Monday, June 16, 2008


As the toddler walked proudly in the living room, he proclaimed that he had "found my telescope", as he peered through the cardboard tube of an empty toilet paper roll.

It was more cute before I walked into the bathroom and found a big fluffy mess of white TP that he had discarded during the process of discovery.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Thursday Pony Blogging

A beautiful setting

My biggest flaw as a parent so far is that I am a big coward. Oh, not for myself, for my children. Yes, I am the one at the playground, beach, forest, constantly droning "Be careful. Be careful. Be careful." I know it is a huge problem. I want my children to be confident. I want them to feel that their world is safe. I want them to trust their instincts and their strengths, and yet I can't seem to stop myself. So what better way to work on this problem than signing both girls up for horseback riding lessons. Right?

Iris handles the reins

Stella likes Macaroni

Today was such a beautiful Spring day.
It was the first day ever that the girls got to ride outside.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Is this thing on?

I learned something today.

When you're 2½, the color of your sippy cup is of paramount importance.

Saturday, March 8, 2008


Jrette. is 2½. She has reached the age when "Why?" is the question for everything. Everything I say to her, it seems, leads to a "why?"

Of course, the next stage is represented by Jr., at 8½, who no longer asks "why?" because he knows everything.

And then there's me. At 42 ... okay, almost 42½ ... I ask "why?" all the time: "Why do so many people think John McCain -- er, Huggy Bear -- is the best man to be president?" "Why are the mass media arrayed against the truth?" "Why is Drunky McStagger respected by anyone, anywhere, at any time?" ... and so on.

The answers for the kids tend to be easier, I'm afraid.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Monday Book Blogging

The power of parent propaganda is potent and persuasive (and I like alliteration when I'm tired). I recently caught myself poo-poo-ing teenage girl singers who do that phony cutesy-sexy thing that I can't stand. I figure my daughters can make up their own minds about music, so I'll try to keep my opinions in perspective. But when it comes to politics, I have no qualms about telling the truth as I see it.

A friend of mine, whose daughter was in my daycare at the time, brought me this book sometime before the last election so that, as she said, I could combine my vocation and my avocation. The story started many conversations with my children and some of the older daycare children and gave me lots of opportunities to indoctrinate them into the progressive paradise. The cliff hanger ending in The Three Little Pigs Buy The White House, by Dan Piraro, was resolved unfavorably in real life, but it ain't over yet...

Monday, February 25, 2008

Monday Book Blogging

Here we go again! Late with my homework! What kind of example am I setting for my children??

Well, I have a good excuse: I've been practicin' for life as a solo performer (I've got a month until Eschacon08). My kids may not see a very punctual or organized mom, but they do see a musician. And they have already started writing their own songs. It has been my experience all these years working with young children that they all love music (and visual art--but we'll save that for another Monday). All the kids I've known will at least wiggle to whatever music you offer them. Some will also dance, sing, and play whatever they can make into an instrument. Somewhere along the line, we give children the message that if they aren't experts, they shouldn't try. Many kids reach the tween years unwillingly to risk possible embarrassment, unwillingly to express themselves in music. And so most people enter adulthood unable to play music with their friends and family. Without getting too far from a family blog, let me say that I think that singing and playing music alone & with others is one of the top five physical pleasures in life.

This week's book, Music Over Manhattan, written by Mark Karlins, illustrated by Jack E. Davis, celebrates the thrill of music.

And as a starting point for creating a solo performance, I videoed the songs for my Eschacon08 set so my guitar teacher can work with me. This is my rock-n-roll hit, Lay Down.

On Religion

As a DFH with secularist tendencies, my children have rarely been to church. I realized this yesterday as I dressed them for one of their rare forays there--and not even to what I, with what I recognize as typical Roman Catholic condescension, would consider a "real" church. They don't even have church clothes (necessitating an emergency trip to Target) and they have no idea how to behave there (though luckily there was a nursery and something called "Junior Church" involving puppet shows and crafts). We were only there because the 8YO's favorite cousin was being baptized, which involved a pool and swim trunks and full immersion (the cousin is also 8).

But I got to thinking how regular church was for me as a kid, how soothing it was to think that there was some force in control of the universe and that it acted according to clearly defined laws (even if I didn't know what "adultery" and "false witness" were). I spent twelve years in Catholic school, but that was more about forming a tribal identity than actually studying the faith--though I took religion every day. Still, Catholics don't really read the Bible, so it wasn't as though I were absorbing tons of information.

