Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Tomorrow is Christmas. And although they don't observe Christmas in Ethiopia til January (I love the Ethiopian calendar--in Ethiopia it's also 2001). But it still seemed like as good a time as any to publicly share our love and thoughts and prayers and wishes for Molly Fanaye's Ethiopian family, who we think about every day.

When we brought Molly home last year, the agency gave us DVDs with video of her family, her time in the care center, and her first days with us. Precious precious video. Lately, these DVDs have been in heavy rotation on our TV. Molly is not ever tired of watching "Baby Molly in 'Opia.'" She jams along to the cool Ethiopian jazz soundtrack, and she's especially excited when her friend's grandpa Larry shows up on screen ("Larry! Larry!"). Now all grandpa-aged men are Larry.

Molly watches these DVDs intently and incessantly. I want to know what she's thinking about, what she's taking away. What does she remember about her first 7 months in Opia? What about her first three months and a half months with her birth family? I don't think it's as simple as "she likes to watch herself on TV," although she most definitely does. I wish I knew what kind of imprints and impressions these images are making on her or calling up for her. I wish I knew how these videos are laying themselves down and gelling in her psyche. I wish I had more answers for the questions she will undoubtedly have for us as she grows.

Now, Molly watches the Baby Molly video and then she snuggles up and attaches her mouth to my boob. Through my clothes, on the side, sucking on my sweater. Does she remember nursing? She hasn't nursed since she was 3 months old, but she sees herself nursing on the DVD. What does that image call up for her? Sam and Emma nursed for a year, and when they were done, they were done. No going back. But Molly didn't get her fair share of boob. And she's kind of obsessed with breasts. She likes to stick her hand down my shirt, and just kind of leave it there. For comfort. It's weird but, whatever. I figure if it's what she needs, it's what she needs. Doesn't bother me.

When Molly first started at her old daycare, before she was even a year old, there was a little boy who was about 3 in the preschool class. He was also adopted, from someplace in Southeast Asia. He had black hair and beautiful caramel skin about the same shade as Molly's. And for some reason, he and Molly were instantly bonded. They weren't in the same classroom, but on the playground and wherever he could, he sought her out. Molly, who wasn't especially friendly or attached to strangers, would go and lie down with her head in this little boy's lap for half an hour or more. We have pictures. And the little boy would sit, still and quiet, while Molly just lay there, content and quiet. Was she missing her brother back in Ethiopia? He would have been close to that age. What does she need that she's missed, that she didn't get because she was separated too early from her first family?

Things in Ethiopia are horrible right now. There is widespread drought and people are starving. I'm looking out the window at the snow falling down and Mudula, Ethiopia, seems very far away. Yet also so close. We're bound to a family there, forever, through this smart, silly. sweet, bossy, beautiful little person sitting here on my lap watching "Sesame Street" with her hand down my shirt. So, even though I am not much for praying in general, today, and every day, I pray for our Ethiopian family. I pray that they have enough to eat, that their lives get easier. I think about when we will be able to go back to Ethiopia and see them again. I wish them peace and grace and happiness. And I wish the same for all of you. Merry Christmas, Happy Eid, Happy Chanukah, Merry Solstice, Happy Kwanzaa and all good things for 2009.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Career Opportunities, Part 2

And speaking of my children and their future careers, I think, at the tender age of 2, Molly's revealed to us her true calling:

Diner waitress.

I'm being unkind, you say, locking her into a life collecting tips and slinging hash before she hits preschool? I'd have said that, too. But that was before yesterday.

Yesterday, my mom gave Molly a little play kitchen for her birthday. We opened it up and this is what happened.

I think there'd definitely be a job for her at Mel's Diner. She strikes just the right note of annoyed exasperation as she explains that she's "makin' coffee," and especially as she tells the inconsiderate customers to "Hold on!" Flo, eat your heart out.

Career Opportunities, Part 1

Everyone seems to agree that the election of Barack Obama has had historic implications. Perhaps none more earth-shaking than on my son's future career ambitions. Sammy, as those of you who know Sammy know, used to want to be an actor. Not just an actor, though. He's enough of a New York snob that he wanted to be a Broadway star--no frou frou Hollywood career for him. His plan for the past year or two has been: college at NYU, a job on a soap to get him kick started until his Broadway career takes off. No sweat, easy-peasy.

Well, leave it to the seismic shift of the 2008 election to change all that. Sam was, to put it mildly, OBSESSED with the election. And by November 4th, he had a new career goal. Not president; that's too much stress and pressure. But Senator. These days, Sam worries not about which soap he should audition for, but which state he should run for Senate from--should it be New York, which he loves loves loves? or Wisconsin, where he feels he'll have a better shot? But New York's a more liberal state... Hmm. It's a conundrum.

Still, the path to senator is not a lock, by any means (not like NYU => Days of Our Lives => Broadway or anything). So what's a 10-year-old boy who spends way too much time worrying about the future to do when planning his career path? Then, Barack started announcing his cabinet and it all became clear. The key? Rahm Emanuel.

Because before Rahm Emanuel was a semi-fascist representative from Illinois, he was, of course, a ballet dancer. And then it hit us: he's not the only famous ballet dancer/politico. I'm speaking, of course, about Ron Reagan Jr., former twinkletoes, current radio host on Air America.

So Sam's journey to Washington is now clear: He needs to change his name to something starting with an "R"-"Rodolfo"? "Romulus"? And he needs to become a professional ballet dancer. Although if you believe Ron Reagan, he can just flop around the stage at Sarah Lawrence and he's all good. Easy-peasy.

Now if only he knew ballet...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

It's an outrage.

Ok. The fix is in. I don't know how to explain it, but I'm not happy about it. Let me start at the beginning.

In an episode of "Elmo's World" on Sesame Street, Elmo's goldfish, Dorothy, casts her fishy mind back to the day Elmo was born. Here is the scene, with Elmo's parents, George and Gladys:

This seems about right. George is clearly Elmo's bio dad. They look exactly alike. Gladys and George are happy, excited about their new baby. God knows why they chose to name him Elmo, but whatev.

Fast forward to our favorite episode of Sesame Street, the one with the elephant stuck in the bathtub. There's a song segment called "Elmo's Riding," that features Elmo learning to ride his bike with his "Daddy." A man who is clearly not George in any way shape or form. In fact, this is Elmo's new "Daddy":

I know, right? He looks nothing like Elmo. Look at the face shape. And the nose. According to the Muppet Wiki, his name is "Louie," and this Arlo Guthrie-looking, folk-song-singing, hemp-wearing dilletante has entirely elbowed George out of the picture. We figure that Louie must be Elmo's stepdad. And that's fine. Maybe George and Gladys broke up when Elmo was small, so Louie's the only Dad Elmo's really ever known. Maybe George is a crappy absentee father who doesn't pay his child support. Maybe George died, which would be really sad, and you'd think there'd be some acknowledgement of it. Maybe Gladys is just a tramp. Who knows? But I bet there's not even a picture of George on the mantle at the Monster house. And that's not OK.

