Saturday, October 8, 2011
Claire makes me laugh.
She is quite spunky as of late, but doing remarkably well in light of all the upside-down-ness of her life in the past month. First, she spent the week of Samuel's birth being carted around to different grandparents, who fortunately, she adores. Then a few days later, just as we were getting into a rhythm of sorts with new baby brother, she was back in suitcase mode when I went into the hospital. Thank goodness for two super fun aunts, Jodi and Haylee, she was cared for and loved (lucky for her, by all those boy cousins!) and spoiled for almost three weeks until things were calm enough for her to come back home. Toward the end of her stay at Aunt Haylee's house, she asked "When will I go back to my green house? What color is your house?" I'm sure she was beginning to wonder if her "green house" still existed. All things considered, I think she's been quite a trooper.
Lately, she is in a pretend world about 99% of her days. Since there is almost always a grandma here with me, they often get roped into "the game" of the minute with her. Our days are filled with leotards, tutus, and imagined dance lessons/recitals, trips to 'school', and superbly acted out princess/prince/dragon role plays. (A word to the wise: If you are involved, you'd better get your lines right.) The other morning Courtney was rushing around trying to help get the girls ready for school and make it out the door for work. As usual, she was right on his tail, filling him in on the details of the game. "Dad! Do you want to be Prince Julian or Prince Dominic?" Much to her dismay, he teased her with his answer. "Prince Phillip." This immediately brought tears from Claire, who replied in exasperation, "No!!! That's for the next game."
Those of us who know her understand that her name is rarely Claire. We have become accustomed to calling her 'Jenna', or 'Brooklyn', or 'Annaleise', depending on 'the game'. However, this can be quite confusing for those who aren't used to her imagination. For instance, during her stay with the Stosich cousins, she confused her four-year-old cousin Cooper the first morning when she announced to Jodi that her name was 'Jenna'. Seeing Cooper's confused reaction, Jodi smiled and asked him, "And who are you? Fred or George?" He quickly replied, "No! I'm Cooper!" A day or two later, Jodi took Claire, Cooper, and his cousin Landon to the aquarium. When Landon was climbing into the car (meeting Claire for the first time), she looked at him and immediately asked, "Who are you? Are you my boyfriend?" In a panic, he promptly responded, "No! I'm Landon!" After a while, it seems Cooper got used to all of her pretending, and the two became quite a pair. However, finally enough was enough. My mom laughed one afternoon when she heard him announce, "I'm not the prince! And I'm not playing this game anymore!"
Despite all of his teasing, her daddy remains her favorite. The other morning she made her daily entrance into our bedroom, attempting to rouse him our of bed for her early morning rock-a-by. I was awake, just having fed Samuel, and so it was I who held her hand as she led me into the family room to the rocking chair. When I cuddled her close and whispered "I love you Claire," she looked at me with her serious face, pausing a minute before she said matter-of-factly, "I love Dad". That was it, end of story.
Yesterday she was full of it. First, every time she spotted my mug of water, she'd bring it to me and say, "Here's your beer, mom." And when she jumped off a chair (she jumps off everything), she stood up and said, "Whew. I threw my back out, almost."
She loves to say things that shock us. Especially the word "b-u-t-t". Because she knows she shouldn't say it, she finds every way to possibly say it without really saying it. For instance, she'll ask, "Mom, I shouldn't say the word 'butt', huh?", or "Mom, 'butt' is a bad word, huh?" and "If I say the word 'butt' I'll go to time out, huh?". What's more, she was thrilled when she heard someone say the term "buck-naked". To her three year old ear, the phrase was interpreted as "butt naked". You can bet she takes advantage of every opportunity to mention being "butt naked", constantly asking various family members, "Are you butt naked?" And for some reason (really, we are fairly responsible parents) she came up with a replacement for the term "cheese!" You know, the "cheese!" that is typically shouted by every other normal human being when getting their picture taken. Not Claire. When someone asks her to pose for a picture, she grins and she shouts, "Butt crack!"
Honestly, I don't know where she gets it.
While we can laugh at all of her antics, we're getting a little worried about sending her out into the big world. At Jodi's house, she attended church with them, going to the Sunbeam class with cousin Cooper. After class had ended, Jodi asked the teacher how things had gone. The teacher replied that she had done just fine, except there was one thing she "might want to talk to Claire's parents about". Apparently, the lesson was about friends. When she asked the children what they liked to do with their friends, Claire quickly raised her hand and told the class, "I like to roll around butt naked in blankets with my friends."
Being a social worker, I can imagine what that teacher was thinking. Jodi, knowing Claire, tried to stifle her laughter as she reassured the teacher about our home life. Courtney and I were mortified, of course and for days Courtney asked aloud, "Where did she come up with that!"
This brings me to the next story. A week or two later, she attended church with Grandma and Grandpa Jones. When they dropped her off at nursery, she was delighted to find Aunt Kelsey was one of the nursery leaders. She went right in! But later, during the lesson, Claire raised her hand and asked the teacher, "Do you have big specials?" (Because I always refer to the girls private body parts as being "special", Claire has taken to calling hers and everyone else's chests "specials".) Thus, when the teacher didn't understand her question, she matter-of-factly repeated her question, "Do you have big specials?" Of course, still no one understood what she was talking about. At this, cute Aunt Kelsey prompted her, "Sweetie, we don't know what are you talking about." So. You can bet Claire stood and pointed at the teacher's you-know-what's with both index fingers. I'm pretty sure we shouldn't ever send her to church with anyone else.
Oh Claire. You make us laugh, every day. You love your little brother with all your heart. Often, we find you close by him, reassuring him, "Don't be afraid, big sister is here!" Or, "Hi! I'm Claire, I'm your big sister!" You love to make him 'warm and cozy' and give him lots of hugs and kisses. Thank goodness you are such a kind big sister. Every day I try to reassure you that you haven't been replaced. You are still our little girl. . .our baby. Even more, you're a big sister, too! Big sisters are so important, and isn't Samuel so lucky to have such a good big sister? Four big sisters, in fact! You and your sisters each have a special spot in our hearts reserved just for you.
We love you, funny girl.