free hit counter Snacks, please!: August 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

Well... I hope you're happy now.

I'm trying to update my iPod (any recommendations?? Cynthia came through with quite the running mix the other week. Lots of great new stuff to keep me going... although I have to ask, "Michael Jackson?? Really??)

Anyway, like I was saying, while I was updating my iPod and looking through our music library, I noticed that somebody (obviously our former au pair) listened to the song "Misery" by Pink exactly 192 times between March 9, when it was added to the collection, and June 26 at 4:38 p.m.

Wow. That's a lot of misery.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Mothers behaving badly

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming, my favorite show: "Good Mommas Gone Bad."

The first segment will feature the hippie-dippie mom who yanks her pre-schooler from the Waldorf school -- the Waldorf school! -- when a teacher tells the child that she can not push kids on the playroom. Protests mother, "She has a Constitutional right to push other children! This is not Guantanamo!" Next, mother announces plans to "unschool her child" (I swear to God, I have this on good authority, namely my friend Meg), which means she will not be forced like some kind of factory worker to show up on time, sit at a desk, and learn addition. You don't hardly need that anyway if you decide to pay for dental services with more genuine commodities, like whole-wheat bread.

Second segment: Sort of like the hippie-dippie mom, but more likely to wear leather, this segment features the wealthy suburban mother who wishes her nanny could be forced to work more hours because, goddamnit, she just doesn't know what to do with these kids and she's trying, really, to use what she learned in last month's parenting workshop... Set on a North Arlington playground, we watch as the suburban mother's son bops his friend in the head. The friend cries. The son sceams vindictively. The mother approaches and says to her little felon, "You sound frustrated." [Step one: Acknowledgment.] And then asks, "Do you want to tell me why?" [Step two: Supportive inquiry.]

Third segment: Mothers who think they're perfect, sit back and talk smack about their peers. The worst! (Note to producers: Make sure we get them with Miller Lite in hand. And the dirt on their children's faces!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Happy Half Birthday, Babies!

The babies are 18 months old! Someday soon, it may no longer be appropriate to call them babies, as in, "Bath time, babies!" Or, "Hey babies, want a snack?" Or, "Babies! Stop eating the cat food! I mean it! I am making dinner!"

I think they might be the babies for a long time.

Anyhoo...what's going on with these girls?? So much. Except weight gain. The stats: Margaret weighs 23 lbs., 8 oz. and Josephine weighs 20 lbs., 4 oz. (That would be the third percentile...) On the bright side, that means we can finally turn Josephinie's car seat around! Yay! (Truth be told, we turned it around last month. All the other babies were making fun of her. "Nyah-nyah, you're backwards!" Sigh. It really wasn't very nice.)

I wish I knew how to attach music files to these kinds of things, because we all could listen to My Girl Josephine by Super Cat. It goes like this, "My Girl Josephine! Don't be mean! I know that's your bite mark on your sister's shoulder -- because, even though she can't talk, I recognize those teeth marks from my own shoulder! Yeah, yeah, yeah. Diddy-dum."

Josephine gives love bites, I think. She crawls up to the tippy-top of my shoulder, with a big right-foot boost on my left boob, and then she squeals "I made it to the top of the world!" and... chomp! Aie!! No biting! And then she just giggles. Giggles! Really, she has no empathy. And she doesn't listen. And she doesn't feel bad. Even though she is tiny, I think she is secretly in charge of everything. And she's a little like Kim Jong Il.

She's still more cautious than Margaret. She looks at people like, "Okay. I'm looking at you... and I'm not sure I like what I see." Until she does, and then she giggles like crazy. She's a wacky little monkey. Proof: she climbs and she likes fruit. She likes fruit more than cookies! Oh, Josephine, you'll never get fat if you stick to strawberries...

She loooves the animals. Goats, sheep, cows, doggies, kitties... She and Margaret have been trying to say, "Meow!" But they can just manage, "Owww! Owww!" And when they see Kitty Cat, they strike up a chorus of injury. Owww! Owww! Owww! Our neighbors just got a pair of pugs (cute, but barky), and Josephine stands by the chain-link fence... come on, puppies! I love you! I just want to... Puppies!! Come here!

