Mystery Monday- July 12, 2019

*Isobel is going to summer camp this July- it’s half days at her school. They do fun stuff like art and crazy sock day, ice cream socials and bounce house days. This morning she was looking at the calendar and…*

“Oh! Today’s the bouncy house! Hmmm… I wonder what’s happening on Mystery Monday?”
“Well, you probably have to solve a murder.”

*She looks at me, aghast.*

“Mom! They don’t do that at summer camp!”

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April 29 – Martian Shadow Puppets

*Isobel and I snuggle every night before bed. She gets all comfy under the blankets, then I flop on top, on the edge of the bed and we talk. Sometimes we do shadow puppets on the ceiling in the gleam from her nightlight. She made up this amazing one that has an eye that moves. Anyway, she was being that one tonight- here’s her story that went with our shadow puppets.*

“So, Mommy, I’m an alien, but I’m gonna put my antenna down so you think I’m a human. And you’re a human.”
“Okay.”
“Okay, Hi! My name is Barbara. I’m a human.”
“Hi, Barbara the human. I’m Chicken Wing. I’m a human, too!”
“Wow! We’re both so human. Well, my real name is Dodd, but I’m not going to tell you that now.”
“Dodd is your alien name?”
“Yes.”
“Well, Dodd, I don’t really care if you’re an alien or a human. Want to know why?”
Isobel moves the eye back and forth in her shadow puppet and then says, “Yes!”
“Well, Dodd, because I’m Chicken Wing, and I like to sing about things named thing, and wear rings, and how about let’s play with my ring thing? It goes like this: ‘beep, beep'”
*And when Isobel opens her mouth to say ‘beep beep,’ a car horn suddenly sounded from outside, twice, and she froze. Then we laughed so hard I almost fell off the bed.*

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Pretend you’re a squirrel. 3/26/2019

*Over breakfast, Isobel and I were discussing if we slept well last night. I didn’t, but she did. Is had a suggestion for me…*

“Well, Mom, you can just think about what it would be like to be a squirrel before you go to sleep. Or an owl.”
“A squirrel?”
“Yeah, like, I have a tiny toothbrush and a little tiny tub with tiny bubbles, and then! Fall asleep.”
“Wow. That’s how you put yourself to sleep every night?”
“Yeah. You should try it.”
“I’m totally going to.”
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February 11, 2019- Snow Voodoo

*Isobel comes home from school today all excited- her class had been discussing the very real possibility of a snow day tomorrow. Her teacher had a few suggestions: put a spoon under a pillow, put ice cubes in the toilets, and wear your pajamas inside out and then… boom! A snow day will appear. I’ve never heard any of this shit before, so Isobel had to explain it all to me, very patiently (well, a snow day did hang in the balance)…*

“Mommy! I need ice! And a spoon.”
“What, why?”
“Because that’s how we get a snow day.”
“Um. Okay. Here’s your stuff,” I say, handing her a bowl of ice and a spoon.
Isobel wanders off for a while, then comes back in the kitchen, where I’m finishing my sociology homework. She puts the bowl in the sink and sits down at the table.

“Mom. I put a spoon under your pillow.”
“What? Why?”
“Well, if I put a spoon under a pillow, we get a snow day. And I can’t put it under my pillow, I move around too much. And not Dad’s, he’ll never notice it. Yours is perfect.”
“That’s not really how it works, baby. But okay, please stick a note on top of my pillow to remind me about the spoon?”
“Sure, Mommy!” She runs off.

*Later, at bedtime, she put on her pajamas inside out, having long since flushed the melted ice cubes down the toilets. After she’s all ready for bed, I get a text from the school letting me know they’re closed tomorrow. I tell her on the monitor and she replies…*

“See? It worked!”

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February 11, 2019- Snow Voodoo

*Isobel comes home from school today all excited- her class had been discussing the very real possibility of a snow day tomorrow. Her teacher had a few suggestions: put a spoon under a pillow, put ice cubes in the toilets, and wear your pajamas inside out and then… boom! A snow day will appear. I’ve never heard any of this shit before, so Isobel had to explain it all to me, very patiently (well, a snow day did hang in the balance)…*

“Mommy! I need ice! And a spoon.”
“What, why?”
“Because that’s how we get a snow day.”
“Um. Okay. Here’s your stuff,” I say, handing her a bowl of ice and a spoon.
Isobel wanders off for a while, then comes back in the kitchen, where I’m finishing my sociology homework. She puts the bowl in the sink and sits down at the table.

“Mom. I put a spoon under your pillow.”
“What? Why?”
“Well, if I put a spoon under a pillow, we get a snow day. And I can’t put it under my pillow, I move around too much. And not Dad’s, he’ll never notice it. Yours is perfect.”
“That’s not really how it works, baby. But okay, please stick a note on top of my pillow to remind me about the spoon?”
“Sure, Mommy!” She runs off.

*Later, at bedtime, she put on her pajamas inside out, having long since flushed the melted ice cubes down the toilets. After she’s all ready for bed, I get a text from the school letting me know they’re closed tomorrow. I tell her on the monitor and she replies…*

“See? It worked!”

