Amonhotep, the Four-Eyed Pharoah

eye-glasses.jpgI finally got a new pair of glasses this week!

(Applause, applause!)

The old pair were being held together with masking tape and wire. The new pair came in a red case from Target Optical, and as soon as I received it I whipped out the new glasses, stuffed the old ones in the case, and completely forgot about it.

That is, until Jeffrey discovered the old glasses in the case and immediately became curious.

Well . . . curious is Jeffrey’s default mode. Let’s just say that he became even more curious.

“What are these, Mommy?” he asks.

I explained, pointing out the temple piece wrapped in masking tape.

“So these are the old glasses?” asks Jeffrey.

“Yes. I don’t need them anymore, so I put them in that case.” Jeffrey’s eyes widen.

“Is this case the glasses’ tomb?”

I suppose I ought to explain that Jeffrey has had a recent obsession with all things Egyptian.

“Yeah, I guess you could pretend that that case is a tomb for glasses,” I say.

“We need to put this tomb in the temple,” he says reverently, holding the case up on his palms. “It should be surrounded with the mummy things.”

“If you want,” I say. (It was really, really hard to keep a straight face for this. I think I deserve a medal.)

Brian overhears all this. “Are you going to put it in a pyramid, or the Valley of the Kings?” he asks Jeffrey.

“It shall go in the Valley of the Sunglasses,” says Jeffrey, his face solemn. “I’ve built one out of Legos in my room.” With that, he — with the glasses still upraised on his hands — marches slowly down the hall and ceremoniously entombs them in a little Lego structure he built a few days ago.

Although, truth be told, last week I was informed that this Lego structure was supposed to be a starport for spaceships, but who’s counting? The Valley of the Sunglasses it is now, and no matter what Jeffrey says in the future, that’s how I’ll always think of his little Lego structures.

For further reading:


The Egypt Game by Zylpha Keatley Snyder. There are few books that manage to accurately depict children’s fantasy play — especially the fantasy play of older elementary school-age kids — as well as this one. Perfect for Egypt nuts, kids with a taste for backyard adventure, and anyone else who’d like to see How Children’s Books Ought To Be Done.

Organizational Skills (Two-Year-Old Version)

pink-shoes.jpgEleanor LOVES preschool. Even though we are almost halfway through the school year, she still gives an excited little jump whenever we tell her that she’s going. She loves her teacher, loves to play with the preschool toys, and she especially loves her lunchbox.

“I get to go to preschool?” she squeals. “With my lunchbox?” Oh, the glee.

But do you know what? It looks like some of that preschool goodness is rubbing off on the girl. Owing to the fastidiousness of the cubby-and-hook coat storage system at school, Ella has become a stickler for stowing her stuff at home.

“I’m taking off my cooooooat!” she yells as she marches into the house. “I’m gonna hang it uuuuuuuuup!”

The problem is that she doesn’t have the fine motor skills to open the coat closet. So she usually just hangs it on the doorknob. Fine by me. But today . . .

“I’m done hanging up my coooooat,” she sang across the house. “Now can I hang up my shoes?”


“You can take them off if you want,” I reply. “There’s a tray in the kitchen you can put them on.”

“No, I want to HANG THEM UP,” she replies stoutly. I hear the scritch-scritch sound of Velcro shoe-straps, and when I enter the living room a few minutes later I find — yes — a shoe hanging from the closet doorknob. As in, the doorknob is inside the shoe . . . but there’s just one of them. I glance around on the floor for its mate, but there’s none to be seen. I figure it will show up sooner or later and go back to the kitchen.

Where, to my surprise, I find another shoe — hanging on the basement door’s knob.


Baby Shoes by Dashka Slater, illus. Hiroe Nakata.  The premise of this cutie is this: Mom gets Baby some new shoes that are sparkling white. However, through the course of the day, the shoes get soiled in a variety of ways — brown mud, red paint, green grass stains — until they resemble a rainbow. While I have to wonder at the wisdom of buying a toddler white anything, there’s no denying the fun to be found in this book’s bouncy story.

Gender Socialization Rears Its Ugly Head

pink-haribow.jpgIt’s happening. The trying, testing time that every parent of a toddler girl fears — something that will cause countless moments of stress and anxiety in the months to come.

Eleanor is developing a preference for the color pink.

Yes, indeed. When given a plastic plate and cup for dinner, it’s whinewhinewhine unless it’s a pink cup and plate. When choosing a hairbow for the daily ponytail, she insists that it be a pink hairbow. When she found my dispenser pack of paper label, she only wanted to take out and stick the pink labels all over the furniture.

“Pink is my favorite color,” she says, relishing the ability to say so.

Don’t look at me like that. It’s not like I’ve been all Princess-A-Go-Go since she was born. I’ve thrust diggers and trains at her. We read stories about pirates.  Don’t look at me.

Well . . . okay. She was a princess for Halloween two years ago. And there’s been a growing collection of pink toile-y garments in the dress-up box, swelling like a Pepto-Bismol-colored fungus. But really. It’s The World that’s done this. Not me.

“I want to wear a bib, too!” she shouted last week, as we tied a bib around baby William’s neck. Which was followed by our requisite Evil Eye and her faux-meek “A bib, pleeeease.”

Brian went into the kitchen and emerged with — horrors! — a green and orange bib.

“Nooooo! Not that one!” she shrieked. “I want a PINK one!”

Evil Eye, faux-meek “pleeease,” and the only pink bib Brian could find was the one that says “I Love My Big Sister!” on the front. Ella patted the bib down onto her tummy and wiggled her hips happily into the corners of her booster seat. Brian and I couldn’t help but smile at this.

“Oh, do you love your big sister?” Brian asked her.

“Yes. I love Eleanor,” she replied.

For further reading about the obstinate fashion tastes of toddlers:


Ella Sarah Gets Dressed by Margaret Chodos-Irvine. You gotta love the sunshiny jewel-toned silkscreen prints that chronicles Ella Sarah’s efforts to pick out her own clothes, despite what her family would rather have her wear. Read it a few times, and you’ll find yourself joyfully memorizing the list of clothes.

Fashion Is As Fashion Does

quarter.jpgJeffrey got a haircut today at Joseph’s Coiffures, the barbershop in our neighborhood.  The people who work there know him well and are always sure to make him feel special.  They let him push the button on the singing, dancing statue of Dean Martin while he’s there, and let him use a little broom to help sweep up the sheared hair.  Most importantly, they always say what a handsome gentleman he’s turning in to.

Tonight, Jeff spent time combing his short hair and smiling to himself.

“Mommy,” he said shyly.  “Do you think I look like George Washington yet?”

Ah.  George Washington: Founding Father, First President, and Hairstyle Role-Model.

When I explained to Jeffrey that George Washington wore a wig, he was greatly intrigued.

“Where can I get a white wig like that?” he kept asking.

Oh, yes.  You can just see it now: all the little kids running around the playground, and mine is the one in the powdered wig.