This morning I was talking to Hazel about my coming to her preschool to read a Dr. Seuss book in honor of Dr. Seuss Week.  She knows I work at home, or really go to school at home, but that’s about all she knows.  So, I said to her, “Did you know I’m a writer too?  That’s what I do right now – I read and write, and later I’ll teach other people how to do that.”

“Really?  You just write?  I want to be a writer when I grow up, just like you.”

Thinking how sweet it was to hear that, I said, “I can’t wait to read your books.”

“Hmmm, what do you write?  What kinds of books?”

“I write things about other books; I read them, then I write about them for other people.”

Laughing, she replied, “What?!  Who would read THAT?”

She’s a perceptive little genius, she is.  This little exchange made my day.

 

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Reasons for Future Therapy

I’m not into human experimentation when it involves drugs and stuff, okay?  Let’s just get that out into the open before you read this.

I’m a big fan of this blog called Sociological Images.  All kinds of stuff is discussed on there, and since I have an obsession tendency with analyzing media, particularly that which is blared at girls/kids, I was drawn to this particular post about gift giving.  Basically, Jimmy Kimmel asked his viewers to give their children gifts they knew would not be well received (aka, that they would totally hate), and film the kids opening them.  The intent, I’m sure, was to see kids freaking out, maybe pitching a few fits, and to laugh at their crazy reactions.  The blog author focuses on what constitutes an inappropriate gift – it’s either something that I would consider trash (a black banana, half-eaten sandwich, or juice bottle that just has a little left) or “the gift is considered bad because the recipient is a boy and the gift is for a girl” (Wade).  This was particularly interesting, since the boys mostly showed disgust, cried, or otherwise made fun of the gift.  Mostly, the kids were at best very disappointed and at worst completely pitched a fit.

After reading this blog post and watching the video, I just kept thinking about why the kids were so upset.  I mean, I would definitely not be happy if someone gave me something that was clearly trash (who wouldn’t think they were being pranked?), but a lot of these kids were totally rude if the gift was something they just didn’t want, like a stapler.  A parent admitted it, saying, “Jimmy Kimmel told me to do it,” to which this 8-or 9-year-old boy said, “Well tell him to suck my balls.”  Seriously.  The kid said that, the parent still filmed & submitted the tape.  The issue switched over to materialism, the culture of deserving things, and parenting for me, so I just had to know – what would Hazel do if I did this to her?  After lots of thought, I decided her gift would be a package of dish sponges, clearly opened.  This isn’t trash, it’s not gender inappropriate (because there’s no such thing in our house), but it’s definitely not something she would identify as a toy.  Here’s the video:

I love my daughter.

All Hallow’s Eve

Or whatever!

In the middle of all this goofy are we moving, okay when, okay we still don’t really know exactly, we don’t have a house there yet business, the holiday season began.  And yeah, I think Halloween marks the beginning of three super fun holidays (Thanksgiving gets points for being smooshed in between two cooler holidays), culminating in CHRISTMAS!  I love Christmas, people.  Anyway, I would have just skipped this holiday except I have a three-year-old and a new baby in need of a 1st Halloween costume, and so we did it up, Confer style.

Typical family portrait, and typical Confer costumes.  Hazel’s was particularly fun this year, I think.  Since she’s old enough to really express herself, I thought it would be fun to let her design her costume.  She came up with this idea, which is a pink monster with white polka dots and two sets of ears (one big girl, one mouse).  The bow, though, is because we’re growing her bangs out.

Julia was a muscle man!!  She kept eating and eating on that belt.  I thought she might find her little chest hairs, but nope – just the belt.  I took the girls trick or treating at the shops yesterday, then we picked up Amos from work.  Instead of going door-to-door after that, we opted to take Hazel to Glace for an ice cream treat and next door to the Apple store for a treat (a keychain) and to play on the ipad (her favorite thing).  I was hoping Hazel would choose flavors that are seasonal and kind of Halloweeny, but I don’t know why.  Sometimes I have these really domestic thoughts, like I’m going to switch out all our bathroom and bedroom decor for all matchy seasonal ones and everyone will take Christmas photos wearing matching red and white sweaters with deer knitted into them.  I don’t know where they come from – leftover HCGC reserves? – but I was having one MAJOR last night.  I was all, “what flavors do you want?  Roasted pumpkin, banana, maybe squash, even rum raisin?”  And she looked right at the server and said “I want that blue cheese one and the spicy chocolate.”  When she says stuff like that, it snaps me right out of those weird SkyMall fantasies and back into our real world, the one where she orders blue cheese and spicy chocolate and eats them together.

It’s Never Too Early

With our current living situation (ahem – tiny apartment covered in white gray carpet that only currently houses about 1/3 of our worldly possessions), sometimes things to do evade both Hazel and I.  I’m nervous about messing up the carpet and having to pay for it, and I hesitate to set up any permanent play stations for several reasons.  After a while, crayons and washable markers, even these window markers I bought, start to pale somewhat.  We are outside everyday, for at least a couple of hours, jumping and swinging and sliding at the playground nearby, but our inside activities needed a boost.  Since Hazel loves to read, I decided we should try our hand at making a book of our very own.

