Monday, April 30, 2012

Eye Exam

Opthalmologist, sternly: "Well, your daughter has excellent vision, and is very good with her letters.  But I should tell you medically that an eye exam without dilation is like going to your internist and not letting them take your blood-pressure."

Me: [Silence, anxiety, attempts to reassure self that opting against dilation for Clara's first eye-exam ever was a good choice, Silence]

Clara: "Let's dilate Ruthie's* eyes!"

*Ruthie: toy mouse and co-star in ongoing bedtime story series about adventures of mice Frederick and Ruthie.   On nights when Daddy tells stories instead of Mummy, Frederick and Ruthie are replaced by Freddie and Ruthrick, imaginary camels at the Baltimore zoo.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Lunch Prep

Winton, helping me pack lunches; Me filling Husband's tupperware with rice noodles.

Winton: "Oh!  My friend Liam has a lunch box just like that!"
Me: "That's cool.  What does he have for lunch in his?"
Winton: "Yucky things.  Like you make."

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What I woke to

Clara and Winton in Bathroom (me, in bed)

Clara [whispering]: "No, pull your pants down all the way."
Winton [shuffle shuffle, scrape-- as he presumably moves the plastic potty across the bathroom floor]
Clara: "No.  All the way.  Or. You'll. Get. Pee. On. Them."
Winton [silence]
Clara: "Now poof your penis."

[Longer silence followed by sound of potty being emptied, mostly, into toilet]

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Grumpiness, Cribs and Cats

Regrets this morning:

1)  Talking at Winton, repeatedly asking if he needed to pee, while he focused his eyes on something across the room and blocked out my voice.

2)  Getting impatient with Clara on drop-off.  She convinced me to let her come inside the building (her class was out playing) to help put away her lunch and backpack.  OK.  But then she wanted to pee  . . . and that was the last straw for my patience and I said sharply irritated things like "Clara!  C'mon.  I HAVE to get to work" in unpleasant tones of voice.   (Terrible, really.  But but but: her teacher did tell me that she'd had to crack down on Clara because Clara kept saying she had to pee when it was clean up time: pee as avoidance strategy is a well-used maneuver for my girl.)

In continuing to process/ explain/ justify my failures this morning, I come up with this:  It is one of those days when my tiredness is past fixing by sleep (I had enough hours in bed): what I need (what Winton needs) is a break.  For me that would be from the juggling that seems to tucker me out disproportionately; for the boy this would be from the newfound freedom that goes along with having the side of his crib removed, and from cat love.

The side of the boy's crib has been removed so that he can get to his potty, as he has gone cold-turkey, by his own choice, and now wears no diapers at night. 

Two nights ago, I came up to bed to find Winton sitting on the floor--awake, exhausted and quiet--by the side of my bed.  "Mummy, Pepita's in my bed and I want her out," he said. "She was pulling on my pants." "Oh," I said.  "That cat's a lot of trouble.  Have you been sitting here long?"  To which the boy replied "Yes."

She used to always sleep with me, that cat.  I loved her fondness for sleeping with her head in the arch of one of my feet.  However, now (since the removal of the side of his crib) she sleeps with the boy, and puts her head in the arch of one of his feet when she can get away with it.  This is both adorable and a betrayal:  I thought she loved my feet.  Anyway.

Last night Winton and his sister cavorted every time I turned my back on them for the night.  They fell asleep about an hour later than they should have. (So, no catching up for the previous late night then, but at least the cat on his feet didn't wake him last night).

I'm tired.  The boy's tired.  Clara and Pepita are running clever rings around us both.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Jesus and the babies

In car, driving past church with statue out front.
Winton: "Look!  It's Jesus."
Clara: [not looking] "No, it's not."
Winton: "Yes it is.  Look at his hands.  That's Jesus."
Clara: [still not looking] "No.  Mummy.  Tell him it's not."
Me: [trying to change lanes] "Uhmmmm"
Clara: "Jesus is in a book we have at school.  He's a baby.  And then in the next chapter there's a man who comes and eats all the babies and everyone cries."
Me: ??

Friday, April 20, 2012

Remote Storage

Know how the online catalogues of research libraries sometimes tell you the item you want is in remote storage and you'll need to file a special request to have it retrieved?  Thus with my brain. 

