The Harry Potter Legos have been put together, so has the solar-powered car. One of the iron puzzles has been solved and he can catch the diablo (sometimes). The house is full of balloon animals and "696 Jokes about School" has been read.
Christmas just doesn't last as long as it used to.
Thank you for the Elvis CD. I have added Blue Christmas to my iPod holiday playlist. I was wondering where my Elvis Christmas CD was and the truth is it was probably a cassette anyway.
The inclusion of Mama Liked the Roses as the final song on this album has always puzzled me. What does this song have to do with Christmas? Sure, Mama liked roses, but did she like them for Christmas?
I also own Christmas Crooners, a CD that features holiday songs by Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and the like. The collection includes the song If I Were A Carpenter. "If I were a carpenter, and you were a lady, would you marry me anyway? Would you have my baby?" I get the reference but the carpenter in question isn't Joseph. If it was the lyrics would have to be changed to "would you marry me anyway, would you have God's baby?"
And why do they play My Favorite Things from "The Sound of Music" as part of the holiday lineup? Yes Maria likes brown paper packages tied up with strings, but they aren't necessarily Christmas presents. They might just be deliveries from Sears or Wells Fargo.
This got me wondering about the myriad of songs that have been relegated to being played between December 1 and December 25 merely for the crime of being about winter. Take Jingle Bells. Any mention of Christmas there? Nope none. Jingle bells, so I've been told, was actually written for Thanksgiving. And what about "Let It Snow"? Radio stations should be cranking that song right now. No mention of Christmas there. "Walking in a Winter Wonderland" anyone?
I think these songs about winter are getting a bum rap by being pulled off the air a mere four days into the season. I see another three long months of cold weather anthems ahead of us. Down with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and up with Coldplay is what I say. They don't stop playing "Beach Baby," "Boys of Summer," and "In The Summertime," on June 25.
Best line of the day:
"Mom, I was having so much fun with my sled I forgot that it's Christmas Eve!"
Little Cindy Lou Who, at no more than two, had a much better vocabulary than N and S, who are almost three.
Their conversation with the fake Santy Claus would have gone like this:
"Anta. Ismas Tree. Mine.
Yesterday N, S, and I watched in horror (well I was horrified anyway) while a small spider in his web in the corner at the top of our stairs, began devouring a much bigger spider.
Yep, it really is a dog-eat-dog world out there.
Or a spider-eat-spider world.
Or a littler spider-eats-gangily-big-spider world; and if you don't want to live fast and die young you'd best travel with a full can of Raid.
We watched "A Year Without A Santa Claus" last night which may not, at first glance, seem like an appropriate way to celebrate the winter solstice but you forget that in addition to the great tune "Heat Miser" the movie also includes a cameo by none other than Mother Nature herself.
No wonder they don't air this holiday special on prime time any more - it's a pagan Christmas movie!
We, or at least my kids, also celebrated the shortest day of the year by playing outside in the snow until it was dark out. S, N, and I played earlier in the day. Two hours worth of play. We made snow bunnies, two of them, and a snow wall that the twins kept calling a train.
The word of the week for S and N is "snow" and H has taught them to say Santa, except that it sounds like "Anta" and they both got frustrated with me when I couldn't figure out what they were saying the first 25 times they said it. The moral of that story is to never let your son with the IEP for speech therapy teach new words to your two-year-old twins.
I downloaded "I'm Gettin' Nothin' For Christmas." It's my new favorite holiday song.
There were fruit flies in my red wine again tonight. Could someone please tell them it's winter now?
song: Coldest Night of the Year • artist: Bruce Cockburn
This month Brain, Child magazine printed my response to their Backtalk column. Which, although it's always great to see one's name in print, is not a big deal since they print everyone's response.
What stood out when reading the entries was not their cleverness and originality, but their length. Backtalk specifically asked readers to keep their responses to 100 words and in writing my piece, I had to edit and edit and edit again in order to reach the 100-word goal. Therefore it was evident to me with my story on the page next to the others, that lots of writers went over the 100-word limit.
My eight year old would have worried over the unfairness of this blatant disregard for rules but what bugged me was that I'd cut some of the funny details out of the piece - the ones that really made the story come alive.
The piece was about H and his Moby Dick obsession upon which I've already expounded numerous times in this space so I won't repeat it here - not even the uncut, and in my opinion, funnier version.
So the question is, do you break the rules for the sake of the piece; or do you follow the rules and edit the story even to its own perceived detriment?
And I think that that is the big question and that the answer is that it's the people who break the rules who reach the top. They become famous in that way that most of America wants to be famous. Nice guys don't necessarily finish last, but more likely somewhere in the middle. Because they are nice, they don't mind that much. It takes arrogance and chutzpah to succeed.
A truth that would definitely make the average eight year old shout, "not fair!"
My son, the budding copy editor, read the following sentence in a magazine: My sister said she would write me from camp.
"I think Highlights made a mistake," he said. "This doesn't make any sense at all. It should be "write to me."
I only bring this up as a warning to my coworkers. He may start reading the Enterprise soon.
The next line in that song is "It decays and dies, and the snowman melts."
Just in cast throwing the tree in the yard wasn't depressing enough for you.
Perhaps he should add a line about the cosmic uselessness of spending three hours wrapping gifts that your kids will tear open in 10 minutes.
"I guess that love, is like a Christmas card.
You decorate a tree; you throw it in the yard."
Couple this with "Christmas in Prison" and John Prine really knows how to bring you down around the holidays.
I've been having a real anti-advertising kind of week. Maybe it's the Christmas bah humbugs, but to start with I can't understand those ads for the Snuggie - the cross between pajamas and a sleeping bag. Don't these people ever get up off the couch? What happens when they have to go to the bathroom? Want more wine? Peanuts? Do they have to hop out of the room like some potato sack race contestant?
There there's the carton of eggs in the fridge with the words "vegetarian fed" printed on them. At first that sounded reassuring but upon further consideration - what the heck else might they be feeding chickens? Steak tips?
Next there was the box of sidewalk chalk that lauded itself for being "washable." Since when is chalk not?
What's next? Bottled water billed as "wet?"
And how about this? I don't even know what's being advertised here because I can't get over the fact that this woman is outside in the snow in her bathing suit! Just kidding. It's snow boots. I read the fine print. It still doesn't explain the bathing suit. Maybe she's just really late to get her kids to the bus stop and she's got a 9AM appointment at the tanning salon.
In college, because students could get them at half-price, I purchased tickets to the Nutcracker for my boyfriend and me. This was before the Nutcracker got booted out of the Wang center and replaced by the Rockettes who don't even perform to live music but don't get me started on that.
For the evening I decided on a black dress (what a surprise); the one with the drop waist that I used to add the antique lace collar to. Tom purchased a new shirt and a paisley bow tie at Filenes.
On the night of the big event we met up outside the theater. He was carrying a small, brown, greasy paper bag.
"What's in there?" I demanded.
"They'll never let you into the theater with that."
"Sure they will."
On our way in I got frisked for cameras, Mr. Greasy Popcorn waltzed through.
Being a student got you discount seats but not, as it turned out, good ones. We were escorted to the nose bleed section, way up in the balcony, surrounded by restless children.
At the start of the second act Tom broke out the popcorn and passed it around among our young theater-going neighbors. He was instantly a hero among them. I was reminded of the scene in Alice's Restaurant where Arlo Guthrie describes having a groovy time with his new friends on the Group W bench.
But instead of seeing this as an incredibly endearing moment I remained mortified and indignant throughout the whole thing; staring straight ahead, refusing all offers of popcorn, and maintaining an air of "we're grown ups now, let's behave with a little more maturity," until I huffed out after the performance was over.
