Will Disneyland Be the Happiest Place on Earth for Baguette?

A through E

A lot of Baguette’s peers have been to Disneyland–many of them, more than once. My parents first took me when I was four, and we had annual trips until we left California a couple of years later. I’ve been a handful of times since, as a teen and as an adult (most recently with Mr. Sandwich and one of my college friends, about seven years ago), and it continues to be an amazing experience.

Baguette is four, and we have no plans to take her to Disneyland. It’s not that we have any objection to Disneyland. It’s more that we’re not even remotely sure that she’ll like it.

She’s just started to discover Disney movies, and she’s really only interested in Frozen. While she does know Mickey and Minnie, I’m not sure she sees them as anything more than two of her (many) plushes.

Disneyland is crowded. It has innumerable lines. While there is a program to accommodate people with physical disabilities and special needs, I haven’t yet figured out how it works, and it still sounds as if there is a lot of line-standing and coordination required to navigate the program and the park.

Will Baguette like any of the rides? Will she be okay with having a lap bar that holds her in place? Will flying on the Dumbo ride completely terrify her? Will Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride be a little too wild? Will Snow White’s Scary Adventure give her nightmares that she can’t tell us about? After all, this is a kid who won’t even ride one of the moving animals on a carousel.

Also? Disneyland is freaking expensive. $96 each for Mr. Sandwich and me, and $90 for Baguette. That’s $282, and we haven’t parked. Or eaten. Or bought a single souvenir. $282 and a drive that isn’t short, for a day she may find frustrating and frightening.

We’ll wait. Disneyland isn’t going anywhere. Plus, that gives us time to save up for it. Because entry will probably be $500 for the three of us by the time we’re confident about her readiness.

Photo by Andy Castro, via Flickr. Creative Commons.

Friday Five: September 5, 2014

Things that come to mind:

1) We took a trip to visit cousins over Labor Day weekend, and had a wonderful time. I grew up across the country from much of my family, and didn’t know what I was missing. Fortunately–and thanks in large part to Facebook–I’ve gotten to know quite a few of my cousins now that we’re adults. But I want Baguette to just not miss it to begin with.

2) Someday all too soon, Baguette is going to stop singing “Wet It Go,” and I’m going to miss it So Much. Just as I will miss it when she no longer says, “Want get wemon” at the grocery store.

3) I wonder how many times I can re-read Cryptonomicon. So far, the answer is “a great many times.”

4) It is becoming clear that we are about to enter a Winnie the Pooh phase. And because it’s the question everyone asks next, I mean Disney Pooh, not Classic Pooh.

5) Mr. Sandwich’s hugs are like being wrapped in a hug. That sounds like it is circular and self-evident, but in fact it is just the best.


Back to School

Baguette is four. Today she started her second year in a 3-year-old room at her day care.

In fact, she’s been in a 3-year-old room for close to 18 months already, because she moved into that group just before her third birthday. So why are we keeping her there?

Because it’s the best solution for her, although we didn’t arrive at that in a straightforward way. If it weren’t for a screwup on my part, she’d be in pre-K today. But that would be the best solution. It was a fortuitous screwup.

Baguette’s day care has a re-enrollment system. Each year, in the spring, you pay a fee and file some forms to indicate that your child will be coming back in the fall. (My friends with children in similar centers find this surprising, but it’s how Baguette’s center does it. And, yes, I do think it’s weird considering that we paid a deposit up front when we first enrolled her four years ago, to cover her last month, but that’s how the center does it. Fine.)

The director sent out the re-enrollment information, and I submitted the form and paid the fee. Later, she sent out a reminder, and I thought, “Should I confirm that I submitted everything? No, I know that I did.”

Except I was wrong. I hadn’t sent them in. We learned this in June, when the director emailed me to ask if Baguette would be coming back in the fall, because there was no re-enrollment form for her. Oh, and all of the pre-K classes were filled, but we could be first on the waiting list.

Cue discussion of how we’ve been there for four years; how we’d paid for a year of Friday pizza at the school fundraiser in the spring, and maybe that indicated an interest; and how the policy really makes no sense to begin with; and so forth.

Also, cue panic. I sent off inquiries to a number of other day care centers, one of which we later toured. Mr. Sandwich and I each sent emails to the director to get clarification on our options. Finally–maybe a day later, but it felt longer–the three of us had a conference call.

The director offered us a solution: One of the existing 3-year-old classes was very large, and was being split into two. While pre-K did not have any open spots, one of the new 3-year-old classes had room. Baguette already knows the teacher, who gets her and who she loves. The class, while still for a 3-year-old bracket, is a little more academic than the developmental class she’s been in for the past year and a half. So she’ll get new experiences and challenges, but in a more comfortable and familiar environment.

