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Showing posts from 2007

Emergency!

Chris ran right upstairs last night when he heard Mallory shout, "Daddy, Daddy! I really need your help!"

When he came down a few minutes later, I asked what the problem was. He said, "Mallory was trying to teach Phoebe how to be a grown-up, and Phoebe wasn't learning right."

Perhaps Phoebe just didn't have a very qualified teacher.

Merry Christmas to Joey, too!

Scene: After the Christmas pageant.

Me: You did great, Mallory, we're proud of you!

Mallory: What was your favorite part?

Me: Hmm. I liked the "Whatcha Gonna Call That Baby?" song.

Chris: I liked that one too.

Me: But I also liked "Joy to the World."

Mallory: Joey in the world? What's that?

Me: No, joy to the world, the song you just sang.

Mallory: Oh yeah.

Me: That's one of my favorite songs.

Phoebe: A favorite song is a song that's your favorite and you like it and you sing.

(Pause)

Phoebe: And you dance.



Mallory, before the show, in front of our haphazardly decorated Christmas tree. Phoebe declined to be photographed.



All I was able to photograph of the event itself:



Phoebe, objecting to the camera's flash:



Now she closes her eyes before I snap every picture. Sigh.



But she's cute anyway! And so is Mallory! And their dresses match!



We're thinking Arby's:



Okay, that's it!



Recently read: The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife. Review over there. -…

Much Going On, Little Time to Write

1. Mallory lost two teeth last week, if by "lost" you mean "yanked out by dentist when barely loose because of impending arrival of permanent teeth at odd angles". It was a bit traumatic, actually, but she probably got over it before I did. She displayed a Mallory-like misunderstanding of the Tooth Fairy that night when she said, "I need to leave something really nice in my pillow for the Tooth Fairy!" I said, "No, wait, the Tooth Fairy brings something for you." She said, "Oh...I hope it's M&M's!" I said, "Probably not. She usually brings money." She said, "Oh. Money," because she's 6 and what is money to her? But she was suitably impressed the next morning to find two dollars in her little pillow.

2. What Mallory learned about phonics last week: "When two letters go a-walking, the first one does the talking."

3. What's annoying: Needing 32 Christmas cards when the ones you like are sold…

Less

Last month I joined Curves, the gym where women change their lives 30 minutes at a time (according to the website, at least)! I've always disliked exercise, but the Curves set-up I can handle. It's a series of 12 resistance machines, each working a separate group of muscles; you spend 30 seconds on each machine interspersed with a 30-second "recovery" period in which you jog in place or dance around if you're not self-conscious. Anyway, I can handle just about anything for 30 seconds, so it's not a bad workout and my goal is to make it there three times a week.

I was weighed and measured the day I joined, and then again the day before yesterday on my one-month anniversary. And I've lost 4.5 inches! It's not noticeable, because it's an inch from my waist and half an inch from each leg and a quarter inch from my biceps and so forth, but it's nice to know that it's actually having an effect. Especially since I haven't changed my eating hab…

But it's okay to brag about your kids

A few nights ago I was reading Mallory a book about a trio of ballerinas. There was Shy Di, who was, well, shy. There was Dizzy Izzy, who couldn't tell her left foot from her right. Then there was Showy Zoey, who was far too proud for the other's liking.

"What's proud?" Mallory asked.

"Proud is when...you feel good about yourself because you did something really well, or when you learn how to do something really hard," I said. "And it's okay to feel proud of yourself, but it's not okay to brag."

"What's brag?"

"Brag is when you talk too much about how good you are. It's okay to say, 'I learned how to write my letters!' But it's not okay to say, 'I can write my letters better than you.'"

"Yeah, or you can say, 'I can write my letters, and so can you!'" Mallory said.

And I was filled with pride for her, for getting it, for showing that deep down, and no matter how awful she acts…

Like Chocolate? Grab a Pen*

Best cookies ever.

Chunky Chocolate Gobs**

3/4 c. unsalted butter, softened
1/3 c. butter-flavored shortening***
1 c. granulated sugar
2/3 c. firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 c. Oreo cookies, coarsely chopped (16 cookies)
3 1.75 oz Mounds bars, chilled and chopped
1 c. semisweet chocolate morsels

Beat butter and shortening at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; gradually add sugars, beating until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, beating until blended.

Combine flour and next 3 ingredients; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. Stir in cookies, candy bars, and chocolate morsels. Chill dough for 30 minutes.

