Monday, February 28, 2011

Historic Weather

Yes, this happened at my house this weekend.  My house in Burbank.  BURBANK, CALIFORNIA.  You know right outside of Los Angeles, where it never does this?  It was crazy.  It came down more like slush, than like snow, but we're calling it snow.  It even accumulated on Andy's car where he was getting his hair cut a couple miles away.  In my 15 years of living in L.A., I've never seen anything close to this here.  The girls went nuts.  I went nuts!  The entire neighborhood was outside yelling and screaming for ten minutes.  I mean it's just not the kind of thing you see in Los Angeles.  Ever.  The best part was the girls running around laughing, screaming, and yelling.  Sonya was the loudest shouting,


Yeeeeaaahhhh...Weeeeellll... it is still Los Angeles.  So even though we did have snow for ten minutes, this is what was left after another ten.

Not really snowman building material per se.  Still, it was a fun ten minutes, and something I'm sure the girls will remember for a long time.  

Friday, February 25, 2011

Snow Day!

This past weekend we took the girls up to the mountains to the snow for some sledding and fun.  This is another nice thing about living here in Southern California.  It only took us one hour to go find some snow to play in.  Then we got to leave it behind.  No shoveling, no long days of being freezing cold, just drive, play and go home.  I'm starting to see why so many people do love living here.  There was a long period of time when I hated it here.  I really don't hate it so much anymore.  I still don't love it, but  perhaps I'm  getting used to it, who knows?  I will say I still hate it when I get stuck in traffic at 1pm in the middle of the week, or I have to take the 405 anywhere.  But there are a lot of pluses to living here, and being able to go play in the snow then leave it behind is certainly one of them.

Preparing to go to the snow is like preparing to go to the beach.  I have to bring extra clothes to change the girls into, towels, snacks, a sled (instead of a boogie board), coats, mittens, hats etc.  So it takes me getting everything ready the night before.  You know because I don't have enough to do.  But I do like going to the beach and the snow, so I suck it up. 

We left early in the morning and the drive was really quick.  This was a new place someone had told me about, and it is so close to us!  We got to the "snowplay" area and managed to find a place to park quickly.  We got the girls all ready and off we went.  There was a big area of flat ground with snow, and behind small hills to sled down.  Sonya was excited, Lana was iffy and Georgia wanted not much to do with this whole situation.

We got to the area where people were sledding.  Sonya went down a few little slopes and then wanted to go down the bigger one with Andy.  I was trying to convince the other two to go down the little hills with me.  Lana flat out refused to get on the sled no matter what.  Georgia was hesitant, but went with me down a couple of hills and didn't hate it.  Sonya was the adventurer though.  She went down the big hill a number of times with Andy.  Then I went down with her once.  Sledding when you're a kid is exciting, fun and not at all scary, but as an adult...let's just say I screamed like a little girl the whole way down.  It was still damn fun though, even if it made pee my pants just a bit.

Not long after we arrived, I realized I had to use the bathroom toute de suite.   Fortunately, and unfortunately there were outhouses nearby.  Of course upon hearing I was going to the bathroom, Lana and Georgia wanted to go.  Let me tell you people something now.  You have NOT lived until you've been in an outhouse with a 2 and 3 year old.  I mean they're so clean and inviting, why wouldn't you want your whole family in there?  Except for the fact that I could barely fit myself in there with my huge winter coat.  I just kept the lid down on the seat until go time for fear of one of the girls getting knocked in with all the um...grossness.  Oh and they are sooooo gross.

 Why is it that we live in an age when you can see people when you talk to them on the phone in your pocket, you can look up a restaurant anywhere in the world and get directions to it with that same small device, but if you have to pee outside?  You get not much better than a hole in the ground with walls.  Can someone work on that please?  

I told both girls to close their eyes while I opened the lid and went.  Then I held Lana and let her hover while she went.  GG decided not to go.  Smart girl.

Back to the fun!  We built a little snowman and sledded some more.  I continued to try and convince Lana to come on a ride down the hill with me to no avail.  As it got closer to lunch time everyone started to get hungry, so we decided it was time to leave.  It was then that Lana decided to hope on the sled for a ride back to the car, as Andy dragged it behind him.  Sonya was on the back of the sled and I was walking far behind trying to keep hold of Georgia as best I could.  The poor thing had zero balance in the snow.  Lana was finally having a good time on the sled. I watched as they went down little slopes and I could hear them both squeal with excitement.  This was good, because now maybe next time we came back Lana would actually go down a hill on the sled.

