Monday, September 28, 2015

A Mean, Old Liar

In June, Penelope suddenly befriended a little girl who lives down the street.  They played outside together every evening.  Then (just as suddenly) the girl basically disappeared.  Penelope rarely saw her for the rest of the summer.  Then when school started again, this girl reappeared, but as an enemy always hanging around with Penelope's ex-boyfriend on the playground at school and either ignoring or antagonizing Penelope.

Yesterday evening, Penelope had had enough.  She's been complaining about this situation intermittently for weeks, but last night, she spent about two hours venting to me about how she wasn't even going to try anymore.  She said cautiously, "I don't like to be mean because I'm a nice person, but I'm beginning to think [the girl] is nothing but a mean, old liar."  I encouraged this kind of talking, not because I want her to call names, but because she's been heartbroken and stressed out about this for weeks, and I thought it would be healthier for her to talk through her feelings with me rather than to continue to scrutinize herself for potential flaws/faults.  So I just kept telling her that she could say anything she wanted to me, and that she can't control what other people do, and that if that girl didn't want to be friends with Penelope, that was the girl's loss, and that Penelope didn't have to try to be friends anymore.  I told her not to be mean back, but that if the girl was blowing her off, Penelope should just go about her day and try to make other friends.  (And she has lots of other friends, already.  That's the part that vexes me. I don't understand why she wants to fixate on this girl who treats her so reprehensibly.)

But boy was Penelope mad yesterday!

I cannot tell you how many times she used the phrase "mean, old liar," and she was completely in earnest, so I had to try so hard not to laugh.  Her diction was so unusually letter perfect.  She said the "l" correctly (sometimes her "l"s make a "y" sound even now), and she enunciated the "d" at the end of old so pointedly.  She sounded like a child actor in a movie from the 1940s or 50s.  She actually kind of reminded me of Ron Howard in The Music Man (from the 60s) when Winthrop calls Harold a "big liar."

Then she started mimicking the girl, and I've never heard her do mimicry before.  It was so hilarious, the voice she used.  "She says, 'I have to make pizza now.  I'll see you later."  LIE!!!!!"  ("You know, now I'm beginning to think she didn't even have to make pizza!  I'm starting to think maybe that was a lie, too.  Just another one of her lies.  Does she say anything true?  Does she even know there is such a thing as truth?")  She'd mimic the girl in this high-pitched sing-song, then turn to me after every statement and yell, "LIE!!!!!"  It was so funny, and I really think it was therapeutic.  For one thing, this girl really doesn't treat her very nicely, and Penelope always searches herself to find reasons why.  She always seems to think it's her fault this girl isn't playing with her.  That always bugs me because Penelope is so much nicer to that girl than the girl has ever been to her.

Anyway, I was pleased Penelope seemed to get all of those negative feelings out of her system.  Then, in a shocking twist, tonight Penelope went out to play, and the girl actually showed up, and now they're friends again.  I'm not sure that I'm as thrilled with that as Penelope since the girl's idea of fun was to take the leftover house bricks stacked up on our porch and throw them and break them.  But at least Penelope's happy...for now.

In other not-so-shocking news, I still hate having conversion disorder and worry it's real neuropathy, but I try to tell myself if the problem were really my nerves, my hands (which have been bothering me like crazy today) would not feel normal a) when I wake in the middle of the night and still feel dizzy/drowsy with sleep b) when I touch Gideon.  That kind of aberration really indicates brain shenanigans rather than nerve damage rather clearly.  But still I worry.  You would, too, if they were your extremities.


Saturday, September 26, 2015

Penelope Says

September 12th

Little Mr. Frog

1:58 pm

My Little Flirt

2:03 pm

Big Eye Contest

3:09 pm

Are We Having Fun Yet?

5:09 pm

Leaving the park, we saw some guys rollerblading along the fence rails. They were so amazing that I took as long as I possibly could getting in the car.
Me: This makes me want to watch the Olympics. Those guys are amazing!
Derrick: I know. I've been watching them for a while.
Me: I wish I could skate. Those guys are awesome.
Penelope: (not impressed) You should see me rollerskate.

This reminded me of the time I borrowed skates from my friend Natalia and proceeded to fall repeatedly to the amusement of one of her neighbors. Loyally, Nat piped up, "You think she's funny? Well she's a famous comedy skater from Russia, so you're just proving she's good at her job. She gets paid a lot of money to skate like that."
5:45 pm

The first tree Gideon encountered had noisy, scary cicadas in it, and he's never trusted a tree since.