Later Tom changed his major from physical therapy to education, and I learned to lighten up.
So they passed out dreidels in H's kindergarten class.
Now I know how it feels to be a Jewish mother at Chanukah:
"It' a gimmel."
"That's called cheating!"
"Gimmie the dreidel!"
"Now go and get it."
"C, it's my dreidel."
"Go and get it or I'll fine you a penny!
Go and get it or I'll fine you another penny!"
"Your penny, your dreidel."
"Fine. I quit."
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum grants anyone with the first or middle name of Isabelle free admission. I think the same should hold true for anyone named after a whaling captain who seeks admittance to a whaling museum.
And with our recent trip to the New Bedford Whaling Museum (where we did get in for free but because of a library pass not the notoriety of my son's name), thus ended the Gartner family's great New England Whaling Odyssey of 2010 which started with a children's version of Moby Dick at the public library and led to visits to the Falmouth Historical Society, the Nantucket Whaling Museum, and finally New Bedford. Go ahead, ask me about whaling. Better yet, ask H who knows more about whaling than your average 75 year old never mind your average 5 year old.
I must say though I felt a little indignant about the masthead of the Awashonks being in the New Bedford Whaling Museum's collection. Shouldn't that be in our historical society?
Perhaps that's how Egyptians feel when they view the mummies in the MFA.
Is it really time to decorate for Christmas? Cause I haven't made a scarecrow yet and I was really planning to. In fact today I got a good scarecrow-making leaf pile going in the backyard so I'm thinking that if I just put a Santa hat on that big boy I could perhaps combine the two...
C lost two teeth at school on Tuesday. Two in one day. He's making up for lost time.
Now he's ten dollars richer and he's got this huge gaping hole in the front of his mouth.
Too bad All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth is still one of my least favorite holiday songs.
song: Money Song • artist: Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem
I was at the Commons the other day waiting to take a left turn and park behind the Gap while two women and a little were on the crosswalk between the Gap and the post office. From the parking area this SUV came speeding towards the crosswalk, and stopped short in the middle of it causing the trio to stop, one woman pulling the child back and the other yelling at the driver.
Then the window rolled down revealing that the driver was none other than a former boss of mine - a woman I haven't seen in forever - forever being not long enough as far as I'm concerned.
As if Christmas shopping weren't hazardous enough.
song: Years May Come, Years May Go • artist: The Irish Rovers
Tonight I was kneeling in front of the refrigerator unloading tupperware containers full of leftovers for dinner when I realized I'd stacked them up on my skirt. I tried to scoot backwards with a tray full of roasted vegetables in one hand, stepped on the back of my skirt and nearly fell over backwards. Later in the evening my son admitted, upon cross examination, that he peed on the couch because he thought he was wearing a pull up.
I swear my life is just like a Seinfield episode except that I'm not making a million bucks an episode - and - I'm keeping the couch.
How to Cook a Turkey
My dad's friend gives us our turkey. He brings it home to our house for my Mom to cook. When Mom gets the turkey, she cuts out the bones so people won't eat them. Then she takes the thing that tells her how to cook it off. Then she puts the turkey in a pan. Then Mom puts the stuffing on it. Stuffing is made of stuff, that's why they call it stuffing. Then Mom turns the stove on 10 degrees. Then she puts a cover on the pan so the water doesn't splash out and the flies don't get it. She lets the turkey cook for nine hours. The timer dings when the turkey is done. Then she lets the turkey cool off. We will have apple sauce, cranberry sauce, and Nana brings apple pie for dessert.
song: That's The Way I Like It • artist: KC & The Sunshine Band
Finally! The tooth is out! Some assistant at the school couldn't take it anymore (I guess C spent 20 minutes in the bathroom today) and wadded up some paper towel and pulled it out for him.
The tooth took so long to come out that it made me nostalgic. I would not have labeled myself as the type of mother who gets all mushy over my children losing their teeth but first he was the only kid in his first grade class that had not lost a tooth. And then he was the only kid in the second grade. And didn't he just get that tooth? Didn't he just get all those teeth? Wasn't he 11 months old yesterday?
Then a tooth finally came loose but took a month to fall out.
I remember losing teeth his way: tooth gets loose on Monday - tooth is out on Wednesday - half dollar is spent by Friday. Poor Solomon Grundy.
The loss of that first tooth is a huge milestone for a kid. One of the first, along with riding a bike, on that long road of milestones that leads to adulthood. It's bittersweet for parents - like every milestone is - even more so when you have a month to reflect on it, and all the apples in the laundry room go bad because your son with the loose tooth refuses to bite into them.
He must have been a little nostalgic himself. He asked the tooth fairy not to take the tooth - but to still leave him some money.
parenting tip #4637: The meal you prepare for supper will never be so appetizing as when your child eats it off the floor the following morning.
parenting tip #4891: The toddler who does not poop in his diaper all morning will unload with a colossal dump the moment you arrive at: a) the park, b) his big brother's piano lesson, c) the library, d) all of the above.
Do not forget to remove said stink bomb from your car upon arriving home.
This one is for Alison who suggested the perfect song title.
What if someone invented sponge socks so I could just walk around my bathroom and simultaneously wash the floor?
On Monday I got out sponges and a bucket to wash down a section of wall in the kitchen that was particularly grimy. It only took a nanosecend until the twins were up to their elbows in sudsy water. Which is better than the other day when they were up to their elbows in toilet water.
Did I mention how they like to clean?
The e-mail was from "Mamapedia Sweet Deals."
The subject line read "Add a Twinkle to Every Occasion."
I read it as "Add a Twinkie to Every Occasion."
I've got to get rid of the rest of the Halloween candy.
Just prior to putting the cranberry breads into the oven, the ones we were making to go with tomorrow's book project, he tells me, "oh, I forgot Jane is allergic to milk and eggs."
Let's hope the class likes cranberry sauce.
There is a poem that ends with the verse: cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow, for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow. So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep. I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.
I remember seeing these lines repeated often in cross stitch catalogues my mother used to get. At one point I wrote it down just to remind myself that that was the kind of mother I was going to be - the cool mom with the messy house but happy kids.
But what author Ruth Hulburt Hamilton doesn't allow for in her poem is an answer to the question of who is going to do the cleaning and the scrubbing. Because at some point at least rudimentary cleaning has to be done - laundry, emptying the trash, washing dishes, picking up items off the floor that could be potential choking hazards or food dropped off the dinner table that we don't want the kids to eat three days later - petrified.
The poem from whence the lines come is titled "Song for a Fifth Child" so perhaps children one through four are taking care of chores. Maybe dad is a CEO and they have a housekeeper. Maybe the mother is just one of those people who never needs sleep so she can rock her baby and then clean house at 3AM.
And then there's this nugget, also a frequent needlepoint sampler: "I hope my children look back on today and see a parent who had time to play. There will be years for cleaning and cooking. But children grow up when we're not looking."
Are there years when we don't have to clean and cook because I must have missed them. I seem to recall cleaning and cooking even when I didn't have kids.
It didn't occur to me when I jotted the verse down that if I didn't do the cleaning - who would? Maybe my future husband would but shouldn't he get a chance to rock his baby too? No, the logistics of the whole thing were definitely lost on the 12-year-old me. The me that planned to become an artist and live with my husband in a studio apartment that I fantasized looked suspiciously like our basement play room (I didn't exactly dream big).
