Monday, September 29

Bubbe for Barack!

I so rarely write anything political in this blog, but this was the best political push I've ever seen. Note, not really suitable for viewing at work.

The Great Schlep from The Great Schlep on Vimeo.


Sunday, September 28

Too Much Information?

I believe in giving my kids thorough and honest answers to whatever questions they ask. I might have to reconsider. Today Pie announced, "Last week my water broke. And then my baby was born!"


Friday, September 26

Going Postal

I have a nemesis. This is quite exciting for me, because I haven't had a nemesis since Adam was at HBS (ah, RS, where are you now?). But now, now I have one. And it is... our mail carrier! I've never loved our mail carrier--she shoves envelopes in magazines and flyers so they're hard to find and occasionally get tossed and then retrieved from recycling. She often misdelivers mail. But last week was the kicker. Our mail stopped coming. I mean completely. I went to the main post office, dragging a sleepy Pie, and picked up my mail. "She's deemed it unsafe to deliver to your house because of the construction," I was told. "You can call her in the morning to figure something out." Unsafe? I walk into that house everyday with my two children. Would I do that if it were unsafe? There's no construction at all on the front porch.

I was so annoyed by this that I made Adam call, because I knew I wouldn't be nice. "We have to move the mailbox to the light pole or the tree," Adam told me. Adam went in the morning to try and move it to the light pole, but whatever he bought to do it, didn't do the trick, so our contractor moved the mailbox to the outside of the porch, as you see here:

I came home that afternoon to no mail. "I saw your mail person," my contractor said. "She said its still too dangerous."

"That's too dangerous?"

He shrugged. "The box has to be on the pole or the tree."

"She said that?"


"And she didn't just give you the mail to place in the mailbox?"


The next day we had mail delivery. I asked the contractor but I knew even before he answered that it was our weekend guy subbing in. He didn't deem it too dangerous.

The box has since moved to our tree. But I'm bitter. And annoyed. And I have a nemesis. I am plotting my revenge....


The Switch to Winter

I've undertaken the massive project of switching our wardrobes over from summer to fall/winter. This is only massive because all of those clothes were in storage, so it involved a trip to the storage unit, hauling out the boxes of clothing, driving them home, carrying them up the stairs, going through children's drawers to see what is worth putting away till next summer and what no longer fits, putting all the summer clothes into the bins, and returning them to storage. Not a big deal, I know, but inconvenient and right now the apartment looks like it's been ransacked with piles of clothes everywhere.

Last winter (and even spring), Pie insisted on sleeping in both her vest and her sweater. I pulled them both out of storage and was surprised at how bulky the vest pockets were. So I peeked inside. This is what I found:

My daughter is clearly living a much more exciting life than I am. A French franc. A shekel. Frogs. Dollars. A man's watch. I don't even want to think about the implications of what I've found. Let's just say, I better investigate a little more thoroughly exactly what goes on at that preschool of hers!


Guilty Admissions

Okay, I admit it. I almost hope the debates are canceled tonight, because I really, really, really want to watch the Grey's Anatomy I Tivoed. Yes, I am a bad American. Deal with it.


Thursday, September 25

Middle of the Bus

The boy is inconsistent. Occasionally I beg and beg for a scrap of information, and nothing comes. Sometimes I blackmail and I get an odd tidbit or two. Then sometimes, out of nowhere, a spewing of information erupts from his body as if he just can't contain it anymore.

I'm at the computer. Doodles comes running up.
Doodles: We heard a book about Johnny Appleseed today!
Me: Yea?
Doodles: Yea! He was a friend of the Indians! Just like the pilgrims!
Me: Oh!
Doodles: And he walked all the way from Massachusetts to India!
Me: India?
Doodles: Yes, India!
Me: Are you sure it was India?
Doodles: I'm sure! He walked all the way to India.
Me: Maybe it was Ohio?*
Doodles: Oh, right. That's it. He walked to Ohio.

Of course, every now and I then I find the innocent questions actually yield quite a bit of insight into his day. Today Doodles went on his first field trip: apple picking (ah, now the Johnny Appleseed story makes sense, doesn't it!).

