Monday, March 16, 2009

Ordinary Moments from the Weekend:

Mommy, let’s sing a song!

Ok honey. What song do you want to sing?

Let’s sing the “ba-da-ba-da” song.

I don’t know that song.

MOMMY!!!!! You know the ba-da-ba-da song!

No honey, I don’t. Is that a song you sing with Beatriz?

NO MOMMY. You KNOW that ba-da-ba-da song.

Liana, I don’t think I know that song. Why don’t you sing it for me.

She looks at me with that “why are you being so dumb” look that will taunt me during her teenager years… a preview of what is to come. And she starts to sing.

Ba-da-ba-da world so high, like a diamond in the sky…..


An ordinary moment. An idyllic mommyhood moment. I’m making a big pot of lentil soup. I’m chopping up onions and garlic and tomatoes and mushrooms and cilantro. I’ve got Liana set up a few feet away at the kitchen table, working with bright blue play doe. Youtube is playing mommy-music for a change… Franklin’s Tower and a 9-minute version of Scarlet Begonias. We are both singing as we work on our various projects. Then the play doe gets dull, and she comes over to see what I am doing with all those interestingly-colored veggies on the counter. She asks to be lifted up, and I lift her up to see. She looks, and I put her back down and continue chopping. She asks to be lifted again, and I stop chopping, lift her again, and then put her down to continue chopping. She is not pleased. She wants to watch me chop. I explain that I can’t hold her and chop at the same time. She walks out of the kitchen with determination. A moment later I hear her dragging something. It is her step-stool from the bathroom. She drags it all the way to the kitchen, and places it next to me. Then she steps up on it, and watches me chop. Now is she a great little problem solver, or what?

Friday, March 6, 2009

On the topic of monsters and dinosaurs and things that go bump in the night…..

Liana and Carol and I went out to brunch a couple of weeks ago. The plan was for her to pick my brain about social models in utopian fiction, since she knows that it is my favorite literary genre and she had decided to try her hand at some fiction writing. The plan was a brunch discussion, followed by a trip to the book store in which I would introduce her to the work of Kim Stanely Robinson and she would introduce me to the work of Octavia Butler and her ladyship would get some books about… well… ladybugs and whatnot.

But during brunch, neither Carol nor I managed to finish more than one consecutive sentence. Liana DOMINATED the brunch conversation with long, detailed and entertaining monologues about monsters and dinosaurs.

The go ROOAARRRR. The have the big eyes…two eyes. The nose, the ears, the mouth, the teeth. (pointing to each body part in an animated manner) One, two, three, four, five teeth. The have the claws and go ROOOAARRRR. The dinosaur no eat the apple. The crocodile at the apple. He go chomp chomp chomp. Then the go ROOOAAARRRR. The say yummy. He bite it. The teeth. BIG teeth. The go ROOOAARRRR.

And on. And on. For nearly an hour and a half, Liana monologued about monsters and dinosaurs and other scary things.

Kind of anti-utopian fiction, I guess.

Some day, on one of those rare occasions that Liana is actually asleep, perhaps I will read Carol’s work. In terms of discussing it…. Ummmmm…. That does not seem like something we are going to do now.

“No be afraid Mommy. You stay here. I look for dinosaurs.”

“Ok Liana. I’m not afraid.”

“Ok Mommy. Stay here.”


So I stay under the blanket “tent” while Liana goes off by herself to explore the deepest darkest depths of the bedroom to find out if there are any dinosaurs lurking in shadowed corners.

She returns, pats my arm, and says “No be afraid Mommy. There no dinosaurs.”

“Oh good. Then I’m not afraid. Thank you Liana”

“You welcome mommy. Want to sing a song?”

I’ve been doing some reading about three year olds and monster fears. Liana will be two and a half in a couple of weeks, but being the advanced child that she is, she seems to have developed this fear early. Or perhaps her strong verbal skills are just helping her articulate them. I don’t know. The books and articles say not to try and be logical, not to belittle the fears, but to just reassure the child. Liana likes to be in control, and so she has decided that reassuring me will help the situation. So I play along.