Saturday, June 30, 2007

Jenny Appleseed

This is for my coworkers who are slipping, slipping I say, in the recycling department. On Friday I picked a Stonyfield yogurt cup and the former plastic container of what, from the description on the label, sounded like a really delicious salad, out of the trash can in the kitchen; a trash can which is mere inches away from our blue recycle bins.
Yes, I pick through garbage. I cannot help myself; though in my own defense the items in question were on the very top, I didn't have to dig. Do your part to cure me of this somewhat disgusting habit and recycle your plastic.

song: Jenny Appleseed • artist: Malvina Reynolds

Hey Babe, What Would You Say?

My friend Christine, the world traveler, is moving to Prague. It's all for the best really, the people at the post office never knew where Slovakia was when I was trying to mail her packages.
Perhaps, along with her latest teaching certificate, she'll learn Czechoslovakian, to go with the other languages she's proficient in, including Spanish and Japanese. I envy her ability to learn foreign languages. After many years of high school and college French, and despite having French Canadian-speaking relatives, all the French I can muster is asking Monsieur Jean Claude if he'd like to have lunch with me, which I learned off a record in junior high school. And if he says yes, well what then?
Recently though, I have become fluent in "toddler." My older son spoke very clearly from the get go, but his younger brother is more cryptic in his vocabulary.
The other morning he greeted me with "Dee, dee off." I speedily translated this to mean, "Good morning, mommy, my diaper is falling off, please change me quickly."
"Puppy sweep," doesn't mean that the dog is doing domestic chores but that his stuffed dog is lying on the floor somewhere covered with a dishtowel "blanket." Said puppy is "sleeping."
Just this afternoon we were outside and he demanded, "foo ah." This one was pretty tricky and I was baffled until C translated: "mommy, he wants you to take his shoes off." And that's exactly what he wanted. As soon as he was rid of his sandals he climbed into the wading pool with a tennis racket and started hitting balls. I think what threw me was the request itself. Here is a child who, Houdini-like, can get himself out of sneakers tied in double knots, why would he need my assistance to remove a pair of velcro sandals?
I can even speak toddler though I don't like to. As with any foreign language, it makes me uncomfortable to try my pronunciation at something that's not my native tongue.
The only problem with learning toddler is that there's a lot of different dialects. Just because I understand one toddler living half-way down dirt road in West Falmouth doesn't mean I'll understand another toddler, even one that lives in close proximity. It's a language that's always evolving.

song: Hey Babe, What Would You Say? • artist: Hurricane Smith

Thursday, June 28, 2007

under the couch (a list poem)

1 penny (real)
1 quarter (pretend)
1 cup and saucer (plastic)
1 magic marker (brown)
1 airplane (paper)
1 book (Curious George)
1 lobster (sculpey)
2 cars (metal)
4 beads (wooden)
unmeasurable amounts of dust

Good Day Sunshine

Hey! What happened to the 60% chance of rain that was predicted for today? I took down the tent, collected up all the plastic toys in the back yard, and was looking forward to not having to chase my screaming children around while trying to apply sunscreen to their scrunched up, pouty, faces.

song: Good Day Sunshine • artist: The Beatles

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Welcome to the Machine

Having recently reminisced over past computer purchases, I realized I've owned a Mac of some kind or another for the past 19 years. I wish I still had the first one I ever bought, the one with so little memory you had to insert a three-and-a-half-inch disk just to save a word document. If I still had it I could prop that baby up on the bookshelf and use it as a bookend along with my collection of antique typewriters that I use for the same purpose. Is antique typewriter an oxymoron? I wonder.
Yesterday I bought a new computer. The first time in 19 years that the size of the computer has gotten smaller instead of larger. Incidentally, the price as remained more or less constant over the past two decades, I just keep getting more and more computer for my money.
And if that's not a blatant plug for Apple I don't know what is. Maybe they'll read this blog and send me a nice fat rebate check which I could put towards the purchase of an iPod.

