We’re making dream catchers. “I have my own technique. Everyone has their own technique…doesn’t — they?” Uh – right. “I do my own technique, okay? So don’t try to blame my technique on being its own technique.”
We took the training wheels off and had a driveway session. Realizing Natalie needs a new bike, we went to Toys Я Us. There were lots of little kid bikes… …muttered the girl: “Where are the grown-er…?”
“Why is Riley so perfect-made? She just shines at the right time. And she has a big booom. (Gesture suggesting a curved beak.) And she likes to bite you.”
The Pottery Place.
Natalie: “Why can’t we go to Painting Pottery?”
Mom: “We’ve gone a lot. It’s a lot for a bowl or a horse that doesn’t get used. It’s expensive; that’s why I don’t want to do it.”
Natalie: “The more the merrier. Pottery is expensive. It’s special.”
Mom: “I smell it.”
Natalie: “I don’t. I think my nose needs repairing.”
Biking is like a religion to people who love it, I said They feel strongly about it. “I don’t feel strongly. I feel tired.” I laughed at this one, and Natalie wanted to know why. “What, wordplay?” Yes. “Thank you. I’m trying to get good at grownup stuff.”
New power toothbrush. “The other one was running out of goodness. It used to do so many things.”
Natalie’s wearing sweats I bought ages ago at Target but hadn’t fit until now. I’m so glad! I say, and that sparks a rant o’ gibberish. “I’m glad as well…I guess. I guess I’m glad. Why would I be glad? They’re just pants. In some countries, they’re naked, but wear clothing in the shower. They’re not that popular, wearing pants.”
Natalie wants me to put Lizzy’s sweater on Perry. I refuse in order to save Perry’s dignity. She wants to know what dignity is. I say it’s not making someone look like a fool. “Oh, he doesn’t look like a fool. He looks like a fluff. He looks like a ball of fluff.”
Kid wants to know about the equator since its the hottest place on earth. I say it’s not necessarily, and I look up other places. Trouble starts when I read about Death Valley. “That means I’ll die there. It has death in its name.”
The second I get home, Natalie’s making something out of soda bottles and drafting me. She’s got everything arranged. “I’m going to get the basics done, but we’re all going to pitch in to decorate it.” I’m tired.
I don’t like the lime in my cabbage salad. Since Daddy gave Natalie plain dry cabbage, she’s safe from the horror. “I don’t taste lime. I taste potato tots.”
“In a jippy.” What? “In a jippy. Jipsy. Jipsy.”
Offputting Haiku by Natalie (Mom’s title)
(This was from school: “A long time ago, when it was April. ‘Cause April was National Poetry Month.”)
Six littel ponys
Runing around a big tree
The tree falls oh no
DaD is playing the
Bango wich thow(n?) dose not sound good
It is not my fult
Mom taks pichurs all
the time now im Blind oh no
now it is her fult
Natalie thinks this $1 bill must be really old. I ask her what year it says. “I don’t know, but this one’s not even our president right now.” Oh god.
Natalie was playing with her shopping cart full of fake food. Dad didn’t hear what led up to the conversation she was having with herself, but he was able to report this much:
“What are you doing?”
“No, WHAT are you doing?”
“That’s what I’m doing! I’m doing FINE!”
We think “fighting for peace” is odd. “Yeah, ’cause then you’re not putting on peace. If they want peace, why don’t they just act peace? Some people can’t hold their peace in.”
“Stroking his teddybearness always helps. Stroke his teddybearness, or it won’t work.”
Natalie was gushing and moaning about Perry’s amazing paws. Daddy technically doesn’t like Perry, but to be amiable, he agreed that they’re very good paws. But Natalie knew better. “You’re not as dazzled by them as I am.”
Mom snaps an awesome picture of Natalie wearing her sorting hat while watching the sorting hat decide the children’s fate at Hogwart’s.
Natalie: “Don’t post it.”
Mom: “Could I pay you to post it?”
Natalie: “How much?”
Mom: “Fifty cents!”
Mom: “A quarter!”
I don’t know if I won or lost!
Natalie: “Perry just burped.”
Mom: “”Aw. Then I love him even more.”
Natalie: (sigh) “Sometimes I wonder about you, Mom.”
First viewing of The Empire Strikes Back.
Han has just kissed Leia: “Oh no no come on please no.”
Vader says he’s Luke’s father: “Uh. Whuh. No way.”
Almost at the end: “Scary movies sometimes make me need to go pee. And I need to go pee.”
“Why is Darth Vader so weird?”
Mom: “Did you feed Flippy tonight?”
Mom: “I’m not happy about that. You’re going to feed him first thing in the morning. I’m not lying down with you; I’m just kissing you goodnight.”