7:53 pm

September 13th

Last night, I sat Gideon up in the corner of the couch (next to Penelope) while I went to wash my hands. When I came back, he was waiting for me like this.

11:01 am

Evening Stroll

8:33 pm

September 14th

Puppy Dog Eyes

4:49 pm

Fun in the Park

5:00 pm

September 15th

Somebody is pretty happy to be leaving the park! You lost this round, trees!

6:20 pm

The Tree Climbs Penelope

8:26 pm

Penelope: Please can I watch one more A.N.T. Farm?
Derrick: Not tonight, sweetie. You need to take a bath.
Penelope: I don't need a bath tonight.
Me: You probably do since you deliberately scooped up mud in your hands and then washed it off in the creek.
(a moment later)
Penelope: Daddy, you would never take this phone away from me, right?
Derrick: Not as long as you put it away when you're supposed to.
Penelope: Is it okay if I sleep under the covers tonight?
Derrick: I don't know about that...sneaky.
Penelope: What!? I will never be sneaky until I'm 19!
8:52 pm

Monkey Bars

9:19 pm

Gideon thinks Penelope is crazy.

9:21 pm

Penelope Climbs the Tree

9:48 pm

September 16th

Flirting with Grandma

2:35 pm

Penelope: Today I saw this cool guy. He was so cool.
Me: Who was he?
Penelope: I don't know. I saw him in the hall after recess. He looked like somebody's dad who does hip hop.
Me: Like what do you mean?
Penelope: He had on this pink shirt with a big gold P on his necklace. And he had this backwards cap on and these great shades. He was just so cool.
Me: I guess you're right. He does sound like a hip hop dad.
Penelope: Hip Hop Dad!
Me: He should get his own Disney Channel show.
Penelope: Great idea. And it would be like, "Hey Dad." "Hey son!" "Hey Dad." "Hey son!" And that would go on like half the episode, and then they'd do a hip hop song at the every time. Every show would just be them going "Hey Dad" "Hey son" for like twenty minutes, but like it would never get cancelled because the song at the end would be so cool. I think this show is going to be similar to The Simpsons. And the opening title song goes "1...2...3...4...someone's coming to your door. Special delivery! Hip Hop Dad!" Like he jumps out of the guy's box and throws his arms out and says this. This would mainly be for teenage boys and everyone else would find it so aggravating.
4:17 pm

Penelope: Hurry up, Mom. Get out. The song is over.
Me: Just one second.
Penelope: But my nose is bleeding.

4:38 pm

This is what happens when I tell Penelope she can't get a pumpkin spice cake pop.

5:16 pm

Penelope: (exasperated, walking around Target) Nobody sells stakes anymore! What's up with that?
5:18 pm

Penelope: And I will have the blueberry scone, please.
Me: (surprised) What?! I thought you wanted a cake pop. Are you sure you like scones?
Penelope: Listen lady, I have had scones, and I love scones. (Singing as she waits) Blueberry scone! What could be more wonderful than a blueberry scone? (Talking) And now back to our show... (singing) Hip Hop Dad! (As she gets her scone) Ah! I do love a good blueberry scone!
5:49 pm

Penelope: Can we watch A.N.T. Farm when we get home?
Me: Um mayybe.
Penelope: Did you just maybe me?
5:50 pm

September 17th

Gideon makes the funniest faces. This morning as I prepared to leave for a walk, Mom held Gideon while I got ready. When I had finished, she set him in his carseat, and he sighed heavily and rolled his eyes with such hilarious disgusted resignation, like, "Oh great! This again!" Mom and I died laughing.

Here he is "enjoying" the bath I gave him after the walk.

1:12 pm

Daddy and Gideon Are Skeptical

5:34 pm

Gideon Vibrates While We Paint After Reading Our Picasso Book

5:39 pm

As we prepare plates in the crowded kitchen and Penelope plays with the small bouncy ball eyes she got at Target...
Me: Penelope, take your eyeballs out of the kitchen. We're trying to get ready for dinner now. What would you like to eat?
Penelope: (grouchily, stalking away) I don't want anything (sorrowfully under her breath) except respect.
Me: (with a smirk, repeating to Derrick in a whisper) I don't want anything except respect!
Derrick: Yeah, that attitude isn't going to fly with me.
Penelope: I DON'T WANT ANYTHING...oh, except can I have some macaroni?
6:09 pm

Handsome Like Daddy

7:25 pm

September 18th 

Sibling Love

8:24 pm

So yesterday, my palms were experiencing annoyingly decreased sensitivity all day. They felt very rough to themselves, and the touch of most surfaces was unpleasant, sometimes painful. Only one thing felt normal and pleasant to touch--Gideon. But the feet were less aggravating than usual.