I write this mostly in jest but this is the kind of thing that preys on the minds of mothers. Are we spending enough time with our kids? Can we spend enough time with them and still have a house that won't be condemned by the department of health and sanitation? What are outside expectations of mothers? The expectation is that you're available to make healthy meals and help your kids with their homework and you have a house that's pretty clean. Not immaculate but seriously if little Jimmy gets picked up from a play date at your filthy house it doesn't matter how much rocking (or playing) you are doing - little Jimmy's mom is going straight home to tell little Jimmy's dad about what a slob you are. Likewise if little Jimmy gets picked up from a play date at your spotless house - little Jimmy's mom is going straight home to tell little Jimmy's dad about how anal you are. And I don't mean to vilify other moms, you can substitute your neighbor, your clergyman, your friendly campaign pollster, whoever it is who makes it past your front door. Mothers (and fathers) are being judged all the time, constantly looking for that elusive balance between work and play.
But back to our two bits of prose. Here's the point that the poets miss: kids love to clean and cook so why not combine the two; you'll get bored rocking after a while anyway. If I give the twins each a sponge they are off. They clean up and down the stairs, they clean in the bathroom sink, they clean the kitchen table. They love to wipe up spills both large and small. They love to wipe up the water left on kitchen floor after it's been walked across on a rainy day (consequently they've been busy this week), they love to point out all the spider webs underneath chairs that never, ever, get cleaned up.
And as for cooking, they love to pour ingredients into bowls and they like to add eggs to batter after I've broken them open. When they get bigger they'll get to use the apple peeler and the nut grinder and maybe they'll thrill to grating cheese.
These activities keep us all in the kitchen together, I can get dinner made albeit much slower than if I didn't have so much "help" and they get a mother who has time to play and still give them meals that don't come with a prize in the box.
But then eventually there will come a day when I'll say "hey guys, want to clean the sink or ride on the vacuum cleaner?" And they'll be too interested in Legos to come running. Or worse they'll say, "sure Mom, what will you pay me?"
Those kids. They grow up so fast.
song: Where do the Children Play? • artist: Cat Stevens
How come all the male super heros have long-sleeved unitards, capes, and helmets but the lone female super hero has to combat crime in what amounts to a bathing suit and a few sweat bands?
How's she supposed to fend off villains while she's fighting a wedgie?
song: Holding Out for a Hero • artist: Bonnie Tyler
parenting tip #3,985: Don't bother putting your toddler's shoes on until you physically get to where you are going. They will only take them off in the car.
parenting tip #3,986: In adhering to the above advice, don't forget said shoes at home or your kids will be the only ones watching soccer practice in their socks.
parenting tip #3,987: Throw moldy jack-o-lanterns into compost heap while your children are in school. Prior to October 31, set carved pumpkins on plates or plywood for post-holiday ease of removal transport.
Having been given a crock pot recently I have been investigating recipes with which to best make use of this new (to me) cooking accessory. Having things cook all day is in stark contrast to my usual method of burning things quickly in a stir fry.
So far there have been two unsuccessful attempts to cook dinner and one successful Halloween mulled cider.
I particularly enjoyed these online instructions for pork chops: Cook onions in oil until lightly brown. Add other ingredients. Cover and simmer about 20 minutes. Put pork chops in crock pot and cook overnight with sauce. Serve hot.
Cook overnight? And then what? Serve them for breakfast?
The boys and I spent our late morning at Coonamessett Farm which makes me either the best mom on the planet for dressing my kids in their boots and rain jackets and letting them stomp through puddles, or the worst mom on the planet - for dressing my kids in their boots and rain jackets and letting them stomp through puddles.
The jury is out on which on it is. N thought it was great and happily zig zagged from puddle to puddle; S cried, refused to move from the porch of the farm stand and made me carry him the entire time.
The internet is rife with articles listing creative ways to rid oneself of excess Halloween candy. What a bizarre holiday Halloween is. We dress up our children and send them out to beg for food that we don't want them to have. Why not send them out to score stuff we need? I could use some chili powder. And I'm almost out of barley. Oh and Post-It Notes, I could definitely use some Post-It Notes. But alas no - it's candy and likely to remain candy for at least the foreseeable future. As we now have enough candy to choke a moose (assuming you could get the moose to eat it), I've been reading the ideas and giving them some serious thought.
Some of the suggestions, such as freezing the candy and adding it to milk shakes, are clever. Some, like keeping a stash in your purse to bribe your children with, are not. If I tried to keep candy in my purse I'd just end up with melted misshapen candy bars at the bottom of my bag - not too tempting as bribe material.
Exploding candy in the microwave sounded fun but it had to be marshmallow-based candy and I don't know about you but my kids didn't get a lot of Halloween peeps.
Last year I bought some of C's candy back from him. I didn't see this idea on the list though there was a suggestion of having your children leave their bag of candy on the doorstep before bed where the "Halloween Angel" will find it and exchange it for a gift. Interesting concept but it doesn't answer the question of what to do with excess candy - it merely answers the question of how to get the candy away from your kids - unless of course the Halloween Angel is real...
Then there were some cool science experiment suggestions, exploding Mentos and glow in the dark wintergreen lifesavers for example, but like the marshmallow peeps the suggestions were too candy specific - who gets lifesavers and Mentos in their Halloween loot?
So I've come up with my own list of suggestions. What the heck. I have candy. I'm qualified. Feel free to forward the list to your less-creative friends, relations, and enemies.
1. String it up and use it for garland on your Christmas tree 'cause nothing says Merry Christmas like a tree trimmed in Twix bars. (Mmmmmm. Twix bars)
2. Box it up and send it to that annoying former classmate who just bragged on Facebook that she still fits into her prom dress.
3. Bring it to Staples and see if you can barter it for school supplies for your kid's classroom.
4. Lay it all in the driveway and run it over with the mini van. Your kids will think this is really cool.
5. Feed the M&Ms to your boyfriend's pet beagle.
6. Eat all the candy yourself and tell the kids the house was robbed. This is also a good way to get rid of any toys that you despise as well as the ripped Bermuda jacked your husband can't seem to part with.
7. Tell the kids the tin peddler came to town, just like in Farmer Boy and you traded their candy for three new dippers, a skimmer, and a strainer.
8. Create a found art sculpture with it and explain to the critics that it's a social commentary on the personal excess that defines our country.
9. Throw it in the front yard of any house that hasn't yet taken down all its political campaign signs.
10. Stick it under your mattress and feed it to the bed bugs.
The great white mummy sneaks up on Captain Ahab.
H: "How come on Halloween mommies can be boys?"
Mommy: "Your brother is a mummy. Not a mommy."
C: "How come they call them Sweedish Fish?
Mommy: "I don't know. Stop eating candy."
An older gentleman insisted I go through the door to the polling station ahead of him this morning. "You're prettier than I am," he said.
I told him it was too bad he wasn't running for something because he'd have my vote.
As if having to duck Jehovah's Witnesses weren't enough now I have to look out for door-to-door political canvassing. For the record, I didn't ignore that woman who came to the door today - I just chose to take out the compost when I saw her headed towards the house.
This election just needs to be over.
The twins like to pull the rubber tires off their model cars leaving them looking as if they are junk yard vehicles about to be sold for parts. Or in the case of this police cruiser - like they've been parked for too long in a bad neighborhood.
song: When the World in Running Down, You Make the Best of What's Still Around • artist: The Police
I made a second grader cry during math games last week. Well, I didn't make her cry; really, the math game itself made her cry. I'll be the only elementary school volunteer who gets asked not to come back. "Just send in your Kleenex and peanut-free snack donations Mrs. Briana-Gartner but for the love of our children, please stay home."
