about a dream: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

we all knew i'd be "that" kind of mom, didn't we?

here's a copy of the email i sent to pbskids. org. vanessa, you will be proud of me i think.


My daughter loves the "build your own superhero" game on, found under the Superwhy "games" tab. The game involves getting to choose a superhero feature each time a word is correctly spelled; first an outfit, then a cape, then a mask, and finally, a chest decoration.

I'd like to suggest, though, that the options not be so stereo-typically gender-specific. Four of the six girl superhero outfit, cape, and mask options are a minor variation on pink and purple (which in and of itself wouldn't prompt me to write). What I really don't like are the gender options for the chest decoration.

If a child chooses to build a boy superhero, he can choose between an airplane, the planet Earth with some kind of spaceship-like ring around it, a rocketship, a Bohr model of the atom, and a dinosaur. Build a girl and you can choose between a butterfly, a shooting star, hearts, a flower, and a bunny.

I think it this subtly reinforces what children of each gender "should" be interested in. I believe that we need to let our girls know that rocketships and atoms are OK topics for girls, and let our boys know that they can pick a bunny or heart if that's what they want.

Please give all of the kids all of the options! I want my daughter to be as free to choose atomic girl as she is to choose flower girl.

Thanks for your time and attention,
Desiree Halter

it was the bohr model that pushed me over the edge. because you know, physics is for boys.

i'll keep you all posted on any response or action.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


nina really only watches cartoons on PBS (so elitist of us. but afternoon and saturday morning cartoons on the regular networks are pretty much a thing of the past, and we don't have cable, so PBS is all there is). even though they don't show commercials, they do advertise their own programming in between shows. they also advertise the show coming up next. this has been confusing and sometimes disappointing to nina, because she's thought the show being advertised was actually coming up next. poor nina. now she understands, though, that sometimes when PBS shows a clip of a show, it's not really coming up, it's just an ad.

ok, so sometimes if she has a poop coming she'll start farting a lot. which is still kind of cute because she's so cute, but less so as she gets older. finally after a few stinky farts one day, i told nina that if she had to poop, to please go to the potty. she said she didn't have to, the fart was just an ad.

now, sometimes after she farts, she'll say "that was just an ad."


Monday, February 23, 2009

our pictures from the children's museum....

...are still at the museum. why you ask? because that's where i left the camera.


i called this morning and told them i think i'd left my camera there yesterday. the lady said they had three from yesterday, and i'd have to come by to pick it up.

grr again!!

however, nina is thrilled that we will be returning to the brooklyn children's museum this weekend. whoop de doo for us.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

our valentine's day card

this is the front

and the inside

i want some and hello

here is a video of maggie showing off two of her newest skills: i want some, and waving hello.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

on tuesday we went to the transit museum

nina has no school this week, so we're trying to entertain ourselves. so far, that has involved a lot of playing with ethan (meron) and yesterday, a trip to the transit museum in brooklyn.

we went with cindy manzi and her boys, michael (5 1/2) and max (turned 4 last week. he's in the same pre-school as nina but he's in the morning class). it was quite the adventure but a lot of fun.

we took the subway. it's just wrong to drive to the transit museum! haha. it was an easy commute--took the n/w (but it's not the n/w anymore... i think it's either the w/q or the n/q. they replaced either the n or the w with the q). anyway, that was half the fun for the kids.

the museum has two levels--the higher one is one floor below street level, and the lower level is two below. the lower level is actually an out of use subway station, so you get to go down the stairs into the station, and on the tracks are all of the old subway cars. very cool! they even had the wooden ones from the early 1900s. mom says she remembers the seats that look like they've got woven, basket-type covers. those were there too!

the upper level had city buses the kids could pretend to drive, subway turnstiles to walk through, ticket booths, and all kinds of educational stuff that we pretty much skipped over. how could we stop to read when there were BUSES to drive!

it was great. we went to mcdonalds afterwards, then back to the manzi house to play. max insisted on holding nina's hand while we were walking, and she let him. he's a cutie. maggie enjoyed herself too and did a pretty impressive job keeping up with the big kids.

i took some pics on the camera that i'll try to upload tonight.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

first solo steps!

