Monday, September 28, 2009

Girls Are The Luckiest

As Niamh was sitting on the toilet this morning, she asked me why girls sit down to pee and boys get to stand. I told her boys can aim their pee in the toilet with their penis and girls would just pee down their legs if they stood to pee.
She said, "Awwwww, that's more fun to stand. But, oh, Mama, girls are lucky too because girls get to have babies and boys don't."
Yeah, that's right, Niamh. We are so much luckier that we get to give birth rather than stand to pee. Totally equally fun abilities.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Take THAT, 1st Day of Fall!

First Day of Fall? Whatever! It was almost 90 degrees today! Did I mention that this is SEATTLE? Its not this nice the first day of July. We took full advantage of the sunny day.
Finn and I dropped Niamh off at school, did NOT tell her our plans, and we went to the beach at Golden Gardens. These guys ditched us and went to some silly prenatal doctor's appointment. But, these guys joined us for some sun on the sand in Ballard.
Then, after a quick nap for Finn, we picked up Niamh at school and joined up with Niamh's buddy's family for a walk up to our fav ice cream spot, Molly Moon's. It didn't take long for the 3 adults on the walk to realize that taking 4 hot and cranky kids on a long walk to ice cream was a bad idea. (OK, truth be told, 2 of the adults already knew that walking was a bad idea, but I don't want that 3rd adult to feel like she made a bad decision all on her own, so I won't say "We told you so.") After one blister, 2 pairs of shoes ditched, a failed game of Follow The Leader, one running race, lots of jokes, and some back sweat, we made it to our destination. THERE WAS NO LINE! Unheard of at Ms. Moon's establishment. Perfect! We had plenty of space to continue the chaos inside the store.
But wait, that is not where the fun ends! After walking the kids to ice cream in the heat and feeding them only ice cream for dinner, I took them with me to get my eye brows waxed. Nothing says "I'm a Mom desperately in need of a wax and tint" more than bringing 2 kids on a sugar high in to a salon. Well, Baby Mason, you are now the owner of the Gyro Flyer that Finn got just yesterday. That's right, I threatened to give Finn's new toy to Baby Mason if he didn't sit in the damn chair away from the lady with the hot wax at my eye brows. He couldn't do it, so I have to honor the punishment.
And, for the final memorable moment of The First Day of Fall 2009, Finn peed all over the floor in the kitchen, the dining room, the hallway, and the bathroom because he just couldn't come down from his sugar rush long enough to pull down his pants and pee in the toilet.
Happy Fall, Everyone. We had a fun day to kick it off.

Niamh And Jaya

How adorable are these self portraits! Jaya's and Niamh's drawings are in the middle. Ironically, they are right next to each other.

Niamh is hooked on her friend, Jaya. The moment we step on to the John Stanford campus, she sets out to find Jaya. When she exits her class room in the afternoon, she is right next to Jaya. We walk out of the building with Jaya and her family, and as soon as they are out of sight, Niamh asks "When can Jaya come over again?" I LOVE that Niamh has found such a good friend.

Jaya's mom and I have both noticed that our normally sluggish girls are boiling over with energy when they are together. I am seriously afraid that Niamh is going to twist her ankle falling down some stairs or running down a hill with Jaya. Niamh typically avoids exertion and her frail little bones and joints just aren't used to this.

So, tonight, I asked her why she is so different when J is around. Her answer melts my heart.

"Ok, Mama, you want to know why I am so energetic? I'll tell you. I don't need to keep it a secret. When I am happy, I am energetic. And when I have a friend, I am happy. So, when Jaya and I are together, I have a lot of energy because she makes me so happy. Do you understand me?"

She has obviously mastered the understanding of cause and effect. Isn't that the sweetest thing you can say about your friend?

It does make me curious about her feelings toward her family. When she's with us, she is totally void of energy. We can't be that bad, can we?

Monday, September 21, 2009


Niamh and Finn are so bad at waiting their turn in a conversation. They interrupt each other, they interrupt me, they interrupt strangers. It is just so rude! We try not to let them get away with it, even though the conversation and argument about not interrupting and remembering manners takes twice as long as just letting them interrupt and getting it over with.
So, today, in the car on the way home from school with Niamh, Niamh was telling me about someone or something that happened at school and Finn kept interrupting.
"Mommy, Mama, I gotta tell you somefing."
I just kept on reminding him to wait until Niamh was done.
Finally, when she finished, and we were about 3 blocks from home (probably only an 8 block drive...don't judge me for the morning we walk), I said, "Yes, Finn, now its your turn."
He said, "Mommy, you forgot to buckle me in. That's very dangerous."


Friday, September 18, 2009

Deja Vu

I thought this was kind of funny. Same scene, 3 years apart.

Well, Duh!

