free hit counter Snacks, please!: October 2007

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The Princess and the Bee

Well, Lucy wasn't a princess after all. After much internal debate, she decided she doesn't want to be trapped in the castle and she doesn't need to be rescued by a blond, hairless prince. She also pointed out princesses don't eat candy -- not without purging anyway -- and she loves candy!

So she was Winnie-the-Pooh.

All right, fine! You don't believe me! The truth: Her princess dress was "scratchy." (Get used to it kid...) So, even though she DID want to be a beautiful princess (and I was FINE with that), she opted for the fuzzy bear for the sake of comfort. And she got heaps more attention than the 241 other girls who came to school today dressed as...beribboned victims of the patriarchy. In her class, there are four girls -- one was Snow White, one was Cinderella and the other was an angel. In the 4-year-old class, there are eight girls and every single one of them was a princess!

Anyway, I chaperoned the class on its trick-or-treating trip -- "Kyle! Back away from the candy bowl!" Repeat. "Ethan! Two pieces is enough!" There was one boy who cried every time we got in the elevator. (We were traversing a seven-story county government building.) And there was a girl who sobbed hysterically when we met a life-size Cat in the Hat. (Who could blame her?) Lucy and I held hands with Cinderella who complained as we left, "My basket isn't full yet!" All in all, it was great fun. Really!

Then, at night, we took Lucylu and the babies -- one cute little ladybug and one big fat bumblebee -- on a stroll through the new hood, while a devilish Auntie Pamela ably manned our door. I can't believe I bought 200 pieces of candy! This is not the old neighborhood, where we used to make desperate trips to the Giant at 9 p.m., hoping that nobody would egg our house (steal our car) when we ran out of 3 Musketeers. What the hell am I going to do with four dozen leftover Almond Joy? (Nobody ever wants to play that baby shower game with me...)

I am going to blame the dearth of tricksters on the too-many stairs to our front door. I am horrified to think that people are afraid of the RATS. You say, "No! That's crazy!" But I met one of our neighbors for the first time last night and she says to me, "You have a nice house!" And I say, "Yeah...but we do need to do some yardwork." And she says, "Well, you're going to have a devil of a time with those rats. Your yard is infested! One jumped out at me the other day and I almost peed my pants!" (The shame!! And THIS is why we don't have friends.)

Other thoughts on Halloween in Arlington:

It isn't enough to dress your 3-year-old in an awesome witch costume -- if you're a crazy Arlington parent, you can't resist the opportunity to make a *statement*. Your 3-year-old will wear a nametag that says, "I am a big witch! My name is Hillary Clinton." (And, I swear, I would hate this just as much if it was a zombie called W.)

When a boy in a gray hoodie rings your doorbell in D.C., you call him "a lazy teenager."
In Arlington, he tells you that he's a "terrorist."

In Arlington, parents do not take candy for themselves. In D.C., the mommas would say, "Oooh, I love those little bars! And baby, I need one, walking all over the city here..." (Here, I believe many of the women are dieting needlessly!)

And, finally, next year we're all going to be royalty.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy birthday, honey!

Lordy, lordy, David is...middle-aged today!
He's still a handsome young thing, of course. Indeed, every day, I wake up, look over and think, "How is it possible you weren't snapped up 20 years ago??"

Love you, honey!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Material Girl

So, one of Lucy's friends had a birthday party this past weekend. It was delightful -- corndogs, birthday cake and police officers! It also was gift-free, which is an excellent idea, in MY opinion. (Who needs more stuff?) But my opinion, apparently, is not so widely shared.

"We're not bringing a present to Ella's party," I tell Lucylu.

Eyes wide, she asks, "WHY????"

"Ella's mommy says Ella has enough toys."

"Well, WE don't have enough toys!" she quickly exclaims.

(In other news, I talked to Richard Simmons today! Yes, THAT Richard Simmons!)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Chasing the golden cow

So, first Brownback. Now... me? Is it time to end the campaign?

