Sunday, April 26, 2009

Kenna's Vocab

It's perfectly normal for a preschool aged child to use words incorrectly. Also, it's rather commonplace for a young child to tweak a word. Case in point: Mackenna's recent use of the word "bester."

Frankly, I don't know why "bester" hasn't been integrated into the English language before now. It works beautifully to mean "better and more"--at the same time. Here is an actual example in Mackenna's own words,

Mommy, you know who I like bester than Jasmine?
I like Snow White
bester than Jasmine.

"Bester" is cute and quite useful in communicating. Anyone listening to Kenna could easily understand her meaning when she uses this term.

This is not the case with some of her other words lately. She's been making some words completely up (as far as her father and I can tell). Michael and I are readers; we've got decent vocabularies. We hold our own when we play "Word Power" in Reader's Digest every month. And yet Mackenna has stumped us twice in the past week with some of her "vocabulary."

The first instance happened when she and her sister were playing on the floor. Suddenly, Kenna was crying. I tried to calm her and find out what had happened. Through tears and with the utmost sincerity, she explained that her finger had been "friggled" by her sister and that is why she was screaming.

"Friggled?" I queried (see the above-par vocab coming out now?), "What does 'friggled' mean?" She looked at me like I had just asked her what "finger" meant. She went on to explain that "friggled" means "hurt." Marlee had hurt her finger. Oh.

The next morning, I woke up to her sitting on my bed chatting with her daddy. She was intent on sharing her narrative with her father. As my mind pushed its way out of dreamland and into reality, I heard this snippet, "...and then the mouses ate the appilators..."

I sat right up. "What is she talking about?" I asked my Michael. He raised his eyebrows and responded, "She's telling me about appilators." "But what are they?" I posed again. He shrugged. Mackenna went on to explain that they are things that "mouses" eat; they don't eat at all, themselves, as they do not have mouthes (pronounced mouth-ehs). Suddenly, everything was much more clear. As mud.

We have no idea where this child is getting her new words, but it sure is keeping us entertained! In the meantime, I guess the moral here is this: although it is not desirable to have your finger friggled, it's a darn sight bester than being on the appilator end of a mouse/appilator confrontation. You heard it here first.

I worry that Kenna gets a bad wrap on my blog. I hope you can tell from this post and this photo that my baby isn't all hellion. Truly, she's rather funny and cuddly.

We Made It Through April 25th

You might read that title and wonder why the celebration? Let me tell you the significance of this date this year.

For months, I have been stressing about the morning of April 25th and wondering how we were going to do everything that needed to be done that day.

For starters, Maia had signed up for her first Judo promotion and to participate in her first tournament. She started going to Judo with her dad and brother last fall and didn't want to try for her yellow belt when Mason got his; she didn't have enough confidence then. Promotions can only happen a couple of times a year, so this was the next possible date for her to try to advance. We encouraged her to participate and she, with butterflies in her stomach, agreed to go for the belt and enroll in the tournament. Weigh in was to begin at 8:30 am.

Mason and Marlee are both signed up to play baseball this spring. Having had a child in baseball for the past several years, I knew that every Saturday morning through the beginning of June would be booked with games so I wasn't surprised when the schedule came out showing Marlee's game at 8:00 am and Mason's game at 9:00. I was less than thrilled, however, that their games were at two different venues (slightly less convenient).

Several months ago, I accepted the opportunity to be a counselor this summer at my church's camp for teenage girls. I haven't been to camp, myself, in twenty years, so I am a little nervous about the whole deal. There is a lot to know. I am in charge of making sure these girls meet all of their certification requirements (from learning skills like orienteering with a compass to different ways of cooking outdoors to teaching other campers ways to build emergency shelters, etc) and have a good time. Again, I am nervous about it. Anyway, my first big training meeting was set to be from 9:00 am until noon.

Do you see why I have been stressed about this morning for months? Marlee had to be at her game in one town at 7:50; Mason had to be at his game in another town at 8:30; Maia had to be in another city at 8:30; I had to be at a meeting in the opposite direction in a fourth city at 9:00. And I wanted to be at all those places. Even with Michael's help with the running, there was no way for us to be everywhere we needed/wanted to be!

Thankfully, things went pretty smoothly for us all. I took Teensy to her first game and was able to watch her first inning where she hit a great single and scored a run! Our friend Greg agreed to watch her and take her home with him and his three sons until Michael could come retrieve her later in the morning.

I dropped Mason off at his game, (gave a dad there the head's up that I was abandoning my son and begged him to keep an eye on my boy) with my cell phone and instructions to call Daddy two innings before the end of the game. He did just that and Michael left the Judo tournament to pick-up Mason who was just "good game"-ing the other team when Daddy and Kenna arrived to get him. Talk about perfect timing!

Michael, Mason, and Mackenna then went to get Teensy from Greg before heading back to Maia's tournament. After my meeting, I met the whole family there I was so happy to see all my kids back together safe and sound after their various activities. As a bonus, I got to the tournament just as Maia was competing in her match.

I have never seen Maia so agressive before; it was quite a sight! She really is getting strong. I was so proud of her as I watched her. I really think that Judo is good for her confidence and coordination. Even though she didn't win her match, I still think she did a great job. (And I think her loss might be partly my fault. I started cheering for her while she was putting a move on the other girl and when she heard my voice she stopped what she was doing, looked up and stared at me like, "When did you get here, Mom?" I totally broke her concentration. Oops!)

The best part of the match was the last minute or so. I didn't know how to splice the video and only post the good stuff, so feel free to fast forward.

And so I breathe a sigh of relief that April 25th is over and that we made it through the morning without any hiccups. May we never have a day like that again!

