60 Thoughts on Turning 60 (From Your 35-year-old Niece)

August 29th, 2012 posted by Mommy Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

  1. You can finally start shoplifting because if old people get caught shoplifting they can just act confused and store employees let them go.
  2. Someone is going to refer to you as grandma whether you are one or not; probably someone who doesn’t know you, like a store employee, who just assumes that someone your age must be a grandma.  (This gives you tacit permission to shoplift from them.)
  3. You’ve heard of a MILF.  There is no such thing as a GILF.  Actually, there probably is but there’s no way I’m Googling that to find out.
  4. You now qualify to wear pants with elastic waistbands as formal attire.
  5. If so desired, you can technically refer to yourself as a Saucy Old Broad.  (I aspire to this.)
  6. Gravity gets tricky from now on.
  7. So do shoes without rubber soles.
  8. You may start shrinking.  However, the floor will get farther away.
  9. You will have fewer fears than you did as a youth, because if it hasn’t killed you by now, it probably won’t.
  10. Except land sharks.  Land sharks will always kill you.
  11. I cannot emphasize this enough.  ALWAYS AVOID LAND SHARKS.
  12. You’ve reached an age where you can claim to have been present at any historical event. Young people with no concept of time or history (read: all young people) will believe you.
  13. When I was 8 years old I asked Grandma how old she was.  She asked me to guess.  I guessed 45 because it was the oldest age I could think of.  Everyone laughed.  At the time, I believed they were laughing because no one could possibly be that old.
  14. You were alive in a time before anyone claimed to be Bootylicious.
  15. It’s possible you were the sexy Justin Timberlake was talking about bringing back.
  16. If a hummingbird lived this long, it would definitely be a world record of some sort.
  17. A centipede has 60 legs, if you cut off 40 of its legs.
  18. If you were born in 1952, you were born in a leap year.  Determining this required a calculator.
  19. If you had a calculator when you were my age, this was around the time people started figuring out that on a calculator the number 80085 looks like the word boobs.  You may even have been the first person to discover this fact. Does the Nobel Committee know about you?
  20. Nothing rhymes with the word sixty.
  21. This is one reason I’m writing a list and not a poem.
  22. Another reason is that I didn’t think of a poem until I was already on number 20.  Which is a third of the way through.
  23. So you’re not getting a poem.
  24. Another thing about being 60 is that you can dye your hair purple and act like it was an accident and you’re oblivious.
  25. You can also say “HUH?” and pretend you can’t hear people when really you’re just ignoring them.
  26. Sixty is starting to sound really fun.
  27. People will ask if you’re eligible for the Senior Discount.  No matter their specific age requirement, the answer to this question is always YES.
  28. People will also ask if you want to wear a red hat and purple clothes for some reason.  I don’t know what their deal is, but my gut tells me they are not to be trusted.
  29. Also not to be trusted?  Land sharks.
  30. The Roman numeral for sixty is LX. The size of a large person is XL.  Coincidence?
  31. Politicians will now pander to get your vote.
  32. When you go to a grocery store, be sure to request the keys to one of those scooters.  It looks really fun, and no one will question whether you need it because you obviously do.
  33. You should probably look into getting a Sealy Posturepedic, just in case.
  34. If you fall and break a bone and it’s bad enough, the insurance company will pay to install ramps in your home.  Which doesn’t sound fun at first, but later you can skateboard on them.
  35. Definitely get used to saying “What in tarnation?” because you will probably find yourself in many situations where its use is necessary.
  36. Your glasses are on your head.
  37. There is no prince from Nigeria.  He does not want to share his fortune with you.
  38. You’re right.  Electronics are complicated.  It’s only going to get worse.  However, the youngsters will insist it’s getting easier.
  39. When people feign interest in the details of your many health concerns, they’re just being polite.
  40. The neighbors are not stealing your things.  You’re losing them.
  41. When you figure out where generic Old Lady Smell comes from will you let me know?  I’ve figured out that Old Man Smell is Irish Spring soap.  If you are an old man, avoid Irish Spring Soap to keep ‘em guessing.
  42. Your generation had the Vietnam War, but my generation had 9/11; wars in Kuwait, Afghanistan, AND Iraq; and the Great Recession.   My generation can beat up your generation.   Just so you know.  You pansies.
  43. While I’m on the subject, thanks for pollution.
  44. And for bankrupting social security before I get there.
  45. Enjoy all the good real estate while I live in a condo.
  46. Maybe my generation SHOULD beat up your generation.
  47. I have a feeling your generation fights dirty.  Like you’d be all “no knives” but then you’d totally shank me.  I have subdued respect for this.
  48. It’s awkward to bring this up, but are you sure you should still be driving at this age?  Because mail boxes don’t tend to just “jump right out” in front of you like that.
  49. Remember in the 1800s when the average life span was like 40 or something?  Hahahahahaha!  Idiots.
  50. Is this font too small? Let me fix that for you.
  51. No matter what anyone says, 5 o’clock has always been an acceptable time for dinner.  They just haven’t noticed yet.