song: Welcome to the Machine • artist: Pink Floyd

twilight haiku

twilight approaches
as I water the garden
refreshing us both

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Now that I let the kids play upstairs unsupervised while I make dinner or perform endless cleanup tasks, I've become an expert on interpreting different types of crying. This is an important skill to hone because otherwise I would waste a lot of time climbing the stairs to investigate which cries were serious and which merely crying wolf.
In the beginning I had to stand at the bottom of the stairs straining to listen to the intensity of the cry and trying to gauge how long it would last, that is to say, would they still be crying by the time I got to the top of the stairs or would they have stopped, only to start again when they saw their audience had doubled.
The most common cry is the "he's not sharing with me," cry which, if executed by my older son is often followed by the "he just grabbed what I was playing with away from me," cry coming from his younger brother.
Then there's H's, "I've crawled under my crib and forgotten how to back out," cry and C's "I've been tormenting him for the past 10-minutes but I can't believe he just hit me," cry. Often followed by the lyrical, "you're stupid!"
There's the "he's got me by the arm, leg, chest, and won't let go," cry, and the always popular, sometimes in tandem: "I was jumping on the bed and slammed into the headboard," cry. That one sometimes even gets my attention.

song: Crying • artist: Roy Orbison

Tattoo You

Yesterday, for the second day in a row, H insisted I draw pictures all over him with the face-painting crayons. A football, baseball bat, house, fish, dog, flower, boat, and even an octopus, though that was my suggestion. His brother joined the cause by drawing what I'm told was a rocket ship on H's back.
When he was in just his diaper the effect was a bit startling: The Illustrated Toddler.

album: Tattoo You • artist: Rolling Stones

Monday, June 25, 2007


We resurrected the bug hut from the garage this morning and immediately filled it with two spiders, one grub, and a gravely injured beetle.

song: Trapped • artist: Bruce Springsteen

If You Leave Me Now

Our neighbor reported seeing a coyote in her backyard recently and as a result my older son is now afraid to be in the backyard without me for any length of time.
It used to be that I could run in the house and go to the bathroom, stir the mac and cheese, or obsessively check my e-mail, and C would be down right vigilant about ensuring that his younger brother didn't leave the backyard.
Now he trails after me wherever I go, no matter how briefly I plan to be gone, or how adamantly I insist no coyotes are going to get him in the interim. Consequently, when Mommy goes in the house, everyone goes in the house.
What's most disheartening about the whole thing is how willing C is to completely abandon his little brother; leaving him in the backyard to face what in C's mind at least is an imminent coyote attack.

song: If You Leave Me Now • artist: Chicago

Sunday, June 24, 2007

I Will

Saturday was beach cleanup day at Washburns Island. As is often the case, the island was mostly clean and disappointingly litter free. It's funny how when you go out for a cleanup you're hoping to encounter some kind of toxic waste heap, the mother lode of all litter piles, just to make it worth your while, instead of being glad that there's at least one spot in town where people aren't dumping their trash indiscriminately.
I wonder if anyone went to the outer beach. Jayne had everything organized and each stretch of beach was preassigned so we couldn't fight like rabid dogs over who got the ocean side; knowing that the most trash would be on the beach facing open water.
But, as it turned out, the closer we got to where the campsites are, the more trash we encountered - including lots of broken glass, a plastic bucket, and a small wooden sign that read: WILL.
I put the sign in my back pocket and wondered out loud who had lost WILL and whether or not it would interfere with their ability to have the WILL to do things.
I, on the other hand, felt extremely fortunate. I have found the WILL. Now I had the WILL. And as you know, where there's a WILL, there's a WAY.

song: I Will • artist: the Beatles

Life in One Day

Washburns Island, the Clam Shack, ice cream sundaes, and Cajun buffet. It's great when out-of-town friends come to visit and together you fit in most of what's great about this time of year into one long, perfect day.
If we'd only made it to a Commodores game with the kids we could have called it a summer.

