Friday, December 30, 2011

Winton: Birthday menu

Me: "Winton, what would you like to eat for lunch on Sunday when "Mefaio Badaio" (Nathaniel)  comes to play and have Birthday lunch with you?"

Winton: "Uhm.  Chocolate cake.  And vegetables!"

Still Viral

Thirteen days and I am still sick enough to have woozy, hot flashy moments.  I'm weary of it.

What?  You say a drive from Baltimore city to Sycamore Illinois (13 hours each way) isn't conducive to healing?
Or a stay at the in-laws?
Or an extra drive to Princeton Illinois on Christmas day?

Perhaps not, but the upsides were: mother-in-law compulsively laundering everything, as well as keeping her house clean so that no chores were my responsibility AND more people in the house to wrangle kids so I actually had a chance to nap now and again.

Oh, and Husband did all the driving, even on the way there (we did the whole trip in one day on the way out; two days on the way back).

We just got back yesterday afternoon.  I still have that odd feeling of being in motion even though I am not.

Every year, after the Christmas trek, everyone feels hungover here on Dec 30 (which is, sadly, Winton's often under-celebrated Birthday).

Monday, December 26, 2011

Gone Viral

Haha.  No, don't worry my dedicated readership of 5 or so people.  It's not going to get crowded here at momosyllabic. I am just into day nine of a flu that still has me hacking up my lungs most of the day and launching a seasonally appropriate fire of heat, unfortunately with my blazing fevery face, every afternoon between about 4 and 7.  I'm viral.

As I type, Winton is in his grandparents' living room demanding dinner.  It's 11 AM.
Grandma is playing with Clara's new interlocking gear game.  Clara is making her new toy inchworm navigate the tracks of Winton's new train set.  Grandpa looks grey from sleeping in the basement, and Husband is compulsively reading the TV guide, as one bored and seeking desperately to be transported to a place with a cup of coffee and a good weighty biography of a British politician.

Merry Xtide to you.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Clara: Party Foods

Clara got up this morning all focused on a pretend party she needed to throw for Pink Blankie before school.  On the menu: salty cake.  But, to be healthy, this was to be preceded by "Kale, because that's the most healthy food.  And asparagus, because that's the most healthiest food ever."

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Flu and MLA humor

I have been flattened by the flu.  Full-on.  With fever.  Who has time for this?

While home with Flu, I have also been booking job interviews for the candidates to meet us at the Modern Languages Association Convention just after New Year's.  I have been on the interviewee end of so many of these phone calls that it is tremendously exciting to be the interviewer this time round.  It's nice to hear the excitement in people's voices when the realise you are not a telemarketer but rather a potential employer.

The MLA has a well-deserved reputation  for SNAFUS on the interviewer side of things.  Interviewees collect disaster stories like prized scars.  Once, for instance, I was interviewee when a fatigued interviewer, meaning to ask me how I intended to recruit students for my courses, instead declared "Well, you'll have to teach in a missionary position."

While merely phoning candidates, my friend Flu has been a great resource in furnishing such stories for the up and coming set of interviewees.  Yesterday, for instance, I told a nice-sounding gentleman  to please "knock-up a syllabus for us."  Sigh.  Professionalism, thy name is momo[phlegm]abic.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

back to grumpy

I'm back to my normal mood of beleaguered irritation:

Winton would not confess to having pooped, and though I sniffed his diaper, I didn't realise until we were in the car en route to preschool that it was dirty.  I dropped him off and *horrors* did not change it myself, but rather left him miserably clutched in Miss Kim's efficient grasp.

Then Clara, on part of this same drop-off and acting, I presume, out of jealousy, insisted I take her to the bathroom before I left.  I did, grumbling under my breath the whole time that she was doing this to prove a point: she managed to get me to look after her ass, whereas her brother didn't.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


So remember back when Clara had her seizure in October?  The one that resulted from slipping while getting in the bath and banging her head, and then resulted in a CT scan with a worrying blob (cyst)?

Today we finally met with the neurologist.  He's a Big Name at Johns Hopkins Hospital in which the outpatient neurology waiting room is all asplash with print and visual media informing you that "Johns Hopkins Hospital Neurology is ranked #1 in the United States by [Everyone Who Matters]."

He asked a few questions--apparently to feel us out about whether we were the sort to sue if 20 years from now something happens to Clara--and then said he didn't think we needed to do an MRI.  "I'm so unconcerned about this right now"  he said, adding "if it were my child, I wouldn't do an MRI."  Why such big news?  An MRI for a 5 year old means general anaesthtic, itself a risky procedure.  I am so damn relieved we don't need to do one.

In other news, I also met with my hematologist today: my low white blood cell count is indicative of neither lupus nor rheumatoid arthritis, and my anemia is treatable with OTC drugs.  Will I be constipated and cranky?  Yes.  Am I sick with something scary?  No.

AND, Clara's loose tooth came out today, in the car, in a messy bit of tooth flopping and Mummy pulling over to pull the thing out with my fingers.  There was blood.  And a BIG hole.  And I freaked out (as I was then still on edge about the upcoming hematology and neurology appointments).  But it's fine.

It's all just fine.

All four of us went to Petit Louis for an indulgent French Bistro dinner to celebrate.  Screw Christmas.  I felt very "Happy Everyone is basically OK Day!"  Very happy.  I had wine (and I never drink so a little wine goes a long way towards inebriation).  I had wine, and I had my two small blond-haired offspring snuggled up into my armpits.  I was, and am, so damn happy.

Monday, December 12, 2011


Stress dreams for me generally feature my teeth falling out.  Sometimes I pull them out, their dream-roots emerging as long yellowed spirals.  Sometimes I spit them out like unpopped corn kernels.  Sometimes I grind them into ivory shards that stick into my tongue and cheeks so I choke trying to spit them out.

