Thursday, October 30


Matilda spent a few hours today alone with our neighbors who have a 3 month old, Quincy, while I went to a terrifying preschool open house. (Scary not in the Halloween sense, but in the competitive cut-throat school sense that seems to be the norm around here.) M had a fantastic time playing and was in the middle of feeding Quincy when I arrived back. She was so sweet with the baby and talked about it all the rest of day.

Tuesday, October 28

Halloween Picnic

We were invited to a little Halloween celebration last weekend where we got to see all of Matilda's buds dressed up. It was a pretty hysterical sight. Matilda wore her chicken costume from last year since this year's costume still has several pieces sitting on the sewing machine.

I had volunteered to make a snack for the picnic and when I lost my motivation for popcorn balls Tim saved the day by finding a super yummy, fast solution online: cinnamon crisps. I can't find the same one again now, but it is essentially this recipe, although I used olive oil instead of butter and baked them for longer - about 18 minutes until they were pretty crispy. Instead of just cutting the flour tortillas into eighths, we used cookie cutters to make them into spiders, pumpkins, bats and ghosts. The spiders were the best because as they baked the hardening would cause them to stand up. 

Monday, October 27

Feeling the Season

We are getting into the Halloween spirit around here. Yesterday alone we roasted pumpkin (still not in the pie form but getting closer), toasted pumpkin seeds, made sugar cookies for decorating with toddler friends this afternoon (Do I clean the kitchen floor now to impress the other parents, or leave it since it will definitely need cleaning afterwards?), and made some awesome cinnamon crisps (recipe coming soon) which were devoured at a Halloween picnic. 

Sunday, October 26

C is for "Confusing"

This fox is from the parking structure at our mall. For a long time now Matilda has always said hello to the foxes painted in the area where we habitually park. Last week as we wandered in to do some returns Matilda said, "C is for fox." I am sure the developers never considered how using letters on these signs might screw up learning for the toddlers of America.

What's Going On?

Tim has been looking forward all week to showing Matilda the video of Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin. They are watching it currently and Matilda has the most perplexed look on her face. She actually just said. "What's going on?" I have never heard her ask that before and found it quite funny. Up until now she would just say, "happening?" if she needed more explanation.  

Friday, October 24

Learning to Use Tools

For a long time now Matilda has been using a little chair to reach when helping me in the kitchen. All of a sudden this week she discovered that she can take the chair other places to reach all sorts of things. It was a fun realization to watch her make. It also makes us wonder what was the limiting factor before that she hadn't considered taking the chair around? So far she hasn't gotten into too much trouble with her newfound "height" and spends most of her time turning lights rapidly on and off. 

Thursday, October 23

Too Close for Comfort

During our walk in Hollywood Forever Cemetary yesterday Matilda was thrilled to see so many ducks (and geese and swans and egrets), until this overly-friendly fellow became a bit insistent about his need for snacks. We sadly had none, and moved along to keep everyone content.

Tuesday, October 21

Antisocial Behavior

Anytime that we mention going to a playground lately, Matilda's immediate response is, "No Kids! No kids on the playground." She sometimes goes on to elaborate that she doesn't want to share: her toys, her snacks, or just the playground in general. Once we are there, she usually shares o.k., with occasional outbursts that we can talk her through. We have yet to actually leave a playground early over the issues, although there have been plenty of threats. It is a strange phenomenon, because she is great at sharing with her friends, but somehow the neutral setting of a playground with stranger kids sets her off somehow. Once in a while she will apply her "no kids" chant to some other destination. Yesterday as we were going into a store, scouting for Halloween costume items, she started into her "no kids in the store" chant. I decided I was sick of hearing it, and tired of my canned response so I tried to just ignore her. She wasn't having it and just got louder and louder with her insistent demand of "no kids" until I finally gave in and responded. I think I told her, "Fine, if you don't want to be friendly to the kids that is okay, but I hope we see some kids to say hello to." She came right back with a chipper, "Matilda say hi to kids!"