that's right, little baby maggie took her first solo steps last night! i was cooking dinner and nick was sitting on the floor while she stood next to him. then she took 3 or 4 little toddling steps, all by herself! we all got to see them, and maggie was so proud of herself. she's only 8.5 months!

nina actually took her first solo step at the same age, but she didn't go beyond one step for a month. she took 2 steps at 9 months, and 4 steps on july 4. within a few days of those 4 steps she was walking across a room. maggie's been walking very well holding onto hands or furniture, so we were kind of expecting this, but it still is so soon!

she's also pointing, waving and saying "hi," and playing with toys like a much older kid. she'll pretend to eat and feed me and nick with nina's toy cutlery (this is one of her favorite games), plays with dolls, and likes puzzles and sorting toys. i haven't been keeping a vocabulary list, but she says mama, papa, nan-nan (nina), and hi on a daily basis. there are lots of other words she's repeated or said just a few times (like, yesterday she said "all done" after i'd said it. and of course, there was the time she said "not bad" when we asked how her day was).

so that's an update on maggie, our 8.5 month old toddler!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

so begin the days of word world.

i am no longer whyatt or super why. i do not have to call maggie alpha pig or nina princess pea. nick is not wonder red. no, we have entered a new day here at 12 B. we are now in the days of word world.

i am now sheep. nina is frog, nick is duck, and maggie is dog. poor maggie, pig and dog are the least flattering names. i don't think nina's trying to insult maggie, but it's interesting to look back over nina's phases, and deconstruct who in our family has played each character.

the muppet show was her first favorite. i was kermit, nick was fozzy, nina was miss piggy, and maggie was scooter. kermit, you know, he runs the show. he's directing everything back stage, doing the introductions, interviewing the guest stars. he's the frog in charge. so, i'm pretty flattered that i got to be kermit. nina was miss piggy, who's in love with kermit, and also the biggest player girl muppet, so that was a natural choice for nina. i'm not sure what to make of maggie being scooter. scooter is a bit on the slow side, but maggie was only 2 months old at the time, so it's not totally unfair. scooter was definitely one of the youngest on the cast. and then, there was fozzy. a good guy, but definitely something of a flake. not flattering to nick, but i think it'd be worse to be gonzo.

then came the days of super why. i was whyatt/super why, the leader of the group with the power to read (you see where this is going, don't you...). nina was princess pea/princess presto, the dainty and beautiful princess with the power to spell. maggie was little pig/alpha pig, the youngest and smallest of the group, with the most basic power, alphabet power. and nick was red riding hood/wonder red, with word power. nick thought he was doing better this time, and he was, except wonder red is still a little girl on roller skates. she's not super why.

now, word world. i am sheep. she is the most together of the animals again, always spelling words and explaining things to the rest. she's a little self-absorbed, though. the only other female option is bear, but bear is not a leader. she's famous for being afraid of the dark.

nina is frog. frog is cool. he lives in a log. his best friend is duck.

nick is duck. the thing about duck is that he's not very bright. he's the one that moves the plot along by messing things up. he's also somewhat uncouth. there was this one episode where he accidentally insults his friend shark. he just doesn't think about what he says sometimes. poor nick is not flattered to be duck. he could be ant or pig, but he's not. but like i said, duck and frog are especially close, so that's nice.

maggie is dog. she's faring worse than nick in this one, because dog doesn't even talk. while the rest of the animals act like people, dog just acts like a dog.

wow, can you believe i've written all this about our assigned characters? sad. nick's been in the shower, we're about to start a movie, and it was either this or read the bachelor message boards on sadder. besides, i couldn't resist exploring this little window into nina's fascinating mind. :-)

Friday, February 13, 2009

preschool creations, part 4

here is a christmas tree. it was hanging on the outside of our apartment door for a few months.

here is the austrian flag. nina colored it for the international wine and cheese auction her school held in december. that was the party where they liquored us parents up and then had us bid on donated items, to raise money for the school. i got nina a kit kittridge american girl doll that night. nick drank beer with some of the dads.

nina's book of colors. i will spare you page-by-page snapshots, but each page is decorated in a different color. her first book!

