Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Beth the Carnivore

I have been remiss in past weeks for writing about Miss Beth. I am far too overworked with a new client and preparation tasks for an upcoming conference. The end is in sight, however and I am looking forward to relaying some humorous stories again. Despite my lack of time, I could not pass up this little gem...

Having a open afternoon and the inability to go outside with Beth and Elliott due to the smoke in the air, I decided to take a trip to the grocery store to stock up the pantry and fridge before my trip to Texas. Elliott is always happy to go to "play care" at the store where he can play with other children and watch a movie without me pestering him to turn off the T.V.

Beth is not at all interested in going to play care. She cries mournfully and wraps herself so tightly around my neck and arm that it is nearly impossible to pry her away. I have lately ushered her through the aisles as fast as I can while feeding her various treats to keep her seated in the shopping cart (never thought I'd do that - she must be out of danger, eh!). It is very difficult to make it through our neighborhood Raley's quickly because we have become friends with many of the employees. Furthermore, the pharmacy staff are all fans of Beth's and want to admire her when we visit the store (they know of her scary start and complicated first year with the hundred or so prescriptions we have filled there).

Every time I go to Raleys, I race up and down the aisles hoping I can get the shopping done before it becomes impossible to keep Beth in the cart. Today was especially difficult so I detoured to the bakery counter a little earlier than usual to get her a cookie. We waited patiently for the baker to bring us a cookie while Beth admired sprinkled donuts and various treats. Since the baker was occupied, the deli person came over to give her a cookie and take my order for roast beef. While she handed Beth her sprinkle cookie, I asked for a half-pound of roast beef.

Now, who in their right mind would expect my diminutive little girl to prefer meat to a cookie, right? I mean, it is a little hard to picture her devouring a chicken leg with strings of meat hanging from her delicate mouth like a she-lion ripping flesh from a wildebeast. Well, Beth proved me wrong; as soon as she heard me say "roast beef," her ears perked up and she looked me straight in the eye, dropped her cookie and said "MEAT!"

I thought the deli-girl was going to drop that 10 pound hunk of prime rib right on the floor! She did manage to gather herself and then promptly presented Beth with a giant piece of the reddest, prime roast beef I have ever seen. Beth's response was a most endearing smile and a rapid stuffing of said protein and cholesterol into her gaping mouth.

I made it home with scarcely more than a quarter pound of roast beef but the rest of the shopping trip went a whole lot smoother. Yes, my girl is a carnivore. She never did touch the cookie. Elliott ate it on the way home. Beth was curiously thirsty, however...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Summer Begins

Elliott has graduated from Kindergarten. T-ball season is over. Beth has entered a new level of consciousness. As if she wasn't trouble enough, now Beth is learning to assert herself. Two nights ago, I spent over an hour with her screaming and pounding on the door because she did not want to go to bed. Beth is usually a great sleeper, happily plopping herself down in the crib for naps and her 8 p.m. bedtime. Lately, she has decided bedtime happens AFTER she has had her fill of books.

Everyone who has spent more than 10 minutes with her knows that her fill of books is not what the average mommy/daddy/gramma/nanny/friend/uncle can handle at one sitting. Beth can sit for an hour while any available adult reads to her. On Thursday night she was in that mood and nothing Daddy and I could do would fulfill her need for literature.

Daddy (who was up at 4:30 a.m.) and I were pooped and looking forward the 8 p.m. quiet. Beth wasn't amused. She ranted and raved. She kicked and screamed. She refused to be held until a book was clearly in view for reading. I fed her. I played with her. Nothing worked. I was so concerned about her in the crib that I took her out and sat on the rocking chair inside her room while she screamed and pounded on the door. I finally distracted her with some tinker toys (thank you Mattel!) to quiet her down. At 9:15 I looked her in the eye (which were drooping considerably by this time) and told her we could get a nice warm blankie from the dryer and then she was going to bed.

Thankfully she complied and dropped to sleep the instant she was in bed. The last two nights have gone down without complication but I suspect we may be hitting a new developmental milestone for her and she won't be so easily placated in the future.

Elliott's Graduation

Elliott has finished Kindergarten and said goodbye to his wonderful teacher Mrs. Young. You can just read LOVE in her eyes. It is sad to move on but we are happy to have him at home for some summer fun.

He was a very good boy in school. His overly friendly nature (...wonder where he got that trait??) got him into trouble a few times but his intentions are always sweet. We were pleased to see high marks on his report card.

I often question the rigor we subject our young children to these days. I represent many K-12 education companies including Holt McDougal, one of three top publishers in the country. My job as a public relations professional requires being knowledgeable about policy and public sentiment. While I support the need for learning standards, standardized assessments and the high rigor we expect of our children, I do feel sorry that Kindergarten is not the blissful, low-pressure time of old. I commend teachers like Mrs. Young who still manage to combine fun and colorful learning with the requirement of "popcorn" words, phonics, basic number sense and penmanship. It is the mark of highly skilled and dedicated individual when she can bring 24 students through the year with a good foundation for first grade and do so in 4.5 hours a day.

Once again, special, special people have been a part of our lives. I feel Shepards and Angels all around us.