song: Life in One Day • artist: Howard Jones

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Missing You

Greetings! It is I, the worst mother ever! The mother who brought her two children to a birthday party twenty-four hours and fifteen minutes late. And I thought the fifteen minutes was bad. There I was, standing on the doorstep of a total stranger's home, my oldest son in tears, and me holding my younger son in one arm and his shoes in another like some hillbilly who can't keep her kid dressed.
How could this have happened? I must have checked the invite 100 times reading and rereading the directions. I was so sure the party was today! So sure in fact that originally I was going to take the kids to Waltham to the Charles River Museum of Industry but then cancelled that outing because I realized it conflicted with the party.
It was worse than the time I brought C, clad in his pajamas, one day late to "pajama story time" at the main library.
I know what you're thinking - why didn't I put two and two together? I was late, and yet there were no cars in the driveway. I should have caught my mistake before getting out of the car. But here's the rub, there was a line of cars further up the road and the invite said there would be walking in the woods, so I thought maybe the on-time parents had been instructed to park near a path or something.
Luckily, while at the toy store this morning, I purchased a backyard Wigglin' Water Sprinkler along with the party gift. The party gift, as always, was a challenge. I never know what to buy, my only direction coming from my son in the form of: "I think Logan likes Spiderman." So I purchased this souped-up water sprinkler for the backyard and then immediately regretted it. I ran through the regular water sprinkler when I was a kid, shouldn't that be good enough for my kids? I was going to return it but it sure ended up coming in handy. It helped cheer the kids up and eased the trauma that comes with having a mother who can't read a party invitation.
To his credit, Logan's grandpa was extremely nice about it and even gave the kids party hats.

song: Missing You • artist: John Waite

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Somebody to Love

The backyard is fast becoming an airplane graveyard. Scattered about is the debris of three balsa-wood airplanes, the ones that retail for $1.99 and fly once or twice before splintering on impact with some super-rugged crab grass.
Then came the plastic one from the toy store that lasted a week before it was overwound, causing the nose to snap off under the pressure of 200 twists of a rubber band.
Next are the foam planes that we allow to be flown in the house. All three pieces to one of them were lying on different steps of the stairs the other day before H brought them to me for reconstruction.
In an effort to save money (we charter our own plane to Kitty Hawk on the money being sunk on flimsy aircraft), I bought a glossy pamphlet entitled "The Best Paper Airplanes You'll Ever Fly." Now I can fold my own planes using the stash of outdated Enterprise stationary I brought home to run through my printer and hand out to C for "projects." The paper planes fly pretty well, especially if you're anal about folding them symmetrically and follow the explicit directions regarding trimming. I'd say they fly as well as their commercially-made counterparts and last equally as long.
I've had little experience in the paper airplane making department prior to now. How is it I'd lived 39 years and yet been incapable of folding a Balcony Bomber? Guess that's what good clean living and paying attention during school assemblies gets you - a dearth of practical experience that could come in handy as a mom. What use is knowledge of the quadratic equation when what I really need to know is how to launch a paper airplane from the back deck and get it to fly into our plastic wading pool?

