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Showing posts from February, 2009

In pigheadedness and in health

We're sick. Mallory started it; she got the flu and missed an entire week of school. The very day she finally started to feel better, Phoebe succumbed. This weekend, Chris developed something which is not quite the flu, but which involves a terrible cough and a sore throat and other miseries. I don't know if I technically have the flu, but I certainly feel like I've been run over by a large truck. I can't sleep, breathing through my nose seems like a fond, distant memory, and when I lay down it feels like my blood turns to icewater.

Send help! Or sedatives.

What makes things worse is the fact that my children are...difficult. To venture here into a territory that the superstitious wouldn't dare go -- there are, it goes without saying, a whole host of reasons that I hope my kids never get a serious illness, but not least among those reasons is the fact that neither of my children would be, in their illness, raised to the status of a "brave little fighter" or…


See this? This picture was taken a long time ago. It is a picture of my children all ready to go to school. How I long for those days, when they actually went to school. When they didn't both have the flu, the dreaded, never-ending flu. Thanks a lot, flu!

A penny for them

Chris teaches at a Catholic high school, and Mass attendance is obligatory for him and for his students. Nevertheless, apparently, his students try to wheedle him into letting them skip the services every week. A few weeks ago they were even offering him money -- pulling dollar bills out of their wallets as if this would convince someone who earns a high-paying salary as a Catholic school teacher. (Ha! and Ha! again) One kid took out a dime, rubbed it between his fingers, and said, "Could I interest you in my friend Grover Cleveland here?"

Chris told me this story and we laughed and laughed. "Grover Cleveland!" I snorted.

"I know!" Chris said. "Who doesn't know that it's Teddy Roosevelt on the dime!"

I stopped laughing. "Wait a minute. It's not Teddy Roosevelt."

"It's not?"

"No, of course not."

"Well then who is it, smarty?"

"It's, um," I said. I fished around in our coin jar for a d…

25 Things about Phoebe

There's a thing going around facebook lately -- you're supposed to post 25 random things about yourself. I haven't done it, but just for fun, here's 25 random things about Phoebe instead:

Phoebe is exactly the same age today – 3 years, 7 months, 5 days – as Mallory was the day we brought Phoebe home from the hospital.
At that age, Mallory was obsessed with babies (and not just because we were having a new one); Phoebe never has been.
That’s one reason – but not the main reason – why Phoebe will never be a big sister.
Phoebe’s best friend from school is the second-shyest girl in the class (guess who’s the shyest). When they see each other in the morning, they smile, run toward each other, and then stop and avert their eyes for a few seconds before deciding it’s okay to start playing.
When Phoebe gets hurt, she will do everything in her power to not let anyone know about it. She does not want kisses or hugs or, god forbid, band-aids. She’d rather cry to herself and move on.

Please don't take my sunshine away

A few nights ago, Mallory asked if the sun would ever stop shining. Chris explained that yes, in a million billion years (approximately), the sun would in fact burnt out and do whatever stars do once they burnt out. They talked about this for a few minutes, and then I glanced over and saw Phoebe, quietly sobbing into a pillow.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I don't want that to happen to the sun!" she cried.

And what do you say to make it better? "It's okay, honey, by the time this happens you'll be long dead anyway?" I just gave her a hug and told her not to worry, that the sun would be fine. Little darling.

Deja Vu

One night, when I was about three years old, my big sister crept into my room. We were both supposed to be asleep. "I need you to go check on Mommy," she said. "I'm afraid she's left us all alone."

"Okay," I said agreeably, not asking why this fear had surfaced. We had never been left all alone before, after all; but I was used to doing what Jana told me to do. So I slid out of bed and padded down the hall. I was probably carrying my beloved doll, Sherry, by the hair. (I often woke up in the middle of the night and cried because I couldn't find Sherry. My mom always came to help me locate her.) I peered around the corner into the living room. My mom was on the couch, watching TV and possibly needlepointing. It might have been Kojak or the Rockford Files on TV. She looked up and saw me.

"What are you doing out of bed?" she asked.

"Um," I said, not knowing exactly what to say. Should I rat out my sister? I decided not to. "…

And more truth on top of that, too

To be completely honest, it drives me just a little bit nuts, having Mallory read aloud to me. She's a good reader, for a 7-year-old, but she has some frustrating traits. For example, she will read words like "discouraged" and "misunderstood" without hesitation, but then she'll stop and need help with words like "what" and "don't." Worse than that, though, is that her comprehension isn't quite up to par, and she'll often stop in the middle of a sentence and ask what's going on, a question that would be easily answered if she would only read the rest of the sentence. "'The polar bear was frightened because' -- why was the polar bear frightened?" she'll ask. And I'll say, "Finish the sentence!" and she'll say, "Mommy, would you just tell me about the polar bear!" and then I'll say something I regret.

When I was a child, I did my daily assigned reading to my young brother…

More truth

Mallory is supposed to read aloud for 20-30 minutes every day. As Chris and I are working parents, that means we have to try to fit that half-hour of reading between 5:30, when we get home, and 9:00, when the kids (supposedly) go to bed. Along with dinner, and other homework, and bath, and Daisy scouts, and other stuff.

You would think that someone such as myself, who would rather read than do almost anything else in the world, would do everything in my power to foster such a love of reading in my children. You'd think that I'd make reading practice a Very High Priority.

The truth is...some nights, like tonight, I let Mallory play with her little sister instead. She has the rest of her life to be a reader. She only has a few short years to be here at home with Phoebe.

I don't feel the slightest bit of guilt about letting her skip reading practice. I do feel a little bit bad about forging the Reading Log that gets turned into her teacher every month. Let's just hope Mrs. …

Truth in Advertising

Me: You know what really annoys me?

Chris: What?

Me: I'm reading this magazine about storage solutions, right, about how to organize your closets and whatnot -- but look at the examples they use! All these closets are at least three times as large as ours, all of these kitchens have way more cabinets, all these living rooms have built in bookshelves -- what about getting organized when you have a tiny closet or an inadequate kitchen? What are ordinary people supposed to do?

Chris: Well, it is called Better Homes and Gardens, after all.