Drop dough by 1/4 cupfuls 2" apart onto baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes or until barely set. Cool on baking sheets 10 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Yield: about 2.5 dozen.****

*Or, use …

Six!

You know you've thrown a good party when, after the last guest has left, your daughter turns to you and says, "Can we do that all over again?"


Mostly, there was a newly-6-year-old little girl having a good time, and a mom who was very proud of the way she was taking turns, and making sure her friends were having fun, and saying not just "Thank you" but "What a nice present you gave me!" There were memories of this little girl being born, of the way she was so quiet and alert and interested in everything in the delivery room, and more memories of birthdays past: A one-year-old holding up one cake-smeared finger on her first birthday; a two-year-old hugging a pink plush pig; a three-year-old in pigtails demanding a Dragon Tales cake; a four-year-old dressed up like a princess; a five-year-old shouting, "I'm FIVE!" the minute she woke up. Now she's six, and she's one-third of the way grown up, and I've loved every minute of it --…

Things You May Not Have Known

The scene: Last night, bedtime.

Phoebe: Mommy, are there monsters?

Me: No, no monsters.

Pho: There are no blue monsters to scare me?

Me: No, there are no monsters here at all.

Mallory: Phoebe, monsters aren't real. They're like vampires and unicorns and other things that aren't real.

Pho: Oh!

Mal: Mommy, what other things aren't real?

Me: Um, dragons.

Mal: Yeah. What else?

Me: Dinosaurs.

Mal: Dinosaurs are real!

Me: Well, you're right. They used to be real, but there are no live dinosaurs now.

Mal: I know what happened to them.

Me: You do?

Mal: Yeah! A big planet came and crushed them and they all ran away because they were scared and they died.

Me: Hm.

Mal: Is that right?

Me: No one knows for sure, but yes, many people believe that an asteroid, which is a big big big big rock from outer space, crashed into the earth and changed the weather so much that the dinosaur's food couldn't grow, and so the dinosaurs died.

Mal: Yeah, because if you don't have any food for a long l…

What Really Happened

My mom’s comment to yesterday’s post was that I have a good memory. To which I respond: How could a kid not remember that? But the truth is, I fudged the whole thing a bit for the sake of brevity. This is the true – and really not all that much more interesting – version, which may really make my mom marvel at my memory.

Christmas Day 1977 fell on a Sunday, and because my parents were evidently daunted by the prospect of getting four kids (8, 5, 3-month-old twins) up, Santa Claused, dressed, breakfasted, and out the door for services at my Grandma’s church, 30 miles away, they requested of Santa Claus that he visit us a day early. So I actually lost my tooth on December 23. On Christmas Eve morning, I woke up, found the Tooth Fairy’s offering, was suitably delighted, and trotted off down the hall to the bathroom. Moments later I heard my older sister shout, “Krista, guess who came last night?”

“The Tooth Fairy, I know, duh,” I replied. (Oh wait. That’s what my 5-year-old daughter would…

Worlds Collide

When I was 5-almost-6, I lost a tooth on Christmas Eve. And because my parents are awesome, yes, I had both a quarter under my pillow AND presents under the tree the next morning. When you're 5-almost-6, it just doesn't get any better than that.

I wonder if Santa shared the cookies with the Tooth Fairy?

The tension builds...

...as we start the countdown to Mallory's Sixth Birthday Celebration. This Saturday, an unknown number of little girls (do people not understand what RSVP means?) will converge upon my house for an Event which will include a Craft (yes, me, organizing a craft, what was I thinking?), a Tea Party (with real tea! and hot chocolate for those who don't like tea! and lemonade for those who don't like either!), and Cake. Yikes! I'm not sure if I'm up for this. My biggest dilemma is -- are the parents going to stay? Because they don't have to and in fact I'd prefer that they don't because X number of little girls plus X number of their mothers times the number of my chairs in my house equals not enough. But some of these moms don't really know me -- I mean, all they know about me is that I'm Mallory's mom, so maybe they won't feel comfortable dropping off their kid and leaving. I'm not sure what to do about that although it would help if the…

Thankful

Last night Mallory brought me a baby doll and said, "Ma'am, would you mind babysitting my daughter for a little while? Her name is Sarah and she's 2 months old."

"Certainly," I said.

"Thank you. I have a few more, wait right here." She subsequently brought me Elizabeth, Melissa, Molly, Mae, Snow White, Belle, Malilla, Zella, and another Sarah. The children, she explained, ranged from aged 1 month to 4 years and some of them were twins.

"That's a lot of children," I said.

