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