Bella and Raya

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Evelyn and Raya

¬†It’s been a long while since I spoke of Evelyn’s imaginary friends. Bella has been showing up from time to time but fairies, as you know, tend to make brief entrances.

There’s been a new friend lately. Her name is Raya and she is the same size as Evelyn.

Raya appeared at bath time a few months ago. Evelyn wanted her tiny Bella around but Bella’s size and delicate wings kept her out of rough and tumble play. Raya is the same size and age as Evelyn. She rides behind Evelyn on her tricycle and takes “tubbies”with her. Of course, Raya is the messy one and usually creates the splashes that go over the edge.

The names of Evelyn’s friends came from her. What, or who, inspired them is as mysterious as where they came from. Evelyn is posing (above) while hugging Raya.

There was one startling bit of news about Bella last week. Evelyn claims that she has lost her wings. Although she seems to have retained her 2” height, one ponders if she may be evolving in some way?
I’ll be following these three closely and add updates. ūüôā

Bella Helps

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Evelyn is continuing to bring her imaginary, fairy-like friend, Bella to day care.
I want to take this opportunity to add that imaginary friends have been discriminated against for years. When Evelyn’s sister started with them (7 years ago), most of the expert opinion literature was divided about their worthiness to be encouraged. Encouraging them once they appear of their own accord, I might add. I was extremely careful not to be involved in their creation. This was handled well by only asking questions.

We (My daughter, Ellen, and I) had a blast with older sister Katherine’s friends. It was a delightful experience from which I vowed never to deem imaginary friends unworthy again.
(In fact, as an advocate, I’m waiting for just the right moment to suggest that imaginary friends might want to consider unionizing.)
The biggest benefit became clear when I was able to discuss manners and safety by including the imaginary friend. Children under 5 or 6 simply do not know what truth is, and so, when Katherine began blaming her friend, Zabby, for some of the rule infractions, I took advantage of that chance to address my displeasure.¬†I sternly told Zabby¬†what would happen if she¬†OR Katherine did those things again. After all, taking responsibility for one’s actions is a very difficult, mature concept. Many of our adult public servants haven’t even learned that lesson… a small child is simply unarmed. Later on, taking responsibility was also discussed with the imaginary friend. In fact, we approached many topics from the shared responsibility Katherine and I developed in raising Zabby to be a good citizen.

Bella has already been helpful. Evelyn and I have been “showing her the ropes” for day care. We’ve told her about the danger of opening doors without permission and to watch for babies’ fingers when we close them too. Evelyn and I thought of one specific safety issue¬†which only applies to¬†Bella. When she flutters around on her fairy wings, we warned her not to go near Pepe’ who might mistake her for a pesky fly and swat her!
I still find myself carrying Bella in my own cupped hand longer than I need to. Ha! And you thought Bella was not real. I certainly believe.
Yesterday, Evelyn was dismayed that Bella wouldn’t take a cracker. When I asked about the size of Bella and the size of the cracker, Evelyn drew her own conclusion about the cracker being too heavy.¬†And late yesterday afternoon, Evelyn took a “tubby” in my sink¬†at the same time as¬†Bella was safely in her own small Tupperware tubby.
Evelyn even treated me to a lesson in “How to kiss a fairy.” before her Mom went to work. (Incidentally, Ellen was in tears suppressing laughter during my instruction.). Every time I puckered and gently kissed the palm of my hand, it was incorrect. Then Evelyn adjusted her lips (looked like she was chewing gum) then gently brushed her lips across her own palm. I just didn’t measure up in fairy kissing all day.
I’m going to practice today…wish me luck.

Let’s Go, Bella.

