Saturday, January 25, 2014


One of the things I enjoy about children is watching them learn English.  

The way they hear things, and try to put them in a context they understand.  

Owen, for example, used to call a bath, "bathing soup."  Like this whole amalgamation of bathing suit and getting into water and, well, soup.  And also he called a bathing suit a "baby suit."  

And then, because they hang out together, and pass words back and forth like colds, Lilly grew up calling a bath "baby soup."  Which actually strikes me as surprisingly accurate. 

Recently, Lilly got a pair of plastic light up high-heeled shoes.  Not from us.  That's the kind of horrifying toy that only Aunts would buy children.  Anyway, she loves them.  But she calls them her, "high skills."    

Again, surprisingly accurate.  

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Sometimes, penguins steal chicks.

I was in bed, reading, after having put the children to bed.

But instead of being in bed, Owen strolls in and says, "Mom?  Did you know that sometimes penguins steal the chicks of other penguins?"

I did know this, as I have watched that horrifying movie, March of the Penguins, which mostly taught me how fucking glad I am that I'm not a penguin.

"Yeah, I've heard that.  I guess some penguins really want to have a baby."

"So, like, that's why there are kidnappers?"

That escalated quickly.

"No no no.  You can't really compare penguins and humans.  We have different rules.  Also, go to bed."

He trots off.

And then, ten minutes later, trots back in.

"Mom?  Sometimes penguins steal the chicks of other penguins."

"Yes, I guess that happens sometimes.  Penguins, man.  What are you gonna do?"

"Mom?  I don't wike that.  It does not make me feew good."

Oh.  OH.  I get it.  I thought we were having a casual conversation.  I was distracted by my book, only half-listening.  But, instead, we are having a serious conversation.  He's really upset.

This is going to take a while.

For the next three hours:

"Mom?  Sometimes penguins steal the chicks of other penguins.  And sometimes penguins get eat-ed by a sea lion."

"You don't have to worry about that Owen.  It is a sad thing, but penguins are different from people and they don't have rules or police or warm houses or all the things we have to keep us safe.:

"Mom?  Sometimes penguins steal the chicks of other penguins."

"I know.  And that is sad, but everybody is going to be okay."

"Mom?  Sometimes penguins steal the chicks of another penguin.  And also, a penguin got eat-ed by a sea lion.  Fortunately, it wasn't the one we were following."

"Yes, that is good.  Wait, what?  What do you mean following?"

"The one the camera was watching.  In March of the Penguins.  That we watched today at school."


Why would they do that to me?  Why would they show kindergartners that movie?  We've won the war on drugs and are now warning against the dangers of becoming a penguin?  Don't do it kids.  You think penguins are cute, but really they are miserable, miserable creatures who slog through a relentlessly hard and bitterly cold life, without any awareness that their lives are completely devoid of comfort and electric blankets and unstolen chicks.  Just say no.

I never did find the right words.  The words that would make stolen chicks okay.  Owen just eventually went to bed and stayed.

And then, first thing this morning:

"Mom?  Do you think Dad knows that sometimes penguins steal the chicks of other penguins?"

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Who's reading them Vogue?

Did you guys read that comment on my list of things I neeeeed to buy?  Which one of you is Mel?  I don't know any Mel's.  Do I?  If we are best friends and I have forgotten, I do apologize.  Anyhow, Mel, I don't need you mocking me with your fancy salon pro blow-dry that prevents static.  I'm not even sure what I'm going to do when I run out of hair bands.  And those cost like $2.50.  

Also, aren't we horrified by my children's apparent objectification of babysitters?  Way back when, I was happy that Lilly thought she had tiny friends, because it meant she didn't know she was a hulk.  As it turns out, she is more aware of the female ideal of beauty than I suspected.  

I'm disappointed because I don't even know where I went wrong.  Where are they getting this from?  They don't even watch live action TV!  While Lilly is very aware of princesses, I'm not sure that she doesn't think that isn't just another word for Lilly.  She's watched Tangled, but no other "princess" movies or shows that I am aware of.  What happened?!  And how?!

Although, the fact that the first thing she said to the last sitter was, "I like your body," should probably have clued me in a little earlier.  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Owen tells it like it is

We've been interviewing new babysitters recently because that's all we ever do.

Last night, we had what I thought was a promising candidate.  She was friendly, bright, had good questions, her schedule fit well, and seemed genuinely interested in interacting with the children.

After she left, we sat down to dinner and I asked the kids what they thought.

"I liked her!" Owen said.

"I did not like her so much," Lilly answered.

"Why not?"

Lilly didn't say anything for a few moments, so Owen piped up.

"I fink I know why, Mom."

"Why's that, Owen?"

"Because she had a wittle fat head."

Obviously, she's out of the running.  My polite, friendly, accepting children should never be exposed to people with little fat heads.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Exhibit A for Why We are on a Spending Freeze.

