free hit counter Snacks, please!: April 2009

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Preschool Dilemma

Anybody remember what I said at the beginning of this scavenger treasure hunt? When it comes to preschool next year, I said, with lots of emphasis and meaningful looks, the most important thing is that all three girls go to school in one place. You know, to make it easier on moi.

And what have we achieved???

Hm. Not that.

We've committed our youngest to the Unitarians. I simply can't resist the lure of the contra dance. Plus, I feel like, with their total disregard for authority and fondness for hummus, they'll fit right in. Plus, in all seriousness, it's a half-day program, twice a week. Our other option -- Lucy's current school -- would be four full days. I think that might be a hard transition for the undisciplined.

But what about Lucylu?? So far, there's no spot for her with the godless. I did check out the special ed class at the local elementary school. The teacher? One of those incredible people who perform motorcycle tricks in steel cages at top speeds. But Lucy would be the oldest kid in the class, and the most able, and I'm not sure that'd be so great for her. And, you know, she really does like her current school. Today, ballet. Yesterday, bean seeds and recycling containers. Maybe she should just stay there... there are, after all, naughty boys everywhere.

So we'll need to hire another au pair, which is potentially a good thing. (I have U2 tickets for September! We need a babysitter!) Reading the listings of available gals is a little like reading one of those high-end travel magazine. You think, ohhhh, that would be nice... This one is president of her student council! And this other one has a horse! David says we've "gotten good" at picking au pairs, because our current is so lovely, but he is delusional.

It's just luck, I think.

Speaking of David, I bought his birthday present today!


Two David Sedaris tix!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Playing favorites

The problem with getting too busy to post is when I actually do have time to sit down and write -- I've got too much to report! Let's see... the past week or so? Gigi and Poppa came to visit, I flew off to Little Rock, we took a mini-vacation to West Virginia...

First things first, tonight Lucy and I read one of those old Richard Scarry books about the animal people who do all sorts of gender-typical things -- i.e., the mommy Cat sets her house on fire, ironing the Daddy's shirt, and then all the other guys come to save them. "Save my Huckle!" Mommy screams. (At the end, they show poor Daddy's ruined shirt. Lucy observes it gravely and says, "That is not good.") Anyway, they have to call the fire department with a fire box, which we used to have in our old neighborhood in East Hartford.

That's before phones, I explain.

"Why?" Lucy says.

A long time ago, I explain, people didn't have phones in their houses, so they'd have to run outside to the fire box to call the fire department. She thinks about this and then says, "How did they play with each other?" Ah, the play dates! "They'd go over to their friend's house and knock on the door and say, 'Can you come out and play?'" She thinks more about this...and frankly, it's just beyond comprehension. "What would you do in you didn't have a phone?" I ask.

"Call them on the computer."

Then this, "Daddy is my favorite favorite person in the world." That's nice, I say. "Actually..." she pauses. "My favorite person is..." (Me! Me! Pick me!) "Julia," she concludes. Our lovely au pair. "Well, that's nice too." She looks at me and says, "I do like to play with you, Mommy. And help you." Umhm. "I wonder if I'll ever be your favorite person," I say sadly. She nods, "Yes. Maybe if you're more like Julia." "And how is that exactly?"

"If you have long fingernails and paint them."

In Little Rock, I missed my turn and ended up checking the map in the parking lot of "Live Free" bail bondsmen. I missed the Clinton library too, but did meet a young man who wore red lip gloss on his eyelids with red glitter smooshed into it. "Does that wash off?" I asked. "Noooo!" he said proudly. "Sometimes that would be a good idea," I said. The visitor's center at Little Rock Central is well worth visiting -- the archival video footage, wow!

Josephine goes on the potty! Margaret does not!

Preschool: Sigh. I'm visiting a special ed preschool classroom for Lucy tomorrow. No, she's not special ed. (Although there's nothing wrong with that!) In our district, the elementary schools offer preschool to special ed students, but the classrooms also have a handful of slots for "peer pals" who can model appropriate behavior... A good idea?? I'd like to see how it works.

The Unitarians remain elusive. This is because they don't have Hell, I guess.

West Virginia! I need to get pictures from my friend Stephanie, who joined us with her two kiddos. The highlights: Toads! Deer! Dirt! The lowlights: Long beef ribs? Eh. Not as good as the pig, in my opinion.

