Archive for the ‘the ones about ava’ Category

I’m thankful for a daughter who writes me poetry while we eat our morning granola.

I’m thankful for your face.

I’m thankful for your name.

I’m thankful for your rosy cheeks.

I’m thankful for your hands.

I’m thankful for your soft, soft arms.

I love you, Mama.

And I’m thankful for everything around you.


Hoping that your thanksgiving day is full of lovely people and scrumptious treats.

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banana, who?

Oh, the canned jokes. Thank you so much for all your contributions! They have provided Ava with a steady source of giggles and HungryMan with unpreventable eye rolls.

I think he has distributed more than one “groaner foul” in the past week. Personally, I think he reserves these for the knock, knock jokes that I create.

I don’t think that it helped matters that I tested out the interrupting starfish one on him. He wasn’t nearly as amused as Ava and I were. Perhaps it was too early in the morning.

The Dwayne one is my dad’s all-time favorite. It’s actually the first one I learned and the first one I taught Ava. She loves it and I love to hear her attempt to lisp.

The olive one has become a favorite as has the turkey one.

Watching Ava try to say “Moo” before I say “interrupting cow who?” has made me laugh so hard that I cry. Ava has a knack for interrupting that is unparalleled among her peers, a little weakness that we work on most every day.

However, the pre-planned break-in is more than she can handle. She hops up and down, flapping her arms with her lips pursed so hard that her face turns red. She’s a little tea pot ready to shout. Except she gets so steamed up that when she hears her cue all she can say is “Ah, Ah, Ah!” until finally the “Moo!” pops out of her like a screaming whistle top.

Oh, it is so fun!

Now teaching Ava the banana one has proven to be a serious tactical error. I should have gone with my first instinct to keep that one tightly wrapped around pieces of Laffy Taffy. That way school girl Ava would meet “Banana, who?” while chewing her way through a square of artificial banana flavored sugar in the company of like-minded classmates thus sparing this Mama of the endless repetition. (Three cheers for giggling girlfriends and run-on sentences).

And then Shari posted in the comments and I felt obligated to pass it on. At last count I have said “banana who” about a gazillion times. No lie.

On Wednesday, I said, “Banana, who?” all the way from our driveway to the mall parking lot two suburbs away. True story.

I finally began to answer, “banana, go away,” which caused an eruption of laughter from the backseat and had no affect on the persistent Banana whatsoever.

When the orange finally arrived on the scenes, she said, “Orange you so glad that I didn’t say ‘banana’ anymore!”

Oh, Ava, you have no idea.

We are headed to the library today to find some banana-free joke books.

At the very least, we have to keep HungyMan’s eyes spinning.

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“Mama, under the grass is dirt, right?”


“Dirt where the worms live?”

“Yes, where the worms live.”

“What’s under the dirt?”

“It’s different in different places. At our house there is sand and then clay, which is like hard play dough, and then there is water.

“Well what’s under all that?”


“What’s under the rock?”

“More rocks.”

“Well, what’s under all the rocks?”

“There are lots and lots of rocks. The rocks go very, very deep under the ground. For miles and miles and miles. It’s farther than from here to St. Louis or even from here to Paris. That’s how deep the rocks go. And after that there is dirt again.”

Well, what’s under that dirt?”

“There is grass again and people on the grass. It’s the other side of the earth.”

“No, Mama, that’s not right cause the people will fall off. They’ll fall off if they are all the way on the bottom.”

“Ava, do you remember gravity? The gravity keeps them on the grass, just like the gravity keeps us on the grass right here. It’s the same on both sides.”

“But, but, Mama! Mama, how do dead people go up to Heaven if we put them under the dirt and the grass?

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“Mama, I always want to be with you. We’ll always be with be-chother. We’re with be-chother now and when we go to Heaven we’ll be with be-chother.

And then God will have all the boys go to one part of Heaven and all the girls go to the other part of Heaven. So all the girls will be together, and not with the boys.

But we’ll still be with be-chother. Right, Mama?”

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that was covered with vines lived one little girl in one straight line.

Ava has loved Madeline since the first time I read her the book. By age two, she had the entire book memorized and could “read” it cover to cover.

When she was three, she went with her preschool class to see the Madeline Christmas play. She was devastated that she wasn’t able to be Madeline. This led to a long discussion about the theater process starting with a little thing thespians like to call auditions. It’s kind of like your ticket to the stage.

Shortly after Christmas last year Ava began hatching plans about how she was going to be Madeline for Halloween. While this bypassed any auditions, it certainly created costume drama.

I was raised by a crafty mother who sew bits of this and that and rummaged through thrift shops to outfit her children for trick or treating. So far, I had followed in her path dressing Ava up in what I could find or what I could sew. Madeline, however, presented a far greater challenge than the Fairy Princess Ballerina or Little Bo Peep. I had no interest in sewing a big blue coat and did not where to buy a large yellow hat?

