Tuesday, September 22, 1985
Today Lindsey is going to “Mommy and me” class with Camille's cousin Enrique (“Kiki”) and Aunt Delia. So for a while, it will just be Camille, Mindy, and me.
The girls begin the day by “playing school.” While I'm urging them to eat breakfast, get dressed, and succumb to hairbrushing, they're busy getting out books, arranging their “cubbies” (boxes of “school supplies”), and talking about lessons. Probably inspired by Sesame Street, they announce that the day's letter is C.
I play along. I write capital and lower case Cs on a miniature blackboard and urge them to do the same on theirs. They eagerly comply and identify the sound that C makes (the hard-K sound, that is). It's easy for them to think of names and words that start with C, since Camille and Cathy are perfect examples!
Then I challenge them to say the C word that I draw on my board. Again, no problem! They immediately identify pictures of a coat, caterpillar, and cap. I write the first two words on the board, and we discuss the facts that OA together say O and that the word cat can be found inside the word caterpillar. I challenge them to write cap on their boards by sounding the word out, and they are able to do that without breaking a sweat, too.
I ask if the kids want to draw a C word for me. Camille promptly agrees and draws an oval. I say, “Cabbage?” while I search my mind for more likely oval objects that start with C.
She shakes her head no and informs me, “It's an O word.”
Oh, yikes—apparently not cake or candy or cookie.
I suggest, “Oval? Olive? Orange?”
Camille kindly gives me a few hints (it's a food, it's green), and I finally hit the mark with avocado. She is pleased that I “got” it and isn't a bit fazed when I show her that that word starts with A and ends with O.
Next, it's Mindy's turn. She draws what clearly looks like money, and I ask if it's an M word.
“No, a C word, like you said,” Mindy answers.
“Cash?” I ask, and Mindy nods with satisfaction.
The girls use the Sesame Street coloring computer program. On the C page, Camille discovers C words cookie and cupcake as she electronically colors. Mindy chooses the H page and colors house, hat, horn, and Herry Monster.
Then the girls run out to excavate dinosaur bones, as they did last week.
As they play, I do some housework and lay out some nice watercolor supplies. Of course, the minute the girls come inside, they want to use the paints—they're especially cool because they come in tubes!
We all mix colors. Then the girls use a stencil to trace a dinosaur outline while I sketch a dinosaur freehand. Next, the best part: lavishing on the paint.
Camille stops painting first and goes back to the Sesame Street program, choosing the letters A (apple, airplane) and B (Bert, Big Bird, ball). Then she moves on to another computer program, the Sorter game of “Reader Rabbit.” She has to sort words that start with W or C into two piles, and she informs me that she “can't do it—it's too fast.” I'm interested to note that, after such a dire pronouncement, she does the task perfectly!
Mindy asks for a turn at the computer and plays a “concentration”-type game matching words and pictures. She is competent but not perfect in remembering where the matches are.
I glance at the clock and decide the girls will probably ask for food soon. I remember a snack Mindy wants to try and make peanut butter-apple spiders with celery-curl antennae and raisin eyes.
The kids are thrilled with the snack, and Camille knowingly says that they are spiders, because spiders have eight legs.
Camille is being unusually affectionate, kissing me on the neck and whispering secrets in my ear. I can't make out what the secrets are, mind you, but she seems thrilled to be imparting them!
Perhaps because of this secret-telling, Mindy has gone off away from us (which is unusual for her), into her room, even closing the door. (That's really unusual for her!) Eventually Camille wanders down the hall to see what she's doing, and she comes back with a hurt expression. “I can't go in Mindy's room,” she tells me. “There's a sign on the door.”
I go to check it out for myself. I kind of expect to see a badly-spelled sign that says something like “Do not enter.” Instead, I see a sign that has a number 5 on it. I call through the door, “What does the sign say, Mindy?”
“No five-year-olds allowed,” Mindy answers.
Huh! Mindy herself is five!
I turn to Camille and say, “You can have Lindsey's room and make a sign for the door.”
Camille doesn't want her own exclusionary room, though, so she and I go back to the family room. I am wondering what's up with Mindy but am also pretty sure that she should be allowed to seek privacy if she needs it.
Camille asks me to read the Sesame Street magazine. There are poems, stories, and games, and we even learn some Spanish words.
Soon enough, Mindy rejoins us.
When Lindsey comes home with Kiki and Delia, she seems much closer to Kiki than ever before. All four kids play together while us moms talk and make egg-salad lunch. We all eat together. When Mindy and Camille are done eating, they get some cellophane tape and march off to Mindy's bedroom. When I hear their door close, I suspect that there is more sign action, so I go down the hall to check it out.
Sure enough, there is a new sign on Mindy's door: “No 3 year olds allowed.”
I look in on Lindsey and Kiki, both in Lindsey's room. They are playing side-by-side, Lindsey with the Fisher Price zoo set and Kiki with the airport. They seem quietly happy, so (naturally!) I don't draw their attention to the closed door or sign. But as I leave, Lindsey asks me to close her door, so I guess she noticed.
“Are you guys okay?” I ask. She nods in response, and Lindsey's no stranger to expressing herself, so I figure she's not feeling the least bit hurt by a closed door. Maybe she figures it's just the thing to do today. So I close Lindsey's door, as requested, and go back to chat with Delia.
The next time Mindy's door opens, she wants us all to hear an Important Announcement: “We have a store. And it's now OPEN!” So Delia and Kiki and Lindsey and I all go shopping and “buy” plenty of items from Mindy and Camille's store.
Some friends, Candace and her mom Cindy, stop by. The five kids seem like a mob, somehow, and I'm pretty glad that they want to play outside in the playhouse. Eventually Candace and Cindy leave, but a glance at the clock shows me that it will soon be time for Roz and Ginnie, who live down the street, to come over to join in our piano fun.
I feel a bit tired from all the coming-and-going, and I'm not sure what we should do while waiting for piano class. Luckily, Mindy is ready with a suggestion: sidewalk chalk. We all go out to the driveway, where we write names. I write, “Welcome to De Colores, Roz and Ginnie.” Mindy writes Camille's name, then Mindy, then Camille again. Camille makes a long wiggly drawing (a snake? a really large worm?) and then writes her name. What blows me away is that Lindsey has started writing her name. (At age 3, I didn't think she knew how to spell it yet.) She writes L I N, then asks me what the next letter is. (Oh. She doesn't know how to spell it yet. That's okay, she's only 3.) I tell her D, and use my finger to trace a D shape on the driveway, and Lindsey writes the letter. We follow this procedure for the rest of her name: S E Y. And there on the driveway is Lindsey's almost perfectly written name.
Yeah! I'm very impressed.
Lindsey decides to write her name again. She copies without any help from me, and the result is only slightly incorrect:
Soon we see Roz and Ginnie and their mom Cindy ambling down the street. There are whoops of glee as the girls run to greet their friends, and we are soon arrayed around the piano for keyboard-and-movement fun and games.
So concludes another day.