Thursday, December 30, 2010


Apt description of family today . . . except we are also at the same time quick to become belligerent.

Dog (still upset about travel and not eating properly) threw up on Husband's lap today.  Last night dog peed in my bedroom. 

Crumpled napkin in the side pocket of my purse (from a Burger King at a Pennsylvania service stop) reads as follows:

For next year:

1) Starbucks parfait = better than BK breakfast sandwich (even though the former has High Fructose Corn Syrup in it).

2) Children: either stay up on Christmas Eve for the family gathering chez GM [grandma] OR go to Christmas lunch on time (ie without nap). Not both.


There HAS to be a better way.

Our construction paper Xtide tree threw itself off the wall repeatedly and has been put out with the recycling.  Very symbolic.

Children in bed after a return home shopping trip and unexpected extra fee for the dog HAIR in the back of the rental car (Ha! We cleaned that vomit up good).  Winton is singing Happy Birthday to himself repeatedly.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Holiday Index (thanks to Harper's Magazine)

Number of times dog threw up in car on way to/ from Illinois: 7
Number of times Winton threw up in car: 1
Number of unnecessary pee stops for Clara: 3
Number of nights in a hotel in Elyria Ohio: 2 (one night each way)
Number of nights in a hotel in which a previous guest's vomit was on the bathroom wall: 1
Number of times dog threw up in hotel: 1
Number of times dog peed on grandma's new carpet: 1
Days of travel to/from Illinois: 4
Days in Illinois: 4
Days in Illinois spent in a car for more than 3 hours: 1
Days in Illinois I spent suffering from stomach flu: 1.5
Number of functions involving more than 10 people/ children over the 4 days in Illinois: 2
Grandma's stress level about those 2 functions: code red
Percentage of Christmas and birthday gifts from Illinois family for Clara (DOB Jan 3) and Winton (DOB Dec 30) that didn't fit in the vast Jeep Grand Cherokee we rented for the trip and will have to be mailed later: 10
Of the remaining 90% of gifts, percentage that fit in the children's play area at home: 35
Number of things Husband broke in fit of temper: 1 (window scraper when unnecessary Clara pee stop coincided with dog vomit in car)
Number of things I broke in a fit of temper: 1 (hand soap dispenser when finally home, overtired, and angry at Husband for not saying thank-you for my having gone on Holiday to his family's)
Best presents: new coat, scarf and banjo lessons (thanks, Husband, and sorry for my temper)

Monday, December 20, 2010


It's been a 6 day fevery mucus-fest at our house.  I took Thursday and Friday off work, even.  I kept the kids home on Friday too (so not "off" entirely then, but off enough given that it meant not having to go out in 22F with daggering gusts of cold wind up to 40 MPH).  Today, I'm in the office and, it being academia, NO ONE else is here. 


Blissfully quiet.  Think of all the work I could do if only I could tear myself away from internet frivolities and the stroking of my own ego with this blog thing . . .

Anyway.  Wednesday we embark on our drive from Baltimore MD to Sycamore IL: a journey of two days (each way), in a vehicle with two kids, two adults, one vomitous/ nervous hound dog and a lot of gear.  I have been watching a lot of Michael Palin travelogues lately (see above re: days off sick), and this has a feel of his largley blighted "Pole to Pole" journey about it to me, in particular a scene in which, near the south pole, a small plane flies away leaving Michael et al. to wait in a small tent, in the middle of nowhere, for an unspecified number of hours, with scant supplies.

I also watched Bela Fleck's "Throw Down Your Heart" while I was out sick.  It made me deliriously ambitious to actually play the banjo perched in the corner of our living room.  I want to sing folk tunes though, not bluegrass, and by "folk tunes" I don't necessarily mean American ones.  There, then.  An amibition for the post 40 years.

And I have a New Year's Resolution too, while I'm at it: go to bed at 8 more often because eating dinner at 5 and then going to bed that early really seems to agree with me (see above re: being out sick). 
(Husband points out I must have turned 80, not 40, back in August.)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Claraism du Jour

Mummy, that was a short song I sang.
[gesturing at her own knee] It's only about this tall.


I did the math this morning.  Between having Clara, overlapping nursing and a second pregnancy (with Winton) and then nursing Winton ("chin chin" as he pronounces his name), it has been 4 years and 21 months since my body was last for my use only.  4 years and 21 months of being either vessel (i.e. pregnant) or lunch (i.e. nursing).  4 years and 21 months of living provisionally in the mode of "Well.  These pants will do while I'm pregnant/ losing the baby weight" and "Hmm.  Well.  This shirt will have to do til I'm done nursing."

Thus, I have a wardrobe full of clothes from 5 years ago.  It includes "bootleg" jeans that now fit again, but which I shouldn't wear because the last five years have ushered in the return of "skinny" jeans (how sad that those weren't flattering on me even in 1988) and lurid ski sweaters cut just above the hip, with horizontal stripes.

I have a closet full of who I was at 35, which now, surprisingly, fits again but which has a) gone out of fashion b) doesn't acknowledge that I have turned 40, had two children and successfully gotten tenure.

At 35, wearing the second-hand puffy coat (warm, hideous) acquired during grad school was OK.
At 40, it's not.  I'm not sure why not, but it's not.

Clearly there is more to my mid-life crisis than turning 40.  I've got "over the hill" juxtaposed with "welcome back to being someone you barely remember"  with a large helping of "and everything about your life has now changed" on top.

Inconvenient additional detail: "disposable" income now entirely devoted to disposable diapers and daycare so there isn't actually a budget for obliterating the old wardrobe and starting over.

Monday, December 13, 2010


I think Winton is weaned.  We had been a "left-boob only" establishment for about two and a half months (the more comfortable side, and the one needing "attention" to make it match the right anyway). This week we have moved to no boob at all.  Instead, having never used a pacifier, Winton's now addicted to a "chewbetteh" (in the argot of daycare chez Maria).  Also known as, in his pronunciation, a "petah."

On Winton, milestones and odd pronunciations, this weekend also brought the following conversation:

Husband: "Winton, get your head off the dog's penis."
Winton: [Silent, staring at dog's penis.  Then, with recognition and fellowship] "Oh! Peh-nis! Peh-nis!  Peh-nis!"

And, as we are on the scatological, it also brought Winton mimicking his sister (who had been mimicking the dog) in pretending to pee on a tree.  "Poo-pee, Mummy!"

