Laced

Posted on 2/27/2011 08:56:00 AM
Sometimes Daddy needs a little help with his shoes. It's a good thing The Caterpillar is around to take care of that.


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Did You Get a Haircut or Are You Just Taking Altoids?

Posted on 2/25/2011 04:23:00 PM

I bought a small tin of Altoids the other day to keep in the car. This ordinarily wouldn't be blog worthy material, except for the fact that when I opened the tin, I was reminded of a completely different little blue pill.



The best part was that even though they had an "A" stamped on them for Altoids,


if you happen to look at it upside down, it'll look like a "V" instead.


I can think of a bunch of reasons to buy a dozen more of these. The real question is: how long would it be before my husband found out that what he's been taking is really only giving him minty fresh breath?

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If I Die Mysteriously, Here's Your Evidence

Posted on 2/24/2011 10:58:00 AM
Hey, did I ever tell you about the time my children tried to murder me?

It was about a week ago and I let them make cookies made cookies for them while they dumped flour on the floor. Then when the cookies were baked, I pulled the hot cookie sheets out of the oven and put them on the cook top to cool... away from tiny hands. The girls went into their room to play and were being uncharacteristically quiet. Too quiet, it should have occurred to me. But it didn't because I wasn't about to look a gift horse in the mouth. So I accepted the fact that they were playing together without fighting over who gets the exactly-the-same-princess-dress and who gets the other exactly-the-same-princess dress and that I didn't need to get up and referee or yell at them that I was going to get both the princess dresses if they didn't stop arguing about it.

Also: I am a moron.

I went back in the living room to catch up on some work and I forgot all about those cookies for awhile.


As the minutes wore on, I started to notice that the air in the house was getting a little thick, but I didn't think to do anything about it because I was sleepy. So sleepy. And a little lightheaded. But that could have just been one too many Diet Cokes for breakfast, I thought. So I continued on, deconstructing database code (because you know how riveting that can be) and thought to myself how I'd go get something to eat in a bit when I took a break and that would probably make me feel better. I went back to my computer screen and a few more lines of code. Then suddenly when the lines of code began to dance around on the screen, taunting me and performing unspeakable acts on each other, I realized something might not be right here. I snapped back into the present and sniffed. The whole room smelled of gas. (Thank goodness they put that smell in there.) I went into the kitchen and found a chair next to the stove, the cookie sheets ajar, a dozen half-eaten cookies on the stove top and the knobs of two of the burners turned to the ON position but unlit. The entire kitchen and adjoining living room were filled with gas.

The Ankle Biters had snuck (I know that the correct word is sneaked, but it always sounds so wrong to me) into the kitchen, and quietly pulled a chair up to the stove to steal cookies. In their haste and clown-like agility while getting down, they had accidentally knocked the burner controllers, turning the gas on without lighting the burners. I have no idea how long they'd left it like this. Let's just say I'd been enjoying the first extended period of quiet while they were both in the house in over a year, so I wasn't going to rock the boat by checking on them or anything. They'd gone on to bigger and better things in the basement and weren't even in the vicinity anymore. No telling what would have happened had I not been in the living room but I'm pretty sure at least the cats would be dead.

It occurs to me: perhaps it's time to raise the legal age when children are allowed to stay home alone.

While I was opening all the doors and windows and turning on every fan in the house (also: glad that I'd never decided to start enforcing smoking as a punishment), it occurred to me that this wasn't the first time my life had been put in peril by my children.

And I'm not alone.

Last week a friend showed up at church with a cast on her foot. I asked the obvious, tired question, "Ohmygosh, I just saw you last week; what happened?" (As if her life didn't continue in the time that I wasn't there to observe the facts of it.)

"Oh, it's Johnny's fault," she said, nodding toward her eight year old son.

I looked up quizzically so she elaborated, "He was in trouble and I told him to go to time out. But he wouldn't go. So I was trying to pick him up and take him there. He did that thing kids do where their bodies turn into melted butter and he slumped to the floor and under my foot just as I was stepping down. I knew I either had the choice to step down on his leg and probably break it, or I could try and miss him and trip over his jelly-like body. As I was flailing to the ground, everyone in the room heard a giant CRACK." Then she added sarcastically, "But it's good because he's okay."

Then we laughed and laughed because, haven't we all been there?

When The Dormouse was an infant, she had this habit of head-butting me in the face. I'd be sitting in the rocking chair, singing a sweet lullaby, trying to give her sustenance from my own body. Suddenly, without warning and in a split second, she'd randomly rear up and knock her noggin into my nose, or my zygomatic arch, or something else in my face that was incredibly tender and easily breakable. More than once, I heard that telltale crack in one of those incidents and nursed a swollen nose for days afterward. I never bothered to go to the hospital because I'm adept at using the Mel Gibson shoulder technique. Plus I'm convinced that if I ever disappeared and they found my body somewhere in a ditch that The KingofHearts would be immediately arrested on suspicion of spousal abuse because they'd find multitudes of remodeled hairline fractures in my cranium. So the hospital would have asked too many questions.

