free hit counter Snacks, please!: October 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Sharing is such sweet sorrow

Suddenly, there's lots of conversation in our house. Josephinie calls for "book" -- with a real K! And she yells, "Loooloooooo." Meanwhile, Margaret strung together two words (and two urgently waving arms) when I walked into their room this morning -- "Up! Baby!"

Ball! Baba! Baby!

Cookie! Up! Down!

Mommy! Dada! Kitty!

Meow... Woo-woo!

Still, their favorite word remains NO, and lately I have been getting the feeling that they're using it to mock me. For example, tonight Sweet Josephine grabbed a handful of Israeli couscous and flung it on the floor. "No Josephine!" I shouted. And she says, "Nooooo!" and throws another handful down. "No, no, no!" I repeat.

Does that sound funny? Because Margaret certainly thought so. Although she doesn't usually like to part with her food (seriously), she followed up with a few tossed grains, screeching, "Noooooo!"

For the record, I DO NOT SCREECH.

I think I'm firm! Not amused! "No, NO, NO!" I say. And the echo is deafening! "Noooo! NO! NONONONONO! Neeeeeeh! Nah! Nah! NONONONON! NOooooooOOOo!"

So, basically, I have no control over any living thing in the house. Josephine writes on the wall! (Years ago, when Lucy was a baby and friends would give us Mr. Clean and Magic Crayons and all that kind of stuff, I would laugh (on the inside, in a superior tone), thinking that, please, no child of mine writes on the walls! And now God is punishing me for my condescension. Yes, He is.) Tonight, they spread brown rice on the carpet. Isn't that some kind of torture in Southeast Asian countries? Being forced to kneel on rice? Are they setting traps for me??

Margaret has these fierce little bouts of foot stamping when she doesn't get her way. She kind of reminds me of one of my sisters. I'm not sure I should say which one... You really only have to say, "Margaret! You need to share." And as soon as she hears that SH... she yells, "NO!" and stamps her foot. And then I take away the (harmonica, Goldfish crackers, Dora ball, cell phone, Dole fruit cup) and she falls to pieces, burying her head in the couch cushion and crying. "It stinks not to have everything your way," I sadly agree.

Lucy says, "Poor Margaret. You have to share."

Josephine grins. Then points, and occasionally will bring Margaret a pacifier.

In other news, tomorrow is Halloween!

David carved a Dick Cheney pumpkin!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

One skunk, one bride, one blogger

Information overload! Too busy to blog, too scattered to remember what I want to write about... and who suffers? Not me. I have chocolate on my desk. You? Probably not that, either.

1) We went to Boo at the Zoo on Thursday night with some friends. Lucy surprised all by deciding not to be a princess, instead preferring to be a skunk. (I said nothing!) Josephinie was a kitty cat; Margaret was a dog. But it sounds nicer to say puppy. She was a big hit, either way. Total strangers said things like, "Look at that cutie-pie!" The dog costume has a whole lot of padding in the tushie and I think people like fat squishy things. (This is my personal theory and I am sticking to it. Fat babies, fat puppies, fat pillows, fat slices of pizza, etc. I know I am right.) Funniest thing we saw: A sign in the farm that said, "The donkeys are scared of your costumes. Please exit here."

Do I have pictures? No.

2) Then a whole bunch of old friends came to town on Friday, and I couldn't have been happier to see them (especially since I was weaseling out of a ticket when they first arrived. Thank God! Alex, tell the officer I'm not a bad person) These are people who I go waaay back with, pre-children, pre-husband, pre-any sense in my head. The way it is now, I mostly pretend to be a non-judgmental, not-so-bossy, mostly sensible kind of gal. But they all know me well enough to just such things as, "Just tell us where we're going to dinner."

Do I have pictures? No.