a lion mask she made for halloween. it was attached to a paper towel tube so she could hold it in front of her face.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

preschool creations, part 3

guess what this one is!

it's a paper plate, made into a thanksgiving turkey! it was supposed to be the centerpiece of our thanksgiving feast, but because nina missed the 2 days before thanksgiving, she didn't get to take it home until the next monday.

this one is titled "falling, falling, falling leaves."

here, one of the teachers traced nina, and she colored it in.

and this is her handprint. she gave it to us for christmas. on the back is a little poem:

here is my hand
so tiny, so small
for you to hang
upon the wall.
for you to watch
as years go by,
how we grow
my hand and i.

i cry every time i read that!

preschool creations, part 2

a lamp for chinese new year

pumpkin. jack o'lantern, really. goes without saying i suppose.

a snowman. you can see his hat, carrot nose, one eye (one fell off), a stick, and a snowball.

an apple tree.

paintings. she comes home with about 3 of these each week, but she won't let me rotate the ones on display. she says if i want to put more up, there's more space. don't need to take any down...

preschool creations, part 1

nina made this at preschool today. it's abe lincoln! that's a penny taped above her forehead. isn't that so cute? when i was picking her up, i heard all of the kids shouting "HAPPY BIRTHDAY ABE LINCOLN!!" apparently they even had cupcakes. adorable. i asked her what she learned about abe lincoln at school. "nothing," she said. so forthcoming.

i have decided to put up photos of all her preschool arts and crafts. we'll see if i actually get to it all, there's a lot. but it's fun, she makes so many things at preschool.

the tooth

you can see the tooth (almost teeth) real quick here. she's sorta covering them with her tongue most of the time, but you can still kinda see them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

maggie loves broccoli!

we had broccoli with dinner tonight. maggie LOVES broccoli, it's one of her favorite foods. i didn't want to feed her too much because i don't want her to get gassy and a tummy ache, but she was very persistent!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

i want you to have a sofa

nina is coloring in her notebook next to me on the couch. she's using markers, and pushing them down onto the couch cushions to get the caps to snap back on. one has to push pretty hard, because these markers are awfully hard to recap. you'd think they'd make them easier for the kids.
nina was pushing one marker down into the couch cushion even after the cap had snapped back on, so i told her to stop before she made a hole in the cushion. she got that devilish look on her face and kept pushing it, telling me that the cap hadn't snapped on yet. the conversation went something like this:

me: "yes it has, look. the cap's on"
nina: "i want it to snap more."
me: "that's not going to happen. it doesn't get more snapped. are you trying to make a hole in the couch? i don't want you to ruin my couch."
nina: "i want you to have a sofa."
me: "i do have a sofa. this is a sofa."
nina: "no, i want you to have a sofa, with a thing that comes out."
me: "you mean, you want me to have a sofa with a bed in it?"
nina: "yeah."
me: "how did you know it's a sofa when there's a bed in it, but a couch when it doesn't have a bed?"
nina: "i don't know, i just knew that."

i asked her why she wanted a sofa, she said she just does. she said we could have a couch AND a sofa if i want.

where does she get this stuff!??!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

from a few weeks ago, but i think i forgot to write about it

when mrs. meron (ethan's mom) had gabriel last month, nina was really excited to meet him. i wasn't planning on asking if we could come by to visit for at least a week, but nina begged me to call. she said, "i want to see gabriel. i'm going to tell mrs. meron that he's lovely."

aww! of course, i had to call after that, and mrs. meron said to come by the next day! we did. nina was too shy to tell mrs. meron that gabriel was lovely, but she whispered it to me and asked me to tell mrs. meron, so i did. it was so cute.

she's definitely crawling

little miss maggie (who's asleep on my lap as i type this, one-handed) is officially crawling. she's not a pro at it yet, but can go a few feet before she sits back down on her bottom. she still keeps one leg bent in, but it's under her, not in front of her, so hopefully that's an improvement. she still likes to stand and cruise more than crawling--or better yet, walk while we hold her hands.

she's also very close to cutting her second bottom tooth. she's been a little uncomfortable for the past few days, but i've been giving her tylenol and she's much happier.