I was a bit behind them as they made their way to the car.  There was a little slope and a snowbank right before the space the cars were parked along the side of the road.  I saw them go over the slope and then I saw then stop completely.  When I came upon the scene, Lana was crying and Andy looked up at me with an "Ooops" look on his face.  Lana turned around to face me with a bloody lip.  They had tipped when heading down the slope.  Lana wasn't holding on to the sled and hit face first into the snow bank.  So much for ever getting her back on the sled again.   She cried for a few minutes, but Andy and I kept making a big deal about how cool it was that she got a snow injury.  She wasn't buying it.  We kept saying, "but wasn't the sled fun?"  Her reply, "NO!  Dat was not fun!"

She eventually calmed down and we did manage to convince her that she had fun before the fall.  I think she even might have even been convinced that her bloody lip was a cool result.   Figures, the one kid that was afraid to get on is the one who gets hurt when she does get on.  Luckily, it wasn't that bad of an injury and she was fine.  I'd like to say she'd forget it by the time we get back to the snow next season, but my kids have memories that date back to the womb.  Well, almost.  The good news for Lana is that summer is just around the corner and even though she's not much for the snow, that kid LOVES the beach.  Although, I doubt she'll be trying out a boogie board any time soon.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Just A Little Crush

I'm still so surprised that girls develop crushes on boys at such a young age.  Last year Sonya told me she was "in love" with a boy named Eli in her class.  She continued to talk about him over the summer and even the beginning of the year.  However, he is not in her class this year, and a boy named Joey is.

Joey is one of those kids who you know is going to be the boy all the girls like.  He's a cute blond haired blue eyed class clown type.  Plus he looks like he could be the jock in high school too.  So naturally, the girls are already giving him attention and Sonya is leading the pack.  She talks about him just about every day.  One day last week she wore a shirt that said "Miss Talks A Lot".  So much truth in that one little shirt.  She came home excited because Joey read her shirt and then commented on it,

"Yeah you DO talk a lot!" She told me he said.   Well, at least he's getting to know what girls are like.

 She was so happy that he commented on what she wore that the next day she found another shirt in her closet with the words "Girl League" on it.  She decided to put it on to see if Joey would read it again.  Alas, he didn't comment this time.  Oh well, a girl's gotta try right?

Then she told me something last week that made me want to send Andy over to Joey's house to beat him up.  Then I remembered Joey is only six and that probably wouldn't reflect to well on us as parents.  We were in the car on the way back from school and Sonya was talking about Joey again and how much she liked him.  I guess I asked her something about her friends and if they like him or other boys, etc.  So we were having this conversation and she was being very open with me.  Something I know will end in a few years, so I'll take it when I can.   Then she tells me Joey doesn't like her.

"How do you know that?" I ask.

"Because I heard him telling one of the other boys 'she likes me, but I don't like her'." She told me, without a hint of sadness.

I said to her, "Well, then you should just find someone else to like, if he doesn't like you."

"NO!" she yelled.  "I like him."

"You don't care that he doesn't like you back?" I asked.

"Nah," she told me.

"Okay," I said and let it go.  Inside though I was thinking "what the hell is wrong with this Joey?!  Does he not see how cute, fun, and smart my little girl is?!"  Then I have to remind myself, she's six.

Looks like the dating years with my girls are going to be harder on me than my own dating years were.

Ahhh good times!

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Big Birthday

Last night I went to a class at the Burbank Adult School down the street.  It's the same school where I take parenting class with Georgia every Tuesday. Sometimes they do parenting workshops during the week.  When I found out the one last night was, "Raising Girls", I was first in line to sign up.  I mean you can't get much more about raising girls than me.  Well, unless you have four or five girls. Or eleven, like my great grandmother, but that's just stupid.  Although in her defense, she was Italian and Catholic, and it was about 100 years ago when there really was no birth control, but still.  I digress.  Halfway through the workshop, I realized most of what the instructor was telling us, and what tricks to use, I already do.  Then I thought it about it more and noticed every time I read some kind of parenting book, magazine, watch a video, whatever,  I am already doing about 85% of what they suggest.  Not that I couldn't improve here and there, but it appears I do know what I'm doing as a mom.  At least according to the "experts".  Huh.  Who knew?  Not me, because half the time I feel like I'm NOT doing it right, but I guess the groundwork I'm laying with my girls is pretty spot on.  Do I just know how to do this instinctively?  I'm sure that there is some truth to that.  The fact remains though, I had a great teacher.  MY mom. Coincidentally, today is her 60th birthday.

