Friday, June 22, 2012

My Little Helpful

Today I have a bona fide parrot on my hands. And Polly's name is Ashlyn.
She is diligently repeating every blessed thing that falls out of my mouth. To be clear, she's not doing it in the way I used to do it growing up, in what I call the "I'm Not Touching You" mode of sisterly aggravation that one uses to embed one's self deeply beneath your oppressor's skin. (A perennial favorite, always in season).


She's attempting to be informative. By taking everything I say and rewording it so that it comes out exactly the same as the way I just said it, only now apparently easier for her fellow 7 year old teammate to properly understand.

She says she's being helpful.

It was helpful of her to listen carefully as I said, "Today you need to take showers", and then turn to her sister and say, "Today we need to take showers."

It was also helpful of her to help Caedance understand the perplexities of the odd taste in her slice of banana bread by re-informing her (seconds after I had), that "it could be a bit of unmixed flour, or maybe baking powder".

And it was monumentally useful when she re-uttered, "sometimes coffee is the only way", solemnly and with deep intensity.

Helpful, right.

For her part, Caedance just smiles at her twin, patiently and with no ill will. Sure, she's capable of hearing everything the first time. In fact, she did hear it the first time. Perfectly. But that's the way with these two. One's "helpful" intentions are generally well received by the other; whether it be Ashlyn's parroting efforts or Caedance's Helpful Computer Tips, which usually end up closing out any program that Ashlyn happens to be in since her "tips" almost universally involve a step that says "Click The Red X".  Every time.

As for me, I figure if Caedance can be okay with it, than I should be too. So I allow it, smiling at my little echo in (what I hope) is taken as appreciation. It is an art, after all, repeating everything exactly as it was said. Annoyance cannot diminish that feat.

Of course, this also means that I have to be on my best behavior language wise. No hasty, unplanned utterances of any expletives can be made. Not that I make a habit of uttering them, mind you.

But it wouldn't do to have my 7 year old parrot re-uttering them. Would not do at all.

Here's to a happy Friday, everyone!
(Here's to a happy Friday,everyone!)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Zumba Zealots

Our dear little family has discovered a bonding point: Zumba for Kinect.

Oh the hilarity it must be for our neighbors to watch the four of us, clad in special Zumba clothing, bouncing about in the family room. I imagine that to the casual observer we must appear to be a motley crew consisting of two tall ones, each in various stages of Flail, and two small ones, whose moves all seem to morph into synonyms for hopping and jumping, and with wiggling arms added.

On most afternoons you will find us all thusly, progressing in our various ways through classes. I used to get worried about "keeping up appearances" when it came to the magical Zumba Hour. Before starting any class, I go around closing blinds and shutting windows so as to keep alive the mental image I have in my head of just how staggeringly amazing we all, in fact, look while doing Zoka Zumba. I have a distinct feeling that seeing our neighbors' laughing faces and pointing fingers will kill that image completely. I have since dropped the pretense and all windows and blinds stay open now. How bad can it honestly be, right? (Don't answer that. Let's keep the dream alive).

Besides all the great health benefits that go along with having an exercise program, I've also enjoyed watching the girls really get into it. Sure, getting them going was like asking paint to just dry faster, but they've really come around in the last few months. They each have their own little "Zumba Station"; an individual space meant just for her, to hop, and flail, and Zumba to her little heart's content. After we go through a whole class, with each girl taking breaks now and again, they'll step up and spend some time choosing their favorite songs and dancing to those. They're gaining a lot of coordination, balance, and timing that they didn't have before.

As they complete the challenging steps, they'll each start a chorus of "Mother! Come see us! Watch what we can do!" Each new step they "master" is a source of complete and utter pride for them; that they want to share their accomplishment with their mom is a source of joy for me. These two are sweethearts, through and through.

"Mama, look! I can do it. I keep practicing. Watch me---it's sooooo tricky. But see? I can do it anyway!" Gold star and a hug for my Caedance.

"Mom! Mom! This step is really hard. Really. But see, when I keep trying, it's easier now. I didnt' give up, and now I can do it!" Gold star and a hug for my Ashlyn.

They're not just mastering random dance moves; they're learning the value of not giving up, and trying until you succeed.

Would you look at that? Who would have thought Zumba came with Life Lessons? Smiles all around.