Thursday, March 28, 2013


Winton: trips over bath-towel and falls, bringing his lower ribs down hard onto the lip of the step out of the bathroom.  Wails.

Mummy: cradles naked Winton.

Clara: Stands in her bedroom doorway apprising the goings on, then with impressive pouty mou-facedness,  slams the door as hard as she can.

Mummy: "Clara!  What was that for?  Your brother hurt himself."

Clara [angrily, through keyhole]: "Winton always gets all the best hugs!"

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Winton has been claiming he's scared of his new bed (Perhaps he is?  He did split his lip on the frame while horsing around at bedtime a week ago).  I think he's primarily motivated by a desire to share my bed.

I can, shockingly, sleep with him in my bed.  He's a snuggler, but responsive to nudges if he starts to crowd me too much.

Last night Clara woke at 3AM and, cool as a cucumber, declared loudly and clearly from her bed in the next room: "Mummy.  I had a nightmare.  Come get me."

So, thinking to myself "Well, it's only fair.  Her brother has been sleeping in my bed a lot lately," I got her.

40 minutes later, after much wiggling, sighing, fidgeting, kicking, elbowing, sighing, coughing and sighing, I asked if she wanted to return to her own bed.  Clara:  "Yes: but come make my covers perfect."

How odd that I can easily sleep with one, but that the other is like having an electric eel in bed with me.  I think Clara finds it odd too: how does her brother get any sleep in Mummy's bed??

Monday, March 18, 2013

Empathy: Winton

[On Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, particularly the part where the mutant rabbit "dies" for a few seconds before being re-animated]
 "This part always makes my eyes a bit wet."

Friday, March 15, 2013

The week in review


Work filled with rescheduled meetings from last Wednesday, meetings which had been cancelled because of the "snow" (which turned out to be rain).  Today is a heptathlon of talking talking talking.  So much so that I get home to discover I never had time to drink my thermos of tea.


Dentist: "do you wear a mouth guard?"
Me: "Yes"
Dentist: "Shame you can't wear it during the day, huh?  You have two new cavities, and they're almost certainly from cracking your teeth by grinding them."

Later Tuesday, the children's piano teacher quits.  I love(d) the children's piano teacher, a young man trained in percussion and piano and a number of other instruments.  Clara wanted to practice during the week in order to please him.  Winton thought he was funny and laughed for his whole lesson.  How can anyone compare?  I am extraordinarily blue about this.


Clara falls at school and cracks her head against a concrete wall, badly enough to need to hang out with the nurse for an hour, but not badly enough to be sent home.

At around the same time someone cleaves my head in two with an axe . . . or close enough.  That's what it felt like.  I spend the afternoon crying in bed at home (with garbage pail in case of vomit), missing an important department meeting I am supposed to chair.  All while Husband rushes home from DC to collect our children from their schools.


It tastes like I've eaten a lead pencil, but my head is spacious and light.

I try to talk about Bakhtin and find I can't put more than 3 words in a row.  There's a lot of gesturing.

The plumbers come to begin ripping out and replacing all of our second floor pipes.  They find a bottle in the walls that once held a brand of beer I've never heard of before (Wiemann's).

In the evening Husband's car pulls up in front of the house sounding like an 18-wheeler truck (muffler problems?)


The problems I avoided by not being at Wednesday's department meeting burgeon in my email in-box, like cracker crumbs bloating in water.

Winton shrieks "Paddywhacker!" incessantly.  He claims the word was in a book about St. Patrick's day at school (what book?  A dictionary of ethnic slurs?  Of homophobic jargon?)

I wish I had worn looser pants: that lead pencil I feel like I ate yesterday wants to come back up.

I get home to find the plumbers just packing up, re-piping done BUT somehow dislodging all manner of galvanized crap has clogged up our shower/tub faucet.  Solution?  Send me out to buy one  . . . with the children.  We spend 20 minutes browsing things that don't seem quite right, buy $80 of plumbing stuff, get half way home and think maybe we need an actual spout as well, go back to the hardware store, pile out of car, buy spout ($17) and hurry home to be told none of all of the stuff in the (disintegrating) plastic bag is what the plumber meant by "faucet".  They will buy their own.  They will be back, maybe Monday.  Or Tuesday.  In the meantime: no bathtub (that's OK.  Week 3 and I'm pretty used to no bathtub).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Who says there's nothing new after 40? Headaches

Apparently there are two kinds of headache: 
1) the "please go away so I can get on with my life" kind 
2) the "this is awful; I am whimpering and vomiting. I think it would be OK if I died now" kind. I'm new to the #2 option, and DON'T LIKE IT one bit.

Sunday, March 10, 2013


On the "snow"day (school cancelled and then it rained all day) we went duck-pin bowling.
Winton: An enthusiastic bunny hop to the "deadwood" and "reset" buttons after every ball!  Delight!
Clara: After dropping every ball from height, hands flung up in gymnastic-dismount style!  Delight!

Yesterday: Baltimore Folk Music Society Family Dance.
Winton: enthusiastic bunny hopping in circles and do-si-dos!  Delight!
Clara: whingeing galore.  Wouldn't get off the bench.  Claimed (but only until we were back in the car and heading home, after only 3 dances) that she had a stomach ache.  LOATHING!

Today: Trying to create a raised vegetable bed out of clayey soil webbed by thick, old ivy roots.
Both kids: tuckered out. 
Mommy?  Delighted.  Sore, chapped hands and sun-burnt lips BUT: bring on spring!

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Rapid Spread of Contagion: Clara

Well-Child Appointments for Clara and Winton's annual physicals: 2.35pm.
Children: both well, according to the Doctor.

Clara's temperature at 6pm?  103F

1) Can she really have picked something up from the sticky waiting room that had such a short incubation period?
2) Was she already incubating something when we arrived at the Doctor's office?
3) Do we need to bring her back to the Doctor's office for a note so that her school will excuse her absence*?

(* Why do you care, oh callous mother, you ask?  Well, we have a trip to my elderly/insane parents in Canada coming up. It's timed to coincide with a conference in their vicinity so that at least my airfare is covered. It will involve 6 unexcused absences for Clara.  Too many unexcused absences will negatively affect her brother's chances of getting into the school in Fall 2014.  So.  Long stress pipeline here.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

Clara and Winton: Beer

Context: we eat Sunday dinner en famille.  Husband cooks.  Often he has a beer with dinner.  Nothing excessive, just a beer.  Nonetheless, it seems we're raising alcoholics. 

Winton routinely asks for a sip of Husband's weekly beer.  Again, nothing outrageous: the boy gets one sip of beer once a week, and only if his mouth is clean. 

Winton has, however, run up to the parent of one of Clara's friends and announced, apropos of nothing, "I like red beer, not black beer or yellow beer." He's four.  He has preferences.  But the impression this gives to the outside world is that we live in a trailer with a fence made of beer cans (we don't), and that child services should step in (please don't: we're actually a very responsible establishment over here in B'more).

Anyway: last night . . . .

Clara: "When I grow up, I'm going to be a brewmaster!"
Winton: "When I grow up, I'm going to be a brewnmaster."
Clara: "I'll make strawberry beer."
Husband: "You know, fruit beers are called lambicks."
Clara: "Are they real?"
Husband: "Yes.  And you need science to make beer."
[Clara's eyes widen with wonder]
Winton: "I'm going to make blueberry-banana beer!"