Interestingly, though this has been a stressful semester, I haven't had teeth dreams. 

Instead, in the real world, I've had dental work.  The fissure sealant used by a University of British Columbia dental student to mold my tiny, malformed teeth into something presentable back in 1988 finally wore down on one of my front teeth.  (Good job, Joan Chen, that long-ago dentist!  Sealant is not supposed to last so very long as a cosmetic fix.  Do you still practice dentistry? I hope so.  You were mighty fine, and very tolerant of the fact that I would eat cookies during the 10 minute break in the middle of our 3 hour sessions, requiring you to clean my whole mouth from scratch for the second half of our session).  Recently, I developed a stain that looked like a small piece of newsprint stuck to my tooth.  Last week I had it fixed (and was reminded by my current dentist, not for the first time, that my dental work is older than most of my undergraduate students).  My teeth still look too third world for America, but at least they look tea-stained rather than papier-mache.

In other tooth news, Clara complained a few weeks ago that a friend had accidentally head-butted her teeth.  There hadn't been blood, so the teachers weren't concerned. One of those teeth is now loose, perhaps as a result of the bonk, perhaps because it is time.

My daughter is old enough to be losing her baby teeth.  E-gads.

Friday, December 9, 2011


Oh, who was I kidding?  I am nowhere near having a good shortlist for school applications.  I may be tired of school tours, but I still haven't actually seen the following charter schools: Charles Village Montessori, City Neighbors (which has two campuses), or the Green School. 

Also, who was I kidding when I felt relief this morning?  Yes, my classes are over, but no that doesn't mean fewer deadlines: I am chair.  We are doing a hire.  We are doing preliminary interviews at the Modern Languages Association Convention Jan 5-8.
There are nothing but deadlines to come.

And my car was suspiciously slow to start this morning: is the battery dying?

And there is a list next to my computer which is very long and on which all items should really have been completed about a week ago.

And then there's my email, which is full of items which need my attention; for now I am just ignoring the ones that have scrolled off the bottom of the page.

Time to put my head in a bag and weep.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Momosyllabic's Top Free/ Cheap School Wish List

1) Out of zone acceptance at Roland Park Elementary.
2) Tunbridge Charter School.
3) Baltimore International Academy. (Helloooo?  Please return Husband's calls regarding whether or not you got our application which he, perhaps over-optimistically, sent an an e-attachment.)
4) The Green School (which I haven't toured yet, but they grow plants--no not those kinds of plants.  How bad could it be?)
5) The Arts and Imagination Sudbury School (who would rank MUCH higher if they had just a smidge of science or math and perhaps a few fewer computer games).
6) The Wilkes School (if grandma pays and everyone reminds me repeatedly that priests aren't necessarily pedophiles; it just seems that way if you read the papers).

Number 1 is only if there's space in the school district (a bit like playing the lottery)
Numbers 2-4 are actually by lottery.

C'mon universe.  Give us the school equivalents of snake eyes . . .

Monday, December 5, 2011

School Tours

I did one on Friday and TWO today.

We've looked at two religious schools because, though private, their tuition is somewhat affordable.  They make me uncomfortable.

Today I looked at a Sudbury school, which I found thrilling.  They "unschool": no curriculum, no class schedule.  Just students with access to teachers and supplies.  On the car ride home I sang "I'm such a hippy yes I am, yes I am, yes I am.  I'm such a hippy, yes I am.  Whooooooo knew??"

And yet: how is a five year old to discover she loves ancient Greek if no one shows it to her in the first place?  Or to find that math has patterns?

I stumble on this. 

My main requirement of elementary school is that it not teach my children to zone out and stare quietly at walls.

However, perhaps no structured effort to impart knowledge goes too far the other way, given that human society has on the whole moved beyond hunter-gathering.

I think my ideal school would offer a 6-7 hour day in which 5 of those hours are at a Sudbury school and 2 of them introduce: Greek, Poetry, Math for Practical Sums and Engineering, Piano, Ecology and a Sport of the children's choice.

Where is that school?

How much for the fish?

I was decorating the Christmas tree with Clara and Winton last night.

Every year I make one out of construction paper and tape it to the large, tall, empty china cupboard  (salvaged from a dumpster; doors painted shut; why do we never have time to unstick them?).  I then cut out shapes (yellow stars, red balls, white snowflakes) and the kids glue them onto the tree when not murderously arguing with each other over who gets to stand on the step-stool or tripping over Pepita as she tries to pull decorations back off.

In the midst of the festivities/ acrimonies, a knock at the door.

Behold, a girl.  Eight perhaps? "How much for the fish?"
Me: "Um."
Girl: "How much for the fish?"
Me: "I don't sell fish."
Girl: "The fish on your back porch.  How much?"
Me [thinking: why the hell does she want my Haligonian fish, made of an antique fishing buoy and scrap metal??]: "It's not for sale."
Girl: "Huh?"
Me [closing door]: "It's not for sale." 
Husband: "You should have sold it.  At least then we'd get some recompense.  Now  she'll just take it when we're at work."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Sounds like Enid Blyton

American readers, have you heard of her?  I imagine those of you who grew up speaking English in more colonial or British-ified locations will have.  She writes series(es) of books for children: The Famous Five, The Secret Seven (both involving groups of children solving mysteries and having adventures) as well as the Mallory Towers series (about girls in a British boarding school).

I thought of them this morning when I left my daughter playing with two friends: Clara, Maisie and Pete (a girl).  These sound like Blyton character names when you put them all together.  The Thrilling Three: an adventure in the icy mulch.