As for Clara, she is experimenting with the idea of imaginary friends and has one named Charlie who is, apparently, "Henry, but naughty."  Imaginary friends AND Jekyll/ Hyde constructions all at once.  She is very advanced, no?

She had pink eye this weekend.  Both have a hacking cough that sounds a bit like mild croup.

We also made our Christmas tree out of construction paper this weekend.  Last year we must have used up all the appropriate paper colours for decorations (red balls, yellow bells, white snowmen).  This year we have a green tree with: pink love hearts, black cats, blue hounds, yellow "moons" (they look like bananas) and some snowflakes gone wrong that look like doll faces out of a horror movie.  Clara loves it.

I have piles upon piles of grading now.  Ah December.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Winton, Pet Names

Winton asks to go home every day after we've dropped Clara off, en route to his daycare.

W: "Hum, Mummy?"
Me: "No. It's a school day.  You're going to see MARIA!"
W: "Oh."
W: "Hahdie hum?"
Me: "Yup.  Hardie's at home."
W: "Puntin hum?"
Me: "Yup.  Pumpkin's at home too."
W:  "Bssssss hum?"
Me: "Briseis?  Yes.  Also home."
W: "Dadi hum?"
Me: "No.  Daddy's at work."
W: "Oh."
W: "Hum?  I do.  I do I do."
Me: "I know, lovey.   But I've got to go to work."
W: "Hahdie hum?"


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Clara, Nietzsche

[of a magnetic finger puppet on our fridge--memento of a time when Husband was doing a PhD in Philosophy]

Clara: "Daddy, can I have that man?"
Husband: "No.   It's Nietzsche."
Clara: "He needs to be naked."
Husband: "He doesn't get naked.  He's a Philosopher."

Monday, December 6, 2010

Terribly 40

I'm not sure why it took an acro-yoga workshop  (3 hours of vaulting into inversions) to clarify that I am no longer who I once was.

When I was 34, I did three ashtanga primary series practices a week and, usually, a vinyasa class in addition to that.  I also walked at least an hour a day with my dog.  I was leaner, stronger, fitter AND I slept a solid 8 hours per night. 

I am now not 34.  I do 30 minutes of self-practice (vinyasa, or iyengar . . . but rarely ashtanga) five days a week.  I walk about half an hour a day (admittedly with a double stroller full of heavy children and a hound dog pulling laterally away from us).  I am baggy in the middle, but relatively healthy.  I have strong arms and a lot of shoulder tightness.  I never get enough sleep.

An acro-yoga workshop at age 34 would have been just the thing. 

At 40, I could do it, for the most part, but it was scary hard to be upside down with my head balanced on someone else who was also upside down.  It was flat-out terrifying to be the "base" on which someone else balanced and to feel myself less strong than the situation called for.  And I am now lamed by stiffness.

For months, I have been lamenting my inability to conjure a mid-life identity for myself (post-reproduction, post-tenure, and it feels like post-attractiveness as well).  How cliche.

Surprisingly, however, I feel good about not being as "into" the extreme yoga scene as I was.  I don't actually want to have dreads, smell of sandalwood and wear a bindi.  I am OK with having chosen to take daily small bits of exercise which work for health but not for show, in exchange for more time with the kids.  (It'd be nice to feel I was more patient when I am with the kids though--I yelled at Clara again this morning after she spent several minutes thudding into me while screeching " GOO GOO GAH GAH").

Shockingly, the baggy midriff, and legs that quiver after too many breaths in virabadrasana 1 don't bother me nearly as much as they would have when I was 34.

These are small beginnings to the end of my mid-life crisis.  I have identitified one thing I'm willing to let go of: my yoga vanity. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Question: What happens when . . .

Your 3 year old flails and cries as you are trying to exit the public, and ostensibly family friendly library ?

Answer: Security sternly offers to escort you from the building.

Damn, I wish I'd had the presence of mind to whip off my pants.

If I'm going to get thrown out of the library it should be for nudity, drunkenness, or singing Celine Dion really loudly . . . In fact I thought those WERE the only reasons one ever got thrown out of public libraries.

Hardie the Inscrutable

Hardie.  The dog that quit obedience school after two classes, and got a refund for the rest of the course because we "weren't getting it."  He of the sudden, unheralded, puddles of clear vomit. 

I have been teaching him to sit before receiving his kibble.  This works by dint of me holding the steel bowl high in the air so that to look at it he has to put his bum on the floor, and it only works providing I don't confuse things by issuing a verbal command, or, god forbid, praising Hardie when he actually sits.

This morning Husband (unschooled in fine art of getting Hardie to do his one "sit" of the day) fed the dog.

20 minutes or so later, I walk into the kitchen to find Hardie staring at his untouched breakfast, hound dog ears drooping sadly, wide-eyed.

Me: "Why isn't the dog eating?"
Husband: "I don't know."
Me: "Did he throw up?"
Husband: "I don't think so."
Me: "Do you think it's because he didn't have to sit for it?  Maybe he thinks he's not allowed to eat it?"

[I hold bowl in the air.  Hardie, already seated, continues to look at it, as though in pain.  I put the bowl down.  I walk away.  Hardie eats.]

Really??  This dog?  THIS dog.  This one now won't eat unless explicitly (through silent ritual) given permission.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

"Why does it always rain on me"

Remember that song?  Can't, off the top of my head, recall the name of the band ("Trevor" comes to mind, but that's not right).  Il pleut des grosses chats aujourdhui: too much bloody rain.  But, moving on.

The nub of this post is self loathing: I get stressed, especially when I have competing obligations (eg work and children) and especially when trying to get somewhere on time (eg work, which requires dropping off children at two separate facilities first).  My stress ruins the morning for everyone.  Clara gets upset and clingy.  Sometimes she even calls me out on "the line in my head" (deep increasingly permament furrow caused by needless stress).  Winton gets less co-operative.

They say recognising you have a problem is the first step to solving it.  I have a problem: stress.
Now why won't it go away?

There's an idyllic 10 minute period after my daily 30 minutes of yoga in the corner of the college basketball court in which I am relaxed.  Carrying that feeling over into the rest of my day is proving impossible.  Most of the time I feel like I am trying, by dint of thrusting my shoulders up to my ears, to catch up with and on to some invisible flying trapeze that will lift me away into a mood in which not every minute has two or more claims on it.  Lots of work for the shoulders. 
(I hardly ever think about my feet.  You?)

To end on a more jovial note:

Winton provided this morning's dawn chorus (starting at 4.43).  A full hour of "Mummy?  Mummy!  Mu-meee.  Mummeeheee, Where. Are. you?  Mummy?  I love you!"

