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Let's all pause for a moment and reflect on what it must be like to a four-year-old, who squeals with unabashed glee upon installing her very first roll of toilet paper.

Also, take a sec and reflect on what it must be like to be a two-year-old trapped in a hotel room, who enjoys many favorite pastimes including making frequent escapes from said room. The pile of weights Jake stacked in front of the door as a deterrent? Yeah, I have a hard time moving it to get in/out, but Philip? Yeah, just chased him down the hall.
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Most days I don't fight it, I let Topie leave the house in whatever fancy getup she happens to be in, as long as there are no hoop skirts involved, and as long as she can physically fit into her carseat. Really, I barely even notice anymore, it's just the way it is, but I'm reminded of the sheer silliness whenever some stranger comes over and asks Topie if she's going to a party. Um, no, it's just Tuesday. But no harm in it, I think, and there's really a small window of opportunity for such little girl fun, so I don't make any fuss.

Now that Jake's mom has introduced her to Angelina Ballerina, though, she insists on being a ballerina princess. I've built up her little wardrobe of ballet and princessy outfits, from craigslist and yard sales, and for a while at least, she is all stocked up in fancy.

But sometimes it's just not a good idea to go out in the world in a leotard and tutu, and on those days, alternatives must be presented from her civilian wardrobe. She has at least a dozen beautiful dresses that she can wear any time she chooses, but now they are generally not fancy enough for her. I picked one out for her this morning and she argued that a princess has to be FANCIER than that. I'm pretty sure I've seen more actual princesses on TV than she has, so I told her that when she gets home from her date with daddy, I'll show her what real princesses look like and what they wear. Here are some links to pictures I'm going to show her.

http://www.teacakesandteddybears.com/FamousPrincesses.htm

http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en-us&ei=aaxUSridJ9DAlAeRt4nmCA&resnum=0&q=princess+grace&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=bKxUSruSGJSSlAfS2fyABw&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=1

http://images.google.com/images?client=safari&rls=en-us&q=princess+diana&oe=UTF-8&um=1&ie=UTF-8&ei=wqxUStbDEsrqlAer1eHpCA&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ct=title&resnum=6

WHO ELSE SHOULD I SHOW HER?
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Today has been strangely low-key. The weather is undoubtedly contributing. The sky is gray and completely dismal. Rain on and off all day. Quiet, dark, relatively calm.

Topie has been coloring and flitting around as she does, and Philip is asleep. Actually, right now Topaz has climbed onto my shoulders, half strangling me in the process. So maybe today isn't abnormal after all.

I steamed some vegetables and we ate them with olive oil and salt. Easy and good. Tonight we're having local sausage and quinoa with root vegetables. I want to make a pumpkin pie with the pumpkin I cooked earlier this week. That sounds really good.

Still no coffee. I almost don't even think about it anymore. I've been drinking matcha instead, and occasionally remembering to make herb tea.

Speaking of which. I called my mom this morning, and she's sick. I looked at the list of herbs I sent her for Christmas and immediately told her three that would help. She argued that it's too complicated, she'll wait till I come visit to see how I do it. Bullshit, I said, and told her step-by-step how to do it. She did while I was on the phone, and drank it. Or lied and said she did. I finally came up with a simple way to explain it so she'd stop thinking it was a big deal. I got her a strainer that fits on top of a cup, to put loose herbs in. She thought this was incredibly complicated. So I likened it to a coffee filter that you put the herbs in, pour water over, and dump. She got it. Miracle. I hope she feels better. She said I was the only one even trying to help her. So sad. Her husband has pretty much been pushed over the edge by my sister's stupidity. They have my niece there all the time, and my sister comes and goes (moving back from CO next week) and fucks up their lives, and they are basically stuck in the same stage of life as we are. Only they're older than we are, and not interested in this stage of life. They want to travel and go out and be irresponsible, and all those things people without kids can do. And he's very, very bitter about it. And really, she is too. She thought she was done. And he never had kids, so he has no idea what kids are like, so just screams at that poor little girl, expects her to act like an adult, and then goes insane when she doesn't. She's three. That means nothing to him, he just has no idea. It bothers me so much that I could probably incorporate her into our family here with relatively little upheaval to anyone, but instead of that being an option, my mom and her husband have to have their lives dictated by my sister's reckless whims. If I were my mom, I wouldn't put up with it, but she won't take any action, only complains endlessly. There's nothing anyone could do. My sister is the problem, and she's probably never going to get her act together.

I got my copy of Mothering in the mail today, and sat reading it with Philip asleep in my lap. Very pleasant. I'm trying to enforce some sort of quiet time every day, but Topaz has a fit when I suggest it. Ugh.

I ordered a waldorf kindergarten book today, by the same author of the waldorf book I've been reading and contemplating for the past several months. It's so well-written and approachable, and all seems very doable. So this book is the followup and gives actual samples of days-in-the-life of a waldorf kindergarten. I want to feel like I'm doing what Topie needs right now. I don't know if her life is TOO unstructured or ideal. She plays all day, focuses on one thing at a time and pretends, dresses up, creates, all the time. She plays with her brother a lot. She seems to have a pretty decent life, really. But lately I've had stupid concerns that she's not reading, she doesn't seem interested in letters anymore, and I'm not really sure she's learning anything new. I remember when she was littler, every day she would have some new thing mastered, like she learned colors, and shapes, and animals, and her vocabulary was exploding, and she recognized numbers and letters and her name, and on and on, and now it's just not that active around here. She's still expanding her vocabulary at a staggering rate, clearly picking up everything I say, and nuances, expressions, all kind of communications back-flips. Her manners are pretty good, grammar is outstanding, and she is sharp as a tack when it comes to interpersonal skills. She reads into what we say and is correct. She gets subtleties that even Jake doesn't get. She's also mastering physical skills, like climbing and tumbling and just being in control of her body. And her drawing and painting are coming along nicely, and she draws THINGS as opposed to just scribbles. And she folds towels with me, and measures and helps with baking and chores, washing dishes, etc. So I guess really, nothing has stalled. Okay, writing it out makes me feel much better.

Philip has been asleep for a long time. It's weird having such a big block of time without him climbing on me.

Tomorrow Jake says we can go to Ithaca so I can take a real live Iyengar yoga class. I know it's decadent, but I'm not arguing. I am thrilled to pieces, actually. But in the morning we're going to have to get a lot of little house things done. Still, YOGA! I'm such a wreck, I can't wait.

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valancystirling

December 2010

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