I'm not implying that Louie is a bad dad, although he does seem a little shady to me and he has a weird Willie Nelson-esque accent and a creepy goatee and apparently way too much time on his hands. God knows that I'm not saying he's not Elmo's "real" dad, if he's the one loving and raising Elmo. But the Muppet Wiki claims that the reason for the George bait-and-switch is that Dorothy the Goldfish "imagined" what Elmo's birth-day and his parents looked like. Imagined!?!?!?!? Since when do goldfish possess that kind of imagination? And why on earth would Dorothy "imagine" them names like "Gladys" and "George"? If this is the case, then Elmo's mom probably looks like Mama Cass or Suze Orman or someone equally improbable. Muppet Wiki, you have really failed.

It seems to me that George's parental rights are being denied here, and if I were him, I'd quit paying my child support, too. I'm just saying.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

More Bear, Please!

Parent teacher conferences are barely over. Matt's out of town til Sunday. Sam's running all over town with choir and rehearsals for "A Christmas Carol." He gets to play the spooky kid "Want" who sits on the grave at the end of the play :-) I have a mountain of planning to do and lamination to cut out. And a million things to return to Old Navy. So weekends are not so much, well, anything but running around.

But that's not why I'm blogging today. Today I'm blogging about Bear. Not just any bear. Bear. See, Molly has had the great good fortune or misfortune (depending on your perspective) of landing in a TV obsessed family. We watch a lot of television. And so does Molly. Our DVR is filled with old "Daily Shows" and "Mad Men" and "Sesame Streets." Something for everyone. But Molly is a discriminating television viewer. She won't watch just anything. But the things she loves, she LOOOOOOOVES. And she wants to watch them again and again.

It started with "The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report." She calls both shows "Obama," and she's generally perfectly happy to sit through them. Because she's got a finely-honed satirical comic sense.

But lately, things have gotten more stratified. We have hours of "Sesame Street" on the DVR. But recently, we discovered an episode where Oscar the Grouch is the anchor of GNN--"Grouch News Network"--and he goes around Sesame Street looking for the yuckiest, grouchiest news. Specifically, he discovers that Horatio the Elephant is stuck in Maria's bathtub. Molly has watched this episode so many times--hell, we've all watched it so many times that we can reenact it--but Molly's watched it so many times, that as soon as we pull up to the house after we pick her up from daycare her first words are "More Oscar Pleeeease." We have tried other episodes of "Sesame Street," but nothing is acceptable. Even the episode where Gilbert Gottfried is "Denny the Distractor" and his job is to distract Telly, who was trying to recite the alphabet as a contestant on Guy Smiley's game show.

But it doesn't stop there. A couple of weeks ago, we watched an old episode of "Teletubbies," featuring a little Punch-and-Judy-type Italian handpuppet who runs around a house and sings, badly from the windows in an operatic voice. Molly calls him "Bear." She loves "Bear." She thinks "Bear" is the best, most entertaining singer she's ever heard. She would watch and re-watch "Bear" for hours, if we let her. "Bear" even caused a major blowout between Emma and Sam, because Sam got really sick of "Bear" and he accused Emma of goading him by continuing to play "Bear" for Molly. When Molly watches "Bear," and he's done singing she cheers "Yay, 'Bear'!" Or she says "Oh, 'Bear,'" with a kind of affectionate mock-exasperation, like "what have you gotten yourself into now, 'Bear'?"

But really, I can't even do "Bear" justice in a description. You really, truly, have to see him for yourself:

You can see the appeal.

It's mutated from there, of course. Now Molly's really gotten into all the opening theme songs for the shows the rest of us watch. She likes the part of "The Simpsons" where Homer says "'Doh!" so she says "More 'Dope'" and we watch that over and over. Sam and Emma like to yell "Gone!" at eliminated contestants in the opening credits of reality shows so now we watch "More 'Gone'" at the start of "America's Next Top Model." She discovered the theme music for "Mad Men" where the guy's falling, and so now we have to watch "More Song." The other night we had to watch "More Opening" to see the title credits of "The Office" 3 or 4 times. It's a wonder we get to watch anything at all. :-) Perhaps that's her diabolical plan.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Well, I think it's funny.

Molly has a little toy, one of those popper things where there are like six pop-up doors and each one opens with a different switch or button or key or whatever. And out of each door pops a Sesame Street character. And Molly LOVES LOVES LOVES Sesame Street. So she tongue-kisses all the characters when they pop out. Which is pretty funny to watch. Ernie comes out of one door, and Bert comes out of a different one. But she calls them both "Bernie." Which makes sense, I suppose, but I still find it really amusing.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

You Heard It Here First

Sam has been obsessively analyzing and re-analyzing the electoral map for the last month now. Here are his latest electoral college projections.

Obama: 299

McCain: 149

With 79 electoral votes too close to call.

As I write this, only 2 states have been called: Kentucky for McCain and Vermont for Obama. Sam's got Virginia. Nevada, and Colorado going Obama. He's got Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Kansas, and Indiana as toss-ups, too close to call.

Let's see how Sammy's projections hold up as the night goes on. Here at the Cibula house we have the champagne and the root beer floats ready.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


It's late and I need to plan for school tomorrow, but I thought it important to get these Halloween pictures up for anyone at all who's reading this.

Emma did in fact dress up at Sarah Palin. We followed the costume suggestions of and bought a pair of magnifier glasses at Target. Only problem was that they left everything blurry for my 20/20-visioned daughter, so she had to wear them down her nose as we walked house to house.

I got worried that Molly's tutu would leave her too cold as we walked around, so I got a last-minute costume at Old Navy and Molly went as FiFi the Pink French Poodle. We inaugurated it a few days before Halloween with a trip to Whole Foods, but people there thought she was dressed up like a pig. Nevertheless, it was stunning. Polar fleece, so she was toasty all night long, and sickeningly cute. Molly LOOOVED it and didn't want to take it off. The costume won't fit her next year, so I'm trying to figure out other excuses for Molly to wear a big puffy French poodle outfit. Maybe Christmas?

