A Dance Class Video Sampling

Standard

This week at dance class was Open House, so the parents of the pretty little dancers could sit in on the class. Usually we’re relegated to a sitting area like we’re waiting our turn to have our teeth cleaned or peering through a little two-way window/mirror like we’re viewing a police interrogation.

Barely listening to the teacher.

Barely listening to the teacher.

I took a few little videos of Phoebe being PHOEBE during dance class.  Enjoy!

I think this last video perfectly encompasses Phoebe and her natural wolfchild spirit.

Spin, little wolf girl. Spin.

Mermaid mysteries.

Standard

Me: Huh.
Husband: What are you thinking about?
Me: Whether or not mermaids are mammals.
Husband: What?
Me: Mermaids. Are they mammals. Think about it. They can’t possibly have live births, but they have human breasts. Why?
(We ponder silently.)
Husband: They’re monotremes.
Me: Ohhhhh. Ok. Yeah. That makes total sense. Thank you. I feel better now.

Dances with Wolfchild

Standard

Phoebe, the big one, loves to dance around.  She’s always dancing.  When music comes on the car, she demands we dance. When we’re in the grocery store and she can hear the store radio, she tells me it’s time to dance.  There’s never not dancing in our house.  So, it made perfect sense to me to enroll Phoebe into toddler dance class.

I knew it wouldn’t be a hard sell to get her to want to go to dance class. She’s happy to go anyplace.  When we tell Phoebe we’re going somewhere she’s always excited.
“Phoebe, let’s go to the library!”
“Let’s go!”
“Phoebe, let’s go to the doctor!”
“Let’s go!”
“Phoebe, let’s go club some baby seals!”
“Let’s go!”

When I told her she was going to have dance class, or “go to dancing school,” as she likes to put it, she was understandably stoked. She danced around the kitchen like a manic little fairy. Unfortunately, the prancing about also involved spinning like a ballerina and she slipped while twirling and landed on her face.

She's a trooper.

She’s a trooper.

Once her fat lip healed, we procured the necessary dancing ballet slippers, tap shoes, leotards, and tights. She was bursting with excitement. She begged to be allowed to tap dance around the house in her leotard, and we were more than happy to oblige. Her tap dancing style is enthusiastic, to say the least.

The day of dance class finally arrived.  We dressed her into her adorable little dance leotard and pretty pink tights and drove to dance class. In the waiting room a hoard of pink-clad little pixies with pigtails and french braids grew in number. It was upsettingly cute.  When class was ready to start, the teacher told all the little 3 and 4 year olds to line up against a wall when their name was called to walk to the dance room together.

That’s when with dawning horror the realization hit me:  She’s a wolfchild.

She doesn’t listen. She doesn’t take direction. She doesn’t do what she’s told. She does whatever she wants, whenever she wants, regardless of what you say.  It’s not that she doesn’t understand your instructions, because she does. She’s quite bright and understand exactly what you want her to do.  She just does not care.  This is why I call her wolfchild. She’s a little untamed beast.

Giving zero f*cks.

Giving zero f*cks.

Dance class was no different. In the few instances I peeked into the dance class I witnessed the true wolfiness manifesting within Phoebe. The teacher had the little girls stand in a circle and do “I’m a Little Teapot.” Phoebe the wolfchild ran around the room.  The girls all took turns hopping like frogs across the floor.  Phoebe the wolfchild hopped by herself in the corner.  All the girls stamped their feet like they were making wine.  Phoebe the wolfchild scooted on her butt in front of the mirror.

After class I immediately went up to the teacher to apologize.  I know she’s an awful listener. I know she’s probably going to disrupt the class when the other girls are trying to listen. I know the teacher probably wanted to throw a shoe at her, like I want to do half the time.  The lovely dance teacher assured me there was nothing to apologize for, that as long as she is in the dance room and not crying it is a success.  I suppose when you’re dealing with little girls who are barely out of diapers (or, in my stubborn wolfchild’s case, still in diapers) not devolving into tears and staying in the same room with the teacher is a win.

We have class again next week. Between now and then I’m trying to drill into Phoebe’s head that she needs to do what the teacher tells her and listen to instructions.  As usual, she ignores me while tap dancing across the kitchen.

