Books and conversations

Several of Laurel’s favorite books right now are ones I loved when I was a kid, including “When the Sky is Like Lace,” “A Flower Pot is Not a Hat” (which is so out of print there’s not even a cover image on Amazon, so nevermind), “My Cat Likes to Hide in Boxes,” and “A Special Trade.” It’s so sweet to revisit these stories as an adult, and see her enjoy them so much. The latter, particularly, is great to see her take in — it’s the story of a little girl who becomes best friends with an elderly neighbor; at first he takes care of her, and then she takes care of him.

We try to go to the library every few weeks. Together we pick out a big stack of books, sit down, and read. We check out the ones we like the best out of that batch and bring them home. Some of the winners have included Cynthia Rylant’s Poppleton and Brownie and Pearl series.

Laurel has very little patience for sitting still and paying close attention to most things, but she pretty much never gets tired of reading with us.

Probably not coincidentally, her imagination is really taking off. Having a conversation with her these days can be really interesting. Or, just listening to her: the other day, she sat on the kitchen floor while I cooked, and scripted an entire conversation taking place between her two feet.

Here are a few other favorites:

After hearing a bird in the trees:
Laurel: “Did you hear that bird? It said, ‘Oink-chirp.'”
Me: “What kind of bird says ‘Oink-chirp?'”
Laurel: “A pig-bird.”
Me: “A pig-bird? What’s a pig-bird?”
Laurel: “A pig inside of a bird.”
Me: “Huh. How does the pig fit inside the bird?”
Laurel: “It’s a small pig.”
Me: “And a big bird?”
Laurel: “No, but the bird has a button that keeps it closed so the pig doesn’t come out.”

One night, after refusing to brush her teeth (but having them brushed anyway):
Me: “Do you want all your teeth to fall out?”
Laurel: “Yes.”
Me: “Then what would you eat?”
Laurel: “Nothing. BLOOD.”

At the grocery store:
Laurel: “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”
Me: “If you need something, please use your words.”
Laurel: “Mommy, you’re OLD.”

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Laurel, retrograde

We’ve heard quite a lot about children going through “regression” periods, in which they act like a child younger than they are, but until now we haven’t really seen much of that behavior in Laurel. You know what I’m going to say next, right?

Until now.

She’s generally a pretty independent kid. She wants to do most things by herself, and won’t let us or other adults help unless she gets really stuck. She long ago learned to move chairs/stools around so she can climb up to get to things she want. Recently she has mastered changing her clothes, which has led to multiple wardrobe changes per day (especially at school, where there is a stash of spare clothes in a cabinet she can easily reach). She goes to the bathroom by herself, helps herself to food out of the refrigerator, and sometimes cleans up her own messes. She used to put her own laundry away, but has gotten bored of that lately.

Over the past week or so, she has begun pretending that she can’t do many of the things she normally takes pride in doing alone. For a while, she was pretending she couldn’t walk. She would make her legs collapse, and she would sit on the floor whining. Then it progressed to other things.

The other morning, she said she was cold and wanted some pants. I told her she could go get some in her room. She said it was too dark, so I suggested she get her stool and turn on the light, two things she loves doing. She got the stool out of the bathroom and then dropped it in the wall, fell to the floor, and wailed that she couldn’t move it. She whimpered, cried, and yelled for 10 minutes — and then finally turned her light on, got some pants, and put them on. Before we left the house, she said she wanted socks. She picked some out, but again flailed and insisted that she couldn’t put them on — and worked herself into a state of laying on the floor, screaming and kicking.

We opted just to bring her socks to school. About 6 hours later she put them on without fuss — in fact, she was proudly showing another kid how to put them on, demonstrating by pulling them confidently onto her own feet.

There was nothing to do but laugh.

Otherwise, she’s a happy, busy, playful, creative kid. Lately she loves to sing, to ride tricycles, to paint (okay, that’s a longstanding love), and to be naked — particularly at the park. Her favorite song of the moment is Nicki Minaj’s “Starships,” though I’m glad she’s only heard the clean version (and hasn’t seen the video).

She also loves riding on the bicycle with Devin. But I’m hoping he’ll tell those stories soon. :)

— Beth