free hit counter Snacks, please!: November 2007

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Oh sure, she eats fruit too...

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

But they're tears of joy!

Nearly a year and a half ago, the stork (who was disguised as a New Jersey state social worker) delivered an adorable 10-day-old baby to the home of an old friend. Since then, she's been doing everything that I do -- kisses and Cheerios, baba's and gaga's, ear infections and Netflix -- EXCEPT, at the same time, she's also been waging this terrific fight with terrible bureaucracy to make sure he never, ever leaves her (until Harvard comes calling.)

Anyway, the other week, I got an email from this friend, and it said:

"After rushing to get there, we had to wait. For nearly two hours. Yep. There were several other families ahead of us. Nicholas and Cooper ate cookies. They ran up and down the hallway. They looked for trains. They climbed on chairs. The Little Dude was wearing new pants, which turns out, were too loose in the waist. Every time he ran, the pants fell down to his knees.

"Meanwhile, I was sweating, thirsty and kept running to the bathroom. I was so anxious; it felt like I was in a sauna.

"Finally it was our turn. At that moment, walking into the courtroom, with him in my arms, I was happy. Relieved and happy. For days leading up to the adoption, everyone kept asking me: 'Aren’t you happy?' And I kept saying, 'Not yet.

“'Now I am happy,' I announced to everyone in the courtroom."


The little guy, who is so obviously her baby, somehow found his way to her house last winter. HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? Was it just good luck? (I mean, I KNOW he came in a CAR, people, but I'm talking about the whole meta-journey here...) Then, together, they somehow found their way through the mountains of administrative crap that the state uses to torture, kill and then bury foster parents with. And now, finally, finally, finally, everybody knows what the two of them have known all along: He is her son.

Sniff, sniff. It made me cry last week and today, writing about it, I'm crying all over again! Which just proves that there is something wrong with me and it's probably some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Then, yesterday, I got another email that made me cry. This time from Auntie Pamela. For months, I have been keeping tabs on one of her colleagues, who has been pregnant with a baby with half a heart. Well, that little lady has arrived, and she is beautiful, and she going to grow up and be FINE.

Pamela reminds that my babies are FINE too. But, of course, I can't help but think that they might not have been. And I don't know how we got so lucky either. (This is turning into my post-Thanksgiving post...and, if you've read this far, I really hand it to you.)

It was almost exactly a year ago that the maternal-fetal medicine at Washington Hospital Center accepted my emergency visit, showed me the 5 centimeters of fluid around Baby A and the 2 cm around Baby B, and said, "Enjoy your Thanksgiving. They'll be fine through the weekend."

Last winter was crazy. Last Christmas was crazy. I remember struggling to button my flannel Mimi Maternity shirt, and my sister saying, "I swear! You've gotten bigger since you got here!" And she was delighted because she thought it was all good baby stuff, and I was sweating because I knew it was oh-so-not-normal. At the worst, Margaret had 12-plus centimeters of fluid and Josephine had 0.5.

Over!!! That's over! I hear you, Pamela! And thank you for reminding me.

Every day, I think -- they're amazing! They're like little elves. They burble and hop and, even Margaret when she wakes me up at 4 a.m., clutching the rail of her crib, and babbling and grinning, "Hieee! Die, die, baba!" -- they make me smile all the way to my stuck-together toes. Their warm little bellies! The way they hang onto my neck like monkeys. (The way they pull the short hairs...aaah! Not so great!)

Lucy, too. I take her a little for granted, I fear, but she's my biggest baby of all. (Except for David. Ha.)

It's angels, kiddos. Angels and ghosts and elves and babies.

Sigh...That's enough of that, isn't it?

Some pictures to reward the good readers:

This is Margaret, looking for food...

And, this is Josephine, looking for a bargain...

And Lucylu, looking very much like her father:

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pink Eye!

Have I read two more terrifying words in my American Academy of Pediatrics guide?! (Of course! But let's not ruin the joke.) Somehow, somewhere, Lucylu caught it. I blame the boys in her preschool class. They're Trouble. Now, of course, I can't help but feel it encroaching on my own cornea.

Pink eye! Pink eye! Pink eye!!

In other news, the babies are talking to each other.

A typical conversation: "Da-da-da-da-DA!" says Margaret, as she motors along the floor, stuffing Cheerios in her mouth. "Where is that pacifier, where is that pacifier," she says. "A-ha! In that little baby's mouth!" she happily exclaims. She pushes up onto her knees, reaches out a steady hand, and PLUCK!

