Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Red Red Red Red RED!

Gaz loves her new art class at the Old Town School of Folk Music (the happiest place on earth in Lincoln Square). She loves it so much that I'm still not quite sure what all they did besides something involving the color RED. She exploded out of the classroom chanting RED and has only kind of stopped (mostly while eating her post-class snack).

We've got plenty more to do today, so I better get to it.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sugar and Spice and Everything Serpentine

We've recently gone through a couple of months of having to watch Barbie in A Mermaid Tale repeatedly, so when she said she was ready to trade that in for something with dinosaurs, the grown-ups were quite relieved. Barbie was better than some things she's watched (this subject will get its own post one day), but dinosaurs are something we can all enjoy equally. Thanks to Netflix, we got rid of Barbie and ended up with Prehistoric Planet. It's fun little show, and I never get tired of hearing Gaz go on about the old ornithocheirus. She's really into pterosaurs when she's not obsessed (as most kids are, I guess) with T-Rex. Though for the latter, we can probably blame Sue, or rather, our fondness for the Field Museum.

The reptillian fun hasn't just stopped with the constant viewings of dino-drama, though. I picked up a Step Into Reading book on snakes, since we had just been talking about the old family pet (a sweet little corn snake named Biscuit). While I was at it, I picked up a more herpetologically involved book for myself because, amongst other things, I've always been mystified by snakey taxonomy and was hoping to figure it out for once.

What I didn't figure on is how much Gaz would flip for the many color photos in my book, or what her tolerance for mommy stumbling over long Greek and Latin words that don't mean anything to her (and sometimes me) would be. She is in love with the eyelash pit viper and was quite disappointed when I told her they're venomous. But two nights in a row now, she's fallen asleep to me reading random snippets of squamate biology, ecology, locomotion, and evolution. But I am only allowed to read the pages that have photos. Is any of this actually getting through to her, or is she just dozing off to the sound of my voice? I don't know. But I do like that I am able to share something cool about the world with her, and I think snakes are pretty darn cool.

I don't know exactly where this attraction comes from (though the grass snake featured in the kid's book looks like the Utahraptor from Prehistoric Planet, we agreed), but I am so pleased that she is interested in learning about the weird looking creatures and isn't afraid of them. Of course, we've only seen one very tiny garter snake out in the wild, so she might change her tune when she sees her first enormous black rat snake. (Okay, maybe that's just me.)

Still, this all has me thinking about the logistics of getting another corn snake. I'm not sure our landlords would go for it, but when we're ready, I've got a game plan in my head. It would be nice to have a reptile around again.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Goodbye, Blue Sky

Yesterday was the big end-of-the-year party at Gaz's school and now we're kicking off our summer vacation by lounging around in pajamas far later than we generally could on a Thursday.

I dropped Gaz off at the usual time and ran back home to finish making the snack Gaz has been promising her friends and teachers all week ("apple smiles," which are apple wedges with cream cheese and mini marshmallows arranged into a mouth-like configuration). I got there just in time to start up the video camera and record the singing portion of the party. Gaz, naturally, was the one who announced the performance and somehow, despite her height, ended up being in the middle of the front row. She apparently spent all her ham points then and there, though, because later when the kids wanted to take pictures with her, she was suddenly very shy.

The kids got little preschool diplomas and a copy of the book "I Ain't Gonna Paint No More," which was a big enough hit that I had even heard the chanting at home. My disk ran out of space part-way through the stuff distribution, so I have no video of the chaos that ensued once all the food was unpackaged and set out (and there was TONS of food--our neighborhood knows how to throw a serious party). We had three tables full of food, and about 1/3 of that was cookies, cupcakes, and donuts. Gaz only had one cupcake, and only fought me a little when I insisted that she start with some spaghetti. As I expected, she completely ignored the apple smiles.

Gaz had a moment after a while where she was suddenly upset and tearful, but not well able to explain why. She's gotten really attached to school and the routine and especially her teacher, Miss Monica. So I let her dance and helped with clean-up for a while. At long last, I coaxed her away from school by telling her of the present from Nana that I'd been holding for just such bribery: her very own pair of Twinkle Toes shoes. They light up a dark hallway like the sun and she loves them to pieces. For most of the afternoon yesterday, she wore only underpants and her new shoes.

And so we have said goodbye to Blue Sky Classroom. I'm sure we'll be back to the community center again, especially if we are able to make use of their after-school-care services in the future. It's a little bit sad, but we're working on things to keep us occupied. We've got phone number for play dates and I've rounded up a couple of friends to invite to Gaz's birthday party. I've blown it with respect to finding an appropriate day camp program (most are for 5-year-olds and up--so close!), but I'm sure the Old Town School will not fail to give us something to provide a bit of structured fun.