Friday, July 30, 2010

Non Sequitur Theatre Again

After about two hundred episodes of Non Sequitur Day, I can finally spell the word without looking it up.

1) Nanny J reports that Buster shot six successful baskets in our backyard hoop today! His big brother says that they are giving him “lessons.”

2) Q-ster’s swim lessons have been going well too. He was initially reluctant, and we had to discuss many examples. For instance, Obi-wan Kenobi can swim – that’s how he got to the Gungan city. Indiana Jones can swim – he swam to the float plane to escape the bad guys. Everyone in High School Musical can swim – they had that big pool party at the end of movie 2.

Once he actually got to class, he liked it. SwingDaddy reports that he’s been making steady progress, learning to backfloat and dunk his head, and all those pre-swimming skills. With Buster, we’ll probably be able to say, “Your brother can swim,” and he will plunge himself into the pool.

3) Guy Kawasaki posted a link to a (long) fascinating article about how trendy philosophies like The Tipping Point, where certain influencing individuals are responsible for starting trends, are inaccurate when scientifically measured. Researcher Duncan Watts says that his work shows that anyone is just as capable of starting trends – it’s essentially random and situation based, rather than special-person-based. I found The Tipping Point very engaging, so this contrary research is timely, especially in regards to how marketers often approach mom-bloggers as influencers to launch new products.

4) I’m currently have nightly toothbrushing races with Q-ster. Whoever brushes their teeth the longest “wins,” which was to counter the two-second brush routine he’d fallen into. He won three nights in a row, so he told me he was going to let me win tonight so I wouldn’t feel badly. Awwww.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Perils of Being Paul

After all the attention garnered by Paul the World Cup Psychic Octopus, I was wondering whether I should try getting a gig like that for O-pus. Imagine, a Plush Oracle Octopus!

Then I saw that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has accused Paul of spreading “western propaganda and superstition” and that he’s received death threats from fans of the losing soccer teams. The President of Spain, predicted and actual World Cup champion, has offered the octopus asylum.

My favorite quote is: "Paul, who lives at Germany's Oberhausen Sea Life Centre, could not be reached for comment."

I think that O-pus will continue leading his snuggly life off the world stage.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Piano Lessons in the World of Star Wars

Tonight while I was sitting in bed with Q-ster in the dark, chatting before bedtime, we listened to a recording of piano music in preparation for his upcoming music lessons (Suzuki method, which is what I studied for many years). First we heard Twinkle Twinkle in treble clef, and then it repeated in bass.

M: What’s different about the music now?
Q-ster: It’s lower.
M: If it was the right hand before, what is it now?
Q-ster: Left hand!

M: That’s right. First you learn the right hand, then the left hand, and then you put them both together.
Q-ster: But you can play both hands already, Mommy.

M: If I were learning a new piece of music, I would still learn one hand, the second hand, and then play them both.
Q-ster: (Pauses to think.) It must take General Grievous a really long time to learn to play new music.

I never really thought about it, but I suppose having four hands would make things more complicated.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Boots and Bikes

You kind people! Thanks for the words of encouragement on the boots. We also have entertainment in store, as Mayberry and Mir have declared they will battle for the boots if I decide I should regretfully pass. I’m going to think about them for a few more days and see if I can piece together another outfit that works besides jeans.

Q-ster’s glider bike arrived last week (thanks to Amber for the brand recommendation) and he’s been having a grand time with it. We (or was it Santa? Shoot, can’t remember and must make sure I don’t trip up . . .) got him a real bike for Christmas, but at 30 pounds, it’s a bit on the big side for a cautious boy, and he’s been reluctant to spend much time on it.

The glider bike is tiny – really, it’s too small for him – and only weighs 7 pounds, which gives him the feeling of being in control. I’m hoping that his enthusiasm for it will translate into balancing skills that transfer over to the proper bike. Then, Buster can have the glider bike, which he’s been eyeing with interest.

I love how kids look in their bike helmets. Like a pack of little turtles.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Preschool Follow-up

I emailed the school after the “an ambulance and a firetruck came to help!” incident, and the office reported that Teacher Doris fainted when she stood up very quickly. She’d hurt her thumb in the fall, but other than that she was fine. Over the weekend, she came to the house in person to deliver some artwork that had still been drying in the classroom, and to show the children that she was ok – very thoughtful. Whew.

In other news, I got these terrifically comfortable boots on a massive sale last weekend, and I’m trying to decide whether I’ll wear them enough to keep them. I tried them on with my skinny jeans, and they look great, but I only wear jeans to the office every two weeks or so, and the heel height doesn’t exactly work for park-and-bicycle outings. Maybe I need to write Susan Wagner for outfit ideas.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Marble Run

We got Q-ster a marble run construction kit for his birthday last spring, and I think Buster and I enjoy it just as much. It's very satisfying to come up with a complex pattern that makes the marbles roll round and round.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Through a Foggy Window

Trying to figure out what has happened by questioning a five year old can be simply maddening. At dinner tonight, I asked Q-ster how his last day of summer preschool went.