"Yes, and I need you to babysit for me because I have to fly to Pennsylvania on an airplane to pick up my other daughter, Nyah." She added, "I only have girl children."

"Another daughter! Wow, you must be very busy with all these kids," I said.

She nodded, and sighed heavily. "I am very tired, all the days."



I am so thankful for my children. I am even more thankful that there are only two of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Who Were Jeannette and Isabella and why did they need a torch?

I need me some new Christmas music. I've been listening to the same stuff for about ten years now, and it's all stuff that was already kind of outdated, like, um, the Oak Ridge Boys and the Osmonds. (Now I'm all embarrassed for myself.)

I like Christmas music that's a bit zippy -- the Rat Pack Christmas album is good, for example (Chris is a Rat Pack fan). I bought Mallory the "Olivia Newton John Christmas Album" last week and Olivia's still got some pipes but wow, all the songs are really slow and dull. I like carols and non-secular songs equally, all other things considered.

"White Christmas" is my least favorite song.

So, any suggestions for me?

(Is my post title too obscure?)

Much

When Phoebe was a baby I made up the Fee-fi-Phoebe song for her. It was no great feat of composition, I just improvised the lyrics of what is already a nonsense song -- the Fee-fi-fiddli-i-oh section of I've Been Working on the Railroad/Someone's in the Kitchen with Dinah. (Are those supposed to be two separate songs? I've never quite understood their relationship.) Thus:

Fee fi Phoebe i oh
Fee fi Phoebe i oh oh oh oh
Fee fi Phoebe i oh
Phoebe I love you so!

I sang it quite a bit when she was an infant, but she was never the type of kid who liked to be sung or rocked to sleep, so after a while it faded away. I revived during the great Tantrum Week of 2007 (the tantrums really did only last a week, go figure), and now Phoebe asks me to sing it to her, or can be heard singing it to herself.

The adorable part is that after I sing the last line, "Phoebe I love you so," Phoebe chimes in with, "Much!"

And it's true.



I sang to Mallory a lot; it was part of our be…

L-L-Liar

The other day Mallory came home from school and said that she hadn't gotten her hot lunch. The teacher said she wasn't on the list, so sorry, and poor Mallory was hungry all day long. Chris and I were all outraged and I stormed into the principal's office the next morning demanding why Mallory hadn't been fed and why no one had notified me of the problem. (Well, if you know me at all, you'll know that storming and demanding are not things that I do. I inquired without smiling. Take that!) The school secretary was concerned and promised to investigate and the upshot of it all was that Mallory lied. She completely lied. She did get her lunch, she ate some of it, but she was really hungry when she got home from school and wanted a really big snack so she just lied.

(The secretary was so nice about it. When she told me that Mallory did in fact have lunch I said, "I'm sorry that she's a big liar" and she said, "Oh no, I'm sure she was just conf…

K-K-Kindergarten

I had a parent-teacher conference regarding Mallory's kindergarten progress last week. Mrs. F said that on the whole Mallory is doing very well, and that in fact sometimes she's surprised at how well Mallory is doing because it often appears that Mallory is off in outer space instead of paying attention. She said that Mallory consistently answers very hard questions correctly (regarding things like sequences and logic -- yeah, logic, in kindergarten!) but that sometimes still misses easy things like rhyming. She said Mallory is a mystery to her. I said to join the club. Oh, and Mallory is also consistently the slowest child in the class to accomplish tasks such as putting away crayons and packing up at the end of the day and often forgets things such as where to find her math workbook, which is in the exact same location every day. She asked if Mallory were this way at home and I said yes but I thought all 5-year-olds were that way. Apparently they are not and we need to work …

Is this silly?

My girls have millions of baby dolls. All shapes and sizes, ranging from a $2.99 Walmart special to a much more expensive Madame Alexander newborn. Neither girl has a particular favorite doll; if a baby is required at any given time, any baby will do, and it's always easy to find a baby doll as they're scattered all over the house, throughout the halls, in the laundry baskets, underneath the seats of the car.

In spite of the quite adequate supply of dolls in the house, and in spite of the fact that Mallory is getting a very special doll for her birthday next month from her grandmom and aunts, Mallory still wants a doll for Christmas. To be specific, she wants the doll that eats and wets and cries and pees and makes kissing noises and probably does your taxes for you as well.

It's tempting to just say no, that we have enough dolls. And in fact that's just what Chris does say.

And yet...I got a doll every Christmas until I was ten or eleven years old, and I remember every s…

These are the moments I should be counting

Vote For Me!!

