Friday, May 31, 2013

Stranger at the Foot of the Bed

Last night, I again saw someone standing at the foot of the bed.  By last night I mean, 7:30 in the morning.  Almost always, this happens between 7:15 and 7:45.  It hadn't happened for quite a while until last night.  Derrick thinks it happens because the seam between the halves of the blackout curtain is aligned with the center of the bed, and at around 7:30, light begins streaming into the room through the bathroom door and around the sides of the curtain, creating an optical illusion when I wake up.

I'm sure that's it. What I'm seeing must be in my mind because I don't have my glasses on when I see it, yet sometimes I see the face in great detail.  It never fails to startle me, though.

I also had this crazy dream last night.  Someone was trying to fill out the paperwork necessary to enroll in a special gifted pull out program, but he had only five minutes left to turn everything in.  Suddenly, he dropped the folder full of the documents he'd prepared into a swimming pool.

"Hurry!" I exclaimed.  "Go get it!"

"I can't!" he said.  "I'm afraid of the water."

Not wanting to waste time, I dove in for him and retrieved the file.

Then he reminded me, "Oh no!  Your phone!"

I'd left my phone in my pocket.  It looked just like my actual phone, only it was an iphone.  The water had ruined it.

Then I woke up (only I was actually still dreaming).  I was trying to figure out if my phone (now my actual phone) could be salvaged after being soaked.  I couldn't get it to turn on.  "But the warranty covers water damage now, right?" I said to Derrick.

"I'll check," he said.

I kept saying to everybody, "I still don't understand how my phone actually got water damage.  That seems so weird to me because when I jumped into the swimming pool, I was having a dream. Why did that damage my actual phone?"

"It probably happens more than you realize," said my mom.

Derrick came back and reported that the warranty did not cover water damage, so I pulled the phone apart and started looking around for rice.  But instead of actual rice, my mom directed me to a canister full of pretzel bits and jelly beans, then to a new type of rice that worked differently.

I was getting really exasperated and kept explaining, "Look, rice expands by soaking up water, so the idea is to use boring, traditional rice to draw the water out of the phone.  And I still don't understand how my phone could have been affected by what I did in my dream!  I think something paranormal is going on."

Mom and Derrick both insisted, "This happens all the time."

Anyway, meanwhile back in reality, Penelope has been driving everybody crazy today by asking each person in the room, "Are you mad at me?" or "Do you hate me?"  She would ask one question or the other to somebody about every ten seconds.  I'm not sure why.  Usually she'd giggle while asking, but we couldn't get her to knock it off, and after a while, it got a bit annoying, (but not to her).

Tonight she was trying to be funny, saying something gross, and I told her, "No, that is too rude."

"Toot rude," she misunderstood deliberately.  "I like that joke, Mom.  Toot rude.  Good one!"

Penelope's Sentences

Penelope's reading today was about Adam and Eve and the Fall.  In the end of this version, Adam and Eve have to do work.  Some of the questions after the stories (which are not all comprehension questions) are decidedly manipulative.  There are too many loaded questions in the mix for my liking, and too much begging the question.  I know all material meant for educating children usually has an agenda (as opposed to all other material in the known universe, haha), but this book at times is a little ridiculous.  But some of the questions are good.  I liked, "How do you know when you are doing something wrong?"  That's a genuinely thought-provoking question that can lead to fruitful discussion.

When Penelope read the first line of this story, she actually read "Adam" as "A damn."  Then she gasped and burst out laughing.  It was very funny because it was a genuine mistake, and I think she realized it after she read it but didn't know what to do.  Her reaction was adorable.  I was less amused when she kept deliberately misreading "Satan" and "Solomon" and asking, "What is he doing here?"

Here are some delightful exchanges from our reading.

Me (reading one of the questions): Why should you try to please God?
Penelope: Because I don't want to work for God.
(I burst out laughing and kiss her many times on the cheek.)
Penelope: I'm so cute!

Penelope (after reading the first two sentences of the story, in the same, matter-of-fact voice as she grabs a twinkie): I'm gonna eat this.  It's gonna be bad for me.


Dinah has definitely gone off the rails lately.  I try to rein her in a little when I play her, but in Penelope's stories, she's starting to sound like a complete psychopath.

1.  This is going to be kind of shocking, but Dinah got married before.  She had a crush on Brownie, but then she met Pupcake.  She said to her husband, "Brownie, I'm sorry, but you're not going to be our friend anymore.  I'm going away."  So Dinah took Brownie to the pet killers.  That was our house, but I didn't want to kill Brownie because he was a cute little baby, so I hid him away from Dinah.  The End.  Woo! Woo!

2.  Dinah ate food until she got fat.  Then she got married to Pupcake.  But then Dinah said, "I don't want to be married to you, either.  Let's just be friends."  Then she scratched his eyes out and took him in a box over to the pound killers, so I hid him away, too.  [Note to self:  Do not "be friends" with Dinah!]