So, in case anybody is counting, and I certainly am, that's two new states that I've slept in! That leaves 15. Or 16, if you count Kansas. (haha! always making fun of the poor people without coasts, I know...) David claims I've picked off the low-hanging fruit, but that's not true as Delaware is extremely low and I still haven't slept there. I did spend the day at Rehoboth Beach in 1992, but it has to be an overnight visit to count. Them's are the rules and I didn't make them up. Actually, I did, but you have to have some kind of standard.

Okay, look forward to more cogency in the future!

Your favorite, ME.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Isn't that my line??

I have become a great admirer of Margaret's conversational style. It seems designed to make her companions feel acknowledged, listened to. At the same time, she gets a whole lot of information with just a few key questions, and the tone! It's perfect. You might walk away thinking, "Wait a second, did she just say no??" but, at the time, it seemed that everything was so agreeable.

Let's see...

Birds fly outside the dining room window, carrying twigs to a little nest on our roof where they will train their young to poop on our children. (I had a wee bit of enchilada sauce on my shirt yesterday and Margaret pointed to it and said, "Birdie." "Birdie?" "Birdie poop," she explained.)

"Look Margaret! It's a bird!"

"A birdie?"

"Yes, and it has a stick!"

"A stick?"

"I think it's building a nest."

"A nest."

"Shall we go look?"


Or this:

"Margaret, can you help me clean up?"

"Clean up?"

"Yes, Margaret, can you help me clean up?"


"Yes, Margaret, can you help me clean up??"


Anyway, I am pretty sure that Margaret has secretly enrolled in some kind of middle management training seminar. But when?? Where?? The only class that I endorsed was Artsydoodles, which as described in the county's parks and rec catalog, seemed to have little to do with the art of evasion. Where are my framed tissue-paper collages that she can rip off the walls in a fit of artistic dissatisfaction?? (Oh yes, she did, and I'm going to keep it and put it back up there with a little title/artist card that says, "The Artist's Naughty Period.")

"Margaret, will you come to staff meetings with me?"


Wednesday, April 15, 2009


The evidence mounts.

These children really really are naughty! And I hear you sighing, you know who you are, saying, oh no, Mary Ellen, they're just a little mischievous! Ha. Sometimes, yes. High spirits! Other times, like when they look me right in the eye, with pineapple rice clutched in their little fists and I say (firmly!), "Do not throw that on the floor, Margaret!" and then she laughs LAUGHS AT ME and throws it gleefully on the hard wood, which used to look so shiny, but let me tell you ranch dressing is no Murphy's Oil, and well, that's a little beyond King of the Leprechauns, isn't it?

Above? Purple princess lip gloss on yellow hallway wall!

And the remorselessness... My God, they have no conscience.

To wit, please see resemblance:

Same hair!!

Friday, April 10, 2009


Been a little stingy with the pictures lately.
Here's a few to make up:

Birthday party, birthday party!! I should have put this one up a while ago...but I've been sort of pretending that the girls were still 1 so that I didn't have to pay for their tix to the circus this week. Technically, if the girls had been delivered when originally promised by the manufacturer, they would be just 2 this week. So it's not really cheating. And it's not really bad for the animals either. Really!! They love their life of captivity.

We've been reading a lot about the gnomes and fairies, like I've said before. But here she is! Queen of the Fairies!

I think our snowy days are over...Which is fine with the Popsicle Twins.

Lucy liked the snow tho. Sledding helped.

Okay, this is not a particularly flattering picture of me at story time. But, if you glance quick and squint maybe a little, it's not actually me! It looks very much like somebody else, related to me... I'll give a kiss to whoever gets is. (I'm making it small to help with the illusion.)

So we decided it was time for David to cut the girls' hair. Lucy went first. She is so brave! But David, who can not be trusted, used the nail scissors! (Because he could not find his proper shears, an obstacle that might have led another person (like Lucy's mother) to say, "Let's wait.") Thankfully, after a quick trip to Target for a new pair, everything looked very trim and cute.

See here: Before and after!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

promises, promises

I am preparing a contract for Lucy's signature. It says, "I, Lucy, promise to go on an African safari with my mother when I am 16. I do not want a car." Seriously. I'm going to put it in a box somewhere and then wave it around when she's 16. Maybe I will write an addendum, "Also, I promise, of my own free will and consent, to listen to my mother when I am a teenager."

