteria got to be too much and kisu decided that it was time for pooka to face this fear. he told her that she had to kill her own spider. or she could ignore it and go to bed. she sobbed for at least 20 minutes. finally we realized the spider had left, and so she went to sleep.

a few nights later, the scene reoccurred. this time, i was on duty. i gave her the unused paper towel that kisu had provided before and gave her some pointers on spider smooshing. she just cried. after many pleas and attempts at bartering (on her part), i shut her in the room.

she lost privileges that night for her cowardice. she even lamented the fact that she was "such a cry-baby" --her words! after 35 minutes, kisu arrived to apply the muscle. (she responds to his discipline often, only rarely to mine, although we use the same threats techniques.) finally he delivered the ultimatum: "kill it or name it, because you're grounded to your room until you deal with it."

5 minutes later, she came out and said, truculently, "i did it, daddy." she was, i think, a little bit satisfied for having done it. when she opened the wad of paper towel to prove her skill, it was empty; she got defensive. from the privacy of my bedroom, i laughed. kisu helped her locate the maimed spider on the floor and finish it off. now she could rightly claim her first kill.

after many hugs and proclamations of pride and honor, she returned to bed. kisu and i went into the kitchen.

where we saw SEVEN more spiders.

they arrange memorial services quickly in the arachnid world.

Monday, April 27, 2009

trash picker

i remember that "trash-picker" was an epithet we used when i was a child to describe poor people who had to rummage through the garbage of others to find scraps of clothing to wear. or so we thought.

what a revolution now to see people who voluntarily "free-cycle" food out of dumpsters. and it's considered eco-friendly and uber-conscious.

we are not quite that green, but we did do some trash picking this weekend. kisu suggested i take the girls out for a bike ride while he cooked dinner friday, but i knew that bug would not be able to go all the way around the block on her push-bike. pooka pre-empted a toddler meltdown by dragging the wagon out of the garage.

we started out (me:reluctantly) but only got halfway down the block when pooka said she was too tired. we walked her bike back to the house, but she didn't want to go in yet. no, she wanted me to pull them both in the wagon. (reluctant +2)

on our first foray, we picked up the paper that had been thrown onto our walk by a hapless duo in a large pickup truck weaving their way down the street. they lurched close to each drive with one person leaning out the window to throw the paper, then inevitably getting out to reposition it after the lousy throw fell short of its target. why the passenger didn't just stand in the truckbed and chuck the papers out i don't know. do i have to mention it was two females performing this farce?

anyway, as we headed out on our second attempt, i noticed many pieces of garbage lying in the grass. being on the corner, our lawn gets a lot of attention from lazy, no-good bums who can't be bothered to take care of their own messes.

that is to say, we get some mysterious trash items.

i suggested to pooka that we pick this trash up and she was prepared to run into the house to get a garbage bag. she was perplexed when i told her to use the newspaper bag. she couldn't fathom what we would do with the paper.

she was quite excited and we picked up a fair amount of paper bits, and partial wrappers (nothing more scandalous than a cigarette box, thankfully) with her hopping in and out of the wagon just like a real garbageman. (yay for my shoulder muscles!)

we encountered one homeowner who was incredulous when we told her what we were doing. it probably didn't help that although i have seen her taking great care of her yard, we were still finding more there to clean.

we managed to fill that whole sleeve well before we completed the lap. i felt very accomplished and also proud that pooka tackled the job with such enthusiasm. little by little, we are taking care of our world.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

monkeys everywhere!

bug's birthday party was last weekend. she likes monkeys. ergo, we had a monkey party.

we had pictures of monkeys on the walls. (but no pictures of pictures of monkeys.)

we had inflatable monkeys.

we had a monkey balloon.

we had a monkey on the cake.

bug was dressed in her monkey shirt.

the gifts were monkeys.

what we didn't have? bananas.

but nobody minded. bug had such a good time, she slept in the next morning AND took a 3.5 hour nap. yay! we tired out the toddler!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

tea party for the age (of 7)

sorry for the delay on this.

pooka's birthday party was held at granny's tea room. it went surprisingly well.

i was nervous about having a gaggle of 7 year olds in a room with classy, breakable fixings, but no problems occurred. and the two boys that attended even had a good time.

they ate finger sandwiches of pbj or turkey, and treats of 2-bite chocolate cake and a spoonful of ice cream served in a molded chocolate tea cup. gee, i should've taken a picture of those...

the kids really got into the place and loved wearing hats. thank goodness granny had some top hats for the boys.

a couple girls said that they wanted their next birthday parties hosted there. even better, many of the adults bought loose tea and said they would be back for more.

Monday, April 6, 2009

that's what kids are for

blog fodder, right?

pooka has always been advanced for her age, in everything from smarts to attitude, but lately, i think it's getting a little out of hand.

i have intercepted my first love note as a mother. and it comes complete with graphics:

pooka's young enough where this is still charming and adorable in a dismissable way. the funny thing, it appears completely mutual. way back for pooka's birthday party, the boy's mother told me about the card he wanted to buy for pooka. it read: "to my wife."

we had a grand laugh, but pooka didn't hear about it (i don't think). so to see this note come about a short while later tells me there truly is some feeling there. i'm not about to arrange a dowry or anything, but i think these two will be lifelong friends.

she doesn't know i snatched this note, either, so don't narc on me.

p.s. i just realized that i never posted about her birthday party. oops. check back later for pics on that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

make a wish trip day 1

so, we went to california. pooka's wish to meet m*ley c*rus finally happened. it seemed so strange in the days leading up to it. we couldn't believe the day had actually arrived.

the 4 of us were picked up in a limo at 7am on wednesday morning. i was nervous about how bug would behave on the 5 hour flight. she was not horrible. she had her moments, but she only slept about 20 minutes, despite the benadryl we had administered. we were all out of whack when we arrived in cali. we had only had a small snack on the plane and our bodies didn't know what time it was.

we got hung up at the car rental place due to a small error on my part. apparently when i went online to add carseats to our order, the system 'lost' the fact that make a wish was paying and not us.

by the time we got to the hotel, we didn't know whether to eat or just collapse into bed. we had to call for a crib and to let the front desk know that we had someone's nasty month-old leftovers in our fridge. i didn't want them charging us for an empty mini-bar when it was never full to begin with.

we finally got ourselves gathered enough to go looking for food. we drove our mammoth vehicle (in l.a.? hello?) out to find a restaurant. after going several blocks in the wrong direction, we realized that we should have just grabbed the stroller and walked. we were a mere 4 blocks from the ocean and the food was even closer than that. we stopped in for pizza at a place we thought was going to be a lot bigger. i was disappointed that we were eating pizza, again, on our trip. i wanted something less run-of-the-mill, more 'california-y.' (but cheap, cuz i'm like that.)

despite my crankiness, we enjoyed our food and then took a short trip to overlook the beach. it was windy and a bit chilly, so we didn't get close, but we did walk around the 3rd street promenade a bit.

we discovered a candy store that made pooka's eye bug out. bin after bin of chocolate covered items, old-style penny candy, jelly beans. i picked up a few choice items; not exactly stuff you can't find anywhere else, but stuff i don't look for or get often. pooka went for the jelly beans she begs for every time we go to the grocery store. they even had exotic treats like scorpion lollypops. the lady had signs out: "yes, they are real." "no, i haven't tried them." that made me laugh.

two more errands stood in our way before bedtime: a grocery store for some emergency staples (no need for room service for hungry kids at odd hours), and a drugstore for kisu's forgotten meds. after we accomplished both of those, we headed "home." we got our beds situated and we were all asleep by 830pm, cali time.