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Dillo told me in the car last night that sweat was microscopic water that gets on your skin.  So I noted what an excellent word microscopic was, and reiterated what it meant, and then we were off on a microscopic kick.  Such that when we got home and had cheese and crackers he asked for "that which cheese with microscopic dots of black in it" (by which he meant Boursin, which the children ADORE.)

At dinner Casper and I had a hilarious conversation about her relationship with Eliza, which has been making her insane and weepy all week. She was bemoaning the fact that Eliza "makes" her sit with her at lunch and I told her she was in charge of who she sits with and she confessed that she actually sites with Eliza because Eliza gives her the Ritz Bits from her lunch!  She confessed this like it was some huge dark secret and I was hard-pressed not to laugh out loud.  In general, though, this Eliza situation is maddening - to hear Casper talk Eliza is a spoiled mean girl, and while Eliza is sort of bossy, she is actually not evil, you know?  They are definitely fremeies this week, though, and I have been encouraging distance.  As I keep telling Casper, Eliza cannot actually make her do anything - she is in charge of her own choices.
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Dillo is currently obsessed with chicken. We traditionally eat mostly vegetarian, with maybe ground beef or bacon or sausage once a week, and on rare occasions a pork roast or steaks or something. I almost never buy chicken in the grocery store because of the factory farming, and good free-range chicken isn't available through our local food supplier very often (and when it is it's ridiculously expensive, more expensive than beef.)

I think it started at school, where they serve chicken drumsticks for lunch once or twice a month. Dillo saw these, and asked for them, so I let him buy lunch on "chicken day" a couple of times. The other week I thought it would be nice to do drumsticks at home, so we got some and I roasted them on Wednesday (the day I work late). The kids devoured them. So I got a (kosher but not free-range) whole chicken at Trader Joe's (WE HAVE TRADER JOE'S) this past weekend and we roasted it for Sunday dinner. The kids want chicken all the time now. The only problem is, I don;t really want to eat chicken, myself, and I don't want to feed factory-farmed chicken to my kids all the time, either. But I knew Dillo had gone 'round the bend when we were at the Learning Explosion at school last night and our job was to look at a picture and describe what our five senses would perceive if we were in the picture and the picture was Tar Beach (http://www.google.com/images?q=tar+beach&biw=986&bih=805)and Dillo said if he was in the picture he would smell chicken. And taste chicken. There is no chicken in the picture.

ION, Casper and her fiance Thomas have begun exchanging letters in the mail. It is adorable. (Except for Casper's terrible penmanship and spelling.) Thomas called tonight to try to arrange a play date. The kids are mostly so sweet at this age. I hate that at some point it will be all middle school jockeying for status.
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Casper was hilarious at dinner tonight. She told me Aydan is suspicious of her because "he doesn't like women" and also told me that she and Thomas kissed "again" today (I never heard about the first time) on the cheek, behind a tree.

And now we are having tears and recriminations, because homework is an idiotic word search. I thought Ms. C last year gave too much homework, but at least hers generally had a point or theme (spelling words based on the sound of the week). The generic word search makes me deeply skeptical about Mr. H as a teacher. (I hate word searches, not least because Casper sucks at them. And this one has some 30 word, many long and backwards and diagonal.)

And Dillo came home DRENCHED in pee. Seriously, at first I thought he'd been caught in the downpour we had, and then I had to ask if he'd fallen in the toilet.

Oy.
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The kids started a 2-week cycle of swim lessons last night, which makes these two weeks extra-crazy, since the lessons are at 6pm. But it's good. Casper is in the most advanced group, 6 kids, ages (guessing by eye) 5-8. She is the best swimmer in the bunch, fast and direct and not splashy or flaily. I guess twice-daily swimming at the Y camp has paid off, although they just play and don't have actual instruction. She did a quite passable Australian crawl last night. She told me she listened to the coach and pointed her toes and kept her legs straight, and man was she fast! She really likes swimming, and it's definitely a sport she could be good at, in terms of build. There is a swim team for kids locally that might be worth looking in to.

Dillo was in one of the low groups, but did well. His group was 5 kids of a mix of ages - one girl who was probably 6, and two boys who were either two or young 3s, and a girl about Dillo's age. He listened well and was game for things (one of the little boys cried a lot) and floated really well. He has a tendency when trying to dog-paddle with a noodle-float of not going anywhere - it's more like treading water than swimming. And even kicking while holding the side of the pool, his butt sinks. Need to work on that. But he's in the water and comfortable and happy, which is the basic goal at just-4.

mr. flea and I sat and watched them and goggled at how adorable and accomplished they are.