This is kind of embarrassing, but, on a whim I entered my summer haiku in a contest sponsored by one of my favorite bloggers. And I'm a finalist! And if I win I get some kind of prize! So, if you have a minute, go vote for me!

And if you do, I'll stop using exclamation points!

PS Also read his blog, it's hilarious.

In My Head

In my head there's an ever-ticking clock which computes the number of minutes I spend with my kids. This clock tells me that it's okay to be fifteen minutes picking them up after work on Thursday, because they got an extra two hours with me on Monday because I worked from home. Or that I need to make sure to be a little early tomorrow, because I have a 30-minute meeting with Mallory's teacher in the evening. The clock ticks loudly at me when I go anywhere without the kids on the weekend. The clock reminds me not to be annoyed when my kids wake up extra early on the weekend, because that's extra time to spend together. The clock tells me that Phoebe and Mallory are without me about 8.5 hours a day, but seven of those hours don't count for Mallory because of school, and two don't count for Phoebe because of naps. Once, when I was having trouble falling asleep, the clock and I computed the total annual difference between the time I spend at work and the time I spe…

Proof, as if more was needed, that vegetables are evil

I recently decided to follow Aimee's lead and incorporate nu-tri-tion into my family's meals. Last week I spent a really, really long time steaming and pureeing a butternut squash, a food that I have never in my life willingly ingested. I stacked about a million little plastic containers of pureed squash in my freezer, where they awaited their introduction into spaghetti sauces and applesauce muffins.

A few days later, my freezer died.

Do you think that I'm going to dare to put pureed vegetables into the shiny new freezer that we'll be purchasing tonight?

Not a chance.

So should we go with stainless steel? It's pretty but I'm wondering if, since we are a household with children, it would just end up all smudged.

Incidentally, you know it's going to be bad when the repairman comes in, sees your non-functioning refrigerator, and says, "Huh. Frig.i.daire." Then he says, "How old is it?" and you say, "Seven years," and he says, "Uh…

Everyone needs a Mimi

Remember the first season of Friends, when Ross's ex-wife has the baby and Monica holds him for the first time and tries to think of something profound to say, and finally blurts out, "I will always have gum!" ? Well, that's the kind of auntie my sister-in-law is.



Okay, Mimi might not always have gum, exactly, but that's okay because half of my children can't chew gum yet anyway. But Mimi always has something -- a little treat, a surprise, a few pictures to look at or a cool keyring to play with. Mimi is always available to take my girls to Dairy Queen for an ice cream cone. Mimi is excellent at arts and crafts projects. Mimi is always there on special occasions (like Trick or Treat!) but she's also always willing to drop everything and come over at 7:25 on a random Thursday evening, should Mallory decide she wants to see her.

Mimi has endured offenses ranging from copious newborn spitup to undeserved four-year-old snottiness, but she always forgives. Mimi…

Happy Hallo-whine

This was Mallory when she was...almost three, I guess:



It was then that I renamed the occasion "Hallo-whine," to the amusement of a few. (Apparently it wasn't as funny as the comment Chris made years ago to a group of finicky candy-grubbers who came to our door: "Hey, this is Trick or Treat, not Pick Your Treat!" But I'm losing my point.)

Mallory's Halloween demeanor wasn't too much different last night, except that now she's almost six and a bit better able to control herself. She looked lovely in her ballerina fairy dress:



...but the whining started as soon as we left the house and didn't stop til we got back. It was partially my fault; she wanted to trick-or-treat with the little girl next door, but I'm not much of a fan of the little girl next door, plus that little girl's mom (of whom I am less of a fan) was wearing a witch outfit that was freaking Phoebe out, so I held us back with a variety of excuses (oops, gotta go potty! oops…

She spins for thee

An optical illusion for you on Halloween:



Which way does the girl spin? Can you get her to "switch" and spin the other way?

More on less water

Aimee asked me how I planned to reduce our water consumption, and Amy wrote a good post on actions she's taking to do so. Way to go Amy!

I checked my consumption history through my online account with the City. It's a bit confusing, actually. For the Sept-Oct billing cycle our consumption was "4." Four what? It doesn't indicate how that translates into gallons, and I don't know if that's average or high or low or what. It's better than May-June, however, which was 8; but worse than Jun-July, which was a 3 -- but we were gone for a week at the end of June, so that does make sense. Jul-Aug and Aug-Sept were both 6 -- it just occurred to me that, except for our vacation, our water use would be higher in the summer because Chris and the kids are home all day; now that school's started, there's no one home to flush toilets and wash hands every weekday from 8:30 to 5.

