Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Natural Born Journalist

Celeste has a bit of the journalist in her: She is really good at recounting things that have gone on during the day (albeit sometimes confusing something that happened one afternoon vs. another or maybe confusing reality with something from a story she's read) and she loves finding out who people are and what they're doing. She often will point at someone — across the park, in line behind us at the grocery store, passing on the street — and ask "What his/her name?"

Often, we don't know the person she's referring to, so we've been encouraging Celeste to introduce herself and to ask the person she's interested in's name. Celeste has been very in to this game, although she often poises the question from 20 feet away and/or in some other manner that is sure to not get her an answer.

The thing is, however, lately she's not been running up to people and saying "Hi. My name is Celeste. What's your name?" ... no, instead she's been saying "Hi. My name is Zippity. What's your name?" (Except when we met Alejandro while on an "expotition" around the block last week, when, with a bit of prompting, I got her to say "Me llamo Celeste. ¿Como se llama?")

Monday, July 16, 2007

Dogs for the Arts

Can I pet your dog? Photo by Ashby Henderson, Hyattsville Life & Times A few weeks ago, the local park had it's annual "Dogs for the Arts" day. They had a dog-and-owner look-alike contest, paw painting, and a few other events ... and a lot of dogs. Given that Celeste has decided a while ago that we are all dogs — if you refer to her as a little girl, she corrects you, "little puppy!"; or if you ask her to wash her hands, she responds, "no, paws!"; and everyone has or puppy appended to their name, for instance I am now "Daddy Dog" — there was no way we were missing this event.

Celeste did not disappoint, running around gleefully asking if she could pet all the dogs and often ending up giving them hugs. Last week, the local monthly city newspaper arrived and there was Celeste in an uncaptioned picture poised to strike [PDF of the full article].

The other thing about Celeste being a dog is that her name is now Zippity. A little while back, Evelin checked out Some Dog from the library. Pretty soon thereafter, Celeste identified herself with the little dog Zippity. She also started insisting that Quinn be called George, after the big dog in the story. Worryingly, as one friend noted, "George" is a nickname that could stick.

This matches up with Celeste insisting that she's a little sister, and generally resisting being identified as being "big." For a while, she would insist she couldn't be big because she couldn't touch the ceiling. Also, in her mind, big/little seemed to be a sex-linked trait: Pretty much all males were "big" and all females were "little." That's changed somewhat, and now Evelin is considered "mid-sized" by Celeste. I have no idea what any of this means, but it's pretty funny to be in one room talking to Quinn and telling her what a big girl she is, and then starting to correct myself to say "little girl" but before I can do so Celeste calls out from the other room "No! George is a little puppy."

Friday, July 13, 2007

What Book Is This?

Tonight, after the girls were in bed, Evelin had a mission for me: Retrieve a bookcase from a porch two towns over. Apparently, it was something off Freecycle that hadn't been claimed and Evelin thought it would help our book "problem." (I use scare quotes on the word because I don't think it qualifies as a problem, it's just a lot of books, falling off shelves and forming piles around the house — kind of like a library ... without the shhhh'ing, stacks, card catalogue, or defensible acquisition policy.)

After it was in place, Evelin started moving around other bits of furniture and rearranging the placement of books throughout the house. This is where the tale gets odd.

Among the things that have gone unblogged over the past few months is Celeste's reading. She loves books, all sorts of books: board books, books, "page books" (the term she came up with for paperbacks and hardbacks without pictures), etc. Those page books have very few clues as to the contents when you can't really read, but Celeste doesn't let that stop her ... especially when it come to mass-market size paperbacks. She's appropriated several of them, given them new titles, and she's totally consistent about it.

When Evelin was rearranging the books, she paused for a moment when shelving a copy of Wide Sargasso Sea (this edition), which Celeste has dubbed "Ripley* Howls at the Moon."

Next, Evelin paused over a copy of Animal Farm. I asked, "Hey, what's Animal Farm?" and Evelin looked at me with a look of surprise, initially thinking I'd never heard of George Orwell or something. Not five minutes later, when she asked, "Hey, what's Field Guide to the Slug?" ... and I responded with a short discourse about gastropod mollusks ...

*Ripley is Celeste's Flapjacks Dog, which Evelin's mother bought for Quinn, but Celeste appropriated as soon as it entered the house ... and thus began the end of her friendship with Dee Dee Bear.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Is This Thing On?

Hey, long time no blog. I'm still alive. The girls are all well. I've just between work and family gotten out of the habit of blogging, which is a shame because Quinn is growing rapidly and learning so many things and Celeste is coming up with a million cute, quotable lines every day.

Two examples:
  1. Quinn: Last weekend, she signed BIRD pointed at a tree, said "bird" clearly, pointed again, and then Evelin had to duck a robin that flew out at them.
  2. Celeste: On 3 July, I was tucking her in to bed and told her that the next day was a holiday and asked if she knew what that meant; she said, with much emotion and glee, "I think I get cake!"
This afternoon, I managed to get something on film (okay, a solid-state memory card, but that isn't very imagetic) that was too cute.

Last week, I dropped the very full dehumidifier bucket in the basement, spilling a lot of water and cracking the plastic. This afternoon, the new bucket I ordered on Friday arrived wrapped in about 5-feet of bubble wrap. When I spread it out on the floor and jumped on it, Celeste and Quinn were startled, but they quickly figured out what they were supposed to do.

Yes, sadly, that is "Who Let the Dogs Out" (Kidz Party Songs version) in the background. Celeste got stung by a bee and it took a fudgesicle and her favorite song — set on repeat for nigh an hour — to cheer her up.