Q: good
Me: What did you do?
Q: nothing
Me: did you play with your friends?
Q: yes
Me: Did you play outside?
Q: yes.
Me: Did you say goodbye to your teachers?

Q: Teacher Doris fell down and spilled the raisins
Me: oh no! Was this outside?
Q: yes
Me: Did she get up again?
Q: she lay down for a while to rest
Me: after she got back inside?
Q: no, outside

Me: so she lay down to rest outside.
Q: yes
Me: did Teacher Betty come to help?
Q: yes, and so did a fire truck and an ambulance!
Me: ?! (Thinking to myself, he manages to not mention an ambulance came to preschool until now?) So, they helped Teacher Doris and she felt better?
Q: yes
Me: Then the ambulance went away and you talked to her?
Q: no
Me: Did she go to the hospital with the ambulance?
Q: She went for a little ride with them
Me: ok

Teacher Betty must have had a heck of a time explaining the situation to the rest of the kids and keeping them calm. The phrase about going for a “little ride” is clearly from either the teacher or the EMT. I need to talk to our nanny tomorrow and see if there had been a fuller explanation at school pickup that we didn’t get a chance to discuss.

The little dude can be a good communicator, but conveying the critical elements of a complex situation is not quite there yet.

In other news, So You Think You Can Dance has developed a depressing track record of injured performers. For the third week in a row, a contestant is too injured to dance. Last week and tonight, the contestants had been in the bottom three during the previous episode anyway, but losing Alex Wong was heartbreaking. He might have won the whole thing. At least it seems like his Achilles tendon operation was successful. Poor kids – I hope they all heal well and quickly.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Baby’s First Beach Trip

The micro dude is TWO and we just took him to the beach for the first time. With folks all around the blogosphere complaining about the miserable summer heat, I should be doing a better job of enjoying the weather around here. Thus, sand, surf, and snacks.

I used the zoom lens, which gives a slightly paparazzo look to some of the photos.

Q-ster loved the water.

Buster was content to stay dry, but made serious efforts towards a sand castle. Or sand pile, at least.

I usually hand the camera to SwingDaddy to capture a shot of me with the boys, to prove I was there too, but with the trying-to-keep-sand-out-of-the-camera and the feeding-of-snacks and the packing-up-in-advance-of potential-meltdowns, I completely forgot. We’ll just say I was wearing a fabulous polka dot bikini (admittedly under a hoodie and skirt, because this mommy gets cold in the wind and is not sure it fits so well anymore anyway, even two years after the preggo excuse has passed.)

Yeah baby, beach time!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Temporary Lisp (I Hope), Plus Octopi

I think that one of Q-ster’s new friends at summer preschool has a lisp, because he’s suddenly developed a pattern of saying things like “altho (also)” and “awethome.” I’ve been gently correcting him, and he’s been able to hear the difference and pronounce the words correctly each time.

We’re only days away from the end of the class, so I’m not planning to ask the teachers about it. I don’t remember hearing any lisps during the week we were away on vacation, so let’s hope it just disappears in a few days. Fingers crossed.

In unrelated but highly cute news, Squishables, the origins of my beloved O-pus, the huggy plush octopus that the boys gleefully drag into the floor or bed and onto which they fling themselves repeatedly, is holding Take Your Squishy to Work Day this Thursday. If you send them a photo of your Squishable “exploring the perils of your workplace,” they’ll donate a dollar to their partner, the Baton Rouge Area Foundation for the Environment of the Gulf Fund. My office is so full of gear right now that O-pus may not fit, but I love the idea.

I also love the Squishables. The hedgehog first caught my eye.

And here’s a blue mouse, in honor of my sister’s son’s lovey.

Here are the boys again, playing with the octopus. You will notice in the background that I did indeed succumb to getting the octopus towel. Hey, my beach towel was over two decades old, it was time for an update!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Purpose of Technology

I love my new iPhone. I've had my Motorola RAZR phone since 2006, my iPod nano since 2005, and my HP iPaq PDA (remember those? No, you probably don't.) since 2003. I usually carry all those plus a small digital camera around, and now I just have the iPhone. Hooray!

However, the true delight is getting to play the Blowfish game, a free application first introduced to us by my sister. You touch your finger to the screen, and as long as you hold it there, the pufferfish gets bigger and bigger. You have to let go before one of the little red sea urchins gets too close, otherwise the fish pops. Once you've filled the whole screen with cute fish, you win!

The boys and I spent a good ten minutes seized with giggles as we played together. It's the first time I've come up with something that I'd like to do on the big screen of an iPad. Yes, it would be spending $500 to get to play a free game, so we're not getting one, but it's funny how odd technology drivers can be. Go, blowfish!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Awesomest Rollercoaster

Grandma N borrowed this terrific mini rollercoaster from the neighbors and the little ones had a blast. Buster spent hours trucking the rider up the track, climbing on, and sliding down, and resetting the whole experience. Totally self sufficient. Except for his camera crew, of course.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Casemaker, Casemaker, Pick Me a Case

There's traditional:

And one better:

And this one, I think I like even more.