I wanted to acknowledge her on this day, because so much of the way I parent is the way she parented us.   I want to make sure she knows how successful she's been in her 60 years.   My sisters parent the same way as well, so together we are raising eight kids in this world who will (hopefully) become successful, caring, responsible adults like my sisters and I are.  That is because of my mom.  Okay, well I shouldn't leave my Dad out in the cold.  He had a lot to do with raising us too, but my mom was our primary care giver, like my sisters and I are to our own children.  Although the Dads have an extremely important role, we moms are the first line of defense, so to speak.

My mom is also a fantastic first grade teacher.  She is the type of teacher who you remember as one of your favorites, when you are an adult.  She always makes learning fun for her kids, like having a snow day at school in February.  I know some of you just questioned that last line saying, "So?  There's a ton of snow in February. Especially THIS year!"  Except in Florida, which is where she teaches.  Snow in Florida?  Can you imagine that as a kid?  Most of those kids have no idea what snow is, until they come to my mom's class.  She's also done things like make green eggs and ham on Dr. Suess's birthday, and have a pajama day.  She tries to make it fun for kids to learn instead of just teaching to get a paycheck.  It seems so many teachers have given up on the fun part of teaching kids these days.  She is the teacher that parents hear about and request their kids to have.  

My mom isn't rich, famous, or a rocket scientist. However, in her 60 years on this planet, in this life, my mom has contributed more to society than twenty people her age, by being a great mom and a great teacher.  There is this famous quote:

"One hundred years from now, it will not matter what my bank account was, how big my house was, or what kind of car I drove. But the world may be a little better, because I was important in the life of a child."-Forest E. Witcraft

This is my mom.  To me she's done more than Bill Gates, Angelina Jolie, or Oprah Winfrey.  She has made a difference in the lives of many kids she has taught over the years.  More importantly, she has made a difference and taught my sisters and I well in how to be good moms.  I can only hope that my girls will learn from me and become great mothers as well, thereby carrying on my mom's legacy.

Thanks for everything you've done and continue to do mom!  Happy 60th!

ps-Sorry I couldn't be there in person to help you celebrate, but drink a glass of wine for me in honor of you.  Maybe two glasses.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Precious Moments

See, this is one of those times when I feel so proud of the job I'm doing as a mom.  My oldest reading to my youngest.  Plus she's only six and reading a book intended for at least a 3rd or 4th grader.  I love that Georgia is curled up next to her with her blankie, thumb in mouth, listening to the story.  It's moments like this that make motherhood totally worth it.  Not to mention with Sonya doing such a good job reading the girls stories lately, it frees up more time for me to do things.  You know things  like drink wine and shop online for shoes.  I knew having more than one kid would pay off one day!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

When They Grow Up

My girls are at the age where they are beginning to talk about what they want to be when they grow up.  I encourage them in whatever it is they say they want to do.  I tell them they can be whatever they want with hard work and an education in the occupation they are interested in.  I want them to know that right now they can be anything.  That being said, I'm also realistic.

While I encourage my girls to be what they want and follow their dreams, I also know some dreams require talent.  I never understand the parents of some of those poor awful kids on the first round of American Idol.  You know, the kids that come in and belt out a tune with such heart, but sound like a dying cat, while the judges look on with horror.  Then when the judges deny them a ticket to Hollywood they are completely flabbergasted.  "They know they can sing and their mama has told them they can sing and just wait because one day, Jennifer Lopez, you will be sorry!"  And their mom is right there nodding in agreement.  I'm actually not watching it this season, but I did for many years, so I know the drill.  No, if my girls want to do something that they have no talent in at all, I would not encourage them to make fools of themselves on national television.  But hey!  We all have our different parenting styles.

Right now though, I don't know where their talents lie.  I do know that Sonya LOVES everything art and draws better at 6 than I do at 36.  She also seems to have a knack for baseball.  Lana has picked up gymnastics quicker than her sister did.  Georgia has a propensity for learning words to a song after hearing it just a couple times.  She is always walking around the house singing something.  Whether she's good at it though, who knows yet?  They are all still too young to determine.  Not to mention some talents might show up later on in life.  However, there are some things in life that they are not going to be when they grow up, no matter how much they want it.