In May, I was dropping off some clothes to consign when I spied a shiny blue coat on a clearance rack. It was perfect. I couldn’t believe it. I bought and then immediately regretted buying it. How was I going to find a yellow hat? It isn’t quite Madeline without the hat. And all the yellow hats on ebay came with blue coats.

Later this summer I found an Easter hats that my mom had saved from when I was a girl. A little yellow fabric spray, a bit of black ribbon and a glue gun turned Easter white into French school girl. And thanks to Grandma Penny, Ava already had a little Parisian smock and black velvet shoes.

Of course after I had finished all the parts of the Madeline costume, Ava announced, “I don’t really want to be Madeline this year. I want to be a butterfly, a sparkly, puple butterfly with gorgeous wings then I can just fly to all the houses!”

She spend the better part of last week dreaming up a glittery, sparkly butterfly costume. I almost gave in. HungryMan, however, could not be swayed. He took one look at the blue coat and one look at Ava and said, “Ava, you’re either going to Madeline or you’re not going trick or treating.”

There’s nothing the promise of brightly wrapped candy to influence a four-year-old’s wardrobe.

This little Madeline has already brought her “bonjour” and “merci” to two preschool parties and the park.

The weather is gorgeous, so were “off to the next one!”

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Me: Who’s there?

Ava: Boo.

Me: Boo who?

Ava: You don’t have to cry about it.

Thanks to Sara Groves and her Station Wagon CD, Ava has discovered knock-knock jokes. With a repertoire of about five knock-knock jokes, it’s been non-stop entertainment. Non-stop monotonous entertainment.

What’s your favorite knock-knock joke?

We are in desperate need for new material. Seriously people, how many times can one mama “cry about it”?

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Ava and I are reading Little House the Big Woods before her rest time. Last week Ava was fascinated (and slightly disgusted) to learn that Pa made a balloon for Laura and Mary out of a pig’s bladder. Of course she needed to know what a bladder was. This led to a 4-year-old anatomy lesson of the digestive and elimination systems.

“They’re playing with a balloon that holds pee? Yuck!”

Yesterday, we read the part in the story where Pa kills a bear who was about to eat a pig. He brings home both the bear and the pig in his wagon much to the delight of his family and Ava.

“Oh good!” Ava shouted, “Now they can have another balloon!”

After rest time, Ava came out of her room with a droopy Trader Joe’s balloon from our shopping trip the previous day.

“Let’s play with the balloon, Mama.”

Up to this point in Ava’s life a balloon was only exciting while it floated in the air. When it came to rest on the floor it met its fate of a scissor snip and a place in the trash.

Now the balloon presented undiscovered possibilities for play. At first Ava wanted to toss the balloon back and forth like she saw Laura and Mary doing in the picture. Then she wanted us to back farther away from each other, throw the balloon, and run to see who could catch it. We spent the next hour taking turns thinking up games to play with the balloons.

Here’s what Ava and I came up with:

  • Balloon toss
  • Balloon toss and run
  • Keep the balloon from touching the ground
  • Keep two balloons from touching the ground
  • Count how many times we could catch the balloon without dropping it
  • Simultaneous catch with two balloons
  • Keep two balloons away from Ava
  • Keep two balloons away from Mama
  • Balloon chase
  • Follow the balloon
  • Creep up and pounce on the balloons
  • Stick the balloons on the wall with magic static powers
  • Say “hot” and “cold” to help the other person find the hidden balloons

What would you add?

And thanks to advanced technology, we didn’t have to wash our hands after playing with our balloons.

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Last week at I was collecting my freshly cut pieces of chenille at Joanne’s, I heard the quick patter of boots and a little voice squeal, “Oh Santa, I’ve missed you!!”

I turned to see Ava embracing an Ava-sized Santa in the premature Christmas display. Seriously, I have hardly come to terms with the fact that Halloween is in two weeks. I’m certainly not ready to start Christmas preparations with the whole costume thing is still up in the air.

Ava does not share this sentiment.

“Oh Santa, Santa, Santa! I’ve been waiting and waiting for you! I’m so glad you are back. I’ve missed you so much. Oh Santa, I love you!”

At this point I think she may have kissed the doll.

She went on to tell Santa how wonderful he is and how she so excited about Christmas. Then she asked him if he was the one who put presents in her stockings. Of course, this Santa is a mannequin only capable of a prerecorded “ho, ho, ho.”

She abandoned the counterfeit and followed me through the silk stems with her trail of questions: “Mama, did you really put the presents in my stocking or did Santa? Santa came to my house, didn’t he? Didn’t he, Mama? I know he did. Didn’t he?”