I also made a kid cry my first week volunteering in the kindergarten class. It was my own kid though, and he cried because he thought he was going to get to go home with me (at 11AM). So that doesn't really count.
Later, during that same volunteering stint, I wowed a group of seven year olds, not with my addition and subtraction prowess - but with my ability to make a bridge when shuffling cards.
I'll take it where I can get it.
Sara Maria says that cod liver oil helps boost brain power and since I haven't increased my brain power since I was 12 and used to take that multiple choice quiz in Reader's Digest Magazine - no wait - that was How To Increase Your Word Power. In that case I haven't tried to increase my brain power ever. At any rate I thought I'd give it a go.
All the bottles of cod liver oil at Amber Wave touted their product for easing the pain of achy joints, none mentioned brain power. Well, whatever, I've got achy joints too and the largest bottle was only $8 so I decided to get some anyway but the woman ahead of me in line kept hemming and hawing over her purchases and changing her mind and making the sales clerk pour her endless bags of some type of white powdery substance, "one bag, no wait, how much is it? What? Oh okay, another bag then."
Then she started rummaging for her credit card and it was already after 4:30 and I couldn't take it any more so I put the cod liver oil back and fled.
What I really need is a second dose of St. John's Wart to help be deal with the crazy, indecisive people in line ahead of me at the health food store.
That and more chocolate.
song: Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind? • artist: Lovin' Spoonful
OMG and speaking of the "Unicorn Song" - did you know that was written by Shel Silverstein? Mr. Silverstein also penned "Cover of the Rolling Stone," "The Boa Constrictor Song" (you know, "I'm being eaten by a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor, a boa constrictor..."), and The Johnny Cash hit, "A Boy Named Sue;" but the "Unicorn Song" I just figured was one of those folk songs passed down from generation to generation - like the rest of them there Irish tunes that get belted out on St. Patrick's Day by Liam himself.
You know, like maybe it was written by Noah - himself.
In the old days rich folks puddled their drapery fabrics on the floor in an opulent display of wealth which translated into "look at me, I'm so wealthy I ooze velvet." The modern day equivalent of puddling might be people who put out their returnable bottles and cans along with their regular recycling as if to say, "look at me, I don't need no stinkin' nickel."
There's a lot of puddling going on over in Pine Bay. I might have to hitch a wagon to my bicycle.
song: If I Were A Rich Man • musical: Fiddler on the Roof
According to a certain current movie trailer there's a general misconception circulating that mothers can't keep baby poop off their heads. It reminds me of the equally irritating scene in Sex in the City where Steve has to tell Miranda she's got "a little doodee" on her head.
Please people. I have changed a lot of diapers - more than I care to think about. I have gotten poop on the wall and poop on my hands but I have never, ever, gotten poop on my head much less paraded my poopy head out in public for other people to comment on. Because you see - a wet diaper can be changed anywhere - a poopy diaper usually requires the offending toddler be relocated to the bathroom where the trash can and the wipes are - and - where the mirror is. So that even if there was a question about facial poop - I would be able to resolve it before making a big entrance.
Reason number two that you're likely to see mothers walking around with toilet paper stuck to their feet or their skirts tucked into their underwear before you see them with poop smeared faces (in case you need a reason number two) is this: poop smells - which makes it pretty easy to detect.
Glad we've got that cleared up. And speaking of - I've got to go clear up some pee on the wall where my five year old missed the toilet.
song: The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face • artist: Roberta Flack
It's been a long time since I've been in a bathroom adorned with graffiti. All that changed on jury duty day. The stalls in the bathroom at district court located closest to the jury holding pen are covered in graffiti. It struck me that graffiti is the precursor to twitter: short, random, and often misspelled.
And whereas high school bathrooms usually contain mostly romantic (if not graphic) sentiments, court bathroom graffiti is writing on the wall of a different sort. First there are lots of RIPs. "RIP Crystal," "RIP Jordan," "RIP Nick." Then there was this one: "DD and Daubly hate DSS."
There's lots of religious graffiti wherein bathroom goers are assured that God loves each and every one of them and heck maybe he even cares about their bowel movements, certainly he wants them to wash their hands before leaving regardless of whether they are an employee or not.
There was a line reporting that a man named Jack was a rapist which could be taken with a grain of salt in a high school bathroom but carries more weight in the stalls of the county courthouse.
An ironic message beseeched would-be street artists to grow up and write on their own walls at home.
And finally, "the older up we get the more bills and trouble we get into."
Amen to that.
I guess your memory does not serve you correctly.
Tom taught sixth grade not fifth.
Also, there was an article about his death in the paper.
Finally, not to disclose in your letter than you and he were once married makes it appear that you yourself may feel some stigma in admitting that you were married to someone who later committed suicide.
song: Don't You Forget About Me • artist: Simple Minds
Jury duty started with a stroll through a metal detector.
"It's just like going on vacation," I said to the security guard.
"But you get leave your shoes on," he countered. Obviously he'd heard that one before.
Potential jurors greet each other with phrases such as, "this must be the place," "we're the early birds huh?" and "can I scooch by?"
There were only 20 jurors when we were called to line up to be checked in which I found strange given that when I'd called the night before the message was that jurors in groups 1 through 25 had to report and "all other groups" were canceled. I was just working out the math: 20 jurors for 25 groups means 1.25 jurors per group, when the woman next to me, the one who'd "scooched," waved her postcard around like it was a golden ticket and exclaimed that she was in group 33 and in a perfect Clerks delivery announced that she's "not even supposed to be here today." Then, because stupidity is rewarded (it's just like you feared), she got to go to the front of the check in line.
You have to wonder about people who don't bring any reading material, just a cup of coffee, to jury duty. Are they just really optimistic about not having to serve? Are they hoping the jury holding pen will have some really good magazines (it didn't)? Are they really deep thinkers who don't need external stimuli or are they just blank slates?
In the waiting room we all got to covertly check out what each of us had brought to read and, and based on what we saw, make broad assumptions about each other. The woman with the Whole Foods water bottle was reading "Eat, Pray, Love" and by the looks of it our heroine was still in Italy. A skinny woman was reading a novel called, appropriately, "Skinny." The man who's hair and beard were half dyed read was reading a Tom Clancy novel. He later admitted to being bumped off a previous jury because he had long hair. A woman in a gold lamé dress told us that she'd been picked for jury duty exactly three years from the day she last served.
By 9:15 the coffee drinkers were finished with their java but each was clutching his or her disposable cup - staring intently at it - and presumably pondering the meaning of life.
The sound of the jury waiting room is a mix of chip bags being opened and of carbonation being released from soda bottles. Did no one have breakfast? Isn't it a little early in the morning for Fresca? It's the sound of a wrinkled dollar bill being repeatedly fed into the tired-looking snack machine and jettisoned out again and again and again. Enough times to make you want to giggle uncontrollably, the way you used to at Christmas Eve candle light services with your sister, sniggering until your mother looked over with "the disapproving glance" - the one that said "you're not being very Christian" making you want to reply, "you should be happy your adult daughters get along so well" or better yet, "I'm not even supposed to be hear today."
My five year old is obsessed with UNO. Which, all things considered, is better than being obsessed with the game Trouble or with the dreaded Candyland but still, played compulsively, one can even grow weary of UNO.
When he first got the hang of the game, which was roughly three weeks ago, he couldn't bear it if he didn't win at least one game before retiring for the evening. If you've ever tried to purposely loose a game of UNO let's just say it's more difficult than it looks. You'll draw a wild draw four card when you've only got two cards of the same color left in your hand, one of which is a skip card or you'll have UNO and your opponent will change the color to match to remaining card that's in your hand - do you go out or pick from the deck and keep playing? And it wouldn't be so bad to loose on purpose if your children didn't do victory dances around the room after they (finally!) win and trash talk you.