Sam did, in fact, go as the Global Banking Crisis. He wore a pair of pants with a big hole in the knee, holey socks (which no one could see, but they helped him get in character) and a too-small t-shirt, with his new Bat Mitzvah-purchased sportcoat over the whole thing. He had me draw 5 o'clock shadow on his face. So people thought he was a hobo. But he was so much better. And if you were paying attention, he was carrying a red folder marked "MY STOCK PORTFOLIO" that said inside: "AIG: 22%, Lehman Brothers: 40%, Merrill Lynch, 38%."

All in all, a very successful costume night. We went out trick-or-treating with my high school friend Ellen's family, who were visiting from Paris and her sister, Laura's family, visiting from D.C. Ellen's daughters were a vampire witch and a black cat, and they wore their costumes til Sunday, which was pretty fabulous. Laura's son was Blue (of Blues Clues). Molly thought the whole concept was fantastic--the idea that you could stand on people's doorsteps and they would put bowls of candy out for you was pretty glorious. Laura's son, who's 3, was ready to move in with some of the neighbors--after all, free candy!

Of course, the night wouldn't be complete if I didn't feel guilty about something. We had to start trick-or-treating late because Emma and Sammy had piano lessons. So even though it was a PERFECT night to be out (the best weather we've had in, like, ever, here in Madison, home of the chilly, rainy, sleety Halloween) the candy yield was pretty small. So yes, I'm feeling guilty that my kids didn't get ENOUGH candy, despite the fact that the candy they got, was plentiful enough to make them sick and put them into sugar comas. And yes, I realize that I'm crazy. Thanks for asking.

Gov. Palin and the Banking Crisis. Note the pageant stance. Sam is dejected because, well, what's to be happy about when you're the banking crisis?

Emma's paper sash reads "Miss Wasilla." She had to practice the wink.

Molly at her preschool for the Halloween parade.

In character, on the floor.

Seriously, who wouldn't be stylin' in a suit like that?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

One Week Later

Exactly one week ago we were sitting in the rabbi's office waiting to start Emma's bat mitzvah. Seems hard to believe that it has only been a week. To everyone who read this and sent their messages of support and concern, thank you! Meltdown averted, everything really went beautifully. Emma was amazing, although that was never in doubt. She looked beautiful. She read her torah and haftorah and all her prayers fabulously. And she was so poised and confident and impressive in every way.

Amazingly, everything showed up and everyone was where they were supposed to be. I was pretty sure that the photographer wouldn't show up or the DJ would forget or something. But everything actually came together. The photographer was way on time (although we were late--sorry!). The flowers were beautiful, the DJ did a great job, the vegetarian moussaka was yummy. The weather was sunny and fall-ish and perfect. Even my grody ear infection couldn't ruin it. It was way better than my wedding, when the limo that was supposed to take Matt and me to the reception broke down and we had I think about six mechanically challenged men (including my dad and Matt's dad) peering in at the steaming radiator before we drove off to the reception in Dennis's hatchback.

I think (hope) that everyone had a good time. I know that Emma did and that's the most important thing. After the ceremony, I thought she'd fly away she looked so relieved and happy and lightened. We don't have the official pics yet, and I wasn't the "unofficial" photographer (thanks, Dennis, for doing that job!) so as soon as I get pics I'll post 'em here. But take my word: she was gorgeous.

I do have one pic that I'll post here, taken at the luncheon reception. Thanks, Genita!

Molly and mama and Sammy, everyone but Emma!

Chris Duffy came from New York, my mom's cousins and her friend flew in from Florida and Connecticut, Matt's family came from Oregon, Danny and family came from LA (poor Danny's plane arrived less than an hour before the ceremony) and Gillian and her family and Genita all came up from Chicago. We hadn't seen some of these guys in YEARS and YEARS, which is criminal in itself, but it was pretty fantastic that so many people made such an effort to be there for us. As Gillian said, it was a great excuse for us to all get together.

Before this weekend, Sammy was claiming to be on the fence about whether he wanted a bar mitzvah or not. He kinda wants to go to New York or Barcelona instead. But after seeing and experiencing Emma's gala, he wants one too. More to the point, he wants the same DJ, the same parties, and the same spinach-phyllo pies that Emma had. So that's compliment enough.

So all in all, it was really great. Now only three years till we do it all over again! Woo-hoo!

In other news, the Cibula family is preparing for Halloween. Which means the Cibula children are planning their costumes. Molly will most likely be going as a ballerina. I've got her this cute little tutu. Although I think that Molly would prefer to go out as "girl who doesn't wear anything but a diaper."

Emma wants to be Sarah Palin. I'm pretty stoked about this, although I think it will take a phenomenal amount of hair spray to get her hair up.

Sam's first idea was to trick-or-treat as Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben Bernanke.

Which means that when my kids went out trick-or-treating, it would look like this:

But then we decided Sam would just look like someone's uncle. So now he's going to go as the Federal Banking Crisis. I'll let you know how that works out.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Today I Am a Wreck

It would be disingenuous to say that I wasn't warned. I was. I knew it would be like a wedding. Only with less sympathy from outsiders and coworkers, who don't know it's like a wedding. I had all summer to plan and prepare and keep myself out of the position I'm in now. But the summer was a rilly rilly long time ago. And now Emma's Bat Mitzvah is in 13 days. Holy fuck.

It's not that she won't be beautiful. She will. Or that she's not prepared. She is. As I keep telling her, there will only be like 5 people who know Hebrew at the whole thing anyway (and I am not one of them) so it really doesn't even matter if she messes up because she'll sound like she knows what she's talking about, regardless. But she won't mess up. She's beyond ready, and she'll be amazing. And she's excited for the chance to wear pretty new dresses and run around the temple with 22 (!) of her closest friends.

But yeah, I really don't have my shit together, which is becoming increasingly evident. I woke up at 5:15 this morning and I couldn't get back to sleep because I'm pretty sure we won't have adequate servers at the bat mitzvah luncheon. We have a caterer, and they're wonderful, but I can't remember what we told them about the number of servers we'll need, and they've never catered at the temple before. So I'm pretty sure that everyone'll be folding their own napkins and hewing their own grain for bread.

The temple's a pain in the ass because they basically expect that everyone'll use the same caterer, so they want ours to send in all these proofs of insurance and whatnot, and no one's talking to each other--they're all talking to me. I can't do anything about it so I try to relay messages.

I'm stressed because my computer died a week ago. My computer with all my lists and names and spreadsheets so I am convinced I'm forgetting about someone who's coming--probably a family of 10 who'll show up in a maxivan with no place to stay and no placecards for their kiddush meal.

I'm stressed because before my computer died I counted everyone up, and then I re-counted yesterday and came up with 10 more people for the lunch. Inexplicably. I guess I can't count. Good thing I'm a teacher. I can't remember now whether I told the temple to order enough napkins and tablecloths. (A task, btw, that I managed to complete at the last possible moment.)

