Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What I Forgot

Today I while I was in the car, worrying about its overdue oil change and squeaky suspension, en route to preschool and work, I listened to someone on NPR talk about how we hate things about our families because they remind us of ourselves.

"Yes, I know,"  I thought.  "But, I wonder if there are things about myself that I like, that I have also seen in my mother at some point?"  [I'm trying to be more positive, you see]

I remember when my parents lived in Ghana that my mother would drive weekly to the Post and Telecommunications building to petition for a phone line.  It took her two years to get P&T to string a phone line to their house.  Every week for two years mother drove there, and every week while she was waiting inside, someone stole the spark plugs from her Nissan Sentra.  I remember proudly how little this phased her and how simple she made the business of banging the engine block with a rock to generate a spark seem.  Would I have had the guts to drive around in a car I'd have to try and start with a rock and the help of a passer-by to turn the ignition key for me?  Probably not.

At about this point Winton asked "Mummy, why didn't you drive to our school?" and I realised I had driven past the preschool by a good couple of miles.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Parents, Mine

I call my mother every Sunday night.  This is increasingly depressing as she is decreasingly coherent with the winding by of years.  Every once in a while there's a gem of an anecdote from her housebound life though.

For instance this account of my parents at the breakfast table:

Mother [after watching a small spider crawl up her arm for several minutes, to my father]:  "Look!  Isn't this spider just perfect?"
Father: "Yes, I know.  It fell off your head."

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Claraism du Jour

[sculpting with mashed potatoes during dinner]
"Look, it's an alien with three eyes and testicles."

Thursday, March 22, 2012


It's nice to know that even though Clara is five, there are still times when simply being the body from whence she came is enough.  Last night Clara woke because she had cramps in her legs.  There wasn't much I could do for her, aside from offer water, and some gentle leg-rubbing.  Then I laid down in her bed with her, and wrapped my right arm around her (holding her down, but lovingly) and she fell asleep.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Winton: interacting with Clara

"Clara, Clara!  Sing to me with your lips!"


"NO, Clara! Stop Singing! I was talking!" [followed by his smacking her in the head with a small Thomas the Tank Engine]

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Campus--Spring Break

It is Spring Break.  I am at work today.  I had been assuming I could hide here in my campus office, largely interrupted.

But no.  Oh no.

I have had people knocking on my door to ask stuff, IT issues, unexpected encounters with thorny colleagues, unexpected encounters with pleasant colleagues and a phonecall from the preschool to say that though I don't need to get my son, and though he probably doesn't need to see a doctor, they are legally required to tell me he has sustained a head-injury by slipping on a book and ramming his forehead into the lego table:  "it's a bit red and poofing out, but he's OK."

I am good at focusing, generally, but this day might be beyond even me.  I'm seriously considering renting office space in one of Baltimore's many under-used buildings.  I wonder if I could get a grant for that?


Husband [to Winton]: "If you don't stop being so grumpy, I'm going to go get that dirty diaper and put it back on you."

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I wish I could nap . . .

Day #2 of Winton home sick from preschool. Happily, I am on Spring Break and have been as neurotic as a cat on an all-LSD diet for the last weeks, so a break at home is really a good thing.  I've been keeping Clara home too, just because I can.  Next year when she is in real school, such discretionary incidents of playing hooky will be frowned upon.

It is 1.45pm and so far today we have walked the dog.  That's about it.  Where does the time go?

I am exhausted.  The boy is, I think, sleeping.  The girl is counting the minutes until 2 pm which is when I told her she can get up again.

I'm loving being home, but need a nap myself.
Home=fantastic BUT Me= so very very tired.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

How'd it go?

"How'd it go?" asks Husband, in a text from a hotel room in Boston.

My email  from Baltimore in response:
"They didn't nap . . .  which would explain why after bath time, with both naked and needing their teeth brushed, with Winton slamming the toilet lid repeatedly as Clara inquired about his toothpaste preferences--"Thomas OR STRAWBERRY??"-- at high decibels, I screamed at them loudly making both of them cry and myself retreat into a cloud of self loathing."

Aside from the noise, and the fact that it had been a long afternoon, they were both being good: Winton peed in the toilet just minutes before indulging in repeated lid-slamming; Clara was trying to be toothpaste helper.

I am under the impression that most people have longer fuses than I do.

Anyway.  Husband is away, and there are cats to be fed in myriad complicated locations, dinner dishes to be done, laundry to be folded and my mother needs to be phoned as per Sunday routine.  I'd also like to wash my hair.  All before the Amazing Race at 8 . . . Hmm.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Nightmares: A miscellany

Winton: "But, Mummy!  I was afraid of the cow.  It was under the ground and it had big eyes.  But then.  THEN it went back to the barn.  So it's OK now."

Clara: "Mummy, I had a bad dream"
Me: "What was it about."
Clara: "I don't care."

Me: Having always had dreams about my teeth falling out, the various irritations of life* have me grinding my fillings out of my head.  My dentist stuck most of a dental probe between one of those fillings and the crumbling molar around it on Tuesday and suggested I "ought to have that seen to fairly soon."

*irritations of life
= the slam-dunk combo of being department chair
(imagine a list headed "Please do ALL of these things, they are all urgent." But while doing them you will be repeatedly interrupted by emails and office visits presenting you with MORE "to do" items)
(imagine a list headed "Please do ALL of these things.  They are all urgent.  And you should be more loving while you are doing them.  And Please also continually consider how your failure to do these things well will either destroy your children or make them hate you")