Finn, Niamh, and I were sitting around the table, eating chicken satay.
Finn said to me, "Mama, where does chicken come from?"
"A chicken," I responded.
His jaw hit the table. "WHAAAT?"
Then Niamh asked, "Where's the head?"
"In the trash," I replied (with a grin).
Again, from Finn, "WHAAAT?"
Should this be news that chicken comes from a chicken?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Up The Cats!
On Sunday, Sept 6 2009, my dad's home county of Kilkenny, Ireland made history winning 4 All Ireland Hurling Championships in a row. Cork did it back in the 1940's but there is some story of it not being a true 4th year win for them because of Foot and Mouth Disease. Really, if anyone is interested, I'll tell them the story one on one. If anyone doesn't know what Hurling is, click here for a description. It is a pretty awesome game to watch. I don't know many of the rules, and kind of question if there are many rules at all.
What it all boils down to for me, the daughter of Irish parents, who grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, where there is a huge Irish population, is that I have a reason to get up at 6am on a Sunday and go to the Irish Cultural Center in San Francisco with my kids, husband, sisters, and cousins and watch a live feed of the game as it happens in Croke Park, Dublin, Ireland.
As good as the last 10 minutes of the game were (because for a time there it looked like Tipperary was going to win it), I think a lot of the enjoyment came from the people that were there watching with us. When you are in a room full of people who are rooting for one of 2 teams, and one of those teams is from the county your father was born in, you can't help but wonder if you are distantly related to a lot of those people. Or, your relatives in Ireland are neighbors with their relatives. I'm pretty sure that a few of those people thought the same because they approached us and introduced themselves as though they should know these newcomers to the room, afterall, we might just be cousins. We Irish are friendly folk. Fact is, I am sure they all knew my dad. It is rare to meet any Irish in SF who do not know Matt Shaw. If my dear old dad wasn't actually in Croke Park AT the game, he would have been with us at the Irish Cultural Center and we would not have stuck out as unfamiliar faces sitting next to him.
Anyhow, we all dressed in our Black and Amber (Kilkenny's colors), painted cat faces on the kids (Kilkenny's Mascot is the Cat), and headed in to the dreary Sunset District of SF to watch the game. I don't think I have ever made any effort to get up early, dress in a teams colors, and try to support their mascot before. It is fun to do when you cen get your kids involved in the dress up! All I had to do was put on a team jersey. The kids got their whiskers painted on with black eye liner and had their finger nails painted the night before.

Off we go to support our team!

Finn, always with some form of transportation in hand.

Niamh and Auntie Mairead

Hmmm, I wonder what I was going to strangle her for.

Auntie Mairead and Finn

Auntie Alanna, Cousin Ashling, Me, Niamh, Auntie Mairead, and Finn.

City Kids in Montana

Way back in August, Steve, Niamh, and Finn crammed in to a car with Uncle Mike and Cousin Emily and drove to Victor, Montana for a weekend with The Grandparents. I think that Steve needs to apologize to his mother because there is not a single photo of the woman who cooked, cleaned, and entertained the 5 of them for 4 days. (Pat, I'm sure that call is coming any day now.) Because Steve doesn't participate in the creation of any blog entries, these are MY favorite photos from their trip.

Niamh is a little confused. Grandma said they were going to "go out and get dinner". She didn't realize that she meant go out to the garden and get, dig up, and harvest dinner. At least she didn't have to slaughter, skin, and eviscerate dinner.

If you look closely at the garage, you will see that Finn narrowly escaped someone reversing over him. (Or maybe the flash of the camera just makes it look like the reverse lights are on and my 3 year old is standing in the mirror's blind spot.) Anyhow, isn't this home stunning? And that's just the outside.

Niamh, Emily, and Finn. These 3 get along like a house on fire....most of the time.

I'm pretty sure Little House on the Prairie was filmed in this pasture.

No trip to Montana is complete without a few photos on the tractor.

Apparently, on day 3, they simply stopped brushing Niamh's hair.


Finn, Steve, Niamh, Emily, and Mike

THIS looks like innocent Montana fun.

THIS looks like a happy kid

THIS looks better than the two of them on the deck of some cruise ship to Cancun for their High School Graduation. Ain't gonna happen, Girls.

And, the grand finale of the vacation was when Grandma's and Grandpa's friends who own a Mini Cooper stopped by. We offer points to the kids in the car when they see 1) Mommy's Dream Car, 2) Herbies, and 3) Mini Coopers, what we call "Herbie's Cousin". So, to Niamh and Finn, The Mini Cooper is like a celebrity, and seeing one up close is like spotting Angelina on Robertson Blvd in LA (or Dave Matthews at Meridian Park in Wallingford, you've all heard that one, right?), and sitting IN one is like having dinner with aforementioned celebs.
So, in conclusion, it looks like they had a great vacation without me. In return, I did not have to cram in the car with the 5 of them and drive 9 hours. Pat and Denny, I will FLY to Montana to see you anytime!

