free hit counter Snacks, please!: April 2008

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

I'm waiting for my directions too.

Last night, after Lucy's ballet recital(!), we went out for Chinese food. She perched very gracefully, hot pink tutu spilling across her seat, and announced, "I am sitting quietly and waiting for my directions."

"Your directions?"

"Yes, my directions," she repeated.

"Well," I said (baffled). "You're doing a very good job of sitting quietly in the restaurant. Why don't you keep doing that?"

Minutes later, very sadly, "I am still waiting for my directions!"

"What does that mean, Lulu? What kind of directions???"

"My soup!"

"Ohhhh, you're waiting for your order."

Monday, April 28, 2008

Tic-Tacs: The Untold Story

How to tell this story...Hm.

Like this: Lucy pushed a cherry tic-tac up her nose on Sunday. It got stuck. She appeared in the kitchen with a red streak across her upper lip, her little hands flying around her face, wailing in panic, "Mommmmmy!" I thought she had a bloody nose and said, "Oh Lulu, it's o..."

Wait a second, that's not blood!! It's melting FD&C Red #17! "Is that a Tic-Tac?? In your nose?" More wailing. "Sit down. Calm down." Squeeze. Squeeze. POP! "Lulu. We don't put tic-tacs in our noses. We put them in our mouths," I said kindly. Snuffle, snuffle. "Why did you do that?" Snuffle, snuffle. "Did you want to see if it could fit?"

"Don't tell the doctor!" she cried.

We sat for a few minutes on the kitchen floor. One of us shaking in relief, or perhaps fear, as in, "Now I'll never get into the gifted program!" The other of us shaking with suppressed giggles. "All right, that's enough of that," I said. "Would you like some ice cream? Mommy got you a special Cherry Garcia cup at the store. You can have it now...


"If you promise not to stick it up your nose."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Better than a No Visitors sign!

Look what I found on the front steps this morning! It was all curled up in the sun, loving my Washington Post. (Sorry, fella! I need my Hank Stuever fix!) I swear to all of you -- we did not buy this guy at the reptile store. (Crazy state Legislature forbids the transaction of indigenous snakes, but says it's okay to wear your Glock to Starbucks!)

I threw a few leaves at it, trying to get it to move off the path, but it just stuck its little tongue out at me. So I took a picture instead, woke up David and Lucy, and they took more pictures too. David says it's a baby Eastern Diamondback rattlesnake, but I think that is wishful thinking. He believes it coils and nods like a poisonous snake that screams, "I'm going to kill you! In a minute!" but I think all snakes move in the same sneaky ways.

Judge for yourself? Is this our new pet? All grown up?

Anyhoo, I am reminded of my childhood adventures with my most dangerous pal. He and I, and my younger brother too, used to take the occasional Sunday afternoon to climb this big hill in South Glastonbury, Connecticut, called Rattlesnake Mountain. (It really was known as Rattlesnake Mountain, until they built million-dollar homes on it...and now they've branded it something like Olde Winterbury Hill or Apple Butter Road. And the snakes were renamed Developers.)

We would find tons of snakes, especially in October or November, stretched out on flat rocks, catching hot streams of dying sun. And then we would throw rocks at them! Shake your tailfeathers, sssssnake! Ooh, I can still hear that rattle -- all dry and angry. Once, once! Once, this was very exciting, a gigantic mama snake actually got off her rock and chased us down the hill! Rattling all the way to our old black Ford Granada, where Johnny and I screamed at my most dangerous pal, "Daaaad! Open the door!!!"

And he said, "Jesus Christ! That was a great one!"

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How much drool does a baby make??

My cell phone is dead. I saw Josephine blabbing into it last night, ordering a large pizza with pepperoni and mocking Margaret. (You can't have any of it! Enjoy your brown rice, big baby!) Of course it went into her mouth -- the phone, that is -- because everything does.

Today, it's dead. The sneaky color-changing sticker that Nokia sticks onto the battery pack, so that you can't pretend that your phone "just went dead..." after you accidentally dump it into the toilet (true story, tight jeans) had turned an ominous red. Water intrusion! The faceplate was fogged, the battery was actually wet. At first I thought perhaps Josephine had dumped it in Kitty Cat's water. She does love to splash around in there and I could see that she might think:


But David diagnosed the problem spot on, and I think he's right.

Baby drool drowned my phone.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

If Margaret was a cow...

A very old friend of mine is expecting her first baby in May. I think she knows it's not all rainbows and sippy cups. (Gail, stop reading!) But does she know that soon she'll be expected to tape a "collection bag" to her toddler's fat bottom and catch the warm serum of recently digested, locally produced milk for the HMO-approved lab? That is parenthood, my friends...