It is going to be somewhat difficult to add photos to the Pa-Pa-Pa Bella posts. I’m not new to imaginary friend blogging and already know they¬†are¬†especially hard to pin down for photo shoots.
Today, Evelyn convinced me that Bella is here to stay. I caught her talking into the palm of her hand several times. On one occasion,¬†I heard her sighing, “Awwww.” and kissing her hand.
Her manner was so genuine that it touched my heart.
Around noon, she walked up to me and gently slid her hand into mine asking me to watch Bella. With a cupped hand, I left the room to make lunch and this is when the phone rang. Just so you know how completely I had bought into Bella’s presence, I actually turned and put her on my kitchen table before answering. Ha! Yes, that is the absolute truth.
Later on, when Ellen showed up at day’s end, Evelyn cupped her hand and told her mother to hold Bella. Ellen was gathering boots and bags and told Evelyn she was going to let Bella ride on her head so her hands would be free. Evelyn agreed.
Moments later, Evelyn shouted, “Mommy! Your glasses are in the way…I can’t see Bella. ” (Ellen wears sunglasses on her head.)
Ellen assured her, “She’s there.”
Evelyn, not convinced,¬†pursued her to the door on tiptoes trying to see the top of Ellen’s head.
I spoke up, “I see her! She’s on Mommy’s ponytail.”
Relieved, Evelyn grabbed her blanket and said, “Yeah…there she is. Okay, let’s go.”

Pa-Pa-Pa Bella goes to Day Care

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It’s official. Pa-Pa-Pa Bella arrived at day care this morning. Evelyn walked in with¬†Bella in her cupped hand.
According to reliable sources, Bella went to bed with Evelyn dressed in an orange t-shirt and a diaper. But, when they got up, they were dressed in identical sleepers.
Evelyn introduced Bella with her full name, Pa-Pa-Pa Bella, and placed her delicately in my hand.
The photo above was a capture of their first hot dog lunch. (Bella’s on the right.) Upon asking Evelyn how they enjoyed their lunch, Evelyn said,” She didn’t eat her’s lunch up.”
We talked about it some more and agreed that Bella’s tiny bites and teeny tummy were the problem.
Happily Evelyn discovered that they enjoy the same morning programs.
As I write, they are watching Tree-Fu-Tom and, of course, Bella’s love of trees was brought up too.

What do YOU mean?

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You cannot notice things if you are talking. Makes me wonder if Nature’s wisdom runs even deeper than¬†WE notice?
Babies cannot talk. We take that for granted, in fact, we take many things for granted.
The greatest joy of the presence of small children is the innocent wonder they bring to the world. Babies notice everything!
Kids draw connections between “ordinary” things which frequently make us laugh. Even when they begin to talk, their misuse of language shows an understanding of language principles and points out just how many rules are not written in stone.
I’ve had many¬†frustrating conversations with toddlers. Many times they take on the same¬†humor¬†as the Abbot and Costello “Who’s on First?” routine.
“What’s your name?”
Child: “Me.”
“I’m talking about your name. Who are you?”
Child: “You Susan.”
“You are Evelyn.”
Child: “I’m me. You are Susan.”
“Yes, me is Susan.” UGH!
Child: ” You is Susan…me is Evelyn.”
“That’s right. My name is Susan and yours is Evelyn.”
Child: “NO! Your’s Susan …Me’s Evelyn.”
Okay, what’s Mommy’s name?
Child: “Ellen.”
“Does Daddy have a name?”
Child: “Kory. Daddy is Kory.”
“Who are you?”
Child: “Me.”
The hard part to wrap your head around is the kid is not incorrect. She is just thinking about the world in a more simple way. The rules of language are the barrier in this case.
We all knew what she meant, though, and we laughed because she was right.
How nice it would be if we adults would stop quibbling about words and realize that meanings are more important. They are there. We just need to stop talking and listen more often.

 

Here we go…

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Just yesterday, I announced that I was “divorcing” Facebook. The experience had drained me and had dragged me into a defensive role¬†which was changing me.
Whether you believe in divine intervention or the “closing of a door, opens a window” principle, something remarkable happened moments ago. In my Sillyfrog’s Blog, I had documented my oldest granddaughter’s imaginary friend. This was a very happy and funny experience. Ellen (my daughter and mother of my two granddaughters) just called to announce 2 1/2 year old Evelyn has an imaginary friend. We’d been watching for this.