Stressed because I still don't have a florist or a photographer. I have a line on both, but nothing nailed down. This could be bleak. And I have to figure out how to decorate a barn, where the dance party will be held. No clue what to do there. I don't even have shoes. Or a suitable dress. How can I be expected to decorate a barn?

Stressed because I'm quite sure I'm forgetting about 50 things I need to do. I can't take more than a day off to do it all. My basement smells like cat pee and I'm not sure when and how we can clear it out to clean it.

And I'm not really dealing with how we're gonna pay for it all, since we're maxed on our HELOC and I keep putting off the call to the bank to incrase it.

I've got a cold that's not going away and at this point, I'm pretty sure it's mutated into some kind of low-level infection that probably won't send me to the doctor but won't clear up by itelf, either. So instead of sleeping on a Sunday morning, I'm up, at 5:15, watching infomercials, but not even the good one about Colon Cleanse, and looking for scissors so I can cut out patterns of eggs with letters on them. Wondering if my twisting stomach is the result of too much wine on Friday, or my burgeoning sinus infection, or the stress of not knowing how this is all gonna work out.

It's gotten so I can't even fret about the election.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

This is your brain on kindergarten.

On Friday, not one, but two of my students decided that it would be a really really good idea to put rocks in their ears. They were the little gravelly rocks that you find under the jungle gym, and they shoved them in while they were sitting in their specials class. You know, just for kicks. To see what would happen. Makes sense. Both of them went home with pebbles lodged in their ears and notes from the nurse.

Meanwhile, another one of my students has figured out that he can make a really fly tooth grill out of the foil cover of his little juice container. Very bling-bling. He looks like Flava Flav. Except not.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's Potty Time

I just watched as Molly stood in the middle of the living room and pulled off her diaper with a sense of purpose. Think she's trying to tell us something?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Nature's Perfect Food

As I write this, Molly is sucking down MY cup of coffee. Full disclosure: my coffee with tons of sugar in it, so it's really more like a lukewarm liquid coffee lollipop. But still. She grabbed it away from me and screamed and cried when I tried to take it back. Emma took a sip and she slapped her hand til she had the mug again. She's an addict. This morning she woke up saying "Bunna. Bunna. Bunna." Which is the Amharic word for "coffee."

Matt has these horrible stories about when he was like 3 and supposedly he went around one of his parents' dinner parties when everyone was out of the room and finished off all their drinks--toddler Long Island Iced Tea. No one's feeding Molly alcohol (and even the veracity of Matt's story is hotly contested within the family). But I can't help but wonder what kind of effect all this fully-caffienated bunna is having on my daughter's developing brain. As she is slurping, she occasionally stops to babble urgently. I've never heard her speak so quickly. And this is what she's saying:

"A beee bee da bunna bin."
"A bunna be bunna be coffee. Chocla milk."
"A kiki juice. Bunna."
"Emma aggiggiggiggiggi bunna bunna bunna bunna ababa."

Should I be concerned?

I'm thinking diaper time will also be interesting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Auf Wiedersehen

On a recent episode of "Sesame Street," Elmo is talking with Heidi Klum about the word "cooperation." Molly, who only half-watches SS most of the time (Elmo and Cookie Monster are interesting, Maria and Alan, not so much) got very animated pointing at the screen and yelling "Mama! Mama!!" This has happened again on several repeated viewings. (Have I mentioned that the TV is a wonderful babysitter?) so I know it's not a fluke. Yay for me! I am Heidi Klum! Now Molly has identified lots of people as Mama and Daddy (incl. Daddy=cowboy singer/sometime actor Vaugh Monroe in the 1952 movie "Toughest Man in Arizona." Still, this is encouraging.


The resemblance is striking.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sleeping and Other Pipedreams

I've been putting off posting because the weekend before last we went with our lovely friends Will and Jennifer and their gorgeous children, Eli and Max, to an Ethiopian "culture camp" (which sounds somehow like an indoctrination facility and which I can't say or write without quotation marks) in Lake Geneva. I have many adorable pictures, mostly of Eli and Molly pulling around a rope. But I need to make room on my hard drive for the new pics, and since that day doesn't seem to be coming yet, I thought I'd post quickly (ha!) here.

Not much new, really. Sam has been free and easy since his drama camp ended a month ago. He's honing his mathematical and shopping skills simultaneously by obsessively watching "The Price Is Right" and toting up all the prizes he would have won if he'd been a contestant. Although Drew Carey is such a disappointment; his heart's just not in it when he weakly reminds us to "spay and neuter your pets--it's really important." Emma is babysitting like a babysitting fiend. Part of it is for her "mitzvah project" which is her "good works" project that she has to do as part of her Bat Mitzvah preparation. For that, she's volunteering over at Molly's old preschool and she comes home with many stories of the political machinations of three-year-old girls.

Speaking of which, I just checked my class list for the new school year and as of right now, I have 7 boys and ONE GIRL. That will change, for sure (for one thing, they wouldn't let me have a class with only 8 kids, they'll let me go and absorb my class first) and in our school, mobility is so high that the class list I see today may not bear any relationship with the one I find on the first day of school. But still. Last year, I had 9 girls and 5 (then 4) boys and it was a Mean Girls Fiesta. I felt like Tina Fey in a class full of Rachel McAdamses. I won't have that problem with 7 boys, they're just not mean and petty like that. But they do like to run around a lot and hit each other with blocks. Good times.

Molly's pottying proceeds apace, and I couldn't be prouder. She peed yesterday, pooped this morning. If I were home with her on a permanent basis I'd be tempted to just put her in underwear and upholster the house in plastic wrap. But since that's not the case, and since she's not yet 2, I figure we'll let it ride. I'm so proud of her; she's WAY ahead of Em and Sam at the same age.

Molly's latest trick is to take off running any chance she gets. But when she does, she announces it, yelling: "Running! Running!" She's pretty fast and I figure she's got a genetic predisposition to be an Olympic marathon superstar. I like to think of her at the 2028 Olympic Games, chugging down the road in wherever the hell the games will be, far ahead of her competitors, yelling, "Running! Running!"

