Saturday, December 25, 2010

Snow building fun

After sledding yesterday, the Whomptons set out to play in the snow today. We spent quite a while collecting up snow for the eventual construction. Everyone helped gather up the large pile of snow even Lola (between pulled toboggan rides). There was some disagreement about what to eventually make. Raina wanted an igloo, Krystal wanted a castle, Eric just wanted to make a snowman because he knew how to. Finally we settled on a big snow head looking thing.
Snow pictures never turn out very well, so you have to look closely. Notice the eyebrows, nose, and the booger hanging out of his right nostril.

Originally it was sort of looking like a gorilla, but fangs are always a nice touch. This probably explains why the snow people at the Whompton household tend to look evil. We playfully call it "Satan Claus".

You can just barely make out in these pictures the arms stretching out along the ground so that he can hold his "Scepter of Power" and wave to passers by. These are reoccurring themes.

Raina really wanted an igloo, so we sort of compromised and made a hole on the backside that went all the way through to the front connecting up to the mouth.

Sledding in a Winter Wonderland

Daddy, Raina, and Lola try out the toboggan.

Mommy and Lola go for a little spin.

Mommy flips the toboggan on the first hill, and then dumps out all occupants on the second hill.  She is no longer qualified to sled with children.

Raina sleds by herself for the very first time.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

An exploration of Raina

Raina and her best friend Isabel.

Raina terrifying Mama Jo.

Raina's hijinx cause fits of laughter.

Our little princess.

Raina debates knocking over the little kids to be a musical chairs master.

All bundled and braided and ready to start the day.

Her new jack-o-lantern smile.

Revealing her inner demon.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Fall Semester, In Review

Krystal, Raina, and Samantha begin school year 2010-2011.  Raina is in Senior Kindergarten with Ms. Neary and her best friend Isabel.

The Whomptons head to the STL Zoo about once a month and get there in the opening hour when everything is free.  Yes, the zoo is free all the time, but some specialty things cost.  And we're cheapskates.  The Children's Zoo (seen below), the Carousel, and the Stingray exhibit are places we hit from 8 - 9 a.m.!

Lola delights in playing peekaboo at every opportune moment.  We're seated at a restaurant here, patiently waiting for food, and Lola made her own entertainment.  She also charmed the male couple next to us, and did numerous loops around the restaurant. 

When the kids are good, we take them to the Big Kids Playground (a.k.a. Faust Park) to play and then visit the ducks.  On this occasion the ducks swarmed us ... mostly because we fed them all of Lola's cheerios snack.  The girls were exceedingly popular among the waterfowl population.

The Whomptons gathered with Mini and kids to celebrate Mini's birthday and watch the Balloon Race.  We claimed our traditional spot on the WashU Brookings lawn and had a lovely, lazy afternoon.

Raina made her own costume for Halloween.  Notice the bejeweled hearts, the multicolor ribbon, and the pipe cleaner antennae.  She was incredibly proud of herself.  She also slammed her costume into doorways, desks, etc., because my klutzy daughter couldn't handle being significantly wider than she normally was.  She ripped off the butterfly a few times (just in the process of maneuvering her around to take this picture) so I carried it from then on. 
When we made it to her classroom, I tied the wings back on and carefully situated her on the corner so she woudn't hurt herself or anyone nearby.  Here is Raina's SK class in their Halloween gear.

And here are the Whomptons on Halloween night.  Lola's initial costume wasn't good enough for Lola, but she was satisfied to be a Titans fan.  She hated the flag though and this is the only time she held it all night.

The Great Pumpkin brought Lola a baby stroller.  Once she figured out that the stroller was hers and that she could push it around, she was beyond thrilled.

Raina received her own hidey-hole and the girls delighted in together for a while.  Lola started rolling it around while she was inside and flipping the tent into walls and furniture; now the tent is situated in Raina's room.

Lola went through a significant clothes phase.  She learned how to take off her shirt and she did it.  Repeatedly. 

Then she realized she could play dress-up with other people's clothes.  She claimed Raina's zip-up sweater, pulled it on over her own pink striped jacket, zipped it up, and then paraded around saying "Raina sweater!" 

Yes, those are tighty-whities around her neck.  She has no shame.  (Neither do we.)