We were in the car yesterday driving home from a visit to Daddy's new work.  I had "Georgia's CD" playing for a while.  It's a CD my in-laws gave her for her birthday last year.  All the songs are personalized with Georgia's name.  Now usually, I don't do the kids CDs.  I just don't want to deal with listening to Barney's, "I love you, you love me" or "Old McDonald" 500 times.  I'd rather listen to Glee's rendition of "Bad Romance" 500 times. Because if you know kids you know, if they like it you will listen to it over and over again.   So for the most part I play whatever music Andy and I like to listen to in the car.  It's kid friendly though, of course.  This particular kid CD, however, is not terrible.  The songs are catchy and it's cute to hear Georgia's name in all of them, even if they do get stuck in your head.  "Do you want to go to the ZOO, Georgia? Do you, do you, do you?"

Anyway-there is one song on there that sings about what  you want to be when you grow up.  From time to time when this song comes on, the girls will talk about what they want to do.  Usually it's one of the suggestions in the song.  Yesterday, during the song, Lana said,

"Mommy, I want to be a doctor when I grow up."

"That's great Lana!" I told her.  "You can definitely do that if you want to."  Then you can pay off mommy and daddy's house when you start making a fortune too!

Then Sonya said, "I want to be an artist!"

This was different from what she's wanted to be for the past year, which was a veterinarian.

"You can do that too Sonya!" Although that could mean her still living us when she's 30.  Well, we have opposite ends of the spectrum at least.  Then little Georgia says,

"I gonna be a stawfiss (starfish)!!"

Hmmmm...Well...Good luck with that one Georgia.  

Okay, so maybe they can't be ANYTHING they want, but she was damn adorable saying it.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The BIrds and the Bees Go For A Burger

Last week I took the girls to In-N-Out for dinner.  While we were there waiting for our food, I started to talk about Auntie Melissa's new baby and how much better she was doing.  Sonya was excited Kennedy was going home and asked when we could go visit her.  I told her maybe the next weekend.  Then she asked me this,

"Mom, how do babies get in the mommy's tummy?"


Then I remembered that Andy fielded a similar question from her about a year ago, so I started to  answer her in the way  I remembered he did.  

"Well, there is a seed that is planted in the mommy and..."

"No, no, I know that the baby is a seed that grows in the mommy's tummy, but how does the seed GET there?"


Well, I guess that the answer daddy provided last year isn't enough for her anymore.  She has more questions.  Great.  So now this is turning into a SEX talk?  At In-N-Out?   SERIOUSLY??  

"Well, the daddy puts the seed there..." I started again.

"I know the daddy puts it there, but HOW??" She asked

"Ummm, weellll..." I was at a complete loss.  Then she brightened like she got it somehow and said,

"Oh!  Like when you eat an apple and there is a seed that you eat and it goes to your tummy?"

That's all I need!  Her thinking she is going to have a baby in her tummy from eating a random apple seed.

"No, not exactly,"  I said. 

Then I sat there quickly trying to figure out how I was going to explain sex and sperm, without exactly explaining it to a six year old.  In the middle of a fast food restaurant.  

Then I said, "There is a special kind of seed the daddy has.  When a mommy and daddy love each other very much, the daddy puts a special kind of seed in the mommy's tummy and that's how the baby starts growing."  

"Oh, okay," she said.  

Thankfully our order number was called, and the thought of cheeseburgers and french fries took over any leftover questions she may have still had.  


I think I did okay though.  The funny thing is, my friend Melinda and I were talking a few days later and she told me about a couple of books she came across from her childhood she wanted to give me.  They are books about how babies are made for kids Sonya's age, with illustrations and all.  So at least now I have some tools to work with next time the question arises.  Although I'm thinking I may take them out and read them with her before  she asks again.  This way we can talk about it in the privacy of our home, instead of in front of dozens of strangers at a popular California food chain.   Not so sure those people appreciated the birds and the bees talk with their double double animal style burger.  

