Monday, December 31, 2007

Wicked Game

H has learned how to use the stereo remote so now he can play and replay "Itsy Bitsy Spider" to his heart's content. He also likes to replay "This Old Man" except that he calls the song, "This Snowman."
And speaking of snowmen, and we really don't speak of snowmen often enough do we? I got the scarecrow out of the front yard just in time to replace it with a snowman. Now nothing remain of either of them except a pair of knee-high rubber boots that Ken says used to belong to Margie.
H is wicked into Frosty the Snowman; all aspects of Frosty: the song, the video, and the song lyrics in book form. Frosty was always my least favorite Christmas special. The greenhouse scene was too sad for my sensitive tastes though it doesn't seem to bother my heart-hearted children.
And speaking of wicked, I heard a five-year-old at the Children's Museum announce that he was "wicked good" at some thing or another - I can't remember what since I was so surprised to hear a little kid say "wicked."
But back to Frosty. Most adults are content to be finished with Christmas by afternoon on December 25th. If only the Christmas tree would vanish from the living room at exactly 6PM on Christmas Day like all the holiday music on the radio does, then we'd be happy. But for kids, December 25th is just one piece of the puzzle and by no means the final piece. My kids register no shame in listening to Christmas CDs weeks and weeks after Christmas, reading Frosty every night, wondering what Santa is doing now (maybe he's the one who found C's glove in the driveway, brought it inside, and placed it on the drying rack), and watching "A Charlie Brown Christmas." And so, following many numerous readings of Frosty which has allowed me to analyze the song more than anyone ought to have time to do, I've come to this conclusion: Frosty is Jesus.
Let's examine the evidence. Frosty "comes to life one day," without the intervention of any parents, which sounds like a virgin birth. Children are essential to the Frosty story and in the Bible Jesus commands: "suffer the little children to come unto me (Mark 10:14)." Before leaving, Frosty leads a parade through "the streets of town." Palm Sunday anyone? Finally he, "waved good bye saying don't you cry, I'll be back again someday." Duh! And here's even more proof, check out this illustration from one of the two Frosty books currently in my possession, the little boy is actually waving a palm during Frosty's foray into town!
Unfortunately, I'm not the first one to notice this - perhaps because it's just so obvious. If you want to learn more, google Frosty and Jesus, there's something like 300,000 hits so the jig's up but just remember - you heard it here first.

song: Wicked Game • artist: Chris Isaak

new year's resolution (a quatrain)

No Britney Spears
In this new year's.
And her little sister?
We surely won't miss her.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sixes or at Sevens

I'm going to miss 2007, but not for any rational reason. I'm going to miss 2007 because I like to write the number seven. Not the word, the number. I like to write the number seven and then cross it through the middle like my high school math teacher, Ms. Spindel used to.
Do you think she would take pride in that? In knowing she had influenced the way I write my sevens? It's not like I majored in math or anything. I considered it but for some reason I thought graphic design would be more useful. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Of course upon further consideration, majoring in math and then going on to become an engineer or physicist and telling the young journalist interviewing me my for my Nobel Prize that I owed it all to my high school math teacher would probably have been a wee bit more flattering.

song: (Say, Why is Everything Either at) Sixes or at Sevens? • artist: Gilbert & Sullivan


I try to discourage my son from using "bathroom talk," especially in front of his highly impressionable younger brother. Often times, what qualifies as bathroom talk can be hard to define but like pornography and the U.S. Supreme Court, I know it when I see it - or in this case - hear it.
Sometimes the word is just gibberish but I can tell by the tone of voice that's being used that it's bathroom talk gibberish. Sometimes it's the tone of laughter that follows the conversation that clues me in to the subject matter.
This is why it always strikes me so funny when C recites the names of the planets for his younger brother. He sails right over Uranus without flinching; while I, juvenile mother that I am, stand in the background trying to stifle giggles.

song: Moondance • artist: Van Morrison

Friday, December 28, 2007

Hard Headed Woman

Technology is a funny thing. The technology may advance, but do we? I received an iPod for Christmas and after much downloading, what’s the first thing I’ve listened to? Cat Stevens “Greatest Hits,” circa 1975.
And these ear buds aren’t any more comfortable than the ones on my Walkman.

