Tag Archives: Family

What Did You Do At School Today?

Now that Tiny-Small has become an official preschool student I get to ask her the inevitable question: What did you do at school today? It’s a terrible question. I know. I just can’t resist asking. It’s a classic. I’m pretty sure I read somewhere that you aren’t supposed to ask kids that question anymore. All of the child psychologists agree that asking this question is a guaruantee that your child will use drugs and get pregnant by the age of 13. OK, that might be a slight exaggeration, but I do see a lot of lists, from bloggers much smarter than I ever hope to be, about the questions we should ask instead. It’s too bad I never clicked on one and actually read it.

Sometimes I do remember to ask her something else, but since I am usually experiencing my afternoon slump about the time she comes home, my questions are either lame or bizarre anyway. Sometimes I just get desperate for information. Take what happened today for instance…

Me: What did you do at school today?

T.S.: I don’t know.

Me: Did you learn a new letter?

T.S.: No.

Me: Did you play with kids?

T.S.: <shrugs>

Me: Did you see any dragons? I hear that school of yours is infested with them.

T.S.: No! There was a dead bug. It was so big.

Me: Really? Wow. What happened to it? Did someone step on it?

T.S.: I want a snack.

This kid could get a job with the FBI or CIA right now. She knows how to keep secrets better than I do. The other day when she came home wearing a different dress than she left home in my first though was: There’s a good story behind this wardrobe change I just know it. So I asked.

Me: What happened at school today?

T.S.: Nothing.

Me: Why did you change clothes?

T.S.: I didn’t.

Me: You were wearing a different dress this morning.

T.S.: I wanted to wear this one.

Me: Did you spill something on it?

T.S.: There was a big girl in my class today with a heart shirt on.

Me: Oh yeah? What was her name?

T.S.: She ate lunch.

Me: Was she nice?

T.S.: I want a snack.

Me: Did you see any dragons today? Maybe one flying by the window?

T.S.: No. Dragons would burn the school down.

It’s weird to send your kids out into the world with practical strangers and get so little information about their day in return. The only clue I usually get is what she ate for lunch when I find a half eaten apple in her lunchbox and a squished sandwich at the bottom of her backpack. Sometimes the teacher sends a picture she made at school home. Those are my jackpot days.

What did you do at school today?
Drawing by Tiny-Small, age 4.

Tiny-Small drew me twice in this picture. Once as some kind of fertility goddess and once as what can only be a dragon-like streak in the sky. I was overjoyed by my obvious importance in the picture, only surpassed by the amazing Milo who is obviously her favorite person at school.

Maybe I should start asking more questions about him and less about those pesky dragons?

Meanwhile, even though she is only 4 I guess I have to get used to her having her own life and space. It’s like she’s 4 going on twenty. My head is already spinning.


Security Blanket Transformed Into Art

Tiny-Small has a security blanket. It’s a quilt I made. She has to have it to sleep with every night. If it gets left outside, in the car, or at someone’s house it’s the end of the world. When we can’t find it before bedtime we all feel a little anxious. Luckily that doesn’t happen too often. She almost always knows where she left it.

Security Blanket
When her security blanket still looked new.

I often joke that her blanket is like the Velveteen Rabbit. It’s been well-loved and all of that love turns it into a real family member. All of that love has also turned it into a bit of a ragamuffin. The first layer of binding has worn away and it has more patches than a pair of jeans from the 1970’s. It’s certainly got a personality all of it’s own.

Security Blanket Transforms Into Artwork
Still looking pretty good.

I was thinking the other day about how it has practically transformed into a new blanket with all of the new fabrics that have been sewn over the old fabrics. It’s changed color a few times too. The other day my mom actually asked, “Does her blanket need to be washed or is it always kind of gray and dusty looking like this?” The whites are no longer whites, the purples are no longer vibrant, and it has taken an overall turn toward gray over the past year.

Security Blanket Transforms Into Artwork
Holes and patches.

So, the other day, with giant, new holes covering the top of her blanket, I got out the sewing machine and started making repairs. I added some nice bright fabrics. I added some princess fabrics. I added some batting in places where it had gotten thin. It has a new look and weight to it, but Tiny-Small loves it just the same.

She still lingers around the washer and dryer waiting for her blanket to emerge whenever I convince her to let me wash it. She loves the blanket. It certainly is her Velveteen Rabbit. It won’t be long before she gives it up and puts it up on the shelf with the Paddington Bear from my childhood, my own, personal Velveteen Rabbit. I secretly hope that doesn’t happen too soon. She’s growing up too fast as it is.

Security Blanket Transforms Into Artwork
Blanket or artwork?