3) The wedding of the new century! It was absolutely luffly. The bride was stunning. The mini-beef Wellingtons were delicious. And the setting? We were overlooking Barack Obama's new house! Inspiring. And then the d.j. played Sweet Caroline! What more could you ask for? Oh, I know, another piece of cake, please. This time, chocolate. Thank you! (Wait! Oh no, we can't leave now. They're playing Journey!!) I'm hoping I did not embarrass myself when I screamed, "You Catholic girls wait much too late!"

Do I have pictures? I don't! I am a lousy blogger! I'm hoping maybe somebody will send me some and then I'll post more...

Friday, October 24, 2008


#3: We do not write with toothpaste on the wall! Thank you.

Two things I've said today

1) We don't stick crayons up our nose!
2) We don't touch poop! No, no, no, we don't!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Millenials: Listen to me

I spent much of yesterday afternoon at a local university, talking to would-be interns for my office. Almost all were delightful! Plus, they catered pattypan squash and baby zukes with artichoke dip...

Some advice for the job seekers:

1) I love your sequin scarf! I really do. And I think the nose stud is... inevitable. But your exposed belly? Honey, it was 41 degrees this morning. Now I think you don't have any sense.

2) While we're talking about clothes -- I can't wait to tell my husband that I met a boy with a 28-inch waist and a 34-inch inseam. He will be jealous, I know it! (Not because, I hope, he wants to meet a boy with a 28-inch waist...) Wait a second! How do I know your waist measurement?? Hm. New pants, huh?

3) Finally, you -- the volunteer EMT -- you're creeping me out with your rapid, loud insistence that the job is "so much fun." And interesting? I ask. "Oh yeah, and really fun," you say. "Probably very rewarding too," I hint helpfully. "Yeah, it was just really fun," you repeat. Okay, really? Because when I call you because my beloved is dazed and bleeding, I don't want you to show up and say, "Wow! What a fun call!" But I'm such a downer that way.

4) Shake hands firmly. If your hands are sweaty, go wipe them on a cocktail napkin over there by the artichoke dip. (I'll let you in!) Don't give me that creepy fish handshake. I hate that!

5) When you say you're Greek, I think about hummus. Not Alpha Zeta whatever. And then, when I figure it out, I'm not nearly as excited as I was when I thought you might bring tabouli to the spring potluck.

6) If you eat all the artichoke dip, I'm not giving you nuthin either.

Friday, October 17, 2008

While we were gone...

The other day, Lucy said to me, "While you were away, Gigi was very very nice. She gave me strawberry milk whenever I wanted it." Pause. "That was very very nice."

"I'm sure it was," I said.

"Yes. It was. Very, very nice," she wistfully agreed.

With that, I began to sense that our trip was more sweet than sour for the girlies. Then, this morning, Gigi herself, also known as Ma, called. "I forgot to tell you! I know what the girls really really like to eat!"

"What's that?"

"Pound cake! You cut it into cubes and top each cube with a squirt of whipped cream. Just pop it into their mouths! They love it!"

"I'm sure they do!"

"Yes! They do. They really really do," she agreed.

In the meantime, Josephine has broken another cell phone! She threw mine on the floor last night in a fit of pique. "Harooo? Harroo?" "Goddamnit! Nobody's there! Stupid useless phone. Eh. Give me those scissors instead please."

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Barcelona was lovely.

The highlights:

A "hopeful" cod (English menu translation) swimming in ink. ("Please! Come rescue me! I can not see my fate through this squid's pee! Are you heeeee....") One plate of buttery garlic cockles, served at a cramped bar with a bottle of vino rioja. (Says David, glumly: "I know something is really good when you forget to share it...") One plate of pulpo and fried papas, i.e. octopus and potatoes.

And a fabulous dinner, start to finish, of things I could not possibly describe because I was pretending to speak Spanish to the waitress and didn't understand a single word. A tiny glass with an anchovy anchor, a layer of pear paste, and a sea of frothy cream? A slice of corazon with blah-blah, blah-blah? (I nod, as if to say, "Of course! Delightful!" David pauses. "Um, corazon? Like heart?" The waitress nods and says, "Is... uh? Goat cheese??" Hm.)

