Wednesday, April 30, 2008


Elisabeth is into reading signs lately. An example:

E: Cuv-us, mommy, what's cuvus?
Me: Huh?
E: C-V-S --- cuvus!
Me: Oh. CVS. It is a store. We've been there before, that is where I buy medicines and where at least half of your 32 million sheets of stickers have come from.
E: They bring boxes to our house?
Me: No, thats UPS

Today we went to Costco. She read C-o-s-t-c-o and came up with "coast" because the stupid fools who wrote the English language have succeeded in confusing poor kids who are learning to read. Costco ends in a vowel. That makes the first O say its name. And the second O is silent. Or at least that is how she extended the rule of silent E's. She mixed it with when two vowels go walking the first one does the talking. It is neat to watch her work her way through it though.

At Costco, I bought her some of those Brain Quest cards. This afternoon, we did some of the "riddles" as she calls them. The question? "The following sentence is wrong, can you correct it? A leopard cannot change its stripes." Without a moment's hesitation she jumped up and hollered "A ZEBRA! A ZEBRA cannot change its stripes" and immediately launched into her touchdown dance that we've been working on while playing football before bathtime. I thought that was a pretty darn clever answer.

As for football - she really enjoys playing football. We kind of play like college rules overtime. She starts at the five yard line (even with one end of the bed) and one of us stands blocking the goal. We have decided that it isn't fair for us grownups to use our arms to grab her, though, so you have to kind of body block her. She takes off running, uses true Heisman trophy form and tries to get past us. Then she gets to play defense while one of us tries to score. She gets as excited when we score a touchdown as when she does. This game is wildly entertaining.

We've heard one more "knock knock" out of Charlotte. And she appears to call Elisabeth "uhna" which sounds sort of like how tennis announcers pronounce Justine Henin's name (silent H, silent last N, nasal Frenchy accent). When Elisabeth went upstairs yesterday afternoon to "hide" Charlotte looked up the stairs hollering uhna! uhna! And I heard her say it a few more times always in reference to Elisabeth. Time will tell, I suppose, but I love watching her grow!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


"knock knock" was repeated at lunch. I think it is hysterical that her first word may well be "knock knock." This is just the first of many funny Elisabeth affected Charlotte-isms, I'm sure.

Charlotte's first word

I'm not insane enough to believe that Charlotte actually said her first word, but if she did, it was "knock knock." As some of you can attest, Elisabeth tells a lot of knock-knock jokes. They go something like this:

E: Knock-knock.
Unwitting adult: Who's there?
E: Peanut butter.
Unwitting adult: Peanut butter who?
E (thinks for awhile): PEANUT BUTTER MONSTER!
E: Knock knock.

this continues until you are so tired of pity laughing that you want to cry, and then it goes on.

So last night at dinner, Elisabeth said, "knock knock." And I swear to you, Charlotte said, "knock knock" -same intonation and everything. Doug and I both looked at each other astounded. It wasn't repeatable, though, so I think that means it doesn't qualify for first word.

And now for a complete subject change. On Sunday, Charlotte broke into hysterical screams, pain screams, twice. The second one was so bad that I decided she might need to see a doctor in case it was an ear infection. I have a severe dislike of taking the kids to the pediatrician, what with all of the raging germs there. So I called our good friends Melissa and Jon (who is an eye surgeon) to see if Jon could look in Charlotte's ears and tell me if they were red or what. All that went fine, Charlotte is ok. This is not the point of the story (although Jon will never know how much I appreciate his help!!!).

That night, when I was putting Elisabeth to bed, she tried to make sense of the whole thing.

E: So you took Charlotte to the doctor because she was screaming?
Me: Well, sort of, I took her to Sam's house to have Sam's daddy look in her ears.
E: Huh?
Me: Sam's daddy is a doctor, he had that little tool that the doctors look in your ears with, and he looked in Charlotte's ears.
E: So you took Charlotte to Sam's house? And Sam's daddy pretended to be a doctor?

It went on like this for some time. I finally explained that when Jon goes to work, he goes to an office like her doctor's office and he is the doctor. I think she gets it.

and now time has come to rescue Elisabeth from preschool. Don't fear, I have the appropriate snacks and juice box (NOT apple, good grief, I dont need another meltdown) to assuage the little beast. She always seems surprised that I bring Charlotte. I would love to climb into the mind of a 3 yr old to see how the world works according to them.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

lazy Saturday

We had a nice lazy Saturday yesterday, as I recover from the heinous virus that has had hold of me for the past 7 days.

First, Elisabeth worked on her CSI skills. It is rather awkward to lay flat on your back in your driveway as neighbors drive by gawking. But, it beats playing Soooey Sooooey which requires picking Elisabeth up and spinning her, so laugh all you want, neighbors of mine.

Then, I taught Elisabeth how to play hopscotch. She rather enjoyed the game, I mean it involves throwing rocks and jumping - what's not to love? And, I almost won. She was kind and let us call it a tie.

The rest of the day was filled with Elisabeth playing with our neighbor's kids, all day long. I think she was the happiest she could possibly be. She's definitely a type A personality (we are absolutely dumbfounded as to how she became a type-A), a natural leader. I love it when kids twice her age do what she tells them to. She has no idea she's just a little one.