Natalie: “What? Did you say something about a fish or something?”
Mom: “Yes. I asked if you fed Flippy tonight.”
Natalie: “Oh. Yes. I did. Sorry, I was just drowsing off.”
“I’d rather be Darth Vader’s son than be alone on the couch doing nothing.”
Natalie to Ana on the phone, regarding the class play:
“You broke a leg, but didn’t literally break a leg. We broke an air leg.”
Mad Libs in the car.
Natalie: “Give me a verb ending in -ing.”
Natalie: “I need a gerund.”
Daddy is agog.
“I need the nouniest noun ever nouned a noun.”
Mom: “I need a city.”
Natalie: “New York State.”
No one is agog.
We’re going to watch Return of the Jedi in a few minutes. Natalie can’t wait ANOTHER MINUTE to find out if Vader is really Luke’s father. She thinks he was lying to get Luke to come to him, so he could kill him.
Mom: “Could be. But maybe, if Darth Vader really is Luke’s father, he wants him to come to the Dark Side, to be powerful and help him stay in power. He didn’t seem to want to kill Luke.”
Natalie: “Well then, why were they both doing lightsavers, and trying to kill each other then?”
Mom: “Well…there is that.”
Natalie: “Babababababa, I won, I got the point.”
I have to use a baby wipe on Natalie’s neck to remove the cheap necklace metal stain. Natalie wishes I would wipe her more gently. She demonstrates and I do it back for her. “Wow. Feels so cloudy. But clear. Cloudy clear. Foggy.”
Mom: “Do you think you have enough books on the bed?”
Natalie shakes her head: “I want my room to be made of them. Made of open books.”
Natalie on compassion toward others:
“…Or I just leave them alone. So they can have time alone and make a force field of happiness.” Where did that idea come from? “I made that up a couple of weeks ago.”
Last day of school! “I think I’m in the doldrums.” She’s been reading The Phantom Tollbooth.
Mommy: “Daddy, we should have cauliflower some time next week.”
Natalie: “Oh no. Ohh no. You’ll ruin my life if you do that.”
I guess we’ve overcoddled the child. She made toast for herself in the morning and was shocked to burn herself trying to take it out of the toaster. She hadn’t known that it heats up the bread without cooling it off for you to remove it. She said she’s never using a toaster again. I said she wouldn’t be having much toast in her life. She said Daddy would make it for her.
I’m dressed for the Pride Parade, with my colorful earrings and my rainbow necklace. “Do I look gay enough?” I ask my family. Says Natalie, admiringly: “You look more gay than ever.”
I encouraged Natalie to give a few of her parade goodies to a little girl at Ramona’s Cafe. After she did it, she started getting this beatific look on her face. She said it felt really good to share. Later she said she was feeling so good to be generous. We kvelled and talked about how the giver gets something too. Later I told Daddy how lovely it was that Natalie was feeling the generous. “I think it’s ‘feel the generosity’.” Aw, she’s generous with the grammar critique too. Just like her Mommy.
Mom told Daddy: “There were an awful lot of churches in the parade.”
And Natalie said: “Heyy. Anything can support gay. And anyone.”
Natalie is explaining something to Perry about exploding into a Supernova or a Just Plain Nova.
It’s late, after bedtime, and Natalie hadn’t said goodnight to me before going to her room. I knocked and opened her door, and she came running to greet and hug me. I asked if she ran because she was hiding something she didn’t want me to see. She admitted as much: there were toys on the bed. I told Natalie that grownups are smarter than she thinks, and that I know when she’s trying to hide something, and I thanked her for telling the truth. I shook her hand. “Can we shake with the other hand, even though its not traditional? Just, this shoulder still hurts. From this morning.”
I’m told that dress-up clothes strewn all over the room is called “Fashion All Over The Place.”
I sing a line written by The Simpsons’ Kirk Van Houten: “Can I borrow a feeling?”
Natalie doesn’t know the reference. “Yeah. What feeling do you want?”
Natalie had Dadspa’s help gluing magnets to decorated bottle caps which she intends to sell. “Be careful. They’re magnetized, and these magnets are super super super magnety.” Natalie couldn’t find gems to glue in there. I reminded her that she has tons of beads. “Mom. I don’t want to make them TOO creative!”
“I want you to have that beauty. I want you to have that beauty of niceyness.”
“I hate blinking. I hate missing out on stuff.”
I try to reassure the child, yet again, that we need bees to survive. “I know, but they don’t have to sting. And they could always look like a cartoony bee.”
Natalie: “I remembered to turn off the bathroom light.”
Dad: “Very good.”
Natalie: “I should get a nickel for every time I do it.”
Mom: “Hell no! It’s something we expect you to do.”