Margaret may -- or may not -- have a urinary tract infection. We shall know soon. In the meantime, she's mad as hell about all the brown rice and bananas on her tray. "That little baby is getting steak and strawberries, and she doesn't even like to eat! Pass it over here, Josephinie! Wha's this? Applesauce?? But I want ketchup! What's wrong with you people?! Aaaah!"

Dr. Lucy was quite excited by Margaret's recent illness. When she heard, she exclaimed, "Can I see Margaret throw up??"

"I hope she's done throwing up," I said.

"Why!" she demanded.

What else? Lucy presented her first project to school today. An Earth Day celebration of, "What Cows Give Us," that includes cut-out pictures of milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, of course, a few bloody steaks. Her understanding of these concepts: "The milk comes out of the cow like pee!"

We had a lovely visit this past weekend with Gigi and Poppa -- saw the butterflies and gorillas, the train store and book store, and all sorts of other adventurous places. Lucy had somebody to sleep with, which made her very very happy. But since they left, I keep discovering small half-eaten containers of cherry-flavored Tic Tacs everywhere, which Lucy assures me are hers and hers alone.

That, apparently, is grand-parenthood, my friends...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

And we don't "summer" either

The other day Lucy said to me, very sadly, "We don't sail..."

Monday, April 14, 2008

If our clothes could talk...

The sweaters say buh-bye! See you in September! (Or October. Or November. Or maybe even later, as the world transforms itself into one large bayou.)

I spent a lot of time this past weekend dragging storage containers upstairs and down, delighting over my summer things (hello ladybug dress! hello sailboat skirt!) and lingering over the matching pink woolly sweaters that Josephine and Margaret wore to the park before spring arrived. That made me a little bit sad. Everybody is getting so big, so fast.

What I'm not sad about: David is getting rid of his 80s shirts!

Yes. It's true! After 20 years in the closet, the gold shirt with puffy sleeves and his pal, the sneaky one with the slit pocket and dropped shoulders, are moving on. Since they haven't been outside in years -- preferring to hang out by the back wall, listening to Siouxsie and sipping Absolut and tonic -- this will be good for them. They will no doubt meet lots of new friends at the Goodwill. (These new friends will be super-coolio 19-year-olds, who will wear them with irony and skinny ties.)

Says me: I think you look better in fitted shirts.

Says David: Well, I was much skinnier then.

Says me: You were like Prince! A skinny guy in big shirts.

Says him: I was like Prince!

He continues (seriously): Prince was really the first positive role model for short men. Him and Napoleon. But Napoleon wasn't so positive. Not like Prince.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Next stop, Cannes!

A short film of triumph. Margaret walks! Lucy shares her chocolate! And also great loss. Where in the world are Lucy's pants?? Critics marvel at the dramatic end. The pillow falls. We wonder what happened to pretty Josephine?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

You're not the boss of me!

It is my habit, as I have previously mentioned, to occasionally bring treats for Lucy when I pick her up at daycare. Sometimes it's chocolate (10 points!!), sometimes it's an orange (7.5 points), and once it was a book. (Two points? Ungrateful, illiterate child!) The other day, it was a very tiny Milky Way square.

"Do you have two, Mama?" she asked.

"Nope, just one."

"Why not two?"

"Because I don't."

"Maybe tomorrow you'll have two?"

"Hm. Maybe..."

Then yesterday, I got in the car and she said, "Do you have a treat?" And I said, "Yes! I have one small chocolate and one big grapefruit." And she got all attitooode with me! Waving her index finger like Fidel!

"BUT I TOLD YOU!" she hollered. "I told you yesterday, I wanted two chocolates, Mommy! Two chocolates! Didn't I tell you that? To get TWO chocolates at your office?? I want TWO chocolates!"

I swear, it was like a parody! Like the performance of a so-so child actor, a cross between Gary Coleman and Nellie from Little House. So I waggled my tushie and waved my finger and shrieked, "Two too!" and fell apart in hysterical laughter. Was she serious? I have no idea. I ate her chocolate. Oh no! I did not. I got in the car, still laughing and said, "Listen. Do you want it or not?"

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Who's next?

In August, most likely, we will get a new au pair. Either that, or the babies will go to school with Lucy... but most likely we'll get a new au pair. So now, the merry-go-round begins again -- we got our first applicant today...

