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Yesterday, while we're watching This Old House, she comes out with this one:
Casper: I don't want to live on the land.
me: You don't want to live on the land?
Casper: I want to live in *space*.

Today she fell asleep sitting on my lap, butt naked, while I was watching the penalty kicks in the World Cup final. Clearly completely immune to the tension!

Now mr. flea and Casper are trying to build block towers as tall as Casper.

We had TWO swimming play dates this weekend. (Signs that my child is a modern kid: she asks for play dates and asks to have her grandmother on speaker phone. Neither of these things were invented when I was 2.) Today at the Looni faculty club, as guests of friends. It is like a country club, basically. Nice pool (including baby pool with shade over it), tennis courts, weight room, snack bar. Of course, I am ineligible to be a member - membership is restricted to employees who are paid on a monthly basis (i.e. "professional" staff: no secretaries, groundskeepers, bus drivers or nurses, thank you very much.) And they wonder why the Looni is still referred to as The Plantation. Plus it costs $1000, but that's for a lifetime membership as long as you are employed by or retired from the Looni, which is a decent deal if you like to swim and have long-term job intentions.
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Two Casper-coined words:
bibble. Generally used in the phrase "you little bibble!" Endearment.
snarnob. Generally used in the phrase "you snarnob!" Spoekn with wrinkled nose. A criticism.

We have a motley assortment of stainless flatware; half from my grandmother, and half from mr. flea's grandmother. I like the ones from mine a great deal, but there are only 6 place settings so we use a mix. But today I applied some effort and found the pattern name! It is Oneida Community stainless, in a pattern named Frostfire which was only discontinued last year (1981-2005). Probably my grandmother got it from Betty Crocker. Replacements Ltd. has it (http://www.replacements.com/webquote/OHSFRO.htm?s1=KX&11154&, fairly pricey at $10 a piece) and I can get my mother to haunt Ebay.

Some day we'll have everyday dishes that I like; right now we have two sets, from mr. flea's two sets of grandparents, neither of which I am crazy about.

(In contrast, see my silver, inherited from my great-great grandmother, and bearing her monogram: Old Newbury, by Towle. http://www.replacements.com/webquote/TWSOLNN1.htm)
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Casper is 2 years and 10 months old tomorrow.

Sleep:
She goes to sleep in her bed, with a parent lying beside her, and woe betide us if she doesn't have a stomach full of milk ("regular milk" as opposed to chocolate, happily). Unfortunately, the falling asleep part is quite often nearer 10pm than 9 during the week, when she naps at school. No weekend naps mean she's generally quite tired by 9 on the weekends; on the other hand so am I. Happily, she almost always sleeps all the way through to 7 am or so. There are occasional cries out in her sleep, but she only needs attention from one of us (i.e. me) in the night once or twice a week, and often that's around 4:30 or 6 am, when I tend to be up anyway.

Eating:
Favorite foods now include banana chips, watermelon, and popsicles (both homemade oj ones and Locopops "pink ones".) Still kind of a finicky eater at home; it's not that she doesn't like a lot of things, it's just that she's highly variable in her eating. I think it evens out. The only thing she really doesn't like, consistently, is raisins, and that extends to any dried fruit (well, except banana chips, I guess) and even blueberries in blueberry muffins.

Potty Training:
We plug along. No accidents at school in weeks. Accidents at home and elsewhere occasionally. Will still only very rarely poop in the potty, preferring to save it for a pullup. Still in proper diapers at night. We're not pushing for more progress at the moment.

Talk:
Generally has a good command of grammar, verb tenses, etc. Occasionally still gets the gender of pronouns wrong. Does use irregular verb tenses for most verbs, and will occasionally catch and correct herself ("goed" to "went"). Nice long complex explanatory sentences, although she is still on the quiet side with everyone other than us. Can recite from memory entire books as we read them, and corrects the reader if a similar but wrong word is substituted. Excellent singer, and can mostly carry a tune and knows lots of songs. Is a very creative baby talker, which leads us to...

Behavior:
We are in a big phase of "playing baby." She will tell us she is a baby, ask to wear a diaper, refuse to speak and only talk in her beautiful baby talk, and stomp her foot petulantly when she is told we don't speak baby talk so we don't know what she wants. We treat this routine as a game, and let her be a baby whenever she wants, basically - I feel like it's an important thing for her to feel like she can still be our baby as we prepare for the actual baby's arrival and talk about "growing up to be a big sister." So I say, "Come here, baby," and take her in my arms and cuddle her, and usually she is ready to be a big girl again after that.

