Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Vancouver Hangover

People say "Oh kids, they bounce back so fast!" 

This seems not to be true in the case of almost-3-year-olds transported from Baltimore to Vancouver (a 15 hour journey) and back, with an intervening, exciting, stay at Oma's and Opa's.

Winton has dark circles under his eyes and cried when I left him at preschool today, despite the fact that his friend Nathaniel was there.

I pulled my car up under their room's open window when I left to check if he was still crying.  He was.  So hard.
I will never "get used to" how awful it feels to leave one of my children somewhere when they don't want to be there.
I feel, again, ripped in half.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Dear Santa

Last night, after a long first day back at work/ preschool, I was trying to throw dinner together for the kids.  I was rushing.  I needed them not to want to "help" this time.  So, I got them paper and crayons and installed them at their little table with instructions that they each draw a Christmas list for Santa, one which we could talk about over the dinner table.

Once the dinner (whole wheat spaghetti, a lemon olive chickpea sauce and broccoli) was on the table and we were messily eating, I brought out their "lists."

Clara had drawn a Christmas "sock" (by which she meant stocking full of toys), a violin and bow, and a spare pink blankie.

Winton, echoing Baldrick in Black Adder ("I'd like a turnip of my own in the country"), had drawn a big blue potato and then, as afterthoughts, a rainbow, and a pink blankie like his sister's.

Monday, November 28, 2011


At the Doctor's this morning, having my slightly low white blood cell count scrutinized in excessive detail, the Doctor looked up from my file, pointed to a bloody scratch on my nose and asked "You have a cat?"

Why yes.  Yes I do.  One that is so happy I am back that she wants to play all night.  Best way to wake me? Scratch my lips and nose, hard.
Failing that, scrabble under the covers, up under the T-shirt in which I sleep, and bite me firmly, assertively, on the belly-button.

If I am still not game to play after such loving advances, she brings on subtler but equally effective tactics.  Key among them is heading off to bite Clara's foot and then lie, purring loudly, on the girl's pillow, so that my daughter comes to get me up in order to remove the cat which is by then, purring and smug about having gotten me to pay full attention to her, finally, at 4.28 AM. 


Thursday, November 24, 2011


1) Continuous rain?  Check
2) Surprisingly cold temperatures?  Check
3) Blue lipped children harvesting shells on the frigid Crescent Beach beach?  Check
4)  Live mussel discovered in Winton's coat pocket 24 hours after beach excursion?  Check
5)  Lunch of pierogis at crowded Granville Island market?  Check
6) Children dancing to busker fiddling on Granville Island?  Check
7)  Capuccino at Joe's on Commercial Drive?  Check
8)  Phone call from my brother explaining why he stood us up at Joe's?  Check
9) Visit to Museum of Anthropology to look at totem poles in the rain?  Check
10)  Bubble tea at mandarin-speaking Richmond public market? Check

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Family Dinner

We're visiting my parents.

They have a dining table that seats four.  Located in what is really their entry way, it is pressed up against the front door,  with the front wall of the house on one side, a desk on another, the stairs on the third side and the kitchen on the fourth.

We (including my mother in a wheelchair, Clara, Winton, Mitch, Myself and my Father) all sit uncomfortably around the thing, tangling our legs with table and chair legs and banging into each other.

Dinner involves close proximity to all of the following: 
two small children, smeared in peanut butter
Husband (large, uncomfortable)
my father's hand, replete with 8 weeping stitches, which his Dr. has instructed him to leave open to "breathe"
my mother's inability to keep food down and tendency to throw up unexpectedly onto her dinner plate.

Happy Thanksgiving!  I am MUCH slimmer than I thought I would be . . .  Have you seen the BBC series Clatterford?  It's all very like that here, except no one is intending to be hilariously disgusting.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Longer post coming, but in the meantime

Here are some things the children have said.

Winton: "When I grow up, I'm going to be a fire truck."
Clara: "When I grow up, I'm going to be a dead cat."

