Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Princess Tales

We went out to get some produce this evening at The Tree. Everyone there loves Rachel; they got a banana all ready for us when they saw us walking past their store...hoping that we'd stop by, I guess. They probably time our visits and know when to expect us since we usually buy our water from them. We can't go too long without stopping by.

Rachel started eating her banana right away. A man who was visiting with some of the employees stopped to ask her her name.

"Dacher," Rachel answered, spewing out little chunks of partially chewed banana on his face.

"Say it again," he asked. No one catches her name the first time here.

She refused to repeat herself, so I told him her name for her.

"هي خايفة/Hia khaifa," he remarked to his friend in Arabic.

Rachel stopped eating her banana to retort,

"I'm not starewsy! I'm eatin' a 'nana!"

That's right! She wasn't "scary" she was just too busy eating her banana. I thought it was cool that she knew what khaifa meant without anyone telling her, though. Sometimes I really wonder if she's picking anything up at all...but she is.

Rachel uses "starewsy" to describe scary things and also to tell us when she's scared. She also says that she's 'fraid of things. Most recently: the dark. That has been making bedtime fun the past few nights. I think we've been reading too many witch stories to her.

She inherited some fairy tales from one of the Lewises, probably Megan, two of which feature witches. The witches seem to be her favorite part, especially the one in Hansel and Gretel. She can't wait to get to the witch part so that she can say,

"Oooh! Starewsy witch! Eat me! Ahhh!"

I don't think she's really afraid because sometimes she'll ask us to chase her around the house and she'll scream the same thing.

"Don't eat Dacher! Daddy's starewsy witch! Eating me!"

She thinks it's hilarious that a witch made a house out of candy to tempt children inside. She also thinks it's hilarious when I use my best witch voice, which probably isn't very good, but which Rachel finds impressive enough.

She's picking up on some awesome vocabulary from some of the stories we've been reading. Tonight while at the dinner table, Andrew did something funny, so we started laughing.

"No laughing more!" Rachel commanded.

Sometimes she sucks the fun right out of the room with the way she negates everything we say and how she's always issuing commands. Not that we actually obey her.

Andrew started laughing louder.

"NO LAUGHING!" Rachel shouted.

Andrew kept laughing and I started doing my witch laugh that I use for the witch in Hansel and Gretel.

"Oooh," said Rachel, "Mommy's cackling! Mommy's a witch! Starewsy witch!"

Andrew and I looked at each other. Cackling. Really? Who uses a word like that, besides the Brothers Grim? It's only used twice in Rachel's copy of Hansel and Gretel, among other choice words like screeching and shrieking. It isn't used at all in her copy of Rapunzel, the other book we have that features a witch.

Both of these stories are rather long and I usually don't mind reading them to Rachel unless I feel like I've read them too many times in one day, which is usually the case. She likes it when I read them because I actually read the words on the page and do voices. That's just the way I like stories to be read and it's how my mom always read to me.

Andrew is a paraphraser, which would work if he actually knew the storyline. He's always backtracking to correct himself.

"And they had a great, big garden with lots of, wait...that's not their garden...that's the witch's garden and no one goes there because they're all afraid of her..."

Rachel gets impatient when he reads to her. She generally doesn't mind that he isn't reading what's on the page unless he leaves out important details or strays too far from how she's learned the story goes. I told him he should at least read through the whole story so that he knows what each page says before he tries paraphrasing. Rachel's a little particular about her stories, so much so that if I stop reading she'll pick up where I left off as if to prompt me.

When Andrew was reading Rapunzel to her this evening, she listened patiently while he bumbled his way to the storyline, was very polite, and didn't correct him on anything...until the very last page.

"And then the prince and Rapunzel found each other and lived happily ever after."

Andrew closed the book with a flourish. Rachel opened it back up.

"And!" she announced, "Getting married, Daddy! Getting married, too. Getting married!!"

Only it came out more like, "Dettin' marred!" and Andrew couldn't understand what she was saying, so he asked me.

"They get married on that page," I explained, "And then they live happily ever after."