The Compton parents are terrible at taking pictures.  Their hearts are in the right places, but their eyes are never open.  I like that Mama Jo and Lola have the same expression.

Much better!

The Whomptons believe in a hot, hot house in the summer and a cold, cold house in the winter.  Lola is appropriately layered!

She stacked up a block tower as tall as she was.  She was beaming each time she finished the series.

I already have on a short sleeved shirt, a jacket, and a long sleeved shirt.  Maybe I need another pair of pants too?

The cuddle bug and her blanket lovey.  She has begun ripping out the individual threads of this blanket.  I don't know how much longer it can take that kind of abuse.

The Lower School performs a Winter Concert each year and it is a precious experience to witness.  Raina was never nervous about getting up on stage and performing in front of 450 people; in fact, she kept inviting more and more of my teacher friends to come!  She's in the front row, second from left.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Krystal v. Scam Artists

I know that the Whompton blog is mostly dedicated to kid stories, but I was so flabbergasted by this experience that I had to share it. 

Saturday we received a phone call with an automated statement:  "This is an important message about your credit card.  Nothing is wrong.  You have an opportunity to lower your interest rate but you must act now!  Press 9 to speak with a customer service representative."

Eric and I have no credit card debt to speak of, but I am immensely curious in finding out more information (like who these people are, which credit card company they're affiliated with, etc.) so, of course, I press 9.  I am transferred to an individual with a very distinctive accent in a raucously loud call center.  He immediately starts his spiel and tries to convince me to give him my credit card number.

KSW:  "Sir, what is the name of your company?" 
He responds with the exact same scripted spiel.  I ask my question again; he responds with the same script; I ask, he recites.  Finally he responds with "Why does it matter?" 
This question stuns me and I give him honesty, "I have no proof that you are reputable!" 
His reply:  "We are a very reputable company!  We have a Chief Financial Officer!"
KSW:  "But you don't have a company name?"
He transfers me to his manager.

The manager opens with "I understand that you have a problem with my representative."  I admit, my only problem is that he refuses to share the company name.  The manager volunteers it readily; the company is called "Financial Services of Visa and Mastercard."  Of course, this is preposterous.  He swears that it's authentic but admits there's no website or anything that I can check.  I thank him for his time and the manager, believing me to be appeased, inquires whether I am interested in lowering my interest rate.  I confess to being satisfied with my interest rate and the manager, now, is confused as to why I'm still talking with him.

KSW:  I'm on the Do Not Call List.
Manager:  So what?
KSW:  I needed your company's name so that I can report you to my state's Attorney General. 
Manager:  (immediately backtracking)  Oh, I see.  Ma'am, I'm not supposed to give out this phone number, but you can call it and talk with our local company and verify this information.  They may not be willing to talk with you because I'm not supposed to give out the number, but I will give it to you anyway.  It's 314-576-2663.
KSW:  Sir, that's MY phone number.
Manager:  Uh, uh, I meant this is the number ....
And then he hung up the phone. 

Do I declare this a righteous victory?  Unfortunately not.  Those guys were ready to pounce on anyone who pressed 9 and had a credit card number.  I hope that no one fell victim to them.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Kids say the darndest things ...

Lola woke up from her nap early and asked for some books.  A while later, Deanna, her primary caregiver came by and the two had this conversation:
Deanna:  Lola, are you poopy?
Lola:  Yes.
Deanna:  Why didn't you tell me you were poopy?  I would have changed your diaper.
Lola:  (hanging her head)  I forgot.

Deanna laughed when she told me the story.  She's still in shock that a toddler was self-aware enough to realize that she knew something and then forgot it. 

Raina remarked on the ride home today:  "Can you imagine a world where all we had to eat was cookies and ice cream and chocolate?  Ugh.  My belly would hurt so bad.  I'm glad we have healthy food instead!"  Most kids would answer their own question with "wow, cookies all day, awesome!"  I'm proud to say that I have brainwashed my child. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

The sickness season begins.

The Whompton adults have felt rather lucky.  It's December and we had not experienced a single sick day since March.  And, I tell you, it is marvelous to have healthy kids and healthy adults.  But, of course, we couldn't keep the viruses away, and one by one we started getting sick with the stomach flu.