3.  Dinah worked for days at her job at the pound killers.  I worked here, too, but I didn't want to tell the truth to her.  She said, "You killed those puppies, right?" I said, "Yes, but don't go in any of these doors."

4.  Dinah worked and worked for the pound killers for many days.  She wanted to hear the truth.  Then she met somebody, but it was Pupcake and the others in disguise as a human.  Pupcake and the guys snuck up on her while she was eating her food.  Bluey was being the bottom, and Brownie was being the middle, and Pupcake was being the top.  Then he pushed Dinah down.  She didn't like it.  She fought the person and scratched them all up.  She said, "Who is pretending to be my husband?"  I only said, "I don't know."  The puppies said, "Hee! Hee! Hee!" quietly.  I told them to do that because she wasn't being very nice to them.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Note to Self

I absolutely have to write about some of our latest fairy tales.  "The Enchanted Canary" had some of the most quotable and the most cringeworthy lines ever, and tonight's story was a variation on Cinderella that seemed ordinary enough until at the end the protagonist was transformed into a reindeer.  What's even stranger is that the prince consulted a widow who somehow knew that the princess had been transformed into a reindeer and also how to change her back.  But I've got to write about that crazy "Canary" story and Penelope's reactions.  I'm eager to start working on my book right now, but I want to blog about it soon before I forget!

Penelope Says

May 22

Overheard from Penelope's room...
Penelope (in a leisurely tone of wonder): What are all these gold doubloons doing in my room?
Derrick (rapid-fire): I don't know you're rich take a drink of water and let's go to bed!
2:37 am

Penelope: Daddy, did you know--you are going to be shocked--Pupcake is my son and Dinah is my daughter!
Me: Who is their father?
Penelope: They don't have a father or a mother.
Me: I thought you just told us you were their mother.
P: Oh yeah! I was hoping Bubby would be their father...
Me: But that didn't work out?
Penelope: Well he has to go home every week, and if he was the father, he would have to take Pupcake part of the time back to his house (eyes wide, genuinely distressed), and I didn't want THAT to happen! So right now, Bubby is just their baby-sitter on weekends, and we'll have to see...
2:42 am

As we read “And some are very, very bad,” in One Fish, Two Fish

Penelope: Oh this makes me so sad. If I were there, I would help that poor little fish, and I would talk to the blue one because he really doesn't know what he's doing. The red one is telling him to do these awful things. If only I were there, I would have a talk with that red one. He probably doesn't have a mommy and daddy to tell him what he should do, so he doesn't know. He's just bullying them because something bad is happening to him at home and he doesn't have a mommy and daddy, and he doesn't know what else to do!

At first I was like, "What has she been watching?" But then she proceeded to give a little speech like this about every other page. For example. "Poor little Ned. He's just an animal, so he doesn't understand how to use tools or go to the store. And his feet must be so cold! If I were there, I would build him a bed that fits him." And then later, "That lady talking to Ned looks so much like that guy who says that 'hat is old' poem. She must be his mother. But when he was just a baby, she had to leave him on the doorstep in a basket, and she's never met him. It's so sad. If I were there, I would help them to find each other again!" Finally I realized that she was just stalling because she knew it was already past her bedtime, and as soon as we finished the book, she had to go to sleep!
2:52 am


May 23

On our walk...
Penelope: So I thought of another name for a boy Tubok.
Me: (surprised) Tubok? Where did you hear that name?
Penelope (concerned by my reaction, hastily): Never mind I was joking!
Me: No Tubock is a pretty good name. I just hadn't thought of it before. (Realizing) You mean Tuvok? Isn't he on Voyager?
Penelope: Uh huh.
Me: Were you watching that this morning with Grandma and Grandpa? (Suddenly I remember the character and realize the guy we just said hi to on our walk looks almost just like him. Hopefully if he heard that, he takes it as a compliment.)
Penelope: I'm not sure how good it sounds with Rayburn. Maybe if we put Jett in there. Tuvok Jett Rayburn. (Suspicious) I think that ant is following us.
5:57 pm

Penelope: Dinah, sometimes I don't believe a word you say. Such crazy things have happened to you!
Dinah: Well, I've lived a long and storied life.
Penelope: Well, I think you just tell stories. You're only a stuffed animal. You're only three years old.
Dinah: No, no. I'm hundreds of years old, maybe thousands. We live much longer on Neptune because it's so cold there. Of course, we can't do much. I spent most of my young life in suspended animation.
Penelope: I don't know why you say these ridiculous lies, Dinah. You didn't come from Neptune at all. You came from Cracker Barrel.
Dinah: Well, yes, this version of me came from Cracker Barrel. But the original Dinah lived on Neptune. Most of her original soul is in me in my stuffed form. I'm just a repli-cat.
Penelope: A repli-cat?! Dinah you don't know what you're talking about! You're thinking of another name for a Gila monster! You mean a repli-tile!
Me: A repli-tile?
Penelope: No! That's still not right, either! You just don't know what you're talking about at all, Dinah!
6:51 pm


