Monday, April 25, 2011

Cause in My Head There's a Greyhound Station Where I Send My Thoughts to Far off Destinations...

Dear Sweetness,
You've grown again. 7 inches since you came home.  Your grandmas say that you're taller each time they see you.  Sometimes I think you're taller each time I see you.

You're finally pretty much potty trained.  You're so pleased with yourself.

Your language skills are exploding.  You still have your own way of saying some things.  A few of my current favorites are:

blacklist - breakfast
flum - thumb or plum, depending on the context
wallermillon - watermelon
nuggle - snuggle
prootnac - fruitsnacks
sanglitch - sandwich

You love to read books and I think it's so sweet the way you relate to the characters.  One of your favorites this week is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  I realize that Eric Carle does his pictures as tissue paper collages and that's why his books are so fun, but it also makes some of his pictures hard for you to decipher.  There's a piece of cherry pie in this book and no matter how many times I tell you that's what it is you still call it "pizza cake" (because that IS sort of what it looks like).  You love to jump ahead to the part where the caterpillar eats to much and has a tummy ache.  I think you're sad for him.  You know what it's like to have "tummy hurts"

You also love to randomly blurt out, "Mama, where it live?" and then I'll ask you "Where does what live, Sweetness" and then you say whatever random animal you've been thinking about.   Sometimes you forget that I can't hear your thoughts.  Your animal choices are things like elephants, octopus, bear, shark, horses, whales, "penglins", and sometimes it's something like "trains".  "Where trains live, mama?"

This last weekend you started your "Why" phase.  It's been the longest few days of my life  :)  I repeat it back to you each time you say it and you get very mad and I say, "yeah, it is annoying isn't it?"  Sometimes I tell you exactly why just to keep my cool.  Like today you threw a ball and it accidentally hit Mama.  I said, "Hey, you hit me!" and you said, "Why?" so I explained trajectory to you and you kept asking "why" until you used up all my physics knowledge.

At least it amuses me...

You love counting things, even though a lot of the numbers you use are made up.  Eleventeen, and twentyteen are personal favorites.

The other night you went to the store with Daddy.  When you came home, you came running down the hall and said, "Mama, I here!" and when you hugged me you said, "I came back for you."

You remember things with scary accuracy.  And sometimes you pull something out that you heard somewhere and I'm pretty sure you DIDN'T know you used it correctly.  Like the other day you asked if we could do something and I said, "We'll have to see" and you said, "That'll be the day".  After I quit laughing I asked you where you heard that and you reminded me that one of the trains says that in one of your Thomas videos.  It just happened to fit, but I don't think you know what it means.

I don't THINK you do...

I love, love, love being your Mama and I'm so proud of every little thing you do, Sweetness.

I love you.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

A 13 on the BUN Scale

At work this week we started chatting about how somethings should just be WRONG no matter where you live.  There shouldn't be a culture (in my personal and oh so humble, opinion) where it's OK to try to sell or marry a child.  There shouldn't be a culture where women aren't allowed to think or have a voice or face.  There shouldn't be a culture where children can die because their parents were sucked into a Facebook game and left them to drown in the tub.

 I think we could call it the "B.U.N. Scale" for Basic Universal Nastiness.

The more I have thought about this the last few days, the more I like the idea.  It would be awesome if news stories had a BUN Scale at the beginning of the story and you could just know you'd want to tune out because the details of this story exceed your BUN Scale coping abilities.

Then I saw the local news the other day.  There was a headline that said something like, 'Man May Face Felony Charges after 9th Arrest in Girls' Locker Room".  I don't know which word in that is more disturbing:  "may" or "9th".  Repeat Offenders would get a high number on the BUN scale.  Repeat Offenders against children are practically on their own chart.  Frisking 6 year olds at the airport would be on the scale.  The three stories I've heard lately about people who have essentially locked children in rooms and treated them like animals should be scored.  This number could give judges a clear indicator of universal nastiness of some of the crimes.  It should pull into their sentencing. 