We took an elevator to the top of La Sagrada Familia, Antoni Gaudi's great unfinished cathedral, and walked down through sickening spiral staircases, in front of a Spanish family. For 400 feet and fifteen minutes, all I heard was, "Fernando! Aie! Fernaaaando!" I told David, "Never would we take our girls up here." Lucy would insist that she be carried the whole way (crying) and the babies would gambol away. (Did I use that word right? It sounds right.)

One day, in Montserrat, I rode in a cable car! Eeeeeee!

Every other store is a chocolate store, a shoe store, or a women's underwear store. The first two were incredible. The third? Eh. Really? That much? For something my friends at work can't see??

The markets! Eight kinds of clams, still waving their wet feet in the air. ("Save me! Save me!") Next to big bloody fish, their skin stripped back and eyes glistening. Next to a school of gaping sardines. Next to a long row of beautiful cheese! David and I bought some Manchego and a crumbly fresca, and then a leg of dried salami and a bunch of pears, to picnic at Parc Guell.

Of course, I missed the girlies. (Need it be said?) I ducked into every Imaginarium in the city... But it also was nice to travel exclusively in the company of adults. Don't people say the test of a relationship is travel? Hm. I would say my honey and I do okay. First, he lets me pick all the restaurants. Second, I don't particularly mind trekking around neighborhoods and ogling such thing as "bicycle lanes." (He does drive me crazy with picture after picture of intersections!!)

Here, my kind of photo essay instead:

Monday, October 6, 2008

Hasta la vista!

We're off to Barcelona! All three girls have been left in the capable hands of Gigi and Poppa, which means there will be lots of meatballs, fried rice, and hair-combing for them and lots of tiny sausages and fashionable shoes for us. (Well, me.)
See you in a week!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Gifted. For sure.

Back before the babies were born, in the days of specialists and death threats, there was one particularly bad day that still stands out. I had gone up to Baltimore early in the week for the usual battery of Doppler forecasts, which always pointed to some kind of Category 4 hurricane churning in my belly. And then, I went to see the pediatric cardiologist at Georgetown, who did his own measurements.

I came to like and respect both of these doctors very much. (And I'm pretty nuts about doctors. And schools. My two pet peeves.) But the latter, the cardiologist with awesome toys and Vineyard Vines ties, had some not-great news. One of the babies, he said, wasn't getting enough blood to her brain. Well, what the hell does that mean?? Eh, I'm not a brain specialist, he said sadly.

Quick: On to the phone with Baltimore. Where Dr. B. said confidently, "Absolutely not!" The blood flow was fine, he insisted. And he added, a little snarkily, "It's very difficult to get accurate measurements." Between the two of them, we never really got a straight answer. But, of course, we were able to imagine (say, at 4 a.m.) just exactly what it meant: One of the babies would have brain damage.

So, now they're here, and they're what.. 19 months old? Good grief. And the thing is, I can't remember anymore who was supposed to have brain damage. It could have been Josephine, since she was pretty much deprived of everything, but it also could have been Margaret, since she did have more significant heart issues.

Anyway, of course I have been watching them closely for any sign of stupidity. And it has been somewhat troubling that Josephine refuses to speak. While Margaret chatters on and on and on -- Coooo-KEY? And sings her ba-ba song: BaaaBA! Babababa! And her Mommy songs... Josephine does not. The other day, David said to Josephine: "Josie, say something!"

And she stuck out her tongue.

So, she does understand... yes.

But then, last night, at 3:10 a.m., I heard a loooong wail. The sound of a baby with a wet diaper. I opened the door, Josephine popped up and said, as clear as day (which it most definitely wasn't): MOMMMMMY!

She speaks!

And Margaret... well, yesterday, David caught her talking to her reflection in the chrome garbage can. She popped her pacifier out of her mouth, offered it to the funny Margaret in the mirror, and said, "COO-Key??"