Archive for the 'ronin' Category

Drawing and Writing

Monday, November 29th, 2010

[Portrait of Punk Rock Girl]

Ronin was impressed when Punk Rock Girl appeared in the Macy’s Parade last week. I asked who it was and she shouted “Punk Rock Girl!” and another little girl yelled “Raggedy Anne!” The looked at each other in confusion.

The parade was a big hit and afterwards we to the Sauvie Island tree farm to get a Chirstmas Tree. Ronin has been busy rearranging the lower ornaments ever since.

Here is an earlier work (April) from when she was just starting to make clearly representational pictures. Can you guess which one is Punk Rock Girl?

She’s also really interested in reading and spelling. Here’s an example of writing her own name. Remarkably only slightly worse than my own penmanship. She finds her lack of hand coordination really frustrating though. She knows what she wants to write but just can’t make the shapes. I showed her how to type words on the computer and she’s really excited about that. She’ll type her own name over and over and asks me to spell things to type out.

We haven’t spent too much time explaining letter sounds but she clearly understands the concept of reading. She can recognize all our names and some other words on sight. I know that there is a long standing controversy about sight reading vs phonics. I learned to sight read and I partially blame this for my inability to spell. However, I think sight reading is a simpler concept. Going from letters to sounds to a word is too many steps for her right now, but it’s pretty easy for her to just memorize a word. Mostly I teach her by pointing to the words as I read. She can answer questions like “Which word is Cat?” Then if I ask how to spell it she can read the letters off the page.

She spends a lot of play time “reading” books to herself. Of course, she isn’t really concentrating on the written words. She just memorizes the story after a couple of repetitions with mom and dad.


Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

Ronin was given this crown from Whole Foods. It has tomatoes on it and for four days she wore it constantly and was the tomato queen.

Then, it was sadly left in the trunk of the car for the duration of the four hottest days of the year nestled up with a pair of soiled undies and pants (accidents happen..). Basically, when I opened the car after a week, I seriously thought an animal had crawled up our tailpipe and somehow wedged itself up in our trunk to die, decompose, and rot foully. I’m telling you the stench was unbearable. When I finally figured out the source of the godawful smell, I was incredulous (after all, isn’t urine supposed to be sterile or something?). I soaked all articles of clothing + the tote bag they were in for HOURS in enzyme stain remover solution and then took them to the laundrymat for a serious washing. They still aren’t quite right after all that but they are mostly back to normal.

I tossed the Tomato Crown.

And I made her a new one.

Ronin is a big fan of the skirt-over-pants look.

Ronin models this year’s Tour de Fat t-shirt.

I thought I’d include one more shot that cracks me up.

Ronin likes to make salad in the salad spinner. Here she’s tossed together a bright end-of-summer mix of puzzle pieces, stuffed skunk, and underwear. She will eventually add a lime squeezer, the cover to a Curious George sticker album, plastic zoo animals, four pirate figurines, wheels from a toy car, two dirty socks, and Nigel.

Nigel makes everything taste just right.

When was the last time I talked about poop?

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

[Our child would be the one who is naked.]

We have potty trained babies around these parts! It’s been almost three weeks and it’s a wonderful thing, I tell ya. One day she deigned to pee on a board in the backyard and after a day or two, we were able to coax her inside to try it in the toilet. Now she often uses indoor plumbing.

It’s not all fun and games though, there’s that little thing about how they may be able to pee in the right place at the right time but they don’t quite get the wiping part. In fact, it’s downright foolish to leave her in there with a roll of toilet paper anywhere in reach (or sight, since she’ll shriek if she can’t get at it). Usually she’ll unroll it all over the floor and rip it to shreds, poking little bits in one at a time. Once she dropped the entire roll into the bowl. Now, if she refuses to let me stand guard, I take it with me. There are often loud vocal protests but I am unmoved by such demonstrations.

About a week ago I noticed that her hairbrush (which often lives on the back of the tank) looked weird. It had bits of paper molded into the bristles in a strange way. Almost as if someone had, say, stuck it in the toilet bowl with a bunch of toilet paper (and whatever else…). No, I thought, she wouldn’t do that. But then I asked her what was up with the hairbrush and sure enough, she happily told me she cleaned the toilet with it. The brush is still sitting on the back of the tank; I’m just not sure what to do with it. She never let me use it on her hair anyway.

She’s a little weird about preschool peeing though; she’ll probably be one of those kids who can’t poop unless seated upon her own toilet. I hear it’s not uncommon. Last time I picked her up, she had evidently held it all day long and by the time I got there, she was visibly uncomfortable. We took her in and she went at last, a lot; she even wanted me to hold her hand as she sat there (this is unusual: at home, she usually boots me out—probably hoping I’ll forget to take the toilet paper with me when I go). I guess now we know that she can hold it. Next time she says she has to go when we are on the road, we’ll be all, nope, sorry kid, you will just have to hold it until we get to California.