In short: my baby, my big girl, all mixed up in one.
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We are in the car.

me: When we get home, I want to lie down right away in Casper's bed. I am so tired.
Casper: No, you should lie down in your own bed.
me: Do you want to go to sleep with Daddy tonight?
Casper: Yes.
mr. flea: You know, did you ever think about going to sleep by yourself?
Casper: Huh?

We laughed and laughed and laughed.
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The weather has been wonderful - 50 at night, 75 during the day, a decent amount of rain but no Noah story. My garden is happy. It's great for sleeping. I saw a couple of busquitoes in the yard the other day, but they aren't out in force yet.

Casper has had a big jump in the last couple of weeks, verbally and socially. She speaks in a more sophisticated way all of a sudden - more complex phrasing, dependent clauses. She's also more into stories, developing ideas and playing them out, as opposed to rattling off songs and verses. She's creative. She makes connections. Socially, she is suddenly pretty outgoing, after a long period of shyness with people outside our immediate circle. She talks much more at school, and Monday night was very sweet in making social overtures to a shy Lucy, and Wednesday went over to ask Annabel with a scraped knee if she was okay, and so forth. She's such a marvel. It's amazing how you can keep loving your child more and more.

I'm also all gooshy about the armadillo, since visiting with baby Ted a couple of weeks ago. He was so sweet and open and good-natured, am internally I went "I'm going to have a boy like this." (Okay, who knows if I actually will, but it's a good feeling.) The armadillo is at the peak of activity lately - big enough to really make his presence felt, but not so big that he's squashed in unable to move. He feels like a real little person in there.

We've been doing a good job of spending family time together and making real dinners - last night we had Whole Foods ciabatta bread with homemade pesto and fresh mozzarella, then red lentil soup, then homegrown salad. Then we took a walk around the block, and did a little desultory yard work, before coming in to get ready for bed.

If this is all due to the prednisone, god bless it I say. Or maybe the good pregnancy hormones finally kicked in this time around.

peas!

May. 4th, 2006 07:52 am
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We ate peas last night. All of my homegrown peas are eaten out of the shell within an hour of being picked, which I suppose is not a bad way to go. Frozen peas are fine for cooking, so why not eat the good ones fresh?

I have 2 roses, soon to be three, in bloom, and the clematis has at least one big bud. Landlady's peonies are blooming.

Casper has become obsessed with mosquitoes, which she calls "busquitoes," partly because mr. flea encourages celerity entering the house after exiting the car by suggesting if she lingers the busquitoes will bite her (and it will itch!)

She has also finally given a real name to one of her stuffed animals. This week's constant companions are Funky Bear (really named by me, as Bunky), Purple Bear, and the former Pink Bear/Baby Bear, now known as "Bosito." This is a corruption of "Osito" from a book we have of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, except set in the Latino community, so the girl has long black braids and the littlest bear is Osito.

We got school pictures; what a racket, but the grandparents will love it.

We've also been offered the chance to transition up to a 2/3 mixed classroom, 18 kids and 3 teachers (now she is in all 2s, with 12 kids and 2 teachers). Have to tell them by Friday, though it won't happen until June. I think we'll probably do it; we were expecting a transition this summer anyway, and this timing will mean the transition should be well finished by the time the armadillo is born (and we want to avoid multiple simultaneous disruptions in Casper's life). My concerns are 1) change is hard, 2) bigger class, 3) different teachers, 4)she has friends now. But I think a lot of her current classmates will make the transition (there are several with clumped birthdays in late summer/early fall) and this is the class that Olivia and Delancey went to last month, so she'll know them. Would like to meet the new teachers, though. I am told her current teachers are considered some of the best in the school.
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Casper likes to have Calvin and Hobbes read to her sometimes. This is a real challenge, because the jokes aren't funny if you're two (I wonder if some of them are even funny if you're 8; many, of course, remain hilarious when you're 33). She spends a lot of time asking, "What's he doing NOW?" and I try to explain in a way that is sensical and not wildly boring. mr. flea ia definitely better at this than I am.

Her favorite is a Sunday strip in which Calvin imagines his mother is a giant ant-like alien.

So I suppose this is the inspiration for this evening's comment: "I was looking for you... and... you was switched by an alien!" We turned this into an amusing game that finally ended when I decided I didn't want to be an alien and told Casper that her kiss could restore me to my human form. And it did. But not until after I developed alien feet, and she had to hide in the kitchen.

(As an aside, Calvin is a total pain in the ass, when you're reading about him from the perspective of a parent.)
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Gimme 5
One the side
Up high
Down low
In the hole
You just cleaned my toilet bowl!

also
Put your butt up in the air
Wave it around like you just don't care!
(this results in downward-facing dog, plus wiggles)

Both things make Casper laugh like a loon.

I guess I don't have to worry about her learning gross jokes and naughty stuff from the kids at school...

Have I mentioned, we really love this kid?

