Category Archives: Lottie Lore

Bubbles: The Definition of Dread

We begin with me blowing the bubbles and the natives happily giggling and prancing to pop them. But then she sees me doing it over and over and figures it must be easy.

So then she, that toddler, asks to try, and I hand her the wand, and she dips it in the container. My hand is already soaked because the stuff splashes when I do it, but now my shoes are soaked because she drips it over and over as she tries, unsuccesfully most of the time.

But then, after just enough tantalizing successes, she notices that I am still holding the bubbles container.

I’ve kind of lost where this next mental jump happens because, by this point, my back aches and my throat hurts and my lips hurt from pursing them to blow so much. My only guess is that the toddler figures one must hold both the wand AND the container in order to be more successful at blowing bubbles.

So all the rest of the bubbles end up in my lap. Or on my shirtfront. Or in a huge, wasted, too-expensive puddle on the ground.

And funny enough, I feel luckiest if there’s a puddle. Even when the toddler realizes that she can’t blow bubbles anymore.

Flowers & Shoes For Lottie

Two-year-old Lottie has an emerging clothing style:

-She doesn’t like dresses and is dubious about skirts. I only insist that she wear one of the two on Sundays, and she the only thing she absolutely refuses to wear is a grey, floofy, all-made-of-mesh-and-tulle-and-ruffles skirt. You know, the one that other girls insist on wearing every day, even when it’s torn and dirty. If I manage to get it on her while she screams, she shouts, “No like it!” and immediately pulls it off.

I keep it in her drawer for Sundays when she refuses to pick something and doesn’t want to wear anything to church. If I put The Floofy One on her, she’ll pick something after she yanks it off.

-Lottie is beginning to like what society deems as “girl” colors nowadays, but she’s still working on identifying colors as a whole. Yellow and orange are both “orange”. Pink and purple are both “pink”, but purple and blue are also both “blue”. Knowing this, I favor purple.

-When she chooses everyday clothes, she goes for blue and turquoise and teal when offered cool and warm colors. She doesn’t like play skirts or jumpers or jean skirts. She associates all jeans with Toby, since many of his pants are jeans nowadays, and she doesn’t want to dress like Toby. Just straight shorts and t-shirts for Lottie.

Lottie picked a pair of pink socks this morning on impulse, but then changed her mind and went with one black and one purple instead. Sometimes, she doesn’t want to pick at all. I’ll gladly pick for her. I still have to fight her to put on clothes; it doesn’t matter if she picks them or not. Telling her that it’s cute as we put it on her sometimes helps; then, she’ll look at herself in the mirror, nod once in satisfaction and say, “Cute”, and turn away.

-She doesn’t love dresses or skirts,  but she does love shoes. She loves to pick out my shoes, she loves wearing different pairs of shoes per day, and she’ll gladly put on shoes when she fights me about putting on anything else. Sometimes, she’ll wear a suede boot on one foot and a rainboot on the other, or a red flat and a plaid flat. I just laugh.

-Lottie is currently not fond of doing hair. We have three headbands and hair ribbons and hair ties for pigtails and hair bows on clips, but she’s not interested. She lays on her face in the middle of the hallway every morning to have her hair brushed.

-But she loves picking flowers. On a walk through the neighborhood to the bus stop, she’ll make a well-rounded bouquet of dandelions. She’ll hand me extras; on any walk around the block, our hands are all filled with flowers. And we juggle holding hands and holding flowers and holding toys like garbage trucks and wooden balls.

On any given day, you can follow our path by the flowers strewn along it. I favor flowers with long stems, but she hasn’t figured that out yet. When she hands me flowers that have no stem, I toss them beside me or behind me. Flowers are always in my hair, and the wilted ones end up on varied surfaces in our house and on shelves in stores.

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Which reminds me of this quote.

Spontaneity through Walk Days, Chinese Fire Drills, and Skipping

Lottie occupies the most of my time, but I still have to find time for me. She’s learned a trick that always works: when she needs help; she finds me in whatever room I have squirrelled away in and whispers, “Come ‘ere. Come ‘ere.” Then she grabs one of my fingers and pulls. And doesn’t let go as she walks off.

Lottie loves holding my finger while we walk down the street, and she also loves spontaneity. We often go for “Walk Days” and “Stroller Days” and “Bus Days” at her request; her request usually works— there’s usually an errand to run that involves the stroller or the bus, some errand that’s not urgent but that has been sitting around, twiddling its fingers, winking at me every once in awhile.

Walk Days, however, are not errands. They’re when Lottie and I walk out the front door together, holding hands, and I stop just long enough to lock the front door. Then Lottie gets to choose where we go. Last week, she scooped up a container of bubbles as I was locking the front door, and, like most moms, I ended up carrying it.

She led us to a care home that is run out of a house (as opposed to a big assisted living facility that’s more like apartments). The weather decided to be hot that day, and the shade on the sidewalk was most welcome. Lottie began walking on the railroad ties lining the yard. They run right alongside a chain-link fence: perfect for an adventurous toddler who is working on balance. I sat on said railroad ties and blew bubbles that floated into the road and into the giant pines on the opposite side of the road. It was the most magical part of my day.