Let's review: I have been pumping milk for the babies for eight months, which is a verrry long time. I started out six times a day with a daily production rate of...I don't know, probably over 40 ounces. (I love these industrial metaphors.) These days, I try to find time for three pumps, but sometimes I just get two -- and so I'm only getting like 8 ounces, which isn't very much at all.

So now I'm thinking: Is it even worth it?? Because, let's face it, it's a pain in the ass. I mean, it's not so bad at work, when I can close my door and check out the sales rack at Zappos. (I kid. Of course.) But it's hard to find time at home, especially during the day. (Night is okay. Me and Bret Michaels and my pump are a joyful (noisy) threesome.) Of course, the milk is very good for the babies. It is full of good fats and natural antibodies and is, as they say, a mother's greatest gift to her child. (That and a wicked sense of sarcasm.) And it's certainly a hell of a lot cheaper than their super-duper special formula, which is costing me up to $300 a month.

But eight ounces?? I am tempted by this drug, domperidone, which is supposed to increase milk supply -- without turning either me or the babies into shivering addicts. I could get it from New Zealand without a prescription! (Come on, you know the FDA is in Big Pharm's pocket...) But then, I think, oh dear...I'm turning into the Chris Dodd of the breast pumping world. This is clearly a losing battle!

(One more thing to consider: My breatpump talks to me. Sometimes it wheezes, "Go to bed. Go to bed. Go to bed." If I turn it off forever, will I no longer hear the voice of God?? Hm. Another thing to consider -- and this is really what this whole post is about...knowing that the milk is good for the babies, and knowing that I do have the ability to give them a little bit every day, would I be a BAD MOTHER if I decided to let them drink formula and eat leaves for the next four months?)

Friday, October 19, 2007

UN Report on the State of the Children

Oh, the babies are getting big!

They go zoom-zoom-zoom...and pull themselves up on our big pumpkin (still waiting to be carved.) Margaret loves to reach across the coffee table and blindly grab what she A blue crayon! Oh, yum! During dinner yesterday, she silently crossed the dining room floor, reached up to my chair seat, and gave me a little goose. Hey, Margaret! I swung her into the air, she giggled in her Margaret way -- "heh-heh-heh" -- and then I realized, "Oh, Margaret! You smell like cat food!"

They love the cat food! It's dry and "healthy weight formula," and I figure, oh, how bad can it be? (If I just had ONE baby to keep an eye on, maybe I'd be more vigilant..but I was known to have a taste for Gainesburgers myself.) Poor Kitty. They also like to dip their hands in her water. Dip. Dip. Splash! Splash!

If you throw yourself on the floor, they'll throw themselves on top. And, even though there's just two of them (JUST TWO!?), it feels like you're covered in babies. Josephine pats your face and pulls your lips. Margaret huffs her way all over your chest and legs. They're like puppies. They chase after rolling balls. Slooowly. I don't think Lucy was ever like this. She didn't play with toys like they do. Throwing things, banging things, turning bowls of applesauce upside down. (Maybe I was better at watching Lucy?)

Nah. It's them. They're goofy girls!

They'll eat pretty much anything, although Josephine is insane about Cheerios and Baby-Yo. She'll actually lean across her tray, mouth wide open like a bird, for a spoonful of vanilla yo. And then she complains when it's Margaret's turn to get some. But if it's something like organic squash and cereal, she purses her lips, sticks out the tip of her tongue, and does a better job than Condoleeza Rice at saying, "That missile will NOT be fired."

And Josephine blows raspberries! All the time. When she's happy, when she's miffed. And I think she's getting more assertive with the Jolly Steamroller. The other day, Josephine has a pacifier in her mouth. Margaret eyed it, reached across slowly, plucked it from her lips and stuck it in her own mouth. Oooh! What happened, Josephine? Her eyes wide, she reached across, knocked it out of Margaret's mouth, slowly picked it up, turned it over, and returned it to its rightful place.