Thankfully he's rapidly become a good enough player that I no longer have to try to loose, conversely, I find myself loosing all the time.
H can remember everything about every game we play. What color the opening card was; the last four moves up until he got UNO and went out; how many "good" cards he got dealt, and so on. The best though is the trash talking. C does it as well. Nothing too outlandish, just the occasional "Man! You're tough!" "revenge," and "take that!" I think it's a great little release, since I usually discourage, in the spirit of the Peace Builder's Pledge, put downs. A fast-paced game of cards gives them the chance to hurl a few insults and slights at each other in a playful environment. One in which everybody is a loser sometimes and (thankfully) everybody is a winner. And nobody makes fun of your happy dance.
Ask me why I'm so excited about the 14-dollar, size-small, Abraham Lincoln costume I just ordered for H?
It's because he wants to be Captain Ahab for Halloween!
Just look at these two men! Who is Captain Ahab but Abe Lincoln with a harpoon and a peg leg? Not to mention, costumes of historical figures are way cheaper than your average Halloween costume.
Next year I'll use the costume again when I dress the four of them like the profiles on Mt. Rushmore.
For my walk on Monday I decided I would go backwards. Not the actual walking but the route. Instead of my usual Colonial, Cliffwood, Yankee, Gov. Bradford and back to Colonial, I chose Colonial, Gov. Bradford, Yankee, Cliffwood and back to Colonial.
In ten years of this being my route it's never occurred to me to walk it in this direction. I felt like George in the Seinfeld episode where he vows to do the exact opposite of all the things he usually does.
So I'm going along, and truthfully it's a little disorienting. All the houses look askew when approached from the opposite direction - familiar yet unfamiliar.
I come out on Cliffwood and I'm a few houses down from the intersection of Cliffwood and Yankee when I see this deer on a lawn to my left. The deer is casually eating grass in someone's front yard unperturbed by my presence. I stop and look up and down the street, searching for someone else with whom I can collaborate this story as I've never, in many nights of walking, seen a deer on someone's front lawn. Alas, just as it was when I saw the dinosaur-sized snapping turtle on the bikepath, no one else was about.
With no one else to witness the deer I began to question it myself. Maybe I was having a Harry Potter moment (because all my metaphors have to elude to outdated cultural references) and the deer was actually a patronous like Harry's stag or Snapes silver doe (Whoops. Spoiler. Hope you've read book 7).
In other nature-related news, yesterday while trimming what passes for shrubs in front of the house I found two bird nests. C found another three when he got home from school. As per my friend Laird's suggestion we put them in the microwave to kill any mites or other small bugs that might be living in them. Small birds do not return to their nests (because of the vermin) so there's no guilt in fall nest collecting.
On my suggestion C checked out some cool scat in the backyard by the shed. I think I should like to be remembered someday as the mother who pointed out cool scat to her son.
I had a second Harry Potter moment, less than 24 hours after the first at the bus stop when I commented to C that the black wispy cloud that was floating rapidly by in front of the large fluffy white one looked like a dementor. A dementor! C, the boy who rereads Harry Potter books like the ending might change if his eyes just bore into the book long enough, seemed unmoved by my keen observation.
Perhaps he was busy trying to conjure up his own patronous.
C and H are into the marines and the police respectively. C runs around in his plastic camouflage helmet saying he's the U.S. Marines, and H, as the police, uses loose-leaf binder rings for hand cuffs. All the while I field questions like - Can the marines arrest people in other countries? Can the police arrest the marines?
Which to me is akin to asking who would win Godzilla or Mothra? Superman or the Green Lantern?
I chose the police. Frankly I don't think the marines can arrest anybody and besides, the police have better songs.
We're cleaning up the kitchen last night and Dixie Chicken comes on the iPod.
"That would made a good first dance song at a wedding," says Ken.
"Well she's not exactly faithful," I point out. I believe the gist of the song is that she's everybody's "Tennessee lamb."
I hate it when people don't listen to the song's lyrics.
That guy in Green Green Grass of Home? He's on death row.
Charlie? He never gets off the train.
A huge flock of starlings went through the back yard this morning.
The geese must be in chevron flight.
C was sent home on the third day of school with a note from the nurse that described an injury he sustained thusly: "poked self with sock in left eye."
Great. My son is Homer Simpson. At least if he were Bart he would have poked some other kid in the eye with a sock instead of himself. D'oh!
Then I get an e-mail with this subject line from BlogHer: "I love my small chest!" The message goes on to say that I'm only receiving this e-mail because of my relationship with BlogHer but don't you believe it.
Damn that targeted marketing.
song: Do You Really Want To Hurt Me? • artist: Culture Club
Why is the first week of school so tiring for me? I'm not the one who has to go there. All I have to do is get them to bed, get them up, get them to the bus stop, pick them up from the bus stop, make them lunch, pack them snacks in separate bags so as not to be confused with lunch, help them gather personal items for "get to know you" homework, fill out paperwork (lots of paperwork - in duplicate), get twins to preschool orientation (more paperwork), pick twins up from preschool orientation, strain to remember names of new preschool parents to whom I have just been introduced one hour earlier, read supplement copy, remember to go to dermatologist appointment, and play UNO with H every spare minute of every day.
I heard an NPR report that insomnia and repeated nights of sleeping less than six hours can shorten one's life.
Now I definitely can't sleep.
H was prepared to illuminate the house with his lantern.
C was planning to cook lunch and make me a cup of tea using his pizza box solar oven.
Both were disappointed to wake up and find the electricity still on.
The CC Times interviewed a woman who was leaving Nantucket to drive to Maine because she didn't want to be without electricity with her two year old.
I'd rather be without electricity with a two year old than stuck in the car all the way to Maine with one. That's good news for me since I'll probably be there soon enough.
For the time being though N and S are practicing their survival skills by drinking out of puddles in the front yard.
Hurricane Bob was weathered with a big box of doughnuts, several bags of cheese curls, and copious amounts of wine.
I'd just assume greet Earl in much the same way except that I wouldn't be caught dead eating doughnuts in front of my children.
The other day I e-mailed this question to a friend who has a Ph.D. in Wildlife Biology. I am reprinting his response as a public service.
The other day I heard a dad admonish his child not to pick up a feather because "if a bird loses a feather it's because the bird is sick."
Is this true or just something we parents say in order to stop our kids from picking up items we deem undesirable?
Should I let me kids pick up feathers?
Birds go through at least one molt and sometimes several in a year so losing a feather is perfectly natural and not indicative of an illness. Even if a bird was ill it is quite unlikely the feather would be contaminated with anything that could be transmitted to humans.
Even feather lice do not live on humans as our body temperature is too low when compared to birds. Whenever I see a nice feather I always pick it up. In fact, Connie and I have a feather collection in a mug at home.
So encourage the boys to collect feathers!
So the moral of the story is you should let your kids collect feathers, who knows, they could become a big brain like my friend Laird.
bapple = apple (or any piece of fruit)
cookie = cookie (or any dessert item)
dedee = diaper
beesh dedee = swim diaper
bee bee bair = big, big, bear
Bebe. Brotha bebe. = I am a baby and my brother is a baby too.
I go. = I am going in the car with you come hell or high water. Now get out of my way.
song: Should I Stay or Should I Go • artist: the Clash
They say that soldiers who lose limbs in battle sometimes suffer from a phantom limb syndrome wherein they feel sensations in the missing arm or leg.
