Saturday, January 23, 2010

We're friends, of course -- what else would we be?

One of my favorite things about Miranda is her warm, convivial nature. Upon meeting someone new, particularly another child, she quickly begins referring to them as her “friend.” “Where’s my friend?” she asks. “Where’s my new friend? And what’s her name?” For her, friendship isn’t bound up in long acquaintances or even name recognition; it often stems from nothing more involved that the mere presence and personhood of the other child. Granted, she gets in your average number of spats with her friends both old and new, but her standard position is one of welcome.

There is something hopeful in this approach to life. In our community we often ask, “What is our reflex? What attitudes and postures are we attempting to cultivate?” If our initial thought about someone is “friend”, our interactions with them will have a fundamentally different tone than if we view them as “foe” or even as a neutral “unknown.” If we normatively grant others the privileged status of one who is included, the very trajectory of our interactions will be realigned.

This point was brought home to me a few months ago, when I was nearly cut off by a minivan as I drove through downtown. As it moved into my lane, I braked and angrily laid on the horn, thinking ugly thoughts about the driver. When the van slowed to let me pass, I saw that the driver was actually a friend of mine from a playgroup. Immediately, my attitude became more understanding and generous; I began to think, “Oh, she’s probably talking to her girls; it’s so difficult driving with kids.” Our positive relationship made a fundamental difference in how I perceived her and her actions, how I responded to her accidental violation of my space. But had she been a stranger, I doubt I would have been as forgiving. This is where I should learn from my daughter.

How can we cultivate this generosity and openness to others? How do we reset our default settings so that the other is spontaneously viewed as friend instead of foe? And how might our lives be different if we succeeded?

Monday, November 9, 2009

My heart belongs to you

Miranda spontaneously made a heart on the floor last week with some orange ribbon. That's a pretty good job!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Learning her letters

Miranda was hanging out with me last week while I checked email. She asked if she could do "some writing of her own", so I said sure and pulled up a new document. I asked what she wanted to write, and she said, "I think I need to write Horsey's name." (Horsey is one of her "children", a favorite stuffed animal.) She typed the following letters, naming each one as she typed:

I think it's interesting, the letters with which she particularly identifies. She's always liked O, Q, X, and Z.

Adventures with H1N1 house arrest

Miranda was diagnosed with "presumed but not confirmed" H1N1 last week, so she & Billy have spent most of the subsequent time under house arrest. Because of my pregnancy and asthma, I was voted off the island until her fever's gone. Billy's been good to send pictures of how they're spending their time.
Recuperating on the couch with Daddy
Recuperating on the floor

IT prodigy?

Miranda is cultivating a budding artistic talent. Here's a drawing from today, which she says is "a picture of Daddy." She's just recently started drawing little people. She did one of the new baby, which I'll try to post soon.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who can reason with the wunchie? Part II (or buried in the concreteness of her reasoning)

So, Monday evening I'm driving home from the YMCA with Miranda and I decided that we would have a little fun. Because of the recent road construction on West Main we'd been using Manchester Street to get to our house for the last couple of weeks. In the process of utilizing the Manchester corridor to get downtown we'd become accustomed to passing some cook murals adorning one of the concrete walls next to the newly relocated Buster's. One of the murals is of a large skeleton that looks like it is emerging out of the wall. Miranda loves this skeleton and had commented on it several times. But we'd never gone to look at it up close.

"Miranda," I said, as we turned onto Manchester, "I think that I'm going to take you and feed you to the Skeleton tonight." "Why are you going to do that daddy," she rejoins. "Because I think it will be fun," I say. So, we pull into the parking lot and drive up to the mural at which point I roll down the window and tell the skeleton that we've brought him dinner. At first skeptical, I finally get Miranda to bite on my joke and she gets a little upset. I tell her that daddy is only making a joke for Halloween.

As we're driving out of the lot Miranda asks me why I took her to the skeleton. I repeat that I was only making a joke for Halloween. She says, "Daddy, it is not Halloween." I reply by saying that it is the season of Halloween. Indignant, Miranda asks me "Daddy, do you see any kids out here trick-or-treating?" I reply that I do not see any kids trick-or-treating. "Then daddy," Miranda replies with a confident sneer, "It isn't Halloween then is it?"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Random bits of preciousness

Helping Daddy spackle the basement stairwell.

Pink spackle is cool because it dries white, so you can tell when it's ready to sand. Plus... it's pink.
Miranda is beginning to enjoy Indian food again, provided it's not too spicy. Here we are at a local place, sampling the tandoori chicken, chicken tikki masala, cauliflower, basmati rice, pakoras, saag (spinach), naan (bread), and dal (lentils). To cool the palate, a refreshing mango lassi (yougurt smoothie). We brought her little book "Chaat and Sweets", and she told the waitress "Namaste!"

For some reason, she felt obliged to tie up Horsey.

I don't know why.

Holding hands and swinging with her classmate, Taylor. This is a precious picture.

As we left school in the rain, Miranda improvised -- a backpack umbrella.

Leaving the neighborhood flower stand with bargain, end-of-season mums in the basket of her birthday bike. This one found a home at the local bakery -- she loves those guys.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Overheard on the steps.....

So, I'm coming down the stairs at home yesterday and I hear Miranda (who is in the back of the house with our wonderful babysitter Marie) indignantly retort, as she stomps across the floor, "No, no, he is not going to die until the next chapter....." Hilarious! I have no idea what it was about, but no matter.....think I'm going to change my plans for Christmas and get her that Director's Chair........

Monday, October 19, 2009

Big Sister in Training

Holding a friend's newborn son. I'm so excited to get her into a Big Siblings' class at our hospital next month.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sacrifice yourself for the cause, girl

Miranda is getting better & better at helping me in the kitchen, and just begged the other day to help me cut cabbage. So, against my better judgment, I handed her a real knife & let her rip. Look how intently she's making her little cuts.
Unfortunately, one of those little cuts ended up on her finger. But did you ever see someone so proud of an injury?? Look how she displays her battle scars. Yes, that's a BIG smile behind the wounded finger.

I just adore this kid!!!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Who can reason with the wunchie?

The other day Miranda and I were riding together in the truck. I'm not sure what prompted it, but she asked me "Daddy, why is my door locked?" I responed, "Honey, the door is locked because it always has to be locked when we're driving to keep us safe." She was quiet for a minute. Then she says, "Daddy, I don't think that you're telling the truth." I ask her, "Sweety, why are you saying that I'm not telling the truth?" She says, "Because of that," and points across the cab of the truck to my door which is unlocked. Busted.......I'm sure it won't be the last time....