Pre-K would not be as good a fit for her this year. The thing that stands out for me is that the children are required to sit still at a table and work in workbooks for 30 minutes at a time. And each week, they have homework.

I don’t think 4-year-olds should do that, period. That’s not how they learn, and that’s not how they should be taught. But I really don’t want to ask that of Baguette. She loves to learn new things, and she has an amazing memory. She’s much better at listening and following instructions than she used to be. She should not be asked to sit still for that long so that she can complete worksheets.

I also don’t think that they should be doing homework. At this age, they should be learning through play, and they should also just be playing. In Baguette’s case, she gets 10 hours of ABA at home each week–on top of the 15 hours per week she’s getting in the classroom. That’s enough homework. She’s doing enough.

If I’d turned in that re-enrollment form when I meant to, she’d be in a pre-K classroom right now. And that would be wrong for her.

I want my girl to be confident, to be capable, and to have the skills she’ll need to succeed in whatever way she chooses. She doesn’t need to be doing worksheets and homework this year in order to accomplish that.

Next fall, she’ll be 5. She’ll be old enough for kindergarten. Will we have her go into pre-K instead? I don’t know. We’ll figure that out over the next year. And we’ll decide based on what seems best for her at that point. I have the feeling that this is going to be a big year for her. Without worksheets.

Rediscovering Disney

We’ve started showing Baguette some other Disney movies, both to broaden her exposure and to save our sanity. Last night’s movie was “Cinderella.” I’d forgotten how sidekick-heavy that movie is.

Tonight’s movie? “Sleeping Beauty.”

Here’s what I noticed (beside the fact that Briar Rose looks really alarmed in that thumbnail):

  • This movie is not so sidekick-heavy, but there sure is a lot of narration.
  • Maleficent’s horns are much shorter in this movie.
  • I wish more forests looked like this. I’d be much more enthusiastic about forests if they did.
  • Samson is clearly the prototype for the horses from Tangled and Frozen. Samson is the Ur-Horse.
  • Even with magic, that cake still isn’t baked.
  • Briar Rose has a really nice bed for a peasant girl.
  • “Now, now, Father, you’re living in the past. This is the fourteenth century.” is still my favorite line from a Disney movie. But you know what that means:
  • Plague’s coming!
  • There really aren’t that many songs in this movie, are there?
  • Maleficent shows Prince Philip the vision of Aurora and refers to her as the “peasant girl who won the heart of our prince just yesterday.” But I’m pretty sure it was this morning. Maleficent has no sense of time.
  • Also, if Maleficent is so powerful, why isn’t her castle in better shape?
  • “O Sword of Truth, fly swift and sure, that evil die and good endure” is the incantation I’m going to use if I ever have to combat evil. Combat it with a sword, I mean.
  • I am absolutely sure that Aurora’s dress originally was blue when the movie ended, and that the final change to pink is a result of Disney Princess-ification, because Cinderella’s dress is blue. I don’t like that.

Friday Five: August 22, 2014

Here’s what I ran into this week:

1) This is not an article from The Onion: One of my old school districts banned sunscreen because the kids might eat it. I’m so proud.


3) I like the idea of a cleaning planner. But what I really need to do is clean.

4) At the beginning of the summer–Memorial Day, or June 1, or thereabouts–I announced that I had a goal of losing ten pounds by Labor Day. So far, I’ve lost two. I’m going to have to extend that deadline.

5) Today we inadvertently discovered that Baguette knows the story of Snow White, and that it includes a queen and a kiss. We will be buying more movies and books shortly.


On Gifts

birthday presents

Baguette loves gifts, and she gets a lot of them. Mr. Sandwich and I are constantly buying her books, and she had grandparents on both sides who are always on the lookout for toys and games that will capture her interest.

What we’ve learned, though, is that giving Baguette something, and having her get it–well, those are two different things, and they happen in very different time frames.

For her birthday, in April, one pair of grandparents gave her a Monsters University Scare Factory and a Rescue City Center set. She started playing with it last week. This is August.

This week, four new Wibbly Pig books arrived in the mail. I suspect it will take us several weeks to get all of them into rotation, and Baguette loves Wibbly Pig.

We’ve seen this before, and we expect it. Baguette needs time to warm up to toys and books. She needs to decide how she wants to play with them. We’ve tried showing her, and it just doesn’t seem to work–but eventually she’ll figure it out and incorporate it into her play.

And while she’ll lose interest in a particular toy, the odds are pretty good that she’ll come back to it, months or a year later. You never know when that set of stacking rings is going to re-emerge.