At least she's cute.

At least she’s cute.

I hope you see many bunnies.

Standard

I like to take a strolling about my neighborhood in the evening. On Sundays and Mondays when my husband is home I can go out right when the sun is setting and walk for miles in circles around my cute little neighborhood with my headphones on, listening to NPR podcasts because I am in fact that cool. I call these walks my “Bunny Walks.” A little forest rings around where I live and little brown fluffy bunnies come out to nibble on lawns in the cool evening air. I count the bunnies as I walk.

I have rules I’ve set for bunny counting.  I can only count each individual bunny once, so if it’s in the same lawn on my second pass around the neighborhood I can’t count it again. If a lawn that didn’t originally have a bunny on it gets a bunny on my second lap I have to discern if it’s a bunny I’ve seen before that’s moved to a new yard or a new bunny that’s hopped out of the woods.  These are my bunny rules.  An average count on a Bunny Walk is 4. On a great night I might see 7. I always report my bunny count to my husband when I get back.

Tonight before my walk, as I was untangling my headphones and deciding which podcast to listen to (it was Star Talk with Neil deGrasse Tyson) my husband said to me “I hope you see many bunnies.”  I decided I like that as a salutation in everyday situations.  “I hope you see many bunnies.”

Think about it. Is there a situation where you wouldn’t be delighted to see bunnies? If you were walking into your job and you saw a bunny outside the door to your building, nibbling on some grass and being fluffy, wouldn’t that make a great start to your day? No matter if customers were being rude or if your boss was scheduling pointless meetings, you could think about that sweet little bun bun that might still be outside on your walk to your car. Stressed out about going to the dentist?  Bunny. Dinner with your in-laws? Bunny. Traffic making you late?  Hey, look at all those bunnies frolicking on the side of the road. Bunnies make everything better.

So, as you go about your day, that is my wish to you.  I hope you see many bunnies.

Slip N Slides are now ruined forever.

Standard

Tonight I threw my children into the tub like usual. Once the kids were clean I wrapped my toddler in a towel, toga style, and took the baby to the bedroom to be diapered and pajamaed. (shut up it’s a word.)

When I walked back into the kitchen, a terrible scene unfurled before me. My toddler, Phoebe, had shed her towel toga. She had peed onto the kitchen floor. She was now playing slid n slide across my kitchen floor in her own pee.

I’m going to type that again here for emphasis.

My daughter was slip n sliding across my kitchen floor in a puddle of pee.

A SLID N SLIDE MADE OF PEE IN MY KITCHEN.

That I now had to clean up.

First I had to capture the tinkle-soaked naked pixie as she pranced, giggling, around my house. All I had to do was follow the foot prints made of pee and she was easy enough to locate. I also had to herd the baby away from the giant lake that my floor had become.

I’d like to think of this as a cautionary tale for anyone who wants to have children. You think you can anticipate everything. And then your precious princess luges penguin-style through a urine puddle.

Ah. Well. I planned on spending my Saturday night mopping the floor anyhow.

Chef Phoebe and the Egg Pie

Standard

Sunday I got to share a fun lesson with Phoebe.  I wasn’t planning to.  I was just going to make us breakfast.  I had no idea at when I decided to cook I’d be making a special little toddler moment with the weirdo tiny person who lives in my house.

I can’t be the only person that cleans out the fridge on grocery shopping day.  Little odds and ends of things seem to accumulate over the days leading up to shopping day and I can’t bear to throw away food that still can be eaten.  I had a few eggs, three pieces of bacon, an old potato, and an old onion. To me, that spells frittata.  I fried the pieces of bacon and set them aside.  I cubed half the potato and cooked it in the bacon grease. I chopped up half the onion and threw that in there too.  I turned around and Phoebe was charging through the kitchen, pushing a chair towards the stove and chirping “Do you want to do cooking? Do you want to do cooking?”

I don’t know why I was surprised.  She is always interested when anyone’s cooking in the kitchen, mostly so she can prance around dangerously whenever we try to open the oven or bring a hot pan to the table.  I discovered last week if I let her watch what I’m doing while I’m cooking she stays relatively out of the way.  Out from under foot, at least.  She was pleased as punch the day I let her stand on the kitchen chair and sprinkle pepper on the chicken I was roasting so of course she’d want to drag that chair over again to see what Mommy was up to. Maybe there would be more pepper to sprinkle on additional chickens.