  52. You can throw away the year-old ice cream you keep in the freezer “just in case.”  Even if someone comes over who likes ice cream, they’ll be repulsed by the freezer burn and that weird goopy film around the edges.

  53. The beauty of cable TV is that there’s got to be an episode of Wheel of Fortune on somewhere.

  54. Bingo!

  55. You totally just nodded off in your chair for a second.  Yes, you did.  Yes, you did.  You were snoring.

  56. People who died at age 60:  Calvin Coolidge.  Benedict Arnold.  Bob Fosse.  I hope you are finding this information useful.

  57. In 140 years you will not be 200 years old.

  58. I’m really really serious about the land sharks.  Keep an eye out.

  59. I will never be older than you.

  60. Neener neener.

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Ruby and Eme Create an Existential Crisis (A Play in One Act)

August 14th, 2012 posted by Mommy Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Scene:  A car.  Night time.  Melissa drives.  Ruby, 5, and Eme, 3, sit in the back seat.

Eme:  Are we there yet?

Melissa:  Yes.

(Time passes.)

Ruby:  Then why are we still driving?

Melissa:  Because I was using sarcasm.  That’s when you say the opposite of what’s actually true.

Ruby:  Oh.  Like you say we’re at home when we’re really driving?

M:  Yes.

R:  Or, if we were at home, you would say we’re out driving?

M:  Right.

R:  Because driving is the opposite of being at home.

M:  Well…

R:  And water?  Is the opposite of milk.

Melissa’s Internal Monologue:  “That’s not right.  But what IS the opposite of water?  No water?  No.  The opposite of something isn’t simply the absence of that something…  Hmmm.   I need to buy some time.”

Melissa (aloud):  Right.

R:  Right.  And orange juice is the opposite of apple juice.

M (aloud):  True.

M (Internal Monologue):  “That’s definitely true.”

R:  Because apple is the opposite of orange.

M (IM):  “Wait.  Is apple the opposite of orange?  They’re both fruit.  And they’re often compared, but they’re different.  That’s why people say you can’t compare apples and oranges…”

R:  So the opposite of apple JUICE is orange JUICE.

M (IM):  “…but just because they’re different doesn’t make them opposites.  So what’s the opposite of an apple?  Not NO apple.  Is there an opposite to an apple?”

R:  So things that are opposite are funny.

M (IM):  “Things that are opposites aren’t ALWAYS funny.  And anyway, the apple thing is too complicated.  Let’s go back to the water.  There’s definitely an opposite to water.   I know!  Dryness!  Wait, that’s the opposite of wet.  Well, water is wet.  But so is apple juice, and I know dry isn’t the opposite of apple juice.”

R:  Milk comes out of cows, but—

M (aloud):  Milk doesn’t come out of cow’s butts!

(Ruby and Eme burst into laughter.)

R:  I didn’t say milk comes out of cow’s BUTTS!  I said milks comes out of cows, BUT…  (She laughs.) (Scolding)  MOM-my.

M (aloud):  Okay, so milk comes out of cows, but what?

Eme:  Knock knock.

Ruby:  Milk comes out of cows, BUT—

Eme:  Knock knock.

Ruby:  Milk comes out of cows, BUT—

E:  Knock knock.

R:  Eme!

M:  Ruby, go.  Milk comes out of cows, but…

R:  …but what do cows eat?

M:  Grass.

R:  And what do cows drink?

M (Internal Monologue):  “I see where she’s going with this…”

M (aloud):  Water.

R:  So milk is made of—

M:  No.

R:  No, so cows must drink milk.

M:  They don’t drink milk, they drink water.

R:  Right.  So grass must be made of milk.