Natalie: “Yeah, but I almost never do it. What?! I almost never turn off the light. …Stop laughing. It’s not funny.”
Lizzy spent a few days at Pam’s house after Natalie left her there accidentally. Natalie couldn’t stand waiting any longer, and Daddy brought her to retrieve the little one, whom Pam reports was crying the whole time. Natalie was grateful to have her back. She trashed her room and claimed that was the result of Lizzy’s welcome-back spa. She gave her a welcome-back party: “It’s not a party if you don’t teach someone to do the saltsa.” But Lizzy fell on a craft which subsequently needed re-re-gluing, and as punishment, Lizzy had to ride her bike. She doesn’t like riding her bike. Tonight Dad brought Lizzy to Natalie in bed. “Aww, Lizzy. Fella.” “…Fella?” asked Dad. “Lizzy actually likes being called Fella,” said Natalie.
I turn the bathroom lights off as Natalie is finishing her shower. There’s still plenty of natural light. “Why do you always do this to me? I feel like I’m a ghost.”
I introduced some Monty Python tonight which the girl enjoyed, but now it’s time for toothbrushing and bed.
Natalie: “I want to watch The Spanish Inquidixity. The Spanish Inquidixity! …Is it Spanish Inquidixity?”
Mom: “It might as well be.”
A bully in ParaNorman says “D-E-D dead!” I make sure to tell Natalie that’s not the right spelling. She says: “D-I-E-D dead.” No, that’s ‘died’, I say. It’s D-E-A-D. “Well, at least I got some kind of word.”
“Ow! You scratched my lumpygum. The lumpygum is where my grownup teeth are supposed to be.”
Strong contender for Quote of the Year comes from a discussion about Hamlet and his famous quote:
Mom: “Do you know about Hamlet? He believes his uncle killed his father and got with his mother, and he’s really depressed and angry.”
Mom: “And he’s thinking about death and he says: To be or not to be: that is the question.”
Natalie: “I thought it was: ‘You killed my father. Prepare to die.'”
Taco Tuesdays, both ways. “I don’t like it as much as the hard ones. It’s not my thing. You’ll be hearing me say that a lot, about broccoli.”
Dad says Adirondack Basement has not answered his calls. Natalie says she does NOT want to go back there. The rides were scary and there were spider webs everywhere. Um, that’s Adirondack Extreme, not Basement, I say. Well, she still doesn’t like it. The rides were too high. “I thought I was going to die.” That’s why they call it extreme, I tell her. “It doesn’t have to be THAT extreme!”
“I’m bad at everything except at being bad.”
At the end of “Book Report” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Linus says “Amen.”
Natalie wants to know why he says “Ah, Man!”
June 25: A big moment happened at about 8:37PM. Natalie lost her first tooth naturally. (The first four, on the bottom, only came out in surgery.) She’s having some drama. “How will I ever eat again??” Pain, tears, more tears…Orajel’s your best friend, I’m telling you, I said. “No it’s not. My best friend was having that tooth.” Okay. “This HAS been one of the worst days ever except for Emily leaving my life.” She burned her finger in cooking camp, and now this.
Natalie wanted a soft breakfast. Daddy suggested letting cereal sit in the milk for a minute. “Okay. I just want to go easy on my tooth. Not my tooth. Didn’t you want to do that when you were a kid? Let it go easy on a day?”
Mom: “Is that what you’re wearing today?”
Natalie: “Maybe not the pants. Those were just night comforting pants.”
Natalie says I have to put on pants to go to work.
“For once I’m true about something.”
“Daddy, do you think there are any disadvantages on drawing or computering instead of acting in movies?”
“You could spend a living playing with dolls.”
“Mom, can you look up books that don’t have movies to go with them?”
I’m making stereotypical toothless mouth and tongue movements. “Do you have a brain problem to do that? I have not met a man who could do that. Or a woman. Do that all day at work.”
Natalie’s helping me clean. We’re going through the mess on the drop-off and getting rid of expired coupons. I give her a nickel to put in the change bowl. She starts saying something vague about whether it’s expired. Coins don’t expire, I tell her. “I thought coins expire after a hundred thousand years or so.” There weren’t any coins then. “What about a thousand years ago?” Those can’t be used now, but they’re worth way more. “Where are the ex-pie-ration thingies?” You mean the coupons? “Yeah.”
“This is fun! Trying to find ex-pie-ration dates.”
“The sky had never seemed so sky; the world had never seemed so world.” Neil Gaiman, Coraline
“It just looks so…The sky looks like sky and the world looks like world today.” Natalie, Coraline fan
“I just get kind of fussy if I don’t eat for a while.”
Don’t juge a
But his hart