Yesterday, the girls were playing house. Julia was the mom, Emily; Lucy was the dad, Brandon; and Phoebe was the baby, Marigold. As Dave and I listened to them go on, I grew a little concerned. The mom was really mean and intense. And the dad was completely dense and ineffectual.
Me: “Do you hear them? That’s not supposed to be us, is it?”
Dave: “Nah. No. We’d never name our kid Marigold.”
Julia (as Emily, from the next room): “Marigold, sweetheart? MARIGOLD! MARI-GOLD! Ugh, she just won’t listen. Get off the coffee table, Marigold! Okay Brandon, I need to go teach my class. Keep an eye on Marigold. I’ll be back. Oh, and I think she needs a new diaper.”
Dave: “On second thought…the dirty diaper drop off is one of your maneuvers.”
Julia (breezing by, as Emily): “Mom, I’m heading out. Brandon has Marigold, but will you keep an eye on him? I’m not sure he has the responsibility to take care of her on his own.”
Lucy (as Brandon, from the other room): “But where are the diapers?”
Me: “Okay, maybe it is us.”
Julia turned eight yesterday. All she wanted for her birthday was a telescope and a fondant cake in the shape of the solar system. (She even sketched it out for me.)
It had been a while since I’d made a fondant cake and I needed some materials to get started, so I took myself to the store and this odd conversation happened as I checked out.
Cashier: “Are you a cake maker?”
Me: “Not really. I’m just making a cake for my daughter’s eighth birthday. I’m actually making her a space cake!”
Cashier (stopped scanning and looked at me to pointedly ask): “A space cake?”
Me: “Uh huh. She’s really into it.”
Cashier: “Isn’t she a little young?”
Me: “Uhh…no. I don’t know. I mean, she’s a pretty precocious kid, but…what kid wouldn’t love a space cake?”
I’m not sure anyone has ever looked at me with as much disbelief and disgust as that cashier did and I just didn’t get it. What’s the big deal? My kid likes space and fondant. What of it, lady?
Later, as I worked to hone Julia’s design, I Googled “space cake” for images and inspiration. Top result is from…The Stoner’s Cookbook. Huh. What is on top of that cake? Poison ivy or…marijuana.
And then I got it. And I wondered how many other people out there listened to me go on about how excited I was to make this space cake and wondered about me. “I’ve never made one before! It’s really going to be special.” Good Lord.
Anyway, our space cake – and when I say “space,” I am referring to the area beyond the earth’s atmosphere – didn’t turn out too bad.
Julia helped with the planets.
If you ask me, it’s out of this world! Ha! And, I assure you, completely drug-free.
Today, I turned 36 and we released our butterflies, but not before we observed them for a while.
“Heyyyy-oh, so what if I’m on the table again…
…are those butterflies?”
“Yummmm-oh, I mean, oh! Butterflies! C’mere butterflies, I want to pet you…with my razor sharp cat claws.”
“Nom nom nommmmwah, butterflies!”
“Wha-bite them? I’d never bite them. No, no, that wasn’t ‘nom‘ you heard. It was ‘Mwah!‘ Didn’t you hear that mwah! I was kissing them. For real, Leslie. Just carry on. I got it. I’ll watch the butterflies for you.”
We didn’t trust the cat. And a butterfly that can’t fly free is sort of a sad idea, so we left them go.
It was beautiful.
We woke up this morning and found an empty chrysalis in our butterfly habitat.
Overnight, a butterfly had been born.
Julia: “A butterfly was born, Mom?”
Me: “Uh huh.”
Julia: “Like it didn’t exist before?”
Me: “It wasn’t a butterfly before.”
Julia: “It was a caterpillar.”
Me: “You got it.”
Julia: “Well, if you’re saying it was just born last night, what would you call it when it hatched from an egg into a caterpillar? Actually, I think it was born then.”
Me: “Oh, for goodness sake Julia, YES! It was born THEN!!! The thing is, we now have a butterfly, okay?”
Julia: “Well, we’re supposed to be learning from this. I’m just asking questions…to get it right.”
Me: “Julia, you are absolutely 100% right.”
Julia: “I know.”
Overnight, a butterfly had emerged. Two actually. To celebrate, I made some finger paint and encouraged the kids to make hand print butterflies, which Julia did. Of course.
Lucy was not inspired to paint a butterfly.
…preferred to paint…
…with her head.
Meanwhile, we’ve kicked our Butterfly Watch up a notch. We’re hoping to witness the
birth emergence of a butterfly from one of our remaining chrysalids in the next day or so.