Thoughts? I'm ordering tomorrow night!

Updated: I ordered the "Underworld" Steampunk model. Thanks for your input!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Home Again, Home Again

Back from a long weekend with family, where the boys played with their cousins and grandparents, chased bubbles, watched a minor league baseball game, and ate ice cream.

Note to self: Bringing fuzzy pipecleaners as an airplane entertainment craft was a good idea. Next time, study up on shapes to create so that every single animal doesn't turn out looking like an octopus. Plus side: my children are very adept at recognizing octopi.

SwingDaddy's folks were clever enough to rent two of these monster vans to haul all the assorted kids and gear around. More soon!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Ballet Backyardigans

We picked up a Backyardigans DVD to occupy the boys on a plane flight, and so far, thumbs up. The stories are tolerable, characters are cute and the dancing is impressive for stubby, round animated creatures. The moose did a nice softshoe and the pink Uniqua showed off a jazz number, all perfectly articulated in the ankles and knees of these little dudes. Ballet too - pas de bourrée, chaîné turn, chaîné turn, first arabesque danced very clearly. Three cheers for children's programs that don't drive me up the wall (Dora, anyone?)!

P.S. Good news: Getting a notice that my iPhone 4 will arrive soon! Bad news: arrival will be four hours after I leave on vacation. Sigh. My office-mates will have to sign for it.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Honey-do’s of Another Sort

Last month, we had an opportunity to take some great classes from a Baroque dance professor who was a beautiful dancer and extremely knowledgeable. As she fiddled with the CD player, she commented that she was used to working with live music, even for teaching classes. Nice!

The dance we learned started somewhat abruptly at the same moment as the music, without even a pickup note of warning, which is fine when the music is played live. The dancer and conductor can look at each other and begin on the same breath. With a CD, there’s no such grace, and you just have to catch up as the song begins.

We admired the music, which we assumed was a commercial recording, and she said that it was performed by her husband, on harpsichord. It must be nice to have that dancer-musician pairing in their extremely artistic home!

It did occur to me though - wouldn’t you just say, “Honey, I need a pickup note,” and get your spouse to record the piece again?

I suppose historic purists wouldn’t approve, but it seems expedient to me.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Cultural Understandings, Moomin-style

On my Nordic trip back in May, I brought home a counting board book for Buster.

It starts out very sweetly, with 1 sun and 2 trees.

It moves on to the weather, 3 umbrellas and 4 clouds.

5 butterflies and 6 flowers (not pictured), followed by 7 boats and 8 shells.

9 fish and 10 birds (not pictured.) Until the development of the northern oil fields, the national economy was largely based on fish and forestry. I like how the book charmingly focuses on important things to the local market.

Lastly, the cuddly Moomins sit under “many stars.”

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Thanks, Kiddo

I came home from work last week after a video shoot (a sort of panel/seminar thing, nothing glamorous like a rock music video) still wearing all the makeup. Q-ster looked carefully at me, examining the eyeshadow (which I never wear since I would look like I had a black eye if I tried to apply it myself) and the extra eyeliner.

He pronounced his judgment. "You have beautiful eyeballs, Mommy."

Monday, July 05, 2010

Sealife, the Really Cute Kind

On my last trip to the Aquarium, many years ago, I was disappointed to see their gift shop stocked with only biologically correct plush sea creatures. They looked kind of like this:

A little dull, not very attractive, and definitely no cute, anthropomorphic expressions with long eyelashes.

I'm happy to say that Aquarium has come to the realization that to fulfill the mission of the gift shop, which is to raise money for research, they should expand their merchandise to include wildly biologically inaccurate friends like this highly caffeinated sea star:

By the way, jellyfish have become "jellies" and starfish have become "sea stars" because scientists want to remind us that neither are fish, but why are sea horses still called sea horses? Hmmm.

And even the neighboring candy shops have sea decorations.

There was an octopus in the shop, but I ended up bringing home a tiny fuzzy purple jelly. Small enough to slide under the no-more-plush-creatures moratorium.

Looking through the pictures again, I'm kind of regretting not also getting the sea star, but enough is enough, I suppose.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Sealife, the Real Kind

We enjoyed a Fourth of July aquarium outing. Fish!

At the "Hot Pink Flamingos" exhibit, I saw the pinkest baby flamingo ever, just as advertised. You can just see it, trotting off the side of the picture.
So pink!

Oh, nevermind. It's a scarlet ibis.

Buster admires a penguin.

Jellies, my favorite aquarium creatures.

Q-ster makes friends with a seahorse.

Baby on a half-shell.

Tomorrow, the plush ones!