They do take Lucy's toys too. Oh yes. I heard her talking to them yesterday, "Naughty babies!" But mostly she comes crying to me, "Mommyyyy! Margaret/Josephine has my, my, my thing!" Usually she's talking about these very cool wooden dollhouse people that my mother brought down from CT. (Dollhouse to come later...) Margaret sticks their heads in her mouth, leaving their arms and legs swinging from her lips. I tell Lucy, "You can take that away from her. It's not a baby toy. Just give her something else." And then she patiently repeats the same to Margaret, "Margaret! I'm taking that away from you because it is not a baby toy. So here," and then she dumps a puzzle in her lap.

On Wednesday, Lucy-lu and Daddy-o missed the bus. They were jogging down the hill, Lucy on David's shoulders, when it chugged by. "Ohhh, that STINKS," David exclaimed. "Wha' happened, Daddy?" she demanded. "We missed the bus again," he complained. Lucy giggled. "I think it's funny," she said. "Huh?" he said. "I think it's FUNNY when we miss the bus," she said again, and added, "Now let's go back to the house for a sausage."

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Food Haiku

After a very lovely dinner last night at Michel Richard's Central, I am moved to poetry:

Oh, chocolate mousse!
Like cocoa clouds above,
I must eat it all.

So, here's the deal. If somebody said to me, I'll give you a free bag of Richard's cheesy puffs, but you have to wear big woolly mittens all day, I'd do it. I don't really need my fingers (except, you know, to work...)

This past Sunday, the WaPo's food critic released his annual Top 50 restaurants list and Central was on it. In all, I had been to 11 of them, often on Restaurant Week prices. This is not bad, considering I NEVER GO OUT. But, of course, when I do, I plan carefully (and wear my new brown boots.)

Anyway, I know this is becoming my second "on-writing" post in a row, which is not nearly as interesting as, say, my babies... but I must say I do like Tom Sietsam's style. He writes about BlackSalt's menu (on my list!): "The last time I had such difficulty coming to a decision was at Baskin-Robbins."

Good line!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Back to the books

After a dangerous foray into reality television, where evil producers blinded me with stripper bling and left me questioning the very soul of America, I've wandered feebly back to the library. Save me!! Last week, I got Richard Russo's new book, "The Bridge of Sighs."

Speaking of sad-sack reality, Russo is the guy. He writes about these small towns where people are stuck, living big in their heads, maybe dreaming of Venice or playing the lotto, or maybe picking on the black kid when he sits too close to Ms. White at the Saturday matinee. Some hope things will magically get better. They have to, right? Some believe they will not. Nobody much thinks it's up to them either way.

Random passage: "On those rare occasions, when (my mother) took my father to task, he always hung his head woefully and claimed she hadn't understood what he meant. 'All I'm saying is, what if this was Russia? Over there you got no chance. You just gotta take what they give you.' To which my mother would roll her eyes. 'How much do you really know about Russia, Lou? Did you go to Russia once and not tell me?' Which would make him even more sheepsih. 'It's what they say,' he'd reply lamely, which would elicit, predictably, my mother's trump observation, that she couldn't care less what 'they' said. It was what *he* said that was giving her a headache."

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Be brave, Bird.

For snacktime today, you must look elsewhere.

My good friend BridalBird asked me to do a guest post on why she should not change her last name upon marriage. Isn't it obvious??! First she changes her name. Then she ends up wearing white Keds and sequined holiday sweatshirts. Think about that, Bird. Think about it.

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Fashion Statement

I have nothing to wear. Sigh. Really.

Those of you who know me now may be stunned to hear that I once won a certificate as "Model Reporter" -- and it wasn't because I stayed late at work! Nope, it was 1995 and I was working in a D.C. newsbureau, sending all sorts of stories about pork (and not the legislative kind) to an Iowa newspaper. One day, I was walking near Lafayette Park, wearing a very cool snapped-waist tobacco brown jacket with reverse stitching, when a sweaty guy with a fancy camera stopped me.

