Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Jalapenos, counting, and Gemma (or something)

I reserve the right to use this picture for all things Gemma-related until I die.

Our back deck can get freaky hot in the summer. If I try to go out there barefoot to water a plant or check on our grapes, I don't last more than a few seconds before I'm hopping from foot to foot before sprinting back for the door and wondering if I have actually sustained significant burns. Most of the time I do the wise thing and wear shoes, unless I spot a patch of shadow that I can stick my feet while I do my work. Gemma's feet, however, are much more sensitive, so I always tell her to wear shoes.

She doesn't always listen, however.

The first time she did it, she began to cry while running back to the house and wailing, "It's too spicy out here!" Spicy? Yes. That has now become her word. Put her in a bath that might be a bit warmer than she had hoped for: It's a spicy bath. Getting into the car after it has been parked in the sun: It's a spicy carseat. Go outside under our intense sun and in 90+ weather: It's a little spicy out there!

Not spicy: stuffed hap-uh-tayn-yos. Or, in English: stuffed jalapenos. She loves those. It helps that they're wrapped in bacon, of course. But she'll eat the whole thing and ask for 5 more. And if you ask her if they're spicy, she'll say, "Kiiiiiiiiind of." Meanwhile, grown men are weeping.

Watching her hand gestures and hearing her word choices is like seeing myself through a tiny lens. I see what mannerisms and vocabulary of my own (or the others) she is picking up on. Yesterday I mentioned she'd need to take a shower that night. She slowly nodded, then pursed her lips and shifted them off to the side, and squinted her eyes. Then relaxing those muscles, she raised her eyebrows and threw out her right hand as if physically offering me her idea, "Ack-shwee, Mom, I fink I want to take a baff." Ok then. There's a reaction I can work with. Throw yourself on the floor and scream or whine about it, and I have no patience. Show thought and a reasonable alternative, and soon I'll be coming to you for advice, says I.

Gemma loves listening to music in the car and as soon as her buckle clicks together, she's asking, "Can we wissen to music? The new stuff." I almost always say yes, and "the new stuff" refers to a CD I burned of songs that are (relatively) appropriate to listen to with children in the car (note: Britney Spears' "3" did not make the playlist). The last 5 songs of the 20-song cd are Adele songs. When they come on, Gemma will say, "Diss waydee has good songs, but dare stuck in my head or some-fin." She adds "or some-fin" to the end of a lot of things:

Can I have a snack or some-fin?
Can we read a book or some-fin?
Are we going to duh park or some-fin?

The other thing we just discovered about Gemma is that she knows her numbers. I mean, she can count, yes, but she recognizes written numbers. At first we thought she was just making some lucky guesses, but after shuffling and mixing it up, we discovered she did, in fact, know them. The kid doesn't recognize many letters outside of G, E, M and A (and if she sees a G, she'll say, "That's for G-E-M-M-A!"), but she knows her numbers. Joel tried to praise my efforts as a mother, but I knew the truth. I held up my hand while closing my eyes and pursing my lips, gently shaking my head back and forth. Then I turned to Gemma and said, "Now let's do it in Spanish." And she did. I wish I could take credit for teaching my daughter bilingual math skills, but the hero is clear: Dora. I'll take credit for being the awesome mom who lets Gemma WATCH her favorite show. Doh.

Hey Gemma, wanna eat jalapenos while we watch Dora or some-fin? Yes. Yes she does.


laura said...

I can totally see you doing the facial expression you described. A Sarah classic.

Also, can I just have her? Kthxbye.

Emily W said...

I hope you don't mind. You can kick me off it you want to but I was trying to name my URL for my blog raisingredheads and realized it was taken so I hopped on over to yours! I love your family. Absolutely stunning in red...all of you! I am in the process of redoing mine and the new one is not private yet. So, you can see my three redhead boys at if you would like. I am sure there are many of us our there with 3 reds but you are my new kindred spirit and actually the first I have met (or not met)!

Nataluscious said...

I would like to come over for jalapenos and Dora. I don't make them near enough (I don't grow them after all) and my kids no longer watch fabulous kid shows. Boo. I need me some Gemma time - that girl gives the best hugs :).