From Elmo to Lord Stanley in 17 Short Hours

This morning Alexis woke up a wee bit too early (thanks again for that, Mr. I Can't Remember to Keep the Bathroom Door Closed So I Don't Set Off the Fire Alarm), so I had to crank on the Sesame Street as a survival tool. I have a few episodes saved to the DVR and randomly picked one. The right one. I had no clue, but that episode of Sesame Street ended with an Elmo's World all about penguins.

It was a sign.

Gaddum, I love that stupid furry red annoyance. Penguins!

Welcome home, Lord Stanley.

Wooooohoooooooo! Penguins!


The Light from Below

A few days ago, Alexis and I headed to our favorite playground for an hour or so of fun. After about fifty-teen zillion pushes on the swing, my arms grew weary so I asked Alexis if she wanted to go for a hike. It took some convincing, but I finally managed to get her to follow me to the wooded area nearby.

We headed deeper into the woods, and Alexis began to enjoy the exploration more and more. As she carefully navigated some stones so her glittery shoes wouldn't get wet as she crossed a creek, a group of high school-aged girls came from the opposite direction. Their nervous laughter and complaints about the terrain made me realize something: Alexis may be ALL girl at times, what with the princess obsession, need to wear glittery shoes with sundresses everyday, and her general love of all things GIRL, but she does have a good balance of tomboy going on. She wasn't complaining at all about the leaves smacking her in the face, the huge cut on her foot from a branch, or how hard it was to climb in a couple of spots. In fact, she was loving it. A lot.

We continued on, me walking behind her and enjoying the juxtaposition of girlie girl and tomboy that stumbled before me. Alexis was far too busy pointing out all the great sights to bother with staying on the path, and before long, we found ourselves in the middle of a clearing. A dense canopy of trees made it seem as if the sun had already began its descent, but a few small openings in the foliage helped the sun to paint perfectly shaped spotlights here and there.

Alexis stepped directly into one of the solar spotlights, and I asked her to turn around for a second. She stopped her excited explorations long enough for me to capture this:

Other than converting it to black and white, I made no edits to that photo. The light was that perfect. The expression on Alexis' face defies the reality of the moment. It was a moment filled with giggles and smiles and general goofiness, but no matter. For that one nanosecond, she stood in the light with a somber, sad expression on her face. I assume that flash of sad was there because I dared to ask her to pause for a moment.

A threat to tickle her fixed the sad right up:

Looking at this picture now, I realize something. It wasn't that the light was falling perfectly from the sky above. Rather, the light emanated from the eyes below me. Those eyes are the light of my life, the brightest, most vivid, most beautiful light I have ever found in this world.

She is my perfect light.


We Did It

She did it! She did it! She did it! I didn't think she would, but she did it!

Today was Alexis' little end of semester show at dance class. It's not the kind of thing where all the kids stand on stage and participate in a big production, but instead a lot more low key. It's just like a regular class, except that the parents and guests get to sit in chairs inside the room. No matter, the kid is not a fan of being watched by strangers, so I fully expected her to be all, "Oh, you're funny if you think I'm going in there with all those people." I predicted tears, clinginess, and general fear, but it was not delivered. She did it! Even all her solo dances!


Even more impressive, I DID IT! I survived! I didn't stab anyone with a spork!

I've tried to just keep my general annoyance with some of the moms at dance class to myself, but OMG. I deserve a cookie for not punching a couple of them. Really. Let's just say that if any of the following things are true about you, you MAKE ME INSANE:

* If your kid is running around smashing toys against walls and you deal with it by yelling, "Stop it or we're leaving," but then immediately turn back to the very deep conversation you were having about manicures, without regard for the fact that the kid is now throwing the toys at people, I'm annoyed. I'm especially annoyed that it happens EVERY DAMN WEEK.

* If your kid gets evicted from dance class every week for hitting, punching, shoving, or otherwise causing bodily harm to the other kids in the class (who are significantly smaller than your punk-ass hooligan), please don't ignore the whole thing. More so, don't say that it's the teacher's fault. "He's good for me. She just doesn't know how to control wild kids." Your kid is well on his way to becoming a serial killer. Need I remind you that he broke his little brother's arm earlier in the year? Escalation, people. Escalation. You might want to lock up your family pets now.

* If your kid goes running out the door and into the street, I may feel inclined to (honestly) nicely ask him to please wait for you. If he turns to me and yells, "NO. YOU SHUT UP," before running out in front of a car? Your kid sucks. And so do you.

* If you spend every single minute of every single class not paying any attention whatsoever to the kid that you have in that class, instead choosing to gossip on and on and on and on with other parents while your non-dancing spawn run wild, but then shove people out of your way to be front and center for the show? I want to punch you in the mommy buttons, especially since your damn head is in nearly every one of my photos and your yammering is a voice over for my video. I always wanted video of you talking about how you dropped a deuce in the delivery room when you had your 4th kid, by the way. THANKS. The very graphic details you described while my kid was walking on stage to get her award are . . . touching. Or something.

Years from now, I'll look back at our home videos, filled with pride that a tiny little 3-year old Alexis fought through her shyness and rocked her dance class performance. I might even feel a little jab of pride for myself. I hung in there for 20+ weeks, stuck in a room with The Cheetos Pooper and her best buddy.