Today my hands have been pretty good for most of the day, but my feet have been awful. But just now--about fifteen minutes ago--my right palm started to burn, and I lost a huge degree of sensitivity in most of the hand. About two minutes ago, I noticed that when I touched the burning spot of the right palm with my left index finger, the hand (like the texture of the flesh) felt totally normal (though it hurt), but the rest of the hand felt rough.

So at first I thought, "Ah, so where it burns it has sensation back." But then I realized, "No wait! I'm touching it with my left index finger, and I'm talking about what the finger feels, not what the hand feels." So that doesn't even make sense!

At least the craziness of the whole thing is reassuring because only my brain could be doing something so strange and inconsistent. Still, this is driving me crazy.

10:06 pm

September 19th

Penelope: (lots if muttering and complaining that we don't hear, then) Grayson, how can you be so heartless? Gray, why don't you even care? Mommy, this is horrible. Grayson doesn't even care that I'm not his sister anymore.
Me: Well, sweetie, that's because you are his sister, and he knows that you are his sister.
Gray: Yeah I know you're just saying that because you're upset.
Me: Yeah sweetie, you can't stop being somebody's sister just by saying so.
Penelope: Really? (Shocked) But it happens all the time on TV.
Gray: (laughing) It happens all the time on TV! Nellie, you know TV isn't real.
Me: The only way you could say, "I'm not your sister anymore," and have it really mean that would be if Grayson had done something horrible to you.
Penelope: He did.
Me: No, but I mean some atrocity like murdering the rest of your family, not just...what happened anyway?
Penelope: Grayson won't play with me anymore. No one will play with me. (Goes on and on)
Me: Well what do you want to play?
Penelope (melodramatically): It has been so long that I don't even know anymore! That is the saddest part! All this time no one has played with me for so long that now I can't even remember how to play or what playing means!
Me: Penelope, you play with people on the playground at recess every day. You tell me all about it.
Penelope: But school is all about the work! (Sighs, passionately) I wish that my life was an eternal summer!
12:25 pm

Taylor Swift: Say you'll remember me, standing in a nice dress, staring at the sunset...
Penelope (genuinely baffled): Standing in an ice chest?
4:31 pm


9:58 pm


10:18 pm

Rayburn Boys

10:47 pm

Grayson and Gideon Play Mario Maker

11:13 pm

Me: I wish another one of us could have the babies. Then I'd have another one.
Derrick: Another one of us? You mean me?
Me: No, well I mean...There are so many people in this house, surely...Well, I guess Penelope will probably have children eventually although I have a feeling our first grandchildren will come from Grayson.
Derrick: Well he is six years older.
Penelope: You know I'm going to get married when I'm 20, right? And I'm going to have children when I'm 21.
Grayson: You know you can't just decide to get married, right? What if you can't get married when you're 20?
Penelope: (adamantly) I am going to get married when I'm 20.
Gray: But what if there are no boys?
Penelope: (interpreting that as if he's saying boys don't exist, bemused, like he's crazy) Well, I don't know how to comment about that because you're a boy.
11:47 pm

September 20th

Nellie & Giddy

4:29 pm

Gideon's not so sure this selfie is a good idea.

4:30 pm

If you ask Gideon if he can say hi, first he makes this face. Then he starts grunting and straining with effort. 

About 70 percent of the time, he proceeds to make a noise that does sound very close to hi. 

 When he succeeds, he is very pleased with himself.

 4:35 pm

Meanwhile at Water Ninja Training...

8:45 pm

September 21st

Sharing an inside joke with that delightful Grandma.

10:37 am

On our walk...

