Category Archives: coraline

A Conversation With Coraline: Inappropriate Reading Material

“That book I picked up from the library is about the Green River Killer. It’s by a famous true-crime writer named Ann Rule. She wrote her first book after discovering that the nice guy she worked with at a crisis hotline was actually a serial killer. Turns out her friend Ted was Ted Bundy.”

“Wow. Really?”


“I want to read a book about Ted Bundy!”

“Sorry, kiddo. I’m pretty sure there’s not a ‘Who Was Ted Bundy?’ in that series you have about people like Ruth Bader Ginsburg.”

“That’d be cool if it was a real book, though.”

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A Conversation With Coraline: Abandon Ship

“Were you alive when The Titanic sank?”

“No. No one you know was alive when it sank.”

“Not even Abuela?”

“Oh my God. It sank one hundred six years ago! She would be horrified to hear you think she’s that old.”

“Don’t tell her!”

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Photoblogging: Scootering

Coraline on Her Scooter

We’ve made an effort to start the new year off right, including being more active, and that includes taking Coraline and Troubadour to the park on a cold, sunny day.


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Little Big Girl

Song Lyric of the Day:

I’d like to show you a million things / I’d like to make the world for you a better place / But when it pours, it really rains, so / Put on your boots, and let’s play

Sleater-Kinney / “Lions and Tigers

Coraline has always been a little ahead of the curve for almost all of her developmental milestones: rolling over, crawling, walking, talking, long division. It seems like only yesterday we were counting how many words she was using in a sentence: four, five, eight, twelve. Now I have a teenager trapped in a 4 1/2-year-old’s body, who knows how to properly use the word compromise to get what she wants, speaks in paragraphs, and says things like, “I can breathe perfectly fine without using my nasal spray.” I won’t mention how inflated her ego got when she got bumped up to the fives at preschool late last year, “Even though I’m still four!” She’s also schooled herself on how to be passive-aggressive, prone to comment when the weather’s nice that “this sure would be a nice day to go to a park or playground.” Yes, kid, we know it would be.

It should come as no surprise then that she had all of her baby teeth by the time her first birthday rolled around. What did come as a surprise to me during her dental cleaning at the end of January was when her dentist announced that Coraline had two loose teeth. While I thought I might cry at hearing the news that my baby already had loose teeth, Coraline beamed, proudly exclaiming, “I’m growing up so fast!” My reply: an internalized sob.

Her dentist said that while it was a little unusual to have loose teeth that early, it wasn’t unexpected given that Coraline had all her teeth by such a young age and that we shouldn’t worry about it. Of course, as soon as we left the office, Coraline wanted to call my mom to tell her the big news. She then went on to tell every single person she encountered that she already had two loose teeth and would ask if they wanted to see them. Everyone in the greater Knoxville area knew about those loose teeth and that she was in the fives even though she was still only four.

Cut to a couple of Saturdays ago when we were all doing yard work. I asked Coraline if I could see how loose her tooth was only to discover it hanging by a thread. And so, at the ripe old age of 4 years, 6 months, and 12 days, and after a bit of hysteria on her part at the thought of her tooth finally coming out, Rich had the honor of yanking the tooth. She wailed like a woman in church about the blood (which lasted all of one minute), then looked in the mirror and said, “I can’t believe I lost my first tooth!” We celebrated by taking her to Bruster’s for some ice cream. Even though I don’t really care for ice cream, I indulged out of moral support. It took her a couple of days to work up the nerve to leave her tooth out for the Tooth Fairy. She was happy to find a tiny Iron Man toy plus $2 and a quarter. That’s a fortune when you’re 4 1/2 years old.

One week and two days later, tooth number two was ready to come out. Rich again did the honors, only this time Coraline calmed down quicker. She looked in the mirror and saw the blood in her mouth, announcing, “I look like a vampire!” Clearly she was getting the hang of how to handle losing a tooth and looking forward to another visit from the Tooth Fairy.

It’s hard to believe how quickly my baby is growing. She even got bumped up to the big girls’ dance/gym class recently, another fact she enjoys sharing with everyone she meets. Oh, and she currently has three other loose teeth. Pray for me.

Coraline at almost 2 1/2 years old (photo taken 2/15/13)

Coraline at almost 2 1/2 years old (photo taken 2/15/13)


Coraline the other night showing off the gap where her two bottom teeth used to be (photo taken 4/19/15)



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A Conversation With Coraline: Heaven Is a One-Way Trip

After discussing our dearly departed dogs:

“Why do people not come back from heaven?”

“Because they just don’t, sweetie. People and animals don’t live forever. But the good thing is in heaven you’re healthy and happy, and you know someday you will see your loved ones again.”

“Yes, when their time on earth has passed.”

“Wait — what did you just say?”

Simply smiles in reply.

“How old are you?”

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Photoblogging: Cora Had a Little Goat

At her friend's petting zoo birthday party, Coraline made fast friends with a baby lamb (3/7/15).

At her friend’s petting zoo birthday party, Coraline made fast friends with a baby goat. I won’t lie — if he’d have fit in my purse, I would’ve tried to smuggle him home. (Photo taken 3/7/15)

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A Conversation With Coraline: Cows and Heroes

“What did you learn about in school today?”

“We talked about cows and heroes!”

“Cows and heroes? That’s interesting.”

“And guess what?”


“I’ve been waiting to tell you this all day because it’s really special. Do you know who my hero is?”

“No. Who’s your hero?”

Pointing excitedly: “You are! You’re my hero! Isn’t that the best thing you ever heard in your whole life?”

“You know, kid, actually it is.”

March 24, 2015

March 24, 2015

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A Conversation With Coraline: Victoria’s Real Secret

“Look, Mommy! They have little dresses for little kids!”