May 24

Me: Aaah! I keep thinking I'm Luigi!
Gray: You keep thinking you're Norwegian?!
(This becomes a running joke.)
Me (as I kill a boss): Just call me Torvald.
Gray: Torbald the Bold!
5:06 pm

May 25

Penelope: Every time in "Troublemaker," I thought it was, "Why does it feel so good but bootie bag?"
Me: What?!!
(She repeats that word for word.)
4:28 pm

After creating endless Weird Al style variations on the lyrics to Justin Timberlake's "Suit and Tie," Grayson decided shrewdly, "Oh! Let me show you a few things! I have a couple ideas what they are!"
4:46 pm

Penelope: Dad, I could be an Icee worker when I grow up!
7:56 pm


May 26

Penelope (waking up during "Mr. Roboto" which was coincidentally playing when she fell asleep): How long has this song been going on?
12:05 am

Penelope (pointing at her brother asleep on the couch): Look at Bubby! He's so cute!
12:57 am

Penelope: Mommy, tell Daddy to get me a rocket ship, so that we can go into space. And Mommy, can I also get a guitar?
1:42 am

So Penelope is sleepy! First she fell asleep on Derrick in the chair. When he had to get up, she ran directly over to the couch and fell asleep. Just a few minutes ago, she rolled off the couch onto the floor. She's still asleep!
5:26 pm


May 27

Penelope (trying to distract us while we're trying to talk): Helllllp! Somebody help me!
Derrick: I think you're okay.
Penelope: Well, I won't be if I fall in the lava, dummy!
11:38 pm

May 28

On the playground...

Me: Are you going to try it again? (referring to a whirligig thing she got in a Happy Meal)
Penelope: Yes.
Me: Then I'll need the parts to put it back together for you.
Penelope: (disassembles the toy completely and throws all the parts up in the air and in my general direction, as they fall) Here are the items you need!
7:05 pm


May 29

Penelope (prancing down the stairs): Hey spooky one and all!
11:08 pm


May 30

Penelope: Mommy, you know I hate vampires.
Me: Yes, but why is that?
Penelope: Because they suck out people's blood.
Me: Why are you telling me that right now?
Penelope: I don't know. Why did you say that?
1:16 am

Me (after Nellie has made her fourth random statement involving excrement): That is rude.
Penelope: It's just a joke.
Me: Well, it's very rude.
Penelope: Yes, it is a rude joke. It's supposed to be a little bit scandalizing. That's what makes it so funny to me.
1:29 am

Penelope's Sentences

Until we get opportunity to pick out a book at the book store, we're using the children's easy reading Bible the Easter Bunny brought to do our reading.  I'm sticking with the old format of asking Penelope for rhymes of three different words, then working through the lists to learn how spelling works.  There are comprehension questions in the book, and we're doing the sentences in the same way.

1.  The moon is a prune.  It's so round, and in this town it has a stem.  Dinah cut off her tail.  Then she cut off somebody else's tail, so she could have it for her own.  Then she put her tail on the moon.  Then Dinah put a mouth on it and two eyes.  Then she put teeth in the mouth, and she wound them up, and it was chattering all night.  This was in the other universe.

2.  Dinah put herself in a star because she wanted to be in the sky.  She looked out of her star window and saw butterflies all over her roof.  Then she killed them because she didn't like nature getting on her house.

3.  Dinah went in the sun because she wanted to live there.  It was really bright in there, so she wanted to turn off the light.  There was a string in there she pulled.  Then she turned on another light that wasn't so bright, and she liked that, and she read her book.  It was about a hippo and some bubbles.  When the bubbles got in the hippo's mouth, he threw up.  Then someone killed him.  This was Dinah's favorite book.  She didn't care for hippos.

4.  Dinah went in the moon.  (Then she pooped in her pants on purpose. [After I object]  But then she cleaned it up and put a new pair of panties on.)  Then she went to Pupcake's house on Pluto.  Then Pupcake died.  Then he came back in the other universe as a grown up.  Up in space, Dinah was near the sun and the stars.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Penelope's Song

Penelope made up a song on our walk today.  It's a dialogue between a girl and a butterfly.  The melody is pretty, but I don't know how to write music (and of course, neither does she).  Perhaps we'll have to appeal to Grandpa for that.

It goes like this.

"What can you do, butterfly?  What can you do, butterfly?"

"I guess I'm not that big, after all.  I guess I'm not that big, after all."

The second part is the butterfly answering the girl.

This song was inspired by my efforts to take a picture of a pretty orange and brown butterfly we found.  It wasn't working out so well because it kept landing on dirt or on branches and then keeping closed as a form of camouflage.  Then I accidentally kicked up an ant hill which was immediately horrifying--for both me and the ants, I imagine.  I had to take off my shoe and throw it like a football because there were ants stuck all over it.  Fortunately, I didn't get any bites, but I felt like kind of a jerk because I destroyed half the ant hill.  I suppose they know how to fix it, though, and maybe they don't have anything better to do.  I'm not sure how ants pass the time.  They're so efficient.  They must have lots of time left over, and there aren't always grasshoppers to mock.