song: Somebody to Love • artist: Jefferson Airplane

old silver couplet

sand crunches
in beach lunches

Monday, June 18, 2007

It's a Man's Man's Man's World

We (the kids and I) went to Bristol, RI last Monday. We met up with my friend, the one who ploughs the seas, at the Audubon Center and later watched a tanker go through Narragansett Bay from Colt State Park.
"Where is that ship's lifeboats," asked my son, the Titanic enthusiast, who picked me a nice bouquet of wildflowers at the Audubon Center - roots and all. I saw no signs forbidding the picking of wildflowers, but I sensed that sort of thing was probably frowned upon.
I didn't lock my keys in the car this trip though I did miss the right into downtown Warren and when I finally turned around I was headed the wrong way up a one-way street. But it was only for a split second. Is going the wrong way up a one-way street an improvement over locking one's keys in one's car? It's hard to say.
The best exhibit at the Audubon Center was the free show in the parking lot. While we sat outside snacking on watermelon, a mother woodchuck moved her three cubs, one at a time, from the underbrush at one end of the parking lot, to the underbrush at the other end.
Personally I thought the cubs looked more than old enough to walk across the parking lot themselves. The mother was carrying them by the scruff of the neck and they were practically dragging on the ground they were so big. It's obvious they were just milking their mother's good naturedness. They must have been male woodchucks.

song: It's a Man's Man's Man's World • artist: James Brown

Sunday, June 17, 2007

and one for ken (a couplet)

On Father's Day, go out! It's all about you.
So long as you take our children along too.

Sea Fever

My aunt wrote the following piece many years ago about her father, my grandfather. I hope she won't mind that I'm running it today in honor of all the Cape Cod fathers and grandfathers who have taught their children and grandchildren to know the ocean.

Memories of My Father
By Janice Horne

My father, Arthur Warren Studely, was born loving the water, yet he never learned to swim. He fished in the ocean and river from Waquoit Bay. He always said if you knew how to fish, you would never go hungry.
My father always wanted a boy, he had four hopes and they turned out to all be girls. I loved the water as much as Father did. When he wasn’t taking Ned Hagen, John Harlow, Eddie Geggart, or Hollis Wright in his boat on Sundays, I would go. When I was asked if I wanted to go, I would be up, lunch packed, and ready to go, before anyone else was even up.
We would either go crabbing, fishing, or clamming. I was never asked to go eeling at night, or scalloping in the fall. Being a girl had its crawbacks, if I had been a boy I would have known all the secrets of the river.
The best time to crab was early in the morning. It was important to beat the other crabbers to the still water. Dad was so graceful standing in the bow of the skiff, holding his nets loose, pushing along the river’s edge with the pole of the net. Crabs were very fast and could move in any direction.
I used to sit very still in the stern of the boat, not making a sound. The least bit of noise would send the crabs into hiding by darting into the seaweed or by covering themselves in the mud. If they covered themselves, it would make the water cloudy and you had to wait until it cleared to find the shape of the crab at the bottom.
Poling and drifting along the shore ever so quietly, we would come upon crabs lying in the sun. Net in hand, Dad would place it in front of a crab, knowing that the crab would dart backwards. Dad would make a quick circle with the net and bring it out of the water, with the crab, seaweed, and sometimes the muck from the bottom, which was quickly washed away by dipping the net up and down in the water. He hardly every missed and sometimes he would catch two crabs at once.
After he had caught his limit he would let me try my hand. It took a while, but as time went by, and after many trips to the river, I was a pretty fair crab catcher for a girl.
We’d have our skiff filled before the summer people can and riled the waters. They missed more often than they caught. While we anchored our boat, the newcombers would ask “How many did you catch?” Dad would say "about 30 or so," all the while still picking up his catch and putting his nets in the truck.
I remember many people asked Dad where he caught so many crabs. He’d always say “Down by the old pine tree.”
“Where is that?” They would ask.
Dad would smile, and say, “That’s what an old timer told me, and I’m still looking, but I’ve found mine and you’ll find yours.”
When Dad was 62 he retired after many years of working as a mechanic in Falmouth. He spent most of his time fishing. In the summer the young children would gather at the beach, where he tended his boat. They were there when he came in from the bay with his catch. The children would help him put away his equipment so they could listen to some of his stories.
My father could tell you a funny story with the straightest face. The children loved his stories, especially the ones about his youth, and his memories of the old timers who fished when he was a boy. They loved to hear about all the secrets he had learned from the old salts. I think after a while Dad went to the bay looking for the young, for he had time on his hands, and it must have made him feel young again, telling them how it was.
Times goes on, but never changes. The young listen and take over when the old wither away. My father is gone now, but the young will still tell their stories of their beloved friend the fisherman.
I can still see my dad standing in his boat when I was young. Waves slopping against the sides, the sound of the wind upon the water. Coming into the lonely shores, soft breezes blowing salty kisses upon the cheek, while drifting in the silent water. Listening to a bird in flight, an oar lock echoing far away. It was the close of a special day.