I played dodge ball with her questions as I’m caught between my desire to uphold Christmas as a celebration of Jesus’ birth and my propensity to encourage her imagination.

“Is Santa really real? Did you see him? Did you help him put the presents in my stocking and that’s why you said that you did it? You saw Santa, didn’t you?”

Apparently, somewhere, somehow Santa heard this unremitting faith in his existence. It appears that he had done a little early Christmas shopping in London and decided to send Ava a pre-Christmas gift.

The boots have been on the move ever since.

Thanks to Santa Ava has a matching mackintosh and wellies that she will not take off.

And thanks to Santa, she’s now determined to “keep my eyes open all night” on Christmas eve.

I predict that we are going to need a large plate of cookies.

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AVA: Mama, have you ever thought about moving to Michigan?

MAMA: No. Why?

AVA: Cause that’s where the unicorns live.

MAMA: Unicorns live in Michigan?

AVA: Yes, Mama, it’s a faraway land. And that’s where all the unicorns live in the faraway land at Michigan.

MAMA: Unicorns?

AVA: Uh-huh. They have the things on their heads that light up and then they change colors. They can change colors lots of times. It’s really true. And they live in Michigan cause it’s a faraway land. It’s like Romania. It’s really close to Romania, isn’t it?

MAMA: No, actually it’s not. Michigan is kind of close to Minnesota. And Romania is kind of close to France where Grandma Penny is. So, they’re not close.

AVA: Yes, they are, Mama. And I know why God gave them the things on their heads that light up. It’s so they know where to go. Cause they have to go to Romania and then if they go the wrong way the thing lights up and then they know they are going the wrong way. See, isn’t it so good that God gave them that?

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fashion faux pas

Yesterday, when I picked Ava up from preschool, her teacher glanced up from the line of children and said, “I’m sorry. Ava and her friend got a bit carried away with the paint today and I didn’t get a chance to clean them up.”

The fact that my daughter was sporting blue whiskers had already tipped me off to this point.

“That’s okay, ” I said, happy to know that she had been painting and thinking that a warm washcloth would wipe all evidence of this creative experiment.

Oh, I was naive.

As we walked out to the car, I asked Ava what she had been painting that had turned her hands and face so blue.

“This Mama, look,” she said holding out her skirt.

I look down and gasped. Ava’s dress looked like it had been in a paint ball tournament and has lost. Badly.

How was I supposed to know that the art project WAS Ava’s dress?

“See, Mama, the blue paint made my red dress purple. I think it’s so pretty, don’t you?”

Hmmm, no.

I distinctly remember not looking for a dress designed by Jackson Pollock while shopping at Land’s End last fall.

When we got home she quickly shed her altered dress as she is always game for a costume change. I sprayed Shout on the wearable art and sent it down the shoot to await it’s fate. Then I leaned against the wall, crossed my arms, and contemplated how best to handle this situation.

I want her to have the freedom to play, to experiment, to get dirty, but I also want to teach her to be a good steward to what has been given to her. Flinging paint on a dress crosses the line from accidentally dripping paint on a dress while flinging it on paper.

I know that the conventional wisdom of parenting suggests that consequences should be given in close proximity of the offense. We talked in great length about the importance taking care of our things. And lest any of you assume that she didn’t know that she shouldn’t paint on her dress, let me assure you she was most adamant that she knew that this was the wrong thing to do. However, I couldn’t think of a fitting consequence and so the day wrapped up with little less than a scolding and a still disgruntled mama.

This morning when she came marching out into the kitchen in a pink twirly skirt and a purple shirt with ruffles, it became all too clear what needed to be done. I sent her back into her room for some uglier clothes.

As I handed her a plain gray t-shirt we use for painting projects and a faded pair of jeans, I explained that she couldn’t wear her pretty clothes to school because she painted on her dress yesterday.

“Not ever in my whole life?” She gasped as she fell into a heap of despair and then quickly crossed her arms and declared, “When I’m eight I’m going to wear this everyday!”

Because clearly, every consequence I dole out has an eternal value. And by eternal, it ends at age eight.

“Well, Ava if you are still painting your clothes when you are eight then you still have to wear ugly clothes. But if you learn to take care of your clothes and paint on paper, then you can wear pretty clothes to school.”

“But I can’t wear that! It’s so uh-guh-ly!”

I put the clothes on her bed and explained that if she wanted to go to school this is what she was wearing.

“Well, then, I’m not going to ever paint on my ugly clothes, at all!”

Perfect. That’s precisely what I was going for.

I have to admit it felt strange sending her into school in an outfit previously reserved for wall painting and worm relocating.

Then I remembered that this was preschool. And those activities could very likely be today’s activities.

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