In less impressive news, my lovely youngest still will not go to sleep in her own bed. It's becoming a real problem. She's 20 months old. Because of her particular history, I have been even more reluctant than I was with Em and Sam to plunk her in her crib and close the door and let her cry it out, "SuperNanny-style." We tried to "Ferberize" Em and Sam this way, with less than stellar results. (I slept on Emma's floor for years.) In Molly's case, since she had so much early loss, it quite literally breaks my heart to let her cry in her room, as I did for a little while tonight until I couldn't take it anymore. Matt's solution to get her to sleep is to take her out in the car or the stroller until she falls asleep. I think it's sort of the ANWAR-drilling approach to baby sleeping: a quick fix but one that doesn't lead to long-term independence. Of course, I have no better options. Tonight she was quite simply exhausted, screeching, rubbing her eyes, whipping herself around, it was painful for me to watch how tired she was. She wouldn't settle on the couch, she wouldn't fall asleep in the mei tai, so I finally took her to her crib and put her in. And left the room. And she wailed pitifully for 2 minutes til I came back in. Thanks, Dr. Ferber. Then I tried one more time, with equally horrifying results. I couldn't take the crying and the "mamas" and "daddys" and finally the "all dones" coming from her room. So we came back downstairs and, finally, she settled on her couch with all her accessories: blanket and blue doggy toy, and finally finally fell asleep. But it was painful. And she still can't sleep alone. Apparently she falls asleep fine at preschool. I also know at preschool (because I've seen it) that even if she's crying pitifully when I leave, she stops within seconds of my being out of sight and is perfectly happy and content. So why is sleeping time so different?

At this rate, I'm not sure what we'll do. She goes into her crib generally when she's already asleep, wakes up halfway through the night, and comes into our bed, where usually she can sleep just fine. I worry that she not feel abandoned. This is actually my deepest fear for Molly, that she not feel abandoned. And so I'm inclined to let her keep up this ultimately unhealthy sleep pattern until she's old enough to sneak out after curfew.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

My work here is done.

Last night we were all sitting on the couch watching "The Daily Show." The theme song had hardly finished and the camera barely stopped zooming when Molly started chanting "'Bama! Obama!"

P.S. The first story that night was about... Obama.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Feliz cumpleanos a mi

Tomorrow's my birthday. Today seemed like the time to ask a few important questions.

1. Why does it feel like summer's over even though there's still a month left?
2. Now that Molly's in daycare, why is it still impossible for me to clean the bathrooms?
3. How do I keep a toddler from sticking her hands in the toilet bowl?
4. How do I get a 10-year-old boy to take showers on a regular basis?
5. How can ordering Bat Mitzvah invitations take up so much energy?
6. How did I end up with a 13 year old daughter, anyway?

Adriana, my girlfriend from Brazil, emailed me yesterday. I still feel like I'm 16 and rockin' the caipirinhas with her at a samba club in Sao Paulo. How did I ever get to be 41?

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Maternal guilt and other certainties

Big doings at the Cibula household. Well, not really, but we did set up the kiddie pool and the slip 'n' slide in the backyard. Everyone had a grand old time, although Sammy's still perfecting the art of slip and sliding--he goes down the track on his knees.

Yesterday we bought Sammy a brand-new bike for his birthday. This was especially exciting because Sam is only now learning to ride a bike. He'd hate me for printing this for all the world to see. But he takes after his athletically challenged mother's side of the family. We never really saw the point in all of this "exercise" and "locomotion." Until recently, Sammy has had no interest in learning to ride. But out of the blue last week, he announced that his goal this summer is to learn to ride a bike. So it's a really big deal for him. We got him a beautiful new blue Trek bike as an early birthday present (after mean mommy rejected the yellow and gold "Low-rider" that Sam and his dad found :-( ) and I'm happy to say that Sam's doing just great, thank you.

Last weekend, Sam lit up the stage as the Third Knight in the Children's Theater of Madison production of "Once Upon a Mattress." He was bitterly disappointed at not getting a bigger role, til he learned he had a line. Such a diva. He also got to write and perform an original monologue in one of the shows where he explained his character's back story (he informed us all that he was "Sir Juan the Disgruntled O'Mayhem" and the rightful heir to the Irish throne). He had a totally fantastic time, and much to his chagrin he apparently became the mascot/pet of all the middle and high school girls in the show. They liked to "hoist" him and carry him around. Unfortunately, if he wants to continue in theater he'll have to get used to that. Emma's doing a class at the Four Seasons Theatre and she's performing a musical dance/singing dealy this week. As part of her class, they brought in professionals from different aspects of theater so she not only learned how to slam someone's head into a chair, but she also got made up like a geisha. Take a look.

Emma as a geisha. She had a wig on, too, but they took that off before the picture was taken.

In other major news, Molly started her new daycare this week, which has led to much guilt, angst, and consternation for, well, me. As I've said before, I believe that the entire daycare/preschool process is fraught with peril. The preschool Molly attended last year was fabulous, but I knew that because both Em and Sam went there, and the teachers haven't changed since they were there, which is rare enough in itself. But last year, when I was searching for a spot for Molly, I visited some places that were pretty damn depressing. Last year, Molly did a daycare hybrid. She spent 3 days a week at the old preschool and 2 days first with her dad and then with our friends and their little boy. Which worked out really well. But our friends just brought home their second little boy from Ethiopia and needless to say, they're a little busy. And we wanted to send Molly to the same place every day. The old preschool didn't have a 5 day spot, so we had to find something new. Originally, my plan was that we wouldn't have to start a new daycare til the fall. After all, what's the point of being a teacher if you can't spend the summer with your own kids? But best laid plans, blah blah. The daycare that we chose had a guaranteed opening in July or not at all, so last week I loaded her up and sent her off.

There are some really nice things about this new place. They feed the kids lunch, which means we don't have to pack it, and the food is actually really nice; homemade scones and pasta and ratatouille and lots of fresh fruit. An astonishing amount of meat, but they have a vegetarian option every day, so Molly's taken care of. They sell fair trade coffee to the parents, which is a bonus. They have music and Spanish classes for the kids every week. It's cheaper than the old school and drop-off time is earlier, which is a bonus since Matt and I both work on the other side of town and I have to be at work at 7:30 :-(. That's a.m. I think if we get ourselves organized Matt and I can actually carpool to work this year (which we couldn't last year because the preschool opened too late) and save a buttload on gas.