poem: Sea Fever • poet: John Masefield

Too Many Fish in the Sea

At the library-sponsored program about "the sea around us" last week, one woman kept the attention of a room full of preschoolers for an entire hour, which is no small feat. She taught them all sorts of interesting things about ocean creatures, things I'm embarrassed to say, I didn't know.
Take starfish for example. Did you know they have five eyes? One on the end of each of their five arms? They would at least if there were such a thing as starfish but alas there isn't any longer. Scientists have decided that since starfish, in reality, are not fish, we now need to call them sea stars. These must be the same random scientists who decided to pull the plug on Pluto. No kidding a starfish isn't a fish! Do kids really think they are given that they don't look anything like a fish? What about cat fish? They're not cats. Dogfish? Wolf fish? Sea horses? How about jelly fish? I'm pretty sure they're neither jelly nor fish. Maybe we should call them sea blobs.
The people who brought us Cheddar Goldfish have a new, albeit misnamed, product out: Cheddar Starfish. Of course it's not really a new product, it's the same old product. For those consumers who don't like Goldfish, Pepperidge Farms has remade them into a new shape. And voila! Could you would you in a house? Would you could you with a mouse? Try them, try them, here they are. Surely Dr. Seuss had a sarcastic streak a mile long.
However, lest you think I hate everything corporate food related, Ken accidentally bought Reynolds Plastic Wrap in the exciting color of purple instead of just plain old clear. I love it! If I wasn't already sold on plastic wrap, when I'm not putting those reusable plastic covers all my closest friends refer to as "shower caps," over my salad bowls, I would be out there stocking up these babies.

song: Too Many Fish in the Sea • artist: The Marvelettes

Friday, June 15, 2007

Everybody's Talking at Me

There are all these activities and classes for kids my son's age. Four year olds can take dance lessons, art lessons, Spanish lessons, swimming lessons, and music lessons. They can play soccer, T-ball, tennis, ice skate, or play basket ball. They can take a gardening class and no doubt there's karate lessons they can sign up for and loads of other enrichment classes of which I'm not aware.
Here's what they really need though: debate classes. Not lessons. Four year olds are natural-born debaters. They just need a forum in which to hone their skills. My son would love nothing more than to talk for two hours straight. In fact, he often does.

song: Everybody's Talking at Me • musical: Harry Nilsson

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Wild World

It really is a jungle out there. Even in the relative domesticity of my own front yard. One minute I was marveling at the beauty of a a red-bellied woodpecker perched on one of the trees between our yard and Betsy's house, and the next minute I look up and that same woodpecker has his head half way inside the birdhouse that has chickadees nesting inside.

song: Wild World • artist: Cat Stevens

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show

My son's new favorite song is "In The Highways" from the soundtrack to O Brother Where Art Thou? You'd know it if you heard it, the refrain is "I'll be somewhere a workin', I'll be somewhere a workin', I'll be somewhere a workin' for my Lord."
I think he's drawn to the piece not only because it's catchy, but because it sounds as if it's being sung by children. This soundtrack has been in the car CD player for a few days now. He's always requesting that particular song and singing the refrain at the top of his lungs in the back seat.
It's like were constantly driving to a revival meeting.

song: Brother Love's Traveling Salvation Show • artist: Neil Diamond

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Shiny Happy People

For mother's day my son made me a sign. It should have read "Happy Mother's Day" but it only says "Happy Mother." We laminated it and stuck it in the window box along with the construction-paper flowers (also laminated) that we've been "planting" for the past two years. They are so much easier to care for, and with the exception of some fading, look just as good as the real thing.
This sign, surrounded by paper flowers encased in plastic, makes me laugh. Happy Mother. It reminds me of the signs on people's lawns warning "Beware of the Dog" or the more self-deprecating, "Beware of the Owner."
Beware the Happy Mother. If she's happy, she must be crazy.

song: Shiny Happy People • artist: R.E.M.