I find that after I take my sunglasses off my head I still think they are up there and not only that - I reach for them constantly even though I know that they are not there. I call it phantom shades syndrome. I know it's not the same thing but it's all I got.
And while we're on the subject of subjects that aren't very funny but let's have a go at them anyway, one of the Google headlines this week was "what makes mothers kill their children?" Obviously it was in response to the tragedy in South Carolina but honestly - the question seems a bit rhetorical. Have you been with a brood of kids lately? Have you seen exhausted mothers with out of control children acting out in supermarkets, at the playground, or in the library? Children are naturally self centered, demanding little individuals who can be difficult to be around.
None of which justifies killing your offspring but honestly it's not hard to see where a depressed mother without a good support system might harbor the thought.
And now that I'm on a roll, here's another observation. This one concerning an interesting juxtaposition of merchandise in a Main Street shop. First there was a rack of body shaping slips with the brand name Yummy Tummy. The purpose of this garment may very well be to support those same harried moms so that in addition to being tired and unappreciated they don't have to add feeling like they have frumpy tummies to the list of disappointments that seem to have become the bulk of their everyday lives. On the other hand maybe it just serves to reinforce the unfair standards by which society rates mothers - they must have perfect children and retain their perfect figures as well.
Right next to the rack of women's undergarments was the Buddha Bowl, a shallow bowl which, correct me if I'm wrong, looks perfectly suitable for resting on ones "Buddha belly," most likely when one is traversing down the road to enlightenment by ensconcing themselves in couch cushions, snacking on chips and dips, and watching the big game. The question is - if the Buddha Bowl is on your belly - where is the remote?
This all leads me to draw the obvious conclusion (obvious at least to me) that while women have to have a yummy tummy at all costs, men get to let it all hang out and then perch a bowl of chili on top of it.
Another truth that might push the unstable mom over the edge
song: Mother's Little Helper • artist: the Rolling Stones
C made himself a "survival kit" the other night out of strips of recycled paper.
Into his survival kit is put a handful of band aids, three Kleenex, and a travel-size bottle of baby shampoo. He's all set to "survive" a paper cut.
But alas he isn't because he left the survival kit in the living room, S & N got into it, stuck the band aids all over their elbows and scrunched up the Kleenex.
The girls are really takin' it on the chin at Highfield this season. First there was Eliza Doolittle going back to Henry Higgins in order to fetch him his slippers and tonight Annie Oakley lost a shooting match to Frank Butler on purpose in order not to bruise his ego.
I'm looking forward to "A Funny Think Happened on the Way to the Forum," and the song, "Everybody Ought to have a Maid."
Nowadays kids can take classes on how to babysit. Classes that can even include CPR training meaning that your babysitter, in effect, may be more qualified to take care of your children than you are. When I was a kid the only real qualification for being a babysitter was that one lived in close proximity to the house at which one was to babysit. So it was with the teenage girl who baby sat for my sister and me. We lived at house #76, she, at house #100.
Her name was Irene and her obituary was in the paper this spring. Just a short obituary, she didn't live in Falmouth anymore. I tried to google her but couldn't get much more information. The brief didn't mention whether or not she had a family, it didn't list her parents, or her two brothers. She was 49. Only seven years older than me but those seven years are an eternity when they are the years between 10 and 17.
Irene came to our house every Wednesday night. My mother was at work and my Dad used to go to the Knights of Columbus for Bingo Night to sell lobster raffle tickets. They were a sort of scratch ticket where if you matched two or more lobsters you won various amounts of cash.
I can't recall a single conversation I ever had with Irene. Her purpose was not to influence me through words rather through deeds and through her very presence. She was the older sister I did not have and in fact I used to carry her wallet-sized school photo around and tell people she that was my older sister.
Irene would let me stay up and watch Charlie's Angels and Starsky and Hutch even though they were on past my bedtime. Sometimes I would run and jump into bed just as the headlights from my mother's car came into view through the living room curtains.
When she wasn't babysitting, Irene used to walk down our street with her boyfriend, another kid from our neighborhood, giving me a glimpse of my own future, or what I hoped my future would look like. From her I learned that the pinnacle of teenage romance in the late 1970s was walking with your boyfriend, arm around each other's waists and one hand in the others back pocket - a plastic comb with a chunky curved handle protruding from the other pocket.
This Wednesday night ritual went on for what seemed liked eternity to me. I don't remember when it changed. I guess I finally got old enough to stay home alone with my younger sister.
Eventually convenience stores started selling scratch tickets, casinos owned by Native American's got built, and people stopped going to Bingo night.
Now the Knights of Columbus has been sold to the Police Athletic League and my childhood babysitter is dead.
H and C both made drawings of baseball fields yesterday. H's was an elongated pentagon shape with four bases plus home plate. C's was a triangle with bases at the mid points.
Not too clear about why they call it a baseball "diamond" but I cut them some slack since I was 22 when I had an "ah ha" moment about the true meaning of miles per hour.
song: Diamonds Are Forever • artist: Shirley Bassey
Parents often talk about how they see themselves reflected in their children. More often than not our kids pick up on our bad habits rather than our good ones. Sometimes, they inadvertently help us discover bad habits we didn't even know we had.
My cousins on Nantucket have changed their weekend breakfast spot from years back when they used to frequent the Rotary Cafe. Their new favorite restaurant is much more upscale. They took us there last weekend. The boys had pancakes. When they arrived Priscilla asked C if he needed help cutting his. He said no and proceeded to pick up his pancake and tear it into little pieces with his bare hands, which is just how I prepare them at home.
This just in from the Cape Cod Times. The secret of eternal life has finally been found and it's this: don't sit down. "Men who sat more than six hours a day were 18 percent more likely to die than those who sat three hours a day."
song: Don't Fear the Reaper • artist: Blue Oyster Cult
Dear Freecycle and responders to free postings on Craig's list,
I don't care about your life history, the non-profit company you work for, or your status as a single parent.
All I care about is that you come and pick up the cr*p on my front lawn on the day you say you're going to come.
When we were getting on the ferry yesterday the ticket collector asked what that thing was around C's neck. I gave my best pitch (really I did!) and told him he could buy some from my cousin at the Farmers' Market on Saturday.
It's a tribute to the universal appeal of the musical Guys and Dolls that the line outside the men's bathroom during intermission at Highfield Theater tonight was equally as long as the one outside the women's.
song: Sit Down! You're Rockin' the Boat • musical: Guys and Dolls
They shooed us off the beach on Monday when it started to thunder. Ken said that he felt he had a right to go swimming in a lightening storm and I told him he most certainly could, provided his life insurance policy was up to date and he wasn't on a town-owned beach. Lifeguards apparently are charged not only with saving our lives but from saving us from our own stupidity.
So we leave Megansett and head home and the sky is getting darker and darker and I'm remembering how the grill cover is open and how I put the clothes on the line in the morning, which is what caused the rain in case you're wondering (I caused yesterday's brief shower as well), and we get to Old Silver, where a mass beach exodus is taking place and then, just as we're about to pass by, some guy in an orange shirt and Hawaiian pants leaps out in the street to stop traffic so cars can get out of the beach parking lot.
Now I ask you. Why is it that the line of cars in the beach parking lot at Old Silver need some traffic vigilante Jimmy Buffett look-a-like to stop traffic so they can all leave? There was no emergency - unless of course they all had laundry hanging out - everyone was out of the water and the car is one of the safest places to be during a lightening storm. Those of us beaching at Megansett managed to get into our cars and merge into traffic without incident.