Last Tuesday Samantha felt queasy, very tired, and a little off.  By Tuesday afternoon she felt fine.  Last Thursday Lola went past the "queasy stage" and thus began the negotiation of "who goes home with the kid?"  I took her home from school, she promptly slept for three hours, and then she was raring to go.  Eric fell victim Saturday night and was unsettled all Sunday.  Raina woke up Wednesday night feeling terrible and she had a bad hour or so, but has been perfectly normal ever since. 

I'm staying home with Raina today and, since she's feeling fine, I envisioned a mommy-daughter day in pjs.  We were going to paint a suncatcher that she had and watch a movie and read books and I, of course, would clean.  I told her the plan, she seemed incredibly excited, and I jumped into the shower.

Eric and Lola were back in the house when I finished my shower.  Apparently Lola's daycare is closed today due to "icy conditions" and so I had both kids for the day.  All my original plans for the day went out the window, as I envisioned trying to paint with Lola around (disaster) or watch a movie (she's never done it, and she wouldn't have the patience).  She's game on for books but my reading to them for 8 hours today would stretch my sanity to the breaking point.

So what did I do?  I ignored them.  And, miraculously, they started to play with each other.  Raina and Lola played catch, rolled a big ball around, chased, climbed up and down from the furniture, and played with the train set.  They played with each other for a good 3 hours straight!  That's never really happened before and I made good use of their preoccupation.  I cleaned the kitchen, living room, and dining room.  I scoured the bathrooms.  I used an incredible amount of bleaching agents on our surfaces, etc., in a valiant attempt to rid our home of pathogens.  I washed an insane amount of laundry.  I made dinner.  I made thank-you gifts for the wonderful people covering my classes today.  And it's only 1 p.m.! 

Normally weekends are not this productive because the kids bicker semi-constantly.  I wonder what is magical about the "sick and snow day" that has my kids liking each other so much?!?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tooth Fairy Strikes Again!

Raina kept complaining during dinner last night about a tooth; after every bite or chew she would gasp, howl in pain, and cup her mouth.  Granted, the kid is overly dramatic about pain -- you should see us as I brush her hair each morning, she starts flinching and saying OW! before I pick up the brush -- but this seemed over the top.  She then shared she had an apple for snack earlier in the day ...  Yep, it was time to lose a tooth.  She finished dinner and then we yanked that tooth right out.

There is something immensely satisfying about pulling teeth and hearing them pop out.  I recognize that is a gross statement to make, but it's still true.  And the big smiles and celebratory hugs I get from Raina just add to the joy.

We stuffed the tooth in a ziploc bag, labeled it, and, for the first time ever, put the tooth under the pillow.  I've done a good job of convincing Raina that the tooth can be stored in other places than the pillow (the table next to her bed, the chair, hanging from her bed post) but she was adamant about the pillow.  She told me that she wanted to wake up and see the Tooth Fairy, so the tooth needed to be under the pillow.  The little rapscallion!  The Tooth Fairy does NOT want to be seen!

Of course, the Tooth Fairy forgot about the tooth-present swap and then groaned audibly when her helpful spouse reminded her to get out of the warm bed and do the exchange.  The Tooth Fairy tip-toed in, quietly dug under the pillow for the baggie (how does the Tooth Fairy find an itty-bitty tooth by itself???), and deposited the gift.  Raina did not stir. 

This morning Raina was overjoyed with her Tooth Fairy gift but she expressed remorse that she didn't see the Tooth Fairy.  It would be just like her to dream up even more locations for future teeth to reside overnight.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Santa Claus comes to the Teddy Bear Tea Party.

LaVerne, Raina's adopted grandmother, and Raina trekked out to the Teddy Bear Tea Party yesterday to eat finger sandwiches, play bingo, and learn proper tea-time etiquette.  Raina now knows to pinky-up her tea cup, to dap delicately with her napkin, and to ask politely before having thirds and fourths and then eating off the neighbor's plate. 

Each kid received a teddy bear and the chance to visit with Santa.  We don't do the Santa thing in our house, so I was interested to hear Raina's stories when she got back.  She did not disappoint. 