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Future Wine Enthusiast

Last Friday, after I picked Sonya up from school, I took the kids to Target so they could pick out their Valentines.  The Target that I regularly go to is in the Empire Center here in Burbank.  A shopping center filled with all kinds of different stores to meet all your shopping needs.  There's a Lowe's, Target, Best Buy, Michaels, TJ Maxx, and just recently added-a Nordstrom's Rack.  There are also a couple of restaurants and Starbucks, of course.  Then there is one of my favorite places, Bev-Mo.

For those of you who don't know this store, it's a magical place filled with all different types of alcohol, beer and especially wine.   Now some of you from back east may think this is the same thing as your package stores.  You know, the ONLY place you can buy booze in some states.  Here in California though, we can buy alcohol just about any time, day or night, any day of the week.  They sell it in Target, the grocery stores, and CVS.  Yes, even on a Sunday.  There was more than one occasion, when I was in college in Boston, when I would run out of Boone's Farm and have to wait until the next day for my refill.  The liquor section of the convenience stores would be chained in and locked down.  So that is one of the other nicer things about living in L.A. Well, that and not having to dig a snow tunnel to my car every day for the past 60 days.  (Sorry Northeast family and friends!)

Back to Bev-Mo.  It's not like the package store since you can buy alcohol anywhere here.  This is the place to go if you have questions about what you're buying or want a better price.  Similar to any specialized store.   For example, they sell kids shoes at Target.  However, if you need help finding your kids size or a better shoe, then your better off going to Stride Rite, where they might actually know what they're doing.  So yes, from time to time, I may visit the local Bev-Mo.  Especially when they are having their fantastic 5 cent sale where you buy a bottle of wine and get the second one for 5 cents.  Can't beat that!  When I do go there, I usually refer to it as the wine store, since that is all I really buy there.

Now we come back to last Friday.  We drove into the parking lot at the Empire Center, and Georgia starts to ask where we are going.  I remind her that we are going to Target for Valentines.  Then she asks, where is the Target, and immediately sees it and answers her own question with,

"Dere is Target!"

Right after that she sees the Bev-Mo and yells, with as much enthusiasm as any kid who has just seen a McDonalds,


Sooooo...Is that bad??

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Welcome To The Hood

I was the first of my friends and family to have kids.  This fact has made it a bit difficult being a lone mom over the years.  My sisters and BethAnnDoddKoehn weren't too far behind me though, and soon I was able to chat with them about all things baby and kids.  That helped.  Unfortunately, my sisters live thousands of miles away which meant play dates were out of the question.  Beth is closer, but still not "let's hang out tomorrow" closer.  Plus there was that time period of her living in TX.  Whatever BADK.   All of my friends who lived close by weren't any closer to having kids, most of them not even married yet.  This is L.A.  Most people don't get married until after 30, let alone have kids.  I was an exception.  I did manage to meet some new mom friends by going to Gymboree, gymnastics and even school.  But the girls I know best, and like to hang out with most, the ones I've been friends with since college were still baby free.  I did feel lonely at times, but I figured sooner or later they'd get to it, I was just hoping it would be before my girls went to college.

Last May, on Mother's Day in fact, I talked to my best friend Melissa.  I knew she and her husband had been trying to get pregnant for a few months and I'm not sure why, but I kinda knew.

"Are you pregnant?" I asked.  There was silence on her end.  Then,

"Yes, but I only took the test this morning, so I'm not thinking about it yet!"

Now she has to think about it.  Kennedy Annette Bramlett was born last Thursday, January 27th.  She was 12 days overdue and weighed a huge 9lbs 4oz.  Melissa is not a big girl and I have no idea how she got a baby out of her that big, but she managed it.   The reason I didn't talk about this sooner, and the reason I was scarce a bit from writing last week, was because poor Kennedy had to spend her first days of life in the NICU.

Fortunately, it was nothing very serious, although that's not the way the doctors originally presented it to Melissa and her husband.   I think some doctors find it fun to be overdramatic and scare people.  Like the doctor who told my sister, Beth, that Grace had Cystic Fibrosis.  That was a fun few months.  Turns out she does not.  The doctor read the results wrong.  Nice.

Anyway, Kennedy had swallowed and aspirated meconium when she was born, and was taken to the NICU shortly after arriving in the world.  She had some breathing problems and a few complications.  It was something that was scary, but certainly not unheard of.  Melissa and Scott were understandably freaked out.  I mean there's nothing like being in labor for 24 hours, giving birth to your  baby and then a couple hours later being told something is wrong.  Not the picture you have in your head of your first moments with your first baby.   Last Friday I went to the hospital to see Melissa and Scott, to offer support and lunch and to see for myself how the baby was.  After taking one look at her, I quickly realized that she was going to be just fine.  She looked healthy, strong and very pink!  With antibiotics and some oxygen she got better within days.  Yesterday they were able to bring her home from the hospital.