There really is no beach etiquette at Old Silver. People going to there seem, as soon as they are in sight of the beach, to forget that they are even driving on a road at all. Drivers come to complete stops mid-street, not just to let a passenger jump out but to unload coolers, beach chairs, coolers, and a neon-colored assortment of noodles. Pedestrians forget that there is a road in front of the beach as well - meandering out into traffic, starting across and then stopping or walking straight down the middle of the street and then when a car approaches, giving them a shocked looked as if they'd just discovered someone driving a vehicle on a bike path.
It occurred to me that Jerry Seinfeld is the 90s equivalent to Felix Ungar so let me amend my cultural references in the last post so they're a little less out of date.
It seems that life is quite often like a sitcom. Which I guess is better than saying life is quite often like a drama, or reality tv.
So I'm having a mammogram done last week and the technician is looking over my chart. She asks me about a biopsy I had done, when I had it and what the results were.
Then she says, "And where did you have the biopsy done?"
And I say, "In the doctor's office."
And she raises her eyebrows to look at me over her glasses and says, "No dear, where on your breast?"
Cue laugh track.
song: Make 'Em Laugh • musical: Singing in the Rain
In addition to all the regular laundry that piles up in summer which includes two to three outfits per child per day plus bathing suits and towels, C decided that we need to wash all the items in his underwear basket as well as everything in the pajama bin.
"Some of them have been in here so long they might get moldy," he explained.
I explained back that they are only likely to be moldy if he put them away when they were still wet.
So what? He's Felix Ungar now?
Then, after I do three loads of laundry, I come into work and find myself pining for the days of the good old bar of soap.
The office bathroom contains one bottle of hand lotion, one bottle of hand sanitizer, and two bottles of hand soap.
No doubt this would please my son the neat freak, but it just confuses me.
We finally convinced H to use Native American instead of Indian by telling him that's what Little Bear would like best. At the pow wow he went from craft vendor to craft vendor saying loudly, "look Momma! Native American drums! Look Momma! Native American whistles. Look Momma! Native American belts!"
At the sight of this man he yelled, "Look Momma! Native Americans can have babies just like us!"
Then he asked, "are there still any cowboys?"
song: Where Have All the Cowboys Gone? • artist: Paula Cole
So I put up the tent on the hottest day of the year; then I stayed in it and read them books and swatted three mosquitoes so they wouldn't get bitten. Later I came back and read my own book until they fell asleep and all they tell me is how great daddy is because he turned up "Somebody Robbed the Glendale Train" "really loud, like to 26, on the CD player in the truck."
The mini van came back from nine days in the repair shop last week and in addition to adding a new door, somebody switched one of the radio presets to the country station.
Instead of instantly changing it back I gave it a listen on the way to the supermarket this morning. The top forty countdown was on and they were up to the latest by Alan Jackson, one of the few country singers whose name I recognize because he was a favorite of my Auntie Edna. So I kept listening.
The song was "Hard Hat And A Hammer" and it featured the refrain, "God bless the working man."
Now we could argue that Mr. Jackson is referring to every man who draws a pay check and even some who don't but the lyrics (there's nothing wrong with a hard hat and a hammer) tell us otherwise.
Where's the song that celebrates the white-collar worker? With lyrics like "there's nothing wrong with a degree in marine biology." Or, "God bless the research assistant." There is "Here Comes Science" by They Might Be Giants but that's been relegated to kids music.
Kids who will hopefully grow up to be all that they can be, but in the event that they end up wielding a hammer at least they'll have plenty of country tunes to croon to while they are up on the roof.
song: Hard Hat And A Hammer • artist: Alan Jackson
I dreamt I met the President.
He was shorter than I'd expected (aren't they always?)
He was about to wear a bathrobe to a press conference but I talked him out of it.
He went with a blue sweater instead.
When the babysitter was over last week she played some kind of game with H in which he took up his shield and sword and fought his unarmed stuffed baby chick. The babysitter played the part of the chick.
It seemed like a lopsided confrontation. First off, H is a real alive person with use of his hands and all while the weaponless chick can't do much of anything except emit a strange purring noise when squeezed which I think once sounded like a cheep.
What's up with these creative babysitters, who actually play with their charges? When I was a kid the babysitter left me in front of the tv all night; straight through to the end of Charlie's Angels, after which I would run a jump into bed, just as the headlights to my mother's car came streaming through the front windows of the house.
But anyway, because my children get quality sitters and not just the teenager down the street, I too, had to play this game. At first my chick had a chip clip to use as a weapon but N quickly relieved him of it. Despite the fight having turned into a real David and Goliath affair, I was determined to persevere with the game. If the babysitter could stand it then dammit, so could I.
"My chick doesn't need any weapons," I announced. "He's got a bionic beak."
H was initially impressed with the chicks pumped up state of overconfidence.
"Is he very strong?"
I was reminded of the killer rabbit scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail and felt for a moment like I might have a chance.
H went for the jugular at the first opportunity.
He's obviously got a future in the meat packing industry.
You know how the teacher in the Magic School Bus series is named Mrs. Frizzle?
Well sometimes, on days when I pull into Coonamessett Farm and ask the parking attendant if I can park up near the farm stand with my five year old and two-year-old-twins (she's in charge of parking for Jamaican Night at 4:30!) and she obliges and then I find that I've forgotten my wallet and have to make a quick exit (in front of said attendant) only to have her yell after me that I've pulled out of the lot with my left rear side door open - then I feel like Mrs. Frazzle - only without the cool outfits.
song: Escape (the Pina Colada Song) • artist: Rupert Holmes
A curse upon parents (and anyone else) who, after returning to their cars in an area with limited parking - like the North Falmouth Elementary School - sit in them and place cell phone calls or do other needless tasks. Even worse is the guy who leaves his car idling - obviously in order to make me believe - falsely - that he's going to be out soon. Ruining the environment AND giving false parking hopes to a harried mother, two strikes.
When Boston had no tap water - they got free hand outs.
So where's ours?
For the record, I prefer Evian.
What's up with those bumper stickers that say "have a Cape Cod Day"?
What does that mean?
Can they be more specific?
This week it could mean sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic on Palmer Avenue, paying $20 for beach parking at Old Silver, and have to boil your foul-smelling water.
The bumper stick on my car is a nice direct admonishment. It says "Buy Cape Cod Grown."
I see that some large, timely, June bugs have gotten into the house.
Hope they don't try and drink the water.
song: Bridge Over Troubled Water • artist: Simon and Garfunkel
Ken said that people were hoarding bottled water and paper products at CVS.
You'd think that everyone had an oven in their front yard.
Today the sink joined it. Now the oven won't be lonely.
You know what the pilgrims did about questionable water?
They drank ale.
It was inconvenient to learn that Falmouth residents need to boil their water on the very day that our old stove was removed. The new one will be installed tomorrow.
In the meantime I guess I'd better learn how to use the new microwave.
Thankfully, to take my mind off my bacteria-infested water, our backyard neighbor stopped by to say that his pet chicken was missing.
She's brown and her name is Stupid Chicken, but she doesn't answer to it.
This morning I made C squeeze his bulbous head into the blue kid's helmet with the lightening bolts down the side.
As it turned out, hardly anyone on the bikepath was wearing a helmet.
But still, I felt like less of a pariah in front of the school crossing guard.
My big-headed son has outgrown all the children's bike helmets given to us by well-meaning friends, and even the one I bought with a discount through our health plan. This means if the two of us want to go riding together he wears my helmet.
Yesterday we rode to school together.
I'm happy to report that there were no other helmetless bikers on the bike path that morning. Only me.