And then in the car he was yelling excitedly about a truck.  Except he says the "tr" bit as an "f."
Truck indeed!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Out of bed with a spring in her step

Clara, that is.  Not me.  Not Her Father. 
All of us (including a surprised, but optimistic, Winton) woken at five by Clara:
"I need to get up and wear my red dress with the dog on it."

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Grand-Parental Indulgences

For Winton: a plastic birthday cake ("cupcake!") with five candles that light up and two buttons which, when pushed, release a varied and unending stream of children's music.

For Clara: FOUR new dresses, two of which feature rhinestones (one in combination with fuschia love hearts and a black and white geometric print), one with purple plaid,  one with bows.  All feature sparkles.

American Thanksgiving: so many ways to acquire a headache and an upset stomach . . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Clara and Winton: Bodily News

Clara: Look at my toes!  They are beautiful and dangerous.

Winton [on pooping]: Pee pee!  Pee pee! Owww.
Me: Do you want to go get a clean diaper?
Winton: No!
Me: But didn't you just pee?
Winton: No!
Me: Did you poop? [sniffing diaper] Yup, you pooped.  Let's go.
Winton: No!
Me: But your butt gets sore if we don't change you right away.
Winton: No!
Me: C'mon.  Say "ciao" to your muffin and let's go get a clean bum.
Winton: [heading off at a run] Oh!  [and then]: Pee pee!  Pee pee! Owww.

Coda/ Repeat

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Claraism du jour

Clara: "Daddy, when I'm seven, can I say 'dammit' and 'jesus'?"
Daddy: "Uh, no, Clara."
Clara: "How about when I'm eight?  Then can I say 'dammit' and 'jesus'?"
Daddy: "Maybe when you're eight you can say 'cheeses'."
Clara: "What about when I'm eight thirty?"

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mea Ex-culpa, please

Hello, Blog.  Please make me feel better about the many small misjudgements that cumulatively make me feel like a worthless bag of sh*t. 

This morning, for instance, which involved the usual protracted herding of children upstairs (bathroom/ diaper change) and then back downstairs for a vigorous round of "quit hitting each other and put your coats on" while I marshalled lunches etc..

Following: overlapping demands in the car.  Winton [while cranking open window with his foot]: "Mummy, Look! Mummy, Look!"  and Clara [Yelling ]  "Clara Musica!  I want CLARA Musica!" all while I'm trying to do a u-turn in the middle of a busy street in rush hour traffic.

And then,  arrival at Clara's preschool just at the moment they are making the transition from the early care room (in one building) to the carriage house (a separate building).  Trying to hand Clara off to a teacher outside results in: her clinging to my ankle (in the wet mulch) and crying vehemently, Winton (freed from my attention) stealing a cardboard paper towel spool from the teacher's bag and letting it blow into the parking lot (so depriving someone of a good art project later today), and the teacher groaning "Oh, god.  And today I have a pinched nerve in my neck."  Whoo.

Well, and I'm off to teach now.  I expect small, cumulative problems there as well.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Give us a kiss then

In Winton speak, conveying the right lips for kissing, if not the right vocabulary:
"Mmf me!  Daddy, daddy!  Mmf me!"

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Quarterly Evaluations

I recently did the mandatory mid-semester evaluations of my Freshmen and, last year, went through tenure review.  Odd that parenting is a completely unreviewed endeavour. 
I imagine a bureaucrat-heavy panel of bespectacled parenting critics interviewing parents quarterly to assess progress. . . .
[insert brief swirl of harp music and add misted edges to the scene below]

Panelist [pushing glasses up nose]: So, Dr. R, how do you enrich your son's life?
Me: Well, we go to the public library a lot.  And I make him eat butternut squash.
Panelist: Does he enjoy these activities?
Me [shifting uncomfortably]: Urh.  No.  Not really.  I mean, maybe the squash sometimes.
Panelist [sternly]: Do you do anything with him that he enjoys?
Me [relieved]: Yes!  I take him to that gas station on the corner, the only one in the world where you still have to go inside to pay even if you're using a debit card, and let the nice Indian man (he is Indian, I asked) give him a lollipop.
Panelist [more sternly]:  At 8 in the morning?  Are you aware the lollipops at the gas station are full of corn syrup and red dye?  Are you trying to ruin his teeth?  Have you nothing better you could do with him?


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

No Doubt

So, if you read yesterday's post you'll have discovered (in the midst of my whining about my injuries etc.) that Winton calls the big bed a "couch" and pronounces "couch" "doubt."  Following?  Good.

So, this morning I had girl child in the bathroom so she could pee before school and boy child ecstatically playing on the "doubt."

Playing until I came back into the bedroom in time to see him slide off the "doubt" backwards and land on the top of his head.

No more doubt.  There can be no more playing on doubts or we will all surely die, or at the very least maim ourselves. (Winton is, again, miraculously unharmed.)

Monday, November 8, 2010

On the nose

Wherein it becomes clear to me that I must be a hypochondriac:

Last weekend, after days of coughing bouts that would last for minutes at a time, a week of a low grade fever, eyes that crusted shut at night and a right eye that became as red a late fall tomato, I took myself to a walk-in health clinic.  The waiting room was full of robust young men with ice packs applied to their limbs, and snottery newborns.  And then me: not so sick as all THAT, and not clearly broken.  On consultation with a Dr., I was diagnosed with something "that's not pneumonia yet" and left, with my amoxicillin, feeling like I had underperformed in terms of illness.

This weekend just gone by, I was lying on the big bed upstairs with Winton (which he asks for, with love, as "Couch" except it comes out "Doubt" when he says it: "Doubt?  doubt?  doubt, Mummy?  Doubt?").  We were playing his favorite game: I lie still and he stands, topples over my prone body, and lands with a thud on his face.  Good times.  Except, the very last time we did this, he decides to turn and look at me as he falls, so that instead of toppling over me, he topples INTO me, his head landing on the bridge of my nose with a noise like a hammer hitting a cabbage.  There was some blood.  And then a lump on the left side of my nose giving the whole the appearance of a remarkable curve.  (Winton, incidentally, has no injury.)

This time I went to an ER.  With a book (except it turns out I had already read the book, but had forgotten I'd read it until I started reading it again: Grr!).  And, despite the squelch on impact, the blood, the lump, the new crookedness,  MY NOSE IS NOT BROKEN. 

