Come on! It's a party!

Today was the big girl's 5th birthday party. We did a joint party with two of her best friends, the fabulous Miss C and the irrepressible Miss A. Miss C's b-day is about two weeks before Bean's, and Miss A's is the day after Bean's. We usually have a 4-week run of parties, interrupted by July 4th, as a result.

This year, we opted for the joint party approach. And, believe it or not, it went off without a hitch. No catfights between the moms, no drama with the girls.

The big girl had a blast, and so did her friends and her little sister. It was a fabulous way to get ready for her big 5th birthday. Thanks so much to everyone who joined in the fun!

So mostly her, um, finger painting and macaroni art

I have some cool news to share, but don't feel like a big long post tonight, so I'll share a few recent pics instead.

One of Bean's "Feelings Journal" entries

"I'm going to draw space so I know what it looks like", complete with the Earth, Saturn, Jupiter, Neptune, Uranus, an asteroid belt, stars and the sun. Seriously.

Bean's heart drawing

Why I wonder about my kids' mental well-being. A lot.


games people play

I've been wishing I had a single girlfriend or two of late; I'd love to go out and have a couple beers, just do the low-key casual thing, maybe meet someone. All the spiffy ads talk about how so many people are meeting their significant others online ... but I freakin' hate that approach. I'll do it, because I don't have much choice when it comes to actually *meeting* people, but I hate it. I'm so much more *organic* than that.

Le sigh. Getting matched with guys with mullets (seriously) and old fat guys (sadly, seriously too) doesn't help me appreciate online dating, either.

I'm listening to the girls play. It's like a sad parody of parallel play, where Bean starts some elaborate game that no-one understands. Then LuLu tries to join in but has no idea how to engage with Bean's convoluted scenario. Today's play includes a "yak poker that pokes people away from trouble" hand crafted from Legos and "a vehicle that likes to eat (rattles off first, last and middle names for her dad, sister, self and I) and it's a very mean vehicle. It doesn't really eat people, it teases people. And hits them." It's shocking, really, that LuLu can't figure it all out.

Eventually Lu gives up and starts her own game, usually with little action figures and dollies playing mommies and babies (and the babies just said "back. off. I need space. I need space too!) and tries to engage Bean.

LuLu: Can I hug you, Bean?
Bean: NO.
LuLU: (pauses) Can I hug you Bean?
Bean: NOOO!!! Aaaah! Get off me! I don't want a hug!

Those who know Bean well get how funny it is that she's on the receiving end of the unwanted hug :)

What can I say? I flunked the written.

Bean's very into writing these days. And drawing. She loves to create written words and art .. kind of like me. Only she's good at the art part; I doodle. I'm just not artistic; I can play music and I pick up languages easily, or at least I did in school, but artistic creations have just never been my forte.

Bean's art is kind of surreal. Her favorite shape is a heart, so that dominates her creations. But the other day, she drew a heart on her chalkboard, and proceeded to add lines to the top. She then turned to me and said "that's the aorta, and that's the vena cava."

Have I mentioned before that she loves science? Especially learning about the body. I got her a couple human body DVDs from Netflix and she loved 'em. And she's back into my college bio textbook, especially to fully 'get' the circulatory system.

She's been writing and spelling a lot more. And I love that she'll guess at how things are spelled based on what they sound like. She gets frustrated when I correct her, but it's not like she just says "c-h-u spells chew" she says "c-h-u spells chew, right mommy?" And I can't *lie* to her and tell her she's right. One, because I don't do that and two, because she has a "if mommy says it, it's absolutely true" mindset. So someone else correcting her later is in for a world of hurt; plus, I don't want everyone whoever that someone is thinking I'm an idiot who doesn't know how to spell.

So, while she does get frustrated, I try to couch it with "it's no big deal - you spelled it exactly the way it sounds. It's just that some words don't work that way." She doesn't take correction super well (What's that? It sounds like someone else you know? I thought we agreed we weren't talking smack about Dave anymore. Because I know you're not thinking of me ...), but when I explain that even grown ups make mistakes, it seems to help.

Here are some of the "books" she's written:


Birds need to fly, and girls need to use the toilet

Well, we're through week two of "regular" preschool for Bean and she's holding her own. Laying on her mat at naptime, no full-scale meltdowns, and she seems to be taking to heart that she needs to step up her own self-control. At least so far.

Is it perfect? No. Actually, I'm pretty underwhelmed by her experience there. She's got some academics going on, and brings home practice writing every day, which is better than the academic void she had been in. But it's a chaotic and stressful environment and there seems to be more going on than the staff keeps up with ..

Case in point, on Tuesday, I think, Bean had a poop accident. When I picked her up, I notived that her pants were different and asked what happened. I don't think the teacher really heard me, because her response was about the art that Bean hung on the wall and the ice cream cone she made with construction paper and cotton balls. Then I got distracted with the art and left and it was an hour or so later that Bean told me what happened.

So a ziploc with poop percolated in a cubby until the next day - I've never been gladder that I buy $2 Target pants and $5 Goodwill dresses for my kids, because that ziploc of joy went straight in the trash.

Later in the week, Bean informed me: "I had another accident today and flushed my panties down the toilet." Points to her for creative problem-solving; she wanted to destroy the evidence and there was no garbage can in the bathroom.

So she had to go potty, and then either:
take off pants and shoes,
flush the panties,
pull up her pants (and possibly put shoes back on),
go retrieve new panties,
go back to the potty,
take off pants (and maybe shoes) again,
put new panties on,
get dressed and rejoin the group

OR she had to shuffle out with pants around her ankles and retrieve the panties, then strip down, put the news ones on, and get redressed. The stealthiest she could have been would have gone mnore like: pull up the soiled panties, come out, retrieve new panties from a ziploc in her cubby, then go back in the bathroom and strip down and change panties.

I broke it all out like that because: how the eff did someone not notice this and tell me about it? It's frustrating as hell for me ... Having kids in full time care is hard enough. Not feeling great about where they're getting that care really sucks.

Is it bigger than a breadbox?

In today's installment of "everything's bigger in texas", the Texas Spiny Lizard:

The one I encountered this afternoon moved too quickly for me to get a pic before he was a good 10-15 feet up the free, but he (or she) was really cool! I hope I see it again; the girls were excited about the juvenile anole that we found on the deck - a 6-inch spiny lizard will make their day.

Of course, I probably won't see it when the kidlets are around.

So I went to PetSmart today (there were some awful cute kittens there, if anyone around the 1890 Ranch Petsmart is looking for a friend .. ) intending to get a full aquarium setup. But really, I want to deal with all of that like I want a hole in the head. It also just didn't compute to spend like $3-400 on an aquarium setup + stand for a fish that'll cost like $2 to replace.

So, here are Isabel the Betta's new digs:

It's a positively pink palace, fit for a male fish that likes to kill it's rivals. I think if Isabel the fish had any inkling of what a puss we were turning him into, he'd just go belly-up. At least he entertains the only other boy in the house:


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