Momosyllabic: "Dear Brain, I'd like to remember the word for caterpillar poop.  I know that this time last year I knew it, because Clara was obsessing about trying to keep caterpillars as pets then too."

Brain: "Dear Momosyllabic, that item has been removed to remote storage.  Please fill in the attached form and wait 2-6 weeks for processing."

Mom.: "I can't wait that long.  Last time we kept the caterpillar alive for about an hour.  I need to know before the current one dies, because once it dies I won't be able to talk 'pillar anymore for fear of Clara's grief.  I also can't google just now because I am trying to cook dinner, keep the caterpillar alive, and rinse out Winton's latest batch of urine-sopped clothing."

Brain: "Lalalalala.  Penis.  Lalalalala. Disraeli had an older wife.  Lalalala.  Katniss is not a good female role model for she is only celebrated for the ways in which she is a like a boy.  Lalala.  Wine."

Mom.:" It starts with an 'R,'  I think.  C'mon!"

[3 hours later]

Brain: "Frass.  And you're welcome.  You owe me, for this is far faster than my typical processing speed for such items"

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Good things

 I am grateful for the fact that my children like to hug and cuddle with me.  I am grateful for their big, unpredictable heads crowded on my lap, knocking my tea cup so that tepid milky tea spills abundantly into my armchair.  I am grateful for the fact that we have enough (just about) money that if Winton really, absolutely, completely and utterly befouls a pair of underwear while at preschool and the excrement hardens to the fabric over several hours until I discover them in a baggie in his school bag in the evening, I can with only small guilt, throw the underpants away.  I am grateful for the fact that no one takes attendance at faculty meetings so my absence yesterday may not come back to bite me.  I am grateful for the banjo my colleagues gave me as a wedding present six years ago, even though I still only know three chords and three Scruggs-style picking techniques.  I am extraordinarily grateful that soon it will be summer, and I won't have to pretend to be responsible department chair as often. 

And now essays to grade (I am not grateful).

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Busy week . . . and potty training

Semester needs to end soon: I am tired and want only to read Suzanne Collins' Mockingjay (after somewhat compulsively ploughing through Hunger Games and Catching Fire).  So, you know, the brain is kind of mushy just now for someone who claims to hold a PhD in literary study.  I justify the Collins-Compulsions on the grounds that she is a military brat, and thus a third culture kid, and thus I can write about her.  Haha!

I also read the English department budget last week: that was a big deal.

Claraism du Samedi:
Me [to Clara]: "Are you going to go to The Wine Source with Daddy?"
Clara: "No."
Me: "Why not?"
Clara: "Because I'm too little to drive"

[Um: anticipating being designated driver OR Daddy road-rage fatigue?  Hard to say which.]

Winton is potty training.  Yes, I know, about time blah blah.  He's doing pretty well, except for the massive crap he took in his pants at the playground yesterday afternoon, and the pool of urine in his shoes on the dogwalk this morning.  We let him sleep in a diaper last night.  Clara, age five, is well aware that it is more convenient to simply keep Winton's butt safely diapered.  Eg:

First thing this morning:
Husband, lifting soiled diaper from floor: "Where'd this come from?"
Husband: "Winton, are you still wearing a diaper?"
Winton: "Yes."
Husband [????]
Winton: "Clara changed me"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Dreams of Flying

Clara: "Sometimes I dream I'm flying."
Winton: "Sometimes I dream Nathaniel [his close friend at preschool] is flying."

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

9.30 pm

[Clara, wailing in upstairs bathroom.  Me, running upstairs to find her close to the toilet, barely awake, standing in a pool of urine]

Me: "Oh.  Whoops.  Well, you almost made it."
Clara: [silence]

Me: "Ok, here.  Stand on this towel so you don't slip.  Good.  Now let's take those pants off.  Is your shirt wet?"
Clara: [silence]

Me: [feeling shirt] "No.  Dry.  Good.  Right, I'm going to wipe you off with a wet towel.  It might feel cold, ok?"
Clara: [silence]

Me: "There!  All clean.  Want to wait here while I get you some fresh pants?"
Clara: "Make sure they are beautiful."