And to be very honest about it, although I love hanging out with Molly, I think she was getting pretty bored with her mama. Don't get me wrong, I think she likes me fine, but 6 hours a day going up and down the stairs gets old. The park is fun, but my tolerance for swinging isn't nearly as large as hers. And my tried-and-true strategy of getting her to nap by setting her on my tummy and putting on a Lifetime movie to bore her to sleep may be effective, but probably isn't in Dr. Brazleton's book of childrearing tips. When we visited the school, I kept my eagle-eyes peeled for signs that they beat the children or subcontracted them out to soccer ball factories, but so far no evidence of any wrongdoing. And Molly, who spent so many of her early months surrounded by peers (not to mention the last year while I was working) loves all the stimulation, different things to do, and the little toddler-size sink where she can wash her hands 150 times a day. Drop-off time is still hairy. After about Day 2, she figured out that I might leave, so although she trots happily into her classroom, once we get there she tries to make sure that I stay there with her. Good news is that, since it's summer, I have more time to spend detangling myself from her, and hopefully by Sept. it won't be an issue anymore. I have to sneak out while she's washing her hands for the sixth time in order to avoid major problems, which makes me sad, but the day I tried to make a big production about saying goodbye it was way worse. When we pick her up at the end of the day, she's showing no signs of PTS or trauma. Usually she's just riding a Big Wheel. So I think all will be well. Her Lifetime network viewing has dropped substantially. On the other hand, Emma's seen the light and the joys of the Lifetime "Moment of Truth" movie. When one door closes, another opens.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Then and now.

Molly Fanaye at the guest house in Addis Ababa a day or so after we took custody of her, July 2007.

Molly now, July 2008

It's been a year. A whole year since we traveled to Ethiopia to bring Molly home. And a crazy year, with my new job and a whole lot of adjusting--Sammy had to adjust to being a big brother, Emma had to adjust to being a mini-mommy, and we all had to adjust to having a baby-now-toddler in the house again!

I'm writing this as Molly sits in her high chair--an increasingly rare occurrence as she'd much rather be sitting up at a big chair at the table--and eats some peanut butter on bread. She's nodding her head, her crazy/beautiful curls are everywhere, and she's looking at me with a very serious expression, nodding her head, and yelling "No, no, Abe!" Abe is our cat, and he hears "no" a lot.

I've been trying to figure out how to write this post without it devolving into triteness and cliché. It's going to be hard.

People ask us about the adoption, and what it was like, how Molly's adjusted, and all that. And I tell them, it was the most wonderful, amazing, and life-changing experience. But it's something that I also feel like I can't adequately explain to people without resorting to words like "wonderful, amazing, and life-changing." It's really a case of "you had to be there."

I can't imagine not having this little girl in our lives. She is gorgeous, smart, funny, and kind. She's a whirl of energy; she never ever ever stops moving. And she's stubborn and strong-willed and she knows what she wants. She is no pushover. She loves bubbles, and Teletubbies, and Elmo, and kitties, and dancing, and music, and splashing in puddles. And cheese. I feel like we're the luckiest family in the world, with the most wonderful children. Sometimes still, a year after she came home, I still look at her and I'm overcome by how much I love her, how incredible she is, how amazing. I still can’t believe I get to be her mother.

Molly turned 19 months old on July 7th, which was the anniversary of the day we first met her. (As Sammy likes to point out, we met Molly on her 7-month birthday: 7-7-07.) The whole family—Matt, me, Sam, Emma, my mom and stepdad, and Molly’s cousins, Belle, and Nicholas—celebrated “gotcha day” with an ice cream cake and a song for Molly. The first day we met Molly she was so scared and passive. She didn't cry, just stayed really still, staring with her big beautiful eyes. She did smile and laugh for her nannies at the care center but she was very wisely wary of us, these strange people who kept talking to her and wanting to pick her up. The first morning we met her I held her for hours but she wouldn't sleep, just sat tensely in my lap. Finally, Emma held her and after a long long while she drifted off. I didn't really see her smile much for us that whole first week in Addis.

What a difference in a year. Today, our Molly Fanaye is a joyful and vivacious little girl. So happy and ready to laugh. She is friendly but wisely wary of new people, although she warms up quickly. She loves her mama and daddy, adores her Emma and Sammy. When we brought Molly home at 7 months, she wasn't crawling or sitting up. But she sat up within a couple of weeks, crawled within a month and a half, and got up and started walking, as if on cue at 13 months. At her first checkup, she didn't even show up on the growth charts. But at her checkup on Wednesday she was 45th percentile for height and 30th for weight--within 2 months she popped right up on the growth-curve parabola and she's grown beautifully ever since. She's hitting all her milestones, she's so smart and funny and so beautiful.

Before we brought Molly home, and in those early days, I don't think we knew what we could expect. Whenever you have a new child, you don't know how they're going to develop, what issues you're going to face. Since Molly's first months were spent away from us, and since her earliest months became so traumatic, leaving her first family, I didn't know what kinds of issues we might face with bonding, attachment, development, lingering effects of nutrition--who knew? But if we could have ordered up a baby, we couldn't have had a more perfect little person to add to our family than Molly Fanaye. I just feel so lucky that I didn't get pregnant back when we were looking to have a third child. I can't imagine not having Molly in our family.

And at the same time, I think about Molly's birth mom every day. Especially now that we're celebrating our one-year famiversary. I have an unbreakable bond with a woman I met only once, and may or may not ever be able to see, talk to, write to, or hear from ever again. An amazing woman, to produce such an amazing girl. I don’t think there’s any way for us to express what a gift she gave to us, and although it’s a gift I would never wish she had to give away, I am beyond words with gratitude, respect, and love for her.

I wish that Molly's birth mom could see her now, and see how smart and beautiful she is. I know she wanted her to be smart and healthy and happy. I hope she would be happy with the job we are doing for her little girl. I know she would be so so very proud of her daughter.

We're not allowed to have direct contact with Molly's birth family. The reports that we send go to an office in Mudula, the town where Molly was born. Her birth mother can look at the reports and photos that we send, but we have no way of knowing if she knows that the reports are there, or has the resources to get to the office to see them. I hope that she does and that she can see what a gorgeous little person her daughter is. I wish I knew for sure.

In the courtyard of the care center on the first day we met Molly Fanaye. L to R: Emma, Molly Fanaye, me, Sam. Mom and Dennis are in the back. Molly was so tense, as you can see in her expression. When Molly was stressed sucked on her tongue--it's a calming reflex, like sucking her thumb. As you can see, she was sucking it hard that day. She still sucks her tongue when she's tired.

Fanaye, still in Addis, a couple of days later at the guest house.

Molly Fanaye now--a big 19 month old girl.

"You have got to be out of your freakin' minds."

Molly and her mama.

Sam, Molly, and Emma. Although Sammy looks like he has the mumps, he's really just eating a tortilla.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hair Update

Molly has dancer's legs. They're sturdy and strong. She's got these ridiculous calves that are completely well-defined and strong. And she's got my feet. A gajillion years ago when I took ballet, the one good thing that anyone ever said to me about my dancing prowess was that I had dancer's feet. They're basically rectangular, so the big toe and the little toe are almost on the same plane. It makes for a nice, stable dancing base and it's the best for toe shoes. Pity those folks with long feet and big toes that are much higher than their little toes--toe shoes are a nightmare. Molly's got my feet. They're adorable and square and they'll make a great base for dancing. I think she'll start with ballet but she'll decide it's too fussy. My bet: in the end she'll go a bit more avant: more Twyla Tharp or Alvin Ailey or Hubbard Street.