"Ieee! Die, die, die, DIE!" shrieks Josephine.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hello Lilly!

I wandered into Filene's Basement yesterday, looking for not-too-tight khaki pants and found... a $12 pair of Lilly Pulitzer blue-crab pants! Oh, what a find. I eagerly await summer.

In other news: The other night, Oh! Margaret spilled Lulu's milk on our laptop computer...So, do not expect to hear much from me in the near future.

In the meantime, Thanksgiving plans are moving forward. The cranberry sauce is done! Tonight I shall roast the butternut squash. Yes, it will look like baby food when it's done... but I don't so much mind that. (My personal favorite is the apple/blueberry mix from Earth's Best.) The carpet has been steam cleaned for the THIRD time in the past two weeks. Auntie Pamela's Diet Coke has disappeared. Lucy's green magic marker has disappeared. Josephine's sweet potatoes are gone too. The green finger paint? Eh. Not so much.

Last night, in a semi-paranoid fit, I drove to Harris Teeter (two days before Thanksgiving!) and bought a new turkey. The frozen Butterball (which came so highly recommended by Cook's Ill'd) is not big enough, I fear. Although our party has suffered some defections, we're still 10 adults and four children (and two babies) and we have a 13-pound bird. (David's calculations!!) Big enough?? I didn't think so!!

Now we have a 20-pound bird.

As Lucy says, "EVERYBODY likes turkey."

Oh! Confessions of a crazy parent: I am sick of SOMEBODY refusing to pick up her toys! So, the other day, when she took out her My Little Pony party set, which is full of teeny-tiny cakes and party favors that I believe Margaret or Josephine could choke to death on, and scattered them across the rug, and then promptly abandoned them for something else -- and then refused, repeatedly, to pick them up, I said, "Lucy! I am going to throw your toys in the garbage, if you do not pick them up." Wait, wait, wait.

"Okay, this makes me VERY SAD," I called, as I went looking in the cabinets for a Ziploc sandwich bags. Found one! Filled it with My Little Pony party fun and (loudly) dropped it into the kitchen garbage. (I am not completely mean. I used a Ziploc in the hopes that a penitent child could get them out, unscathed by eggshells and soggy Cheerios.) Mostly, she was unfazed. But, about an hour later, I caught her peeking into her garbage.

"You see your toys, huh," I said.

"Yeeeees," she said sadly.

"It's too bad you didn't put them away when Mommy asked," I said, every bit as sad.

"If, if, if, I put them away now like you ask me to, can I go put them away?" she asked hopefully.

"Ohhhhhh-kay," I said.

Friday, November 16, 2007

T Minus 5

In six days, we will have 18 people in our house, possibly 22, counting babies, for Thanksgiving! Oh, what fun. And so many things to be thankful for this year...

Enough of that. On to the main dish: What are we going to feed them?? David will be tackling the big bird. He says he has a strategy, but since I haven't seen him compulsively reading back-issues of Bon Appetit, I'm not so sure. (And he appears unwilling to drive 50 minutes north for a reasonably priced, locally raised, top-rated Tom.) Whatever. The frozen Butterball got top ratings from Cook's Illustrated -- and it's just 99 cents a pound. The stuffing also will be up to him, but he promises apples, which sounds good to me.

Butternut squash? A must have, in my opinion. I'm going to try an recipe that calls for smooshing roasted squash with maple syrup. Yum, yummy. Question: Should we also have roasted winter veggies? A combination of parsnips, carrots and sweet potatoes, perhaps?

Mashed potatoes. I guess so, right? With garlic? Or just lots of butter? I think people expect mashed potatoes, but I can't say I'm all that excited about the options.

My friend Stephanie makes a yummy corn pudding -- and it's one of those recipes that calls for a container of this, and a box of that, and...more butter! So perhaps that too.

And we must have green things. I'm intrigued by a green beans amondine recipe in yesterday's WaPo. Calls for fried leek rings! And butter. Everything has butter. And that's why everything is good. (Do I have enough butter? I have just five sticks in the house! Must buy more!)

A green salad? With cranberries and goat cheese and pecans? Perhaps.

I'm also intrigued by the idea of a wheatberry/cranberry salad too. No butter! How healthy!

