Sunday, January 30, 2011

Claraism du jour

Daddy: Clara, do you know what the seasons are?
Clara: There's spring, and summer, and fall, and winter, and Christmas.

Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Kind of Self-Inflicted Malady!

First week of class makes me nervous.  So do disrupted schedules.  Thus when my first classes were cancelled because of snow, and my Thursday prep day for a 3 hour seminar on Friday was also pre-empted by a snow day spent at home with children and finger paint, I was a bit stressed [read: clenched-jaw fake chirpy].

Also, the possibility of my catching a relatively severe illness makes me nervous. So does the possibility of my children catching one.  Thus having the children home in the same house as Husband (with severe, bacterial pink-eye and the full-on flu) made me a bit stressed [read: clenched-jaw OCD-ish about wiping taps, light switches and door knobs with disinfectant].

Today I seem to have a bruised jaw muscle from too much clenching. Or from digging out the car. And, having taught 2 classes, prepped a syllabus and a seminar class in 70 minutes and then taught that seminar, it really hurts.  Enough to distract me from the nervous-sweat smell overpowering my deoderant.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Now is the winter of our discontent

Husband is capping off a season of familial ill health with a humdinger combo of pink eye (looks like someone stabbed him in the eye with a rusty nail) and the 'flu (fever of 104!). 

Go Husband!  After your Xtide combo of sinus and ear infection, I think you win the prize for most miserable season (by which I mean Dec 20 to Jan 25).  Clara comes second (bad cold, stomach flu, double ear infection).  Me third (chest cold, stomach flu two separate times) and Winton 4th (two colds, one with blocked tear ducts, and a 1 day poop fest).

I responded uncharitably when he came home from the emergency care clinic with the flu news: "Oh, great.  Now the kids will get it, and I'll have to look after them, and because you've already taken off your sick days, when I get sick I'll just have to suck it up and keep looking after the kids and going to work" (insert melodramatic stomping, which I meant fully sincerely at the time.  I am not a very nice person).  Then I added some paranoia about his job security, just to make him feel better: "They can't fire you for being sick, can they?"

I blame my not-niceness on first week of classes performance anxiety: here we go back to being vituperatively scorned on "" by Freshmen annoyed that they have to hand in essays and read books. 

September always feels uplifting despite the anxiety.  January, conversely, is the onset of doom, with syllabi contingent on unexpected snow days and explosive stomach flus.

The end is nigh.

Claraism du jour

C: Mummy, when you go to work do you sleep?
Me: No, I don't get to sleep at work, unfortunately.
C: But, do you have naptime at work?
Me: Nope.
C: Why?
Me: Well, adults are supposed to stay awake all day.
C: Don't you get tired?

Monday, January 24, 2011

On the carpet

Having spent more time on the carpet playing with blocks than anywhere else this "break"--thank-you child unfriendly temperatures and a six week long cycle of relatively severe illnesses--the return to work, and public interaction feels like a concussion.

Comfortable discussing how static makes dog hair cling to small foam archways with my son?  ("Hmm. In-teresting." says Winton). Yes.

Comfortable in a crowded dining room, interacting with my immediate lunch companions (colleagues) and the students drifting by past their shoulders?  No.  Uh-uh.  Or standing up in front of 200 people?  Nope.  Or, fresh from walking across campus and on my way to hide in my office, engaging with the complications of course scheduling with a cluster of students in the hallway, while sweating in my heavy winter socks and coat?   Noooooo.

I want my track pants, the dog-hairy carpet, and the children with their foam blocks.  Now please.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Claraism du week

re: MLK day on Monday, and her school being closed that day.

Mummy, we didn't have school on Monday because Martin Luther King was having his birthday party in our classroom.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

15 month check-up at Two Years. That's OK, right?

Apparently, Winton was supposed to have a 15 month check-up, at which he was supposed to receive booster vaccines.  Ooops.  Perhaps I missed that information when, a year ago at his 1 year visit, he screamed and clung to me like a squid trying to ingest my head while Clara simultaneously tried to dismantle the blood-pressure cuff hanging on the wall.

Winton did the same screaming squid routine yesterday and required two nurses plus me to hold him still for his long-overdue booster shots.  Happily, despite cold, fever and goopy-eye last week, he is healthy.

Clara, on the other hand, has her first ear infection, and it's a DOUBLE one.  It comes on the heels of a week of diaorrhea (we noticed the diaorrhea . . . it overshadowed our consideration of her suffering additional ailments in our conversations with the 24 hour on-call Dr. a few days ago).   Apparently, seen in person, she's got grey tonsils too.  Poor kid.  At weigh-in, she is, after her week of illness, only 4 pounds heavier than her brother despite having two full years on him.

Heavily amoxicillin-ed she should now be napping, but is instead muttering at her brother to "stop it"  as he repeats, gleefully, "Look!  I did it!" Is there a phrase more worrying than "I did it!" from the mouth of a 2 year old?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Health Warning (for adult underpants)

Warning: unprotected sex can result in offspring, which in turn can cause years of disrupted sleep. Offspring will cause increased exposure to viruses, and, because of your disrupted sleep, decreased immune function.  You will get sick.  Over and over again.

Claraism du jour

No!  I am not a silly girl.  I am just whining.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winton has lacrosse hair

Lacrosse: huge at Baltimore high schools (?? odd, I know).
Winton has the long, shaggy mullet typical of many high school lacrosse players.  He needs a haircut, but no one will let me do it: not his father, or Maria, or his grandma (much as she covets a ringlet to keep in a box somewhere).
Today Winton has a cold, with goopy eye.
And so he has eye-guck in the bangs of his lacrosse hair.