Dammit.  If I am going to go to a health care facility every weekend, these ailments need to step up their game.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Dagummit, child

So, yesterday I left school before the 3.30 faculty meeting so I could get my kids at the normal time (and because I DO have some kind of lung infection: a doctor said so, and gave me amoxicillin for it). 

The kids pick up/ faculty meeting schedule conflict gives me grief every month though.  I am usually healthy and so have to claim the following as an excuse instead of illness:

Yes, I know.  It's MY JOB to be at the faculty meeting.  Yes, I know, staying til 5 shouldn't cause the world to fall  down around me.  And yet.  The immense difference that hour and a half makes to the manageability of getting two young children home, fed, bathed, boobed (only Winton), read to and then put to bed.  A 3.30pm start has them both in bed  by 7 (good because they get up before 6 most days): 3.5 hours of hard work on my part.  A 5 pm start gets them in bed well, 3.5 hours later IF I can manage to keep them on track, but they are tireder by then as am I, so we lose the track quite easily.  Means I don't get to start cooking dinner for adults until 8.30.  And the kids still get up before 6 the next morning.  And everyone is exhausted.  It's a trainwreck that spans an evening AND the next day.

Does this look like an excessively defensive justification for skipping meetings? 

Anyway, I left school yesterday at 3.30.  On arriving to get Clara, work guilt tying my head in knots, she ran away from me, screaming over her shoulder, "Go back to work, Mummy!". 


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Setting: A large coffee franchise I won't name here, but think MELVILLE

order: short, double, half caff, capuccino.

gripe: the barista going on at length to a loitering friend about a "bitch prof" at the University up the street (as opposed to my college, which is down the street) who won't give her an extension on an assignment "even though I TOLD her I've got to work today."  Urge to defend "bitch prof" greatly detracts from escapist pleasure of complicated coffee.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Best trick of the night

Clara (not yet four), when asked to perform a trick in order to receive the treat tantalizingly proffered on an elaboratedly be-pumpkined stranger's porch:
"Double Double, toil and trouble
Fire Bu-ur-urn and Cauldron Bubble!"

Friday, October 29, 2010

"Drop-off was a breeze"

So writes The Husband, home today so that at least one of us can see the Hallowe'en parade that Clara's school has scheduled at exactly the time I am to be teaching The Satanic Verses.  A breeze?  Really.  I am left wondering if it is something in my personality that makes it seem like a stress-inducing heptathlon of pee, diapers, and clingy goodbyes on our more usual days when drop-off is my job.  ie Am I just a big neurotic freak?  Possibly.

Certainly the vision of myself in the college's bathroom mirror this morning (first look in the mirror today) suggests something unstable: that totally bloodshot right eye is a problem, though apt for Hallowe'en.

This is also day 6 of a low grade fever and cough that makes the bronchioli up behind my shoulders hurt.

Maybe I have pneumonia and can check myself into a hospital for a few days rest?  Mmm.  That sounds nice.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I hate it when

It's raining but hot out and too wet to take the dog out for a proper walk with the children,
when everyone sleeps half an hour later than usual and then has to rush,
when, as I am trying to get us out the front door, the dog whines pitifully and continuously,
when Clara won't put her shoes on herself and gets in a tizzy about having her coat sleeves rolled,
when I yell at her,
when Winton runs to the back corner of the kitchen to evade departure,
when it is 8.40 and I have two different school drop-offs and need to be in a classroom myself by 9.30,
when the dog bolts out the front door, runs around our car (parked on the side of a busy street) and then runs home looking like I have beaten him with a broomstick,
when traffic is horrendous because of the rain,
when I yell at the child who throws a toy at the back of my head that I am going to do something horrid to them,
when, as now, I am one minute late for class.

Monday, October 25, 2010


Oh, I know.  You're thinking "Hmm.  East Coast Urbanites.  They must mean Peanut Butter and Radicchio."  Ah, no.

When I arrived at Winton's daycare today, he was in the backyard running in small circles, intentionally dizzying himself and then falling flat on his back, laughing.

I told His Father about this behaviour, thinking it was cute and at the same time alarmingly indicative of Winton's thrill-seeking tendencies.


"Oh, yeah. He started doing that when we were watching Professional Bull Riding [PBR] on TV."

My son entertains himself by playing PBR.   Somewhere in the south, there is a family wishing they had him for a son . . .

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Claraism du jour

Daddy, I'm not going with you because you're not pretty.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hallowe'en costumes by Clara

C:  I'm going to go as a bee for Hallowe'en!
Me: Oh, Winton was going to wear the bee stuff.  Can he wear your Nemo costume from last year?
C: Oh. No.  Nemo swims and we should both be flying.  I'll be a butterfly.
Me: And he can be the bee?
C: Uh-Huh.  But Mummy, we don't have a costume for you.  Maybe you can put a towel on your head and go as a towel?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Monday and Tuesday at home with the kids, random observations resulting from.

-Winton likes to stick his tongue out and sing "wah-lah-lah-lah" in an eerie falsetto.
-Clara needs to nap more, but won't.  Confined to her bed and only allowed up to use the bathroom "until that clock has the short hand on the 3," she will go to the bathroom every 3 minutes.
-7th generation makes a very nice thyme-scented wipe that claims to kill germs: excellent for germ phobes (me) and children who eliminate every 3  minutes (Clara).
-There may or may not be mice in the downstairs cupboard.  Cat and Clara argue that there are.  Neither are necessarily reliable.
-There is marked difference between the playground in the 'hood nearby (deserted slides end weirdly high off the ground and dump children into scruffy mulch containing wrappers for brands of candy I've never heard of before--"Good Blessing"--and flavors of chip I've also never heard of--"mayo and relish") and the one in the Neighborhood up the road (scrupulously safe slides, free of litter and full of slim mothers in owlish sunglasses and "I ran the Baltimore Marathon" T shirts).
-Bedtime is my own personal gruelling marathon whether I've been with les enfants all day or not.  No more feeling guilty about having to work?
-Their daycare providers are, I hope, more patient than I am.
-Puzzles done on the floor and obtuse hound dogs that like to stand in the midst of puzzle pieces make me irritable.

Work again tomorrow.  Ahh.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tunnel Vision (no, not TELEvision)

Lying awake the other night, I realized that the moments in which I am especially ill-tempered correspond to things that make me so irritated that my attention shrinks to a narrow tube of focused, incensed frustration.  Focused thus, I am crap at everything, especially parenting.  Things that lead to tunnel-visioned ire: poop, vomit and pee in inappropriate locations, cockroaches in the kitchen, and strange noises in the car's inner workings.