Two of my literary heroes are Clarisse from Fahrehheit 451 and Stargirl. I love them because they find small bits of magic in every day and they’re each spontaneous. But not in a “let’s spend all our money on candy” or a “let’s go bridge-jumping tomorrow” kind of way. Because of them, I rub dandelions on the underside of my chin, and I send “Just Because I Love You” packages. Because of them, I teach my daughter how to twirl, and I skip with my son through the parking lot. I wave at bus drivers from the sidewalk, and I write messages in chalk to the kids getting off the school bus.

My hero used to be my dad, and he was the same way. He would shout across a lawn to one of the boy scouts he mentored, “Hey, Gary— catch!” Then Dad would run across the lawn and jump right in front of Gary, fully expecting the teenager to stick out his arms.

We were on a roadtrip one summer, and Dad saw a stream running along the road. We stopped the car and waded and splashed in it for an hour or so as a welcome break from sitting. We would often do Chinese Fire Drills at red lights, usually when the van was full of people. We were in San Antonio, and while waiting to go into a restaurant, he took his shoes off and stuck his feet in the river just outside the door.

He doesn’t do this stuff as often anymore. Part of it might have to do with age. Another part may be that I don’t live with him anymore, but at the end of last year, while waiting to be let into yet another restaurant, I went outside of the lobby to deliver a message from Mom, who was inside. And to my utter joy, I found a dance party on the porch with my siblings and cousins. They were getting their jitters out and their exercise in, and my dad was part of it.

Yes, of course I joined in. It was so much fun. And moments of fun can be made as well as discovered. They can be made without a whole lot of money. They may be a little embarrassing, but the laughter is worth the initial blush.

Introducing Lottie The Toddler

Before I continue, you must meet someone you may have never met before:

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This is Lottie. She is two. She had the audacity to be born on my birthday, but I’m slowly, slowly forgiving her for it. She will forever be compared to her brother, Toby, but she has enough spunk to overcome that and be her own girl. She is more fearless than he, shriller than he, and more spontaneous than he.

She loves going for walks around the neighborhood, just she and I. She loves puddles and doesn’t understand that there are some shoes for splashing, and some shoes for just walking in. Thus, we have gotten many pairs of shoes soaked this spring.

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Lottie loves shoes. She’s not one for poofy skirts or dresses, and she only sometimes likes her hair done, but she consistently loves shoes. I call her my R. R. Pottle the Fourth; if you’ve read A Three Hat Day, this will seem natural.

She loves books, too. And currently, she loves Monkey George, dogs, and Chapter Three. Much of her speech is code: Monkey George mean watching Curious George on the PBS App on the tablet (she has only just discovered that we have Monkey George books), and Chapter Three means having her Dad read aloud at bedtime from a book with no pictures. Currently, we’re reading The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, but we have read the first two Narnia books.

Lottie is very much a normal kid, more prone to tantrums in public places and not quite so freakishly well-behaved as Toby. She has the same color hair as I do; it’s straight, but it curls delightfully on the ends. I love this girl.

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Dripping Yet?

I’m thrilled to have head space for regular writing again. Yes, I’m aware that it’s been three years. I needed those three years to add another child to our family. I also needed it for other things that I’m still processing. No, I didn’t lose a limb or the hair on my head or any of the sanity I have left. Maybe I’ll never figure it out. Right now, I have more to share, more to voice, more to write. Finally.

I’ve been very aware of my own thoughts this past month, and I didn’t even realize it until Monday of this week when the sun came out. It lit up all the dustmites floating around in there, and I worked really hard at Momhood. I’d forgotten that Oregon warms up; everything around me thinks it’s spring but Just’In. The songbirds are back, the weeds are sprouting, Lottie refuses to wear socks, but Just’In thinks this is a false spring. Oh, come on— even the trees are waking up, and they don’t begin that process because of weather. They begin budding because of a certain length of days and nights.

Oregon still rains in spring, though, and that includes today. Lottie and I were walking back from a new-to-me consignment boutique with new pants for me when it started raining. Rain here has many more different forms than I’ve ever encountered elsewhere, and this was persistent, warm drops.

While trekking up the sidewalk, I encountered a man installing a new green-rectangle-sticking-up-out-of-the-ground. He looked up at me while I was walking past him, and I asked, “Dripping yet?” He had tools and a board and was clearly busy at his task, but he still laughed at me. You know the rain is serious when your nose is dripping and your eyebrows are dripping and you have rain dripping down your cheeks.

Lottie still managed to fall asleep in the stroller, even while soaked. She didn’t need me to disturb her to put on her coat because the rain was warm, but she protested in alarm when I took her out of the stroller at home. That’s just what she does when being moved from one place she has fallen asleep, so I had her pacifier and her blankie ready. She was settled down on her bed, and I had the privilege of wiping off the rain from my sleeping toddler’s face and hair.

That must be it— the rain in my life hasn’t stopped, but it’s become warm and I’ve remembered how to laugh about it.