I felt like I was nine months pregnant with a beer in one hand and a cigarette in the other.
At this weekend's opening of "By Way of These Eyes: The Sublime, Exotic and Familiar" an exhibition of photographs from the collection of Christopher Hyland, I had a grand revelation.
You heard it here first.
It takes a village to promote the arts.
It takes the muse to inspire the artist, the artist to create the art, the collector to purchase the art, the museum to display the art, the media to promote the art, and the public to go see the art.
My other revelation this week was that it's wiser to run your two-year-old twins around the playground before bringing them into the library than after.
The question of the mystery flag is resolved: Good morning everyone; So good to see the photos of our babies. This flag is the flag of the Acadians. Your Grand-mother Mathilda (Cottreau) Briana was a pure bred Acadian.You can look it up on the computer and you will get the whole story of us Acadians. Flossie
Last year C brought home this flag from his trip to Nova Scotia. I assumed it was the flag of Nova Scotia, but I should have known from the word assume that I would be incorrect. This is not the flag of Nova Scotia nor is it the flag of any other Canadian province.
It's not the flag of Gambia, Estonia, Kosovo, Palau, Brunei, Cameroon, or Lithuania. In fact I couldn't find it in our Smithsonian Handbook of Complete Flags of the World.
Does anyone recognize this flag?
As any self-respecting mother who loves her family knows, bell peppers are always topping the list of vegetables you should buy organic. So I set out to buy some. They didn't have any at Amber Waves when I went in to buy my over-priced conditioner, chocolate covered almonds, and peanut butter substitute. At Shaws they had organic peppers but they were packaged in pairs under plastic wrap on a piece of cardboard. I cannot understand this. It's like a two-night minimum stay on the weekends, why must I buy two peppers when I only need one? And why do the organic peppers come with packaging while the pesticide-laced peppers do not?
Organic eggs are the same deal; they're organic but they come in styrofoam packaging instead of cardboard egg cartons. It's the supermarket's way of sticking it to you because you can't have your organic produce and recycle it too.
The non-organic peppers have no extraneous packaging but they are freakishly large. They are atomic mutant peppers.
The organic peppers come from Mexico. We can't grow organic peppers and over package them in our own country?
I paced back and forth between the organic and non-organic peppers. They're not next to each other in the store as you might expect because the organic food isn't allowed to mingle with the non-organic food, it's in their contract.
Time was ticking away and I could hear, somewhere in the distance, the preschool bus heading for my house and I still had to contend with organic verses non-organic celery - another top ten offender.
My family would probably starve if it weren't that Ken does most of the shopping.
song: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band • artist: The Beatles
In case my cousins in Canada are still checking in, C has been boning up on his metric system in preparation for this year's visit.
Today he told me he figured he was about a meter tall.
Yesterday he came out on the deck and dramatically announced, "Phew! It must be at least 25!"
More often than not I am forced to wake S and N from their naps in order to make it to preschool pick up and then on to meet the elementary school bus at the end of our street.
Sometimes they throw all their bedding on the floor before falling asleep and lately they've been removing outer layers of clothing.
Not wanting to break the spell of a good nap, I wait until the last possible moment, then mount the stairs, grab the twins, and run. I don't have time to redress them so I take them as is, in nothing but onsies.
They are still groggy, which makes them easier to wrangle into their car seats. After they are strapped in I hand them each cups of goldfish crackers which keeps them from crying half way to preschool when they finally wake up and realize they are in their car seats half naked.
Last week I was rushing them from crib to car seat when I realized mid-seat belt buckle that N had taken his shorts off and put them back on but that he'd put both his legs through one pant leg. Typical rookie mistake I chuckled. Then I took another look and had a Sharon Stone transvestite moment when I noticed that not only had he taken off his shorts, he'd also taken off his diaper - and this article of clothing - he had not bothered to put back on.
To be a seven-year old (make that seven and a half) and to have never lost a tooth is akin to being a 40-year-old virgin.
The magnitude of this event (or lack thereof) should not be underestimated by adults. Ask any preschooler and they will tell you, with longing in their voice, which of their friends have lost teeth.
There are days when C is convinced that he's destined to be the only elementary school student ever to be cursed with retaining all their baby teeth. Having his mother say things like, "don't worry Honey, you'll lose a tooth soon enough," is like having your mother tell you what a great catch you are and how "you'll meet the right girl soon enough."
Children talk about tooth loss amongst themselves in the same way adults casually discuss the weather. It's one of those universal subjects everyone seems to have a vested interest in.
"How 'bout them Sox?" translates in kid speak to "How 'bout them central incisors?"
Seated next to C at the school's Paint-your-Own-Pottery Night, I overheard one of C's friends announce he'd lost another tooth, as if it were old news.
"I haven't lost any teeth," C admitted, which is more than the 40-year-old virgin would be likely to divulge.
Of course it's not as if you can hide the facts. High school students can always brag about a fabricated love interest at summer camp, although they should remember not to get carried away with it. My high school boyfriend told me a yarn about two bridesmaids at his sister's wedding which I never swallowed. Years later he confessed and seemed sincerely bewildered when I said I knew it was a lie all along.
However when it comes to teeth there's no way to fake a big gaping hole in your smile.
Sometimes C will tell me that he's got a loose tooth and I have to go so far as to wiggle (or try to wiggle) the tooth to which he's referring, only to announce, "sorry Honey, I don't think she's the girl for you."
I'm confident that when he does finally lose a tooth I'll be alerted to the accomplishment.
I'm less confident that I'll be confided in regarding that other milestone.
I just hope it happens soon. Think of how demoralizing it would be if his five-year old brother loses one first.
The other day I had N on the changing table and he was this big poopy mess so I'm fumbling with a new diaper and he backs himself up against the wall leaving this big brown butt-shaped smear. Peed on the wall has been, poop smeared was a first. It reminded me of people sitting on copy machines and xeroxing their butts.
Yesterday I read about Amy Wilson, mother of three, who has a new memoir out titled "When Did I Get Like This?" in which she chastises herself for bad parenting practices such as feeding her children dinosaur chicken nuggets three times a week.
What gives? I'm a crappy, insecure parent. Where's my book deal?
Today I read that Caitlin Gallagher has been wearing her Diane von Furstenberg wrap around dress for 30 days in a row and blogging about it.
Since when is wearing the same clothes every day news? I do this all the time. I'm on day three of the outfit I have on right now. Wait - no - it's after midnight - make that day four.
Seems as if we're scraping the bottom of the idea barrel if wearing the same clothes for a month straight is the best gimmick we can come up with.
At least Ms. Gallagher could have made it an interesting outfit. A prom dress, a maid of honor frock, a halloween costume - with mask.
When I was taking children's literature at the community college I showed up one day to find that the classmate in the seat to my right was sporting a lion's tail.
"Production of The Wiz?" I asked.
He explained that the tail was the barometer by which he judged people. Those who crossed to the other side of the hall and avoided eye contact with him failed the test.
The article goes on to say that Ms. Gallagher posted a link to her blog on Diane von Furstenburg's Facebook page and when she heard that Ms. DvF had read the blog, said she, "never, never would have dreamed that she would read it."
This seems disingenuous. Why post to someone's FB page if you don't expect or at least hope the other person will read it? Isn't that the whole point?
If not then why the blog? Why the article in the Globe?
I'm not faulting Ms. Gallagher, merely pointing out that she wanted to get caught.
No blog, no glory, as the saying goes.
So go ahead, wear the same dress every day for a month, feed your kid chicken nuggets repeatedly for lunch - but don't think you're original.