Monday, April 13, 2009

My Birthday Boy

When Mason turned two, he begged to have a "fufferfly" birthday party. We obliged and hosted a multi-family barbecue at a nearby park where Mason received Little People toys and Bob the Builder paraphernalia. He shielded his face while we sang "Happy Birthday" but rallied when it was time to eat cake. (Please check out that pouty lower lip in the above photo--it's killer!)

Well, this year my Buddy let us sing to him with abandon and didn't have a themed party at all. In fact, I talked him into just having his dad take him and a couple of this friends to the batting cages/arcade and coming back here for cake and ice cream. I must say, it was my favorite birthday party to date (because Michael had to do the entertaining--hee hee!)

Mason happily played all morning with his new Lego set (sakes alive, how those little pieces of plastic can entertain the most energetic of boys!) but really got excited when his best friend, Dallin, brought him his gift: a lizard. Mason had been wanting a new pet to replace his deceased toad, Fireball (may she rest in peace). "Komodo" (it's an anole, not a komodo dragon) was just the thing Mason had been hoping to have.

To commemorate the big occasion of his ninth birthday, I sat down with Mason and asked him some questions. He seemed tickled to be the subject of a real live interview. Here is a transcript of the whole event:

What was the best part of being eight?
That I got to get baptized.
(The minimum age of baptism in my church is eight years old.)

What do you think is going to be the best part of being nine?

That I get to go to Bears now.
(He gets to move up from Wolf to Bear in the Cub Scout ranks.)

What are your favorite activities?
Sports and outdoor games, because I like the outdoors.

Which sports are your favorites?

Baseball, basketball and football.

Which outdoor activities are your favorites?

Tag, hide-and-go seek, climbing the tree.

Give me three words to describe your room:
Blue, big and habitat (for his lizard).

What was your favorite birthday present:

The lizard.
(My Legos and light saber were really looking fabulous until that lizard showed up!)

What is your favorite thing to hear Mom say?
What would you like to have for dinner?
(This made me laugh. I guess I'll have to ask him what he'd like to have for dinner more often.)

What is your favorite food?


What do you want to be when you grow up?

An artist or an author.

What is your favorite book?

Captain Underpants and Harry Potter
(The child NEVER liked to read until he met Captain Underpants.)

What is your favorite movie?

I have a lot. Newsies, Silverado, Harry Potter, and Wall-E
(Sidenote: I was horrified when I returned home from running errands one Saturday afternoon and learned that my Michael had watched Silverado with our young son. Clearly, that is not a kids' show. Well, of course, my saying that he couldn't watch it again made it one of his "favorites." Ugh!)

What is your favorite thing about your mom?

That she's fun.
(From the mouths of babes, thank you very much.)

What is your favorite thing about your dad?

That he let me have a pocket knife and that he bought me Fireball.
(Can we have a moment of silence for the deceased, please?)

So there you have it, a little glimpse of my Mason at nine.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

On Days Like This

Dropping Teensy and her carpool buddies off at preschool is not always a pleasant task. The big girls are certainly ready for an afternoon of fun with Ms. Vanessa, but my little one wants to join in pretty badly.

Today, after finally separating my Kenna from her one-on-one time with Mr. Potato Head we started the short walk to the car. Immediately, she was distracted by all the daffodils and violas planted in the flower beds. She had to smell each one. I was patient for the first 30 bend-and-sniffs but then I was cold and wanted to get in the car.

She finally relented and came to the van to get buckled in. We were on our way. About half a mile down the road, it must had dawned on Mackenna that she had, in fact, not successfully smelled each flower before getting in the car.

She lost it.

She did her favorite new trick of unbuckling herself, causing me to pull of the road, unbuckle myself, put on the hazard lights, get out, open her door, re-buckle her and get ready to drive again.

I was not happy.

I told her that she is NOT to unbuckle her seat belt while I am driving and told her what consequence to expect if she did it again. She started screaming all manner of names at me and taking the tantrum to a new level. Then, after we had driven another mile, she unbuckled herself again.

When I was re-buckling her the second time she kicked me square in the jaw. I didn't talk to her after that. When we got home, she gave one final cry of "You stupid, dumb rat stink!" and refused to come in the house. She stayed outside screaming on the front steps.

Honestly, by that point I didn't care what the neighbors must think of the little girl wearing a bathrobe (she wanted to wear that instead of a jacket and I let her--because I really don't enjoy battling over every detail in the day) sitting alone outside. She cried and wailed out there while I was leafing through Teensy's book order flyer in the living room.

This part is actually a little cute: initially, she was crying for Maia. "Maiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii-yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" Sniff, sob. My Maia is so good with her and I thought it was adorable that Kenna wanted her big sister to be there for comfort her.

Back to the demonic part: Mackenna started crying out for me and walking into the house. I was done with the whole thing. I picked her up and carried her to her room where I removed her shoes and put her on her bed for her nap. I left the room, shut the door and held it closed so she couldn't come out--all the while not talking to her. Not trusting myself to talk to her, really.

Boy, was she mad. Then she got sad and was yelling things like, "I promise to not hurting your feelings again!" and "I'll do whatever you tell me!" And hand on heart, I think she believed herself.

But I sure didn't.

Of course, she fell asleep. I am feeling better just by having a little quiet time to myself.

Oh, and on days like this, I have a secret weapon to make me forget the tantrum completely:

How adorable was she at eleven months?

And if that doesn't work, I just have to look at this, from her very day of birth:

and I remember she really is an angel straight from heaven--even if I sometimes feel like raising her is #($*.

Quotation of the Month

There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one.

-Jill Churchill