“Those aren’t dresses.”

“Yes, they are.”

“No, they’re people clothes.”

“Oh. Look! There’s another little dress for little kids!”

“Again, that’s not a little dress. You know what? I’ll come back another day by myself.”

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Do Not Taunt Happy Fun Ball.

Song Lyric of the Day:

Extrapolate my feelings / My family is dysfunctional / But we have a good time killing each other

Mary Lambert / “Secrets

Coraline has always been a really happy kid. She has a sunny enough disposition that I still sometimes wonder how it is that Rich and I made her. Not that her sunny disposition is a bad thing. Sure, she’s gotten mad here and there, but she’s never been one to stay mad, which is a good thing. Particularly because over the last few months Rich and I have gotten a glimpse of the monster Coraline could potentially be when she hits teenagedom. And it scares the crap out of us.

When she’s really mad, she will yell, “Don’t look at me!” or “Stop watching me!” She’ll even hold her hand up in front of her face to block our view. Maybe she’s mad that we said no about something. Maybe she didn’t nap long enough. Maybe she woke up on the wrong side of her nap. She will also stamp her feet to punctuate exactly how pissed off with us she is. Laser beams shoot out of her eyes if we are unfortunate enough to make eye contact after she’s told us not to look at her. Her head rotates around and she begins speaking in tongues when we try to reason with her. There has also been the occasional threat of projectile pea soup vomit. You get the idea.

Rich and I have taken to referring to Coraline as Happy Fun Ball when she’s in a mood. It’s our primary defense method, a way of warning the one lucky enough to not be on the receiving end of the tantrum to run like hell in the opposite direction. “Happy Fun Ball! HAPPY FUN BALL!” The name seems appropriate because Coraline is all cuddliness and sweetness and light most of the time, but occasionally her inner Sweeney Toddler comes out to scare us.

Thankfully, as I said, Coraline doesn’t stay mad for long. But the mere hint of the teenager she might be is enough to have Rich and I planning on buying a yurt in which we will live in our backyard while she rampages through the house, destroying anything and everything in her path with those laser-beam eyes.

You won't like her when she's mad.

“Look angry, Coraline. Mommy wants to write about Happy Fun Ball.”

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Toddler Tunes 2.0

Song Lyric of the Day:

You know your love (your love keeps lifting me) / Keep on lifting (love keeps lifting me) / Higher (lifting me) / Higher and higher (higher)

Jackie Wilson / “(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher

A while back I wrote about how I started a playlist for Coraline to save my sanity. When we first started it, I told her that it could grow to have as many songs as she wanted on it. She took that to heart and her playlist is now up to 75 songs. I’ve really enjoyed watching her discover new non-Disney music that she likes, and singing along with her is one of my favorite things to do (she has my talent for memorizing song lyrics). We even play some of “her” songs during baths now, turning them into musical events. Plus, singing along to songs keeps her from screaming while I rinse her hair on hair-washing nights. See? Sanity-saver.

This is the second batch of songs she added to her playlist.

“Bulletproof” by La Roux

Coraline knows it as: the correct title

Fun fact: This is one of her favorite songs to sing at full volume, and one of the first ones she started requesting by name once we set up her playlist.

“Best Day of My Life” by American Authors

Coraline knows it as: the correct title

Fun fact: This was one of the first of “her” songs that she recognized as being used in TV commercials. She enjoyed pointing that out to my parents.

“I Love It” by Icona Pop featuring Charlie XCX

Coraline knows it as: the correct title

Fun fact: Coraline heard this song while at my parents’ house, and recited some of the lyrics to me that night so I could figure out what song it was that she wanted added to her playlist. I downloaded the clean version for her, which substitutes “stuff” and “chick” in place of a couple of words I don’t need her repeating.

“Troublemaker” by Weezer

Coraline knows it as: that song about the Troublemakers from Team Umizoomi (which it is not)

Fun fact: see the above

“Pork and Beans” by Weezer

Coraline knows it as: the correct title

Fun fact: This is her go-to song when she picks up one of our XBox Rock Band guitars

“Ho Hey” by The Lumineers

Coraline knows it as: the correct title

Fun fact: This is another one of her favorite songs to sing along to, with her shouting, “Hey!” every time “ho” or “hey” is sung.

“Raise Your Weapon” by Deadmau5

Coraline knows it as: the correct title

Fun fact: Based on the title alone, I had to send Rich the song lyrics so he could read for himself that the song is a metaphor for pulling the trigger on/ending a relationship before he agreed I could add it to Coraline’s playlist. I downloaded the radio edit for her since the album version is about 8 minutes long.

“A-Punk” by Vampire Weekend

Coraline knows it as: that song Mommy danced to when she was in my baby tummy (we saw Vampire Weekend in concert in early 2010)

Fun fact: She always demonstrates how she bounced around in the womb while I danced to this song.

“Sometime Around Midnight” by The Airborne Toxic Event

Coraline knows it as: that song she likes that Mommy likes

Fun fact: I’m pretty sure she only likes this song because it’s one I always sing along to (TATE is my favorite band these days)

“All I Ever Wanted” by The Airborne Toxic Event

Coraline knows it as: another song that she likes because Mommy likes it

Fun fact: She always asks why Mikel sings “forever, forever, forever.” Every. Time.

“Evacuate the Dancefloor” by Cascada

Coraline knows it as: the correct title

Fun fact: This is a song Coraline discovered while I was exercising and blasting music videos on YouTube.

“Girls Chase Boys” by Ingrid Michaelson

Coraline knows it as: “Boys Chase Girls Chase Boys Chase Girls”

Fun fact: Ever since I told her the video was a “people” video, she asks every several days if she is big enough to watch it yet. Rich and I think letting her watch it will raise more questions than we feel like dealing with right now.

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