Charlotte apparently learned to crawl up stairs yesterday. We know this because I looked up and said "OH MY GOSH!" and sprinted to the stairwell as Charlotte teetered perilously 5 steps up. Just before snatching her, Doug said to wait and he grabbed the camera (the real difference between a mother and a father).

With Elisabeth, I'm pretty sure we were never an inch away from her, so things like this just didn't happen. I don't think this is all attributable to Charlotte being a second child, though. Charlotte is just a different kid. She plays by herself. You could actually sit and read a book while she plays around the house. You still can't sit and read a book if Elisabeth is awake. Elisabeth demanded that we stay within an inch of her at all times. Charlotte is happy to explore on her own.

Then I went to Home Depot and Target. On a Saturday. This is not advisable, especially Home Depot on a Saturday in April when everyone in the world is buying gardening supplies. I needed peat moss. Our garden center at Home Depot is arranged in two very long aisles, with only 2 points where you can cut from one aisle to the other. As you can no doubt guess, the idiots were out in force yesterday, parking their empty flat bed wagon shopping cart things in the cross overs, making no attempt to move over so that anyone could get through. I was forced to go the length of the aisle in order to get to the other aisle. The aisles were completely clogged with people with their enormous carts. I think each cart came with two people who were inevitably arguing about the color of the mulch they wanted, how many bags they needed, or, I kid you not, what mulch even was. IT SAYS IT ON THE BAG YOU MORONS.

Once I found the peat moss section, I managed to wrangle a 3 cu ft bale into my cart followed by a 2 cu ft bag that was mixed with some fertilizer. At this point, the fact that Home Depot was filled with idiots began to work in my favor. At the end of one of the two long aisles there were about 8 people in line for the two checkers. In the other aisle there were two checkers frantically waving their arms for people to come to their checkout. Being idiots, though, these people failed to see them. So I checked out in 14 seconds. And then I was off to the car.

I know I'm a little small, and maybe look kind of puny, but I am capable of a fair amount of wrangling. I know (hope?) people are just being nice, but I'm way too skeptical of people who loiter outside 7-11's with brown bags, who offer to help me, to actually let them. After I politely turn down their help and then manage to get one bale of peat moss that has now developed a leak and one bag of peat moss into the trunk, I especially do not appreciate it when these people laugh and say, "huh, I never thought you'd be able to do that."

So today holds cleaning up for the cleaning lady who comes tomorrow. We have to actually find the floor so that she can vaccuum. And then I am going to plant my veggie garden. I'm trying a new style of gardening called "lasagna gardening" or sheet mulching. It involves sort of composting in place. You add layers of organic material and then just plant in it. Most importantly it involves NO DIGGING. So, I will place cardboard over my garden plot, right on top of the grass. Then I'll start layering. First layer, peat moss, then some old old mulch that is mostly degraded, then more peat moss, then grass clippings, then some lime or bonemeal, then some chopped leaves, then peat moss, then some leaf mulch mixed with soil that I bought from the garden store, then more peat moss, and then more of that soil. I'll build it up to approximately 18 inches. Apparently you can plant in it as soon as you finish the layering. The goal is to only have to buy the peat moss, and to collect the rest of the organic layers over the course of the year - you can pretty much use anything organic as a layer. We're composting this year, so that will be one of next year's layers.

The crops for this year are: tomatoes, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, carrots, and cantelope. Pictures to come. and if you've read this far, you're really a true friend! I did not realize I was quite so long winded this morning. Obviously I am postponing cleaning up for the cleaning lady. But time has come...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

my happy news... and a couple of stories

I found out today that I passed the Virginia bar! Effective tomorrow, I am licensed to practice law!

Please don't call Child Protective Services after you read about Elisabeth's new favorite game. It is called Sooey. She pretends to be a pig and I call her like I'm in a hog calling contest. Sometimes Doug has to be the hog caller. And she comes running. I showed her some videos of hog calling contests on YouTube today, which we both found entertaining.

I think there are some valid uses for this game. For example, yelling "sooooeeeeeeey" in a crowd followed by "sooey sooey sooey sooey" is likely to attract attention moreso than hollering "Elisabeth!" Also, there are fewer kids named Sooey than Elisabeth, so I'm more likely to get my kid. Finally, this will humiliate her more in her teen years. Oh one more, maybe I can get my hog calling to the point where I can win a contest.

I'm teaching Elisabeth how to tie her shoes. We practiced today for about 15 minutes. I showed her all of the steps, repeating each step a few times. She patiently watched. Then she tried on her own and did surprisingly well with just a few moments where she got stuck and needed help. So I showed her again. She interrupted me and said, with a hint of irritation in her voice, "Mommy, I'm watching you and paying attention so you only need to show me once." Fine, kid, learn to tie your shoes by yourself.


Last night at dinner, Elisabeth started chatting about the time when we "didn't used to have a baby." She talked about when we went to the hospital and baby Charlotte came out. Then came the inevitable, "can we get another baby sometime?" I said that babies were a lot of work, so I probably didn't want to go get another baby but that one day she could grow up and have a baby of her own. "And I can have my own jello??"

When you have a c-section, they won't let you have anything other than a clear liquid diet until they're sure your intestinal track isn't blocked. I'll spare you the details on how they know that. So after 13 hours with no food or water, and major abdominal surgery, they finally brought me some clear liquids. Sprite, broth, and jello. At approximately the same time, my mother and Elisabeth and our good friend Jean arrived for a visit. Needless to say, I did not get to eat my jello. Does Elisabeth remember meeting baby Charlotte? she claims to, but not nearly as strongly as that jello.