I have guests who have offered to bring things, accept direct assignments, etc., but I DO find it difficult to delegate when it comes to food... Auntie Pamela is bringing her pies, of course. And I must ask David's mother to bring some kind of casserole that involves cream of mushroom soup, because he expects and loves it. What else am I missing? A couple of years ago, I made a fresh cranberry relish with orange zest, which was quite... zesty! Bread. Maybe the children will want canned corn? And I think my father will want jellied cranberry sauce -- the kind that comes out with can marks along its perfect cylindrical shape.

Please advise! I love to talk about food!!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Why I'm an anti-Dentite

My first dentist was Lester Luntz, DDS -- a guy who was so good at his job that there's actually a Lester Luntz Award. Oh, Dr. Luntz! You spoiled me forever.

When I was a little girl, my mother and brother and I used to drive into downtown Hartford, park in the Civic Center garage (which my own father inspected, so I knew it was safe, even though it was the first underground garage in the city!) Then we'd walk over to Pearl Street and spend a lovely hour with Dr. Luntz. He said I had beautiful teeth. Not one cavity! Then, if we were lucky, and we didn't get fluoride treatments, my mother would buy us vanilla frozen yogurts afterward. (Oh, the old days... Dr. Luntz didn't use latex gloves and frozen yogurt was a novelty.)

Back then, Hartford was booming -- with new pink granite towers on every corner. So it wasn't a big surprise when a real-estate developer named Anthony Cuteia bought Dr. Luntz's office building with plans to tear it down and build the tallest building in Hartford, called The Cutter Tower. And I guess Dr. Luntz saw this as an opportunity to give up his living patients and devote himself to his passion, which was forensic dentistry. (Interestingly, his son is Republican pollster Frank Luntz...) So he retired. And the Cutter Tower never was built.

Fortunately, one of my mother's childhood friends was also a dentist -- and Dr. Tom was pretty good too. Still, no cavities! So that was nice -- and it lasted through college. But then I moved down to Florida, and that's where it all pretty much went to hell.

My first dentist down there had a bee-yoo-tiful office on the St. Lucie River with floor-to-ceiling windows. You could recline in his chair, watch the pelicans soar by, and listen to Enya on his office Bose speakers. It was verrry nice -- and you have to wonder how he afforded it, huh?

Insurance fraud!!

My second dentist down there was recommended by my good friend Noah, who, it turns out, chose her because she had "small hands." Jesus! If I had only known... First she tried to sell me on all sorts of (expensive) cosmetic procedures. ("Your teeth do have a caved-in look," my then-boyfriend agreed.) When that failed, she told me I had four cavities. As if! My third dentist, a very nice man in a 70's-style office on Dixie Highway, spen the next five years looking for those cavities.

Moved to D.C. Found one loser. Then found one that does me just fine. He's insane, but competent. Last time I saw him, he was swooning with grief: "Rochelle left me!" he gasped. "After 15 years together! Fifteen wonderful years. And she walked out on me while I was in the hospital! I'm lying there in a HOSPITAL bed and she's telling me, on the PHONE, that it's time for her to move on!" "My God!" I said. "How horrible!" ("Jesus Christ..." I thought. "Are his hands shaking?") It took me 15 minutes to realize he was talking about his receptionist!

Anyway, that all brings me to today's news. My crazy dentist's partner looked Lucy's teeth and found...NOTHING!! Can you fucking believe it? Yesterday, this loser wih a dog tie and horn-rimmed glasses tells me she needs two hours in an operating room under general anethesia. Today, Dr. D says, "Are you crazy?"

Total score:
Five good dentists.
Four bad ones.

Now, is that anything to smile at??

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Lucy turns 3!

Lucy is three! As she'll tell you proudly, holding three fingers to the air! And now she is a BIG GIRL. So big that we packed up her oh-so beloved babas this past weekend, put them in a box, and sent them off to the North Pole with a letter that says, "Dear Santa, I am 3! I do not need my babas anymore. Please give them to babies. Love, Lucy."

And then, on Sunday, our doorbell rang and Santa had dropped off a thank-you card for Lucy! How nice. The babies are just delighted to have new bottles. And Lucylu is...well, not exactly HAPPY that her generosity has been received, but maybe sorta pleased to be on Santa's good side.

