free hit counter Snacks, please!: March 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

More on dinner

Did I give you the idea that dinner here is an uncivilized affair?

Not so!

Yes, those are Brussels sprouts on her Easter bunny melamine tray. And no, she did not eat them. Note the strawberry milk, close to hand always.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Please pass the cold comedy

Dinner conversation at our house:

Lucy belches over our cracker-encrusted cod and giggles.

"My burp," Margaret announces.

Lucy's head whips up. "No! My burp!" she corrects.

"No, my burp," Margaret cheerfully disagrees.

"NO! My burp!" Lucy insists, a little outraged.

"NO! MY BURP!" Margaret shouts.

"Noooooo! MY BURP!" Lucy cries.

"No. No. My. Burp." Margaret crows.

"MYYYY BURRRP, MargaRET!" Lucy screeches, tears forming.

"MYYYY BURRRRRRRP!" Margaret yells back.

"Mommmmy!" Lucy wails.

"Lulu! Why do you listen to her? She's 2 years old and she's crazy!"

"Weeeelll," she sniffs.

Recovering, Lucy shouts back, "You are not invited to my birthday party!"

Sunday, March 22, 2009

My Cup, It Overflows

You will not believe how big my breasts are. Seriously.

For months (maybe years??) Auntie Pamela has been telling me about this place in NoVa where you can get properly fitted for a bra. Not Nordstroms. (Although I do love that place...) For some reason (oh, I know! maybe Pamela's peripatetic story-telling skillz??) I thought it was some kind of home business run by elderly Russian women who decorate with scented silk flowers.

Not true!! In reality, there was one Russian with supermodel bangs and a handful of lavender sachets, but there was also a fair number of Free People nighties and $115 hand-embroidered bras that screamed, "I do not work for a living!!!" I saw a pair of suede UGGs under the fitting-room curtain and heard their owner tell a staff member, "I'll take this one and that one...and that one too. My boyfriend is over there. He's paying."

So, into the closet I go, wearing my 36B Lands End, beige soft cup bra. This is basically the same size I have been wearing for 20 years, with the exception of those years when the fried potato harvest was exceptionally good -- and then I wore a 38. A perky brunette in a tight white T and molded cup takes out her tape measure. Zip, zip.

Thirty-four, she says.

Really?! Hm. That seems rather... slim! But who am I to argue with the tape measure? Let's start with a 34C, she says. A C? Really? That seems rather...biggish. But good. A 34C sounds very healthy. It sounds like something that you might plunk down $5,000 for, saying, "Just a little more."

She returns with a plain beige number. (Something about me must scream, "No lace!!") Trying it on, I see piles of soft-serve ice cream in molded cups. How delicious! Head shaking, the white T says, "Let's go up to D." D?? As in Dolly?? That's not somebody who should be running four miles on Sunday in a 10-year-old Champion from Target. At this point, Pamela shouts through the curtain, "Got a size yet??" "Nooo, not yet," I answer.

"Three babies!" Pamela shouts cheerfully.

It must be said that Pamela's own bra size falls somewhere in that part of the alphabet where you can't quite remember which letter comes first.

The D is too small. Too. Small.

So, here it is: I thought I was a 36B. I really am a 34DD.

My back hurts already.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Odds and ends

There is a new sign on the wall outside of Lucy's class that says, "I am ANGRY when my little sisters don't be nice to me!"

Josephine says, "Puzzle me, Mommy!"

And Margaret...

Margaret has gone to the doctor three times in the past week for a mysterious rash that, of course, completely disappeared the morning of her appointment with the highly coveted specialist. "You could have canceled this appointment," he noted. Really? And miss this conversation?

On her own, without her side-kicks, Margaret is a timid little bunny. She clings to my side in the doctor's waiting room, her hair tucked under my chin. She observes other people with wide eyes. It's hard to believe she's the same girl who steals Lucy's wind-up mouse and then sticks out her belly and bellows, "Noooo!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

A night's sleep for my kingdom, please


From 1 to 4 a.m., she was awake every 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 5 minutes, standing in the corner of her crib, closest to the door, wailing, "Moooommmmy!" Alarming Josephine, who just wants to sleep for the love of GOD, and waking Lucy, who would pitifully cry, "She won't let me sleeeeep!"