We continued the dinner discussion. Elisabeth said that once she had a baby (and jello), there would be TWO babies - the new one and Charlotte. I explained that Charlotte was going to be a grown up then too, and she could have her own babies. Not thrilled with this plan, Elisabeth went back to trying to persuade me to go have another baby. I again tried to dispel this wish by telling her that if I had another baby, she'd have to share my jello with Charlotte since I'd have two little girls both wanting to eat my piddly little bowl of jello that I had been drooling over for the previous 2 hours - the bowl of jello that I thought about lying on the operating table. Her solution? She'd have a baby AND I'd have a baby. That way she could have her own jello, and I'd have to share mine with Charlotte.

I'm glad that Charlotte's arrival in Elisabeth's life hasn't been so traumatic that it turned her off babies all together, but at the same time - I'm not going to enjoy years of lobbying for another baby. And I'm just now in my pre-pregnancy skinny jeans, and I plan to remain in these jeans for many, many years to come.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


I might have crossed the line and entered into "crazy bird feeding lady" territory. I now have: two squirrel proof feeders with sunflower chips in them, two hummingbird feeders (no hummingbirds yet this year :( ), a goldfinch feeder, and the latest addition - two suet feeders. One is a traditional cage that will be taken by the squirrels in approximately one hour, I'm sure. The second is called a "suet sandwich" feeder, and with it I intend to attract the pileated woodpeckers that we see in the back yard from time to time. I also have various little feeders hanging in trees, but they don't scream crazy bird feeding lady quite like the others.

Most of the feeders are in the backyard so as not to ruffle the feathers of the very lax homeowners association (that the previous owners swore up and down didn't have rules, but does in fact have rules so there goes our hope of pig farming).

sick sick sick

First Elisabeth, then Charlotte, then Doug, and now me. I am not a pleasant person when I'm sick - I just want to curl up and be left alone. That is difficult to do with children.

And now for a Charlotte update. She has one tooth and will have a second by the end of the week I suspect. She crawls everywhere and is into everything. Her favorites include the dog's water bowl and the DVR. I love the way she crawls. She crawls on two hands, a left knee and her right foot. We suspect that she us just ultra-efficient since she knows she's going to want to sit up when she gets where she's going, and sitting up requires that leg to be out of the way - so she just keeps it up while crawling. She is quite literally the happiest baby on earth. RIght now she's playing with the plastic tubing from my breastpump and talking to it, as happy as can be. All you do is put her down on the floor and she's off - very busy seeing what everything is about. She is so different from her sister, who has a high requirement of parental involvement in her play.

Elisabeth is in a much, much better mood lately which is a huge relief. However, her increased energy came at a bad time since I'm at an all time energy low.

And now I will go back to counting the minutes until bar results are posted (and also counting the minutes until Charlotte's naptime which is when I am crawling back into bed).

Sunday, April 20, 2008

sickies, and a new law of baby physics

First, this virus is horrible. Elisabeth's phases of illness went like this: first - high fever for 5 days. Then a horrible cough that kept her up at night and a runny nose. Final phase - the tantrum phase where she threw the most heinous, violent tantrums I have ever seen her throw. We had been a good five months without tantrums until this illness hit and then it was like she was making up for lost time. I don't know if we're fully through this phase yet, but at 9:21 am on Sunday the 20th of April, we are already at a 200% improvement over yesterday.

Charlotte started on Monday. She's through the fever phase (her fever never got as high as Elisabeth's) and on to the horrible coughing phase. Thankfully, Charlotte is too small to throw tantrums and any "tantrums" she does throw, we find so adorable that we video them. I think this is probably why children grow up and need therapy. Or end up in jail for murdering their parents. But those kids probably have some underlying problems - or at least I hope they do, otherwise I should probably start sleeping with one eye open.

Charlotte is living proof of the new law of baby physics that I have come up with. Along the same lines as conservation of energy, I believe there is conservation of poop. Each baby has a predetermined amount of poop that will come out of them. Charlotte spent the first six months of her life pooping every 2-3 weeks (I'm not even exaggerating, and when she did go - you better hope you had at least four diapers and a change of clothes with you). As per the law of conservation of poop, she is now pooping every 2-3 hours - I guess to make up for lost time. Again, only parents appreciate this. Maybe dog owners too, I haven't tried to expand this law to include canines.

Elisabeth just came and told me that I needed to have a bath (nothing like the brutal honesty of a 3 yr old). She then explained to me that last night she had a "toilet bath." I'm moderately concerned about her telling her teachers that we give her toilet baths. From what I can gather, this really means just a wipe down with a wet washcloth as she sits on the potty. At least I hope that is what it means!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

for all those worried...

Charlotte survived her first haircut. She even looks cute, as evidenced by this picture (complete with yogurt moustache and beard):

And, today at preschool, they celebrated the birthday of a little boy in the class. It has, apparently, become common to send home goodie bags. Most have crayons, maybe bubbles, oftentimes candy. This one had..... a whistle. A loud, loud whistle.

There will be paybacks for this. I will now send this nice mother a copy of this book (It's time to call 9-1-1) and I will conveniently fail to give her the duct tape solution to muffling the sound (on the positive side, I have no doubt that if there was an emergency, Elisabeth would be chatting up the 9-1-1 operator before I could blink, you know provided I was in a state that I was physically able to blink...).