Me: So did you like riding on the bus?
D: Yes.
M: Who did you sit next to?
D: On the way there or on the way back?
M: Both.
D: I don't remember who I sat with on the way there.
M: Okay, who did you sit with on the way back?
D: I sat with O. and J.
M: Three in a seat?
D: Yep.
Me, frantically trying to figure out how to keep the conversation going: So... did you sit in the middle or the window or the aisle?
D: First I sat on the outside and then the middle.
Me: So on the way there you sat on the outside and on the way home you sat in the middle?
D: No, on the way home I sat on the outside and then I moved to the middle.
Me: In the middle of the bus ride?
D: Yea. A teacher made me switch because J. was sitting like this [he demonstrates] and O. was doing this [he demonstrates] and O. kept sitting on J.'s hand and J. got angry so we had to switch and I sat in the middle.
Me: Ah.
D: Can I go now?
Just goes to show you, there really isn't ever a stupid question.

*The nice thing about this being my blog is I'm able to use a bit of revisionist history. Because anyone who actually heard the conversation, might have thought they heard me say, "Maybe it was Oregon?" because frankly I don't remember the story at all, but a quick Google search shows me he only made it to Ohio, which means either he's lazy or perhaps "Ohio" is what I really said in the first place.


Friday, September 19

May the Force Be With Him

At tonight's Town Day festivities:

We're eating hot dogs on the lawn, listening to Ben Rudnick. Doodles becomes agitated in an happy way.
Doodles: Mom, mom! Mom, look!
Me: What? What?
D: Mom, it's E!
Me: A? Where?
D: No, not A. E! E!
Me: Who? Who is E?
D: Moooom! From my class [can you hear the duh in his voice there? because it's there]
M: Oh. Do you want to go say, "Hi?"
D: No!
M: Because if you want, you can go by yourself and say, "Hi."
D: No, Mom!
M: Did you want me to go with you to say, "Hi?"
D: No, thank you.
A few minutes later. Doodles is still staring at this kid.
Me: Are you sure you don't want me to go with you to say, "Hi"?
Doodles: Mom! When I say "No, thank you," I mean "No, thank you!"
Hmmm, where did he get that from.

Fast forward thirty minutes. Feeling guilty that I'm not going to let the kids stay up late enough to watch the fireworks, I buy them hideously overpriced, horrible for the environment plastic light sabers.

Wielding his red light saber, Doodles turns to me and says, "You know, I think I'll go say hi to E. now."

Long gone, buddy, long gone. But it's nice to know that Boys with Their Toys starts at age 5.


The Kids Found a Shortcut from Kitchen to Office


Hope You Don't Need to Pee


Our bedroom


Builders, School, and Weddings, Oh My

So, what's going on with me? I'm not purposely neglecting you guys--I think it's just that there's so much going on and I'm just overwhelmed enough that I feel like I have absolutely nothing interesting to blog about. But that stops now! I'm cranking up the iTunes (so loving the new Genius playlist feature), ignoring the copyedit that's whispering to me from the side of my desk ("Jenny! I have misplaced modifiers! I'm going to secretly removed serial commas! Look, Jenny, look! I've got inconsistent numerals.... Jennnnnny! Come fiiiiiix me!"), and I'm now prepared to give you all my full attention.

I'm sorry, what was the question?

Let me tell you some of the things I've learned this past week:

  • If you give a child 60 cents and tell him he can buy his milk at school, 5 times out of 5 times, he will choose chocolate milk. (Nostalgia: When I was in elementary school, lunch prices increased from 50 cents to 55 cents. And we didn't have three lunch choices, including pizza pretty much every day.)

  • A house with no walls is way more interesting than a house with walls.

  • You can watch a cement truck pour cement for hours.

  • If your family can't keep a decent-sized house clean, no way can they keep a 700-square-foot apartment clean. You will be stepping on Legos for the duration. And if your husband didn't know what clean was in your house, he really won't know what it means in the apartment. By the way, you are not invited over. Not any of you. Because this place is a mess.