Monday, October 20

The Candidates

Matilda has been getting a lot of exposure around here to the election (not that we are explaining much to her about it) and for weeks now has been babbling about Barack Obama any time she hears his name on the news. I love the way she says his name, all run together like it is one word. Last week, as we were watching the Dodgers game, Matilda saw an Obama t.v. ad and started up her rant. "That's Barack Obama. She's talking about Barack Obama." As the advertisement finished and the next random commercial came on she pointed to some man and said "that's John McCain." It wasn't in fact McCain, but it made me laugh and realize how much she's paying attention. Now anytime she sees McCain talking on t.v. she recognizes him instantly and will say "He's talking about Barack Obama." She has watched all the debates with us and now clearly thinks the two belong together as some kind of package. 

Sunday, October 19

Pumpkin Pie

We visited our favorite farm today for the fall festival and Matilda got to pick out some pumpkins for pie. Between getting back home and bedtime, Matilda asked about 20 times if the "pie is ready." The entire time I was cooking dinner she kept coming into the kitchen saying, "Mama's making pumpkin pie!" The funniest part is I am fairly sure she won't be crazy about the pie since she doesn't usually like pie and she's not crazy for most things with that pureed texture (pretty much the only classification of things she won't eat). I'll try to remember to report back how it goes over once I get to actually making the pie. 

Saturday, October 18

Running on Empty

For the past few days Matilda has astounded me with her lack of appetite for either food or sleep. She's has been skipping naps, waking up hours earlier than usual and picking at every meal. While this normally correlates with an illness of some sort, she seems to be feeling totally fine. 

Yesterday after she decided to forgo a nap we set off for the library to fill the time and refresh our book pile. M RAN the entire way there, 5 blocks. At several points I had to jog myself to keep up with her pace. She would hold my hand for the crosswalks, but maintained her pace dragging me across the street. It was quite impressive to witness, especially since usually I can get her to walk to whole way only by cajoling her with little games and incentives to walk just a bit further. 

In the library she was still super charged and we lasted only long enough for me to grab a few books before we had to start off on our return run home. Not only did M run the entire way back, but she engaged almost every pedestrian we passed, bewildering most of them. To a well dressed business lady in heels she yelled "She is a woman! Her have BIG shoes!" As she ran towards two young women in athletic clothes Matilda yelled, pointing at them, "Sarah's parents! Sarah's parents." The girls laughed, not understanding what Matilda was saying, and passed along unaware of just how little resemblance they had to either of Sarah's parents. The madness continued with the pinnacle being a guy sitting on his stoop who Matilda waved hello to, then turned to me saying, "He is a boy. Him have a penis." This is not uncommon lately, as Matilda is quite obsessed with classifying everyone by gender, but thankfully I think we were out of earshot. 

Thursday, October 16

Pictures to Satisfy Grandma Marge

From an uneventful trip to Ferndell park yesterday of hunting water striders and spotting squirrels.

Wednesday, October 15

Baby Jerry

Lately Matilda has become more attached to her baby doll than she's ever been to any toy that I can remember. She falls asleep with her cuddled in her arm, drags her along on most errands, and needs her to settle down for a nap (which I really learned today after we had to go back to the house for the forgotten baby doll before M would stop crying and relax enough to rest). M has also started to do a lot more pretend play with her baby, making baby dance, feeding her things, or reading books to baby. We have asked her many times what baby's name is and Matilda never would really answer until this week: Jerry. I guess Matilda is following the trend of giving your girl a traditionally male name. I have no explanation for what was happening here. 

Monday, October 13

Go Blue

We were lucky enough to get some last minute tickets to last nights playoff game where we cheered on the Dodgers to victory. Matilda actually chose cheering over hotdogs as her favorite part this time!

Thursday, October 9

Mama Could Try Harder

This week Matilda started using the word "could" very heavily in her everyday language. Now all day long I am hearing sentences like these:
"Mama could hold you."
"Mama could get you some water."
"Mama could read Matilda a book."

