When Piper woke up this morning with a raging fever and a sore throat, I wanted to cry. But I can’t. I’m the mom. So I gave her a dose of ibuprofen, stripped off her sweat soaked pajamas, and brought her to our bed. We cuddled and talked about how stinky it is to feel sick. “I know what would make me feel better,” Piper said.
“Anything, baby. What?” I asked.
“Hot noodle soup.”
“But you ate all the noodle soup yesterday,” I reminded her. “We’re all out.”
Tears welled in Piper’s eyes. Okay. Okay. I can make a fresh batch. From scratch. Before 6 a.m. Fine. I diced and simmered the broth. I boiled the noodles. I buttered a fresh slice of bread. Then I fed it to Piper with a spoon. She said her throat felt better. She said it would feel even better if she could watch Word Girl on the couch. I’m a sucker, I know.
A few hours later, after the fever broke and some of Piper’s energy returned, after the negative strep throat test and doctor’s visit, I brought her another bowl of hot noodle soup. Piper peered into the bowl at her beloved carrots and celery floating in a fragrant bath of broth and noodles and said, “Mom, I don’t do leftovers.”
We caught Sissy reading a parenting magazine at breakfast yesterday. “Anything good in there?” I asked.
Sissy glanced over the top of the magazine. “You really should be teaching me this stuff, you know.” Which is probably true. But why bother when I can just have her read it herself? She doesn’t seem to need fixing to me.
Piper, too, got into the unsolicited parenting advice business tonight.
“Mom,” she began, “if I wrote a parenting book, I’d say…Step One: Be nice to your kid. Step Two: If they’re hurt, just hold them. Step Three: If they want something, give it to them after dinner. Step Eight: If they break something or ruin your favorite things and you get mad, pat them on the head and say you’re sorry. Step Five: If they want books, say yes.”
Whew. That’s a rather clear and concise parenting manual. I have to wonder if Step Four, Six, and Seven were key, though.
A few minutes later, Piper’s parenting plot was revealed. “Did I mention that there was a book fair at school next week?”
Piper hears a lot of political talk in her average day. There is the election, of course. And we live in Washington, D.C. She’s also exposed to a wide range of opinions. The people in our house rarely agree on politics and it is always at the dinner table. Not surprisingly, Piper has come to her own conclusions about Baback Omama and McRomney, as she calls them, erroneous as they may be.
She didn’t watch the presidential debates, though. It was past her bedtime. But she did ask about their outcome. I don’t know that it matters whose team you’re on. A victor was declared. We delivered the honest truth.
“Oh no,” Piper said. She put her head down on the table in defeat. Then she popped back up. “Wait. If McRomney wins, does that mean we have to buy a bunch of guns?”
Piper does. She made a magic wand last week at Sunday School. It can do all the stuff a normal magic wand can do. Like make you happy. Poof. Like make your green beans disappear. Poof. Like clean up your room. Poof.
Piper believes in magic. Her wand can make all things possible.
“Magic’s not the hard part, Mom. The hard part is figuring out what to ask for.”
Piper’s daddy got a new toy. It’s the IPhone 5. He knows how to share his toys, though. He likes to pass down his used ones to those less fortunate. I’m not interested, which leaves Sissy and Piper to duke it out for tech sloppy seconds. No thanks.
Tech toys is where my partner and I diverge. I’m more old school. Grab a book and read it. Grab a stuffed animal and make up a game. Go play in a sand box. Use your imagination. My partner likes to download games and buy gadgets. He gets books on the IPad that read out loud to our kids. Boo. I like to cuddle up with a book and take turns reading books out loud together. Sissy and Piper do way better voices than that IPad version.
Tonight I found our luddite and high tech worlds colliding. Piper was playing with her stuffed animals as I’d suggested, but she made them do this:
Her stuffed animals are Skyping. The elephant is also multi tasking with her phone. And that pink fox should know better than putting his soda near the laptop. Liquids near the technology never ends well. Piper has learned that lesson the hard way.