So, that's funny -- and I think David and I get points for creative parenting. (Bonus: I could honestly tell her dentist today that she does not drink from a bottle anymore.) But frankly, it wasn't a total success. While the Dr. Brown's are stashed away, Lucy still managed to find a bottle nipple, which she now sticks over her finger, and sucks mostly contentedly around the house all day, all night. Squeak! Squeak! Squeak!

I guess that's just fine. Marguerite Kelly, who writes that parenting column in the WaPo, says that if you're going to take away a very special thing to a child -- like a bottle -- you have to be prepared to offer something just as good. I have, of course, offered Lucy my undying love and affection, and also my warm hand as she nods off at night. Like Madeline at the zoo, she simply says, "Pooh-pooh."

(The parenting experts also say that if a child doesn't want to eat dinner, simply remove it and wait until she's hungry. And that's why Lucylu and I were picnicking in her bed last night -- "I'm hungry," she cried, shortly after storytime. Two slices of salami, two Triscuits with squirt cheese (which certainly deserves its own blog post), a hunk of Colby Jack, and a handful of dried cranberries later...)

Anyway, Lucy is 3!

The Highs of Being 3: We had a big ol' party on Saturday with mobs of screaming little people and two fascinated babies. We played at Lucy's Park -- but not for TOO long because Lucy does not LIKE the cold. We rolled pinecones in glitter. Ate pink polka-dot cupcakes in ice cream cones. Only one child peed in her pants -- but hey, it's not a party until somebody pees on themselves! And our guests actually cried when it was time to leave. Real tears!! (That never happens at book club.)

Plus, she got loads of fabulous presents (one of them has already stained our carpet) and I promise that this year we really will send thank-you notes! My mother sent her a box, which she shook very vigorously and said, "I hope it's a doggie!" Alas, it was not. Her favorite present? Another grandmother gift, of course. A yellow school bus!

The Lows of Being 3: I mentioned the dentist, yes?

I took her there this morning. She screamed. To her, the hygienist said: "Don't kick, Mommy!" To me: "Oh, this is completely normal. Ooph. Really." And still, Dr. Ed found...FIVE CAVITIES. Good God. He wants to fill them because, he says, they'll just get worse and she still needs these teeth for two or three more years. But he can't do so many in his office, so he wants us to meet him at Arlington Hospital, where he'll put her under general anesthesia and work away for an hour or two. Aaaggh!

I'm taking her to my dentist tomorrow for a second opinion. It might be true. Dr. Ed might be right. But I know that I once went to a dentist who told me I had four cavities, and then I went to a second dentist who said I have none -- and that was like 8 years ago and I still haven't found those four cavities. Plus, I just don't like this. I plain don't. It makes me feel like crying because I'm pretty sure that, if true, it's not Lucy's fault. It's her recalcitrant parents who have allowed her to swill milk at all hours of the night and brush her own teeth.

P.S. Oh, and the babas? The dental hygienist suggested that we didn't really need to take them away, after all. She said: "We can repair the damage to her teeth. The emotional damage is a lot harder to fix..."

Monday, November 5, 2007

Conversations with Lucy, cont.

The other day Lucy and I were playing, "Let's Pretend I'm a Policeman and You're the Lady Driver," which is not quite as good as "I'm the Teacher and You're the Little Girl," or "I'm the doctor, now lay down!" but it's not too bad either...

"Wheer, wheer wheer!" (My siren noise.) "Ma'am, do you know why I pulled you over?" I demanded. A defiant Lucy answered: "No!"

"Because you're driving too fast! And we don't want any accidents!" I shouted. "This time, I'll let you go with a warning. You're a very lucky lady driver!" I said. "Next time I'm a gonna want some money!"

She laughed and then asked me, "Policeman, do you have any babies?" (Excellent question!) I have three babies, I told her. All boys! And they're very naughty. They yell and they push and they don't eat dinner -- and I don't know what to do. "What do you think I should do?"

She thought a moment: "Lan them," she suggested.


"Lan them!"

"Ground* them?" I guessed.



Last night, Lucy started moaning in her bed around 9 p.m., so I went to see what was wrong. "I'm sick!" she cried. (Which I thought might actually be true -- the babies have been sick for the past week with terribly runny noses.) "Do you need some medicine?" I asked.

"Yesssss," she moaned. "I need pockcorn."

"Popcorn? Popcorn is not medicine," I said, in my severe Mommy voice.

"Yeeees! I am a kind of sick that a leetle bit of pockcorn will make me feel better!"

* I have never ever said anything about grounding!