We had strange noises in the car over the last 10 days.  Erratic loud "GUNG!" noises.  First, I yelled at the car to stop it.  Then I yelled at the stroller in the trunk, thinking the noise was the result of stroller wheels banging against the side of the trunk.  Then I cursed at what I imagined must be a can of tuna banging around somewhere in the car.  And then finally my husband took the car to the dealer (I nearly typed "vet") to have them look at it.  They looked, and looked, and looked.  Finally,  some hours later, they produced the culprit: an entire black walnut, shell and all, that had been wedged (by a zealous squirrel?) into the spring supporting the rear passenger side wheel.  GUNG!

I showed Maria, Winton's daycare provider, the seed, thinking she'd enjoy the story.  Her response (indicative of her general soft-heartedness)?  "Oh.  Pauvrecita!" Poor squirrel.  We stole her nut.

Friday, October 8, 2010


I arrived to collect Clara from preschool yesterday afternoon, a gorgeous, warm, sunny fall afternoon, to find that the 3s and 4s were out in the playground together.  Children swarmed the climbing frame and swings.  Alone in the sandbox: Clara and Henry, both of whom popped to their feet like watchful meerkats when I waved. 

It's been a month since they have last seen each other (after the summer idyll of 3s and 4s sharing a classroom), but the time apart has done nothing to diminish their friendship.  I find this remarkable.  They are SO little, and a month feels very long.  So great was Clara and my good fortune yesterday that Henry's mother arrived shortly after I did.  And so we adults could trade contact information and stories of how much our respective offspring talk about their much-missed friend. 

Apparently Henry has been pushing for a playdate for weeks and spends large portions of his free time re-arranging his action figures into ranks according to whom he thinks Clara would most like to play with when she comes over.

Affection is so rarely requited, and children (like cats) have no qualms about falling in and out with their friends.  So this leaves me quite floored.  Clara and Henry, Henry and Clara, patiently waiting for a random Thursday to renew their friendship.  When we parted, the two children hugged each other and then stood in that hug for long enough that I started to get embarrassed by the ardor of it.  Then they solemnly held hands as we mothers, increasingly distracted by our children's neediness about being together, ushered them to the parking lot.


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Obedience School with Bartleby, I mean Hardie

On our first night, in a room with an Australian Shepherd, a Bernese Mountain Dog, two Lab mixes and a Miniature Pinscher, we had the dubious distinction of being the only dog-owner pair to complete none of the exercises.  The trainer (very nice, very helpful man) attributed this to nervousness (Hardie's) but then said "Well, if he's still not getting it by week 3, I'll give you your money back."

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Note to Spouse

Could you please empty the wet vac?  It's in the basement.  I tried using it to vacuum up the dog vomit on the upstairs landing. (Hopefully vomit, not pee.  Yellowish and smelling of cat food, which makes sense if one of the cats threw up and the dog ate it and then threw it up again.)  All it did was lift the carpet from the floor and let stinky water run over a larger area, and then it leaked when I carried it back down the stairs.  All capping off a wonderful soiree which involved Winton (diaper wound up crooked: how??) pooping down the leg of his pants and requiring a pre-dinner bath, and the bathtub then requiring a major cleaning to remove "solids" all while Clara was downstairs yelling agitatedly that her shirt sleeve needed to be re-rolled to exactly the right length.  Kids likely both in bed by the time you read this.
Welcome Home.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Dark and Light


I am writing a section on Ian McEwan, and the influence of his military upbringing on his fiction.  McEwan = lots of reading about pedophilia, about which critic Peter Childs has this to say: "the abuse of children becomes the last recourse for put-upon adults who, through the torturing of others, attempt to punish something in themselves."  I recognise a dilute version of that observation in myself: low self-esteem days make me far more short-tempered with my children, as if I feel put-upon by my middle-aged invisibility and pimples (a remarkably unfair combo) and so become overly brittle about whether the kids have put their shoes away correctly.  Shame.


Dinner last night, Clara holding a slice of bread to her ear:
"Oh, hi Henry!  Mummy it's Henry on the phone.  How are you Henry?  Yes, I like to play on the castle as well.  Poopy is pizza!  Ok.  Byeeeee."

Overlapping,  Winton with banana held to his ear:
"Wello?" [Pause]
Passing banana to me:
"It's Daddy."

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I once shamed myself by referring to Ngugi's novel Petals of Blood as Puddles of Blood.  The word "puddles" still carries a taint.

BUT my reason for writing this morning is to inform you that Hardie the dog is blameless in this week's urine-fest, phase one of which involved Winton (who is only diaperless between the bath and his bedroom every night) peeing on the floor beside my bed and incanting with increasing alarm "Mummy?  Uh-oh.  Uh-oh.  Uh-OH.  Mummeeee?  Uh-Oh."  Phase two was Clara wetting her own bed copiously in the wee (haha) hours of the morning, thus demonstrating that foam mattresses function exactly like kitchen sponges when wet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Somnambulant Singer

Down by the bay
where the watermelons grow
back to my home
I dare not go.
For, if I do
my mother will say
"did you ever see a moose
kissing a goose
down by the bay?"

Winton's version, sung to himself in his crib and overheard through his bedroom door.

Dabbada BAY!
[pause] GROW!
[pause] HOME!
[pause] GO!
[pause] DO!
[longer pause]
Dabbbada bay.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dog House

We got Hardie, our 3 ish beagel-bassett type mix, from the Maryland SPCA in June.  He has, for the most part, been the ideal dog for us: his exercise needs are manageable and he keeps himself busy with his extensive slurping, gnawing grooming rituals.  Moreover, though I try to prevent my son's bad behaviour, Hardie lets Winton grab him from behind, kneel on him, explore the pads of his feet and yell into his ears.  He's a good dog.  And unlike our previous dog, he likes encountering other dogs when we are out walking.  It's still a surprise and relief not to have to cross the street to avoid other dog walkers.

However, Hardie is also an inscrutable beast.  He is disconcertingly un-emotive.  With droopy lips and ears, and eyes the colour of chestnuts, he always looks mildly sad: this is not a dog who smiles, looks inquisitive, or perks up his ears.  He has a long, low, mini-keg of a torso which doesn't bend: this is not a frolicksome dog, or one whose body arcs side-to-side when he wags his tail.  His tail is typically poised like a  handle on a delft-ware mug.  He is Bartleby the Scrivener  in his resistance to our efforts to train him.  Mild, yet immoveable.  Sit?  I prefer not. 