Her second favorite thing is books. She'll carry one over -- current fav is My First Kitten, Touch and Feel -- and dump it in my lap.

Margaret thinks all that stuff is interesting too... But eh, not that much. Here is what Margaret likes best: ME! Finally! Somebody sees how wonderful I am!! This means I can not leave her sight (which is difficult -- what with work and all). She even claims my lap while I sit on the toilet. (Too much information?) The other day, she waited outside the shower, weeping pathetically until I emerged dripping. Oh, big blobby baby!

She stands in the kitchen, wraps her fat arms around my knees, and rests her head between my thighs. I have to pick her up. I have no choice. It is not easy to make dinner with a 23-pound baby in your arms, but it is probably good for my biceps. (Maybe I can wear a sleeveless dress to Cynthia's wedding in late October!! Yes! Can I? Or will it be too cold...)

Margaret still mostly gets what she wants -- because she is BIG. Lucy says so, all the time, "Margaret and I are big. Josephine is not." But occasionally Josephine will steal something away from Margaret and run off, holding it tight to her chest, delighted! And then Margaret will howl at the injustice. It is terrible to be big and denied.

She likes dinner. But when she is done, she clutches the points of her high chair and says, "Duh? Duh?" But mostly she likes people. When we go to the playground, she wanders over to groups of children and stands there, looking all hopeful: "You'll talk to me, right? And we'll play, right? I will be a very good friend, I promise!"

She does not like to be yelled at. It makes her very very sad.

She's probably a better talker than Josephine. In fact, I think she even says Josie. It sounds like this: "Yo-yee!"

So, happy half birthday Yo-yee and Margaret!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Barbie, would you like some cheese?

Dr. Lucy got her first real Barbie doll this week, a gift from, of all people, her preschool teacher! (Good God, what are they teaching her there?? I shouldn't be surprised. This is, after all, the same place that refuses to recognize BOTH of her last names.)

Anyway, our conversation went like this:

Me: I think Barbie is tooooo skinny.

Dr. Lucy: No she's not!

Me: Oh yeah? I don't think she eats enough.

Dr. Lucy: Yes she does!

Me: What does she eat??

Dr. Lucy: Hmm.... carrots.

Me: Carrots? Anything else?

Dr. Lucy: Carrots!

Me: Yes, I know she eats carrots. Anything else?

Dr Lucy: .... and mushrooms. She eats mushrooms too!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Video killed the radio star

I've long wondered whether the NPR correspondents have fictitious names. I mean, come on? Snick Paprikash? Quetzal Levine? Now I am certain. This morning I heard Alistair Leafhead reporting from Afghanistan.

A note from management

Dear Workers,

I'm the new boss. You can call me Dr. Lucy.

You all are very nice! Thank you for showing me pictures of your dogs and babies. Together I know we can accomplish great things! But first I would like to make a few changes.

1) Yesterday's staff meeting was a lot of fun. I really liked it when I made a yellow Play-Doh snake and then crushed it under a red smelly marker. From now on, everybody must come to staff meetings with their own tubs of Play-Doh and at least one smelly marker. We will all make snakes! We will name them after the old bosses! And then we will smoosh them!

2) Let's talk to the tech guys about switching our home page. I want everybody to be able to play that Elmo game, the one where he says, "Elmo has to use the potty!" And then you get to send him to the potty by pressing any key on the keyboard. (Which one is the any key? Which? Which???! No! You are not listening to me! Which one is the ANY key??? Okay, Mommy says it is L.)

3) More candy machines! And mandatory nap time for all. Mommy says we get smarter while we sleep. This will be useful, right? Let's make sure that guy over there, the one who doesn't understand why Mommy needs another four weeks of vacation this year, gets put to sleep for a loooong time.

4) I understand you all write stuff? For some kind of magazine? No more writing. Not everybody can read! From now on, all these "words" will be replaced with Highlights-style hidden picture games. And then we can use the smelly markers again!

Okay, that's it for now! Time for lunch!

Monday, August 18, 2008

One Long Island Iced Tea, please.

I was reading the drink menu at Cafe Luna the other day and it offered, "Our take on the once-sophisticated Cosmopolitan..." Whaa?! Note to self: Do not order the Cosmo! You will appear to be a 36-year-old mother of three who hums Sweet Caroline to herself and reminisces about the Irish Times circa 1992.