  • No matter how little food you put into your son's lunchbox, he will not be able to finish it. I gave that boy two falafel balls (note: not an entire falafel sandwich, just two of the little balls) and two slices of red pepper. He ate one falafel ball, one slice of red pepper, and complained that I gave him too much food because he doesn't have time to finish it. Kindergartners get a half hour for lunch. He can't manage to put away four small pieces of food? That boy is a Chatty Cathy is what it is. Today he said I was giving him too much lunch: a cheese sandwich and two red pepper slices. He said, "Just give me the red pepper." Um, no? Because I'm not going to be the mom called by DSS for starving her child. At least I won't starve him in a public setting. We compromised on half a cheese sandwich and red pepper. And this kid wonders why he doesn't weigh enough for a "big kid booster seat" in the car.

  • If you buy your daughter a dress so she can be a flower girl, you'll need to get shoes to go with the dress. Otherwise, you will wake up two days before the wedding and think, "OH SHIT! I didn't buy any shoes!" and you'll have to run to the store and pay top dollar to Stride Rite because your wide-footed daughter doesn't fit into normal shoes and you don't have enough time to order them online.

  • When your son says he's not learning anything yet at school... he LIES! At back-to-school night, it was downright overwhelming to see how much they are learning. And sure enough, this morning, I said to Doodles, "In September, for awhile..." and he chimed immediately in, making hand motions, "I will ride a crocodile down the chicken soupy Nile. Paddle once, paddle twice, paddle chicken soup and rice," and, oh yes, they have gone over some of the letters of the alphabet, and yeah, they do count every day, many times a day, and he has been writing his name, but no, he really isn't learning anything. Okay, fine. As long as he keeps not learning at this pace, I'll be happy.

  • If you're size 4 son needs a suit, you will be paying hand over fist for it. In fact, he might even have to give up his brand-new room in his brand-new house, it costs so much.

  • Running 19 miles after taking two weeks off of running may not be the smartest thing in the world.

  • If, when you move, you think that purging your house of chocolate will prevent you from bingeing when your children are in preschool and you're working, you are wrong. You will just find other things to binge on.

Okay, enough you people! I hear a "comprised of" (AAAACK!) beckoning me from the manuscript. (Where is my red pencil! Bad of, bad, bad, bad of.) We've got one wedding rehearsal, one party, one half marathon, two sets of formal photos, a mountain of logistics, and one wedding to attend this weekend. I'm sure I'll have something to say about it all next week.

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Monday, September 15

Suburban Blues

One week and one day as the mother of a kindergartner, and this suburban hausfrau is already failing. Tomorrow is the first bake sale of the year... and I have nothing. Not even a store-bought cake to pass off as my own.

I'll just hand in the keys to my minivan now....


Sunday, September 14

Born Republican

That girl, that girl. Oy is she trying to prove to me that she's her father's daughter.

For his birthday, Doodles got Monopoly Jr. I have to say, it's a great intro to Monopoly and not a bad game at all. Doodles caught on quite quickly. Pie? Well, Pie likes to play by her own rules.

Me: Okay, Pie, you have to pay the bank $3.
Pie: $3?
Me: Yes.
Pie: I don't want to.
Me: But, Sweetie, that's how the game is played.
After a bit of cajoling...
Pie: Okay. But you have to give it back to me later, okay?

We're playing for a bit.
Me: Okay, Pie, you have to pay Doodles $4.
Pie: No.
Me: That's the way the game is played. You can give him one green and one white bill or you can give him two yellow bills.
Pie: No.
Me: Sweetie, these are the rules of the game. You have to give him two of the pieces of paper.
Pie, finally relenting: I'll give him one. But he has to give it back to me later.

The next day in the car, I was listening to NPR. NPR, for God's sakes! And my daughter? What does she pick up on? I hear a song emerging from the back seat, a lovely little tune with a simple set of words: "John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain. John McCain." For an entire twenty minute car ride.

I guess I was wrong. Dartmouth, here she comes.

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Tuesday, September 9

Back to School

I survived the first day of kindergarten (yes, me. I never had any doubt about Doodles). Preschool for Pie starts at the end of this week. We're settled into our apartment, and--yes, finally--the construction seems to be beginning. I return to freelance work tomorrow. The temperatures are dipping and suddenly the synagogue is all abuzz about the high holidays. Forget what the calendar says; summer is officially over.