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November 20, 2018, Floating

*Isobel is home sick today with a cough and a cold. We curled up in bed for cuddles and I started to fall asleep (guess I’m coming down with it too), but then she made some funny noises and I opened my eyes.*

“Nyuuuuuyyhhhhhh. Urrrghhhhhnyuuuuh.”
“Is, you better not fart in my bed.”
“No, Mommy, I’m not farting. I’m trying to float up to the ceiling.”
“Uh…”
“NYUUUUUUUUHYHHHHHHHH.”
“Okay, good luck.”
“Thanks! UUURRGHhhhhhhhhhh…”

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Monday, October 22, After Bedtime

*Isobel had a best friend in kindergarten named Thalia. She moved away before first grade started. We tried to keep in contact, but at this point, for me to text her mom again would probably hover in the area of stalking… so. I let go.
Isobel’s best friend in first grade was Kara. She moved away before second grade started. They’re still best buddies- Is talks about Kara almost every day, and they Facetime each other. They write letters and send packages. But they haven’t seen each other since the beginning of the summer.*

“Mom. I wonder if I’ll ever see Kara or Thalia again.”
“Well, babe, I’m sure you’ll see Kara pretty soon. But Thalia… I’m not so sure.”
“Why?
“Well, you remember we had what, two playdates set up with Thalia, and they had to cancel both?”
“Yes…”
“I texted her mom, but she hasn’t texted back. She might have gotten a new phone or something… and I stopped texting her because it was kind of getting weird.”
“But I’ll see Kara?”
“Of course! We’ll organize ourselves and visit them, or maybe you’ll see her when they come up here during the holidays to see her grandmas.”
“But Thalia. I’ll never see her again?”
“We don’t know that, babe. Maybe you’ll see her somewhere, and then you two can hug.”
“When we see Kara, we need to buy her those Cadbury cookies she likes. Thalia likes Milanos.”
“I can score cookies, no problem.”
“Good night, Mommy.”
“Have good dreams, babe.”
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Monday, Sept. 24, A Different Rainbow

*Most mornings, I get up between 5:30 and 6 am. I get to have a shower (alone!) and start preparing for our day before Isobel gets up, usually around 6:40. Today, Is got up a little early, so we were in the kitchen together at 6:40. I noticed the sun rising outside of the east-facing window, and called her over to look. She was amazed.*

“Oh, Mommy! Look at the sky!”
“That’s sunrise, baby. Pretty, yes?”
“It’s like a tie dye! It’s pink and orange and that’s like turquoise…”
“I see! Look over there, purple, too!”
“Oooooh!!! It’s like a different rainbow.”

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Wednesday, September 12, A list

*Is had a bit of a stomachache when she got home from school. Was it the heat? Is she sick? No way to know ’til tomorrow. She’s feeling better- sleeping now. Before she goes to bed every night, we go over good dreams- a list of good things to dream about, in case she has a bad dream, she can remember our list and grab some material for a good dream right away.
Tonight, Isobel had a different list for me…*

“Mom, I have a different list.”
“Okay.”
“My number one favorite thing is you and Dad.”
“Awww…”
“Then, hanging with other friends.”
“That’s nice.”
“And small animals.”
“Of course.” I tell her to hang on a second and I bounce into the kitchen and grab a notebook.
“And pink, soft, sparkly things.”
“I’m not surprised.”
“Ha! And swimming and Biggie’s!” (her fave restaurant)
“Good choice…”
“And my birthday.”
“Mmmmhmmm. Aw, that’s a nice one…”
“And… well, my room, and my bed.”
“Three more and we have a list of ten!”
“My whole entire house… and my toys.”
“I can see that.”
“Food and drinks.”
“That’s funny, Is, don’t you have a favorite food or drink?”
“No, just put food and drinks. I like food, and I like drinks, so put it down.”

*I comply.*

“And the last one… the last one, is Snuggles.” She holds up her starting-to-get-beat-up rainbow dog toy that she sleeps with every night, and kisses it.

*That’s it, Isobel’s 10 most favorite things at 7 years old.*

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Monday, September 10- on boredom

*Isobel, like most kids, will sometimes come to me and complain that she’s bored. I used to try and point her to things she could do, or offer to teach her to clean the toilets (she always demurred, hmmm…) anyway, I try to distract her, or tell her to find something else to do.
About a year ago, I shared an epiphany with Isobel that I’d had when I was around 10. We were visiting my aunt for Christmas, and I went up to her and told her I was bored. Now, this aunt was a professional journalist, tall, slim, and imposing, with flame-red hair and icy blue Irish eyes. She smoked constantly, and had a modern house full of books. She had a sheltie and I just loved her. But I complained, as all kids do, and what she said to me stuck with me forever, and I haven’t been bored since. She said, “Boredom comes from within,” turned on her heel and walked away, leaving me there with my mouth open and my mind blown.
Now, when Is comes to me with boredom troubles, since she knows the story, I tell her, “Boredom comes from within,” and leave her to it. She usually finds something else to do.
Not today.*

“Mom, I’m bored.”
“Boredom comes from…” I pause, because Isobel holds up her hand to stop me.
“Look, Mom, I don’t want any of this ‘boredom comes from within’ stuff. I’m just bored.”
“Want to learn to clean the toilets?”
“MOOOOOOOOOOOOOM….”
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