And she is German! Aaah! As some of you know, I have complicated, complete nonsense feeling about Germans. I knew some in Ireland and found them to be... the kind of people who own a great deal of rain gear. Still, I am aware of a special sub-group of Germans -- I call them the "Fun Germans" and suggest that you find them in rented convertibles on I-95 in South Florida. (The others pack their own bicycles and hit Shark Valley instead.)

What does it mean when she says she's flexible? Or independent? Should I be charmed or concerned by her repeated use of the word 'tinkering'? (As in, the children and I 'tinker' with toys, drums, etc.) More significant, what about these two months of "special police training" on her resume???

Also, of note, she enclosed a "piercing letter," which explains that she has a navel piercing, which she thinks is very beautiful, but also understands may be a bad influence on the children. And so, she is willing to cover it at all times.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

My name is Mary Ellen and I have a problem.

I am addicted to Scrabulous!

This is just one of the ( I have to say it? YES! That is part of recovery!) of the, ahem, 14 games that I am currently playing. (And seriously, I'll play more. I'm just afraid to annoy my few friends on Facebook. Anyone?)

More to the point (see above), what the hell am I going to do with four E's, a Q and a Z? These are the worst tiles ever! But, if I stop to swap, Noah B. will eat me alive. As it is, he's got a ridiculous lead. He opened with a 74-point word! Seriously, if there was a Cooperstown for Scrabble players, Noah B. would be in it. (And it galls me to death! Because he can't even spell! Once, when we used to work together, he asked me for help with wrist.)

Anyway, I'm actually not very good -- although my opponents always say (so graciously!) that they're just lucky. Part of the problem is, I do love some words more than others. I got very excited when I found NOODLE in my assortment. I adore that word. (I wanted to name one of the girls Fionnuala -- and call her Noodle...) But, if I were a smarter player, I might have at least attempted to find a higher-scoring word. Points, shmoints! Who can argue with the poetry of a WORDY on the Scrabulous board!

Hello, Mr. Rat... Meet Mr. Snake!

From: The Woman
To: The Rats

Re: Your impending doom

There are two kinds of vermin on this little island of small children in the suburbs. There are the rats and... (soon) the snakes. The law of nature is this: Snakes eat rats. And you know what else? If I saw you in the desert, dying of thirst, I wouldn't stop to give you a sip of water.**

See this guy?

He's going to eat you! Like a piece of spaghetti! Slurp! Slurp!

You think you can turn my front yard into your own "luxury" condominium complex? You think you can dig an access road under my violet rhododendron? Ha! Where's your CO?! I know people in the county!! And let me tell you something else -- that community center you've got? Under the ivy? You've played your last game of canasta, kiddo.

See this guy? He's moving in.

He is sniffing you out! Yessssss. I ssssmell you!

We are aware that state law forbids the "purchase" of Virginia black rat snakes, but The Man has a stick and a sack (and enough cash to bribe a few teenagers to do our dirty work for us.) Plus -- do not underestimate the power of Craigslist. Oh, yessss!

Here's another one:

** Get it?? Anyone?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

But we did beat a 9-year-old!

Almost forgot! Auntie Pamela and I did the Scope It Out 5K this weekend! We saw one man dressed as a giant polyp, another asshole in a Scottish kilt (ooh, I'm kidding...) a whole bunch of cheery blossoms, and far too many children in size 7-8 jogging suits. (One should not gasp for breath during family time, IMO.)

I would say it was a wee bit intimidating at first. We strolled up to the course in front of some "athletes" talking about their "tri times." Good grief! One of them claimed to do 12 pool laps in three minutes. (Hello? Hall of Superheroes? I found Aquaman! He's wandering the streets of DC!)

I had flashbacks to a 5K that my friend Gwyneth and I ran in Port St. Lucie, like 10 years ago? We finished LAST. Really. And we were melted into little sweaty puddles of humiliation by the sincere encouragement of every other runner, who waited at the finish line to say, "Good job, girls! You did it!" And, of course, the sorry results have been archived forever on these great Internets of Embarrassment.

I told Pamela, "I will not be embarrassed! It's not like these people know me!"

"Not yet," she said.

We finished right behind a 76-year-old woman, which doesn't sound so great... but hey, she set a course record for her age group! And we did manage to outpace "the stroller people," which was an enormous relief to both of us. (One of the 11-year-olds ran the course in 24 minutes! Is that good for her growing joints??)

Many thanks to BridalBird, who came to cheer us on! Yippee! Pamela posted some pictures at her blog -- where you also can learn everything you need to know about knitted socks and shawls and super-cool hats. (I think she's making me a felted ball necklace!!) She sent me a picture of the two of us at the finish line, but I think it is not very flattering.

Instead I will post a picture of my rear end. See? In the long pants? Upper left?