Conversation:
mr. flea: If we're going to the stoe to get eggs and milk, we'd better go now. nd when we get home it will be bedtime.
Casper: We should get ice cream too.
mr, flea: You ... are brilliant.
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Little bunny foo foo
Hoppin through the forest
Scoopin up the field mice
And boppin 'em on the head wif a shovel

I was up listening to Casper/helping her for 1 hour and 12 minutes Sunday night.
Last night, more than 2 hours. I cried for a while when I finally got back in bed.
Both nights I let her cry by herself (on and off, not full screaming) for half an hour before going in.
I think I'm calling in sick to work today.
But my boss asked me to call her at home when I do that (since I am the first one in and open up) and if there's anything I can't face doing right now, it's talking to my boss.
Maybe I'll chicken out and leave messages at work.
If I stayed home, I could go for a walk. And take a book to a coffee shop. By myself. I think the last time I did anything for myself by myself was last summer when mr. flea's parents were here and I got a haircut.
I need this. I deserve this. Right?

ow

Apr. 4th, 2006 10:11 am
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Reasons why I should not move books for an hour a day, or at least should do it gently: today I have some serious pubic symphysis pain. And really, one can't walk around one's workplace clutching one's public bone, as I have been catching myself doing.

Amusing work news: During Oct.-Dec. 2005, one of the top 5 search strings that referred people from Google/Yahoo to our academic library web site was "betty boop." Systems is as mystified as I am.

In Casper hates the cat now news:
Casper: A monster should come and take Penny away.
me: Why?
Casper: Because she's bad.
Ah well, at least the cat is seemingly unperturbed by Casper's animosity; I suppose it's a good outlet for her, i.e. better than smacking kids at school or saying nasty thing to Daddy.
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Casper, tearily, "There's a monster down the hall!"
me, "No, honey, that's just your daddy snoring."
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Here is how Casper sings "Frere Jacques":

Frere Jacques
Frere Jacques
Dormie vous
Dormie vous
Someone's little tina
Someone's little tina
Ding ding dong
Ding ding dong
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Casper: I'm making a mess with these!
me: I see that. Why are you doing that?
Casper: 'Cause, I thought it would actually be a good idea.

On receiving an unexpected present in the mail from my stepmother and father, consisting of two sundresses:
Casper: I'm going to look so cute!

Casper: Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John/went to be with his stockings on!

mr. flea brought me purply-orange tulips to celebrate our firstdateiversary (10 years) and Casper is in a sundress and has a strawberry stained mouth and is throwing papers on the floor and in general we're doing pretty well.
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Yesterday I pried Casper away from outdoor play in the 70 degree weather at day care with the promise of planting peas at home in the garden. She even walked home cooperatively from the bus with this goal in mind. She was wearing her all green outfit, so she was even sartorially prepared.

We watered the peas I planted on Feb. 25, which have just begun to sprout (but this weekend's warmth will bring them out fully I am sure.) I dug over more of the main garden bed and Casper helped by taking her shoes off and walking in the dark cold damp dirt. We crunched up the dirt, which sadly seems to be reverting to clay, but I don't have any manure right now, and planted the rest of the peas. I bought two varieties this year: Premium, which is the replacement for my previosuly successful Dakota, 52 days to maturity; and Caseload, 57 days. Both are shell peas.

Then we played with a rubber ball which bounced satisfactorily on the landlady's driveway, and picked tiny purple flowers from the lawn. Casper is not a great thrower and a terrible catcher (this particular ball was tiny, but even with her big ball you can through it right into her outstretched arms and it will just bounce off). We'll work on it.

This weekend I'll plant my lettuces.

Current cutest thing Casper says is: "Nah nah, I'm a boo boo, following you." To the tune of "Nah nanny boo boo" but she's missed some key subtleties of the usage!
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Yesterday we talked again about the baby growing in my tummy. Casper wanted to see it, so I got out the ultrasounds. She liked them at first and said "this one is mine" and walked off with it, but soon enough was crumpling them and throwing them in the trash. Then we had a frantic little moment with her on my lap trying fiercely to get into my bra to nurse. This was defused by the novelty of a walk outside, in the dark (7pm), barefoot (it was still probably 70 degrees). When things seemed better we went in and looked at all the pictures of Casper as a baby and talked about when she was a baby.

So, normal anxiety. The motif of putting the new baby in the trash is one I hear from so many parents; it's interesting. I'd love it if we could get this out of her system before the new baby is actually here.

Words Casper mispronounces habitually:
amimals (animals)
nackin (napkin)
targo pants (cargo pants)

just now

Feb. 20th, 2006 06:24 pm
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apropos of nothing -

Casper: "May I have a Christmas present? Please please please?"

two seconds previously, to her doll:

"You are getting so heavy. I promise."

