Blog-o! Notes from

Tue, 20 May 2008
Some Pictures for 2008

I finally got around to uploading pictures. I know, it's been months! You know where to get them.

[Posted at 19:36 by Amy Brown] link
Tue, 13 May 2008
Delphine is Five

Delphine turned five this Saturday, and we had a party on the deck. Delphine invited five of her friends, and between food and cleaning up and decorating and games and loot it was almost as much work as a grown-up party. But now the house is clean! Ish.

The night before her birthday, Delphine slept over at Baba and Zaida's house. Baba wanted to take Delphine to Science Rendezvous in the morning, and I had a book club meeting Friday night, so a sleepover was advantageous for all.

Saturday dawned bright but not as early as usual; we had put Cordelia down early on Friday so between that and not having Delphine around to wake her, she slept in until 7:45. (Did you know if you put your kids to bed earlier they sleep later? Weird but true.) We got up and leapt into action; Blake and Cordelia picked up flowers and bread and pickles, I cleaned up and made egg salad and iced cupcakes and put up the daisy decorations Delphine had made. After lunch we put Cordelia down for an early nap, and Auntie Morgan came over to help out.

The party started at 2:00, and Delphine only got home a few minutes before that in time to put on her new red party dress. All the partiers arrived on time —Ursa, Erika, Tina, Sydney, and Athena, and four out of the five Mums stayed, which was cool; also in attendance were Baba and Zaida and Auntie Morgan and Uncle Erik — and we got into the swing of things: crafts, a treasure hunt (the treasure was wrapped boxes of Nerds), some dancing games (they didn't seem to enjoy those much), Pass the Parcel (that was a huge hit), and of course little sandwiches, chips, cake, ice cream and jelly (Jell-o, except made with real juice). (That was a really long sentence with altogether too much punctuation.) There was a good bit of random running around the backyard, too, which was more popular than I expected.

Delphine mostly had a good time — she got mad at me when I didn't take her suggestion for a music game (who knew "Row Row Row Your Boat" was even a game?) but otherwise it was nice. There is some weird bullying/power abuse going on with one of the girls and we tried to ameliorate that as much as we could, but Delphine wasn't directly involved so it didn't seem to bother her. We'll have the "victim" over for a playdate sometime to make her feel more welcome and loved. (She — the victim — is a very intensely affectionate little girl, and that annoys the others a bit, and so they are mean to her – they say she can't play with them. Not surprisingly she's also intensely emotional so she takes it seriously when someone says something hurtful. It's a mess; I'm so glad I'm not a little girl any more! That sucked!)

Anyway, apart from that the party was a hit, and Delphine got some great presents and had a lovely day.

In addition to turning five, she has also grown two centimeters in the last month, and she can now read upside-down. Well, she can't properly read books and stuff, but she's getting pretty good at picking out individual words as long as their spelling is "standard". I guess the memorization of non-standard words really begins once you start reading in earnest and encounter those words more. (Although of course she can read "one" and "two" which are non-standard, so I guess she has already started to build up that database.) She's working on learning to ride a bike without training wheels, and to skip. Five is going to be a very exciting year!

[Posted at 14:49 by Amy Brown] link
Thu, 08 May 2008

Okay, more on the free-range kids thing. Look at this map, showing how the habitat of an English eight-year-old has shrunk in four generations; it's wild!

It's from this article.

My mother, as a child, was one of those "get out of the house and don't come back until six o'clock" kids but my brother and I stayed more close to home. The best bit was when "home" was five acres of land.

[Posted at 14:11 by Amy Brown] link
Wed, 07 May 2008

We have this old Fisher-Price toy camera from the seventies — it was Blake's as a boy — and it's a toy version of the old 110 cameras, remember them? It has a flash cube on the top which rotates 90° every time you take a picture. (Dave, I think we might have had the same one, I remember it or something like it.)

So despite this "camera" being completely unlike any camera the girls have ever seen, they have taken to it very well and pretend to take pictures all the time. "Say 'banana'!"

Cordelia, however, takes it one step further. After taking the picture, she runs up to you, turns the camera around and shows you the non-existent screen on the back; "See yer picture! See yer picture!"

[Posted at 19:29 by Amy Brown] link
Lick Sticks

I gave Delphine and Cordelia each a lollipop after lunch today, and wow, was it ever quiet with two gobs stopped up with candy! When Delphine was halfway through hers, she said, "If I were going to name this thing I'm eating, I would call it Lick Sticks. Because you lick it, and it's a stick. It doesn't pop, and you don't lolly it!"

She has a future in marketing.

[Posted at 19:24 by Amy Brown] link
Free Range Kids

Delphine and I have been reading some classic chapter books about kindergarteners, like Ramona and the Betsy books. (By the way, if anyone can recommend any other books/series in that vein I would love to hear it!) I am struck by how early these kids walk to school alone: specifically, early kindergarten. Ramona was written in the sixties and Betsy was written in the thirties. So, apart from the cars which I agree are a concern, what has changed in the world since then that prevents us from letting our kindergartners walk to school? Nothing. But we don't because of some irrational, formless fear that Something Bad will happen to our children if we don't supervise their every move.

I'm thrilled to find a website of people who don't want to wrap their children in bubble-wrap, and I'm astonished I didn't find it before now: Free Range Kids. I don't have time to read much now but I'm looking forward to exploring this website! And in the meantime I might even let my kids play in the front yard without supervision! I'm a maverick.

[Posted at 14:49 by Amy Brown] link