I retained a residual Catholic identification right up until 2005: the ascension of the worst, most narrow, backwards-assed aspects of my co-religionists was too much for me to take. Benedict is everything I hate about Catholicism, with none of the social justice tempering his nuttiness. My late mother hated Ratzinger with the white hot heat of a thousand suns: thank God she didn't live to see him Pope. My father, a very faithful man who attends Mass daily and belongs to the Catholic Workers, tried to keep me on board by pointing out that Benedict was old and wouldn't last long. Long enough to confirm a successor who shares his worldview, I noted.

Protestantism was right out for me: as James Joyce said, why would I trade a logical absurdity for an illogical absurdity? Catholicism at least has good art and an intellectual tradition; why someone would give it up for PowerPoints and Amy Grant is beyond me.

And so my children have only been in church a few times in their lives. SP is not even baptized. As my brother's minister assured me I was going to hell yesterday (not personally, but I think I was the only "outsider" there, and he specifically addressed that point), I suppose I should be glad they're coming with me.

But I'm still Catholic enough to feel guilty about that.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Oscars!

I grew up in southern California. Atrios is right: we do watch the Oscars with civic pride. Of course, since I grew up in a family that communicates by quoting movies, we were even more invested in the winners. And we kept score and got prizes! My children here on the east coast won't see the show 'til they're much older since it's on three hours later here.

When I got ready to watch tonight, I tried to hunt down an antenna for the TV, even though I vaguely remember throwing it away because we don't watch TV. I couldn't find it. But I remembered that years ago, my dad, who loves gadgets, had given me a little portable TV that runs on four double-A batteries. I found it! And I had batteries! And here I am...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Confessions: The Worst Parent in the World!

Somewhere in the process of raising cadres for the revolution, one realizes that they have done something so heinous, so egregious, that they deserve to have all their parenting cred withdrawn for the duration.

I had that day yesterday.

Colleges, as you may be aware, keep peculiar schedules, unlike any other business. We organize our vacations around convenient breaks in the schedule, not around national holidays. When I was a student, my heavily Jewish college had classes on Labor Day, but not Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur. In my current job, we have a break coming up (starting tomorrow), but we had classes yesterday and today.

Since I've been in this business a good 15 years, you'd think I'd take such things into account, but no. There we were yesterday morning, sitting in the driveway with the car running, babies strapped in, Thers drumming the steering wheel impatiently, fearing he'd be late for class. The boy, bundled up and backpacked, stood forlornly by the road waiting for the schoolbus while I frantically called the transportation office demanding to know where his bus had gotten off to.

And then I remembered. President's Day. Not just President's Day, but an entire week off school.


Maybe it will be funny someday.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Book Blogging

Food. Glorious food?

Yes, we love food in our house. I'm happy that my children prefer bacon & onion pizza to the universal kid pizza: plain cheese. They love basil-rubbed pork ribs. Rosemary potatoes. Gorgonzola cheese & balsamic vinegar on their salad. They like salad! Most of the time.

Most of the time, the junkiest junk food in the house is homemade chocolate chip scones [full disclosure: they get granola bars in their school lunch bag for snack time]. Most of the time.

Then, there are holidays. Their loving Grampa sends them See's Candy boxes for holidays, as he did this week for Valentine's Day.

And then, the beast is born.

In our house lives the candy fiend.

And though she is only 5 years old, and 40-ish pounds, she terrorizes me. It starts out innocently enough. "Mom, I'm hungry," she coos from the playroom. "What would you like to eat?" I inquire, the hostess, waitress, chef and busboy, all in one. "Give me some suggestions," she demands. And I rattle off my list of all the things she loves most of the time. But none strike her fancy. She knows there is candy in da house. And there will be no peace until it is eaten. So I let her devour it. The good news is: it's finally gone today. The bad news is: Easter is early this year! Will my concerns be undermined if the world knows I love candy, too? Oh, and ice cream...

I love Rosemary Wells's books. Her illustrations can help me recover my equilibrium. One book that I have read a lot and was even requested as a daycare naptime book for awhile is Max Drives Away.
So here is a quick minute of a book to remind me that, while eggs or cereal are good most of the time, sometimes we have to have ice cream for breakfast.