Mack the Knife

Today's cautionary advice is to beware the kitchen knives you just had sharpened at the knife sharpening shop in North Falmouth, especially when chopping onions. Otherwise you'll end up like me with a big cut on the tip of your finger and nothing but Christmas-themed band-aids with which to patch it up.
That'll give you something to cry about.

song: Mack the Knife • artist: Bobby Darin

Monday, June 11, 2007


Did you know that t-ball is played using a wiffle ball? It's not what I expected but perhaps I don't know what I expected. Did I think they used an actual baseball or softball or that there was some special "t" ball? Maybe there is, but it looks like a wiffle ball to me.
This coming Saturday is the final day of t-ball. It went surprisingly fast, unlike soccer which seems to drag on for several decades instead of six short weeks. Maybe because we had two rain days and one day canceled due to graduation set up.
T-ball was a less traumatic experience for C than soccer. There was no crying and so far he has participated in the games in as much as a four-year old can participate in a baseball game. Since the start of the season the players may have even figured the game out a bit. The first week, when a ball was hit, every player would run to grab it regardless of whether they were up at bat or playing the outfield. Every player except the child who'd hit the ball that is. That player would stand frozen at home plate until Coach Steve called out: "Run to first base!" There the player would remain until well into the next play when Coach Steve would have to yell "Run to second base!" while simultaneously telling the next hitter to: "Run to first base!" Eventually us moms caught on and took over responsibility for telling our own individual players what base they should be on and pointing out where that base was located.
I wasn't going to sign my son up for t-ball given that we also signed him up for tennis, but I succumbed at the last minute because some of his friends from preschool where going to be there and I didn't want him to be left out. I didn't sign him up for the gardening class that meets at Coonamessett, however, because we do plenty of gardening on our own, albeit without all the cute accessories they have in the class. Plus we go to Coonamessett all the time already. Plus there wasn't enough time to drop him off, go home and do anything useful and come back. I'd have just ended up staying out there and spending money. Now I'm worried that we'll be out there and he'll see the class (everyone I've talked to is signed their kid up) and wonder why he's not participating as well. There's a lot of guilt involved in parenting.
I spent less money on picture day at least. I didn't get the group photo. In retrospect though, the group photo may have been the better photo to have. We'll always have plenty of individual pictures of him and his brother around the house. We might not have any of Deason, Cassidy, Maggie, Paul, and that cute little girl with the curly pig tails he was talking to on the pitcher's mound last week. He had his baseball hat stuffed under his over-sized team shirt and was telling her he was "having a baby." She was going right along with it and not pointing out the obvious. They both let the ball roll right past them.

song: Centerfield • artist: John Fogerty

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Cruel to be Kind

Being with my two-year-old son is a lot like being in an abusive relationship. When he's not hitting me, trying to bite me, throwing things at me, or kicking the cat, he's absolutely delightful to be around.