Interview With a Kindergartner

Lucky me, I landed the interview of the week. Niamh Mairead Westover, Fresh Faced Kindergartner at John Stanford Elementary, allowed me, her mother, her first interview after her first day of K!
The interview took place at our kitchen table over a bowl of grapes. Her brother, Finn, was also present and every now and then made some of his own comments (most of which have been edited out of this transcript).

Mommy: Niamh, what is your teacher's name?
Niamh: Ana. Wait, no, no it's not. What did Jaya say my teacher's name is?
Mommy: Lucy?
Niamh: No, but I just remembered a song. "Lucy in the sky with a diamond."
M: Who did you sit next to at the class table?
N: Jaya Jaya Jaya!
M: Who sat on the other side of you?
N: A girl named Lucy. Oh, there was a Lucy there. That's funny. "Lucy in the sky with a diamond."
M: How many snack breaks did you have?
N: Three.
M: Three! That's more breaks than I get in a 12.5 hour shift at work! What was your favorite lunch item? And what did you like the least in your lunch?
N: My favorite was the cookies from Reshma. And I liked everything, Mama. Good lunch, Mama.
Finn: How about the spinach?
Mommy and Niamh together: There was no spinach!
M: How do you tell your teacher you have to go to the bathroom?
N: First, you have circle time and then after that we all go to the bathroom. Then we have lunch and go to the bathroom.
M: What if you have to go to the bathroom during class?
N: You tell the teacher and she says "Ugh (sigh), OK, I guess so. You can go." Then, you go.
M: What was your favorite part of the day?
N: Playing with Jaya.
M: Was any part of the day scary?
N: No.
M: At what point did you first miss me?
N: At lunch.
M: Other than Jaya, name 2 other kids in your class.
N: Lucy and Hayden.
M: Are there any boys in your class?
N: Yes, but I haven't met them yet.
M: How do you feel after your first day ever not taking a nap or having quiet time in your room?
N: Tired.
M: OK, last question. Do you want to go back tomorrow?
N: No.
M: What? It sounds like you had a great day.
N: I really want time with you, Mama.

We tried to take that classic first day of school photo at the front door. Unfortunately, the sun was so strong she could barely look up.

OK, this one is better.

Alright, so I made her give me a thumbs up for the photo. I told her I was going to do my best to embarrass her in front of all her new friends on her first day of school. This was all I could bring myself to do to her. Maybe her classmates didn't notice how goofy she was, but I bet the older kids clued right in that she was a new Kindergartner who's mom was taking a lot of photos of her. I wanted to have her take a photo with a crossing guard, but Steve wouldn't let me. The crossing guards had a whole little synchronized routine of simultaneous whistle blowing and marching in to the street from opposite sidewalks when a kid wanted to cross. They must be the cool kids in the school.

The "Rock On" sign was not prompted. That was all Niamh.

And here she is...JAYA!...these two met the first day of Language Camp in June. As I was telling Jaya's mom on the playground that Niamh really liked her daughter, she stopped me to ask if my daughter was Niamh because Jaya had been talking about liking Niamh too. If that isn't the natural start to a long friendship, I don't know what is. I am going to do what I can to keep this little girl crush going because I think Jaya's mom and adorable little sister are the bees knees as well. Makes a big difference if you can hang with your kid's friend's parents too! Is it any wonder that Niamh would be attracted to such a stylish little dresser? Niamh's first word was "shoes" when she was a baby. Check out the fab clogs Jaya chose for her first day of school. Nice choice, Friend! Too bad I didn't get her back pack and lunch box in the shot because they actually matched her shirt and skirt. This is one fashion forward five year old.

Apparently, each child in the Seattle Public School System is issued an inmate number their first day of K. Let this be the last mugshot we ever see of Niamh. (I think Finn's number will get more press coverage when he gets his, Little Hooligan.)

To finish the day, we went to Pallino Pasteria for dinner and let it slide that neither kid ate much dinner. They still got dessert.
Happy First Day of Responsibility, Niamh. From here out, its only weekends off for you, Kiddo. What the hell am I going to do as Finn's Playmate?
If anyone hears me utter any thoughts of having another child because it is just so easy with only one at home, please tie my fallopian triple knots. (This is a Public Service Announcement.)

Friday, September 4, 2009

I Can't Believe I Almost Forgot This One

Niamh and I were having another intellectual conversation about Evolution. I don't know why, but this is a hot topic with her recently. She wanted to know how the first person got on Earth. I told her that we used to be monkeys lots and lots of years ago, and over time we turned in to humans, but we are still related to monkeys. Of course, I knew this would somehow come up again at the wrong time. Luckily, we were in the car when she started pointing at a very unattractive, still evolving, woman on the street and started commenting about how she still looks a lot like a monkey! We could have been out at the mall when we spotted the monkey woman and started pointing at her. That would have been embarrassing.