Right now she's doing a line dance with the Teletubbies.

We have to file a one-year post placement report for Ethiopia. Hard to believe that we've had Molly for a whole year already. It's amazing how much happened. A year ago today we were on a plane heading for Paris, to spend four days before we went to Addis. Or maybe we were already in Paris, sleeping off jetlag.

So in the service of listing Molly's accomplishments for the Powers that Be in ET, I counted over 30 words that Molly will say independently: from "all done" and "eat" to "sheep." She says "juice" (j00-eece) and "cookie" and "yogurt" (yo-yo). And she pooped in the potty last week. Of course, since then she's had no interest in trying again. Instead, she plays with the fab new Elmo potty seat we got her and says "Elmo poop." Which I'm sure he does, although I've never thought about it before.

Here're a few new pictures of Molly. In the winter and spring, after a few days, her hair straightened out into kinda wispy soft flyaways. But now that it's summer in Wisconsin (read: 100 percent humidity) she's always got this head full of crazy curls. They're still not the tight little curls--they're big fat soft curls that corkscrew out all over her head.

Molly is "hiding."

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A shocking epiphany

You know how you're in the grocery store and you hear a song like "Runaround Sue" or "California Girls" piped in over the PA and you think to yourself, "they're playing oldies to appeal to my mom and all the other middle aged people who shop here, so they'll be all nostalgic for their youth and buy more frozen asparagus or whatever"? You know how you get to feel all superior because get to avoid that kind of musical manipulation because the grocery store isn't really targeting your demographic because you're not old enough?

So yesterday I was at Whole Foods reaching for a can of tomato paste, and "Please Do Not Go" by the Violent Femmes comes on over the loudspeaker. And I start singing along. And then I stop dead. Because I suddenly realize that my beloved Violent Femmes are now the Beach Boys and "Please Do Not Go" is now "California Girls." And I'm the demographic that Whole Foods is trying to ply with warm fuzzy nostalgia so I buy more frozen asparagus.

When did I get so old?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

My Girl Likes to Potty All the Time...

Miss Molly loves the potty. She talks about it all the time. She points it out whenever possible. She pats our cat Abe and says "Potty. Potty." (Truth be known, I wish Abe would pay a bit more attention...).

So not to brag, but today Molly was in the bathroom and started getting really excited about seeing the potty. So I figured, why not try it? After all, Matt, Em, and Sam were at the movies, and we had nothing else to do. So I sat her down (we don't even have a toddler potty seat yet) and... she peed! In the potty! She's not quite 19 months old and it's not like we're expecting anything for like a year. I know it was serendipitous. But still! She peed! In the potty!

Now whenever she goes in the bathroom, she tries to pull down her little pants cuz she wants to sit on it again.

I'm so proud. At this point, she'll train way earlier than either her brother or her sister.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Miss Communication

First of all, I need to send mucho amor and shout-outs to my beautiful and fabulous friend, Deirdre, whose gorgeous baby girl was born yesterday. Congratulations and love to you guys!

So lately I've been thinking that it's gotta really suck for Molly. She talks a blue streak and she knows exactly what she's saying. But we don't. All we can pick out are words. She's got more words every day; her new favorite is "cookie." Wonder why. But she'll be talking away and she'll say something like "Gack a bleep?" And we'll look at her and go, "What, honey?" And she'll repeat it, slowly and carefully because, well, she knows her parents aren't too swift: "Gack a bleep?" And we'll go, "uh-huh." At which point you can see her just get fed up and disgusted, and start with "mama. dada. Emma. Molly." Like, "ok, I can see that my higher conversation skills are lost with you people. I landed among a bunch of losers, and I'll have to come down to your level of discourse. You want me to point out my nose again? Sure. Whatever floats your boat."

Another oddity in Molly world: She's fantastic at learning new words and great with names. She quickly mastered mommy, dada, Emma, nana, Molly, her teachers' names, her friends at school (with complicated vowels and consonant combos), "Diss" (Dennis), etc. But her brother? He's called "Chhhhmmmmm." That's the Hebrew CHHH, like "CHHanukah" or "CHHHallah bread." No clue why she finds it so challenging to say "Sam," but there you go. A Molly roll call around our dinner table sounds like this: "Mama! Dada! Emma! Molly! Chhhhmmmm!"

The weather here has been beyond perfect and Molly, Chhhmmmm, and I made it to the park this week. Here are a few pictures of our adventures there.

Here's my beautiful baby girl. Note the ponytail spout. This was especially exciting because normally Molly protests when we put her hair up and her hair's starting to look like Einstein on a bad day.

Molly and Chhhmmm doing a little playground construction work.

Molly's a great Mommy to her Teletubby Po. Here's a meeting of the minds.

Molly singing Po to sleep.

Changing Po's diaper.

Molly favors all-natural diaper care products, like grass.

My other beautiful girl.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Why Johnny can spell.

Three days into summer vaca and it's wonderful, even tho I've spent 2 of them at school so far. (Cleaning up my room and working on curriculum.) Planning to spend the next 2 at school, too. But whatev. It's summer. But before I leave the school year behind forever, I want to share one more story:

Kindergarteners are many things. But one thing that makes them kinda awesome is that they really truly love to learn. They haven't gotten tired of it yet. Most of them are totally into the idea of reading and spelling and all that stuff. It makes my job a leeetle bit easier.

So a couple of weeks ago, I'm walking my kids in from the playground first thing in the morning and one of my kids, J., looks at me and says "Ms. Cibula, 'F-R-E-E' does that spell 'free'?"

Now, it's 7:45 in the morning, which is, I'll point out, quite early, and I'm not at my mentally sharpest. But I look at her and I say, "You've been watching a lot of TV, haven't you?"

When your kids are learning spelling from the "" commercial, something is either very right or very wrong with the world.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

No more pencils, no more books...

Tomorrow is the last day of school. I have this recurring daymare that it's not really the last day of school and I have it wrong and I'm gonna get busted when I don't show up next week. But that's me. I have a crapload to do in my room and I haven't even stuffed my report card envelopes yet, so I need to get to school molto early tomorrow. School dismisses at 9:22 a.m. Yep, 9:22. It was 9:15 but we had to add 7 minutes to our day, every day, between March and now to make up for our 2 snow days this winter.