And there was nothing wrong with her. Her diaper was changed. Her jammies were comfy. If this was the first time, maybe I'd cut her some slack -- but Miss Margaret has gotten into the habit recently of demanding an awful lot of non-specific night-time parenting. We put her in our bed. She lay there awake for an hour, kicking; we put her back in her crib, she shrieked. Josie cried. Lucy moaned. Finally, we took out the Pack-n-Play, put her in the family room -- she slept for a half-hour, then completely lost her head, somehow climbed out of the crib, which is taller than she, and delivered herself in a sobbing heap of blobby snot and curly hair outside our door.

And then she slept for the last two hours of the night.

But, of course, I did not.

On the lighter side, or not, if you count calories, I made clam chowder for dinner last night. Lucy stirred it a little and then said, "I can't find the chicken!" David peered over and said, "Well it's right there!" So she tried again, taking a spoonful to her lips and then exclaiming, "Oh yes! It's bubble gum chicken!"

Monday, March 9, 2009

The king's men didn't understand either...

For bedtime reading, the girls and I sat down to The Little Engine That Could. A classic! "Wha's that?" asks Margaret, pointing to one of the sad little toys intended for the good girls and boys on the other side of the mountain.

"That's Humpty-Dumpty," I say.

"Wha's that?" Josie asks and points.

"That's Humpty-Dumpty," I repeat.

"Wha's that?" Margaret asks again.


"Wha's that?" Josie repeats.

"That's Humpty-Dumpty, the EGG MAN!"


Put back the pudding!!

Safeway Stores, Inc.
Arlington, VA

March 9, 2009

Dear Ms. Fxxxxxx:

This letter should serve as formal notice that you have violated Safeway Stores, Inc., Customer Covenant Section XI, Children in Store(s), No. 3B, a nationwide store policy that restricts each adult (female) shopper to no more than two (2) children under the age of 5. (For obvious reasons, each adult male shopper may be accompanied by no more than one small child.)

Store manager #347 has reported that you have entered Safeway Stores, Inc., on at least six (6) occasions with three (3) small children. Surveillance cameras show these small children attempting to evacuate the shelves of all ice cream cones and Mylar ballons, and clinging to the sides of your grocery cart like giggling bats in a candy cave.

These policies exist for the safety of our youngest customers, and also to ensure a comfortable shopping experience for our older customers. When a fellow shopper approaches you to say, "Oh, my name is Margaret too!" you should wonder why she knows your child is named Margaret. Everybody in the store knows your child is named Margaret!! This Margaret should not be allowed into the dairy section.

Other things we all know:
Lucy waaaaants snow crabs!
The children do not, do not, do not like squash!
Your personal consumption is wine is really very moderate, all things considered.

We do appreciate your patronage. We do believe that your family is single-handedly propping up the strawberry syrup industry in America. We do understand that you spend roughly $1,000 a month in our store. (We would advise you to consider what you can do with beans.) But we must regretfully tell you that you will not be allowed admittance to Safeway Stores, Inc., with three (3) children again.


Mr. Crabs
Safeway Stores, Inc.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

aaaah! And what about our service project??!

Before I had three children and lost my mind, I used to read those stories about crazy Manhattan mothers, desperate to get their babies into the "right" preschool and laugh uproariously. Like this: hahahahaha -- go get a latte, Gwyneth! But now, it appears as if the laugh is on me, because gaddammit Josephine and Margaret are numbers 32 and 33, respectively, on the waiting list for the two open slots at the Methodist preschool.

Oh, you Methodists... you think you're so great since you don't have Hell. (Ah, but you do! And it's this goddamn waiting list!!)

So, let's review: Two years ago, we tried to get Lucy into the crazy Montessori school. When they rejected us, we opted for the Baptists instead, where Lucy's teacher wraps neat tissue-paper dresses on the naked Barbies that our long-haired heathen brings for show-and-tell on Fridays.

But it's an all-day program and, let's face it, these babies are crazy. So we ventured reluctantly into the world of half-day programs and parent co-ops. There are many such programs in Arlington, where it seems many many MANY mothers have been researching the options since pregnancy. And they all know each other. And they all knit during gymnastics. And they all have sons named Eamon, girls named Emma. Oh, and what else? Naturally thin, of course.

Sooo, first I can rule out the preschools where there is no "random lottery," where instead they tell you to come visit, meet the "parent board," and then "assignments will be made." (Good use of passive tense...) This all seems way too much like picking kids for dodge ball and I NEVER GOT PICKED FIRST.