It would have been really easy to tell her to leave Mommy alone, that Mommy was cooking and when Mommy is done she can eat and go play until the food is ready. I could have finished my frittata in relative peace and we could have had a tasty breakfast together, end of story.  Instead, I pushed the kitchen chair up to the counter so she could see me cook the potato and onion.

“What are you making?” she asked me.  “A frittata.” I answered.  She looked confused.  I tried to define it in a way she’d grasp. “It’s eggs baked like a pie.  It’s an egg pie.”  She seemed to understand that.  “A egg pie!!”  She was excited about the prospect even though she’s never willingly swallowed a molecule of egg.  I got out the eggs and cracked one into a bowl.  “Do you want hold mine?  Do you want hold mine?” she twittered.  In Phoebe Language, “Do you want hold mine” means “Can I hold that?”  I handed her an egg, which she held using the tips of her fingers like I imagine a eagle would hold something in its talons before it tore it apart.  She let me “help her” crack the egg.  We got some shell in the bowl. I fished it out.  I went to crack another egg, and she demanded she help crack that one.  We cracked it.  Some shell got in the eggs again. I fished it out again. Repeat for five more eggs.

Mixing mixing mixing!

Mixing mixing mixing!

I figured she’d be excited to mix the eggs with a whisk, and she was.  She saw my instruction of “keep the whisk in the eggs while you’re mixing” as an option that could be ignored.  She let me help her mix the eggs after I added some milk, so they were properly combined at least.  Phoebe was of course very excited to add pepper. She really likes sprinkling spices.

It wasn’t entirely smooth sailing.  I realized I’d forgotten to Pam the pyrex pie pan after I’d poured half the eggs into it, so I had to dump it back in the bowl, wash the pan, dry the pan, spray the pan, and pour over again.  You’ll note that was entirely my fault and not at all something the toddler did.  I’d have screwed that up even if she wasn’t there, demanding to touch and hold and mix. I got a big spoon and told her I was going to add the onions, potatoes, and bacon pieces into the eggs.  “It’s a job for Chef Mommy!” she exclaimed, immediately followed by “Do you want hold mine?” as I spooned the filling into the pan with the eggs.  I had to wince and flinch as she unevenly dumped clumps into the pan, but I did let her do it.  “It’s a job for Chef Phoebe and Chef Mommy!” she said proudly, letting a spoonful of potato fall into the eggs with an upsetting splash.

Once all the filling was added, I poured the rest of the eggs in and cut up an overripe tomato I wasn’t going to let go to waste for prettiness on top.  Phoebe of course demanded to be the one to place the tomatoes on the top of the frittata.  The were off-center and asymmetrical. It distressed me. She was ecstatic, even when she got egg on the side of her hand and waved it around like it was alien goo that might infect her with an interplanetary plague. I let the wonky tomato alignment go. We put the frittata into the oven to cook and she scampered off to wreak havoc someplace else.

checking on the Egg Pie

checking on the Egg Pie

She was less enthusiastic about eating her egg pie than she was about making it.  She does not like eggs, and having helped make it didn’t do much to dissuade her of that.  She dug around with her fork eating the bits of bacon and potato. Her father and I horked it down because it was crazy delicious even though a toddler helped make it.

Beautiful and tasty!

Beautiful and tasty!

I learned how to cook by watching my mom cook and asking questions and demanding to know why she was doing what she was doing. I hope Phoebe keeps being interested in what I’m doing in the kitchen.  It’s much easier and quicker to cook without a little kid wanting to take the spoon out of your hand at every step and having to explain in simple language what a hand mixer or colander or asparagus is. Dinner can get to the table in a much neater and nicer looking fashion if I don’t let her help.  I will let her help cook every time she wants to, though, for as long as she wants to, because I know at some point she’s not going to care what Mommy is doing and I should soak this up while I can.  I promise you this, however: I will never serve food she helped make to anyone else. I know where her little hands have been.