Tag Archives: toys


Today is Mabel’s last day of first grade. She did not deign to pose for a photograph.


She bought her own chocolate croissant at the farmer’s market yesterday morning. Not even with me standing beside her: she left us sitting on the hill and headed off to the bakery booth by herself, a five-dollar bill flapping in her hand. I don’t know if she was polite, but she got what she went for and brought us back the change. She wrote thank-you cards to three of her teachers last night, with minimal prompting from me and no dictation required. They weren’t exactly individualised, but they were quite nice and very neat.

She made a poster for her brother’s lemonade stand, but then she quit the job because he wouldn’t give her any free samples. You need to negotiate your terms of employment up front, I told her. But I told her he needs to learn some managerial skills too.


She builds houses and towers and spawns wolves and ocelots in Minecraft, she wheedles me into putting more games for her to play on my Kindle Fire, she can quote The Princess Bride at an apposite moment.

She still draws while she watches tv, piles and piles of papery people with varying expressions and colourful clothes. She still puts her babies to bed under blankets, and makes families of puppies and little tableaux of Playmobil figures or plastic dinosaurs. She still wants someone to stay with her until she falls asleep.


She is still completely unreasonable quite often, but she does it with such minxy insouciance that half the time we have to laugh. “Miss Unreasonable-Pants,” I called her the other night, and she spent the next five minutes narrating an argument between the two legs of her unreasonable pants.

She’s seven and a half. When did she get so big?


This is basically just an excuse for some photos

I’m grateful for the lack of polar vortices we’ve had to endure so far this winter, I have to say. Yesterday’s snow disappeared in just about the time I like, which was pretty much overnight. By this afternoon at home time the same playground where I took all the photos yesterday looked like this:

Mabel on a swing; no snow.

The first winter I spent in the US, in Pennsylvania, we didn’t see the ground under the snow from mid-December to March. I can’t imagine that now. It was all so monochrome. Not to mention chilly.

Mabel is wandering around with many small stuffed animals in her baby Ergo, and has set up all the other animals on the sofa wearing as many backpacks as she can find. (Not all the other animals. We don’t have enough sofas for all the animals, let alone backpacks.)

Mabel on the hopper ball thing

I think the best Christmas present of the lot was this one, the $15 Loloball, or whatever they’re called these days. (I got one for Christmas in about 1980. Mine was blue and yellow.) It ostensibly belongs to Mabel, for complicated reasons of Santa-fairness, but Dash has really taken to it. They have negotiated that whenever he wants to use it he has to ask “Da?” and she replies “Da” or “Nyet” or “Nyet nyet” because apparently in Russian two negatives make a positive.

This is because they got a Russian teacher at the school this year and everyone gets a Russian lesson once a week or once a month or something. The teacher hands out photocopied roubles for good behaviour and they come home chanting some very Communist-sounding song about Ruskova. It’s hilarious. I have no idea whether they’re learning anything beyond da and nyet, but who cares? My kids are learning Russian, take that Montgomery County boo yah.

Anyway, he bounces and counts to see how high up he can get, and it’s something energetic he can do indoors without breaking things, so I call it a win.

Meanwhile, his sister continues to amass toys upon toys and play with them all and then eschew them in order to cut out paper dolls instead. She’s also perusing the Playmobil booklet at every turn to decide what she’ll buy with her star-chart earnings, and earmarking Li’l Woodzeez families for her next birthday. Or maybe that should be the other way round, for the sake of my finances.

paper dolls sitting up in bed

Rat’s arse

This morning it was still so humid that it was positively smelly outdoors, and I put on capris and a t-shirt and sandals again and complained loudly. Since then the deluge has reached us, the lawn (ahem) is dotted liberally with yellow leaves from the trees behind us, and everything’s a lot more autumnal. I made soup for lunch. It’s still humid, but getting better.


I went to a local clothing co-op used clothes/books/toys sale at the weekend, and I had to take the kids with me because their father was out on his Saturday morning long run. I promised they could each get a toy so long as they let me look in the big room with the clothes first. I was in search of one thing: snow boots for each child. I found a perfect pair for Mabel, but the price I paid was more than the $5 I happily forked over to the nice lady at the desk, because in the toy room a disgruntled Dash found the most horrible toy in the world, and I was powerless to refuse, since it cost a mere two dollars.

Plastic rat

It’s a plastic rat. It is remote controlled, and its little red eyes light up as it whizzes around the kitchen floor. It is the embodiment of evil. And now it lives in my house.

Toy rat with red lighting-up eyes


My body is rebelling against the computer by giving me a sore wrist. It can’t really tell me any louder that I need to lay off the Facebook and go and read a book. And yet, here I still am. I’m getting better at surfing with my left hand, mind you.