This is why I don’t get asked to babysit more often.

The joys of Lego star warsI’m watching a friend’s daughter this morning, who happens to be great pals with Ian.

Ian: Sophie, after our snack we will play Star Wars THE CLONE WARS!
Sophie: (makes boys are stupid face)
Me: No, after your snack, you are going to ask Sophie what she would like to do, and you’re going to listen to the answer before you decide.
Sophie: We could play kings and queens! Ian, you could be the king, and I could be the queen.
Ian: I don’t know about that.
Me: What about a compromise? Aren’t there any queens in Star Wars?
Ian. No.
Me: Then who is Amidala?
Ian: Oh yes! Queen Amidala of Naboo! I will be a clone trooper, and we will attack her planet!
Sophie: (makes boys are stupid face)
Me: Ian, you might need to show Sophie some of your Star Wars books so Sophie understands who lives on Naboo.
Sophie: (makes the books are awesome face) Good, because I didn’t even know about that until you mentioned it!

They are researching Naboo in Ian’s book collection right now. I expect that Sophie’s parents, like all good geek parents everywhere, think that particular Star Wars episode is terrible. So all I can say is…

I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry.


Quite the little man about town…

L to R: Keeghan, Me, Donna Andrews, and Casey D.

I took Keeghan with me and went to a book signing by one of my very favorite authors, Donna Andrews. Whereupon I found out that I enjoyed listening to her talk about her books almost as much as I enjoy reading them. Which I do over, and over, and over again. If you’re a reader like I am you know what I mean… there are just some books that get to be like friends, and you want to spend some time with them every now and again.

As an extra bonus, we discovered the One More Page bookstore in Arlington. They sell wine and chocolate in addition to books… In other words, we’ll be back!

What does this say?

Creativity: The ultimate expansion set.

Ian: Mommy, what is this dog’s name?
Me: It says Buddy.
Ian: Why is this dog’s name Buddy?
Me: I don’t know. I would have named him “Salt,” since there’s one named “Pepper.”
Ian: Salt. His name is Salt. This says Salt.
Me: No, it says “Buddy.” If it said Salt, there’d be an “S.”
Ian: But it says “Buddy,” because there’s a “B.”

Winnie the Pooh Day

Winnie the Pooh Day (not to be confused with Pooh’s birthday) happens on January 18th every year. We have now officially added this holiday to our family “Wheel of the Year.”

For our celebration this year, we made cupcakes and decorated them to look like bees, and I made a Bundt cake with a honey glaze to represent the beehive.  Unfortunately, the bees’ stripes started sliding off the icing about half an hour after we decorated them, and the honey glaze was so watery it soaked into the cake and made it mushy.  So we’ll work on refining our techniques for future years.  The only absolute keeper was the “smackerel of honey” cream cheese frosting we made for the cupcakes.  Well, I suppose we can keep the pretzel wings, as well.

We hosted a little party and the kids really enjoyed putting their own wings on the bees.  Ian received a copy of The House At Pooh Corner from Mommy as a gift in honor of the day, and it has become a story time staple ever since.

Ian and Sophie eating their bees.

Making Little Red Riding Hood

Mom, Red Riding Hood, The Big Bad Wolf, The Woodsman, and Grannie

Okay, so you know the thing in the middle doesn’t look terribly wolfish, and I know it doesn’t look terribly wolfish, but my three year old thinks it’s The Wolf. You know, the actual archetype that appears in so many of his favorite stories. (Actually, I’m pretty impressed that it came out even looking remotely canine, since at one point it most resembled a wingless, gray duck.)

What’s going on here is that I’m assembling a “table play” set to use in a preschool lesson. I’m planning to use a small box to make Granny’s bed and then I’ll be done. Ian loves these wooden little people and we’ve also done the Three Little Pigs this way. You can buy these wooden peg people very inexpensively here and customize them to whatever story you want using paint or (as in this case) props and clothes. I’ve also seen it suggested that you create a set as party favors for children’s parties, which is an idea I LOVE and may have to use.

This is a very quick, approachable project.  I created the forest backdrop as a mini-felt board using sticky-backed craft felt, a USPS shipping box, an exacto knife, a ballpoint pen, and a pair of scissors from the dollar store.  The dolls’ clothes are felt scraps and yarn.  I opted to sew them so that when the kids rip them off the dolls they aren’t ruined, but you could just as easily glue them on if your child is more enchanted by dolls than by seeing how they are put together.  I plan to create a crochet pattern for what I did with the wolf, but you could also put grey felt ears and snout on one of the peg people.  The less realistic the figures, the more details the kids fill in with imagination, so “perfect” is “finished so we can play with them,” not “incredibly detailed and realistic.”

Sacking and Looting

Mommy: Ian, what are you doing over there?
Ian: I am fighting everyone down out of the dollhouse because I am a Roman. I am not nice.
Mommy: I see.

Hours Later:
Mommy: Your son spent a portion of the afternoon sacking and looting the dollhouse because, as he put it, he was a Roman, and they are not nice.
Daddy: Seriously?
Ian: Daddy, you go get the Romans book. Let’s read.