So what can I do to get our consumption down to a 2, as the governor requested, oth…

Am I Missing Something Here?

We are currently in the midst of an "exceptional" drought, which is the very worst kind of drought, apparently. It has been raining off and on for the past three days (yay!) but it's not going to be enough to pull us out of the crisis. Last week, the governor asked everyone -- businesses and homes -- to reduce water consumption by 50% by the end of the month.

There's an apartment complex right across the street from my office building. Right after the governor's annoucement, they posted a big sign, facing the street, which proclamed:

OUR IRRIGATION SYSTEM RUNS ON WELL WATER

I can only guess that this sign is supposed to serve as some kind of justification for them to continue to water their flowerbeds and bushes and shrubs and things. (It's a very nicely landscaped apartment complex.) I guess they're saying, We're not using municipal water, so we're not obliged to follow the water restriction rules. (This is only a guess, but I can't imagine why …

Pictures!

Haven't posted pictures for a while, so here you go.

Last weekend at the pumpkin patch:







Nap time:



Homework time:



Trying to reach the ice cream and about to throw a fit time:

Worse than Tantrums

Phoebe has recently started to utter the three little words I never want to hear from my child.

No, not “I hate you*.” Not “I failed algebra” or “The car’s totaled” or even “I do drugs.” Not “Oops, I’m pregnant” or “I’m in jail” or “He hits me” or “I’m a Republican.”** No, the words are:

“You play too!”

I don’t like to play with my children. There, I said it. I will read to my children, a million books a day. I will find markers and paper and I will open play-doh cans. I will push on the swings and spot on the slide. I will put movies in the DVD player and find favorites on the ipod. I will even stack blocks and play board games once in a while.

But tea parties with bears and Barbies – no. Don’t ask me to play school, or doctor, or pet shop. I don’t want to be a zookeeper, or the good fairy, or the boyfriend’s big sister. Don’t count on me to make up conversations with your dolls and for the love of all that’s holy, don’t ever, ever hand me a puppet.

Am I alone in this, am I awful? Seriou…

What They Wouldn't Learn in Public School, Part II

Chris teaches art at a Catholic high school. Yesterday, to facilitate a new unit on Figure Drawing, he borrowed a human skeleton from the biology department. While discussing the anatomy, he made a comment about the shape of the pelvic bones and how they move apart during childbirth. All the girls in the class screamed at the thought.

Anyway, later in the day a kid came up to him and said, "Mr. K! I heard that you were talking about how babies were born in class!"

"Well, not really," Chris said.

"Yeah!" said another kid. "I heard that you said that when a baby is born, it EXPLODES out of the mother's hips!"

Chris denied saying any such thing. I dunno, maybe he should've stuck with that. It sounds like a pretty good incentive for contraception, to me.



Just remembered the "Sex Education" I received as part of my Home Economics class my senior year of high school. Irony: Two of the girls in the class were pregnant by the end of the sch…

Tantrums

The 2's were not at all terrible for Mallory. Now, three-and-a-half was pretty bad, and four was rough, and there are moments during five-and-three-quarters that make me want to ship her off to Kalamazoo, but when Mallory was two everything was sunshine and roses and kittens frolicking in...whatever kittens frolic in. (I'm a dog person.) I thought the terrible 2's were a myth, devised by parents who obviously just didn't know how to relate to their 2-year-olds.

Clearly I was a fool. My second 2-year-old -- who up until last week was going through life on a fairly even keel -- has been replaced by a whirling dervish who collapses into screaming rages if you look at her funny.

Since Saturday, Phoebe has had full-blown, fall-down-on-the-floor-and-kick tantrums because:

She wanted to go outside.
She wanted to come inside.
It was dark outside.
She wanted to take a bath.
She did not want to take a bath.
I let the water out of the bath.
She wanted "fre-sert" but did not wan…

I guess that's what they call irony

My mother pointed out, correctly, that one of the quotes I said was a misquote actually wasn't. Patrick Henry did say "Give me liberty or give me death!" However, Nathan Hale did not say "My only regret is that I have but one life to give for my country." Sorry, wrong patriot.

And in response to those who did not like The Power and the Glory -- neither did I! In fact I didn't much care for any of the books from which the quotes in my previous post originated. I find Jane Austen dull; I abhor D.H. Lawrence. One of Julian Barnes's books (Talking it Over) is one of my very favorites, Flaubert's Parrot is meh. I was inspired by certain passages of Middlemarch but on the whole it's a bit of a slog. So, um, there.



