Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bedtime conversations with Kaleia

One night a while back bedtime was particularly difficult. Brian went in to get the girls quiet. A few minutes later, I went to provide reinforcement. Kaleia was crying "Mama, Mama, Mama!", arms outstretched.
Kaleia: "Kai-ing."
Me: "Yes, you were crying."
Kaleia: "Maygno. Waher"
Me: "Yes, Maggie was crying too. She wanted water. She's all done now."
Kaleia: "Oh."
Kaleia: "Papa."
Me: "Yes, Papa came in. It is time for nigh-night. Do you want a snuggle?"
Kaleia: (Nod) "Sing."
Me: "Do you want to sing Twinkle, Twinkle?"
Kaleia: (Nod) "Manu."

So precious.  Her most requested bedtime song is "Manu" or O come, o come Emmanuel.

More recently I went in to check on her after she had been bounce-chanting.  I thought she would tire out and fall asleep but figured I better check on her after it lasted over an hour.  When I went in she said:


2am and our 2 year old is requesting pizza?

The next night Brian tended to a similar situation and swears she requested money.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Brian's Favorite Albums of 2009

Yup, that says 2009.  I'm a little slow with my lists.  I had this one mostly figured out in 2009 but couldn't decide which of my top two was going to be my number one.  I'm still not totally sure but I'll go with the one I listen to more.
The Rural Alberta Advantage - Hometowns

Playful drums, earnest vocals more than a little reminiscent of Neutral Milk Hotel, and youthful exuberance in every strum of the guitar could be a recipe for disaster but in this case it all works to make this one of the most fun and listenable records of the year.

The Antlers - Hospice 

I’ve heard that this story of a hospice employee and his terminally ill patient is merely a device to describe an emotionally abusive relationship.  They say it isn’t real.  My emotions don’t care.  I spent many nights alone in a darkened car with this record.  Cathartic.
Noah and the Whale - The First Day of Spring 

If there were going to be a break-up record on this list I thought for most of the year it would be filled by The Swell Season, who did churn out some great songs on a solid record, but this disc swooped in to take it’s place.  Runs the gambit of emotional tumult, which I can only imagine, since my only break-up was 12-year-old style. 
Speech Debelle - Speech Therapy

The deserving winner of Britain’s Mercury prize became the first rap/hip hop album I’ve really loved.  Debelle eschews the egotism and chauvinism that so ubiquitous in hip-hop, instead sharing her hopes, her vulnerability, intimacy.

Alela Diane - To Be Still 

Beautiful wist to be sung during those quiet pauses while the ship is anchored or the horses are hitched.
tUnE-yArDs - BiRd BrAiNs 

Tom Waits and Kimya Dawson locked their baby in the basement and she made this raucous little lo-fi wonder. 
Bill Callahan - Sometimes I Wish We Were an Eagle 

I’ve heard of speak-singing but I didn’t think it was possible to speak-croon until I heard this lovely batch of orchestrated folk, full of stories ambling through nature.
David Bazan - Curse Your Branches 

Despite a few dull songs, the album, which is an intimate self-portrait of a recovering alcoholic who has lost his faith, is emotionally devastating.  It's capped off with a most tender and heart-breaking finale in which Bazan tells of “long walks with my daughter/ who is lately full of questions about You.”
Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros - Up from Below 

If only they cut half the songs, this could have been in my top three.  Still, as it stands, Up from Below boasts a handful of truly great songs, including my undisputed favorite of the year, "Home," which can’t not make me smile.
Rodrigo y Gabriela - 11:11 

Not quite as good as their debut, these heavy-metallers-turned-flamenco-guitarists nevertheless don’t have a song on here that won’t get your feet stomping. 
The XX - XX

How is it that music so simple can be so fresh.  Turn off the lights and succumb to the sexy, sleepy malaise.
The Twilight Sad - Forget the Night Ahead

Wall-of-sound Guitars + Thick Scottish Vocals = Never Gets Old
Andrew Bird - Noble Beast

I can't imagine this playful logophile and adroit instrumentalist putting out an album that didn't make my top 15.  
 Iron and Wine - Around the Well

This double disc compilation of songs not found on any of his LPs may be the last hurrah for the kind of hushed, poetic lo-fi folk that made me fall in love with Sam Beam.  Push yourself musically Sam, but please, please come back to your bread and butter some day!  Features one of my favorite songs of the decade, "The Trapeze Swinger."
 Dan Deacon - Bromst

This frenetic experimental-leaning electronic record from the man known for making tunes that sound like the Chipmunks on speed, is unexpectedly beautiful.
Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

I'm still incredulous that pop as catchy as this doesn't have me gagging after 10 songs.

Friday, March 4, 2011

We're going on a hunt

We're going on a hunt. We're going on a hunt. To find Maggie's _________. To find Maggie's __________. We're going to look high, we're going to look low. We're going on a hunt.

We're going on a hunt. We're going on a hunt. To find Maggie's _________. To find Maggie's __________. We're going to look left/under/in, we're going to look right/over/out. We're going on a hunt.