Before this development she was constructing her sentences/requests exactly the same, only leaving out the could:
"Mama hold you." (Incidentally I hear this roughly 1,000 a day, it is M's stand-by whine if she is tired/hungry/needing anything.)
"Mama get you some water." (Occasionally with a please thrown in there)
"Mama read Matilda a book."

I love the new addition of "could" to everything because in my head she is just making an assessment of the situation. I imagine what she really means is "If Mama was doing a better job she could _________." 

Wednesday, October 8

Phoenix City

At some point last month Tim taught Matilda about skanking, a style of dancing originally done to ska music. Matilda's version of the dance is a bit more spastic than the original I would say. To keep you all in the loop with M's hip style this is her current absolute favorite song to skank to:

While I am at it, I'll put this Bjork one up too, not a skanking song, but another of Matilda's preferred dance songs of late. She does lots of singing with this one too complete with shushing and screams in the appropriate places.

Another Stellar Moment in Parenting

Last week at farmers market Tim was enticed to try some samples of prickly pear fruit. The vendors were quite convincing, explaining that the fruit was de-prickled and Tim brought some home for us all to try. After dinner one night we remembered it and decided to try the cactus fruit. Tim pulled it out of the fridge and after some ginger handling declared he couldn't feel any prickers and went about washing and peeling it to dish up. Matilda objected, exclaiming that she wanted a turn to feel the fruit too. Tim handed over the fruit for her inspection, she then passed it back, he sliced it up and we all ate it up comparing the flavors to watermelon, kiwi and tomato. Several minutes later Tim started to feel some prickles in his hand and started to work with the tweezers. Sadly, Matilda's complaints followed not long after. She wouldn't verbally tell us what was wrong but instead spent the next 1.5 hours breaking out in little sobbing fits and clenching her fists. She wasn't crying the entire time, so at least we can feel marginally better about our stupid move. After a totally unsuccessful attempt to get near Matilda with tweezers and trying a soak in the bath we turned to the internet: duct tape was the recommended solution. It worked like a charm. We gave M some pieces of tape to hold and played a little "Got-your-fingers" game and she was all fixed. However, the moral of the story remains that de-prickled prickly pear fruit are not in fact prickle-free: do not give them to your toddler. 

Tuesday, October 7


It's 93 degrees out right now. That is just wrong. Where is my fall weather?

Spoonful of Sugar

So we have been all kinds of sick around here lately. Nothing terribly serious, just one cold after another for all three of us. Over the weekend Matilda's most recent cold turned into a terrible cough that sounded like a dog's bark with lots of wheezing. When in doubt we always turn to our stand-by medical website, Ask Dr. Sears, which has great info on childhood illnesses, dosing by weight and child development information. Tim was quite disturbed when our visit to the pediatrician Monday morning concurred with his online diagnosis, croup. As a result Matilda was prescribed with three days worth of steroids to fight the cough & congestion. (We need to start getting her to hit the weight circuit I think and see some real results.) The pediatrician said the medication is flavored but has an awful aftertaste so she actually recommended a spoonful of sugar, or jam, after the medicine. Matilda choose straight sugar of course, since she is not a jam girl and has been taking her medicine with no problem, singing like Mary Poppins the whole time.

Friday, October 3

Painting Party

I invited two of Matilda's little friends over for some painting this week and it was funnier than I could have predicted. Matilda started referring to the playdate as art class as soon as I told her and highly anticipated it for days. M, the little girl in braids, was quite hesitant to get her fingers dirty and preferred to use a paintbrush. Matilda and her other friend, A, both clearly have an affinity for finger painting. Well actually, Matilda will use the brush to paint her hands and arms, but that's usually the extent of her need for a brush.Eventually Matilda & A convinced their buddy to get her fingers in and everyone got a bit messier. The end result was lots of art to send home for the parents and a very messy bathtub. Matilda thought it was the funniest thing to have all three of them in the tub together and cackled the entire time rinse off session . 

Wednesday, October 1

Kids Really Do Age You Faster

All morning long Matilda has been claiming I am 44. And here I thought it was the lack of sleep and toddler power struggles that just made you feel older.