Penelope: Mom, can I have a dog...
Me (apprehensively): Um...
Penelope: ...that talks?
Me: Well that question got easier! First you'll have to find a dog that talks. Where are you going to find a dog that talks?
Penelope: I'm going to find a regular dog and teach him to talk, duh.
Me: How are you going to teach a dog to talk?
Penelope: By talking to him a lot very slowly and patiently in my language, duh! That's how you teach anyone to talk! And I'll take him to school with me, duh! I'll build him a chamber in a secret compartment in my backpack, and I'll teach him to be very quiet...No! I'll get a sort of very orange, hair-colored dog and hide him in my hair, and I'll put a howling device in my pants...
Me: A howling device in your pants??!
Penelope: No, you know what's easier. I'll just teach him to talk first at home. I'll read him a bunch of board books at home, and then I'll take him to school and tell my teacher, "Please can't my dog come to school? He can talk, so he deserves a chance to learn with everyone else!"
Me: That's a good idea. Appeal to her sense of social justice.
Penelope: Yes, she's very fair. She would never want to stop someone from learning. And you can't expect me to teach him math at home! All those numbers!
Me: True. You can't do everything. Surely she would understand that.
Penelope: Right. And then I would take my dog to school, and he would sit in his own little corner just learning, and he would be so happy!
8:39 pm

On our walk...

Me: I love the cat you drew on the driveway. He's so colorful and stylized. I took his picture this morning.
Penelope: Yes, and did you see I made this little mouse beside him because nothing is more important than friends. Of course, then I remembered that I have no friends, and my sadness came out in my art. That's why the mouse is crying, as you can see.
Me: Hmm...I see a lot of red...
Penelope: That's because he's crying blood.
Me: Crying blood! He must be very sad!
Penelope: Well he has no friends. What do you expect? You probably don't know how he feels, but I know. I know. (sighs)
Me: Well Penelope, you have a lot of friends at school. You come home every day and tell me all the things you play and talk about...
Penelope: Yes, but I have no friends at home. Nobody comes and asks me to play anymore. I just have to sit alone in my driveway coloring my mice.
Me: Well, Penelope, I'm sorry you feel lonely, but I am walking with you to the playground right now.
Me: It's okay, Giddy Bug! When that noisy car came by, your brother got scared.
Penelope: Well earlier, I saw trash someone threw on the ground, and it hurt my heart. That's because I'm sensitive and sweet, and I love the earth and all its creatures, and I am nice to everyone, but NOBODY AROUND THIS WHOLE STUPID NEIGHBORHOOD WILL BE FRIENDS WITH ME, AND I HAVE NO FRIENDS!!!! (pauses, thoughtfully) Hmm. You know, maybe it's because of my anger problem.
8:57 pm

On our walk...

Penelope: In class today, [her friend] said that [the boy she likes] and I are in love. Why would she say that?
Me: Maybe because you constantly talk about what a huge crush you have on him repeatedly all day every day...
Penelope: Yes, but I was trying to play it cool. That will drive him crazy, and then he'll confess his love to me, and then we'll be happy forever mor...Oh no! I almost dropped my cheese! Well, as I was saying, it's true love with us. The first time our eyes met, I will never forget it! It was magic. It was the second happiest day of my life!
Me: Wow! The second happiest day of your life? What was the happiest day?
Penelope: The day I was born. That's when I met you.
Me: Aww. I'll be your best friend when you're at home.
Penelope: (singing) Cheese nose! Cheese nose! I've got cheese stuck to my nose.
Me: (suddenly registering all the cheese antics) Where did you get Velveeta?
Penelope: Grandpa gave it to me before we left. Look! It just stays there.
They should call this Velveeta, (singing to the tune of the Goldfish jingle) the cheese that never goes! Cheese nose!
Me: You're weird.
Penelope: That's because I came from you.
9:17 pm

Walking back from the playground...

Penelope: Aren't you concerned about werewolves?
Me: Not really. But I do wish I hadn't worn all dark clothing.
Penelope: Does that attract werewolves?
Me: No, but what we do need to worry about is being visible to cars. When you walk at night, you should always try to wear something brightly colored and reflective...
Penelope: What if you meet someone who has no reflection?
Me: Well then he's probably a vampire, but how would you know he has no reflection?
Penelope: That's why you should always carry a big mirror and face it at people.
Me: Hmm, that sounds cumbersome and impractical.
Penelope: Maybe so, but...(pauses) Did you hear that werewolf?
Me: That was a dog.
Penelope: (howling discreetly) That wasn't a dog. I think it was Gideon. I think that my brother's a werewolf.
Me: I think it was Penelope. I hear she's got a howling device in her pants.
9:31 pm

September 22nd

Ready for the most horrifying sight of your life? Brace yourself because this is scary. It's so scary that every time you see it, you'll cringe theatrically, throw your hands over your face in dread, and widen your eyes as if you're trapped in a frame from an old black and white horror movie. It's so scary that if you're encouraged to continue gazing upon it despite these theatrics, you will burst into traumatized tears that last for the next fifteen minutes at least. It's so scary that it's almost as scary as the hand dryer in the ladies' room at the outlet mall...but not quite.

