Archive for December, 2010

Vegetable clothes

December 31st, 2010
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Since a became a mom, I find myself saying all kinds of things I never thought I'd utter. One day when I came home from work, I was talking to Claus at the kitchen counter, while Olivia was playing in the living room. She came running up to him and handed him some toy, frustrated. "Daddy, I can't do this!"

It was clear he had been playing with her before I came home, so this was like a conversation already started. He simply accepted the item and started fussing with it while continuing to talk to me. I, however, stopped when I noticed what he was doing.

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"Why are you tying a skirt onto a corn cob?" I quizzed.

He had just finished knotting the wrap skirt (apparently borrowed from Barbie) and handed the plastic food back to Olivia, and casually answered, "Oh, all the vegetables have clothes. And some are tired, so they're taking a nap on the sofa."

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I walked over to see. Sure enough, half a dozen smartly dressed food items were neatly lined up, some lovingly given a pillow to sleep on.

Of course. Makes perfect sense.

I will not look at vegetables the same. The next day I came home with groceries for soup. I started taking them out of my environmentally-friendly canvas shopping bag and putting them on the counter, when I noticed that I was actually lining them up in a neat row, just as Olivia would like it.

For a moment, I thought about putting some doll clothes on them.

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Cutting-edge fashion

December 29th, 2010
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I'm sure the editors of the Ala Moana Center magazine didn't have this in mind when they designed their publication, but it's found a new life in the hands of my daughter.

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She and my mom were playing one afternoon when my mom suggested it be fun to cut out the pictures of the dresses and other retails items. Olivia took this to task and soon had a long line of dresses on the table. When I got home she was working on the purses page.

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Olivia kept it lined up to proudly show me when I got home. She thought the dresses were pretty and wanted me to leave it on the table for all to admire, instead of piling it up so we could get ready to eat dinner.

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If I ever get to meet them, I have to remember to thank the editors for laying it out perfectly for a three-year-old to cut out and play with. I know that wasn't their aim, but it did buy me another half hour of uninterrupted time to cook dinner while someone was busy admiring all the fashions.

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Gingerbread cookies

December 27th, 2010
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One weekend, I gave the kids gingerbread cookies to decorate. There were several kits at the store, but I opted for flat cookies versus three-dimensional houses because the kids are young and I thought it would be easier for them.

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Before I opened the kit, I had to give the kids a little reminder about what we do and don't do with the decorations. Some of the decorations were round balls - exactly the size of the bead that Olivia had shoved in her ear recently.

"These are for putting on the cookie. We don't put this in our ears or our nose. Right?" I reinforced.

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"Only our mouths, right, Mommy?" Olivia answered.

With that safety precaution, I proceeded to hand out the sweets to an eager crowd. This was a huge hit. This kept them occupied for 30 minutes with minimal bugging of adults.

Of course, my cousin and I still had to stand around and arbritrate small squabbles over who is hogging the sprinkles and who keeps dropping the candy balls, and for the smaller ones, help them squeeze the frosting out of the bags.

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My cousin and I got to decorate a cookie, too, making us feel like kids again. I'm mostly grateful that none of the decorations found their way into someone's ears or nose.

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Christmas package-calendar

December 24th, 2010
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There's a little bit of Danish Christmas tradition woven into our holiday celebration. Olivia's grandparents gave us a Christmas calendar that my mother-in-law embroidered. It's numbered with all the days of the month, leading up the December 24 (which is when the Danes celebrate Christmas.)

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On each day, we tie a little gift. Last year, his parents supplied all the gifts, but this year, it's our turn. We bought an 85-piece food kit of plastic play food and wrapped up several small food items per day. Olivia really likes to play house and pretend to cook.

It's so cute that each morning, she gets so excited to unwrap a gift, and that she always appreciates whatever she gets. Her usual reaction is, "Wow! A (food item)! I'm going to put it in my kitchen!" and she runs off to play with her new toys. She's into lining things up in neat rows.

It's also kind of funny that she hasn't caught on to the fact that for the past three weeks, every single item in the gift-calendar is pretend food. The little ritual always ends with her giving us a big hug and thanking us.

In this season of worrying if the gift I buy friends is the coolest, hippest, trendiest, I should really stop and take a tip from my own kid: that it's about appreciating the gift you get, no matter how big or small.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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Bead emergency

December 22nd, 2010
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Every time we vacation with my cousin's family, some minor tragedy befalls my kid. Last time, she needed to go to the ER for a head gash. This time, she stuck a bead in her ear. Yes, a bead.

I was sleeping (because I'm such a lightweight, three-year-olds outlast me) when Claus turned on the bedroom light and dumped Olivia on the bed. "She stuck a bead in her ear," he declared. He poured oil in the ear and turned her on her side, hoping it would slide out. He tried to suck it out with a Capri Sun straw.

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What?!?, I thought. This was like, four hours into the staycation and already a crisis? After waiting a few minutes, he turned her back onto her side so he could look into the ear. Nope, still quite lodged. The whole time, all the little kiddies were crowding the bed trying to see what's going on.

I called my nurse friend, Lori, who practices female health care. "If she's not in pain, go tomorrow. You'll be suck in the ER all night," she said. "And you have to stop taking vacations with this cousin."

The next morning, instead of enjoying the beach, the three of us drove to the nearest medical clinic. I kid you not, but as we strapped Olivia in the car seat, she started singing Beat It. I'm sure one of the cousins taught her that.

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The doctor easily and quickly removed the bead with small forceps. Olivia was a very good girl and did not move her head at all.

Other people's critera for vacation destinations include proximity to activities or price point. When we vacation with Cousins, we just have to make sure we're near a medical facility.

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