Or maybe I will just send her our Dora Sit-n-spin which is hands down the worst toy on earth noise-wise. Or maybe the little boy needs the Melissa and Doug Band in a Box, complete with a recorder (what in the heck was I thinking buying Elisabeth a recorder????)

And now I have to take the girls outside before we have a Lord of the Flies situation on our hands.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

more on the sick kids.

Yesterday, we hauled both girls to the pediatrician. I cannot tell you how much I hate having to sit in the sick waiting room. I feel like germs are attacking me as I sit there. It gives me the heebiejeebies. Especially because they have toys in there. Toys that Elisabeth inevitably plays with. And then of course her hands end up in her mouth, my mouth, somewhere before I can sufficiently disinfect. So yuck - sick kid waiting rooms. That is the #1 reason she never goes to the pediatrician when she is sick. Except when she's coughing like this.

Anyway, we went up there because I called the nurse line yesterday and the nurse heard her coughing and thought it sounded asthmatic - so off we went to see if we needed a nebulizer. We didn't, thankfully. But another little girl did. She had a pink one, in a little bag, waiting in line to check out with her mom. Elisabeth said to the little girl, "I have one of those at home too! Mine is a rabbit though." Doug and I were a bit perplexed as we don't actually have a nebulizer at home. Then Doug (who is infinitely better at making these connections than I am) said, "oh - do you mean your Pez dispenser?"

So, next time she's coughing, I'm just going to hold the Pez dispenser up in front of her face and blow really hard.

I had a thought this morning while reading other blogs and watching PBS with Elisabeth. They always play this "read to your kids for 15 minutes a day to make them literate" PSA. I think they're missing their target audience. They should put those sorts of PSAs on Maury, Cops, at the beginning of World of Warcraft, maybe pop them up in Second Life every so often. I think people who are watching PBS with their kids are probably already reading to their kids at least 15 minutes a day. I mean, 15 minutes? Elisabeth scoffs in the face of 15 minutes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

bar exam

Elisabeth said yesterday, "Mommy, Daddy, can we go to the bar exam again sometime?" Good grief, I hope not. I'm glad that what was such a torturous experience for me (and Doug - God bless him, hauling around two kids in a hotel for 2 straight days) was so fun for her. I am also glad to know that all we have to do to have a thrilling vacation for a 3 yr old is check into a Marriott in a crummy city like Norfolk. Why did we spend so much money at Disney! Just take the kid to a hotel exercise room.

sick kiddos.

Yesterday, I stupidly said "I'm surprised Charlotte hasn't gotten sick yet" and within an hour she spiked a 102 fever. When will I learn to keep these sorts of thoughts to myself?

Charlotte, however, does not have a fever this morning, 6 hours after her last Tylenol dose. So I'm hopeful that her version of the illness will be less severe. Elisabeth showed up at our bedroom door at 11pm last night. This is not the ideal way to start out a peaceful night of sleep. Elisabeth can only sleep in the same bed with us if she sleeps perpendicular to us. She is like her canine sibling, Maggie, in that respect. This wasn't a problem last night, though, because perpendicular or not - the kid wasn't able to sleep because of the hacking cough she had approximately every 60 seconds. Finally Doug decided to scavenge for some cough drops. I knew she'd be excited for candy, and also predicted her next reaction - 5 seconds after sucking on the cough drop she said, "Daddy, I'm done with this." They don't taste good. Luckily we had some circa 2000 "Get Better Bears." We let her suck on the medicinal lollipop and I took her back to her room and we both slept in there - with the humidifier. Those two things worked to let us sleep for about 90 minutes and then she had to go potty. One enormous bladder emptying later, we got back into bed where she would not go back to sleep. I'm estimating 4 hrs of sleep all around - except for Charlotte who got a mostly normal night except for an early wakeup and several bouts of fussy crying in the middle.

Four hours of sleep does not build up enough mommy-goodwill to make it through a day alone with two sickies, one of whom is 3 and didn't sleep well and therefore incorrigible. Let's just hope that the new title of this blog isn't "lives no longer in being" or "lives that were" or "yep - it vested."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

the problem with kids who think they can read...

Aaaaa-ssssss. Aaaassssss. Ass! MOMMY MOMMY DADDY!!! I read "ass!"

And for those of you who think our house is full of books with such foul language in them, you should now feel bad because the actual word in question was "as." The English language is tough to learn.

Elisabeth is still sick. Still has a fever, although it has left the 103 range and now sits in the 100-102 range. She has also developed a cough. There is nothing more heart breaking than your 3 yr old coming into your room in the middle of the night, hauling you her bottle of Tylenol and the medicine dose thingie (that is apparently called a medicine spoon). Except perhaps taking her temperature to find out that it is 102.5.

She does have moments of wellness though. In fact, the fever goes away on occasion, which means she can't have any Tylenol. Which upsets her. And sends her running in circles, around and around, saying, "if I run and run and run, my fever will come back, and then I can have TYLENOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" So it isn't all sickness here at our house, there are the typical moments of insanity. They're just fewer and farther between.

Friday, April 11, 2008

seen at pediatrician's office

Elisabeth is sick. High fever (103.2) and extremely lethargic. Took her to the pediatrician where we had to sit in the sick room. The other people in there were all from one family. SIX children. In the sick room. The mother sat there reading a book entitled "Maintaining Peace and Serenity." I laughed outloud and then she glared at me. I think maybe she should read the book a little more closely, the part where it says "This book will not help you when you have six sick children."