I believe it was my brother who kicked my mother in the face at about nine months old and gave her a black eye. (Or maybe it was me and I've chosen to believe it was my brother to avoid the guilt.)

We all put our lives on the line for our children. If not through actual bodily harm inflicted at the hands of the children themselves, then from some other child-related cause, like driving to work after your seventh consecutive night of sleeping a total of only two and a half hours, but in fifteen minute, non-consecutive stints. Why do we do it? Well maybe because at the end of the day, it's all worth it. Or maybe just because parenting sucks, but we're totally addicted. Children are basically an abusive boyfriend who sidles up next to you on the couch during House and kisses you on the cheek and tells you he promises he won't break your nose again if you only just buy him those clip-on earrings because it makes him feel so grown up and you're the best mom in the whole wide world. And we fall for it... every time.

From the outside, parenting doesn't look like a life-threatening job. I know there are people way braver than I am in the world. There are people - soldiers, police officers, auto mechanics - out there who go into work every day thinking "today is a good day to die." But I'll wager that none of them thinks that their death will be at the hands of a three year old who would gleefully kill you over a cookie.

*prize of my undying respect to the first person who can name all the movies these stills come from

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Reminders

Posted on 2/23/2011 06:45:00 PM
Dormouse: "My friend Sally in my class at school says she is nine years old and she'll be ten on her next birthday."

Me: "Well, you're both in second grade, plus we were at her last birthday party. Your friend Sally says a lot of things. Not all of them are true."

DM: "But she's a Christian!"

KoH: "So are you."

DM: "Oh.... right."

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The Sound and the Flurry

Posted on 2/21/2011 07:30:00 AM In:
Both my children have always been highly verbal. The Dormouse began talking quite early and pretty much hasn't stopped since. It didn't really matter if she knew what the words meant or not. A steady stream of lexemes just began falling out of her mouth one day and hasn't yet stopped. The Caterpillar took a little more time to begin talking, yes, but now she's almost worse than The Dormouse with the Faulkner-esque stream of consciousness dialogue. The only difference is it comes out of her mouth in song.

When she gets in one of her singing moods, the best thing to do is shut up and listen - pretend you don't hear her. Because if you try and sing along, she'll stop. If you ask her about it, it pisses her off and you'll be yelled at. If you try to get someone else to listen too, the singing will stop and she'll turn into Michigan J. Frog. The only thing to do is sit back, don't make eye contact and wait for the entertainment.

Here's this morning's song:

Everybody loves Caterpillar's hair
And I do too, and I do too
You're tap dancing on my last nerve.
Once there was a snowman, snowman, snowman,
The beast was white as snow.
Everybody everywhere, everybody everywhere,
Sing along with me.
What's your name again?
Caterpillar. Yes, Caterpillar.
Everybody sing, la la la la la!
You're tap dancing on my last nerve!

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Hors d'oeurves

Posted on 2/20/2011 05:39:00 AM In:
If you've read this weblog for any length of time, you'll know that I do not claim to be a cook. I also maintain that it's not that I can't cook; I'm actually quite a good cook. I just don't enjoy doing it. So what's the point when most of the people I cook for would just as easily eat three day old Cheerios off the floor as something that took half a day, $40 in ingredients and a special trip to the grocery store to prepare? I rest my case.

For something to be a delightful recipe for me, it has to qualify on three levels:
  • one) it must be good. I may not like to cook, but most people have heard that I like to eat. So if I don't like it, there's really no point. It's all about me, ME, Meeeee!
  • two) it has to be quick. I don't really care about easy; I'm okay with putting forth some effort, but if it takes a long time to make - like if you have to chill it or let it sit overnight - I'm quite sure that my short attention span (made even shorter by my children who can't even let me go to the bathroom without interrupting) will let me forget that I'm even doing something that requires the kitchen and that dough I put in the fridge to chill for an hour last Thursday will probably no longer be viable.
  • three) it must be made with ingredients that I generally have in my house. I really hate having to go to six different stores for one thing that I will ultimately use to make exactly one dish and then it will go rancid in my pantry until the next time I need it, thereby requiring a repeat trip to the store. I know that there are still places in the world where people make a special trip to the market for each meal they prepare. But I do not live in those places anymore. So I tend to substitute: this calls for onions; I'm out of onions; what about a couple teaspoons of onion salt? That tendency of mine has ruined more than one meal.