When he first came to us, the only indication that he was upset about the transition was vomit.  Unexpected vomit.  No prefatory shiftiness or unease.  Just Hardie standing still, looking mild.  And then Hardie standing still looking mild over a large, clear puddle (sometimes including bloated cheerios or goldfish crackers clearly recently pilfered from Winton). 

I had wanted to get an adult dog so that we wouldn't need to toilet train a new dog as well as Clara and Winton.  Hardie has been unpredictable in this regard.  He is mostly terrific about continence at home.  Though suspect about elimination on the dogwalks, he has turned our backyard (and vegetable garden) into a rank poop field that you can now smell indoors if you leave the back windows open a crack.  Sometimes though, he pees in odd places and I don't understand why.  Eg  a few weeks ago: THE COUCH.  Why??

This morning I was in the throes of getting Clara, Winton and I ready to leave the house.  This involves herding everyone upstairs to use the toilet (Clara, Me), change into work clothes (Me), and get a clean diaper (Winton).  Typically this takes a very long time as I am the only one keen to get any of this stuff done.
Clara is VERY proud to have been pull-up free, even at night,  for two whole days.  And very proud that the extra blankets I put on her bed, just in case, have been unnecessary.  I am very proud too (and relieved).  This is a HUGE deal.

 This morning Clara was tired (the result of a late day yesterday because I had to stay at school late for a faculty meeting and then our evening routine--hampered by everyone's more than usual tiredness and urgency--got pushed back later and later).  She consented to peeing, only on the grounds that she could then go lie in her bed for a few minutes while I got myself dressed and Winton re-diapered.  Sure, I said.
Clara pees, wipes, washes hands.  Exits bathroom.  Enters bedroom and begins screaming.

Hardie had carefully moved her preventative pee blankets to the floor and peed on her mattress.  And then, for good measure, peed on the blankets, and then peed AGAIN on the carpet next to her bed which is where I found him, looking mild in spite of Clara's quite justified opera of protest, when I came running to investigate.  Bastard.  Why??

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Claraism du jour

Clara [on floor playing with a stuffed bison]: "Mummy, guess what I'm thinking about?"
Me [on couch drinking tea]: "Hmm.  I don't know.  What?"
Clara: "Cantaloupe Melon."

Mommy is a monster

If I write this down now, they'll have notes for therapy later.

1) Blankets.
Clara and Winton both have security blankets to which they are very attached ("Pink Blankie" and "Neh Neh" [Night Night]). 

a) A year ago we went on holiday to a cabin in the woods.  Our old dog May and her blankie came.  May, upset, pooped all over her blanket the first night we were there and, because we were on holiday in a cabin in the woods,  Mummy threw May's blankie away.   Clara still has nightmares involving accidentally pooping on Pink Blankie and Mummy throwing it away.

b)  Winton's Neh Neh got washed on the weekend, which made it stink even more for reasons I cannot fathom.  Being separated from Neh Neh is intolerably painful to Winton (or so his yelling implies).  I was telling Maria about the stink problem this morning at daycare, and Winton, hearing "wash" and thinking I was about to take his Neh Neh away again, began shrieking inconsolably, and would not stop until I was out of Maria's garden with the gate closed firmly behind me.

2)  Potty troubles.

a)  Clara has been two whole days at preschool  with no pull up!  Mummy was very proud the first day, and distractedly proud the second (her brother was messing with the spigots on the school's water cooler when she told me the second time).  Mummy was also very very tired yesterday (her brother waking up at 5 far too regularly, a bad day teaching, a sore throat that has been on-again, off-again since school started).  Last night, Clara wanted to wear underpants to bed and Mummy said no.  No??  Am I out of my mind?  The child is 3.5 years old.  The voice of a colleague whose children have been potty trained since 18 mos. resounds in my head.  But but but .  . . I didn't want to clean a wet bed.  I didn't want to get up numerous times in the night to take her to the toilet.  I am a bad mother.

Wait.  Winton is almost 20 months.  Should he be potty trained now too?  But but but . . . when I put him on the toilet he cries until I let him stuff wads of toilet paper in.  And when he pees in the bath (the bubbles move) he alarms himself and (quite sensibly) insists on getting out.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


(It's not the Claraism du jour because it happened a few weeks ago and I forgot til just now)

Clara: "I don't like Elliott"
Me: "Oh?  Why?"
Clara: "He said I had a poopy diaper."
Me: "Ah.  Hmm. [Here I imagine the likelihood of her having a poopy diaper and struggle not to snipe that most three and a half year olds don't wear diapers anymore, dagummit]  What did you say?"
Clara: "I said 'I DON'T have a poopy diaper.  I am wearing a pull-up!'"

The Henry Heartaches

Clara's daycare, which she has now outgrown but which her brother attends, is run by an Argentinian former schoolteacher out of her home.  Her husband (from Iran) goes by the name Henry (which is not the name on his infant CPR certificate . . . but I guess it's *awkward* to have a Muslim name in these here parts these days).  Henry works as a chef at night, but helps out with the children during the day if necessary.  Clara started at daycare when she was nine months old.  Within days she had latched on to Henry as her main man, her choice of lap, the one she wanted always to be with, even if he had to be woken up after his late night of work in order to sit with her and a mug of espresso.  Out of my arms and into Henry's.  Every day.  Until, at 3 and a half, she started at "her new school" for summer camp.  She misses Henry, and I hate that I (well, I and her own increasing age, which isn't my fault) am the architect of the life change that has phased him out of her life almost completely (she still gets to visit sometimes when we pick up Winton but often he isn't there . . . because she isn't there demanding him on a daily basis anymore).

At her new school, Clara immediately befriended an older boy (he's 4).  And his name is??  Yup: HENRY.
Henry.  A sweet boy who drew monsters for Clara, signed his drawings and sent them home with her as gifts.

Now, I've been having a rough week.  First, the final episode of season four of Dexter rendered me fetal and weeping in the kitchen (slippage of barrier between fiction and reality, anyone?).  Second, Hardie (the dog) has spent the last two nights engaged in extensive, slurping, ear-flapping, luxuriantly leisurely and loud grooming between 3 and 4 am.  And finally, I think Winton is at long last teething his last molars (a baby set of teeth is 20 teeth, isn't it?  If he's not teething I have no idea what's wrong with the unfevered but sleepless little man).