Elisabeth has a virus (shocking) and it does not look like strep. So it was a pointless trip, which is why we rarely go to the pediatrician. But at least I know it isn't strep. And now, I will go out to a party alone since on the one night in the past 12 months when Doug and I actually got a baby sitter and planned to go out, we have a very sick little girl. But I have a new dress. That counts for a lot.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday adventure... sometimes they flop

It turns out that Elisabeth doesn't have fun 100% of the time. I came up with the extraordinarily brilliant idea of taking her to see a kids band at a local coffee shop. Three guys playing instruments and singing silly songs. Throngs of preschoolers dancing. What's not to love?

I invited all the kids in her preschool class to join us. Apparently some mothers aren't physically attached to their computers, like I am, so they didn't get my email in time. But one little boy joined us. Those of you who know Elisabeth will not believe me when I tell you that she was too timid to go dance with the other kids. But she was. And the other little boy was not going up there absent some tornado picking him up and physically depositing him there. So those two clung to their mommies asking if we could leave approximately every 5 minutes. When the other little boy actually took himself to the corner, we decided it was time to go.

I'm pretty sure that had any other kids from her class shown up, Elisabeth would have been out there cutting up a rug. But as it was, I didn't know my own kid. She did other things that perplexed me yesterday too. I said we needed to go to the ATM so that I'd have money to get us into Rocknocerous (yes, that is the name of the band, and no, I'm not kidding). Elisabeth said, "so that we don't have to steal any money, mommy?" WHERE does she hear these things??? Doug claims it is from a book I brought home from the library a few months ago, but really, I can't be blamed for everything. And yesterday she pointed a piece of track from her Quadrilla game at me and said "bang bang, mommy, you're dead." Somehow she's been watching movies or shows where they shoot guns and steal money.

So after the Rocknocerous disaster, we went to the library where she had moderate amounts of fun. We picked up a bunch of books for beginning readers, including 3 Arthur books that she wouldn't leave without. They're kind of dumb, but they are NOT Curious George, which is essentially my goal these days - to avoid all things Curious. We also got some learn Spanish CDs to do in the car together. We did the first CD yesterday. She follows along for approximately 15 minutes after which she takes great glee in making up her own language and shouting it back at the guy. If it weren't so funny, it would be annoying.

Feeling like a great Wednesday Adventure failure, I called Doug and asked if we could come have lunch at his office. A little McDonalds and Daddy's office made the whole Wednesday Adventure a positive experience. She really knows her way around Daddy's office - almost like she thinks it is her own. Which, I'm sure she actually does think it is her own, and she just leases it to her father.

So that was our Wednesday Adventure. Not such a hit this time.

And Charlotte seems to be dropping her morning nap. Or so she thinks. Little does she know, my sympathy for such antics is gone (Elisabeth used it all) and she will be staying in her crib for 1.5 hrs like it or not. I'm hoping she comes to her senses and realizes that later in life, no one will be providing her with ample opportunities to sleep and that she should take full advantage of this now.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

if a private investigator trailed me...

One of my friends did a post on his blog where he discussed what a private investigator would find if his wife hired one to trail him - and how ridiculous that notion was. It made me laugh. And he asked what a PI might find if they trailed people reading his blog. And that made me laugh more. So I thought about it as I "slept" last night. I yearn for the day where I don't need quotes around forms of the word "sleep." So this is a typical day. Note that this particular PI sometimes has mind reading abilities. Also note the severe lack of things like laundry, vacuuming, etc.

7:30am: Target stirs. Is immediately pounced upon by rabid 3 year old.

7:35am: Target extricates herself from bed and avoids falling down the stairs while being tugged on by said 3 yr old.

7:40am: Target has coffee. Baby crawls around family room, seems attracted to electrical cords. 3 yr old sits on Target. Squirms. Target tells 3 yr old to stop. 3 yr old does not stop.

8:15am: Target has discussion w/ 3 yr old. Tells her to sit on potty and get ready for school. 3 yr old does not. 3 yr old demands Daddy. Target says fine and goes to find breakfast leaving 3 yr old on potty to wait until Daddy comes downstairs.

8:30am: by some miracle, 3 yr old dressed and leaves for preschool after near timeout over hairbrushing. Target says prayer for preschool teachers who have roomful of rabid 3 yr olds.

9:00am: Target puts baby in bed. Does little dance.

9:10am: Target looks for food in fridge. Finds nothing appealing. Decides to eat 3 yr old's bagel bites. Reasons term bagel makes it breakfast food even though it is really pizza.

9:15: refills bird feeders. Wonders if hummingbirds won't return this year for some reason. Considers adding more sugar to mix, then decides she is nuts to spend more time considering food for birds than for herself.

10am: baby awakens. Target feeds then plays with baby. Baby not rabid like 3 yr old.

11:15: Target packs baby into car. And dog. and diaper bag. and 3 jackets. Pulls out of driveway, running over tricycle left behind minivan. Appears to yell. Stops van. Goes back inside. Comes back with snack and juicebox muttering about how much trouble she gets in with 3 yr old if these items are forgotten.

11:25: Target finally exits driveway.

11:45: Target picks up 3yr old from school. Explains to 3 yr old that they will not be meeting anyone for lunch. Small tantrum ensues.