I don't know where I originally heard about Spicy Saltines, but I've been seeing versions of the recipe around the interweb in a lot of places. I was intrigued, so about a month ago I decided to give it a try. Since then I've been adjusting and perfecting versions of it: swapping out spices or trying new flavorings. On my three requirements for good recipes, Spicy Saltines qualify on all levels. Which is why I shall share it with you now. I'll spare you my experimentation with different spices and just give you the basic idea, but know that you can swap out spices or add additional ones depending on what taste you're going for and/or more in my case, what you happen to have on hand.

I almost always have these four ingredients in the house:

Olive oil, crushed red pepper, garlic powder and a package of ranch dip

as well as a box of saltine crackers. Score.

So you take about three sleeves of crackers (maybe more, maybe less, it's all good) and empty them all into a gallon ziplock bag.


Then measure out your other ingredients into some kind of pourable container.

One cup olive oil:


About two tablespoons of crushed red pepper and a tablespoon of garlic powder:


along with the packet of ranch dressing mix:


Whisk, whisk, whisk. When it's pretty well mixed together, it will look ugly and nasty. I'm quite aware of this. Trust me, it gets better.

Then pour into the ziplock bag and drizzle evenly over the crackers:


Seal the bag and get a kid to mix the crackers around for a bit so they all get covered with spice and olive oil goo. Then put it down on the counter for ten minutes or so to soak up all that yummy olive oil on one side.


Flip the bag and let all the goo ooze down to the other side.


You can flip the bag as many times as you want. I tend to just leave it there and then turn it each time I walk through the kitchen. You can put it on its end, turn it over again, mush the crackers around some more. Basically, you want the crackers to soak up as much of the olive oil goo as evenly as they can, but you have to temper that with how badly you want to unhinge your jaw and just pour the entire bag in your mouth.

When I first came across this recipe, I uncharitably thought it was one of those trashy recipes that comes from the back side of the label and some marketing campaign designed to get you to eat more saltines and up Nabisco's profit margin. But then I remembered, those recipes - your green bean casseroles, your toll house cookies, etc. - tend to be really good. Now I find I can wait about thirty-six seconds before stealing the first cracker out of the bag when no one's looking.

Ordinarily, I would just leave them all in the ziplock bag, but that makes for a lame ending photograph, so here's your presentation photo.


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Reliving Her Childhood

Posted on 2/18/2011 04:47:00 PM
At least these small doll cribs come in handy for someone.


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All in a Row

Posted on 2/17/2011 07:59:00 AM
Someone in the house is exhibiting symptoms of OCD...


and for once it isn't me.

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Mondegreen-arena

Posted on 2/16/2011 07:41:00 AM In:
KoH: "I have that song stuck in my head and it's annoying."

Me: "What song?"

"That Macarena song."

"Ugh."

"Yeah, and the most annoying thing about it is I don't know any of the words. I just know the 'heeeeeey maacarena' part. So I just keep singing 'heeeeeey maacarena' over and over."

Dormouse: "I know the words! It goes, 'one maca, two maca, three macarena!"

In other news, The Caterpillar has learned to do The Conga:



It's like Carmen Miranda herself was standing in front of you, right?

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Construction Twister

Posted on 2/15/2011 12:30:00 PM
They claim they're building a new deck. If you ask me, it looks like some kind of new-fangled sex game I don't want to know about because YOUR DAD DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO BUILD A DECK!


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Valiumtimes

Posted on 2/14/2011 03:39:00 PM
A friend came over this weekend to make cupcakes with The Dormouse and The Caterpillar and let me just say that if this person had been around back when The Caterpillar was having her language issues, I don't think we'd have worried one jot or tittle because once she walked through the door, The Caterpillar began to talk to her non-stop, describing every book, television show, and party she'd ever experienced as well as relating a fair amount of intimate knowledge about the Scooby-Doo franchise. I honestly had to listen really close be sure she took a breath occasionally. It reminded me of the days when The Dormouse was in her non-stop talking phases (from about age one until.... well, I'll let you know when it ends) and I would sigh exasperatedly and ask, "Could you just please SHUT UP FOR FIVE MINUTES??" Only I would pronounce it, "That's great, honey."

While The Dormouse has never had an unexpressed thought, The Caterpillar prefers to think about what she wants to say first... and then communicate with others in high-pitched whines and tantrums or simply to scream bloody murder at inanimate objects. I'm still not certain which circle of hell is smaller. So it was actually kind of cool to listen in from the other room and hear her telling her newest Favorite Person all the intimate details of her life without a single crying fit.

They made cupcakes and then decorated them with all the accouterments one might need to make Valentines' Day treats... that is if one is a hummingbird and can only subsist on sugar.