In any case, I found out this morning (the first day of the official school year at Clara's new school) that new Henry was only in the same class as Clara over the summer because it was summer camp.  Now, what with him being four and her being three and a half, they don't get to play together.

This feels cataclysmic: to have lost one Henry is terrible, but TWO? My God.  In light of the week so far, this detail alone makes me want to sit under my desk and weep.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Stubborn in Words

I always thought that my linguistic foibles (using the wrong word at the wrong time but with enough conviction that people think I speak poetically or, perhaps, as elusively as academics are reputed to) were the result of being raised, in English, by native Dutch and German speakers.  No.  It's genetic.  It must be.  Winton does the same.

Winton, on any substance or atmospheric temperature that is not tepid: "Hhhhaughtt" [Hot, the only expression for temperature in his vocabulary, no matter how often I suggest "cold" might also be an option].

Winton, on any piece of cutlery: "'Poon!"

Friday, September 3, 2010

Math isn't funny

First week of school - adequate exercise + extra driving (husband's car broken) - adequate sleep + researching Sierra Leone's civil war - the students who should be here even though it is a Friday afternoon before labor day + wishing I was home with my children more + incipient sore throat - time to work on the book the deadline of which is freaking me out = lost sense of humor.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

"First Day of School!"

"First Day of School! First Day of School!" is the first thing Nemo says to (yells at) his father Marlin in Finding Nemo.

It's my first day of "school" (as in full on teaching) today; Clara's first school day is next week.

After days of blinding busy-ness, and factoring in an extra early departure today so we could drive my husband to the train station because his car leaked all of its power steering fluid onto the road yesterday, it is suspiciously calm.  Too calm.

Do I really have time to start some reading for the book I'm trying to write?  Really?  NOW?  Will Wednesdays at 12.26 always afford me a small slice of "me" (ie research) time??

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


For me, academic summers are stretches of time in which I can reliably get from the parking lot to my office with a maximum of two phatic social interactions (admin. assistant, custodian) and can then engage in spirited conversations with myself for 5 or 6 hours before heading kidwards and back into "communicate with others" mode.

Yesterday I started student advising at 10 (a group meeting) and then met one-on-one with new freshmen about their schedules between 11 and 3 and then led a discussion about the summer reading (Catfish and Mandala) and then went to dinner at the college president's house with the author of the summer reading (Andrew Pham), and then went to the public reading given by Pham.  It was all a bit much talking to other people. Conversing.  The Lost Art of.  The art I've lost of.

Pham was fascinating, and appealing to me because he reached a point in the Q&A after his evening performance at which he seemingly decided he didn't want to answer some of our more impertinent questions, and didn't care whether that irked us.  Frankly, that's also what makes his book so good: the narrator's admission of unlikeable features of himself . . . and the implication that he doesn't care how we respond to his revelation.  Like him?  Not like him?  Fine.  He's doing his work for himself, not for YOU.

Thinking about this makes clear the difference between summer work (for myself) and semester (for YOU . . . which, in this case is the students).  Draining.

YOU guys, you make me tired.

Between you, Winton (who missed me last night at bed time and so woke me up at 4 to pat me smile and incant happily "Muh-mmeeeee") and Clara (who peed through the leg of her pullup and was already awake at 4, waiting for someone else to wake up so she could complain about her wet bed) I very much want to stay here in my office, lights off, door closed and mutter incoherently.  This does not bode well for a return to teaching tomorrow.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Yes, everyone's child is a prodigy

But mine are creepy-good with words.
Clara: "You guys are distracting me. I am not happy about that.  I'm going in the other room."
Winton (on trying to get a triangular peg into a hexagonal hole): "No.  That's not right."

Friday, August 27, 2010


Why my commute takes as long as my husband's even though I go 8 miles within the Baltimore area, and he goes from Baltimore to DC. From an email to said husband about trying to get to work today.  (The Cast: Mummy, who needs to be at a 10 o'clock meeting;  Clara aged 3; Winton aged 18 months; and Hardie, a bassett-type hound aged 3ish with a penchant for peeing on couches and vomiting when upset.)

Getting here was HORRENDOUS. Neither kid would co-operate with departure. Both said "no no no" repeatedly to the idea of going to school. Clara wouldn't go upstairs to pee until I forced her to, and then she wouldn't come back down. Kid screaming at rock-concert volumes, dog barking unsure whether we are playing or fighting. Me going upstairs to carry Clara down, Clara hitting me. Dog barking. Me trying to get my shoes on, Clara pushing Winton backwards off the second step. Me losing it and plopping her into the stroller (containment!) with a bit too much verve. Epic crying from both kids. Dog barking. Leave Clara inside and take Winton and bags to car, realise Winton has poop oozing out of his pants. Back inside. Diaper change. Everyone screaming, dog barking. Finally we leave. Me carrying Winton, and lifting still-screaming Clara by one arm out to the pavement where I set her down on the sidewalk like a piece of shrieking angry luggage while I put Winton in his seat. Clara flailing as I try to put her into her seat means she bangs her head on the doorframe. Intensified screaming.

Hardie suspiciously quiet once I had locked the front door behind the human members of our party.  I fear for our couch.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The American Party Beetle

My husband came home on Sunday afternoon with a book.  I, fresh from wiping ants out of the living room baseboards, misread "battle" in its title as "beetle."  Greatly amused, I threw my arms in the air, sang "DA-na-na-nah, wop wop, NA na wop wop, na nah," and tried to dance as I imagined "The American Party Beetle" would if it were enjoying itself, infesting our house as so many other creepy crawlies do, swinging at least 4 of its six legs in the air as it gyrated its stiff body in circles.  A dance style truly suited to the rhythmically impaired.  It reminded me I don't dance for joy much: frankly, I suck at celebrating.

I turned 40 today.  I have been mid-life-crisising about this for months as it caps off a year in which a got tenure (yay!) but admitted I'd be living in Baltimore permanently (boo!), and a decade in which I finished my PhD, taught an awful adjuncting job in Halifax, came to Baltimore, met and married my husband and had two children.  Whew.  It all makes me want to sit under the basement stairs and breathe into a paper bag. (Did I mention that I suck at celebrating?  "Oh there goes Doomy," the world says as I, cloaked in excessively good fortune, hyperventilate about how stressed it all makes me.)