12:00: Target drives through healthy eating establishment. Allows 3 yr old to order for herself. "I'll have one hamburger with tomato, pickle, ketchup, and steak. no mustard. NO MUSTARD!"

12:15: Target arrives home again and feeds all hungry mouths.

12:30: Target and 3 yr old play tag around kitchen island.

1:15: Target looks relieved as she notices it is nap and quiet time. Puts children in their respective spots, finds herself a snack of pita chips and spinach dip and sits on sofa to unwind.

1:35: Ursula appears on Little Mermaid, 3 yr old hollers, Target hollers back that 3 yr old knows how to fastforward dvds. 3 yr old indignantly says she is not allowed to fastforward movies. Target gets up and fastforwards through the Ursula part. Target returns to sofa.

1:45: 3 yr old has to pee.

1:50: Dog has to go out.

2:00: another Ursula part. Target looks relieved knowing that this is the last Ursula part she will have to fast forward through. Wonders why we don't watch 101 Dalmations every day. Feels slight sense of accomplishment because she can let dog in while already up thereby reducing the number of times she has to get up. Target attempts to do something profitable such as write a memo for attorney she is working for.

3:00 baby awake, quiet time over. Target subjected to more games of tag and pretending to be a school child. Target apparently not allowed to type on computer. Target tries to funnel 3 yr old's energy into something positive, like an arts project or picking up toys. Fails. Target begins to clean the house, seemingly only to avoid 3 yr old's antics.

4:00: Target looks at clock and smiles. Daddy will be home within 30 minutes. And then you can all go out to play, or at least to the basement.

4:30: Daddy arrives home. Target appears to have tears of joy. Target scoops up baby and hands her to daddy with suggestion that all go down to the basement.

4:40: Target rests.

4:45: Target looks in fridge to see what leftovers are for dinner. Finds nothing. Target resorts to internet. Goes to and types in: chicken, rice. Epicurious actually returns with web page containing 30 point font red letters: "YOU HAVE THIS EVERY NIGHT - FIND SOMETHING NEW." Target agrees. Types in "chicken, noodles."

5:00: Target, failed by, finds 7 yr old package of yellow rice mix. Figures rice mix doesn't go bad. Is excited by idea of chicken and yellow rice, epicurious be damned.

5:40: Troops return upstairs. Loud. Target asks 3 yr old what she wants for dinner. Is perplexed by answer ("dinosaurs") so chooses to ignore it and ask again in 5 minutes. Baby screams. Target's husband prepares food for baby and feeds her.

5:50: Dinner on table. 3 yr old has agreed to eat chicken and yellow rice. Target pleased by correct assumption that yellow rice mix doesn't go bad.

6:30: 3 yr old and her father go upstairs for bath time and bed time. Baby gets to eat.

7:00: baby in bed, Target does small dance of joy.

7:15: Target enters 3 yr old's room to read stories and cuddle. Target argues that she will not read Curious George one more time. Ever. Considers burning Curious George. Agrees to read Little Critters, again.

7:30: Target tells 3 yr old no more stories, time for bed. 3 yr old argues, but finally agrees. 3 yr old says good night and Target exits room. Target does another dance, bigger this time. Resembles Ren or Stimpy or Balke.

8:00 Target sits and watches mindless TV while knitting. Also writes copious, often stupid humor blog posts. And IMs. And plays scrabulous.

9:30: Target heads to bed, only to be awakened several times by screaming non-rabid baby.

Thrilling life, but I love it.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I love you so...

Charlotte, being all of 8 months old, tends to bang her toys on things. Today, she banged it on Elisabeth's leg. Immediately I hear a whiny 3 yr old, "mooooommmmmmmmy, she's banging it on me!!!!!!!!!!!!!" So I said, "Charlotte is a baby. She doesn't know that she's not supposed to bang it on you. She's doing it because she loves you."

Thirty seconds later, I hear, "Charlotte, I love you so I'm banging on you." Then a minute later I see Elisabeth pushing Charlotte away from her toys and saying, "Charlotte, I love you so I'm pushing you away."

Clearly my message misfired.

In other news, the Virginia Board of Bar Examiners has decided that my score on the ethics exam is high enough to consider me ethical. In a few more weeks we'll find out if they consider me competent.

busy weekend

We had a very busy weekend here. We transplanted 150 daffodils. I know you're not supposed to do that while they're blooming, but they were located where my hummingbird and butterfly garden belongs. So hopefully they'll survive. I think they will.

Doug and I learned that we are old. And that hours of gardening will leave us unable to walk.

We also decided to replace our "elegant paper stuffed into the hole where the deadbolt belongs" solution to the kitchen door with an actual deadbolt. I got to use a chisel. I felt pretty handy.

And we had a visit from our good friend Nicole who moved up to NYC last year.

Elisabeth is fascinated with the process of "digestin" these days. She likes to listen to my gut as it does its job. For about 2 weeks she couldn't remember the word 'digesting.' Now she says, without fail, "Mommy -your food is digestin' - I remembered! I remembered digestin! I used to forget but now I remember!"

Oh the weekend started Friday night with us going next door for dinner with a bunch of our neighbors. What do you not want to find two three year olds doing? Polishing their nails unattended. Which is precisely what we found Elisabeth and her little friend Aili doing in our neighbor's master bath. I don't know the extent of the carnage, Elisabeth was clean when she returned downstairs.

