Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I think she means to reassure me.

Me: Did you go potty?

Mira: Yeah!

Me: When?

Mira (very happy and loud): At two firty seven!

This time the number actually sounded like a time, but often it's something like "Sixteen fifty two!" Which is a time when you're referring to the 24-hour clock, but I don't think she's that smart.

It's probably not a fair question to ask a 2.5-year-old. Like I expect her to have a record of her potty breaks or something.

Another frequent conversation is the following:

Me: Let's go potty!

Mira: I already did yesterday!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Enchanted (2007)

I think Enchanted might be Disney's best princess movie ever. I should probably mention that I'm not a big fan of the Disney princesses in general, but I like this one a lot! Amy Adams captures perfectly the wide-eyed wonder of a cartoon princess, and the concept of a Disney fairy tale character showing up in New York City is clever and funny.

(A character from any real fairy tale--Brothers Grimm or Hans Christian Anderson, for example--would probably feel right at home in New York City. After all, in those stories, the Little Mermaid gets turned into sea foam instead of getting the prince, and Cinderella's stepsisters cut off their heels and toes to fit into the glass slipper and their deception is discovered when blood starts dripping out of the shoe. Also, I believe their eyes are pecked out by birds. But maybe that's making New York City out to be worse than it is. I love New York.)

Anyway, in spite of the lame name (I keep forgetting the name, or going through different forms of "enchant" before I get to the right one), it's delightful. A little over the top at the end, but at least it's the girl who saves the day. That's a pleasant change.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Think I Can...

My youngest child, who is 2 1/2 years old and precocious, if you want to use a nice word for it, was messing around in my room today while I was doing something (something important, I'm sure) on my computer. I was trying to keep my eye on her, because she is into everything these days. She was jumping on my bed and "looking" at our books and hiding behind things, peeking out at me to see if she was hidden enough to do whatever dastardly deed she was about to do. I kept talking to her, just to let her know that I was paying attention, and taking things away from her.

At one point, she got quiet (you know that's not good), and I could suddenly hear that unmistakable sound of a pencil on paper. "What are you doing?" I asked in my accusatory Mommy voice. And she said, "Trying not to color on your book."

Apparently she wasn't trying hard enough. But I guess it's a start?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Nine Parts of Desire by Geraldine Brooks

This book by an Australian female journalist who worked in the Middle East for years is fascinating. She shows a lot of different aspects of women's lives under Islamic regimes, including the militant women who choose to wear hijab and fight alongside men to bring Islamic regimes to power. It's not all about the oppression of women, but about different ways Islam has treated women over the centuries and how women have dealt with their religion in several Muslim countries.

The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

Parts of this Dracula novel are deliciously tense and creepy. It's a smart, well-researched retelling of the Dracula legend, but I was a little disappointed in the end, which seemed a little too much like every vampire movie you've ever seen. However, I admit that in a different mood, the references to our pop culture Dracula probably would have delighted me.

The novel includes a lot of fascinating and disturbing stories about the historical Vlad the Impaler, on whom the Dracula legend is supposedly based. I loved the vivid descriptions of some Eastern European cities. It's long, but I'd recommend it. (Bram Stoker's Dracula is also worth reading.)

God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

I thought I was going to get through this Vonnegut novel without encountering any aliens, but I was wrong! Their appearance is very brief, and they're not directly involved in the story, but they're there. Besides that, it was an interesting book with plenty to talk about, but my brain isn't up to discussing it meaningfully right now.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

I read the Winnie the Pooh books to my 2-year-old before nap time every day in an attempt to make the nap more palatable to her. It didn't really work, but I loved these stories. I had never read them before, and they are delightful. Eeyore has always been my favorite character in the Disney version, and I was surprised to find that his pessimism is much, much worse in the books. He is ridiculously pessimistic, and I thought he was hilarious. I highly recommend them.

A Year with Frog and Toad

The kids and I went to see a live production of this at a (sort of) local theater. It was delightful. The plot could have been more complicated, even for kids, but the music was energetic and delightful, and the performers excellent. Even my 2-year-old was transfixed.

The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969)

I liked this movie about a group of Italians who cleverly and peacefully stand up to the Germans who occupy their small village during World War II. However, I admit that I slept through part of it. Jon says it was good, though, and I liked what I saw. I'd watch it again.

Frankie & Hazel (2000)

This was okay. A ballerina secretly plays on a baseball team against the wishes of her strict grandmother. Her friend is refreshing--feminist, political, opinionated. Otherwise, just okay.