I have known Melissa since college.  We've lived together, worked together, and get our hair done together.  We've helped each other through break ups and hard times, as well as new loves and party times.  She was in my wedding, and I was supposed to be in hers (thanks to Georgia, I couldn't make it).  She was one of the first people I told when I found out I was pregnant each time.  (Especially when I got pregnant with G and had to back out of the wedding).  She is even Sonya's Godmother.  If something good happens I call her, something bad I call her.  When I need to bitch about family, kids, husband, whatever, she is there.  And it works both ways.   I have two sisters who I have always been close with and love with all my heart.  Melissa, over the years, had become more like a sister who I love just as much.  When this happened to her last week, I felt just like I did when my own sister went through her horrible time delivering Gracie so early.  At least this time I was close enough to visit and help out.

Most of the time when friends go in different directions with their lives, like one having kids and one not, the friendship tends to fizzle.  But Melissa and I managed to still hang out and stay connected.  She may not have always understood what I was going through or what it was like, but she was always there to listen.  And for that I thank her.  Now I'm so excited that I get to share with her what this crazy ride of parenting is like.  I can't wait for all the stories of what new things her baby is doing, and get together for birthdays and playtime.  The good thing for her is that  I have six years working experience I can hand down, if needed.  Something I couldn't get from any of my friends, but would have been helpful.  Just today I got this messege from her on my phone.

"My baby does not want to sleep at night.  At all.  Not that I'm surprised."

Welcome to the Hood, Melissa!  The Hood of the Mothers.  (Much like the King of all Burgers, but sooo much more work.)  Congrats friend!  You're in for the craziest, best, worst, funnest, silliest, most frustrating, loving and enjoyable time of your life.  Thanks for sticking around me and my crazies all these years.

And let me not forget the most important part:

Welcome to the world baby Kennedy!  You've got three little girls anxious to entertain you on your first play date.  

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Little Girl, Big Words

Lately, Sonya has been using big words in the completely wrong context.  At some point in time, if I think about it, I'm going to start writing them all down because they are pretty funny.  There is one that sticks out in my head that she said last week.  She ALMOST had it right.  Almost.

Lana had a play date last week with her best friend Angelina.  Not the actress with 50 kids, 30 of them adopted from Africa, but an adorable little blond haired girl in her pre-school class.  She is the only kid Lana will play with at school and she talks about her constantly at home.  In January, Angelina was out of school for a week because she was sick.  I thought Lana was going organize a search party to find and rescue her.  She was beside herself every day she went to school and Angelina didn't show up.  She had been bugging me to have a play date with her for a month, so I set one up for last Thursday after school.  Angelina's mom dropped her off and they got to play for a while by themselves, which was good.  Georgia was napping and Sonya was still at school, so Lana had much needed time alone with her friend, before her sisters tried to take over.  Then we left to pick Sonya up from school.

Sonya loves having company.  Doesn't matter if it's her friends, Lana's friends, or my friends.  She gets excited for anyone new.  When she got in the car after school, she happily greeted Angelina.  I gently reminded her on the way home that this was LANA'S friend, and while she was allowed to play with them, she was not allowed to TAKE OVER the playing.  Sonya tends to be a little, um...bossy.  I have NO idea where THAT comes from.  She assured me that she wasn't going to do anything but play what Lana wanted to play.  I sorta believed her.  She did sound convincing.  But then...

We weren't in the door five minutes when I heard Sonya saying,

"Okay, Angelina!  What do you want to play?  We could play with the babies or we have the dress up clothes!  Want to play dress up and do makeup?"

Before I could respond, I heard Lana start to yell.

"SISSY!  It is MY decision what to play! She is MY fwend!"

"Sonya," I called from the kitchen.  "Remember what we discussed in the car?  You may play with them, but Lana makes the decisions what to play. You may not take over."

Sonya very innocently said, "I know mommy!  I was just giving them what opportunities there were to play!"

See. ALMOST the right word, just not quite.   Lana, however, was not really all that impressed with the "opportunities"  Sonya offered anyway.