Saturday night also involved dinner with neighbors for a birthday celebration. Perhaps my most "American" quality is my severe dislike of food that has a head on it. Or rather food that looks, on the serving table, as it did when it roamed the earth. So the roasted pig in the middle of the table, with cute little feet and teeth and yes - a flower behind its ear, was too much for me to handle. I had to wait until it was carved and then looked like a ham platter before I could eat any.

Elisabeth is learning to read. I think this has been the most excited and proud I've been over something she's done. Right now, she can read most three letter words so long as they don't involve a "special rule" like a th, sh, ow, etc. But don't ask her to do it because she gets mad - she's got to do it on her own free will. I really think maybe she's my kid. She might look like a clone of Doug, but she's got my temperment. It is pretty incredible to watch a kid learn. She's so excited by her accomplishment that she wants to stay up all night reading to herself. Luckily this has meant later mornings for Doug and me.

Elisabeth wants to go on another adventure this week. I don't know where we'll go, but it is fun that she wants to go again. Usually getting her to go anywhere with just me is like moving a mountain.

Friday, April 4, 2008

pitter patter

Whoever coined the phrase "the pitter patter of little feet" clearly didn't have a kid like Elisabeth. Otherwise, they would've made the phrase, "the freakishly loud, reminiscent of the days dinosaurs roamed the earth, thump thump of little feet."

Also, parenting lesson 394: Target + Costco + teething almost 8 month old + hungry 3 year old = horrible idea. And poor Charlotte. She screamed the entire hour we were in Costco. And people tried to make her feel better by grabbing her little feet or smiling and talking to her, which just made her angrier. It was almost funny, she'd take one look at the funny looking old lady smiling and making funny faces at her and briefly stop crying, look at me, and then scream louder.

the tide is shifting

forgot to mention that Elisabeth beat me at tic tac toe. Soon, she too will be beating me at Scrabulous.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

sometimes they surprise you...

We go to our favorite Thai restaurant (Natta Thai in Vienna for the locals) approximately once a week. We've been going there with my friend Jean for almost 3 years now. The waitresses have grown very fond of the girls. They have given her Christmas presents, birthday presents, and they always bring her back little trinkets from their trips to Thailand. Today, one of them presented Elisabeth with a crocheted headband that she made especially for Elisabeth. I said, "Elisabeth, what do you say?" And much to my surprise, she said "korb koon ka" which means "thank you" in Thai. We learned that three weeks ago and haven't really used it since. I couldn't have recalled it on command, that's for sure. I think the waitress nearly cried.

Also today, Doug took Elisabeth and Charlotte downstairs to play. Elisabeth wanted to play tennis. Charlotte was crying. Elisabeth asked if Charlotte was upset because she couldn't play tennis and Doug said yes. So Elisabeth continued and asked if the reason she couldn't play tennis was because she didn't have her "white spready thing." Doug said, "what?" Elisabeth repeated herself. He again asked what she was talking about and she hollered back, "are you listening to what I'm saying???" He blames me for this. I deny all wrongdoing and knowledge of ever saying things like that.

Finally - curses on the people who put letters that don't actually form words on things such as boxes. Elisabeth is so thrilled with herself for learning to read. But when she comes across a word that she thinks she can read that isn't really a word, she gets pretty indignant about it and then we end up having an argument. Takes the fun away from learning to read... at least for me.

For example, today she got ahold of a box that had the letters EDL in big letters on the bottom. She worked for awhile sounding it out and came up with ed-el. She was so proud.

E: Mommy, mommy! Edel! Edel! I read it! It says edel! What does that mean?
Me: Well, Elisabeth, it isn't really a word. It is just the letters E-D-L
E: No! It is a word. See? right here! Edel.
Me: no, it really isn't a word. They just put those letters on the bottom of the box. I don't know why they put it there.
E: It is a word. Ed-el. It says E-D-L right here.
Me: I'm not going to argue with you. It isn't a word.
E: Yes it is.
Me: Fine.

Oh, and it sleeted here today. In April. What kind of crazy weather is this? Frozen precipitation in spring is just wrong.

Tomorrow I'll post pictures of the fun we had today with a box (same damn box with the EDL on it) and discuss the confusion that results when Elisabeth says the words girl and goal (which, to those of you who don't know her, sound identical).

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

our metro ride adventure - a long and rambling sort of photo essay.

This morning, I decided to take Elisabeth on the long promised Metro train ride. It was the first "warm" non-preschool, non-rainy day. Doug stayed home with Charlotte so she could take her morning nap. Elisabeth and I set out like true commuters. We drove to the Metro parking lot and hopped on a train after I used my years of software consulting to figure out the farecard machine. I mean, really, it is amazing that idiots can figure this thing out. It used to be pretty clearly marked, but now it just isn't all that clear which buttons you're supposed to hit and in which order. Poor user interface. But I digress.