M:  No.  Cows eat grass and they drink water and then the milk comes from—

M (Internal Monologue):  “I don’t actually want to think about how the grass and the water turn into milk.”

Eme:  Knock knock.

M (IM):  “I definitely won’t want to drink milk after I go down this road.”

R:  So there must be a little bit of milk down in the grass that feeds the grass, so that—

M (IM):  “Or eat ice cream.  I won’t want to eat ice cream.”

E:  Knock knock!

M (IM):  “I really love ice cream.”


M:  Who’s there?

E:  Police!

M:  Police who?

E:  Po-lease open the door so I can come in!

(Ruby and Melissa laugh politely.)

M:  Good one.

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

E:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Orange.

M:  Orange who?

E:  Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?

M (IM):  (An epiphany.) “I AM glad she didn’t say banana!”

R:  Hey mommy.  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

R:  Orange.

M:  Orange who?

(The joke continues under Melissa’s Internal Monologue.)

M (IM):  “Let’s get back to this water business.  I have to know if water has an opposite.  Don’t all things have opposites?  What’s the opposite of me?  Me, as a black person?  Me, but taller?  Me, but a Buddhist Asian man who hates ice cream?”

R:  Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

R:  Orange.

M (IM):  “An opposite of me would have to be tall, male…what’s the opposite of Portuguese?  The country on the exact opposite side of the planet?”

M:  Orange who?

M (IM):  “Too complicated.  Just think about the water.  That’s the easiest thing to solve.  I need an opposite of water….”

R:   Knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

R:  Banana.

M:  Banana who?

R:  Banana you glad I didn’t say orange?

(Melissa genuinely laughs.)

M (IM):  “That was actually funny.  But it wasn’t funny at all.  It was funny because it was so unfunny.  It was the opposite of funny!”

E:  Mommy, knock knock.

M:  Who’s there?

E:  Butterfly.

M:  Butterfly who?

E:  Butterfly you glad I didn’t say orange?

M (IM):  “That was also unfunny.  But it wasn’t so unfunny it was funny.  Was that more or less the opposite of funny than the last joke?  Was the last joke sarcasm because it was funny, and the opposite of a joke?  Was this not sarcasm because it was less funny, or more sarcasm because it was so unfunny?”

M:  No more knock knock jokes.


M (IM):  “Water.  Wet.  Dry.  Clear.  Solid.  Liquid.  Ice.  Not appley or orangey.”

R:  Are we there yet?

M:  Yes.

(They drive.)




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Ruby’s First Five Years

May 26th, 2012 posted by Mommy Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I was looking at old pictures and tearing up (as in crying, not as in ripping) over them, so I figured I’d give you all a chance to do the same.  Here are Ruby’s first five years in pictures.

She’s a week old here.  Like how we’re smiling like we totally know what we’re doing?  LIES.










Tiny adorable baby head!










Three weeks old.  This is the first picture of her smile.  Even this young she looks like she’s humoring me.










She still looks exactly the same.













Um.  So, I wanted to get a picture of her in the worlds tiniest pair of jammies that I’d been staring at since I was pregnant.  Only she was about to outgrow them like any minute so I had to do it QUICK.  I set her down to take the photo.  She did not like that.  Anywho, here’s a picture of her doing what she spent most of her first sixth months doing.  She was a screamer.













Here’s dad, teaching her the basics.  About 3 months.










Our first family portrait.








Beebo’s first Halloween!  5 months










She can stand up!  This is about 6 months.













With Santa for the first time.  I love the whole “What are we doing here?” look on her face.










Her first Christmas.  Also:  blocks are yummy.










Playing Christmas carols together!










Auntie Heather came to visit! 8 months  (age of  child, not length of visit)










She has some teeth.










Hanging in the dugout with dad.






















Her best friend Iokepa turns 1.  Kepa’s mom Keala is Ruby’s babysitter.  (Ruby is about 10 months old here.)  P.S.  I’m like 4 months pregnant in this picture.










April 2008 visit to Washington!  10 months old with Grandmas Barb and Carol.










With twin cousin Annabelle (born 1/2 hour apart, in different time zones).










And, of course, Grandpa Mark.













First Birthday!




















Before the party we went to the aquarium.  (I’m 6 months along and finally starting to show.)










Some pictures from the next few months: we went sailing on Auntie Malia’s boat!










And we went to the beach a lot.