I’d like to introduce, Evelyn’s friend,Pa-Pa-Pa Bella. Here’s Ellen’s description:
Bella (for short) fits in the palm of Evelyn’s hand. She has wings and lives in a tree. She’s a lot like Tinkerbell but, according to Evelyn, not exactly like her.
Bella’s favorite food is hot dogs and Ellen was busy setting a place for Bella at the lunch table when we concluded our phone call. The lunchtime menu is hot dogs!
I asked Evelyn over the phone, if Bella will be coming to day care.
“No, she stay at us house.” was her answer.
I said, “So I’ll meet Bella at your house?”
“I don’t know.” said Evelyn.
This grandma is¬†hoping Bella comes to my house! I’ll be¬†careful not to lead the imaginary friend experience but will keep an anxious “ear” on Evelyn for updates.
Here we go!
This is going to be FUN!

Here’s a link to big sister, Katherine’s, imaginary friends experience:
https://sillyfrogsusan.wordpress.com/category/zabby-eight-updates/

Winning…One battle at a time.

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The hardest thing I have to do is to inform parents about their kids’ “undesirable” behavior. Especially when we are battling a period of repeating offenses, I can see the parent watching my demeanor, as I greet them at the door, with defeated hopefulness. Sometimes it’s all too clear by my appearance of utter “frazzledom”, that the day has not gone well. Actually, what can they really do?¬† The battles are for me, alone, to win or lose.

Parents and I must be “on the same page” and take moments of private strategy planning . There is an upside though. Usually the retelling of the tales of¬† “bloody battle” are quite funny once I’m away from the skirmish. This is why the private part is so crucial…the child must NEVER know how humorous they really are. Many a time we’ve had to hide our faces and pretend we’re coughing to cover-up our reaction to these encounters. I can’t help but find a child’s wilfulness admirable even when my own strength is sapped. Spunk is a positive trait.

Oh yes, some kids have moments and others have periods of battling. Sometimes, I envision a wall of infamy representing the Best of the Worst during my day care years. I still remember who took the longest to toilet train, who gave me nightmares and who were evil geniuses.

One child, in the top three all-time geniuses, recently battled with me over an entire afternoon. The battle started with me denying her the opportunity to walk around in my living room while eating a bowl of cereal with milk. Eating in my living room is allowed when it’s a peanut butter sandwich. (Yes, the crusts vacuum up nicely once dried in the baseboard heating grills.) But, spilled milk is nasty.
First, I had 20 minutes of screeching demands. When I offered her a compromise of a tray table, and she refused, I knew it was going to be a very long day.
Next, I had her sitting on the floor swiping at everyone who ventured too close. I redirected traffic and the screeching started again. The demand, by this time, was for Mommy.
Soon the child moved in front of the TV and the gang joined in with complaints. By now, it was nap time and I had to remove the child to another room. Yet, her loud cries for compliance went on.
All I did was use the bathroom for 3 minutes and I return to the child standing in front of each child, in rotation, while creating bubbles of saliva that were dripping from her chin. <<GENIUS>>The 8-year-old was gagging and the others were crying about the mess and commotion. By this time, the babies were awakened early from their nap. Time elapsed…about two hours.
I took all the kids to an area to play and put up a baby gate to barricade the tyrant in the living room. Soon the rants slowed and the house calmed.
At about the third hour, I heard the child (in a calm voice) ask for some cereal. In the perkiest voice that I could muster, “Okay dear, it will be at the table when I take down the gate.” She slid into her place then promptly rested on the couch and fell asleep when she was done. She’s not a napper…wonder why she might be tired?

Hurray! I had won a decisive battle.
Later that day, I retold the story to her Mom.¬† I was a frazzled sight to behold as I met her at the door but we had a real laugh about the “spittle maneuver” …later that night, I went to bed early with a headache. I wonder why? LOL

“Loose lips sink ships.”