Repeat until object is found.
This song emerged recently as a hit in the Rush household. Tired of unwillingness to look for desired objects, Mama decided to make it more of a game, for their interest and her sanity. And maybe, just maybe, they'll learn some finding strategies for themselves. Lately, hunts happen regularly (and sometimes independently!) for desired objects and just for the sake of a hunt!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Three Questions

Several months ago, Magnolia's best bedtime stall tactic was to say she had a question. We quickly limited it to three questions and it has now become a permanent (and beloved) part of the bed time routine.

Some questions get repeated frequently, giving her the security that her world is consistent. "How many clouds are on my wall?" Eleven. She loves these questions that affirm that she knows the answer.

Some seem out of the blue and show you how much her little brain is working. Her curiosities have a place to be expressed. "What is water?" "When I came out of your tummy, where was Kaleia? Which side was she on?" These questions always catch me off guard and give me the most challenge.

Others are evident of something she may be worried about or needs to process. "What happened in the Monster movie?" Her favorite movie is Monsters, Inc. and she always wants to end with the fact that the little girl makes it back to her room.

I am thankful for our little ritual and hope she always feels comfortable asking us questions.

To Magnolia, at three years

Birthday Queen
 Dear Magnolia,

You made it to three!  The count down to your self-ordained day for bed-time-panty-wearing is finally over.

You woke up from a nap with this on.
The red on your legs is a shirt.
In a recent email Grandma Rush described you as "sweetness personified." I couldn't agree more. Oh, you have your crabby moments and do your fair share of whining, but overall you are a pleasant, helpful kid. Lately, when those crabby moments occur you will announce to the family "I need some alone time." Off you go to your room to read books on your bed. Ten minutes later, a happy little girl emerges.  I know plenty of adults that don't have the self-awareness or maturity to do that!

Before I became your Mama I had no idea how elaborate pretend play could be. About 6 months ago your friend Dora (who is connected to the cartoon celebrity only by name) appeared. Since then the troupe has grown to include several regulars: Dora's Mama, Laag, Shoosh, Baby Louie (who is a girl by the way), Baby Jesus and Baby Jesus's Mama. We also interact regularly with your baby, Chica, and your favorite animal friends: Mona, Owl, Penguin, and Zebra. In fact, one of my friends commented recently how they love to see what animal you bring with you each time you visit. Sometimes you are a baby penguin, others you are a tiger. You go to school to do your papers and you put your friends in timeout. Soccer games in the evening are a regular, hilarious occurance that consists of running around in circles and occasionally kicking with sound effects. If I ever show the slightest objection to your plan to go outside or to the store, you patiently inform me that it is the 'tend outside.

Your imagination has definitely enriched our lives, but it also has given us the biggest parenting challenge yet. "THE BUGS ARE GETTING ME!" You started shouting this phrase at what seemed random times, although most often during our bed time routine. At first we thought your dry skin was itchy so we tried treating your "bugs" with lotion. It worked for awhile. We tried denying their existance. That just made it worse. For awhile we could carefully pick them off of you and feed them to Trudy or throw them out the window, but it was up to you whether we got them all. It was exasperating! Finally, we had a conversation about how birds and monkeys love to eat bugs, and luckily you had two birds -- Owl and Penguin-- and one monkey -- Mona -- that slept with you and they would eat your bugs for you. So specially positioning your night time protectors has mostly kept the bugs at bay for several weeks now. (Fingers crossed!)

"Let's count." You are starting to get the counting pattern, just needing prompting for the next name as each group of ten is completed. You love to type on the computer and ask us what number you wrote or what you spelled. Teeth brushing, hand washing, and eating go much smoother when counting is involved.

You are a girl of routine. You always wear your purple sparkle dress on Tuesdays after dance class. Bedtime consists of two books, three songs, and three questions, though the songs are getting replaced by requests to make up our own stories and the questions sometimes turn into general requests to talk about something you are processing.  "Let's talk about the snow part in the monster movie."

You informed us that your dinosaur is a boy.
You love to draw, stamp, do puzzles and read. You tend to do the same thing over and over and over for a little while and then put it away. For example, I've read D.W. the Picky Eater and The Spooky Old Tree so many times I barely look at the words when I am reading it, which came in handy when a page got torn out and you still wanted the entire story. It's harder when you want me to read the "Frunch" part in your Vancouver Olympics book. When I insist I don't know how to read French, you insist that Papa told me how so I must read the "Frunch."

Lately, you've become more affectionate with all of us, telling us you love us or want a hug or a kiss. You love your sister and like most older siblings your actions are a combination of helping, advocating for, and bossing. You call Kaleia "sweaty" and "honey." You are sure to inform us or reprimand her when she is doing something she shouldn't and you can absolutely fall apart when she inadvertently messes up an integral part of your make-believe. Kaleia is invited to play in most of your games and you are learning to share, because you want Kaleia to share with you. Your sister recently moved into your room, and every night you excitedly ask if Kaleia gets to sleep in your room with you.

Thank you for being you, for helping me learn about myself, and for making my life more full. I can't wait to see what is next in store for you.

In many ways, it feels like you've been three for a while.  Don't rush to four TOO quickly.