And hung out in the backyard.











Ruby’s first pitch.










She helped me open presents at my baby shower.










Until finally:  she’s a big sister!  This is the first moment she and Eme met.  (Ruby is 15 months old.)  This is also the moment Eme was dubbed Eme.  As the legend goes: we said “This is your new sister, Eva-Marie,” and Ruby responded “Hi Ee-mee!”  The weird spelling is another legend entirely.













Ruby helped the doctor do the first examination.  She’s all “EYES” and points at the eyes, and we’re all “Good thing you were here to help, Ruby.”  (We really were, because we wanted Ruby to still feel SPECIAL and IMPORTANT.)










We had to remind Ruby to be nice because she kinda wanted to hit her little sister, hard.  So we  would say “Be nice, Ruby.”  And Ruby would pet Eme’s head and say “Niiiiiiiice.”  P.S.  Eme has jaundice and moments later was taken to the hospital for an overnight stay.  Nice color, no?










Eleven days later we attended a wedding.  I was crazy enough to bring the whole clan.










Ruby was protective right away.










Auntie Heather visits again!  Ruby is about 1 1/2 and discovers her love of fashion.












Grandpa Mark and Grandma Kay came out in November, 2008, to renew their wedding vows.







That’s when we get this iconic image:













Tell me we’re not the most adorable family ever.  I DARE YOU.









It’s nearly New Year’s Eve, which is a big fireworks holiday on Oahu.  Here’s how we learned Ruby had been playing with fireworks:  her babysitter Keala sent me this picture.













Right before Christmas, hanging on the back porch.  (Sadly, this is one of the last photos we have of my crazy-awesome cat Poke.)










This guy, again?










A walk through the botanical garden in January, 2009.










We feed ducks.










She’s ready to be just like Daddy.










Ruby’s first haircut. (Feb. 2009; about 1 year and 9 months old.)










Ta da!











Family portrait on the beach by our house.










Ruby and Mommy, March 2009 (age 1 yr, 10 months)










Chuck-E-Cheese with Daddy










UH Baseball Game, April 2009.  Ruby is Hindu for a minute.










Just before she turned 2 she learned how to climb out of her crib.  I mean, sometimes.  Not in this picture.










So…it’s time to take the rail off and make it a big-girl bed!










It’s Easter, and Ruby and the Peeps are COMING TO GET YOU.  (That will be the name of her first band/album.)










Playing in the yard, Eme’s mad because she can’t ride the tricycle.










But Big Sis has got it covered.










This hammock was my Mother’s Day gift that year.










For some reason, there are no pictures of Ruby’s 2nd Birthday.  This makes sense, because although I know Callie took some pictures, they were lost in the same way that Ruby was discovered by strangers in the parking lot because no one at her own party was paying attention to them.  Somewhere in computer shuffles, they disappeared, the photos.

But pictures of my own birthday that year have survived, and here they are, starring Ruby.  We went to the zoo.  Keep watching, there is an eerily similar picture 3 years later.










We are, apparently, having a disagreement.










We lit the candles.  Then, somehow, when no one was looking, they all went out again.  Mystery!













In early July we visited California for a wedding and to visit family, and managed to get almost no pictures of the trip.  Well?  YOU try traveling with a not-even-1-year-old and a just-turned-2-year-old.  You can’t.  You’re not as hard-core as we are.

Anyhoodle, here’s Ruby with her cousin and new Best Friend Kaylani.  Watch for an eerily similar picture two years later.










Our first mini-golf experience.










Also: our last mini-golf experience.  Check the major tantrum, and Eme being all “Calm down.  Geez.”










Kickin’ it to the worship music at Bluewater Mission:













Eme turns 1!  Ruby celebrates with a pinata.













We’re at the beach. It’s raining.  Who cares?










First Official Theatrical Performance:  I think it was West Side Story?  Why did I pick something to violent?  Did someone give me tickets to this?  Callie?  Andrew?












First 4-person Dylan Family Halloween.  Do I need to explain who we all are?  Ok, good.










Already insisting on sharing a bed.












Auntie Heather came to visit again and proved herself to be way cooler than all of you by getting a RUBY tattooed on her BACK.










Did you get a Ruby tattooed on your back?  No.  You did not.










They have a special bond, you see.










Christmas Tree 2009!  I guess Gilligan dropped by.  I don’t know.













Someone looks like her mommy.