BUT, perhaps that's all about to change.  For also this week, I got a letter from the Royal Bank of Canada saying that  MY STUDENT LOANS ARE REPAID IN FULL.  I can stop repaying them.  What a gobsmacking, flabbergasting, spine-straightening, jaw loosening, energyenergyenergy inducing thought.  My arms spontaneously shoot into the air when I contemplate it.  And I gyrate, unrhythmically, with triumph.

Perhaps this is the era of the American Party Beetle?

Monday, August 23, 2010

On Being Home

Oh, it's good to be back
and heft my backpack
to the hyundai full of crumbs.

I'm having a good first day back in the routine of getting the kids to preschool and daycare and me to the office.  Clara, having swilled poop water around the upstairs bathroom all weekend (rinsing out her potty: "Ill do it MYSELF, Mummy") conceded this morning to pooping directly in the toilet.  Winton, suffering an addiction to Trader Joe's High Fiber Cereal, pooped odiferously three times, but never once overflowed his diaper.  AND I went to the dermatologist to be told that in fact there is nothing cancerous at all about my skin, despite close to a decade of living on the equator and sunburning myself regularly.  Woo Hoo!

Plus, it's a relief that my trip to Vancouver went well.  My father did indeed want to swim in the Pacific despite air temperatures in the 60s.  And, though my first hours upon arrival involved shopping for enemas for my severely constipated mother*,  she is about as well as can be expected.

*This involved my hard-of-hearing father having a conversation with a soft-spoken pharmacist at Safeway.  Father [bellowing] "What?"
Pharmacist [quietly] "Microlax is an enema, not a laxative, sir.  She shouldn't use this every day"

Anyway.  I'm at my desk.  My computer (as always after being shut off) is working about as fast as a glacier,
but I could sing with contentment . . . which means I am in full-on denial about the meeting I am supposed to lead on Wednesday morning and haven't prepped for and the syllabi I have not even started for the classes commencing Aug. 30.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Misread (poop on the brain)

Roadway sign: "fecal boutique: bouquets only $24"
It's good to be home.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Overheard: Clara After a Week with Daddy

Daddy, you are a good friend for me.  But not when you are angry.  Then you are not my friend.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Separation Anxiety

We used to have a dog, May, who suffered from separation anxiety.  It was as if she knew she was being irrational, and as if she sought out dispensible items on which to act out impulses she couldn't control.  Left unchecked, she would raid the recycling and shred cardboard papertowel spools, or my closet and delicately remove all the labels from the necks of my sweaters.  It was as if she was a smartish dog who had impulses she couldn't control but tried to do what she needed to do somewhat discretely.

Sans enfants here in Vancouver, I know just that feeling.  My rational mind is utterly unconcerned about the welfare of my children.  My husband is home AND they are going to school/ daycare as usual.  In terms of impulse though,  I feel wild with wrongness.  I should be with them.  They should be in my arms, on my lap.  Especially Winton, the toddler whose babyhood I am totally unwilling to surrender.  (He for whom I pump twice daily in case he still wants to clutch his blue blankie and ask embarrassingly explicitly for "boob" when I get home.)

Neuroses come from this rift between what the brain decides and what biology wants.

Please pass me a paper towel spool.  I feel a need to shred coming on.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


Tomorrow I leave to visit my parents: my first time away from either of my children overnight.  I'll be gone for five days.  My brain is like a skittish horse, shying away from what I think about the impending trip.  It's easier to deal with pragmatic (symbolic?) details.
In my luggage will be:
a manual breast pump (because I can't decide if I want Winton to be weaned by the time I get back or not and am deluding myself that I have some choice in the matter).
Ishmael Beah's book about being a child soldier (because I am teaching a course on child soldiers in the fall--ha!  "in the fall" sounds so far away)
A bathing suit (still the shapeless shorts/ sports top ensemble I wore when pregnant as I can't seem to justify the expense of buying a new suit) in case my 78 year old father really does want to swim in the frigid waters of English Bay one afternoon.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The B*tch with Seven Heads: Recipe

2 parts children who woke up too early.
1 part preschool "concert" commencing when children normally want lunch.
1 part red-eyed screaming preschooler trying to get off stage area and onto my lap.
1 part screaming with pleasure toddler trying to get off my lap and onto the stage area.
1 part disparaging glances from other parent.
1 part menstrual cramps and headache.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Depress yourself

1)  Acknowledge that parallel parking during rush hour is NOT actually a triumph of grand proportions.

2)  Admit that you are not going to get Ch. 1 revised this week. (And next week you are away, and then.  Well then it's August 23 and the world comes to an end, so you and your chapter as well as your still uncontemplated syllabi are screwed.)

3) Recognize that the itemized, 26 point, list of household chores you made on the back of an envelope while the kids were smearing kidney beans on the dinner table is simply a distraction from #2.

Hungry Love

I'm the kind of mother that faces the prospect of being away for 5 days with absolute dread: what if they miss me horribly?  What if they don't miss me?  What if my plane crashes and they are too young to remember how much I love them?

I feel like this (but where Fertig writes "girl" I'd be thinking both girl and boy):

Hungry Mother (by Mona Fertig)

This little girl is ours, this little girl is beautiful.
I could love her to death.  Consume her like D'Sonoqua,
the wild woman of the woods.  But my feast would be gentle.
I would hug and kiss her until she sank back into my flesh.
Like warm honey and butter on toast.  Now I understand
why the witch wanted to eat Hansel and Gretel.  That was
no fairy tale.  Only the unfathomable side of my love.
My all-consuming hunger to be one again with you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Poop Chronicles: Clara

"I'm done."
"You sure?"
"I'm done."
"You sure?"

"I'm done."
"You sure?"
"I'm done."
"You sure?"
"No, I'm still pooping a little bit."

Criminal Pedagogy

I taught Winton to say "stucco."

First Word

"Poop" is momosyllable of the week ("puke" was a close second).  Surprising given that my daytimer for the week says "Revisions Ch. 1" and "Pay income tax."  It feels as though kids and pets save their messiest problems for the first 17 minutes after we return home: yesterday was a banner day.  We got home at 4.58.  Both children had corn for lunch (at preschool and daycare, respectively) so there was a lot of child poop around 5.03.  The dog was thirsty, drank a bowl of water and then puked at 5.08.  At about 5.09, Winton (the 18 monther) found the vomit (clear, viscous, dotted with bloated golfish crackers) and sat down in it.  He and I had a quick, screaming bath in cold water. Everybody was back downstairs to admire the cat vomit on the wall by 5.15.  I did pay the IRS, by the way.  Chapter 1?  Yeah.  Hiding from that.