Song: Hard Headed Woman artist: Cat Stevens

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

All I Ever Wanted

C woke up this morning musing about how he wished he had more presents to open. He went to bed last night bemoaning the same thing. After breakfast, when he launched into wondering out loud why the neighbors weren't lining up to bring him gifts, I thought I might remind him that he wasn't, after all, the Christ Child and no one was required to bring him anything. Instead, I briefly explained that there were children in the world who'd received less presents than him, and there were children who'd received more, but that the important thing was for him to be happy with what he had. Because if he couldn't be happy with what he had, he would never be happy.
And that about sums up my entire philosophy on life. I think my job is done. What else can I teach him?

song: All I Ever Wanted • artist: Michael Stanley Band

If I had a Hammer

It should come as no surprise that C did not get a box of magic yesterday from Santa, despite the detailed note left on Christmas Eve that requested "a box of magic to make me fly and make it don't do bad things."
It reminded me of the year that I asked for a puppy and instead got a note from Santa telling me to keep my room clean. Santa can be pretty tough.
C was up at 7:30 on Christmas morning and by 8:30 he had declared that this was the best Christmas ever, even without a box of magic, because he got a real hammer from Santa in his stocking.
Santa really lucked out because as far as I know, he wasn't even aware that the runner up gift to a box of magic was something as simple as a child-sized hammer. Lucky guess for Santa.

song: If I had a Hammer • artist: Peter, Paul, and Mary

Monday, December 24, 2007

christmas couplet #6

I see by light of the full moon
that Santa will be arriving soon.

christmas couplet #5

This very night
Santa takes flight!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

School's Out

Today I added my alma mater to the list of links off this blog. I did this out of guilt because I just recycled their annual appeals letter despite having recently had a pleasant phone conversation with the sophomore who was saddled with the job of calling up deadbeat alumnae and asking them for money.
Surely because of this link Simmons will receive lots of website hits which will make up for the money I did not send them. Here's another plug for my old school: "I went to a single-sex college, and, it wasn't that bad." In fact, in retrospect I wouldn't trade the experience. There are lots of obvious reasons why: small school, small classes, party invites to other colleges every weekend, whole city of Boston at your disposal. But more importantly, if you attend a women's college you won't wake up on Saturday morning to find puke in your hallway and overflowing toilets in the bathroom. You won't wake up to find a naked, drunken stranger wrapped in an American flag in your roommate's bed (ask Ken about it). They serve tea every Friday and you can wear sweats to class without worrying that you might pass that cute guy you had your eye on while crossing the quad. I don't like the sweatpants look myself, having never been one to hang around in my pajamas for extended periods, but whatever floats your boat.
People often confuse Simmons with Smith. When this happens people will then mistake you for someone much smarter.
You might even have a gay roommate, who will turn out to be the best roommate you could hope for, and you can marvel at the fact that she shaves her legs even though she's gay while you, a straight woman, rarely shave yours. When your boyfriend comes to visit he and your gay roommate can collectively ogle the girl in the adjacent dorm building who exercises in her underwear even though she must know everyone can see her through the windows.
On the downside, you'll go around for the rest of your life correcting people who say "all girls school," and reminding them that the proper phrase is "women's college."

song: School's Out • artist: Alice Cooper

Saturday, December 22, 2007

LA Woman

H and I were at the Cape Cod Children's Museum on Wednesday and we met a mom who - surprise - had twins. Her name was Heather and she was from LA where she was president of the local twins club. She spoke quickly. I don't know if that was a result of being the mother of twins, or the result of living in LA. I'm basing all my knowledge of LA on the 1991 film LA Story starring Steve Martin. Weren't there some fast talkers in that movie? Heather was especially excited for me because next year's National Organization of Mothers of Twins Club Convention is going to be held in Boston. So - I can go! Let's hope they're planning to have lots of childcare I thought to myself. She also told me that her twins, which are the same age as Henry, still sleep together in one crib, that the Double Snap N Go was a good investment, and that the Double Boppy was unnecessary.
I didn't let on, but being the world's most uninformed soon-to-be-mother-of-twins, I didn't know what a Double Snap N Go was. Turns out it's a generic double stroller frame made to hold two standard infant car seats. This would facilitate my getting the twins into the doctor's office and the little library since they sit one in front of the other instead of side by side, thus making the Double Snap N Go able to fit through a single door frame.
Ken checked it out on line and said, "Why? You have two arms." But he placed the order.

song: LA Woman • artist: The Doors

Thursday, December 20, 2007

christmas couplet #4

kids run about, making mom's thoughts grow hazy.
hurry Christmas, before they drive me crazy.

The phrase "christmas couplet" gets more hits than "thanksgiving couplet." Lots more. Seems that the readers of this blog are just a bunch of would-be poets. Again I say, anyone can write a couplet. Try it and see. Heed the words of Gilbert and Sullivan and their not-very-tough pirates of Penzance:
For what, we ask, is life without a touch of poetry in it?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

christmas couplet #3

Ornaments from the Christmas tree
Are dislodged by children frequently.