Christmas giddyness!










A very special Christmas performance.










Making a stocking with Grandma Pam.













For the Christmas performance at church.













Seriously, this guy again?  He’s everywhere!










March 2010, a hike off the Old Pali Highway.










Another beach day.  This group of Japanese tourists wanted to eat her up.














Our last photo session with Aunt Callie, March 2010 (2 years, 10 months)













Some BFFS (Callie, Malia, Alex)










Well, then we moved to Poulsbo, Washington.  It’s a long story.  Anyway, this is Ruby’s first time wearing a coat.  Ever.










Shortly after that, Ruby turned THREE!










That’s when she officially became a Princess.










First Major League Baseball Game!










Summoned for official Princess duty by John Knox (Aug. 2010)










They meet the Queen.










That year I got a sewing machine from Paul for my (33nd) birthday.  These skirts were the first thing I made!










With her Best Friend Pepper at their preschool/daycare. (October 2010)










Something’s going on here that she doesn’t like.










Early morning in their new bedroom!










Halloween 2010!










Late Nov. 2010: Ruby’s first snow!



















First snowman.  Which she later ate.










Choosing the Christmas tree!  I don’t know why she’s dressed as a pumpkin.  She just is.













A delicious Christmas snack!













Roller skating with her preschool class! (March 2011)










Spring Break 2011.  Where did my little baby go?



























A trip to Sephora.










Playing in the bay beyond our back deck.  Ruby decided to bring a drum to serenade the ocean.













We went to a pizza place and on the way back to the car, Ruby decided to stop and decorate the sidewalk.













It’s hard to explain what’s going on here.  So I won’t.










This is the only picture of Ruby we got on her 4th birthday.  She looks crazed and angry.  I swear she’s not.










Here’s that rainbow that Ruby either conjured or predicted.










We traveled down to California again in June.  Remember that picture of Kaylani and Ruby that I said was eerily similar to another?  Check it:




















The unfortunate incident of the under-supervised children and the open bar.











Making pancakes at Auntie Marsha’s House (a favorite):











Ruby’s first ballet class.














Carvalho Family Reunion:





















The first of many road trips, you can expect to see lots of pictures in the future like this.  “Ruby, Eme, stand over there.  Smile!”  (That would be Mount Shasta behind them.)










Ruby’s favorite summer hang-out behind our house.













Back with the Queen, this time it’s Dorothy and a mermaid.  John Knox is still in the back.










Playing at the lake. (August 2011, age 4)










This picture pretty much sums up our summer:













Pumpkin patch!










Halloween 2011










Christmas concert!










Shiny Christmas dress!













Remember the goat pictures I said was eerily similar to another one?  Check it:


















Ruby’s Fifth Birthday Tea Party











Here she is excited about her first pair of Skechers.  Yes, a shoe company successfully marketed a $55 shoe to my 5-year-old.  Nay, my 3-year-old, who was all “SKECHERS!” right along with big sis.  Well played, shoe company.











Wearing said Skechers.













And that about sums it up, folks.  Somehow this:










Became this:













The end.


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The Dylans Take Disneyland

May 8th, 2012 posted by Mommy Posted in Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Here are the photos from our trip!  The narrative is incomplete.  However, the pictures say a thousand words, and there are like 150 pictures, so you do the math.  Click on the pictures to see a bigger version.  Some of them are cut off funny because of this limiting format.

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What are the Dylans up to?

March 6th, 2012 posted by Mommy Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

Hello, world.  Aside from the Facebook round-up of 2011, we haven’t updated this blog much.    Aside from the quippy Facebook-friendly posts that will eventually end up here, I haven’t felt there’s much more to say.  But of course there’s more.  The days are starting to feel the same, but the girls are growing every day, and they’re still hilarious and having adventures.  I guess it feels more run-of-the-mill to me now that I’m around them every day.  But it’s still going way too fast.

Hm…where should I start?  Boring stuff first.  My last post was November.  Had Thanksgiving at my mom’s house.  Christmas was fun, and non-stressful because I actually had time to do Christmasy things and enjoy it.   Did the traditional Christmas Eve at Grandpa’s house, then Christmas morning at our own house, and then Christmas dinner at Grandma Barb’s house.  [Side note: the girls, who have been playing independent of me all morning, have suddenly convened around the computer.  It’s like they know I’m writing about them.  They are also tapping on the keys at the same time as me.  It’s getting annoying.  Eme: “Is that enough message, Mommy?”  No.  Go play.]