He looked down at the page and read the last sentence, "There they were married and lived happily ever after."

Rachel smiled, slipped off his lap, and skipped happily away, dreaming of someday marrying a prince of her own. Or just content that Daddy finally told part of the story the "right" way. Since I'm not sure that she completely understands the concept of "marriage" or the act of "being married" yet, I'm pretty sure it's the latter.

Speaking of the "act" of being married, yesterday was an awful day for me. I woke up feeling so tired and icky and sat, slumped on the couch, most of the day. Occasionally I'd will myself to get up and do something but failed miserably, often. I read paraphrased stories to Rachel with my eyes half-closed. I gave her bread and mustard and processed cheese for lunch. I let her run around stark naked the whole day. I avoided everything I possibly could just so that I wouldn't have to open my eyes.

I would like to thank Mr. Braxton Hicks and Little Miss Cervix-Cervix-Ribcage-Bladder for my acute lack of sleep. I think between those two, and the 5 times I got up to use the washroom (partly in thanks to Little Miss CCRB, emphasis on the B), my potential 8 hours of sleep that night was cut down to maybe 2. That's probably a generous estimate.

When I had less than an hour and a half until Andrew was due home, I popped a movie in for Rachel (who refused to nap), as per Andrew's suggestion (I was whining to him over IM about how miserable I was), and fell asleep.

He came in the house as quietly as he could and carried Rachel off to the kitchen to make dinner. Then he woke me up and held me while I cried and cried and cried about absolutely nothing while dinner sat on the table getting cold. Then Rachel came to join in on the sobbing mess and he ended up having to comfort both of us at the same time. She was crying because, as she put it, "Mine mommy's so sad!"

It was just a hard day. I think some days are just like that, whether you're pregnant or not, but especially when you're pregnant.

Later when I had somewhat recovered from the day and after we'd eaten dinner, and after he forced me to get dressed and dragged me out of the house to go on a walk, and after we got home from that and Rachel was put to bed, Andrew kissed my forehead and said,

"Thanks for being an awesome wife today."

I stared at him, shocked.

"If by 'awesome' you mean I was alive and married to you at the same time then, yes, I was a pretty awesome wife."

"Are you alive? Are you married to me? Then you qualify," he assured me.

I hope that Rachel (and all our daughters, even Little Miss CCRB who ruthlessly keeps me up all night) marries a prince like her father. Someone who makes being married easy.

Someone who can ride home on a hot, stinky bus after a long day at work and, like a knight in shining armor, sneak inside the dragon's lair, slay the dragon known as dinner, banish the witches, also known as dirty dishes, from the sink, and wake his unshowered and still pyjamaed Sleeping "Beauty" by brushing a tangled, matted mess of hair away from her face and bestowing a magical kiss...all the while having a toddler follow him around like he's the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

Someone amazing.

Thanks for the happy "so far," Andrew. One day down, the rest of eternity to go...until we reach happily ever after.


  1. Stories like this are what I hope for in the future. Even the tired and pregnant part.

  2. Great story. Mommy's cackling!

  3. Wow, awesome Andrew. He totally rocks.

  4. Hooray for Andrew! And for Nick too - I really don't know what I would have done without him for the past month or so. Two more weeks until this trimester is over!!!

  5. Wow, what a story - or a few! Loved this post and how fun it was to read. And I have to agree that it's awesome when your husband thinks you're great on a day when you're not feeling so great about things. Thank heavens pregnancies end - and in such great ways: with babies! I really do love that part. Can't wait to see Miss CCRB!

  6. I love stories like this - they're helping me get to know Andrew better. He sounds amazing!

  7. "sounds" was the wrong word... but I can't find the right one. I'm glad you're so happy together!

  8. I see nothing wrong with paraphrasing stories. Andrew is merely extending life of the book by adding or subtracting key facts to change the story and therefore getting more use out of the book. I like to think of it as like an "alternative ending" kinda thing. Or like an "add lib" version of the story. I'll keep in mine the Andrew technique for when we have kids.