Mummy, I need to go pee pee!

Two weeks ago, at about 8.45 pm, Husband and I were watching TV when there was a small, wet sneeze in the next room.  One cat was on my lap, the other on his and the dog was curled up on the sofa.  The children had been in bed for ages.  So, who sneezed?? It was spooky.  Husband and I looked uneasily at one another and then he, bravely, crept into the dining room, with me a few paces behind.  Both of us startled at the sight of a diminutive white ghost under the table, greyish blanket clutched up to cover her mouth!

Oh, no, wait.  It was Clara, sitting as still as she could, where she had probably been for over an hour.

The incident is one in a series of bedtime-resisting ploys tried by our girl.  Two nights ago, keen to see what happens when we adults go to bed, she feigned a stomach ache, and then fear of shadows (hard to tell if the fear is real or not) and then a sore throat, and then more fear of shadows: ultimately she got to watch me floss (Oooo!  the thrill of it) and wound up awake until after 10 pm.

Last night I put her to bed only to have her re-emerge from her room less than a minute later:
C: "Mummy, my stomach hurts!  I'm scared!"
Me: "Go back to bed Clara."
C: "Mummy, I'm itchy!"
Me: "Go back to bed, Clara."
C: "Mummy, I think I need to go downstairs to see Daddy"
Me: "Go back to bed, Clara."

Eventually she went back to bed, and I went downstairs. 

I came back up about an hour later, and as the stairs creaked under my weight, Clara erupted into hysterical crying in her room.  She was standing just behind her bedroom door when I opened it and said "Mummy I need to pee!"  I took this to be another in her line of excuses, but was concerned because she was crying so hard that the collar of her PJ shirt was damp.  I picked her up, took her to my room and sat down with her on my lap to assess the situation (she, all the while, wailing).

At that point she peed.  On my lap.  On my bed.  On my pants, slippers and, copiously, my bedroom carpet.

Go ahead and question whether or not she is itchy, but never doubt it when the girl says she needs to pee.

After that, and despite the preceding, inexplicable wailing, she slept soundly.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Claraism du Jour


and Bingo was his name, oh!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Birthday Burnout

Two of my best female friends are Capricorns (born Dec 25 and sometime early Jan, respectively--I never get the date quite right for the latter).  My husband?  Jan 4.  And then I had babies in-between semesters to get round being unable to afford to take maternity leave, which resulted in children born Dec 30 and Jan 3.  All very nice in that, if astrology holds any water whatsoever, I have a convenient handle on the major personality traits of all my nearest and dearest.

Though I was a slacker about my friends' birthdays (hopefully our relationships are strong enough to withstand a smidge of negligence on my part) there was nonetheless a Problem:  Children's birthdays in combination with the Xtide trek to grandparents in the midwest, doting daycare providers, preschool, and the kids themselves.

Winton and Clara celebrated their birthdays in Illinois on Jan 27 with snowman cupcakes and more toys to add to the Christmas piles.

On his actual birthday, Dec 30, when back in Baltimore for all of 18 hours (most of which were, for me, hazed-over with resentful exhaustion), Winton nonetheless got a special cupcake at Barnes and Noble, an extra long stint playing with their trains, many renditions of Happy Birthday and, once back at home, a chance to roll around in all of his new toys.

Clara--wildly, hysterically, excited about turning 4--celebrated her birthday again on the morning of Jan. 3 at school with chocolate chip cookies (3 doz, homemade) and a fiesta of party hats.  While she was at school, I got her a new nightlight and flashlight for her birthday (gifts for a girl newly afraid of the dark). And then she was feted again in the afternoon when we picked her brother up at the daycare she herself used to go to and the owner, Maria, adoringly, insisted on getting out cake and candles and performing renditions of compleanos feliz over and over.  And then I made her a birthday dinner of her choosing (rice, carrot sticks and fish sticks) which she ate to, of course, the sound of her brother and I singing Happy Birthday over and over.

Then Maria threw a daycare party for Winton on Jan 4 to make up for his having been away on his actual birthday (this required me wrapping party favors and attaching fiddly bows to them on the night of the 3rd): on the 4th, more cake.  And when Clara and I came to get him on the afternoon of Jan 4, still more cake/candles/singing so she could celebrate her brother's birthday too.  Winton got so enthused about candle-blowing (which he did 4 times while I was there, and must have done many times earlier in the day) that part of his blonde forlock was singed into tiny, stinking, smouldering ringlets.

Jan 4 is also Husband's birthday which meant that while the Winton was at daycare eating cake,  I was at home making Husband's annual lemon cake and-- damningly late in the game--figuring out his birthday present.  Night of Jan 4 then, Indian take-out and cake and singing (no candles--though Husband is younger than I am, 39 candles were simply too many to round up).

Next year I need to pace this differently.  It would be nice to do Xtide once, and each birthday once.  Still a bit orgiastic overall, but.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Clara and Winton (4 and 2): Conversation

Winton: "No! NO!  No! no! no! NO!"
Clara: "Winton, can you say anything other than 'no'?"
Winton: "No!"
Clara: "Can you say 'yes'?"
Winton: "No."
Clara: "Can you say 'tree'?"
Winton: "No."
Clara: "Winton, can you say 'leaf'?"
Winton: "No!"
Clara: "Can you say 'snuggle with Neh Neh [his blanket]'?"
Winton: [pause, then, quietly] "uh-huh."