Sunday, June 25, 2017

Li'l prankster

Yesterday while Rachel was in the shower, Andrew taught Zoë a few hilarious pranks.

Now, Zoë isn't one to take to new things very quickly—not even birthday cake or water (two things she loves now, after multiple exposures). She has turned up her nose at pretty much everything ever presented to her since birth. But pranks? She took to those immediately (at least as the one on the dishing out end of things).

First they filled a cup with cold water and dumped it on her.

While Rachel was shrieking in the shower, Zoë ran shrieking out of the bathroom.

"Throw! Aich-o! La-lo!" she managed to say between her laughs. "More! More! More throw!"

Next they turned off all the bathroom lights and the same thing happened—Rachel started shrieking out of consternation while Zoë was shrieking with glee.

"Dark! Aich-o! More dark! More!"

She was clapping her hands and absolutely begging to get Rachel again.

"Are you a prankster?" I asked her.

"Dup," she said.

I'm sure eventually Andrew will regret teaching her these little tricks...

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lost time accidents

Today I was making dinner and Zoë was watching. She loves to "see!" while we work in the kitchen, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It's good because observing and doing is how children learn about the world. She loves to fetch spoons and hot pads or whatever we might need while we cook. The downside, of course, is that she's a limit-pushing toddler.

When I took the pan off the stove to take to the table, I reminded her it was time to climb down from her stool and cautioned, "The stove is still very hot. Don't touch!"

She looked at me with defiance, stuck out one little finger, and touched the stove—just to ensure I wasn't making stuff up.

I wasn't.

She crashed to the floor from her perch, wailing about "HUUURRRRT!"

Well, duh. 

We ran her finger under cold water until her "ow-me" felt "kay" again. She hopped down and went to play with her siblings (who were busy in the living room creating a masterpiece out of DUPLO), only to run back to me minutes later screaming, "HUUURRRT!!! More la-lo! More la-lo!"

So I helped her hop back onto her stool so she could run some more cold water over her finger. 

Here's a sad little Zoë:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Happy Birthday to me

The children spent the morning fighting until I lost it with them and cried, "It is my birthday! I have no presents. I have no cake. It's raining and Dad took the car so we can't even go anywhere. The least you can do is get along for a little while!"

They tried a bit harder after that, but it was still a little bit of a letdown of a birthday. 

We tried to turn things around in the afternoon by walking to the pool (in the rain), swimming (in the rain), and walking home from the pool (in the rain). We were lucky it was just drizzling instead of the downpours we've had the past few days. 

When I was on swim team we'd occasionally (at least once every summer) have what was called "Hell Week." You can probably imagine what that entails—a whole lot of sets and drills that no one really wants to do. I think it was meant to push us to our limits. Or to help us appreciate the next week when the coach went back to normal instead of the crazed coach of fury from Hell Week. 

It's not my favourite phrase, but it is what it is.

Andrew is in Dissertation Hell Week(s) right now. He's writing and writing like he's running out of time because, quite literally, he is. He has everything planned out and outlined and is just picking off sections and pounding them out. He's gone before we wake up (unless someone has a doctor appointment), he doesn't get home until bedtime, and then once the kids are in bed he's back to the old grinding stone until well past midnight. 

Zoë at 2 years

This morning Zoë had her two-year check-up. She's tallish (34.5 inches; 69th percentile) but rather thin (24 lbs; 16th percentile), which the doctor said was fine compared to how chubby she was at 6 months because breastfed babies tend to do that (chunk out before petering out).

Zoë was so excited to get to go to the doctor—really she was just excited that she was going to get to leave the house with Mommy while everyone else had to stay at home with Daddy. But she also loves stethoscopes and was excited that the doctor was going to listen to her heart. She happily put on her shoes and marched out of the house. She happily strode across the parking lot and bravely announced that she wanted to be the one to set off the sensor for the automatic door.

But once we were inside and she started to remember what goes on in a place like this she wasn't so happy about being there anymore. She did not want to go back there when the nurse called her name, but she followed anyway and cooperated for all of her measurements. Then she sat on my lap and cried until the doctor came in. Even though I explained that she wasn't going to have any shots she just couldn't relax.

Right now she negates a lot of things by shaking her head. So she'll say exactly the thing that she doesn't want but will shake her head while saying it.

Whenever Andrew gets her into her pyjamas she always reminds him, "Tickle!" but with a head shake, so, don't tickle!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Afternoon adventure

We went to the museum after lunch for some much needed time away from our half-packed house. Today was a perfect day for it because the rain is taking a break (it's a rainy, rainy week 'round these parts) and yesterday's storm cooled things off nicely so it wasn't too hot. The museum wasn't too crowded, either, because half of it is closed. 

One of the exhibits houses some endangered red wolves as part of a breeding program. They finally saw some success and a litter of pups was born a couple of months ago. Puppies sound a lot like children because—wouldn't you know it?—those little wolf pups managed to sneak out of their enclosure!

