Going Home

The first time I brought Chris back home with me (home being the Texas Panhandle) was May 1996. The occasion was my brother and sister's high school graduation, and the weater was awful. The region was experiencing worse-than-usual drought conditions and there were horrible dust storms raging. The sky was a nice shade of brown. Chris claims to be impressed by the dust devils and tumbleweeds, but meteorologically speaking, I'd hoped for something a bit nicer.

The second time we went home together, it was Christmas 1997. There was a raging blizzard this time and we were snowed in for three or four days.

The third time was June 1998, and this occasion was our wedding. It was hot. It was asphalt-meltingly hot. When I drove by the bank (yes, in our town it's just "the" bank) on my way to church, the temperature was 109. After the ceremony we went to my grandparent's house to set up for a BBQ (yes, it's Texas, I can say BBQ) dinner and my granddad announced that the backyard thermometer read 115. We had to set up the tables on the driveway because it was slightly more shaded.

At least it was a dry heat.

The first time we flew with Mallory, she was four months old and I think I brought along every rattle, teether, blankey, and stuffed animal we owned, so afraid was I that she'd require constant entertainment on the plane. She was fine without any of that stuff, but I didn't really learn. On subsequent flights I continued to bring tons of books, stickers, crayons, and little action figures along -- and never needed half of it. When she was almost three, before we flew to El Paso to see my older sister, my father-in-law bought us a portable DVD player. We got on the plane and got it all set up to show Finding Nemo; then I glanced over at the family beside us -- a single mom with her 4-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter. They were doing Presidential Flash Cards. I felt appropriately chagrined. And I seem to recall that on the way back Mallory didn't want to watch movies at all; she spent the whole flight playing with a single jar of play-doh and some ice cubes.

So Sunday we're off again, all four of us this time. I'm sure we'll bring along the DVD player just in case. And some stickers. And some new books and gadgets. And most of it will stay firmly stowed in the overhead bins while the girls play with the airsick bags or look through the SkyMall catalog. (I love SkyMall!)

I just hope the weather's nice.


What We Learned This Week

Food Safety
Phoebe gave the dog a biscuit last night and said, “Don’t choke, Finn! Don’t choke!”

Bad Language
A few weeks ago Chris came through the door carrying a box and Mallory greeted him with, “What the hell is that?” So they had a discussion about appropriate and inappropriate language. She took it to heart but is now perhaps a bit overcautious – she questions the “badness” of any unfamiliar phrase. A few days ago while looking through a catalog she said, “Well, that’s a fine-looking thing!” – and then glanced up at me and said, “Is it okay for me to say, ‘fine-looking thing’?”

Yesterday afternoon Mallory started Gymnastics at a local gym. I had planned to hang out in the waiting area with Phoebe during Mallory’s class. The gym and waiting area are separated with a huge glass wall, so parents can see what the kids are doing. Unfortunately this also meant that Phoebe could see what the kids were doing, and she wanted in on that action. Major tantrum ensued. “I want to JUMP! I want to JUMP TOO!” she screamed, over and over. She was inconsolable. I had to call my father-in-law to come get her because I could not calm her down. Next week Phoebe will be staying at home during gymnastics!

Last night Mallory asked, “Are there bad guys in God?”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“You know, bad guys. Around God. Like in that book that’s all about God.”

“The Bible?”


“Yes, there are bad guys in the Bible.”

“Like the guys that took Jesus away, were they bad guys?”

“Yes, those were some bad guys.”

“Are they still WITH Jesus?”

“No, probably not.”

“Are they going to come take YOU away?”

“No, they’re all dead now, that was a long time ago.”

“Well that’s good.”

Then Phoebe said, “Bad guys at Elmo show?” referring to Sesame Street Live.

“No, there were no bad guys at the Elmo show,” I answered.

“Daddy bad guy?”

“No, Daddy’s a good guy.”

“Mommy bad guy?”

“No, I’m not a bad guy.”

“My-ee bad guy?” And so on through the entire list of people Phoebe knows – none of whom are bad guys, I’m happy to say.