There are some other, broader social applications of this potential scale.  For example, mullets could have a rating.  Wife-beaters would get a score.  Spandex in general could have a score.  That woman that walked by me at a concert years ago who was wearing a lime-green tank top that was about 12 sizes too small for her and therefore her entire belly was hanging out - she gets a special number.  I still remember it because I was scarred by it.  SHE had the hairiest navel I've EVER seen.  I still have nightmares.  High BUN Scale factor on that one.

So I'm partly joking and I'm partly serious.  I wish there was a better way to keep kids safe, help people make choices that aren't harmful and generally help people to not bite each other.  Those things should be universally understood.  We should do a better job of taking care of each other.

Whether or not we rank she-male navels is really optional. 

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The One About When God Gave the Whale a Job Chart, and Other Lesser Known Bible Stories

Dear Sweetness,
You recently developed a little issue with hitting people when you're mad.  I think you picked it up on the mean streets of daycare.  You pull your arm back as far as it will go - so your hand is clear behind your neck and you leave it there, while glaring at your victim.  You want them to know that you're locked and loaded.

When you do this to Mama, I remind you gently that if you continue with this decision, you'll have a very nice time out all to yourself.

That usually results in an extremely slow motion forward release, ending with you patting my leg and whispering, "No."

You still get timeout.  A slow motion hit in anger is still the problem. 

After many, many timeouts Mama decided to try something different.  I made a job chart for you.  If you could go 5 whole days without hitting, we'd take you to pick out a little toy.

You were very peeved about the job chart.  You kept saying, "I can't wanna make-a chart a not hit!  I can't wanna five days! "  There was a lot of weeping, wailing and teeth gnashing.  But Mama held firm. 

The next day was Sunday.  I was in Primary with you (as you still have issues with them wanting you to sit AND not cry in Primary).  You were very wiggly and ready to be done with Sharing Time.  The sister that was teaching the lesson was talking about different Bible stories.  I kept trying to get you to listen to her but you weren't having it.

Then she started talking about Jonah.  Somewhere in your wiggles, her words wafted into your mind and settled.  You realized what she was actually saying. You froze in your seat and stared at the teacher.

Then you looked at me, wide-eyed, and said,  "He got EAT by a WHALE???"

"Oh, Sweetness," I said, "There's a lot more where that came from.  I'll tell you after church."

So that afternoon, as I changed you out of your Church clothes, I told you the tale of Jonah and the whale.  I made sure it was at your level.  I told you about how Heavenly Father asked Jonah to go talk to some people because they weren't being nice and Jonah didn't want to listen.  I told you about how Jonah tried to run away, and how he ended up in the ocean and how a whale scooped him up.  I told you the whale just held Jonah in his mouth so that Jonah was safe (making it very clear he didn't EAT him) and that after three days, the whale spit Jonah back out on the land.  And that then Jonah went on to Nineveh.

I could see the wheels in your mind turning.  You were staring off into space and I could tell you were picturing something in your mind. You were trying to reconcile this crazy story your Mama had just told you and make sense out of a world where whales "sort of" eat people.

I said, "Nate, what are you thinking about?"

You said, "Heavenly Father say, "No, no, Whale.  You not eat Jonah."

I agreed that Heavenly Father probably did tell the whale not to eat Jonah.

And then you said, 'He say, 'No, whale.  You gotta be nice.  You not eat him.  You gotta make a chart.  You gotta make THREE DAYS a not eat him.  And the Whale said, 'GRRR.... I can't wanna make a chart a not eat him..."

It was so hard not to giggle as you tried to work through your continued frustration at the job chart and combined it with your new fascination with Jonah and the whale.

At least, apparently, even God gets complaints from the villagers when job charts are implemented.  The whale's anger at the job chart is my new favorite part of the story.

You continued to talk about the whale and not wanting a job chart for a good hour.  I even called Grandma and you told her the story.

I've also noticed that you seem really keen on the story of David and Goliath.  You like Daniel and the Lions' Den and you like David and Goliath.  But lately, you seem to make all of the Biblical characters "David".  You want it to be David in the lions' den.  You want it to be David that was swallowed by a whale.

Now that I think about it.... it's probably because you're so impressed that David not only got away with throwing things but he also did a serious job of hitting someone without getting in trouble.

And without getting a job chart.

I love you, Sweetness,