Happy Birthday, Sophie

Happy Birthday, Sophie

Sophie can hardly take her eues off her new king and queen (in her hands) to blow out the birthday candles.

Today my Sophia is five. She’s turning into quite the big girl, even if she is only half an inch taller than Ben and looks like she could be his twin though there are 16 months between them. She adores her big sister Bella and they are the best of friends, but Sophie is not always in Bella’s shadow. She has a mind of her own, a personality of her own.

She is fiercely devoted to Saint Therese. She loves Jesus.

She loves to sing. She makes up her own words to songs, to books. She has the heart of a poet and a great gift with words, a feeling for language, for rhythm and for rhyme. She coins neologisms that the whole family adopts.

She loves curry and enchiladas and doesn’t mind spicy foods.

She has the brightest smile, the sparkliest eyes. She has a cute dimple. She’s a ham, She loves being silly. She loves being the center of attention. But she’s also very shy among new people and strangers.

Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate icing and sprinkle were her request. Though she usually says “glaze” instead of frosting or icing.

She got several books. A princess brides coloring book, a fairy coloring book, first words in French (because she’s lately expressed a strong interest in learning French) and the complete Brambly Hedge.

Grandma and Grandad sent a purple princess dress. (Pictures to come.) Sophie declared it the best birthday ever.

Lucy didn’t partake of the cupcakes but joined in with a symbolic cupcake onesie.

Ben contemplates chocolate.

Anthony helped himself to a second cupcake while we were distracted.

Also, Sophie was thrilled that Bella lost her first tooth on Sophie’s birthday. Far from feeling like Bella was stealing attention on her special day, Sophie was glad to have another cause for rejoicing.

At first Bella thought she had a rock in her mouth. Then Dom reminded her about the tooth, which has been loose for a very long time and so wiggly on Saturday that I predicted it would be out within two days. That won me a reputation as a prophet.


All in all, a very perfect sort of day.



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  • +JMJ+

    Melanie, as you might know, I’m reading Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week right now, and I could echo your reactions to the first volume! Pope Benedict XVI has a real gift for stating complex ideas in simple language so that we’re all left saying, “Well, of course, I see it now . . .”

  • Geek Lady, It’s a hard book to get into for sure. What I found fascinating is precisely that blurring between natural philosophy and alchemy which did in fact exist at the time. Newton really did devote a lot of his time to alchemy as did many eminent thinkers of the era.

    I’m not sure I’ll be up to posting much about Les Mis, but if you write posts I’ll be sure to comment.

    Kyra, I’m still processing, but here are a few things that leap to mind.

    One thing that inspired me was the idea of persistence in introducing new foods. French parents, so says Billon, take as a given the children are adverse to new things but that they will eventually like most foods. But that in order to like something they may have to try it upwards of 30 times. Americans tend to give up too easily. The French have a very calculated plan of attack to entice children to eat new foods: insisting that kids will not eat between meals, making sure that there is something on the table that children do like but not preparing them separate meals from the rest of the family, letting them go hungry if they don’t eat much at a meal—they can wait until the next scheduled meal to eat, not making a huge deal of it when children don’t like something but taking it away with a matter of fact, maybe you’ll like it next time.

    One thing that I think would be a little harder to implement is the using peer pressure to get kids to try new foods. This is where universal preschool seems to come in. In French preschools it is the teachers job to get kids to try new foods. A huge part of that is they serve real food in the cantine and the kids don’t have options. Another is that children will be more likely to try things when they see peers eating them. For a homeschooling mom like me making elaborate lunches is out and we don’t have many opportunities for peer pressure except that my kids exert on each other. Sometimes indeed Bella can coax Sophie to try something or vice versa but as often they reinforce an unwillingness to try.

    I think I’ve been convicted about between meal snacking. I’m not going to try to eliminate it cold turkey, but I do want to gently discourage it and certainly not offer food except at meal times, gently reminding them that dinner is in an hour and that they can in fact wait. Letting kids be hungry and recognizing that feeling hungry is ok seems like one of the best ideas to me. That way they can wait until a real healthy meal instead of cramming junk food.

    I’m already pretty good at making sure that when they do snack it is usually a healthy snack: fruit, cheese, whole wheat bread with butter. I seldom give them junk food. But if I were suggesting rules to someone who did default to cookies, crackers, candy, etc. I’d suggest that as an area that isn’t too hard to attack.

    I do wish my kids were better at eating vegetables. She says her kids love vinaigrette and will eat almost anything dipped in it. Bella really doesn’t like vinegar so that’s not such a grand idea to me, but I did think that if I can find a dressing she does like she may well diversify the raw vegetables she will eat.

    One thing I recognized reading the book is that while I like novelty and am willing to try new dishes, I also can get stuck in a rut as often because being creative with food, while fun, takes time that I often don’t have. That’s where I feel like I’m at a cultural disadvantage. I envy her shopping at the local market for fresh foods and having all those French cooks to inspire her all the time. She’s not adventuresome and so didn’t appreciate it. I could have shaken her for that. 

    Hafsa, Thanks for the kind words.

    I read the Holy Week one last year or the year before but it was an ebook and I felt like I got less out of it because of the format. I really need to go back and re-read it.

  • I haven’t been able to even really get Quicksilver started.  The weird pseudo-magical natural philosophy hoohah in the beginning aggrievates my suspension of belief faculties (which, frankly, are quite generous) too much.

    I may give it another shot, since you enjoyed it, but I don’t think alternate history is a good subgenre for him.  He can’t break himself of modern tropes to write it real enough.

    I will read Les Mis with you, though, if you want to have a wee online book club.

  • Did you get any usable suggestions out of French Kids? What seemed like it might translate to a non-French home?

    I might try Neal Stephenson again, on your reccommedation. I read a few of his books (I think we’ve discussed this before) when I was a teenager and thought the ideas were good but the plot was kind of to stitch the ideas together.

    I just finished reading a series you might like, called The Mistborn Trilogy. It’s dystopian fantasy, about a world with a tyrranical eternal ruler who divided the population into nobles and slaves. The first book is about the slave rebellion. The dialogue is sometimes too modern and he does too much showing instead of telling but the way the story develops and the way he ties everything together is wonderful. His system of magic, called Allomancy, is really neat, too.

    It’s a fast-paced read and it was a lot of fun.