"My model didn't show up," he began. (And I thought: White-slave trader?) But I agreed to duck into a nearby restaurant bathroom so that he could shoot me washing my hands, over and again, for a Newsweek story on Ally McBeal-style loos. (It ran. Without my picture.) I got my cuffs wet, but I also got a free lunch at the restaurant. And, at an office party a few months later, my editor presented me with the superlative certificate. (I would have preferred "Most Likely to Work at the NY Times" but whatever.)

Since then, it's been all downhill. As proof: I still have that jacket. Twelve years later! And I don't think I can button it. (Twenty pounds later!... oh, I lie...Okay, thirty pounds later!)

I think the problem is, after that great sartorial start, I moved to Florida and devoted all of my clothing allowance to Lilly Pulitzer skirts with pink elephants and turquoise sharks. And those are great!! But I can't wear them in D.C. in October. And yes, okay...this is my THIRD autumn here with the same ill-fitting pair of khaki pants. Whatever. This is the first winter that I haven't been pregnant or "oh, I just had a baby!" -- a state that can last for YEARS.

So! I resolve to spend more money on clothes! And I'm going to start today!
One, do I need a winter coat that makes me thinks of my Irish grandmother?
Two, do I need Heidi socks?
People, I think I just might.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Cutest Commuter Ever

Look! She even stands to the right!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Beware the Blue Van!

A couple of weeks ago, the Opie sidled up to me, while I was vacuuming Arrowroot cookie crumbs off the dining room rug, and said, "Um. I would like to take your car."


"I would like to take your car. To the bank."

When I stopped laughing, I explained: You can not just take my car! For me to let you take my $20,000 Toyota Sienna, the nicest car that I have EVER owned in my whole life, I would have to believe that you were a good driver. I'd have to actually SEE you drive. And besides, the bank is not very far. One could walk. Or bicycle. Or even take the bus. (If one were a big lazybones.)

And that, I thought, was that. But, since then, I have heard about Juliet, who has been in the country just TWO DAYS and already drives to dance clubs on New York Avenue. Or the other one, the lovely girl from Panama, whose host family lets her have full-time use of a cute little Accord. (But do they get fresh-baked cake every week??) Later, she also assures David that she's driven much bigger cars than mine in her home country, where the roads offer much greater perils than our suburban streets.

Enough already!

I decide to let her drive to Target. (I need to buy her new pillows anyway because she doesn't like the feather pillows that I gave her. Nor does she like her bed, but that's a whole 'nother story...) I toss her the keys. She gives that squeal of delight. You fans of High School Musical would recognize it. And we're off.

She is nervous, of course, but I am a studied picture of calm. I roll down my window. I turn on the radio. (But not too loud!) I give gentle directions. "Turn left at the end of the road," that kind of thing. And I say, "That's a stop sign up there... That's a stop sign up there... That's a STOP SIGN! STOP SIGN!!"

"Jesus Christ! That was a STOP SIGN! That means STOP!" And now I am screaming because, seriously, it's a two-way stop and we've just glided across 18th Street, where the unsuspecting innocents carpooling to soccer practice have no idea that my van is in the hands of an insane Latin American driver, who now says:

"Ahhhh. I always forget that one!"

When I'm happy I eat CHOCOLATE!

Lucy and I have been reading this old copy of National Geographic Kids magazine for months now. It has a photo of a golden retriever, looking all dog-happy, and the caption reads, "When dogs are happy, they wag their tails. What do you do when you're happy?" Usually Lucy shouts, "I wag MY tail!" And I say, "You don't have a tail!" And she says, "Not yet!" But, this time, she said, "I don't have a tail!" And I said, "I know! But you do other things when you're happy...what are those things?" And I expected her to say, "I smile! Or, I laugh!"

"I play with my babies!" she said.

Isn't that nice? I'm writing it down so that she can't forget it.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

In the country

So, I came home the other day and told David -- they're playing our song on country radio! "No way!" he says, in that sorta superior, I know who Death Cab for Cutie is, and would you please get past Lyle Lovett, kind of way. "Really!" I said. "There's this song and it says, 'I want to walk you through a field of flowers and check you for ticks!'"