Winton: "I hate broccoli!"
Me: "No you don't."
Winton: "I love broccoli.  I hate Broadway!"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Door, Car

In getting the children out of the car at school, while holding two backpacks (both sliding off my shoulder) and a half eaten English muffin with cream cheese AND while trying to hurry up so that we could walk to the building with Clara's friend Ingrid and her family (who were waiting impatiently for us after much more efficiently disembarking from their car), I banged the back of Winton's head with the car door.  It made a "toingk" sound (not a "WHANGGGGG"), but nonetheless he cried.

Who authorized me to be a mother?  I am far too careless for it, and generally terrible at holding multiple items and a conversation with a child's friend's father at the same time.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Things I'd like to have taught the children already

How not to wear a diaper, ever.

How to swim.
How to ride a bicycle.

Beginner's dance. (We made our dance teacher cry 6 months ago and gave up)
Piano. (We don't have one)

That's not so bad.  It's only a 5 item list.  I feel much better now.
I am much further behind at work.

Clara and Un-Love

Clara: "Mummy, do you know why I said 'I love you' just now?"
Me: "Um.  Well.  I thought it might be because you loved me.  Was it not?"
Clara: "No.  I had meant to say something else, but I forgot so I said 'I love you' instead."

Friday, November 11, 2011

How Clara woke me today

Clara at 6.15 AM, holding her Guide to Ancient Egypt and pointing agitatedly at a map:
"Mummy, is this Africa or West Africa?"

Me: "Actually, it's East Africa"
Clara : "Oh.  Grrrr." [heading back to bedroom]

I was pleased: this was a nice, erudite way to be woken by a five year old.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


After getting home from preschool, to his father:
Winton: "I have food in my pocket!"
Husband: "You do?"
Winton: "YES.  It's, um, broccoli, and tofu and um, CELERY!"
Husband, to me, over Winton's head: "Did he have any of those in his school lunch?"
Me: "No, those must be pretend pocket foods."

Winton, on Elmo cell phone, to his sister, on cupped ear cell phone:  "Hello?"
Clara: "Hi Poopy-Head!"
Winton: "I don't like that.  Don't say Poopy-Head!  I love you very much, bye bye." [hangs up]

And then hysteria at bedtime because I wouldn't go fetch his sunglasses for him to wear to bed.

Monday, November 7, 2011


There was a brief, surreal, window of time in which I was a British school girl, replete with uniform tie and uncomfortable blazer.  At that time (age 14), the cultural norms dictated that the most effective way to ostracize a peer was to "send them to Coventry" which meant  no one spoke to them, and that they themselves might as well not talk.

I have lost my voice.  Apparently, I can't write if I can't talk as it has been days since I posted.  I am in Coventry . . . except I am in Baltimore, quite sick, behind a desk stacked with layers of to do list and underwhelming student essays.

And I'm stressed that my Department is doing a job search and our ad has only just gone to the Modern Languages Association website.

Back to grading, silently, as one humbled in punishment.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Claraism du Jour

My imagination-bag is my head.

Winton's dream, the one he awoke from shaking in fear

Winton: "There was a crocodile in my bed!"
Me: "What was it doing?"
Winton: "Just walking.  But there was also a green centipede on Neh Neh"  [Neh neh is his blanket; "centipede" is a big middle-of-the-night word for a 2 year old]
Me: "Oh.  Would you like to snuggle?" [Mummy is desperate to snuggle]
Winton: "No.  I just want to go sleep in the pack and play."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

What Winton Said

Just last night I said to Husband, post-candy revelry, "I think I need a Winton date."  The boy  at 2 and a half, long since weaned and well past the nights when he got to nurse and then sleep next to me, still loves to snuggle, and I love to snuggle, and it's not going to last.

Winton is clearly on the same page in terms of craving soon-to-be-over physical closeness, for this morning as I lifted him out of bed he hugged in close and whispered in my ear "Mummy, you smell like boob."