While they pose no threat to people (yet), they closed off the wilderness area while they searched for them. They found a couple on the outside of the fenced area on Tuesday evening. Their dad was trying to feed them regurgitated meat through the fence when they were spotted.

The last little pup had to weather yesterday's storm all on her own—the torrential downpour and lightning-filled sky must have been frightening for such a little thing! She, too, found her way back to the enclosure on her own this morning (though she had to be helped back inside). 

I think they spent the rest of the day looking for pesky puppy escape routes and sealing them up.

Anyway, because half the museum was closed off to visitors a lot of people chose not to visit the museum. But we did! Even though we didn't get to see the baby wolves we still had a fun time. 

We visited the farm:

A Benjamin blunder

Last night we were on a walk and Benjamin was his usual uncontainable self, running ahead to "beat" everybody, running back to "find" everybody, suddenly stopping to look at this or that, "flying" around like a dragon, yanking on his little sister's arm, yelling at the top of his lungs. You know, that kind of thing.

I saw a t-shirt awhile ago that mused "I'm a mom. I work from son up to son down."

There's little I can do to wear this child out. Today we went for a walk after breakfast, then we walked to the pool, swam for three hours, and walked home. Then he played outside in the heat. And he still didn't go to bed easily.

But I digress.

We were out walking yesterday and he was being boisterous and wild. We were coming up to a big van parked on the side of the road (which he managed to avoid running into; no small feat for him) and he loudly proclaimed, "I'M GOING TO KICK MY BUTT!" meaning, of course, that he was going to run with such vim that his heels would be making contact with his rear end.

So, anyway, he hollered these words and then took off running goofily past the van, only to come to a screeching halt when a couple of rather amused-looking neighbours stepped out from the other side of the van.

Benjamin was mortified. The rest of us burst out laughing.

Andrew pointed out that his mortification proves that although we rarely see evidence of it within our own four walls, the boy is picking up social cues (and recognized that he just pulled a nice faux pas). So he is learning...

Friday, June 16, 2017

Acceptance letters are exciting

Andrew and I were excited when we got into BYU.

We were excited when he got accepted at AUC.

We were excited when he got into BYU (again).

We were excited to be here at Duke.

But this morning FedEx rang our doorbell and delivered what is, perhaps, the most exciting letter of all—a job offer! We'll be heading back to BYU (because we just can't get enough of that place) for a one-year assistant professorship. We have no idea what we'll be doing beyond this one year, but at least we have a one-year plan in place.

We've been sitting around biting our nails for quite some time, and although we still have quite a few ducks yet to get in line, at least we know what direction to prod those unruly ducks.

Why Miriam had that not-so-sharp pencil at the piano

Miriam has been busy transcribing a song (Down in the Valley) on the piano. She began plucking the tune out by ear and then asked for a blank page of sheet music so she could write it down. She's doing a great job, from my layman's view.

She just finished with the melody and realized that although she decided on the key of C, every F was sharped and her song began and ended on D. At first she thought it might be in the key of G, due to the F sharp, but the D part was boggling her mind.

At ukulele one day, my friend Laura told us that you can usually tell what key a song is in by its ending note. My mind was blown (but that's pretty easy to do when it comes to music theory). Anyway, having remembered this little tidbit, Miriam decided that her song must be in the key of D major—with an F sharp and a C sharp (even though there is no C in the song).

All she's got to figure out now is what her left hand is going to do.

I was not doing this kind of thing when I was seven.

(I also wasn't stabbing people with pencils, but, you know...)

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Backstabbing little sisters

Rachel let out an ear-piercing scream, stormed off to her room, and slammed the door. 

"What now?" I asked, my patience already worn tissue paper thin by today's shenanigans.

"You told us to clean our rooms so we could go to the pool," Miriam explained.

"Yes, but why did Rachel scream?"

"Because I was playing the piano."

"Yes, but why did she scream?"

"Because I told her to give me one minute, so she started counting to one minute, but she was counting too fast, so I told her so."

"And that made her scream?"

"Well, she got mad and started playing Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star really loudly on the piano."

"Yes, I heard that part. But what made her scream like that?"

"She was playing so loud that I couldn't even think!"


"So...I stabbed her with a not-so-sharp pencil."

Mmmhmmm. That's the kind of day we had. The kind of day where one of your sweet-natured little girls stabs the other in the back with a (not-so-sharp (but sharp enough to have left its mark)) pencil.

Fortunately we're all friends again. The girls are even having a sleepover in Rachel's room tonight (though one of them didn't think it was particularly fair that she is now having "lights out" time while Rachel is having "extra show" time, but one of them has a hole in her back and the other does not, so it looks pretty darn fair to me).

Tomorrow we're going for a stab-free day.

Setting that bar real high.

Swimming solo

It felt like a billion degrees today, though it was only in the high 80s, so we were quite surprised when we arrived at the pool and found we had it—in all its lukewarm glory—to ourselves.