What We’ll Learn This Weekend
How Mallory and Phoebe will get along without me and Chris. Send good thoughts to my parents- and sister-in-law!


Everyone should have such exciting news

I'm feeling a bit self-conscious today. I'm wearing a yellow shirt. I haven't worn yellow in years, honestly, probably not since junior high when I had a "color analysis" done and was told I should never, ever wear yellow. Even my kids were surprised when I got dressed this morning. "Lellow!" Phoebe said, and Mallory said, "You're wearing yellow today?" It's a nice butter yellow, very subtle, it's nothing brash or loud. It goes nicely with my pants. I noticed that it makes my hair looks a bit blonder and my skin is kind of glowy. Maybe I should wear yellow more often. Gasp. What's next for me? High heels? String bikinis? (No, and most definitely no.)

Phoebe choked on a Life Saver this weekend. Longest twenty seconds of my life. It was pretty spectacular, especially since she'd just eaten a red popsicle. She is fine, the dress she was wearing and the carpet in Chris's studio may never be the same.

On Saturday we piled into the car to go someplace. I started everything up and then glanced back to see if Mallory had her seat belt buckled. She said, "I know, I'm doing it, okay?" I said, "Mallory, I just can't wait until you're 14." She sighed and said, "Whatever."


The look on her face says it all

I'm all for celebrating milestones, and I am the type of mother who saves greeting cards and paintings and well-baby-check-up receipts, but this was too much even for me:

That's Phoebe "graduating" from Parent's Morning Out. Which only means that next fall she'll be in the 2-year-old classroom instead of the 1-year-old classroom.

The wisdom of holding a graduation ceremony for such an occasion is equal only to the wisdom of dressing small children -- who are freaked out and want nothing but to be held by their mommies -- in plastic grocery bags on a 95-degree day.


Sandbox Conversation

Mallory: This sand is really gooshy today.

B (across-the-street friend): I'm making footprints.

Mal: Well I'm making a sandcastle.

Phoebe: Hi Bay! Hi Bay! Hi Bay!

Me: B, Phoebe is saying hi to you.

B: Oh.

Mal: I watched a movie today.

B: Me too, I watched The Fox and the Hound.

Mal: Well I watched Drop Dead Fred.

Me: You did?

Mal: Yeah, it's a really good movie. It's about a girl named Elizabef and her imaginated friend. He's invisible. It's my favorite movie now. It's really good. Really.

Phoebe: Weevie, Bay! I watch weevie! I watch weevie, Bay!

B: I'm done with my sandcastle. I'm the queen!

Mal: Well I'm the mommy. No, how 'bout you be little girl and I'm the mommy.

B: No, I'm the queen.

Mal: No, how 'bout you're the princess. Wouldn't you rather be a princess? Because when you're a princess you're more beautiful and...and...danceable.

B: Well, okay.

Phoebe: Punce, Bay! A punce! [Princess]

B: My mom says I can't have any snacks.

Mal: Oh, that's sad.

Phoebe: Snack, Mommy? Phoebe have snack one too?

All girls, as dog leaps into the sandbox: Finn, stop!

Finn: Aaarooo!


Yes, we are suckers

Not only did we pay big bucks for tickets to see "Sesame Street Live," plus Ticketmaster fees, plus parking fees...

plus $6 for a tub of "pop-orn":

plus $4 for a bottle of water:

...we also shelled out for the souvenirs:

...including matching t-shirts, of course:

(Look! It's a picture of Phoebe and Mallory in which Phoebe is not crying!)

Millions of dollars were spent, but the kids had fun at the show. Although honestly, the popcorn was Phoebe's favorite part.

Speaking of musical events, the kids have recently been watching Annie. I myself had never seen Annie until a few weeks ago. It's mostly cheesy, but Carol Burnett is hilarious as Miss Hannigan. ("Why anyone would choose to be an orphan is beyond me" -- what a great line.) Anyway, Phoebe has started to sing "Tomorrow" at odd intervals throughout the day. And she always gives it the big finish: "To-mo-yow, to-mo-yow, I you, to-mo-yow, always DAAAAAYYY WAAAYYYY!"

Broadway, here we come.