Anyhoo, I got out of the house again on Sunday (two days in a row! good god!) and went to this place with the masochistic classics book club. (War & Peace: Page 512. Still not bad.) Again with the cocktail menu...what's this? Muddled sage leaves? Auntie Pamela scoffs. You don't know?? Public service announcement to the other old ladies: Sage leaves are the latest thing.

And I found out just in time, as our 14-year-old natural-gas fueled air-conditioning unit has totally crapped out, leaking fluid like a poisoned rat (not that we've seen much of those around here lately. Alas.)

The new unit: $5,800.

Oh, waiter?

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The queen is dead! Long live the queen!

Lots of change in the castle these days. Last weekend, our au pair fulfilled the terms of her year-long sentence, was allowed to leave the dungeon, and received parole to a halfway house in Maryland, which is probably new construction. Her new warden is a 27-year-old new mother with a French manicure and a husband named Josh, and I think they'll all be really happy together. Of course we will never forget her. (See: Giant coffee stain on the carpet.)

Aie! On the one hand, it really was a little bit sad. She'd been living with us for a year, which is not a short time, and I did very much appreciate that the babies loooved her. On the other, every single day I would come home and find a small round sticker 0249 Apple Washington State stuck to the side of the kitchen sink or counter top. I would scrape it off, carry it to the garbage, and think... not very nice thoughts. But that's petty, isn't it? See, I am petty. I should just be thankful. Practice gratitude!

Anyway, the new au pair is German. We may have discussed my insane preoccupation with the German people. Well, thankfully it turns out I was wrong. It's actually the French that I don't like. (I'm kidding! Kidding! Mon dieu.) Anyhoo, I don't want to commit myself to any hopeful feelings but so far I will say that I think she's lovely.

She likes: Green grapes, blue cheese, H&M, and bicycling.

I like: Oh, my God! The exact same stuff!! almost.

One interesting thing: We have had a little problem with mice -- mice! not rats! -- in the basement dungeon where our hired help is forced to live. We are slowly killing them with 50-cent snap traps and peanut butter. (Eight down... 149 more to go.) David is the appointed (but reluctant) executioner. To avoid accidentally touching dead fur during disposal, he ties a long piece of floss to each trap. Clever, huh? Anyway, this was a pretty disturbing process for the old au pair... But the new au pair? This weekend, she opened the sprung trap herself, shook a broken body into the garbage bag, and set it for Mickey #9 without blinking.

And she sings!

(My grandmother -- the Irish one -- used to like to talk about what a catch my brother was. She'd says, "He's so good-looking! And so smart!" and then she'd add -- with lots of emphasis, "And he sings!")

In other news, I went to the very best bridal shower on Saturday. Clotted cream! How lovely! When I got home, Dr. Lucy, Esq., asked all about it. "Did Auntie Cynthia get lots of presents?" Oh yes. She even got cake sprinkles! She nodded happily and then asked, "And was she running all over the place?"

"Yes! But there was no moon bounce."

"I know that!"

Pause. "She's a grown up!"

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I said Eureka, not Leica!

Faced with yet another awesome splatter of pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, blue AND brown Play-Doh sprinkled across our carpet like Parmesan, David picks up his camera and embarks on a new modern art project.

You tell me: Was that the appropriate reaction?

Monday, August 11, 2008

From the County Fair Board

Dear Mary Ellen,

Congratulations on your second-place finish! Contrary to your wicked husband's report, there were many more than two entries in the fruitcake division. We think there were 200! More or less. In any case, the judges (except for the junior judge from Cherrydale, who was rushed to Arlington Medical after her face pretty much doubled in size, right there in the exhibit hall... perchance were there toxic sulfites in those apricots?) were truly delighted by your extensive list of dried fruits. Mangos are good luck, no?

We felt obligated to give old Mrs. McGillicuddy first place, but mostly because we know she has cancer. (Next year, it's all you!)

We also want to congratulate Auntie Pamela, who turned out to be the very best knitter in Arlington County!! (We understand she's never actually made anything for you, not even the felted ball necklace that you asked for TWO YEARS AGO, so you will just have to accept our word: She's very good!) We did hesitate to give her the biggest best-in-show ribbon (her health is quite good, after all...) but we felt rewarded when her screams of joy reached the top car on the Ferris Wheel.