Who Loves You

So I thought I might suggest to C that Santa isn't solely responsible for every present under the Christmas tree.
I posed this question: "Who else who loves you might bring you presents on Christmas?"
"Anybody else?"
"Nana and Papa?"
"Anybody else?"
"Grandma and Opa?"
"Anybody else?"
There was a long pause and a blank stare.
"How about Mommy and Daddy?" I offered.
"Oh." he said flatly.
It's not that I mind taking a back seat to God and my parents but, heck, I wasn't even going to make the list. I suppose that's what I get for not buying him anything the other 364 days of the year.

song: Who Loves You • artist: Frankie Valli & The Four seasons

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Orange Crush

The comment I'm hearing most often these days is, "you're not as big as I thought you'd be."
What does that mean? That they were expecting a duplex and I'm only as big as a single-family home? I don't know for sure but I expect it's a close to a compliment as I'll be getting for some time.
The craving of the month has been clementines. I like to eat three or four of them at once. At least the twins won't have scurvy.

song: Orange Crush • artist: R.E.M.

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Twelve Pains of Christmas

I was reaching to hang an ornament on an upper branch of the Christmas tree when my protruding stomach knocked a glass bunny off the tree. It smashed on the floor. Damn twins - breaking ornaments already.
C has decided to ask Santa for a "box of magic" so he can "fly around." I suggested that Santa might not be able to swing that but he insisted that "Santa can do anything." It would be a lot easier if he just wanted an Xbox.
On the way home from the office Sunday night I heard a version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" on WHJY. It sounded like AC/DC or some other heavy-metal band's interpretation of this classic. It was scary sounding. The underlying message seemed to be that you'd better lock all the doors and arm yourself with a baseball bat because "Santa Claus is coming to town" and boy is he freakin' pissed!

song: The Twelve Pains of Christmas • artist: Bob Rivers

Sunday, December 16, 2007


You know how in the comic strip "Family Circus," Bil Keane will occasionally use little Billy as a substitute cartoonist? Billy will make observations like, "sometimes daddy calls mommy his dear," which will be followed by a child-like drawing of a deer wearing pearls and high heels. Well frankly I find the Family Circus characters too saccharine for my tastes. Nothing bad every happens to those kids. I prefer "For Better or For Worse" where at least the kids grow up and once they had to deal with the dog dying.
Anyway, I'm taking a cue from Mr. Keane and giving myself today off. I leave you instead with a story from C.
Once I went to the cranberry bog but there was no one to see except too many frogs. But I went home and I thought no one would see me but I was wrong. That night I woke up and I heard something outside and there was a huge scary monster outside. I saw it and I closed the door and locked it. Then there was a big storm! And the storm blew the house down! It was rumbling and rumbling and then there was a big bang! The house hit a rock and I was scared. I said, "I hope this storm will stop soon."

song: Substitute • artist: The Who

Thursday, December 13, 2007

christmas couplet #2

When decorating the Christmas tree,
Children hang ornaments indiscriminately.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I'll Fly Away

On Tuesday night we decorated the Christmas tree. I think that next year we should skip the tree, hew down one big branch, and prop it up in the living room. The kids hang every ornament on the same branch anyway, why confuse them with a whole tree?
We went to the tree farm on Sunday and after we cut the tree down and brought it home, we put it out in the yard for the afternoon before bringing it inside that night. When we brought it in, it was covered with winter moths. In the brightness of the living room they all took flight. It was like a B-grade horror movie: "Revenge of the Moths," or "Holiday Moth Attack." Ken wanted to bring the tree back outside but it seemed to me that we'd come this far and shouldn't retreat. Besides, you have to look at it from a five-year-old's point of view. From C's stand point at least, aside from having Santa put presents under it, being infested with moths was about the best thing that could happen to a Christmas tree. We armed ourselves with flashlights and fly swatters and C got to pick moths off the tree and squish them, with mommy's approval, for a half hour. H had a good time pointing to moths that were on the floor or flying around the lamp. Heck, even the cat got to eat a few.
After we'd picked off all we could find, Ken came through with the vacuum cleaner to suck up the ones that were trying to hide on the ceiling.

song: I'll Fly Away • artist: Albert E. Brumley

You Say It's Your Birthday

You are still older than me.

And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me.
You will always be my friend.

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

song: You Say It's Your Birthday • artist: The Beatles

Saturday, December 08, 2007

History of Us

I don't know what's worse, being asked questions about Santa that I can't answer, or being asked history questions that I can't answer.
Yesterday they were talking about Pearl Harbor on the radio so of course C asked me about that, me and my sketchy history, the Titanic I know plenty about, but Pearl Harbor not so much. Then last night we started a book of American tall tales, the first being about Davy Crockett. The introduction to the story mentioned how Mr. Crockett achieved legendary status after dying at the Alamo. This led to me having to describe the Alamo, which, having been to the Alamo I was in a slightly better position to do than Pearl Harbor. Still in all, it gave my history-deprived brain quite a workout.