Raina:  I met Santa today!
KSW:  Really?  What did you do?
Raina:  I sat on his lap.  That was weird.  (And she scrunched up her face as she wondered whether that was a polite thing to say.)
KSW:  (Nods, because having little girls sitting on some random guy's lap is REALLY weird.)  Anything else?
Raina:  I asked for a baby stroller for my baby doll.  And he said he'd bring me one for Christmas.
KSW:  Hmmm.  Well, Raina, I don't think that's going to happen.  We don't celebrate Christmas.  And Santa has never been to our house before, so I don't think he'll start now.  But we're celebrating the new year with a gift; if you want, Daddy and I can get you a baby stroller.
Raina:  (Thinking hard as she decides a good plan.)  Okay, let's do this.  If Santa doesn't bring me a baby stroller on Christmas, then we can go shopping for one together.

Awesome.  And I mean it.  I fully expected the Santa conversation to be a knock-down drag-out battle over "presents, presents, presents!"  Raina wants one thing and, when asked later, she said she wanted it because "Lola has one and this way there will be two and we won't fight about it."

It occurred to me on the drive home that I have never purchased a gift for my daughter and presented it to her all wrapped up.  She has never received a holiday or birthday gift from us, so she's never had the surprise of guessing what a gift is from her parents.  She's so incredibly excited to receive goodies of any sort -- getting a sticker puts her sky-high for hours -- so I'm interested to see if her face is all happy when she unwraps it or if she'll have a blase "I already know what this is" expression.  Does the surprise and anticipation make the gift?

Hi Daddy!

Lola offers a running verbal commentary on everything she sees or experiences.  "Look!  Pretty!"  she exclaims as we pass by holiday lights.  "Hello bus!" and "Goodbye bus!" are stated about 20 times per car trip.  (Lola thinks anything larger than a car is a bus and she gets excited about each one she sees.)  "Hi Daddy!  Hi Gandma!  Hi Mini!  Hi Jo!" she chants each time someone picks up the telephone.  (If your name is not on that list, she won't talk to you on the phone.  Seriously.)

She also calls every adult female "Mommy" and every adult male "Daddy"  I think she does it because she doesn't have the words "woman and man" in her vocabulary and she wants to identify people in pictures and whatnot.  And, usually, all the people she sees are with their children so saying Mommy and Daddy is an accurate statement.  Unfortunately, it backfired on us this weekend.

The Whompton family went to the grocery store and the girls happily were playing in their car cart as I investigated produce.  I heard Lola shout out happily "Hi Daddy!"  Then I felt someone's eyes on me and I looked up.  The man at the end of the aisle was a tall African-American in full military fatigues.  He clearly was not Lola's daddy and he was looking at me quite strangely as he tried to piece together why this little white girl was calling him Daddy.  So I explained half-heartedly, "Oh, I'm so sorry!  She calls every man Daddy!"  I then received a pitying look, and he paused to determine the best thing to say, and then came up with "That's bizarre."  He gave me another strange look, shook his head, and walked away.  I, of course, started laughing hysterically and I ran throughout the store to find Eric so I could 1) tell the story and 2) show the other man that I already have a baby daddy. 

Time to add to Lola's vocabulary!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Pictures from Daycare

We have not blogged in ages ... but we were just sent these pictures from daycare and I immediately had stories to share.
Here are Lola and her best friend Evan.  He was the only person she didn't bite, so they were partnered together for a while, and then they became inseparable.  Evan moved up to the Two's room back in early October and it was crushing to Lola.  She spent a goodly part of each morning and drive home saying "Evy, Evy, Evy!"  Luckily for all of us, Lola is being moved into the Two's room after winter break and she'll be with Evan again.

Our pigtailed angel tackles play-doh.  We rarely do play doh at home anymore (Lola loves to throw things and shout "I throw!" as she does it AND red play doh is hard to get out of the carpet) so she delights in all the artsy projects at school.  In fact, Lola brings home two copies of every project, because she was never satisfied by doing it just once.  She'll need an incredibly large art box if she keeps producing at this rate.

The fire department came to school one day and the kids got to clamor all over the fire truck.  Lola, our brave and bossy little girl, climbed up on the stretcher and relaxed.  If you look closely in the top right corner you can see the feet of her classmates who are doing exactly what they were told to do.