Thanks for participating!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Lucy says...

Dr. Lucy, Esq., has been vacillating wildly of late -- between a super-competent Miss Clavel on the one hand and the miserable victim of untold human rights violations on the other.

Every morning, she sneaks up on David and I, an old Dr. Brown's nipple hanging from her lips. Squeak! Squeak! Oh, good morning my little mouse! She demands a spot in the bed -- "in the middle!" And then she waits for sounds of life from the babies' room. Aha! Hop!

"Hello babies!"

The scream with delight.

"No screaming!" she says sternly. "Or I'm not coming in!"

But then, oh dear... Margaret pushes her down and Josephine steps on her hair and it's just too terrible to bear. The hysterics! On our way home from Cape Cod, stuck between the two tiny terrorists for hour after hour, Lucy finally exclaimed, "You are hurting my feelings!!" Dramatic pause.

"You are breaking my heart!!"

Another funny thing: While we were up there, Lucylu relied on my 18-year-old niece to carry her over the 6-inch deep tidal pools and then announced, "Sarah saved me from a watery grave!"

She hates to clean up. She loves lipstick. She says she has scary dreams -- last night it was about Ursula, who might be a seamstress?? She makes up her own songs, and can write her own name, and likes to play games with letters and words. But she can't possibly sleep by herself. "Do you remember when you stayed with me the whole night? At Cape Cod? That was amazing..." She still likes olive loaf. But she has changed her mind about squash. "I liked that when I was just a baby. I'm not a baby anymore."

She says she can't be best friends with her best friend, who is black. "I have to be best friends with somebody white," she says. But why, Lucy?? She can't explain. No, nobody told her that. That's just the way it is. Yesterday she took my hand at school and proudly exclaimed, "I got the elephant hose today! I did just what Daddy said. I said, 'Sylvie, it's my turn!' And I got the elephant hose!"

I wish I could remember everything she says because it's all so funny. I forget too much.

She's getting big. And she tells me so all the time.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

But I hear your whispering just fine...

Something is wrong with my ears. For several days now, they've felt... strange. Hm. Lucy's ears, on the other hands, after very minor surgery on Friday seem to be just fine.
Is this what happened to Vincent Van Gogh??

Monday, August 4, 2008

My weekend

Before you jump to conclusions about Josephinie's sleeping habits and the benefits of a little Captain Jack at bedtime -- for me, of course! (Although I did have a friend whose mother admitted to spiking his baby with a wee bit of Guinness...) This wasn't for drinking.

Behold. The fruitcake.

Aha! Tricked you again. That's a professionally staged fruitcake. Mine is still under wraps (three layers of Saran to be specific) on the top shelf of our pantry, where I hope the sugar addicts who live in our house (i.e., the au pairs -- mine and one who was tossed out of her own house this past weekend) do not sniff it out. It will be delivered to the fair this week. And then, this weekend, it will be judged the finest fruitcake in all the land.


Anyway, it's too late, but what do you think about the Jack Daniel's?? Should I have sprung for the Knob Hill? (Not to point fingers, but Auntie Pamela has a bottle of top-shelf Maker's Mark in her kitchen -- and she refused to share it! Unless I brought a straw.)

As it was, I shopped at three different stores for the ingredients -- four, if you count the new Williams-Sonoma lemon-shaped pan. (V. cute.) Originally I had hoped to buy the finest of dried organic fruits at Whole Foods, but then I realized that they don't look nearly as appetizing without the appropriate toxins. For example: Organic dried apricots look like those pig ears from PetSmart, while regular old poisonous dried apricots are a pleasing orange color. (The judges must assume their own risk.) Also, I couldn't find dried pears anywhere, so I threw in dried mango instead. And I didn't have a full cup of sugar (are the au pairs eating it with spoons??) so I had to use a wee bit of light brown. Additions, additions...

What else? The vomiting did stop on Saturday. It was prolonged somewhat by the appearance of super-boogie baby summer colds, which have caused all sorts of unseasonal nose-streaming, coughing and wheezing, but I think those are getting better too. (Again, you judge the fruitcake at your own risk...)