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Lucy made these seven sketches of Link yesterday like it was nothing, and I'm still impressed. The process took her half an hour. They were drawn with marker and some crayon.

Lucy is never without support on this at home. Grandma Smith mailed her a box of oil pastels and a sketchbook for her birthday last week, adding to the crayons, markers, and watercolors in her collection. Her mom brings blank and scrap sheets of paper home from work whenever we're running low, keeping us in full supply of sketch paper. So we're going to see more great work from her in the future, I'm sure of it. There's already a backlog of drawings I could capture and post here.

On Instagram I've got a hashtag going called #LZD. It's an acronym for Lucy's Zelda Drawings. She loves "The Legend of Zelda" game series, and is an avid player. Since she started drawing Link sometime around the time she was three, she never stopped. Link defines her, in a way. He's her model, her muse—and not just in art, but in imitation. Lucy wears her Link hat, sword and shield at almost all times that she's at home. It's like her security blanket. She's always in costume, so much so that I often tell her to take her sword and shield off before she hugs or sits next to me.

Alas, my hope of an easy, space-saving acronym for the categorization of Lucy's many drawings was dashed—for if you search #LZD on Instagram, you get mostly fashion shots. So I think I need to change it to #LucysZeldaDrawings. It's not bad.

#SocialMediaProblems #InstagramProblems #Hashtag

If only anyone ever made money creating visual art, amirite? If Lucy ever wanted to pursue graphic design, it might be right in her wheelhouse. But she just turned six. Easy dad, she's got a ton of development through which to go.

Here's my two girls when Lucy was making those aforepictured sketches.

And here she is on her birthday, last week. They made her a crown at school and sang to her, and she kept it on all day, all thru the school day, too! I know, because her sister and I came to her school for a visit—more on that later.


Awesome TechRepublic article on parenting and modern forms of screen time

This is a great article:

Ubiquitous screens pose new parenting challenges in the 21st century

Author Alex Howard (@digiphile) covers long-established pediatricians' recommendations about kids and how much daily TV or screen time is appropriate. Current standards set the limit at 2 hours, which holds true in the age of Internet 2.0. The changing landscape of television merging with pads, tablets, and myriad apps for kids labeled 'educational,' the old rules need a refresher.

Howard talks to a couple experts in the field and comes away with some solid recommendations. Click that link above and read it. It made me want to take my younger daughter outside, while the older one has all this awesome social time at school.


'No Middle Finger' and Bunk Beds

It's morning and I'm up before the girls, half an hour before my alarm.

Something Lucy said a few weeks ago stuck with me. It was a, 'Wow, she's maturing' moment. When she first started to come home on the bus, she would often be crying or near tears, because her bus driver often yells at the other, older kids. Kindergarten was a big change for Lucy. When I raise my voice at all, it's kind of devastating for my girls. So the bus driver yelling at other kids every day seems to have toughened her up / made her more able to handle bad things going on around her, with which she's tangentially involved.

A few weeks ago, she came home, and we were sitting just inside the front door, taking off our shoes. I asked how the bus ride went. She said, forlorn, "The bus driver yelled at the kids in the back." Then, as she does, she kind of dance-jumped away and said, emphatic and positive and helpful, "I wish they would just sit down!"

Loving this conversation, as it delved to new, maturer depths between her and I, I responded, "I know, right? Why don't they just behave?"

Keeping the enthusiasm, showing me she's learned something and probably trying out a new phrase, she said, "Yeah, he says, 'Sit down, and no middle finger.'"

At that point, a ceiling of bricks kind of fell on my head. Was it time to have that talk? Before I could formulate a response, because now that I think about it I must have looked confused, Lucy offers, "I think John thinks that if you stick out your middle finger, someone will pull it, and that would hurt."

Her gears were turning, trying to make sense of this new thing she witnessed—in execution, and in getting caught. So I said nothing, not absolutely sure that it was the right thing to do, but not sure what to say.

I'm not usually one to avoid important issues. I believe open communication is important. But this time, I felt it appropriate to save the middle finger talk for another time. Maybe instead of me coloring her opinion and eventual reactions, I can just let her see how it plays out in the real world. And I can wait for her to come to me with a question about it. I'm always here.

On to another thing. Lucy's turning 6 this month, which is the age some doctor-ly source says it's safe for kids to sleep in the top bunk of a bunk bed. So a few days ago, Megan ordered some bunk beds. Isn't it great to upgrade parts of your life, and simultaneously say goodbye to parts that weren't that great? We're saying goodbye to a mattress-plus-pillow-cover-on-the-floor situation. No more sharing of a single bed for them. They each get a new, fun bed to sleep in.

Here, let me take a picture of them before they get up, in their old bed.

Yesterday, while Lu was at school, Bibi and Megan and I drove to Ikea Seattle (read:Redmond) and purchased a mattress & pillow cover for the other bunk. The bunk bed frame should arrive tomorrow in the mail from a different company, probably magically assembled in their room upon arrival.

Ikea's marketing scheme is genius—if you follow the path they set out for you, following the light-arrows on the floor, you pass by everything. The shortcuts are there, but not obvious. It's so smooth. Those Swedes and their excellent communication skills.