1:11 pm

Me: Aww! Do you like to sit with the puppy?
Gideon (obviously not actually speaking): Well, I don't know about that, Mommy. Like is a very strong word. I don't actually know this puppy that well.
Me: Do you want to pet him?
Gideon: Well, I can't be sure.
Me (pressing the dalmatian to his cheek and making kiss noises): Aww! That puppy loves you!
Gideon: Well, he is the most charming puppy, now that you mention it! I have always loved him!

1:20 pm

For the first time since this bizarre problem of mine started, I am noticing some improvement in my right foot. As of late last night, most of the time, most of my toes actually do feel like toes--warm, fleshy, not unpleasant.

Now of course, they don't feel like my toes. It feels like I've stuck one of my toes in between the toes on someone else's foot (except all the toes feel like that one, feeling the others but not being felt). Logically, of course, all of the toes shouldn't feel like they're only feeling other people's toes because I have to be receiving this sensory information somehow.

But logical or not, this new trend is far more pleasant than feeling dead leaves wrapped around overplump, cold hot dogs, so I'll take what I can get.
2:56 pm

September 23rd

Penelope: What?
Me (for some reason lapsing into Eminem): My name is...
Penelope (not expecting this weird response): What?!
Me: My name is...
Penelope: (bemused, laughing): What?!!
Me: My name is chicka chicka Slim Shady!
Penelope (raising an eyebrow): Um...what was that?
Me: It's a song.
Penelope: Not anymore it's not because I laughed it out of existence. Like literally. Just try to sing it again, and you will find that you can't because it literally no longer exists. That's how much I laughed at you just now.
3:40 pm

Penelope (surprised and delighted): Mom, he laughed at me!

3:53 pm

So Will and Sylvie buried Penelope in the couch. When Christina entered the room, we were excited to show off her couch's new giggling feature.

Penelope (after quite a while): Can I get up now?
Christina: (unexpectedly) No. You're a couch. You've got to stay there.
(After some time passes)
Christina (trying to tell the kids to let Penelope get up): Okay...Will, Penelope...Sarah...Sylvie [possibly there were some other names in there] Who am I talking to?
Me: I don't know, but it sounds like we're in trouble.
8:43 pm

While tucking Penelope in, Derrick sent me this text:

Penelope says, "I want to smash 100 'wiji' boards to see if Luigi comes after me." Seconds later she adds, "What if it backfires and wijis come after me?" She adds, "Wijis are ghosts."

This makes me think that Nintendo should make a Wii-Ja Board for the Wii-U. It would work perfectly with the game pad. Of course, I wouldn't buy it. Ouja boards give me the creeps!
9:57 pm

Gideon and I tell each other fascinating stories...

 11:14 pm

September 24th

Gideon bides his time and plots his revenge...

7:15 pm

Somebody is three months old today and already wearing his Wild About Mommy onesie ironically.

7:52 pm

Smiling at Grandma

7:54 pm

For quite a while now, Gideon has been telling us "hi." It takes all his effort. Yesterday, he actually told my mom, "I love you." I was standing right there and heard him say it, too. I was trying to get him to repeat this trick for Christina, but instead he made this face. Sometimes when I annoy him and he scowls, he looks so much like Winston Churchill that I imagine him saying in consternation, "This is a situation up with which I will not put."

8:04 pm

September 25th

Daddy is thrilled there's finally another morning person in the family!

12:44 pm

In other news, Gideon has quickly decided that he definitely does enjoy sitting with this puppy. His opinion on baths, however, remains unchanged.

12:48 pm

You'll never look at "nise litl cow"s the same after reading Nellie's latest horror story.

9:37 pm

Penelope (sobbing at the end of Dog With a Blog): Do you know why I hate it when a show ends? It's like you meet this family, and you grow with them, and you care about them, and then it all just ends, and you never know what happens to them after that. It's like a big cliffhanger hanging over the rest of your life.
11:36 pm