Doodles loved kindergarten. He did have a couple of complaints: 1) "Why can't I stay for the afterschool program?" and 2) "We didn't learn anything today." But other than that, he already found his gaggle of guy friends with whom he sat at lunch. He played with blocks during choice time, drew a picture of himself--with his backpack, learned where to put his folder, raised his hand to use the bathroom, heard two books about kindergarten, and generally enjoyed his day. Pie, on the other hand, wasn't satisfied with the raspberry picking we did and complained frequently about not going to kindergarten herself.

For lunch, I packed--in his brand-new Star Wars lunch box--falafel, hummus, pita, string cheese, and red pepper (oh how far we've come with his eating!). As a treat, I printed out some cute school-themed notepaper and wrote a special note for him. On the note, I taped a Hershey's Kiss as a treat.

After school, we went to the playground to play, and I peeked into his lunch box. The falafel, string cheese, and half a red pepper were eaten. "You didn't eat much," I said. "I ran out of time," he told me. As we were walking, I asked, "Did you get a special treat in your lunch?"

"Yes!" he said. "I got a Hershey's Kiss! It was a surprised. You didn't tell me it was going to be there."

"It was a special first day of school surprise for you."

"I liked it, Mom," he said.

When we finally got home, it was close to five. "Can I finish my lunch now?" he asked.

"It's just about dinner time," I said. "Do you want to finish your lunch for dinner?"

"Yes," he said, and he sat down and opened his lunch. "And when I'm done, I can have my Kiss."

Confused, I asked, "Didn't you eat your kiss at school?"

He shook his head. "No, Mom!" he said, in his duh voice. "I didn't eat all my energy food so I didn't eat the Kiss."

Holy cow. Food group would have been proud of him. And for the record, I let him eat the Kiss before he finished the rest of his lunch/dinner.

I did buy Doodles a first-day-of-school present: two easy reader Star Wars books. Which was fine, except Pie announced, "I want a Kiss for my first day of school and for my first day of school I want two books, only with princesses in them!"

Three more days till preschool gets into full swing. Just three more days....

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Friday, September 5

A Time for Everything

I'm trying, unsuccessfully, to get a few things done with the Pie on my lap. I said, "Ugh, I don't know what to do first," to which Pie replied, "It's thinking time, Mommy!"


Thursday, September 4

Shut UP!

You should all know, of course, that I love my daughter. She is bright and outgoing and energetic, with tons of spunk. That said, she will not SHUT UP! Not for two seconds!There's this constant stream just pouring uncontrollably from her. My goal for today was to finish unpacking the apartment. Pie's goal was to make me absolutely insane.

Pie: Can we go up to Storyland and pick up Cinderella and she can come over for a sleep over and she can sleep with me?
Me: I think Cinderella's pretty busy doing princess stuff.
Pie: Please. Please. Puh-lease!!! I want Cinderella to come over for a sleep over. We can pick her up in our car and she can sit next to me and we'll drive her here and she can sleep with me. Puh-lease!!! I want Cinderella to come over. [I can't quite capture it, but imagine this little monologue repeats itself for about fifteen minutes.]
Me: Cinderella is not coming over.
Pie: Puh-lease! Why can't she come over?
Me: She's very busy. She's doing princess things.
Pie: Why is she a princess?
Me: Because I believe she's married to a prince.
Pie: Prince Charming?
Me: Right.
Pie: Is that her daddy?
Me: No, her husband.
Pie: Husband?
Me: Yes. Like Daddy is my husband.
Pie: Oh. Well can Cinderella come and go swimming with me?
Me: Pie, Cinderella cannot go swimming with you.
Pie: Why not?
Doodles: Silly! Of course Cinderella can't swim with you! She doesn't own a bathing suit!
Pie: Oh. Well, can you go pick up Cinderella and she can come down and watch me go swimming? I really want Cinderella to come down and watch me go swimming. She can just watch me because she doesn't own a bathing suit and I really want her to come down and watch me go swimming, so can we go get her now? Pul-LEASE!
Me: No, we can't go get Cinderella now.
Pie: [near tears] But I want to see Cinderella! Can we go to Storyland again?
Me: Sure! We'll go next summer.
Pie: But I want to go NOW! Can't we go NOW!
Me: We cannot go now.
Pie: But why not?
Me: Well, you don't want to miss school!
Pie: [thinks for a moment] Can Cinderella sleep we me? Can we have Cinderella over and she can sit next to me and she can sleep with me?