My first choice appears to be the Unitarian preschool. I believe I have mentioned by love-from-a-distance for the Unitarians. Help the homeless! Learn to contra dance! This particular school would require an awful lot of MY time, what with the volunteer hours required for three children, plus the "parent education" demands, not to mention the rotating snack-making requirements...

Oh! They're having an open house!! All five of us will attend. Aha. First dilemma: Should I wear my super-cool purple and pink suede coat. (I am serious. It is awesome.) On the one hand, I might appear to be a hip mama. (I know, I know, it's supposed to be a "random lottery," but do we really believe that??? It's not like Unitarians have Hell if they're lying...) On the other, I suspect the Unitarians are all about "animal rights," whatever those are, and maybe somebody will throw paint on me. There is an awful lot of paint in preschool classrooms.

Ah well, it's raining. Question answered. Now... Be friendly. Even to the naturally thin mothers who represent your competition for the very few open positions. Be inquisitive. But not too inquisitive! Control tendencies to ask critical questions about qualifications of teaching staff. Be supportive. Say things like, "Oh! I love what you've done with the learning centers!!"

Leave this can never possibly happen. There are 200 people there! For like five open slots! And Margaret touched all the doughnuts!!!

Go back for a "classroom visit" because you want to show your interest. Understand that it is a "random lottery," yes, yes, yes, but still, you are very interested. Really. Seriously. And you make awesome snacks. For teachers too! Oh yes. (You're qualified, right? Aaaaah! I didn't meant that!)

So, where are we??

Well, well, well. We got our letter from the Unitarians yesterday and Margaret is Number TWO on the waiting list. Point proved again, Margaret is a lucky baby -- and she has been since conception. Josephine is number... like 62? And Lucy is somewhere in between. Of course, if Margaret gets in, then Josie and Lucy pop to the top of their respective waiting lists.

Could they actually get in?? Who knows?! In the meantime, the babies remain on the waiting list at Lucy's school. There are no guarantees about their admittance there, but chances are good. One big difference: If they all go to Lucy's school, we will no longer have an au pair. If they go to the Unitarians, we will need to hire a third because our lovely Julia intends to abandon us in August for her cutie-pie boyfriend and a university program in education. Sad, sad, sad.

She says to me, "But what will you do if they get in nowhere?"

Oh my. Start working on college apps, I think.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Springing ahead!!

We've been sledding a couple of time this week and ohhhhh, I do love a good sledding. So does Lucy. Zip, zip! ("Margaret, do you want to go sledding too?" "Noooooo." "Do you want to go home?" [Pitiful sniff.] "Yeeesshhhh.") But, even as the ice still clings to our front steps (oh, Milkman, please be careful!!) I think winter is over.

Spring is coming.

And next thing you know?? Summer!!!

Please note the 1950s quality of my home movies...

the city of brotherly love

We went to Philadelphia this past weekend to visit the Please Touch museum. (This is for children!!) Had lots and lots of fun, saw our friend Kathryn and her little Dude, who is not nearly as crazy as she makes him out to be, went swimming at the hotel, which we shared with a conference of lactation consultants... and ate cheese steak! And South Philly spaghetti! (okay, okay, I ate the veal too -- but I'm not talking about it! It's a native hunt, I tell you!)

Some things to consider:

Why doesn't DC have a great children's museum? Are we a second-tier city? Aha! But our museums are free -- not $15 frickin dollars for each 2-year-old, which means nobody better cry, because we're damn well staying until nap time.

The Liberty Bell is pretty small.

Lucy is the funniest. She says, and this has nothing to do with Philadelphia, "Do not laugh at Josephine. It makes her bad." Also, why does she appear to know the entire plot of The Little Mermaid, including how Ariel has to approach Ursula, who is like a person except she's sorta purple, to get her voice back and also, "If you become a mermaid, they take away your clothes, except for your underwear..." and she's never seen this movie??

(Underwear. Maybe undies. But never panties, thankyouverymuch.)

Anyway, some shots from the museum:

The babies and Lucy prepare for careers in the Army Corps of Engineers.

Lucy the Clown!

Margaret takes the wheel.

Josephine rides the carousel.

(She looks sweet, doesn't she? You should see the bite mark on Margaret's arm!! Do not be fooled.)