More later, busy at work and computer is very slow. News at our house: Mallory has strep, Phoebe has tantrums. Many of them. Whee!

Other People Say It Better

I have always been a quote collector. The walls of my bedroom used to be papered with quotations (usually printed out in whatever cool fonts were available on our Apple IIE computer). When I got my own apartment in NC, I hung quotes up all over my "dining area" -- something that Chris later told me he found "weird."

I recently read a funny article in the New Yorker about quotes. Apparently many famous quotes were never actually quoted by the people they're attributed to; for example, Patrick Henry probably did not say "Give me liberty or give me death." And, um, well, other people did not say things we think they said but I don't have the magazine in front of me so you'll just have to wonder. Sorry, how lame am I?

In the meantime, here are some of the quotes that got me through college and graduate school:

"But it is very difficult to be learned; it seems as if people were worn out on the way to great thoughts and can never enjoy them becau…

Something She Wouldn't Learn in Public School

Mallory came home yesterday wearing a "Faith" bracelet she'd made in Religion class. It was made of several colored beads on a black cord. I asked her to tell me about it and she said, "Well, the blue bead is for water, the green bead is for trees, the yellow bead is for the sun, the brown bead is for the earth. And the red bead is for Jesus' blood, and the black bead is because Jesus died."

I was a bit taken aback by the last two beads (not in a bad way, please understand, it's just that I'm as new to Catholic school as Mallory herself is), but I said, "Well, that's a great bracelet. All the beads stand for something very special."

"It's not so special that Jesus died," she protested.

"Actually it is. Haven't you learned yet why Jesus died?"

"No."

"Well, Jesus died so everyone can go to heaven," I said, after a moment of wondering how to explain it best. And immediately regretted even beginni…

Ad Nauseam

My children are incapable of saying anything just one time, and I am in the process of losing my mind. Phoebe repeats everything she says at least three times: "It's too early for a nap, Mommy, it's too early, it's too early for a nap." Mallory repeats all of her demands over and over again even AFTER I've told her yes, or no; "Can you help me find my shoes?" "Yes, just a minute please." "Help me find me shoes, Mommy, can you help me NOW please find my shoes, where are my shoes?" The other day both of them were asking something of me "Want a drink, Mommy, a drink, a drink Mommy, want a drink" at the same time "Mommy can I watch Nickelodeon now? Can I? Can I watch Nickelodeon Mommy? Mommy can I?" without even giving me a chance to answer, much less find a sippy cup or the remote, and I just lost it and yelled at both of them: "STOP ASKING ME THINGS OVER AND OVER AGAIN! I HEARD YOU THE FIRST TIME! SIT DOWN …

Sisters and Brothers

I’ve been meaning to post this for a while, but it feels vaguely maudlin and also vaguely like plagiarism. But, it’s Friday afternoon and I have no real work to do, so here goes anyway.

I mentioned that our friend Mike died last month. Chris and I went to his funeral, of course, and, as funerals go, this one was…quite wonderful, really, if such can be said about a funeral. The family invited Mike’s friends to come forward to share stories and memories about Mike’s life, and of the twelve or fifteen people who came forward, most of them began by saying, “Mike was one of my very best friends…” and if that’s not the marker of a successful life, I don’t know what else would be.

But it was Mike’s younger brother’s eulogy that touched me the most, and that I still think about almost every day. The recurring theme of the speech was that as they were growing up, Matt wanted to do everything his big brother would do, and that Mike would call him on it. “You just want to read comic books because …

Again with the juice

Last night Mallory poured herself a glass of grape juice. Before taking a drink, she asked, "Mommy, does juice have cabizees in it?"

"Cavities?" I said.

"Yeah."

"No...it has sugar which can cause cavities, though."

"Oh." She thought. "No, I mean, you know, cabizees."

"Um...do you mean calories?"

"Yeah!"

"Yes, it does have calories."

"So, if I drink this I won't be able to go to sleep tonight?"

"Wait, do you mean caffeine?"

"Is caffeine what makes you not able to sleep?"

"Yes."

"Okay, that's what I mean."

"Well, juice does not have caffeine."

"That's a relief."

It certainly is.

Kindergarten Blues

I was going to do a whole long post about Mallory's Kindergarten Troubles, but I've been talking or emailing about it to various people all morning and now I don't feel like rehashing it again (although I am certainly going to bore my mom and sister with it on Friday!). I will instead ask these two questions:

1. If you're a mean person, why would you want to be a kindergarten teacher?

2. How do you explain this to a 5-year-old: Some people are just mean. You just have to toughen up and deal with it. Oh, and welcome to the rest of your life.



