The Ruark Kids

Random conversational nuggets

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Some random interactions with the girls today, to illustrate what a typical day is like as our girls get older.

The part where Siena channels Pops and Uncle Alex

A downside of having the kids get grow and get smarter is their improving ability to verbally spar with us, or at least to see through our attempts at weaselly obfuscation.

We are signing Siena up for a five-session program that will expose her to theater craft, acting, and being on stage. She performed in her kindergarten play as Annie of Jack & Annie fame and did, in my completely objective and unbiased opinion, smashingly, and she’s expressed interest in doing her school’s musical once she reaches the minimum third grade. This program is an introduction to those activities, and while she has shied away recently from wanting to do theater stuff, we think this will be good for her. But technically speaking, I wanted to get her approval, however implicit.

I’m usually pretty good at finessing my wording with the girls to give me plenty of wiggle room. I explained the program to her, and said, “I’m planning on signing you up, and hopefully you’ll want to do it.” My purpose there was very simple; give her the impression of having a choice (“hopefully you’ll want to do it”) while actually not (“and” instead of “if”). In the past, this gave me enough cover so that if she later said she didn’t want to do it, and she claims I told her I would only sign her up if she wanted to, I can repeat what I had told her and point out that I never said “if”.

This time, though, she immediately shot back, “Or, you can not sign me up if I don’t want to do it.” Touche, Miss Potential Future Lawyer.

The part where Siena channels Mama

Later as I was pulling into the parking lot at Siena’s art class to drop her off, I observed that I would be able to get a spot close to the door instead of down the hill. I usually punctuate this type of inconsequential life victory with a “Yes!” as I exhibit what little superiority I can over my surroundings. Let’s just say I was pumped.

Siena remarked, “Whew, that’s a relief, otherwise the world was going to come to an end!”

“Siena, I get the distinct impression you are mocking me.”

“Well, Mama does it to me all the time.”

I told her that I found it funny when Mama does it to her, and also when she had just done it to me. She replied, “It’s funnier when I do it to you.” Isn’t it always.

The part where Thalia remembers something incorrectly

I was reading Wombat Walkabout to Thalia this evening, which we’ve not read in many months. It’s a cute counting poem with Australian animals and terminology, like billabong. One of the six wombats, four of which are captured by a dingo in a swag bag (not the kind you would get at a trade show, mind you), is named Clive (who rhymes with five). Once the two remaining wombats (Jen and Jack) trap the dingo and free the other four, the line says,

The swag bag opening and out popped Clive!

I asked Thalia to point to Clive, to see if she remembered from earlier in the book that Clive was the one wearing the red scarf.

She got all confused, so I waited a minute and pointed to Clive and reminded her he had the scarf.

She said, “No that’s happy” and pointed to one of the other wombats that was smiling, which only served to make us both confused. We went back and forth on this a few times, and finally in her exasperation she said,

“You told me clive means happy.”

Ok now I was hopelessly lost. I tried to tell her I never said that, which made her a tad unhappy.

We continued reading:

Then the others climbed out, one, two three…

Turn the page, and:

“Good work mates!” they said.

And on the right hand page:

What wombat glee!

Oooh, Thalia, I explained, I told you that glee means happy.

The part where Thalia hints at musical talent and demonstrates she’s not tone deaf

This apparently was “let’s read books from years ago” night, since Thalia also wanted me to read her a Maisy book, Maisy Cleans Up. One of the pages in this book reads:

Maisy is cleaning her house today.
Someone is at the door. Who could it be?

Now, almost without fail whenever I come across some text that I can map to a lyric, I’ll end up singing or humming the song after I read the text. After reading the above, I therefore was compelled to sing a bit of the chorus from the Men at Work classic, “Who Can It Be Now?”

Thalia asks me what I’m singing, so how can I not play it? I told her it was a song called “Who Can it Be Now?” and queued it up.

(Note: I just played the song from our collection, as opposed to looking up this video.)

The best part was that after only two times of the saxophone playing the who-can-it-be-now phrase, before any of the singing even started, Thalia looked up at me and said, “I can hear ‘who can it be now!'”

I’m sure that development physiologists would be able to tell me that kids can map musical phrases to sentences without having heard any singing at a much younger age, but not knowing when kids learn that particular ability, I was impressed that Thalia could map what she knew the song title to be onto the sax’s performance without hearing any of the words. We’re always thrilled by the little musical talents.

Speaking of which, let’s not mention how many times the girls, Siena especially, have been singing songs from Frozen.

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