Paul started working as a temp for Columbia Bank on Bainbridge Island, processing loans.  They offered him a permanent job and he accepted in January, so now he’s legit.  He really enjoys it for lots of reasons, like that it uses his existing mortgage knowledge, and that it’s not commission-based or sales related.  I like that it comes with good health insurance, and that he enjoys it.  And that it’s a smaller bank, which is having a heyday right now.  We’re really hoping this one finally sticks, since he’s been looking for years for something he can really stay with for his entire career.  (Stupid banks.)  Knock on wood.  No, really.  Do it.

I’m still doing freelance editing work here and there, but not really focusing on it.  I also started selling eReader and tablet covers on etsy.com, though more for fun than for profit.  Going to start doing baby stuff soon because it’s fun and cheap to make.

How are the girls?  Great.  Honestly, there’s not much to say.  They’re happy, they’re smart, they’re confident, they’re hilarious, they’re beautiful.  I’m not trying to brag, it’s just true.  They’re very well-adjusted and we’re lucky.  Had a parent-teacher conference at their preschool, and the teachers said of Ruby, and I quote, “She’s perfect.”  PERFECT.  Well-behaved, kind to others, a quick learner, and demonstrates good leadership skills.  She’s right on track as far as where her learning should be, and is always eager to learn more, to the point where the biggest challenge is getting her enough stuff to do.

She’s the most confident person I’ve ever met, I kid you not.  We just went to an open house for her kindergarten, and she hurried ahead me, walked right into the room and said “I’m Ruby!  I’m four-and-a-half.  This is my school next year.”  It blows me away, especially since I was the shyest kid in the known universe.  She also genuinely cares about others, always making people gifts, or saving treats to share with her sister.  I was laying down with a headache the other day and Ruby asked Paul if she could lay down with me so she could take care of me.  Yesterday she went to school with special Hello Kitty hair ties, and came home without them.  When I asked where they went she said “I gave one to Ami and one to Madison.”  All simple.  No big deal.  Every Christmas to make room for new toys, I have a rule that we have to donate the equivalent in their old toys, and she’s always eager to donate.  She even asked specifically who was getting her toys, so she could better decide which toys they would like best.  She constantly amazes me.

She’s really into fashion, always putting together outfits and accessories, and putting on fashion shows.  Aunt Heather got her a designers sketchpad for Christmas, and she loves sketching new outfits.  She wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up, but also a doctor, policeman, rock star, and the president.  On Presidents Day we were naming all the presidents she knew, and I told her that there had never been a girl president, and said “You could be the first one,” and she said “Okay.  I will.  If you want me to.”  And I said “I only want you to if YOU want to.”  And she said.  “Then yes.  I will.  Because you want me to.”  Not the message I meant to send, but at this age she still values mom’s opinion. :)

As for Eme, her teachers said a lot of similar things in terms of her learning being right on track, and her confidence.  They said that she’s very independent, but can still play well with her peers when she wants to, meaning she’s well-adjusted, just prefers more time by herself than Ruby.  (Sounds like someone I know…)  Ms. Bea says Eme always says the most interesting things, and she loves their conversations.  Their biggest struggle is that Eme is such an independent thinker that they sometimes have a hard time getting her motivated to cooperate.  This is a struggle I only know too well.  Sometimes when I ask her to do things, her answer is simply “I’m not going to.”  I tell her what the consequence will be if she doesn’t cooperate, and she’ll usually choose to take her lashes (NOT literally, calm down).  She’ll protest going into time out or being restricted from TV, but not enough to actually, say, clean her room.

Speaking of which, last week we were grocery shopping at Walmart.  It had been a tough morning, with neither of them listening to me very much and a struggle just getting dressed and out the door.  By the time we got there, I was already exhausted and impatient.  After 45 minutes of shopping we STILL hadn’t made our way over to the groceries (we were stuck in art supplies, since it was Grandma Carol’s retirement and we were going to make signs to accost her with at work).  The girls kept wandering away or not following me when I asked.  They went to run off to go look at toys, and I told them if they did we were leaving immediately.  Which they did.  So we did.  Ruby nearly always listens to me on her own, but under Eme’s influence it’s harder to keep her under control.  You’d think it would be the other way around with Ruby being older, but no.