I tend to become more regimented, organized, and clean when I’m feeling stressed, and our current situation stresses me out quite a bit, so I think Hazel sees me only in that role.  I’m constantly cleaning up this apartment; it’s just too small for any mess to exist if we’re going to walk around without breaking our ankles.  She’s too young to see my creative side; my taking photos and knitting are just things Mama does to her, I’m sure, and I don’t know how old she’ll have to be before she can understand the creativity that goes into the work I do at school.  It worries me.  I don’t want her to feel constricted, and so I thought this activity would allow her space to stretch her imagination, draw, work on numbers and letters, and help to focus her attention for a longer time on one activity.

She did not disappoint!  Her story evolves a bit over time, but the words are hers.  She is so proud of her little missive,   but not possibly more than I am!  This is SO going in her keepsake box.  I look forward to the day I can whip this bad boy out…maybe at her Pulitzer Prize award celebration or something 😉

Picasso!

I was having a little mama time (aka, knitting and having my coffee breakfast without otherwise holding a small girl child) this morning, and Hazel asked to use markers at the table.  I got her all set up, excited about the guaranteed 10 minutes I would get while she was distracted by coloring, and snuggled back up with my worsted wool & fancy coffee from Dean & Deluca.  She comes running over about 2 minutes later, and I have to admit being a little disappointed to see her.  Bad Mama!  But I was absolutely ELATED when she showed me this picture!

Can you see that?  That’s a picture of our family!!  And it looks pretty clearly like people!!!!!  HOW FREAKING AWESOME IS MY KID?!?!  She ran right over and hung it on the fridge herself.  I like a girl with confidence.

I’m hiding my cameras.

Hazel has recently expressed interest in touching my cameras  taking pictures.  I have to fight against every self-preservation instinct to snatch it out of her hands, my hands doing a little puppet-show-pantomime as I reach to steady, but pull back, again and again, but I don’t want to stifle her creativity.  I think she’s doing a smashing job, eh?  These are the only couple of photos she’s taken of actual people; far more, far, FAR more, have been of the carpet.

Encouraging the Messy

Hold on to your seats, kids, but I have a confession:  I don’t like to be messy.  SHOCKING, right?  Um, yes, I do know that I have an unhealthy obsession with being neat.  It’s actually kind of a blessing, really; my house stays clean without my being all obsessive compulsive about it should it get dirty.  That’s how I try to see it, anyway!  But lately I’ve noticed that streak in Hazel, too.  I don’t know if I’m unconsciously training her to be this way or if it’s passed on in my genetic material, but I have started to worry just a smidge about it.  I want her to feel creative without restraint at times; we can always clean it up later, right?  So yesterday I pulled out the fingerpaints for the first time at our house, both in the spirit of being messy and to make Daddy a painting for Father’s Day.

But then he showed up, so we abandoned the Father’s Day bit and just focused on the messy!  Hazel had kind of a hard time with getting her hands dirty – at first.  She got more into it when Amos and I participated as well.  After one painting she was done, though I think it had more to do with wanting to get into the sprinkler than it did being worried about messiness.  I’m looking forward to trying out more projects with Hazel that foster development of right brain activities; I’m definitely a creative person, but I know I’m held back by wanting to be neat, in control, and logical.  I don’t want to put that on Hazel (or Julia), but really want to provide an environment where she can try out all kinds of different things to see what suits her best.  Maybe, though her experimentation, I can loosen up a bit myself!!!

The Butcher, the Baker…

Whew!  We've had so much going on lately that I feel like I'm blogging everyday!

With the baby on the way Amos and I have gone a little heirloom-crazy.  Not that it's a bad thing; we're just interested in having special things for our daughter and other maybe future children.  Add that to Amos's persistence in doing things correctly and I give you this:



This is a custom pot he worked with the local potter from Clinton pottery to create.  It's an ideal environment for making a starter for sourdough bread.  If you create a starter you can always cut from it, from now until whenever!  It grows back because of the yeast activity, so as long as you leave some dough in there you can always make more.  This pot was designed to shelter the dough and allow yeast from the air to collect via these tiny holes in the pot.  The shaft of the hole goes diagonally down from the inside, so nothing but air (and the yeast it carries from all over) can get in that way.  





It's a really neat concept, and one that Amos completely designed.  He researched the process and saw that most people start theirs in something like a mason jar, which is not that attractive and quite a bit smaller than he wanted, so he designed this pot.  With the increase in surface area, he went from dough ingredients to this burst of activity in only  24 hours!







I am really proud of him for designing this pot and seeing it through production.  It's already working out amazingly, and I'm sure I'll be partaking in some gustatory rewards soon!


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