It's actually all a very devious, manipulative ploy by the Pie, because by the time we're on the fifth iteration of this conversation, I suggest, "How about a show?" I think it's her daylong assault on me to guarantee TV time. The girl is good. I see a future in politics for her. If there's anyone who could take Sarah Palin down, Pie is your person!

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Sniff Sniff

Yesterday, at the playground, I leaned back on the bench and put my hands behind my head as I gazed around... (You all know this is pure artistic license, as no mother of two ever gets to lean back on a bench and just gaze around. If--if--she gets to sit, she's hunched over, ready to jump up as she shouts, "Pie! Get down from there! You are not big enough for those monkey bars! Doodles! Doodles! What are you doing? You know better! We do not hang upside down from the see saw! Oh shit, where the hell are the Band-Aids?"). Where was I? Oh right, sitting on my literary device, gazing out at an idyllic scene of children happily playing, when I smelled something pretty foul. I turned my head a bit to figure out what it was and then I got it. The smell was me.

I go running three mornings a week. On a fourth morning I do boot camp. I generally cross-train one other day a week (biking, yoga, occasionally even a swim). And that means I shower at a minimum four days a week, but usually five.

Only I sprained a tendon. And I'm off of running for two weeks. Which, inadvertently, has led me to two shower-free weeks.

The thing is, I just don't think about taking showers when I'm not all sweaty and gross. So days and days go by without cleanliness. Until I sniff. And then I go running for the water.

Funny thing, at my kids' annual check-ups yesterday, I asked how often they needed to bathe, because my kids HATE it. With a passion. And the answer was, that kids really only need it when the dirt is absolutely caked on or, really, every three or four weeks. They don't get oily and greasy like grown-ups do.

So there you go. Adam showers to go to work--usually. And the rest of us will be living a life embracing the dirt. You may not want to come by until I start running again. This small apartment can really absorb smells...


Monday, September 1

What I Think About When I Can't Sleep.

What time is it? Oy. It's move day. The house is only half packed. If I start to wrap dishes in paper, will I wake the kids? What the HELL did I do to my foot? This week's 10 miler was a mistake. Which podiatrist should I see? Maybe Adam's right and we shouldn't have chosen to move into a teeny-tiny apartment and remodel during an election year. How did I end up with a Republican? My baby isn't ready for kindergarten. I wonder where Mrs. Ferrer, my kindergarten teacher, is? Ugh, those stupid red mats we had to lie down on, and how often I did end up napping. "I pledge allegiance to the flag..." Mrs. Ferrer wasn't Mrs. Ferrer though, till I had her in first grade. She was Miss Rios in kindergarten and after a couple of weeks of first grade, when answer me when I called her Miss Rios. Gads, she was probably half my age right now when she was my teacher. My baby is so not ready for that big elementary school. My baby. My babies. Remember Sophie's Choice? How did she make that choice. I could never do that. But what if the Nazis were about to get them? Don't think about it! Don't think about it! Is it time to get up yet? Ugh. Not yet. Man, my foot is buggin' me. What kind of paint should I let the kids use to mess up the walls tonight? Doodles wants to write, "Good-bye house" on the walls. Are we really doing this? This is the house I had my children in. Do I really want to mess with it? Will this stupid project ever get underway? Did I really agree to be a room parent at the preschool? And I've got to plan that Sukkot program soon. What can we do that's different from the last one? Can I bake round hallahs in that tiny apartment kitchen? I said I'd start working again tomorrow. Am I really going to start working again tomorrow? I'm too tired to start working again tomorrow. How are we going to get all the crap out of our house? Is it time to get up yet? Ugh. Sleep or coffee? Sleep or coffee? What time does Starbucks open on Labor Day? What time is it now? Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. Ugh. It's move day. Ugh.

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