Holly, thanks for the tips. It is federal court that I was summoned to. I guess I won't smuggle in a book after all (sob!). And I'm really hoping I'm not assigned to a 3-week trial...Oh, and I sympathize with your heartburn. I had such awful heartburn with both my pregnancies (and both babies were born with a lot of hair, giving credence to that old wives' tale). In fact my three reasons for not having a third child are…

Work, Vampires, Kings & Queens

I've been called to jury duty. I met this summons with a groan but also with a touch of curiosity. I've never been called before; I wonder what it's like. I was alarmed, when reviewing my Juror Information, to read that I should NOT bring any reading material into the courthouse. From what I understand there's a lot of sitting about and waiting during jury selection. I can't possibly be expected to sit around without a book. Perhaps I'll bring a large purse and "accidentally" slip in a paperback.

Another part of the summons amused me greatly. There's a section on what constitutes a "hardship" which would get you excused from duty. The accepted hardships are age (over 70); prior service in the past two years; medical condition. Then there was this line:

"Please note that work is usually considered a hardship for everyone."

Were truer words every written?



Chris has been playing "vampire" with the girls lately. How they lo…

And speaking of juice...

Have you noticed the absolute wealth of orange juice varieties lately? One can stand, paralyzed with indecision, in front of the juice case for hours. There's juice with extra-antioxidants, extra calcium, extra Vitamins; there's juice with low acid, low sugar, and low pulp. My criteria is: Must be on sale, and must have no pulp. (It's not so much that I dislike pulp; it's that my little brother used to call pulp "zits," as in, "Ewww, there are zits in my juice." See, now you don't want to drink juice with pulp either, do you?)

So that is how I ended up purchasing orange juice with added Omega-3 this week. After I got it home I glanced at the ingredients, wondering exactly how they got the Omega-3 into the juice anyhow. The list was: Orange juice from concentrate, anchovy and tilapia oils. These last had an asterisk which led to the following helpful note:

"Ingredients not found in regular orange juice."

Really?

A Cup of Juice

Mornings do not always go smoothly in our house. This morning, for example, my girls ate dry pancakes for breakfast. In the car. On the way to school. Because I overslept by ten minutes and then they overslept by a lot -- they were very sleepy today. ("Phoebe, it's time to get up!" I said, to which she replied, "I'm sleeping!")

Things are not always quite that bad, but neither are they as organized as one might wish. And I do everything that people suggest: I lay out the clothes the night before, I pack the backpacks, I make the lunches. But in the morning there are still water bottles to be filled (for me, Mallory, Phoebe on days she has Parents Morning Out, and the dog if she's fortunate enough to be remembered) and teeth to be brushed and shoes to be found and, sometimes, depending on the whimsy of my children, menus to be written ("Mommy, you have to write down everything we have for breakfast before I can choose what I want!" says my child…

The Dreaded Mumble

My father has always accused me and one of my sisters (to protect her identity, I won't say which one) of mumbling. I think that both of us used to respond to this criticism with a "Daa-aad! I don't mumble!" but over the course of time I have come to accept the fact that I really can be a mumbler. I am trying to overcome this deficit, not least because I get irritated when I'm asked to repeat myself. (Maybe I just don't like speaking out loud in general.)

At any rate, I seem to have passed the mumbler gene along to my oldest daughter. Lately she is mostly incomprehensible. Last night I asked her how school had been and the answer was: "We mumble mumble gym mumble marble mumble mumble and then mumble mumble celebrate mumble mumble mumble with a mumble party."

"Huh?" I said, and got an exasperated "Mommy!" in reply. At least that came out loud and clear.



Recently read:

The Stolen Child by Keith Donohue. This was an odd book, both in su…

Forgotten Funnies

...because my memory is not what it used to be.

Phoebe
We were at a playground a few weeks ago and Phoebe left her special puppy, her pink one puppy, on a bench. A little boy grabbed it, Phoebe saw him, and I expected a major contretemps to ensue. Instead she said, "It's okay. You can hold it. Don't worry! You can squish it too."

My in-laws overheard this conversation Phoebe was holding with two of her dolls: "Where's Mommy? Oh, she's not available right now."

Chris greeted us when we came home yesterday afternoon and Phoebe responded: "Hi Daddy! I'm Phoebe! And this is my mommy!"



Mallory

"I did really good at maths today," she said. I asked her what exactly she did in "maths." "I don't know," she said, "but I was really good at it."