“But if they’re so close together, why do they need to Skype?” I asked.
Piper put her game face on Saturday night. The Noles were playing.
We take college football seriously in this house. Or at least we dress that way.
Piper enjoys the football snacks. She likes watching her Daddy jump off the couch and shout at the television. She likes staying up past her bedtime. She loves doing the war chant. She doesn’t waste her time keeping track of pesky things like the score. Just pass more pretzels, please.
We introduced Piper to the Goonies last night. It may not have been our best parenting move, but we were too far in by the time we realized what was a classic from our own childhoods was inappropriate by today’s childhood standards. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Goonies. But I remember watching it about 50 times one summer when I was Sissy and Piper’s ages unsupervised. I still quote from the Goonies on a daily basis. I had forgotten the cursing, which my kids aren’t accustomed to. I had forgotten the sexism (“Oh, let HER mother worry about it,” Brand’s mother says of his make out session with Andy. Gulp.) The good of the Goonies still outweighs the not so good, but I just didn’t remember. My childhood lens was so much less innocent than my children’s. Gulp again.
Piper found the good, though. She fell hard for Sloth. Every time he came on the screen, Piper fell into a puddle of giggles on the couch. She couldn’t catch her breath she was laughing so hard. “I just love Sloth!” she said. “He’s cracks me up.”
The most shocking part of the Goonies, though, was Sloth’s mother. “Why is she so grumpy? Doesn’t she love her Sloth? How could you not love him?” Piper asked. She was genuinely angry that Sloth, her new best friend, was mistreated by his family and especially by his own mom. “But how come she got kids if she’s so mean?”
“Maybe she’s not really that mean, P. She’s one of the bad guys, you know. Maybe it’s just for the movie,” Sissy explained. Piper examined Sissy with suspicion. She was so far into the Goonies that she’d momentarily forgotten that these were actors on a screen. That’s when you know it’s a good movie.
“Sloth’s a good guy,” Piper declared. “He deserves a good mommy. Like me.”
Then Sloth yelled “Heeeyy Youuuuu Guysssss!” and Piper squealed with delight.
Piper has been mixing up her holidays lately. She keeps asking people “What are you going to dress up as for Christmas?” when she means “What are you going to be for Halloween?” Most roll with it or seem not to notice. We’re all in the fall holiday spirit. We’re planning costumes. The leaves are starting to turn in D.C. We’ve got a big fat pumpkin on our kitchen table.
Today Piper announced that she’s decided to be a pirate for Christmas, which is actually hilarious if you think about it. Wouldn’t that liven up the Secret Santa exchange? We can all wear eye patches when we go caroling? Although the combination of swords and wassail may be dangerous.
“Yes! A pirate,” Piper declared, “instead of ho ho ho I’ll say argh argh argh!”
Piper made me this for my birthday. It’s her first written ‘I Love You.’ And it’s a collage, too.
Piper put the crown on me because it’s my birthday and she says I’m royalty. I’m the one in the yellow dress; yellow is my favorite color. The big black thing is the same in all of Piper’s pictures. It’s Junie, her stuffed dog that she takes everywhere because her parents won’t buy her a real dog. Poor thing. Piper is the red stick figure. And that shovel thing she’s holding is an award she’s presenting me with for being Queen of the Universe. Of course.
I’m sad is one of Piper’s favorite new phrases. It’s both a declaration of emotion and a conversation starter. It’s also startling for a Piper to be bouncing about in a rainbow tutu, smiling her bright smile, and declare her sadness. You have to brace yourself.
The morning after my birthday, Piper declared her latest sadness.
“I’m sad because of your birthday.”
“My birthday? We had a nice time on my birthday.”
“It made me sad. You’re getting old.”
“Well, I’m not that old. I feel pretty good. We all get older. It’s part of life.”
“Yes, but I’m sad because you’re old and you’ll die.”
“True. Someday. But not anytime soon. I don’t think we have to worry about it for awhile.”
“Okay. I’ll save my sadness until then.”
And on that cheery note, Piper skipped out of the room.