Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Nell: Interview With a Five-Year-Old

Nell turned five in May, which seemed like a good opportunity to ask her some questions and jot them down for posterity.

{Photos taken Easter 2017}

What's your favorite color?
"Pink."  {of course}

What's your favorite food?
"Noodles.  Pasta.  And macaroni and cheese.  And I love cookies and olives and sour green apples and potatoes and eggs and bacon and English muffins and blueberries and strawberries."
{She loves pasta so much it's worth being thrice redundant!  It's true!}

What can you do now that you're five?
"I might be able to ride my big girl bike now that I'm five.  And I can... wear bigger clothes."
{A day will come when that prospect is not nearly so enjoyable as when one is newly five, I have found... speaking as one recently postpartum!}

What do you like to wear the best?
"Dresses and sparkly things, and I like to dress up in my dress up dresses and dance in them."

What are some of your favorite things to do?
"Ride my balance bike.  Play with Wilbur {her stuffed pig}, feed him his bottle like Fern. {We read Charlotte's Web back in January or February, and it was a big hit.  A very big hit!}  Dance to ballet.  Play my violin.  Do swimming lessons.  When can I do swimming lessons again?  I love to hold Molly.  I love to snuggle, color, make cards for you and draw pictures for you, paint things, draw things."

What's your favorite music to listen to?
"The Nutcracker.  Bach.  The Mozart Adagio {in E Major for violin}.  The Brahms Sonata {in G Major, the first movement}.  Eine Kleine {Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart; she loves the slow movement}.

What do you like to watch on the television?
"The Ballet." {A production of The Nutcracker they like to watch on YouTube and dance along with}  "And I like to watch This Old House with Daddy.  And Chip and Joanna!" {Fixer Upper, another thing the girls watch along with Nathan occasionally when I'm teaching violin lessons.}

What is your favorite animal?
"Pigs.  And bunnies."

What's your favorite book?
"Happy Little Family. {by Rebecca Caudill}  The Hundred Dresses. {by Eleanor Estes}  Charlotte's Web."

What's your favorite toy?
"Slides and swings.  My dolls."

Who's your best friend?
"Aunt Hannah, and Ruby Grace, and Auntie Cara, and Marie, and Molly."

What do you want to be when you grow up?
"A ballerina!"

And the funny face outtakes:

Nell seems so grown up to me lately.  And I suppose that being half a decade old is pretty grown up, after all.  At five years old she is already so many things I wouldn't have imagined a five year old could be: thoughtful, empathetic, and kind.  Genuinely helpful.  Generous and caring, endlessly creative, always forgiving.  Her remarkable memory never ceases to amaze me, as she correctly recalls details from when she was two years old.  She narrates entire memorized stories to herself softly sometimes, or draws her sister into acting them out with her as they play together.

She's a big idea girl, and hardly a day goes by when she isn't presenting me with a long list of plans and ideas for the new day over breakfast in the morning.  "Let's read Ramona today, and finish the book!  And I'll do my own reading practice!  Maybe I'll finish learning to ride my big girl bike!  And we could go to the farm and play and pick peas!  Let's make cookies or something today!  Let's dance ballet and play dress up, and can you do my hair in a bun?  Can I wear a twirly dress?  Can we read the Brambly Hedge book too?  Can we go on a nature walk and do paintings in our nature journals?  Can I help you do some gardening?  Let's go to the beach, too!"

Thankfully, she's been understanding thus far about the fact that her mother isn't Wonder Woman, and we're lucky to get just a couple of her dreams and goals accomplished on any given day.

Keep planning and dreaming, sweet Nell.  You are the best.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ree: Interview With a Three Year Old

Back in May, Marie turned three.  She is capable and increasingly independent, while always eager to have a good snuggle with me.  She loves music, dancing, singing, being read to, and playing imaginatively all day long.  She sleeps in a twin bed and goes to sleep quickly and easily each night, for which we are very grateful - and when she has a nightmare, she calls for Daddy, saying, "Daaaaaaddy!  I shared (scared)!"  She will turn up her nose at biscuits and gravy, but chomp away happily at sticks of raw zucchini or a kale salad.  She likes to creep into my bed in the early morning hours and offer to scratch my back or "braid" my hair.

In case you thought it was all rainbows and roses around here, the truth is that Marie loves to hate her long-suffering big sister Nell, and makes comments like, "I love Mama and Daddy and Molly and me but not Nell!" or "You bad, Nell!" just to try to get her poor sister's goat - and she's usually successful, of course.  But then she turns around and plays with Nell all day long: dancing and twirling in tutus and dress up clothes, building towers with blocks, cooking in their play kitchen, pretending to teach one another violin lessons, "conducting" and singing together, taking imaginary trips in their wooden rocking boat, etc. etc. etc.  There is really no end to the imaginative things they come up with to do, and they often keep one another entertained almost all day long, for which I am exceedingly grateful. They're never too far away from a squabble, but they're also never far from a good old fashioned twirling session together.

I decided that being three years old made for a good opportunity to ask Ree some questions:

What's your favorite color?
"Um, two kinds.  Purple and pink."

What's your favorite food?
"Grapes.  And olives.  Blueberries and strawberries.  And salad!"

What do you like to wear?
"I yike to wear my fwirly (twirly) dresses, and wompers (rompers)."

What are your favorite things to do?
"Go outside.  Ride my bike.  I like to snuggle with you.  And pretend to talk on the phone.  I yike to dress up in my dress up clothes.  I yike to yook at books, and sing my singing books." 

What do you think three year olds can do?
"Play.  And snuggle.  That's all my things I did for one day!"

What kind of music do you like?
"The Wheels on the Bus.  And finkul finkul yittle tar.   The Mister Moon song.  And The Happy Farmer."

What do you like to watch on the television?
"The ballet." (A video production of The Nutcracker)

What are you good at?
"Doing pictures like cards for you and Vamma and Vampa (Grandma and Grandpa), and coloring, and singing, and jumping, and snuggling."

What is your favorite animal?
"Cows.  And my stuffed vaffe (giraffe).  And ephanants (elephants).  And porcupines.  And hot dogs!"

What is your favorite book?
"The Humpty Dumpty books!" (Our nursery rhyme / Mother Goose books)

What is your favorite toy?
"Molly is my best toy to play with!"  (And how does Molly feel about this, one might reasonably wonder...)

Who is your best friend?
"Mama."  {Well okay kiddo, you've got me firmly by the heartstrings with that one!}

What do you like to do outside?
"Dig in the dirt, and help Mama water the plants, and play in my sandbox."

What do you want to be when you grow up?
"A ballerina.  I want to be a pumpkin.  And a bunny.  Or a girl named Helen Pelen." {I have no idea.}

And the outtakes: the silliest of silly faces.  {One of which is truly frightful, I might add.}

I showed Ree these pictures, and she laughed with glee. "Yook at dat funny face of mine!  Yook at dat one!"

Oh, Marie.  Her screams when she's frustrated or angry have a certain timbre to them unparalleled by my other children (at least in my recent memory).  She's a bit of a ham, a bit of a character, a bit of a handful, and I can't imagine our family without her!  But I have a feeling life would be a lot quieter, Nell would have fewer opportunities for growth in the face of being provoked, Molly would be less frequently squashed with over-zealous love, and I would have a lot more personal space.  But personal space is over-rated, anyway.