song: Cruel to be Kind • artist: Nick Lowe

Friday, June 08, 2007


Why is it the older I get, the more paranoid I become? I think it's because we have access to so much information. Not useful, helpful, information; just sensational stuff. We hear so much bad news we end up afraid all the time.
This afternoon I was on Main Street. Main Street in Falmouth. Granted it was the less-desirable end of Main Street, but still, it's not exactly a bad part of town. So this guy's walking towards me, and he's kind of intimidating looking, big tattoos on his legs, sleeves ripped out of his leather jacket. He looked pretty tough. Then put his hand into his jacket pocket and I seriously, for a split second, thought he might be about to pull out a gun.
What the heck's wrong with me? Did I seriously think he was going to rob me of my chicken salad with cranberries and walnuts? Apparently, for a moment - I did. Granted I have been mugged, so that does entitle me to a small amount of paranoia. That's actually a pretty funny story except for the guy in the hooded sweatshirt with the knife; but it happened more than 15 years ago, and it didn't happen in Falmouth.
So what was he pulling out of the inner pocket of his black leather jacket? Lip gloss. Otherwise known by its more masculine name: chap stick.

song: Destroyer • artist: The Kinks

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Cherry, Cherry

The sign in the Windfall Market read, "If you must 'sample' the cherries, please dispose of the pits properly."
This is mighty generous of them. I think people who sample a store's produce should be required to swallow the pits.

song: Cherry, Cherry • artist: Neil Diamond

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Darkness on the Edge of Town

Ken took C and H fishing last night. They didn't get home until 9:15. Then C cried because I balked at reading both Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland, and, James and the Giant Peach. When I said I wouldn't, I was accused of not being fair. I tried to explain that when you get to stay out one hour and fifteen minutes past your bedtime then it's impossible go through with our usual bedtime routine. This explanation went nowhere of course. I thought of saying "look here, Alice in Wonderland doesn't even make any sense!" But I knew that wouldn't be any good either.
It ended with Ken reading a chapter of James and me reading a page-and-a-half of Alice.
And what's with pjs for kids that have glow-in-the-dark designs on them? What kid allows their bedroom to be dark enough at night to actually view something glowing in the dark? Between the closet light, the night light, and hall light, and the fact that it's not even dark outside at 8PM in June, the intensity of light in his room is equal to that on the sun.
Okay, that's a bit of a hyperbole, but there ain't no way he's going to see anything glowing in the non-existent dark.

song: Darkness on the Edge of Town • artist: Bruce Springsteen

Do You Know Where You're Going To?

Do you think that 15 years from now he'll be calling me between classes in college to announce: "Momma! I have to go to the bathroom!"
He doesn't need me for this event. He just needs to let me know the event is about to take place. Sometimes I'll be upstairs and he'll start yelling from the living room: "Momma!"
And I have to come halfway down the stairs to find out that's what he needs to tell me.
Just go already!
Once Ken tried some reverse psychology on him, yelling in from the dining room to tell C that he had to go to the bathroom.
There was a long pause from the living room and then: "Daddy. Why are you telling me that?"

song: Do You Know Where You're Going To? (theme from Mahogany) • artist: Diana Ross

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Walking in the Sand

The movie Cast Away was on TV last week. Not something I would have picked myself but you can't really go wrong with Tom Hanks, unless of course, you're watching Bachelor Party. So I watched about 45 minutes before succumbing to the enticement of sleep.
They had a copy of the movie on video at the little library so I checked it out, watching the beginning, up until the plane crash, and then fast forwarding though the scenes I'd already seen. Sorry, there's a plane crash, am I ruining this for you? How do you think he becomes a castaway? Anyway, the fast forwarding was comical. All of a sudden, instead of Tom Hanks, it was Charlie Chaplin penguin walking all over his little stretch of deserted beach: in the water, out of the water, shaking coconuts, spelling out help. Everything is funnier when it's on fast forward. See what today's kids who grow up on DVDs will miss out on?
Who am I kidding, though, today's kids have probably never heard of Charlie Chaplin.

song: Walking in the Sand • artist: The Shangri-Las

tuesday haiku

Alone in my house
Early summer thunderstorm
Keeps me company

Monday, June 04, 2007

Somebody's Crying

Sometimes I can't tell if my two year old is crying after being put the bed. When they're playing "The Blues at Eight" on WMVY, the wails of a toddler just gel with the music. Nothin' says the blues like a crying baby.