We got to the station and got our farecard and actually ran up the escalator (interesting with a preschooler) and ran onto a train. Mind you, I had almost turned us around when, while fiddling with the aforementioned farecard machine, they kept saying "ATTENTION RIDERS: Metro Center is closed due to a suspicious package on the tracks." So we hop on the train and are immediately greeted with a Metro policeman complete with AK-47 or some other scary looking gun. It was an effort to hide my apprehension from Elisabeth, but she was so completely consumed with the Metro train experience that I think I would have had to actually pass out from a panic attack before she noticed.
(I know, you're wondering when we actually get to the photo essay part of this rambling dialog. Patience, grasshopper)

We got a nice seat next to the window. And she took me quite literally when I told her to say bye bye to the cars because we were getting ready to go underground. After 30 seconds of loudly saying bye bye to the cars (and either smiles, chuckles, or glares from other metro riders), we went underground. And I took my first picture (I'm really not good at taking a lot of pictures, unlike my better parenting counterpart. So this is quite an accomplishment for me! This is a picture of Elisabeth saying, and I quote, "I 'tink' I see the river! and cars up above us! I really tink so!" She doesn't quite get the idea of a tunnel.

We Metroed down to Smithsonian station, which spits you out on the mall. It was cold. And windy. We immediately abandoned plans to walk down to the Potomac Tidal Basin to see all of the cherry trees. It would be all we could do to walk to the National History Museum without freezing! I saw a bunch of fellow Tampanians (? - better than Tampons I suppose) in full Buccaneers gear. My blood has clearly thickened because Elisabeth and I were just in fleeces and looked as warm as the Tampa folks (ah, better) all in winter hats, mittens and heavy coats. Anyway, it was here that I took two more pictures. I tried to explain to Elisabeth what the Washington Monument and Capital Building are, but all she could do was yell "POOOOOFA DE SNOOOOOOZE" Does anyone know where this comes from? She learned it at preschool and says it whenever someone takes a picture. She gets reeeeeeeally mad when I say it. She says, "I don't want you to say that! That is what I say." So whenever you see her next, yell "poofa de snooze" and see if she reacts. Here are our two obligatory shots from the National Mall. She is probably too small for you to even see.

We quickly found the Natural History Museum. Elisabeth has been stomping around the house like a T-Rex for weeks, so she was pretty excited to go see one. The Natural History Museum was excellent. Lots of fun things for kids to see. The dinosaurs made quite an impression on her. She immediately spotted a T-Rex, which kind of surprised me because in a room full of dinosaurs I'm not actually sure that I could pick out a T-Rex.

I tried to explain the concept of fossils. We find a lot of deer carcasses in the flood plain behind our house, so I thought she might be able to understand fossils. The problem is, a "really really long time" to her is like 24 hours. So thousands of years seemed just, well, unfathomable. They had a scientist on display (like one of the animals, really) working on some fossils. I told Elisabeth that she could be a scientist if she wanted when she grew up. She very indignatly told me that she doesn't want to be a scientist. She already picked her career out of the Richard Scarry book, and that she was going to be a fisherman. Or a tug boat driver. In a sort of "so stop asking!" tone of voice. Fine - make the big bucks as a fisherman. We don't really want you to leave home anyway.

Here's a picture of Elisabeth with a stegosaurus. At this point she was getting really irritated with me and the camera, so the picture taking actually slowed down if that's possible.

After we went through the dinosaur exhibit, we went through the mammal exhibit. She flat out refused to have her picture taken anywhere in the mammals, but thoroughly enjoyed looking at all of them. They have a lot of exhibits for the kids, where they can flip levers and push buttons and make stuff happen. She loved this and had to battle it out with several hundred elementary school students to do it. She's scrappy though and won out most of the time.

As we walked through the mammal exhibit, I heard an elementary kid ask his teacher, "Ms. so and so, what is a mammal?" And her answer, my friends, is why we lag behind other nations on educational tests. She said, "uh.... it is an animal that eats other animals." Really? Glad to know that. So then what's a carnivore? And how do they differ? I guess the hawks in my backyard are mammals. I took note of the school's name and won't ever be sending my kids there. Woodlawn Elementary is now off the list, as is Nysmith School for the Gifted (I heard a 5th grade math teacher tell the kids that division by zero is zero. It made my math loving skin crawl).

After the mammal exhibit, we had to make a choice - to see the butterfly exhibit or move on and see rocket ships. The decision was easy, as Elisabeth really, REALLY wanted to see rocket ships. So off we went to the Air and Space Museum. On the way, I saw some cherry trees in bloom. Cherry blossom season is absolutely my favorite time of the year in DC, so I told her I wanted to take her picture. As evidenced from this picture, she was clearly not pleased with posing for a picture, but I told her we weren't seeing a single rocket ship until she said poofa de snooze. If you can see it, make sure you fully appreciate the sneer on her face. I expect many more of these sorts of looks in her teen years.

We finally got to the air and space museum where she was completely devastated to find out that (a) we weren't actually going to outer space and (b) we weren't even allowed to climb into the rocket ships. The Air and Space museum very quickly lost its interest so we headed off to find lunch. We ate quickly so that we'd have enough time to experience a tiny bit of the Cherry Blossom Festival - in the form of a merry go round. Here's a picture of Elisabeth on her horse, which she creatively named "Curious George."

Then we walked the rest of the way to the Smithsonian Metro station and got on a train back towards Vienna. She still refuses to believe that we live in Vienna, Virginia. I don't know the source of this resistance. We got back to the car around 12:30 and to Doug's office to pick up Charlotte by 12:50. All in all, it took us about an hour to get down to the museum and about an hour to get back. Not too bad. It would be much faster if we just drove downtown, but parking would be difficult and half the fun was the Metro ride (at least for Elisabeth, I was still sketched out by the AK-47).