Later: "Two kids in my class cried today," she told me. "Annie cried because she missed her mom, and Molly cried because she didn't like the drill.&…

Summer, summed up

Two little girls, feet
in matching pink Crocs, fingers
popsicle-sticky.

(It's a haiku!)

As promised, Phoebe funnies

One wonderful thing about parenting is when you realize that you love your kids not just because they are your kids, but also because they happen to be great kids. (Of course you have to have something in reserve for those moments when they’re just horrible.) Even as a baby, Phoebe had a pretty strong personality, but lately she’s really come into her own and she’s a definite person now. I think what I love most is how self-assured she seems; everything she does, she does with a great deal of determination and sense of purpose. Everything she says, she says with a sense of the worth of her own words. Which is not to say that she can’t be goofy and spontaneous; she often is, but she flings herself into goofiness with her whole being as well.

It’s hard to convey what I mean with a few snippets of conversation; nonetheless, here are some of the funny things she’s said in the last week or so.

One night she threw a paperback book at Mallory. Chris scolded her; she picked up another book and…

My Favorites

Lately, Phoebe has a lot of favorite things. "Read this book, Mommy," she'll say, "it's my fave-wit." Tomatoes are also her favorite, as are grapes and yogurt. Her blue shirt is her favorite until she changes into a pink one. Her little puppy pink one is her most favorite of all. ("Where my puppy pink one? It's my fave-wit.") Here are a few of my favorite things about the last few days.

Mallory and I made this together:



It's to display all her school papers and artwork. She painted most of it; I helped a bit and glued on the clothespins. I may choose the new colors for our kitchen around it, as the only good place to hang it up is on the kitchen wall.

(I was going to just let you wonder about the fortune cookies, but I'll go ahead and add that the cookies were entirely Mallory's idea. And when Phoebe does anything particularly pleasing Mallory will say, "You can go get a fortune cookie off the board!" Although once she got…

Briefly...

Mallory
"How was your first day of school?" I asked.

"Great!" she said. Then added, "That means really good, you know."

Phoebe
"I want juice, Mommy!"

"No, it's almost bedtime. You can have some water."

"But juice is my favorite!"

Me
I'm taking the rest of the week off. Woohoo! In the next three days I have to:

Attend Parent Orientation for Mallory's school and Phoebe's Parent's Morning Out program.

Take kids to dentist.

Get car inspected.

Take kids to bouncy house fun place because we saw one the other day and Mallory threw a huge tantrum because I wouldn't take her RIGHT AWAY so I promised we'd do it at a later date.

Take Phoebe for her two-year portrait. If she actually smiles, I will buy said portraits, but I'm not holding my breath.

Clean up my kitchen. I have to make space for lunch-making apparatus (apparati?) and otherwise declutter because I MUST get started on the great wallpaper removal/painting pr…

Mallory, in Kindergarten

Here she is, all uniformed-up:



Here she is at her desk:



She looks a bit drowsy, doesn't she? Two reasons: Despite my best intentions, I wasn't able to get the kids on a back-to-school bedtime schedule last week, so she's not quite used to getting up at 7:00 yet. Also, her allergies have been pretty bad this week. The only hitch in an otherwise-smooth morning was when I tried to give her some Claritin. "I don't want medicine! What flavor is it?" she asked, and I told her. She started to cry. "I don't want it if it's poop-flavored!" "Not poop, fruit!" I said, and all was well.

She's so excited about school, I hope she loves it. She was a bit relieved to learn that there will probably be no homework for a few months. She didn't impress me with her back-to-school assignment; she was to draw a picture of her favorite summer activity. She procrastinated and put it off until yesterday afternoon, when I told her she couldn't watch…

Sweet

My friend A has a son, G., whom I consider my first baby. He's ten now, but he was born (ten years ago, obviously) before Chris and I got married, when we had plenty of time on our hands, and I hung out with A and G almost every weekend. Then both of our families moved to new houses and weren't able to visit as often, but A and I still talk on the phone almost every day. (G apparently loves it when A relays to him funny stories about Mallory and Phoebe.)

When Mallory was 8 or 9 months old, we had a daycare crisis and A babysat for a day or two. During her naps, G sat outside the bedroom door with a plastic baseball bat in his hands, just in case bad guys came to get her.

A few days ago, A told G that Mallory would be starting kindergarten soon. G asked if she'd be going to his school and A said no. G said, "That's too bad. If she came to my school, she'd have someone to take care of her. She wouldn't have to worry about a thing."

I'm a little sad tha…