song: Somebody's Crying • song: Chris Isaak

I Love Trash

While walking down to the mailboxes at the end of our road H picked up one of those disposable dental floss picks that are currently all the rage in oral hygiene.
Kids pick up everything - that's every little thing. They are so proud of what they collect too. Especially those hair elastics that are always turning up. They are perceived as so useful for Mommy. And those tiny plastic barrettes in pastel colors shaped like bows and butterflies, which my four year old's female contemporaries seem to lose in astonishing numbers. I am often presented with a heartfelt, "I picked this up off the street to give to you, Mommy."
Once there was the thing that I can't name that C tried to pick up in the library parking lot when he was about the same age H is now. I'm pleased today's youth are using reliable protection, but please, please once you're finished, don't leave them in the parking lot of the library! Think of all the horrified mothers of small children. I nearly yanked my son's arm out of his socket dragging him in the other direction while he cried over the injustice of it all.
"I just want to put it in the trash, Mommy!"
On our Friday walk, C picked up an expensive-looking bracelet which he returned to the people who lived in the house at the top of the closest driveway on Beebe Acres Road.
"This belongs to my mother," said the grateful woman who answered the door.
Further up the road he spied a big rubber band which he was equally thrilled to gather up, proving that it doesn't matter whether the found item is a priceless diamond tennis bracelet or a dime-a-dozen rubber band; it's the thrill of the discovery that matters and not the physical properties of what's found. Unless, as previously mentioned, it's something that could be considered useful. Next he spied a large bolt: "Won't Daddy be happy when he I give him this," he beamed.
I guess Ken is incapable of shopping for nuts, bolts, screws, and nails, in much the same way C imagines I can only acquire hair elastics and barrettes from off the street.

song: I Love Trash • artist: Oscar the Grouch

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Baby Face

H found the cowgirl doll that my in-laws gave his older brother two years ago. By cowgirl I mean it's a little girl wearing a blue cow outfit. Or maybe it's a cow with a little girl's face. It's one or the other anyway. When you squeeze her she recites "Hey Diddle Diddle, the cat and the fiddle." She's an odd doll, but C was once enamored with her as well.
On Thursday H was toting it around town with him while we did errands: the office, the hardware store, the coffee shop. He calls it "bebe doll." The way he enunciates the words makes it sound as if he's in the mafia and she's his arm candy.

song: Baby Face • artist: B. Davis/H. Akst

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Younger Than Springtime

Here's my gratuitous plug for Eastman's: they have the most attentive sales staff of any store in town. They are also one of the only stores left on Main Street that sells anything useful. I mean useful in a utilitarian way: cookie sheets, bulbs for night lights, glass cut to size, keys, that sort of stuff. Main Street does have two books stores which are useful in that special book-store way. And I'm grateful for our independent toy store because it gives my dad something to do with the kids on rainy Fridays, and saves me from the Wal-Mart when we have to shop for birthday party gifts.
For H's birthday I got him one of those kid-sized wheel barrows from Eastmans. I knew they had them because there was one on display in the store window. But when I asked for it: "the Red Rider wheelbarrow," I got a blank stare from my young sales assistant.
"A what?"
"You know, the little red wheelbarrow."
"Oh, you mean a Radio Flyer wheelbarrow."
"Right," I said. "That's what I meant. Red Rider's the brand name of the bb gun the kid wanted in A Christmas Story."
"Oh yeah," said the clerk, "I used to love that movie when I was a kid."
I looked hard at him. He was 17 tops.
"I'm sorry," I said, "but you're still a kid."
Can you believe I said that? It's just the sort of thing somebody's mother would say!

song: Younger Than Springtime • soundtrack: South Pacific

Friday, June 01, 2007

Tell Her About It

The reason teenagers don't talk (at least to their parents) is they said everything they had to say, and then some, when they were four.

song: Tell Her About It • artist: Billy Joel