At any rate, they cried and screamed to the car while people looked at me as if I’m a horrible horrible person.  (Like I care?  It’s Walmart.  Get some teeth and then think about judging me.)  Then they screamed all the way home.  Then we got home they threw two baskets of clean laundry on the floor of their clean room. [Ruby just came up and said “When are you going to be done spelling?”  I told her a long time.  She just said “You spelled Ruby!  Why did you spell Ruby?”  I told her I’m writing about her and she asked why.  I told her Aunties and Uncles want to know what she’s up to.  Then she did a magic trick with her bracelets.]

Back to the clean laundry on the floor:  I told them very calmly that they were in charge of folding their clothes and putting them away, and they weren’t allowed to leave their room until it was done.  Then I closed the door and walked away so as not to strike them hard with an open palm.  Hours passed.  I told them we wouldn’t be able to meet Grandma Carol at her work if the clothes weren’t put away.  They didn’t budge, except when the door was closed the room became more and more messy.  I told them they would need to clean up their toys in addition to the laundry before they could leave their room.  Ruby pouted for about an hour.  Eme screamed her head off for about 45 minutes.  Then they went back to ignoring it and playing.  By about hour 3 Eme said they were ready for their lunch now, and they would clean up after.  I said I’d be happy to make them lunch, as soon as their room was clean and laundry put away.  Then I very meanly did more laundry as they sat there, and added clean clothes to the pile. Because I am mean.  Very, very mean.

By hour 6 and various methods of trying to get out of it (“I don’t know how.” Yes, you do.  “My tummy hurts!”  Well, you’d better hurry up so you can eat.  “You don’t love me!”  I love you very much.  “Other people’s moms aren’t this mean!”  You’re probably right.  Sucks to be you.)  Paul came home and we proceeded to heat up and eat a pizza.  Ruby tried her charms on Paul. (“Mom is making us clean up all this laundry and I can’t!”  Paul had been briefed, and was no help.)

We had a church group that night, and a friend of mine was coming over to babysit.  I briefed the sitter on the situation and asked how she was with tough love.  She said she would be fine with it, but I later realized how much the girls love babysitters, and having one come over would be a reprieve.  Not to mention, as my friend pointed out, they were much more likely to respond to someone else telling them what to do, and the point was for them to learn to listen to me.  So I told them I would cancel the sitter if they didn’t start cleaning ASAP.  They didn’t.  I cancelled the sitter.

This was Ruby’s breaking point, and she cried for about 20 minutes, then cleaned up her clothes and half of the toys, and joined us for pizza.  Her total sit-in time:  six and a half hours.

Eme was still going strong, which didn’t surprise us.  She’s amazing at keeping herself occupied, even after we started taking toys away.  She has a whole universe going on in her head (just like Mommy), and she’s also insanely stubborn (just like Mommy and Daddy), so we were in for the long haul.  She wanted pizza really bad and was crying and whining, but we just kept telling her she could have one when she was done cleaning.  Finally bed time came, and we brought her a peanut butter sandwich in her room to eat, but no pizza.  She cried and tantrumed for another 20 minutes or so before finally eating the sandwich and falling into bed exhausted.

The next morning the hour before school she still wasn’t allowed to leave her room, and she still didn’t clean.  We finally left for school.  When we came home it was straight back to her room.  I think Eme was expecting me to forget or give up during school, so she was surprised.  She went into her room but tried all manner of excuses (“I’m itchy!”  “I’m lonely!”) and then resorted to a 2-hour screaming tantrum.  After she wore herself out, she asked if she could have pizza if she put her clothes away and I told her she could as long as she finished before Paul got home.  So she cleaned.  Her total sit-in time:  eleven and a half hours.

Yesterday I learned that she had hidden some of her clean clothes on Ruby’s bed under a blanket.  Tricky little devil.

So that’s Eme.  Stubborn and independent.  But she’s also hilarious and tells the best jokes.  She lives to make people laugh, the way Ruby lives to take care of others.  Everything she does, she does with a gleam in her eye, knowing she’s amusing people.  This is one reason it’s hard to get her to do stuff:  instead of, say, putting her shoes on, she’ll go for the joke and put her shoes on her hands and say “Okay!  I’m ready to go!”

Okay, that’s a lot of update, isn’t it?  Time to stop ignoring my children.  You’re welcome.

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