It's one of those days when everything she says slays me.

Right now the little bear is talking to the rabbit. "And the little bear said, 'I love you too!' Now it's the little bear's turn. ... and the bunny rabbit's ear. Oh, and his tummy, and his tummy. He has to go potty and he's so happy that his dad is here..."

Gah.

number 3

Feb. 18th, 2006 06:53 am
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Casper crowned the evening with another gem. mr. flea was getting her ready for bed (I was crashed out already) and she was fighting all the way. He said a couple of times, "Casper, I need you to cooperate with me." Finally I came into the room and said, "What's going on here?" Casper immediately replied, "Daddy's not cooperating with me." We both dissolved in giggles. I mean, from her perspective, it was true.
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"STOP HOLDING MY HAND! You're going to make me *serious*!"

This was on the walk home from the bus/Bataan Death March. I need a new plan, as I can't carry her any more and she won't walk at a pace fast enough to get us the two blocks in less than about an hour. I also can't sit down and sob and can't smack her about the head, both of which I wanted to do today. What I actually did was alternate between carrying her like a sack of potatoes and basically dragging her by the hand. Of course, as you may have gathered, we were in a hurry to get home today as I had a haircut appointment. (The "serious" part comes from Mommy's Getting Angry Time, which tends to sound like, "Casper. Listen to your Mommy. I am serious." And is, sadly, fairly useless. I keep trying to develop my Miss Manners Glare of Doom but I don't seem to have it down yet.)

Funny thing two was uttered in the car, as a motorcycle passed:
"That is the strangest car I've ever seen."
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I am cooking mac n cheese. Casper is sitting on the stool smashing elbow macaroni with the blunt end of the salt shaker. Small pieces of pasta are spraying over the kitchen.

mr. flea: "Why are you doing that?"
Casper: "To aggravate."
me (can't believe my ears): "You're doing this to aggravate us?"
Casper: "Yes."
me: "Well, you're succeeding."

Rainy, cold days full of quiet and domestic snuggling are all well and good, but we forgot the massive energy that even a mellow two year old possesses. Would like Kid Habitrail now, please.

casper talk

Feb. 9th, 2006 11:10 am
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As is obvious to a regular reader of this journal, Casper is a voluminous and expressive talker. What I find interesting are the things she still has no grasp of whatsoever, such as personal pronouns, especially the 3rd person singular. First of all, she gets the gender of pronouns wrong all the time. She knows our cat is a girl, but refers to her as "him." This happens to people, too. Secondly, while she has a firm grasp of case in the first person singular (was there ever a talkative 2 year old who wasn't clear about me, my, I, mine?), she's lost in the 3rd person. Possessives are often "hims coat" and she often will say something like "what is him doing?"

She has an incredible memory, especially for verse and songs. Rather a while ago she came back at me with "Cinderella, dressed in yellow, went upstairs to kiss a fellow; by mistake she kissed a snake. How many doctors did it take?" I had recited this to her a total of once, and it seems unlikely she'd heard it repeatedly at school or among friends, as they are too young for jumprope rhymes, this is an obscure one, and it's probably not on the records they listen to. (Those of you who know the family flea's overall linguistic facility, and especially memory for doggerel, will not find this trait a surprise in Casper.) Before eating her breakfast banana today she gave me several verses of "No more monkeys jumping on the bed!"

In pre-reading news, she can recognize whole words in a few places, but it's clearly contextual only. That is, she knows that picture has a big sign saying "milk," but she doesn't recognize "milk" in other places. She doesn't really know the alphabet, which we haven't pushed aside from having fridge letter magnets. She sometimes recognizes the first letter of her name, but other times not. She will ask me to write my, or her, or daddy's name when we're drawing pictures, and she'll look at a sign and say "There's words on there," but aside from that, no steps towards reading.

Numeracy is also not a big feather in her cap. She can rattle off the numbers to 20 accurately, but actually attaching them to the concept of the numbers is a stretch. She gets one, and two, and sometimes three, but point to a picture of six cats and ask how many there are and you'll get "One two three four fixe six seven eight nine ten." For a couple of weeks she was interested in reading the same book about numbers and math every night, and I showed her over and over how to put her finger on the thing she was counting and say each number in turn as she did it, but she still hasn't gotten there conceptually.

ION, we've had remarkably little trouble about ceasing nursing. She still asks a few times a day, and I say "remember, we stopped nursing," and at most I get one protesting wail, and then we move on. This is a relief. Dinnertime, on the other hand, has developed into guerilla warfare. Last night we had deliberate spitting out of food onto the floor for the first time. Also, if I never see another thrown sippy cup I will be happy. It's always something.

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