We spend a lot of time up in Connecticut (the proud home of Lyme Disease) and Cape Cod, and he's always whining about what kind of critters could be hiding in his manfur. (Could be small rodents!) Usually, I say, "Check yourself!" Now, I see that I have been singing the wrong tune.

Anyway, this is not the first time that I've turned on country music and thought, "How prescient! What genius! My God, they're singing about me!"

To wit: "Driving through town, just my boy and me, with a Happy Meal in his booster seat, knowing he can't have the toy til his nuggets were gone. A green traffic light turned straight to red, I hit my brakes and mumbled under my breath. His fries went a flying and his orange drink covered his lap."

Except, in our life, it's more like this: "Driving through town, just Lucy and me, with a Happy Meal in her booster seat. She begs me for the toy, 'Where's my toy? Where's my toy? Where's my toy? Where's my toy?' Until I finally say, 'Okay! But you have to wait until Mommy stops the car! We don't want an accident!' And then I do stop at a red light and she says, 'Mommmmy! Where's my toy?' And then I root around in the paper bag until I find the stupid plastic Toy of Consumer Satan and then, while I'm reaching back to give it to her, I lift my foot off the brake and roll into the work truck in front of me. Her fries go flying and she says, 'Wha' happened, Mommy??' And then I get out of the van, and we're talking about that corner of H Street, near 395, where I once saw a homeless woman change her clothes in a bus shelter, and I tell the nice man, who looks to be a very handsome landscaper from the Opie's homeland, 'I'm so sorry!' And, of course, I touch his arm, and he says, 'Is OK.' And then I get back in the car, creep carefully onto the highway, and my child says, 'But, but, Mommy -- open my toy!'"

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Babies on the move

So Margaret has become quite an agile little thing (for one so...pleasantly round.) She steamrolls over Josephine, sits herself up by Lucy's secret stash of stickers, drink umbrellas, and glitter pens --- and dumps them all on the floor with a throaty chuckle. "Heeeeh, heh, heh," she says. (Really. That's how she talks.)

And this is what Lucy says:
"No! Margaret Baby Monster!"

Meanwhile, Josephine is catching on. Her crawl still has a weird hop to it. (Possible nickname: Bunny?) And she doesn't much like to be left alone, sitting up. She squeals, "Eeeee!", until you return and hold her hand. Like her mother, she devours The Washington Post, National Geographic, and Arrowroot biscuits.

Possible nickname: Cookie?

Interesting sidenote: My mother tells me that I loved cookies so much when I was a baby that she sometimes would make me crushed cookies and milk for dinner...

Monday, October 1, 2007

Conversations with Lucy, cont.

Driving home from school, I hear this moaaaan from the backseat.
"Lucy, what's wrong?"
"My ears hurt," she finally says.
"Your ears?! What happened to them?"
Pause. "Somebody stuck their fingers in them. On the playground."
"Whaat?! Who??"
"A child?"

So I don't know. And I'm not going to know. But it's a weird story.

Rocking My World, cont.

So, Bret Michaels DID pick Jes, the girl with the cotton-candy hair, and not the stripper -- who said later, "I got this asshole's name tattooed on my neck!" But I kinda think he set her up for failure. All of a sudden, he has a bad case of diabetes and (he tells us privately) that he feels like he might die on their dune-buggy date. So he says to her, "I need to eat." And she says, "Are you okay?" He says, "Yeah, but I need to eat." And she says, "Okay, but I want to drive the buggy."

I don't know -- I'd want to drive the buggy too...

Anyway, like my friend Randomreality, I too wondered whether Bret and Jes found true love... and I think not. People who are much more Poison'd than me found Jes's MySpace page and pictorial evidence that suggests a new love. (And, yes... I admit I did read the Rock of Love message board to learn this.)

But look! Even more disturbing is this:

"In the back of my head I knew It wasn't real , but I made myself believe that this was all real stuff. Then I started to realize it more when Bret kept choosing Lacey to stay. He had no close connection with her-no one-on-one dates, so why was she still there? Ratings! And then it dawned on me...this show is fake. I'm kinda disappointed in Bret."