I think her blanket is starting to look like a piece of mixed media art. It just needs a few more layers and a few more years of love.


Don’t Stand So Close To Me

Tiny-Small is what I like to call a “Close-Watcher” because she watches the TV standing only an inch from the screen. I’m not even exaggerating this time. I swear. I often catch her standing an inch away from the TV when she’s watching PBS Kids. I don’t know how she can see anything that is going on! It must be like watching a miniature version of the actual show. Like pixels in Technicolor, with images all a blur and running together. Like a melted bag of Skittles. Taste the rainbow because you can’t see the whole thing at the same time anyway so you might as well just eat it. That’s the kind of TV watching I am talking about.

Don't Stand So Close To Me
Could she get any closer?

I’ve taken her to the doctor to have her eyes checked and they claim her vision is perfectly fine. She’s just a close-watcher. Kind of like the close-talker on Seinfeld, but different and less popular with Internet memes. When we try to watch family movies together I just keep repeating, “Step away from the TV,” and “Come sit next to me,” and “You make a better door than a window,” and “Move over, we want to see too!” It can be a little tiresome and also explains why I know so little about the plots of the family movies we rent. I’m pretty sure I would have enjoyed Despicable Me 2 a little more if I had seen a few more movie frames or heard more of the dialogue. I mean, who can hear anything with me constantly begging to see things? I even annoy myself with the begging. I mean, who is the adult here, right?

I’ve determined that being a “Close-Watcher” is genetic because sometimes, when I walk into the room, I catch Jim and Tiny-Small both standing in front of the TV watching it. Unfortunately, they can’t fit in front of it very well, at least not at the same time, because I insisted on getting the smallest TV known to mankind for the living room. They do compromise by watching it side by side from about a foot away. Jim said when he was a kid his parents were always telling him to move away from the front of the TV too. The only thing is, he did actually need glasses, where Tiny-Small has the laser-sharp vision of a healthy 4-year-old child, apparently. Why she stands so close is still a mystery. A mystery I don’t have time to solve. A mystery I am not equipped to solve. A mystery I could solve and still not really solve if you know what I mean. There is no scientific test for TV watching that I know of. Or anyway to convince people to step away from the shiny, moving-pictures box, besides repeating yourself over and over again like a broken record mom who lives to nag. So, I just let them have the TV as much as possible and tweet about how much I love chocolate and gel medium instead. Go gel medium! You rock.

Don't Stand So Close To Me - When Kids stand too close to the TV
Maybe I should put the TV on the wall like our dentist does in his waiting room.

Anyway, Jim is why I am blaming it all on genetics. He pretty much admits to it. I know he probably stands next to her to watch TV because he can’t see through her and doesn’t want to keep saying, “Move. Move. Move.” Plus, just the other day I walked into the room and overheard Jim telling Tiny-Small, “People don’t lick rocks.” Then he turned to me and said, “Where does she get this stuff?” Then I said, “Not from me, I don’t have a history of rock-licking.” Then Jim said, “I sure do. When I was a kid I was always licking rocks.” Well, if that isn’t self-incriminating than I don’t what is. He walked right into that one. Bunch of rock-licking “Close-Watchers” around here…Get off my lawn! Sometimes I just like to say that to sound cool and to prove that I can be an old fuddy-duddy just like the rest of you.

Not that I can say too much. Tiny-Small has genetically inherited some of my bad habits too. Like not wanting to sleep because it’s a waste of time and believing with all her heart that new shoes make you run faster. She also prefers to be home more than anywhere else in the whole wide world. She also could live on chocolate alone for the rest of her life. True story.

I often ask myself, who are these people I live with? They like their entertainment up-close and personal and they have an insatiable curiosity about the way things taste, obviously. I am just along for the ride, bearing witness to two insanely colorful lives unfolding in front of me. It’s a privilege. I know it, but sometimes I do wonder what a movie is all about…or what the singer of that band looks like. Sometimes I just wish I could see all the things. Is that too much to ask? Come on people! Get off my lawn!

I mostly keep hoping that one day Sting will come on TV during one of those PBS fund-raising concerts and sing, “Don’t Stand, don’t stand, don’t stand so close to me.” Maybe then Tiny-Small will finally realize that she doesn’t need to be an inch from the TV to enjoy it and maybe I’ll finally get a YouTube video that goes viral…with 30 people watching it. My camera is at the ready at all times to capture the moment when even the TV tells Tiny-Small to take a step back.

Until then, I’m probably going to start hiding some of these rocks we’ve been collecting. I have no idea where they might have been before or after they came into this house. That’s a mystery. One I do not plan to solve.