Archive for the ‘family’ Category

I can feel you watching me, hear the stifled giggle, and am fully aware of just how pathetic you think I am that I get this thrill from leaving my house in the evening to go by myself to a coffee shop to write on a laptop for an hour or two… Pretty exciting, right?

How do you like this, then: When I see a little toddler run by, I kind of miss my kids already, who are sprinting, wildly laughing, around their father’s legs in the kitchen while he tries to make them dinner.

(Don’t miss them enough to leave yet, though.)


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Trying to get my kids to pick up their toys and put them in the basket usually involves various manipulations: “How many can you put away in the time I count to ten?!” “Who can put the books away the fastest?” and, the unfortunate, “I swear, I will throw all of these out in five seconds if you don’t put them away–here I am going to get a trash bag! Seriously, here I go! I’ll do it!”

But when they saw me scrubbing the kitchen molding with a toothbrush, you would have thought that I was eating fistfuls of jellybeans. “Please, me do that?!” “Mine, mine?” and “Can I help? Can I have a toothbrush? Can I do this part, too? Look at how clean I got this!” And the next day: “Can we clean with toothbrushes again?! Please?!”

Damn right you can…but do you know how weird you guys are?

And two little vacuum cleaners have whipped these children into a daily cleaning frenzy. The dog doesn’t even have time to coat the kitchen floor with fur since these guys have started their vacuuming obsession.

Not that I don’t love this…but I still think they’re weird.



Although…not really. It’s remarkable how sometimes I see something as a chore while they see an interesting task–pulling weeds, washing the car, picking up sticks from the lawn… I’m really buying into the “practical life” part of the Montessori school that Martin will go to next year after watching them.

I vaguely remember thinking how cute the flashing-light-colorful-plastic toys were when Martin was a baby until he showed me that they might interest him for a minute, but a shovel and some dirt, some soapy water–or a vacuum cleaner–is where it’s at.

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Quirks? What Quirks?

You pegged us, bluemilk–we’ve got quirks. Thanks for tagging me for this meme. I should be writing down my kids’ quirks all the time–I think I’ll never forget this stuff, but then I do…

Right now, our quirkiness includes…

1. Chris says “crocogator” for crocodile and for alligator. Crocodiles are discussed ad nauseum in our house, and never once have I heard him say anything but crocogator. I use the word myself without thinking sometimes…

2. The reason we talk about crocodiles so much is that Martin fancies himself a “creature adventurer.” Every day, he dresses himself in “creature-adventuring” gear; he’ll change to everyday clothes before we go somewhere, and as soon as we come in the back door, he steps into the bathroom to quick-change back to creature-adventurer. A creature-adventuring outfit includes animal-themed shorts and shirts, a giant backpack, creature-adventuring sandals, and often, flippers and a diving mask. Flashlights, sunglasses, nets, a raincoat, and/or head lamps often complete the look.


*Creature-adventure is a term coined by his creature-adventuring heroes–Martin and Chris Kratt of PBS’s Zooboomafoo and their Be the Creature DVD. And I guess this is an insight into one of my quirks–I have either named my children after Martin and Chris Kratt, or I have commandeered their names for my kids’ blog-names…you decide…

3. Martin vehemently refuses balloons whenever one if offered–then explains that he’s concerned an animal will eat it and choke.

4. Martin’s animal obsession and Chris’ car obsession clash when we’re in the car; Chris yells, “Go cars!” at the passing vehicles, but then Martin yells, “Go animals!” and glares at Chris. An increasingly hostile shouting match breaks out: “Go CARS!” “Go ANIMALS!” They usually wear themselves out; I’m still too dumbfounded by how weird this is to intervene.

5. They both want to wear their boots all the time. All the time. Shorts, t-shirts…and boots. Pajamas…and boots. 90 degrees out? Boots.

6. Martin considers poachers to be responsible for all of the evil in this world. If he sees a truck go by filled with logs–poachers are killing trees. A plastic bottle floating in the pond means that poachers have been littering…

I love hearing about kids’ quirks. I’m going to ask….Radical Mama, Up Popped a Fox, and not that I don’t love my kids…if they’d care to do this. I hope so, because I know we’ll enjoy more stories about hairy butts, cake-salad, and swearing three year olds…(you know who you are!).

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I was quite sick this morning. So as I am literally getting sick, this is what I hear:

“Mom, can I have some grapes now?”

“Mom? Grapes? Me, too!” I feel a tug on my shirt. A more insistent tug.

Then the computer keys start getting pounded.

Then I hear papers ripping.

I’m helpless–but only for seconds. They seem to know I am helpless. More papers rip. More fervent computer keyboard pounding.

Then they’re both behind me, doing something to the back of my pants. What the hell are they doing? I hear: “Tail! Tail!” They scamper away.

They’ve accomplished so much in these seconds, and when I finally straighten up and turn around, I see two little boys holding hands, spinning in a circle, singing Ring Around the Rosy. The picture of suspicious innocence. And I have a mylar balloon floating out of the back of my pants.

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Two year old Chris talks to everyone, all the time; whether the person is already talking, sleeping, or it’s not a person at all. He’s more intent on being understood and understanding us now, too, and doesn’t give up until it makes sense. But I could swear, sometimes, that he might be messing with us.

Me: “Oh, no, don’t drink that, honey, it has caffeine.”

Chris (aghast, yet somewhat thrilled): “Cat pee?!?!”


“Cat FEET?!?!”

“Ca. Feeeennne.”

“Cat PEE?!”

“Say ‘Ca’.”




“There you go! Caffeine!”


“Hmmm. Yeah, cat poop. It’s gross; don’t drink it.”

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This is a day of failed hopes and dreams, and near-tearful disappointment.

Sadly, somehow, my talk of going to “vote” has been (mis)understood by my two year old as going out on a “boat.” And somehow, his talk of the “boat” has been more successful than my talk of the “vote” at convincing the four year old that this morning we are due to go out sailing on a river instead of to the elementary school down the street to cast our ballot.

I’m still sorting through the details; there are indications that they believe that Hillary Clinton will, indeed, be on the boat with us. They had a far more interesting day planned than I did.

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I’ve actually written quite a bit on here lately, despite what that nagging calendar on the sidebar says. But, happily for anyone who chances upon this page, I have kept most of it marked draft because there seems to be very little happening in my head or my life unrelated to throwing up and pregnancy nausea. I’m following, so far, the precise script of the first two times, so should be eating happily again in April. As much as I wish I was one of these glowy, energetic, and blissful pregnant types, I’m more the type who shrieks, “Oh, god, did someone just mention wheat bread?! I’m gonna be sick!as I run to the bathroom.

And while the lovely people with whom I am lucky enough to communicate through blogging would surely say kind, compassionate things and have good advice in the midst of day after day of listen-to-how-I-got-sick-today posts, I can’t, in good conscience, take up their very few extra minutes with woe-is-me, I’m-so-sick stories. Not that I complain, though. . . (Wow!–did you hear that derisive and mirthless laugh from close friends and family from coast to coast? Fine–I complain to them, but they are stuck with it because they’re stuck with me, and I’ve given up self-censorship and excessive politeness with them many years ago–the beauty and price of very long friendships . . .)

The good part: When a four year old races into the bathroom behind you to pat your back and murmur: “You’ll be OK,” with a little brother behind him screaming: “God bless you, Mommy! God bless you, Mommy!” even throwing up can be fun.

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