We've been on a spending freeze for about two weeks.

The following is a list of things I want, in a deep and passionate way, to buy.

1) A hair dryer.  The hair dryer I'd been using successfully, if sporadically, for the past ten years appears to have officially entered its twilight years and now only wheezes gusts of lukewarm air.

2)  A new flat iron.  My trusty flat iron - a device one uses to iron one's hair flat - has also given up the ghost.  It just lays, inert.  Cold and lifeless.

Both of these elderly appliances chose a fantastic time to pass on.  The only time I blow dry my hair is when it is below freezing outside, so that I don't get hair-cicles walking to work.  The only time I flat iron my hair is when my hair gets weird because it has been too long between haircuts.

3)  I'd really like to get a haircut.

4)  Name brand pants for Owen.  Because generic pants don't have slims, and Owen doesn't have hips.  And I have just, suddenly, had enough of Owen's butt crack.

5) Specialty socks.  For myself.  After struggling for nigh-on 30 years with socks that swim around my feet, and heels halfway up my calves, it occurs to me that, in this age of Google, I might find a sock store that caters to small feet and this thing that has been annoying me daily for decades is a problem I could solve.

If only we weren't on a spending freeze.

We've been through this before, the last time we were on a spending freeze.  It is surprising how much stuff you can buy, if you put your mind to it.

Oh, also:

6) A foam mattress topper.  In lieu of

7) a new mattress.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Use your babies wisely!

This weekend I took Owen with me to run a few errands.

When you hang out and chat with Owen you will have the most ridiculous, yet reasonable conversations.

Somebody must have discussed the realities of being a fireman with him at some point, because we started talking about their work schedules.

"Mom? Is it true that firemen work all the time?"

"Well, there are firemen on duty all the time, but it is not the same ones all the time." (His questions are always just vague enough that you have to present a clear summary of everything relevant to the question ever, taking into account every possible permutation of the reasoning and intent behind the question).

"Mom?  But they sleep at the firehouse, right?"

"Yeah, I think they work long shifts.  Like mommy has to go to work five days a week, but only for 8 hours, but a fireperson might have to go to work 3 days a week but for 12 hours."  I have little idea of the shifts for firepeople, so I went with a schedule I have heard nurses describe.

"Mom?  They have to visit with their families, right?"

"Right, they get to go home and be with their families when they are not at work."

"Mom?  That is good, because otherwise, if they could never be with their family, that would just be a waste of babies.  You shouldn't waste babies."

Owen said this with such breezy confidence that I'm kind of wondering if this is something I've talked about.

"Jeez.  That's a waste of a perfectly good baby."


Jessica came over on Sunday.  We chatted while the kids wandered around.

Lilly's cousin was playing with some clay.  She was enjoying the clay very much.

I don't know what happened next, but I heard Jessica say something like, "Lilly, give the clay back."

Lilly came over to me and hid her face on my lap.

Until Jessica left the room.

And then Lilly whispers, with a brave but quivering chin, "I never get to play with a ball of clay."

"Oh, Lilly," I said, "we have plenty of clay that you can play with all the time."

Lilly continues on as if I haven't spoken.  As if she is lost in her own world of pain and heartbreak.

"And nobody is ever going to believe me."

She shakes her head slowly.

"And nobody is ever going to love me."

I wonder if all three-year-olds have such moderate and reasonable reactions to being thwarted in even the most mild of ways.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Princess and her pants

We had a few snow days this week.  Conveniently timed for right after Chris and I had both taken two weeks off of work.

One of those mornings I decided to let loose a little and let Lilly choose her own outfit.  Which she loves doing, but often turns out ridiculous.  And not in that cute way they show on TV shows.  More in the kind of way.

But hey, I figure, it's a snow day.  Who cares?

She dashes off and excitedly carts back a dress and tights.  Not bad!  They do not match in any sense of the word, but at least they are actual clothes that can be worn together to cover her whole body, right?

So I say, "Great job, Lilly!  Now go get some underpants and we'll get dressed!"

(You have to talk in exclamation points with children.)

But instead of trotting off to grab underpants, she turns to me, exasperated and somewhat disgusted and says, "But MOM.  Princesses don't WEAR underpants!"

"Yes, they do."

"No they don't!"

"Lilly, go get underpants."


The truth of the matter is I have no actual first-hand knowledge about whether or not princesses, in fact, wear underpants.  It's just an assumption on my part.  But you can't show weakness when arguing with a three year old.  

There is some back and forth until Lilly stomps her foot and says, "MOM.  Underpants don't even MAKE ANY SENSE."

"Yes, they do, Lilly."

"Then what do they even DO?"

Look.  At some point, you just stop talking, and explaining life, and just say, wear some godforsaken underpants because that's what we do.