We call this one the Times Square Cupcake:


The cupcake equivalent of the Everything Bagel:



The Poisoned Apple cupcake:


The Ah, This Is The Life cupcake:


As The Caterpillar says, "Happy Valiumtimes Day!"

(I could really use some Valiumtimes right about now.)

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From the If Walls Could Talk File

Posted on 2/08/2011 12:07:00 PM
I took this picture of the floor of the Washington Monument several weeks ago. I know you're all, "The FLOOR?" and I'm all, "I KNOW!" and then we're all "sigh."

Excuse me, lapsed into 80s-teen-speak there for a bit. This might be a good time to apologize publicly to my parents.... sorry you had to live through that, folks.

Whenever I go into an old or historic building I'm obsessed with two things: the doorknobs and the floor. I can't help but think of all the hands, connected to all the people, connected to all the stories of those who touched those doorknobs or walked those floors. In my mind's eye, I see ghosts treading those paths before me like in one of those old tymey traffic movies where everyone moves just a little bit too fast.


In a related story: I'm probably going to need one of those brain-stapling procedures for compulsive thinkers.

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SleepyTired

Posted on 2/05/2011 02:17:00 PM
Ever been so tired, you feel asleep with your dinner in your hand and your elbow in your bowl?


In a related story: I might need to teach her some table manners.

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Cookies

Posted on 2/04/2011 02:13:00 PM
Sometimes you just have to blow off work you should be doing in order to make cookies with a three year old.



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Drinking the Bathwater

Posted on 2/03/2011 01:33:00 PM
Meet Bumbles.


He's been a part of our family since he joined us, along with his friend Rudolph, on New Year's Eve, a gift from a friend to the girls. Rudolph, sadly, is no longer with us thanks to a bizarre kitchen sink accident The Caterpillar tried to save him from helped him encounter. Let's just say he lost his head over it.

The Best Thing about those grow 600% its size when placed in water toys is that you can submerge only a portion of the toy in water and make hilarious anatomy.


Bumbles has had giant feet with a tiny head. A giant head with tiny feet. One giant foot and one giant hand on opposite sides of his body. Giant head and hand with tiny feet and one tiny hand. Giant upper body and tiny legs... etc., etc. I haven't yet found a way to just make his mouth grow yet, but I'm sure we will.

The Worst Thing about those grow 600% its size when placed in water toys, I used to think, is that they don't grow to anywhere near 600% of their size. I'd say the largest we've been able to get out of him has been somewhere between 150% and 200% of his original size. Which, while impressive, is NOT IMPRESSIVE ENOUGH.

The other day we were going about our nighttime routine (i.e., screaming at the children to stop wandering around the kitchen and get into the bathtub) and The Caterpillar wandered into the kitchen with a glass of water in her hand. She paused, projectile vomited onto the floor, and then continued her path through the kitchen like nothing had happened. It was like someone hit a button on a remote control and then she resumed her normal programming.

She hadn't been acting sick - and still wasn't - so we went to investigate and found that the glass of water in her hand was actually Bumbles and the pool of his own filth he'd been soaking in for the past two weeks.

"Oh, honey, were you drinking this?"

"Don't take away MY WAAAATTTEEEER! I'm THIRRRRRSTTEEEE!"

Mystery solved.

So I now have a new Worst Thing about those grow 600% its size when placed in water toys. But the new Best Thing about those grow 600% its size when placed in water toys? When I looked them up on the internet I found that most of them are non-toxic.

Moral of the story: Never drink Bumbles' bathwater.

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Elipitcal

Posted on 2/01/2011 06:18:00 AM In:
I had forgotten about this photo I snapped from atop the Washington Monument a few weeks ago and just found it on my hard drive. You're looking north through the city at The Elipse (the National Christmas Tree is that little green triangle at it's top) and the White House just north of that. From up here, you can see the idea of Pierre L'Enfant's original wheel-and-spoke design of the District. Of course, this photo might be a little misleading because what you are looking at is not actually the center of the wheel. L'Enfant's plan had streets running like spokes from the center of the wheel where The Capitol sat, not the White House. But there are a lot of traffic circles of death in D.C. so it's easy to get confused.


That reminds me of a story The KingofHearts often tells about how before we met, he went downtown with some friends and a girl he was trying to date. They were walking around at night and she looked up at the building and said with pretentious awe in her voice, "Just think. Our President is in there sleeping right at this moment."

There were only two problems with her statement.

One) the President was out of the country during that particular week.

and

Two)
this is the building they were looking up at:


I guess L'Enfant's plan got the better of her too.

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Me in 3 Seconds

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Washington, D.C. Metro, United States
Married, 40ish mom of two (or three, or four, depending on how you keep score) who stepped through the lookinglass and now finds herself living in curiouser and curiouser lands of Marriage, Motherhood, and the Washington, D.C. Metro Area.

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