Seriously, I told her last night that we should go to Africa and she said, "OF COURSE!" she wants to come too. She wants to go when she is 9 and the babies are 7, but that's crazy talk. I think 16 and 14 will give me much more time to save my coupon money, plus maybe they won't cry hysterically at the immunizations. I said, "You won't decide you want a car instead?"

She paused.

"No, I will want an airplane," she decided.

Meanwhile, the twins of mischief went into the kitchen and filled my mini-muffin pan with tasty mounds of Morton's salt. And then they pulled all of Lucy's undies out of her drawer. And then they dragged the hallway runners into the bathroom. And then... wait a second, I do watch them! Yes I do!! And I resent your accusations. You try keeping track of small children with the apparent ability to invisibilate. (I just made that word up, but feel free to disseminate at will. No contracts are binding.)

Status updates:

Cell phone: Still working!!
Cakes: Country pear was too dry.
Work: Seriously?
Books: Eh. The new Wally Lamb was too-too.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Tell me about it, kid

Tonight Lucy and I were reading the Gnomes book (much friendlier than the Faeries) and learning about Gnome marriage customs. First they get married under the trees, sometimes a bunny comes to watch, and then they have a party back at the house.

"Not everybody can go to that!" Lucy says indignantly. "Some people have children! They need to go home and take care of them."

Ain't that the truth, kiddo.

PS -- Last night, it was pink Dora toothpaste, spread across the bathroom by the twins of mischief. Tonight? Sour cream!! Argh.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Odds and ends (again)

Really I admire those of you who still read this blog... I know it stinks! I have excuses aplenty, trust me. But eh, those aren't any more interesting than my recipe for stout-braised short ribs.

What? You want to see it?? Trust me, it was a big hit at a wee dinner party we threw in March for a friend moving awaaaaay (and the gay neighbor who never invites us to his pool parties, but taunts us with airborne shouts of water glee. Now I've fed him Italian cookies and short ribs, and expect an invite pronto.) My advice: Serve with colcannon and Guinness, and do it before summer arrives.

Another hit, another night: Carrot cake with Bailey's icing.

Enough of that, you say. What's new with the kiddos?

Josephine is so skinny that she's taken to wearing her stretchy headbands around her waist as belts. I am unconcerned. She also ends every sentence with the word ME, as in, "Mommy, puzzle me!" Margaret is returning to the cardiologist on Friday. No worries!! Earlier tonight, she and Josephine spread pink Dora toothpaste across the bathroom door... I'm not sure whose idea it was, but Margaret was very upset when David yelled at her. Josephine was unruffled.

Speaking of David, his recurring Mafia nightmare has returned -- the one where he's driving around with Christopher Moltisanti, explaining how he really really would like get out of the business, no offense, okay? and Christopher says, "You can never get out." (Fairly certain this must be related to some kind of work anxiety -- and not our marriage. Mwahahaha!)

And speaking of work, I was reading the Faeries book to Lucy last night. Some of it I've quite familiar with, of course -- like the never eat at a Fairy party, no matter how good it looks!!, or you'll be trapped forever and ever and ever in the Fairy Kingdom. (Lucy says: "You should just say, 'No, thank you.' And then you can go home and eat later.") But I wasn't familiar with the Fairy rings, where they do their crazy dances. Very dangerous! If you accidentally fall in, you'll start dancing and dancing and dancing, and you might think you're dancing for just a few minutes, but actually years of your life are passing by!!!

What I'm saying is, this better not be me.

Lucy is putting a sock under her bed to keep away the naughty fairies.

Hmm. So what else?

Oh my God!! I got U2 tickets!! Thanks to my friend Kathryn, who, it must be said, is actually a bigger fan than me and belongs to some Secret Wives of Bono Club where you get access to pre-sale tickets.. I've got two to the show in September. Aiee!!! I wonder if I can find an old Joshua Tree tour t-shirt and wear it... You know, to make sure everybody knows how old I am. Aieee! Bono!!

(I did one of those Facebook quizzes a while back -- which U2 member are you? And I got Larry Mullins, Jr. Ugh. Proof that these quizzes actually can't see into your soul, where I can assure you, I am totally the Edge, thankyouverymuch. Although that Larry Mullins is a cutie, isn't he??)

Other updates:
Preschool: Two in, one still waiting.
Cell phone: Recently replaced.
Rats: Don't ask.
Running: So-so.
Reading: Excellent! Must tell more later.