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It takes a while to build a tight trust between parents and a Family Day Care provider. Because of that, I value my longtime parents, as much as, they value me. When the cost of living rises, often my rates stay the same because keeping these parents means more to me than a steady income. (My husband doesn’t mind eating spaghetti twice a week anyway.)

At pick-up time, the kids are usually asked about their day by their parents. It’s truly refreshing that young kids are the only people capable of pure honesty. But, couple that, with faulty reasoning and small vocabularies, and the results can turn a caregiver into a criminal.

Below are some ordinary day care events followed by the kid translated versions :

Two siblings come into day care. One is going off to school soon and the “baby brother” goes into the playpen so he can be safe while I greet the bus with the “big” kids. Later on, the bus returns and the big kids race into the house from school. Little brother is just awakening in the playpen from his nap. They have a snack and play until Mommy arrives.¬†Mommy asks, “How was your day Honey?

Older child says,”Great Mommy! But I’m worried about my baby brother who was in the playpen ALL day.

Once in a while, day care food demands exceed their supply. Milk is the hardest commodity to keep on hand. One day, I saw it was necessary to tell the kids to drink water when they were thirsty. Actually, I tell them this for their own good too. We have milk just for meals and sometimes for snacks like cereal. On this day, a child was told to drink water with his extra piece of toast.

Susan says, that we can’t have milk anymore… just bread and water.

In the summer, I started having a naked from “the waist up” painting time for 4-year-old’s and under. The clean-up is easier and they think it is fun. I tell them that they don’t have to worry about getting too messy this way because I can wash their bodies afterward.

Susan says, we have to get naked to paint because she likes to wash our dirty little bodies.

A 3-year-old , was sitting right by the back door on my newly waxed floor. As I am walking to the sink with a messy baby in my arms, I see a parent arrive and realize the toddler will get hit with the opening door. With no time to waste, I use the instep of my foot to slide the child a safe distance away. The child starts to cry, in protest to this rude interruption of his play, just as the parent enters. Simultaneously, a child asks…

Why were you kicking my brother, Susan?”

And the scariest one happened shortly after the Day Care Witch Hunts of the early 1990’s. My husband had kept his distance from the kids during this time, but as the worry began to subside, he returned to interacting on a small level. One day, he walked past one of my 4-year-old girls and patted her playfully on the head. The kids had missed his attention.

She giggled and said, “I like it when Ed touches me.” ¬†(My husband almost fainted and walked out the door.)

I believe in the saying ¬†that “there’s a thin line between comedy and tragedy” and because of this, I absolutely treasure my trusting, longtime parents. The taking of the “words of kids”, too seriously, can create another thin line (especially with nervous, new parents)… the one between freedom and jail!

 

 

 

 

 

Say what?

Ah, my first post centers directly on the true Dumb Peas, which are adults. We cannot seem to talk to kids in other than ambiguous terms. I’m no better than all the rest.

Just yesterday, the kids asked for some empty coffee cans to be used to collect rocks. Happily, I retrieved two of them from an avalanche created just by opening the cupboard door beneath my sink. (Did I mention that day care providers are wonderful at recycling? )
As I set them off outdoors on one of the first warm spring days, I shouted, “Don’t collect too many.” Say what?
What does too many mean? It should have been obvious, to a seasoned professional, that “too many” translates differently in a kid’s world. Yet I distinctly heard myself say it!

While we’re at it, STOP has a clear dual meaning. We adults will never learn that “stop”, even when shouted, means “pause and wait for the adult to turn away” to children.

How about the ever popular, “Be careful.” ? ¬†This is voiced by each and every adult when sending the kids out to play, without hesitation or embarrassment.

But my favorite will always be, “Don’t fall.” offered freely to toddlers learning to run and to bigger kids hanging from trees. Really?

When I consider all the stupid things adults cannot seem to overcome saying, it frightens me a bit and makes me wonder, who really is “in control” at my house.