So today was our last real day of school. Tomorrow, I'm handing out diplomas and little presents and we're gonna have tearful goodbyes. I am a total wimp and manage to cry every time I leave a class. It happened with student teaching and I think it will be worse this time. I am going to try to hold it together, for everyone's sake.

I love kindergarten for a few reasons. One is that if kids are acting up, you can pick 'em up and move them to a safe spot. You can't do that with highschoolers; even short ones. But more to the point, kindergarteners love their teachers and they're not too cool to admit it. It's quite gratifying. I don't know if it's necessarily healthy, but my kids ask me if I can be their teacher next year. They're super excited to be first graders but at the same time they don't want to go. They really love kindergarten and they love our class and that's so fun, because I figure whatever I did or didn't do for them, they don't hate being in school. So I count that as a victory.

So yeah, I'm going to miss them this summer. I don't think it's sunk for me yet that the year's over. And next year they'll be big first graders and they probably won't even talk to me :-( . Plus, it's a little overwhelming to think that in the fall we start ALL OVER AGAIN with a brand-new crop....

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

We have a lot of dandelions...

...And Molly likes to eat them.

Nature Girl.

So pretty.

In case we needed another reason to avoid Scott's Turfbuilder.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It's 50 degrees outside, but we're thinkin' SUMMER

Taking a temporary break from table dancing

Blogging instead of doing Spanish homework. I gave myself a year and a half to do a semester's worth of Spanish and now I have 12 days left to get in 11 assignments and 2 tests. Can it happen? Probably not. So here I am. Vamanos!

Four more weeks before summer vaca, which is pretty fabulous. Less fabulous is our always-changing daycare situation. When I started teaching last fall, I was really worried about the whole daycare thing, what with Molly being home only 2 months. So we put her in a great preschool 3 days a week and sent her to work with daddy the other 2 days. Which sounded like a great idea (I took Sam and Em to work w/me when they were babies) esp. since Matt works for my mom and grandma's a very tolerant boss. But our sleepy 9 month old turned into a very active 10/11/12 month old and it quickly became an untenable situation for Matt. Never mind that she loved her daddy more than me because she spent all day with him. So after winter break, we regrouped. Very lucky for us, our friend Jennifer, with her own gorgeous little boy from ET, agreed to watch Molly on her non-preschool days. I don't know how Jennifer does it, but it's been fabulous for us, because Molly loves her playmate, their toys are way cooler than ours, and she generally has an awesome time over there.

So now we're looking to next fall, and our preschool only has the same 3 day a week spot (It's university affiliated--doesn't anyone take sabbaticals or transfer schools anymore?) So we're switching her to a new preschool. This makes me nervous because I truly love the place she is. I trust the teachers absolutely, they are well trained, have been there forever, are just all-around wonderful. The 2-year-old teacher has been there since Sam started there (she was his 1 year old teacher and then his 2 year old teacher) and he's STILL her favorite kid. So there. I'm frankly worried about starting all over again, and I have a lot less info on this new place. There are a couple of up sides, however. First, it's cheaper. Second, they have a Spanish program for the kids, which is pretty cool. Maybe Molly can practice with me. Third, they have great food! Not only do they feed the kids lunch and 2 snacks (so no more bringing our own cobbled-together lunches for M: A bag of grapes, some tomatoes, some cheese in a bag...). Not only do they have vegetarian options for lunch every day. But the food looks really GOOD. Like homemade orange scones and fresh fruit compote good. It smells really good in there. It's weird. I've never seen anything like it. Not that I'm complaining.

Most importantly, however, they've got a spot for us. Sort of. I heard from them last week and they said they can sign us up if we can start paying in July. This, of course, is problematic. I'm off til September, and I want to spend the time with Molly. Plus, I can think of a couple of other ways to spend a couple grand than in preschool when M can stay home with me. Hm. But we decided that bird in hand is the way to go, and otherwise, we'd be starting again from scratch. Plus, it's still cheaper than full-time at her current school, even w/the extra summer tuition. So Molly will start on a part time flexible basis in July. The bonus is that this will give her a chance to transition REAALLLLLY SLOWWWLLLLY to the new school, instead of being plunked in there 8 hours a day on Sept. 2. Also, as my mom likes to point out, it will give her a chance to play with kids instead of watching "Jon and Kate Plus 8" on TLC with me all summer. Thanks mom. Now we just have to come up w/$1400 in the next day or so. Huh.

Molly's favorite activity is table dancing (see above). With one sweep, she can clear away everything on our makeshift coffee table, push off our 20 pound cat, and climb on up. Then she stomps around to her inner music. She also enjoys dancing on the pole outside our favorite Indian restaurant. At this rate, maybe she'll be able to pay her own way through preschool.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Yay! Pictures!

Apologies for the woeful lack of postings and pictures. Excuses are that my camera died and I still haven't gotten around to buying a new one, so these pics are actually courtesy of my mom's camera, which I borrowed. Also, you'd think that by now I'd have figured out that when school starts at 7:45 in the morning, and school is 1/2 hour away, I should really go to sleep before midnight, because even getting up at 6:00 is pushing it. But no such luck. So I go to bed at 12:00 or 12:30 or 1:00 and I'm chronically sleep-deprived. Also trying desperately to finish a correspondence Spanish class that I should have finished a year ago. I'm hoping if I can do 16 assignments in about a month (ha!) I can count the credit toward a master's program. I'm not optimistic about finishing, but who knows...

April/May mean crazy weeks and crazy weekends. S
ammy's been skipping Hebrew School for Little League and skipping them both for choir practice. But his big choir concert's tomorrow, the kids have a piano recital in a week, Hebrew school is finally(!) almost over and then we're full-on into summer activities. I am finally getting our summer plans in order. And we've got just 7 more weeks of school before my kinders are officially 1st graders. Yikes.

So, without any more rambling, here are some kinda-recent pics (late March, early April). More when my new camera comes...

Emma in a rare picture with flat-ironed hair.


Emma as a "Doll" after her performance in Guys and Dolls.

Sammy kicking back before Emma's performance

And here's Miss Molly

We call this the "Hey, John McCain! You just won the Virginia primary!" smile

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

What Would Nietzsche Do... at Quiet Rest Time?

Yesterday in my class we were discussing Earth Day and ways to help the planet. We had a spirited discussion about recycling, and why it's important to help save our planet.

Me: We need to take care of the Earth. Because if we mess up this Earth, do we get another one?

My students (all together): Nooooooooo....

One student (seriously): Because God is dead.

And yes, I realize that nihilistic German philosophy isn't technically part of the kindergarten teaching standards.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Cultural Literacy

It occurs to me that Sammy may be the only 9-year-old boy in the world who can recognize Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke from his picture but who does not know that a chicken is a bird.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

A chicken