[We got her this US map puzzle at a garage sale and it’s her favorite thing these days; we put it together at least once a day. She has most of the states memorized and usually can put about 3/4 of the thing together on her own—when she’s paying attention, that is.]

Much Misc

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Ronin is getting tall! A real little girl these days. We actually started her in a local preschool two days a week. We felt like she would really enjoy the activities and different stuff, and the other kids to play with. Plus, she could definitely use some socializing. She’s not always going to hang with two protective hovering satellites that intuit her every move and desire. She seemed to really enjoy it the first couple of times and even napped (!) but the second week, we had tears when we dropped her off and cries that she didn’t want to go. Once we left though, we got calls from the teacher to tell us that as soon as we left, she cooled down and was pretty much fine and happy. Unfortunately (for the teacher, less so for Ronin), she stopped napping. She hasn’t napped now for a few weeks (except once when we essentially “forced” her to by bouncing her like we did when she was a baby). The no nap means that by the time we come to pick her up, she is completely wiped and falls asleep in the car or on the bike seat on the ride home. Thussly refreshed, she is absolute hell to get down for the night.

Actually, she’s been hell to get down for a good while now. I’ve felt so miserable about it that I have refrained from bitching here online about it, and in so doing, have not been posting anything at all. It just made me so upset, I could only come out with negative things to say about her and the sleep situation. But, things seem to be getting a little better; she went down without any fuss at all tonight.

I just cut her hair for the first time yesterday (nothing daring, just a respectable bob). She has never let us brush her hair with a hairbrush and so I follow her around waiting for any moment when she is otherwise occupied with something—eating or playing with bathtoys; on occasion, I’ve snuck into her room and done this while she slept—and I pry carefully at the dense dreadlocks that have formed at the back of her head. (Ronin, in addition to being a serial brush-hater, is a major hair-twirler when confused or tired or just lost in thought.) She of course hates this and says: “Mama! Are you getting out the rats? DON’T DO THAT!” And runs away from me. The shorter hair seems to keep the rats at bay, and I got rid of a couple of the more tenacious of the bunch in the process.

[Ronin looking cute in her hat. I haven’t gotten any pics of the new ‘do yet. Next time.]

One historic issue we’ve dealt with since forever has been the non-eating thing. Curiously, as she gets older, she is getting less picky about the consumption of food. Everything I have ever heard about toddlers and food has been to the contrary so it is with great trepidation that I watch her suddenly deign to touch green vegetables, nibble on a lettuce leaf say. I’ve heard of people who would never let their toddler eat pizza but seriously, we rejoiced when Ronin actually ate a bite and didn’t spit it out. She’s getting less picky about fruit too and will, on occasion, eat things that we did not have to pantomime picking off the bush or tree for her (though she still won’t touch raspberries once we are more than five feet from the bush they came off of).

One of the outfits Ronin picked out: David Bowie shirt over Tahitian dancer girl outfit with green tiered skirt. She’s big into layering and will emerge from her room with three t-shirts over a dress with a skirt on top, pants underneath, and two different socks on. I think she is practicing to be a bag lady when she grows up.

Potty training is in full force hereabouts. We introduced a potty right around when she turned two when I was all gung-ho on the whole deal. She seemed to be aware of the various bodily functions and very curious about the potty aparatus and potty-themed storybooks and the like. Potty #1 was a raging success for about 35 minutes and now that we own three, any hope of reliving those first moments have all but been shattered. She uses none of her potties, naturally, and on the rare occasions we have managed to coax her out of a diaper, she has shown a preference for the step-board that we use to get in and out of the garden shed. Today was uncharacteristically sucessful however, she peed twice next to trees at two different parks and once on the step-board. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too high.

Ronin models potty#2 for us. It can be a lot of fun and used for many different things, observe:

You see how she’s combined her newfound enthusiasm for food with her interest in the potty? It’s moments like these that make a mama proud.

A Lion’s Lunch

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

I’ve been to the zoo more last winter then in the rest of my life combined. The rule seems to be that on any given day half the exhibits are closed and half the remaining animals are just sleeping. It really takes a bunch of visits to appreciate them all. Some, like the orangutans, are always depressing but I try not to think too hard about it.

Ronin usually runs for the polar bears first thing. Sleeping, more often than not, but on lucky days we catch them swimming. It’s a wonderful thing to watch.

The lions sleep on the rocks or sometimes stand nobly looking off into the distance. However, on this day one lion was just going crazy and seemed desperate to get at the tender morsels on the other side of the glass. She was running back and forth clawing, snarling, and throwing herself at the glass. Ronin was oblivious. “Look at the big kitty.”

Last week they opened a robot dinosaur exhibit. We weren’t sure what Ronin would think but she likes dinosaurs, isn’t usually afraid of things, and the snarling lion didn’t phase her. She really didn’t like it though. Mostly I think it was the noise and the fact that they spit water at you. We explained that they were only toys and she seemed to understand. Now I’m afraid that she thinks all the animals are fake.

Cheyenne Weil, Joshua Coxwell