song: History of Us • artist: Indigo Girls

I Think I Love You

I think I've met the mom of my dreams. We were all at the Woods Hole playground last week, her and her three boys, and me and my two. C insisted on bringing our garden clippers so he could plod into the woods, cut sticks, drag them back to the playground, and build with them. I told him we had to ask Aidan's mom before taking the clippers out of the car. Not all mom's approve of having their children play with recently sharpened gardening clippers I explained, though what I really said was the textbook, "different families have different rules."
Aidan's mom answered, "Sure. If I had known, we would have brought our clippers too."
I think I'm in love.

song: I Think I Love You • artist: The Partridge Family

You Can't Do That

Pumpkins should be incorporated into Christmas decorating. The average Christmas tree, cut in Nova Scotia and brought to Cape Cod, lasts about two weeks while a uncut pumpkin is good for at least three months.
Back when I didn't have kids, I would hear parents negotiating with their offspring or offering bribes for good behavior, and think smugly, "when I have kids I'll never say that." But you never know what's going to come out of your mouth when faced with frustrating circumstances. Thursday I threatened C with the old December stand by, "Santa won't come if you don't..." In this case it was, "if you don't stop vexing your brother." That's right, I told him Santa wasn't coming, and, I used the word vexing on him.

song: You Can't Do That • The Beatles

Friday, December 07, 2007

Christmas Wishes

What do you mean I have to get them presents for Christmas? Two new, younger siblings isn't enough?

song: Christmas Wishes • artist: Anne Murray

Thursday, December 06, 2007

christmas couplet #1

'Tis the season,
To shop without reason.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Any Old Kind of Day

You asked me once why I never mentioned H. Was it because "he's such a little guy, he doesn't do much yet?"
That was the case a year ago but lots has changed since then.
Last Thursday H and I were at the playground outside the Cataumet Arts Center. Towards the end of our time there another little boy showed up with his father. The boy, Matthew, wasn't much bigger than H though it turned out he was only two weeks shy of his fourth birthday.
When H began climbing up to where Matthew was, the older boy announced to his dad, "here comes a baby." To which H responded, as clearly as though he'd never mumbled an unintelligible phrase in his entire life, "I not baby."
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving I was home with both the kids all day. We couldn't get our act together to get to story time at the rec. center, so by 11AM they had already started to fight over stuff and yell at each other.
I decided to take them down to Megansett. In typical preschooler fashion C protested. He didn't want to go to the beach. He didn't want to go for a walk. He didn't want to be cold. You get the picture. I drag them down anyway and the tide is out, way out, and in no time C is digging up quahogs with a stick and H is collecting snails (hundreds of them) off the jetty rocks. They collected shells and walked on the rocks and watched a man launch his kayak. Basically they had a great time for ninety minutes, then, out of nowhere H ran straight into the water. I don't know if he meant to or if he just didn't realize the tide was coming in and there was less beach to run on but suddenly he was in the water screaming. I ran out to scoop him up and then I was soaked. As I carried him to shore I looked around sheepishly because the only thing worse than having your two year old knee-deep in November ocean water is having another parent witness it and thereby label you worst, most negligent, mother of the year; meanwhile H is going into his hold-your-breath-till-you-pass-out dance. I hustled him and his bucket full of snails to the car. At this point C started crying because he didn't want to leave.
"We have to leave, your brother is soaking wet," I say, adding "if you were wet and cold, wouldn't you want to leave?"
"The water's always cold," he countered, but it was too late because I already had him in the car.
I took H's shoes off, they were filled with water, along with his wet socks and pants. I put the car blanket over him and it seemed to cheer him up.
I suggested to C we go home and do a stuck shell project, which seemed to cheer him up.
Ken returned the snails to the ocean that night after everyone was in bed, which I'm sure, cheered them up.

song: Any Old Kind of Day • artist: Harry Chapin

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Eternal Flame

Ken took the kids to the parade yesterday. Somehow I've gotten out of that gig for the past three years. Not that I haven't put in my time at past parades. I remember marching or riding on a float for either the girl scouts or the figure skating club every year. I have this memory of being in the parade one year when I was in high school; it's one of those memories that always makes me laugh though I'm unsure it will translate well. It was an olympic year and the figure skaters had made a float featuring the five olympic rings. Leigh Ellen and I were going to carry the FFSC banner and walk in front of the float and Aletha was going to walk behind us carrying an olympic torch. The torch was made by a boy scout who had two sisters in the club. It consisted of a coffee can on a stick. I don't know what was in it to keep it lit but whatever it was, it burned out completely while we were still in the mall parking lot waiting for the parade to start.
Undaunted, Aletha walked the entire parade route carrying a can on a stick with no flame.

song: Eternal Flame • artist: Bangles

Goin' By The Book

At the bookstore on Friday I saw a new, illustrated, version of The Elements of Style. Why would a book about grammar, composition, and style need to be illustrated? Maybe along with the mantra "omit needless words," Strunk and White should have included "omit needless illustrations."

song: Goin' By The Book • Johnny Cash