I had a talk with Casper early this morning about the YMCA; I asked her who she was friends with in her group. She said nobody; the coaches were her friends. This wasn't bothering her, though; she said, "I've figured out the YMCA without friends." She said she swims to suit herself, and has gotten good at dribbling a basketball in the mornings (where she does spend time with one girl.) I guess it's good that she seems content, but it's a little sad, too. If her birthday weren't so late, most weeks she would have been with friends from school in the 7-8 year old group. S. talked to me about trying to coordinate our kid's schedules more next summer (alternating various camps but keeping her daughter and Casper together), but next year we'll have the complication of Dillo, who will only be 4 and not old enough for most activities. Would it be fair to have Casper doing different camps with a friend and Dillo stuck alone at the YMCA all summer? It's not like they'd have any contact at the Y anyway, since they keep the age groups apart.

kids update

May. 8th, 2009 08:07 am
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I really do have kids, honestly! Sometimes I feel like I never talk about them anymore.

We are still not really getting anywhere with Dillo and potty training. Apparently he peeps on the potty at school sometimes. We have gotten to the point of getting him to sit on the potty and try. Unfortunately right now whenever he is naked he wants to spend special time with his penis (retracting the foreskin is FUN!) and that causes an erection which makes it hard to pee. Also, he is scared of the actual toilet but the plastic potty we have is a little small for him and isn't designed very well for boys sitting down and peeing. Possibly we will look for a new potty at Target (or to borrow - must ask neighbors who currently have a 4 year old boy and a baby, so are presumably not using their potty right now.)

I cut his hair again and Dillo looks like SUCH a big boy! He has such a charming open face - it's the way his eyebrows are set - I think he actually looks like mr. flea as as a baby rather a lot. He is really a small boy now and not much of a baby at all. We've been playing dress-up a lot, and he went to Casper's school chorus concert last night in pink fairy wings and a rose tutu over his Thomas train t-shirt. He's still smallish (for a kid of ours - I bought some 2T shorts at Target and they fell right off him - in general he is just fine in a 2T/Hanna 90, still! The only exception is he's quite long in the torso, so overalls don't work well. His feet are finally growing a bit, and he's now wearing Casper's old size 8 sandals (that she got when she was 21 months, natch.) So in that way he's different from 97%ile mr. flea.

Comparison:
Dillo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/3433759611/
mr. flea toddler: http://www.flickr.com/photos/casperflea/41850416/

I'm trying to get a sense of his friends at school - right now he talks a lot about Maggie, whom mr. flea says he is sweet on. Apparently she is good at sharing the bicycle with him. I asked him about his friend Adam who he used to mention a lot and he told me that Adam is a "hitting friend." Dillo does not like kids who are rough and tumble at all, and is very wary of some of our neighbors who are. Maybe we can do a little playdate action this summer. It would be nice to get to know some of the other parents, too.

Casper is all long and skinny right now, growing her hair out. I have some lovely pictures of her from the concert, not yet uploaded. She's in a 6, though they tend to be a little loose - adjustable waistbands are our friends. Has decided opinions about what she likes to wear. We had our first official mother-daughter fight about clothes in Target last weekend, as I was trying to get her to agree to practical shorts for YMCA summer camp and she wanted various other things (black polyester yoga pants, pink captain's hat - "Zariah has one!", new shoes when she has a bunch of shoes we just got her that she doesn't wear). I worry about her socially - she's a bit of a marcher to her own drummer, which is fine as long as she's happy, but I worry, because I'm her mother. For example, at the giant princess party last weekend I arrived to pick her up and had to hunt her down - all the other girls were in groups doing dress-ups and moving towards the present-opening, and she was hiding in the tent in the birthday girl's room, playing with the toys. She has an open crush on a boy named River at afterschool, and has new friends who are a bit older (Aria, Shannon) and doesn't play as much anymore with her age-mates (Siena). Still LOVES Penny, so she does have friends, just not the kids who are clearly going to grow up into the Popular Girls in 8th grade. (Yes, you can relive Middle School through your children!)

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