I also understand, though, that as a gift-giver, people want a reaction. They want to see that they did actually pick the right gift, that they’ve brought happiness to the recipient. It’s hard to give something and feel like it didn’t even register. (We do have her say “Thank you,” but some enthusiasm is usually nice.)

Every once in a while, though, that magic moment happens. When Baguette was two and a half, we had a playdate. The other little girl had a Rockin’ Elmo that Baguette just loved. So I told my dad about it, and he bought it for her as a Christmas gift. And when she unwrapped it, and it started to sing and move, she was in raptures–delighted shrieks, beaming smiles, the works.

We got to see it again last weekend, at Mr. Sandwich’s 25-year high school reunion. It was at a restaurant, so we got a table and ate dinner there. That gave Baguette time to settle into the space and enjoy herself. Then we went out on the patio and mingled with the rest of the alumni.

One of his classmates, having heard about Baguette’s love of “Frozen,” brought her a set of character finger puppets. Baguette lit up and gave dazzling smiles. She even stopped eating her Pirates’ Booty for a moment (and let me tell you, it is hard to get her to respond to anything when she is eating).

And those finger puppets? On a nightly basis, in tiny, high-pitched voices, they act out this exchange from “In Summer”:

Kristoff: I’m gonna tell him.
Anna: Don’t you dare!

Friday Five: August 15, 2014

Five things from the past week:

1) I am so relieved that someone came up with a better method of handling the situation in Ferguson. Who would have imagined that treating people like people could work? But is there still a no-fly zone over the region?

2) We went to Mr. Sandwich’s class reunion this weekend, and one of his friends brought Baguette a set of Frozen finger puppets. She loved them immediately, and showed it, and now I need to write a post about Baguette and gifts.

3) Last night Baguette had a night terror. Or a nightmare. Or she instantaneously developed a fear of the dark. We’re not really sure what happened, but all of a sudden she started crying and would not calm down unless the light was on.

4) I am so tired.

5) I have a lot of trouble figuring out what to eat. I do not know what’s going on there.


Friday Five: August 8, 2014

Five things from the past week:

1) It’s still true that I’m particularly grateful for day care when I’m sick. All I had was a cold, but would I have been able to take a three-hour nap if Baguette were at home with me? No, I would not.

2) And speaking of day care, you know who does not get paid what their work is worth to me? Pretty much everyone who helps us care for Baguette. In every case, these are people we do not pay directly; we pay the school or the agency. (The only people we pay directly are the speech, music, and occupational therapists, and even then, insurance covers some to much of the cost.)

3) Should I be more worried about the spread of ebola, or is my awareness actually right on target?

4) Enough with the reboots, Hollywood. Seriously, enough.

5) Mr. Sandwich and I had an exchange that would have made the most hilarious tweet. But it was bedtime and I didn’t want to get up and tweet it. So I forgot it. And then I remembered it the next day, and then I forgot it again. This is how it goes when you don’t sleep properly for four and a half years.



I’ve gotten nearly 200 spam comments in two days. I get them from time to time, but this flood is new.

I’ve closed comments on older posts, but they’ve moved to pages. And I’ve long since arranged my settings so that new commenters have to have their remarks approved–but sorting through the spam for actual comments to approve is a nuisance, and takes time I don’t really have.

So while I don’t particularly want to add captcha to my site, I’m wondering if that might not be the way to go.

What say you, actual commenters? Would that keep you from commenting? Because I want you to. I just don’t want to have to find your comments among the onslaught of nonsense.

And in the meantime, here’s a more . . . er . . . loving look at SPAM.

Music to My Ears

Baguette has a phenomenal memory, and she remembers songs and TV episodes and books with no trouble at all. One day she’ll suddenly recite part of a Sesame Street episode that she hasn’t seen in months, and act it out with character dolls.

Just recently–and I mean just in the last two weeks, she’s gone beyond reciting, and has started singing. For the most part, she’s been singing the songs from one of her apps. But last night, as we were playing in the front yard, I heard her sing “Let it go, let it go.”

We’re late to the Frozen party. All of her classmates were completely immersed in it for months, and she showed no interest. We bought the DVD, and she paid not the slightest attention (Mr. Sandwich and I both enjoyed it, although we’d rate Tangled higher in a number of ways).

But last night, she started singing. And when I joined in, she snapped her head around with a smile. So after her bath, I pulled up the video on my laptop, and she stopped asking for her iPad and sprinted across the room to watch it with me. Twice.

I know the rest of the world either still loves this song, or is sick to death of it. And I get that. But you know how your kid does really irritating things, like ask “Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?” Ours doesn’t.

She can sing, though. And I don’t want her to stop.