Thursday, October 23, 2008


In early March, you may have to remind me I said this, but fall in New England is totally worth the winter.



Of course, we are firm believers in making people earn their keep.




Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I never claimed to be a lyricist

Most days, Jack emerges from his nap as a total whiny grouch. I eventually figured out that this is due to a severe crash in blood sugar, and if I can just get some food in him, he returns to his normal sunny self. The problem is that he is usually far too grouchy to eat anything. A typical post-nap conversation:

"You want some Graham crackers?




"A banana?"


"An apple? Cottage cheese? Goldfish crackers?"

"NO! NO! NO!"

Then he whines, rubs his eyes, and puts his head back down on my shoulder. And whines some more.

Nine times out of ten, I have to resort to some sort of subterfuge or trickery to get him to eat something. Yesterday, I tempted him with his very own box of raisins, something he had never had before. It sort of worked, but he needed added encouragement by way of a Fisher Price Little Person asking for and "eating" the raisins too. Then the Little Person started doing a dance.

It was a hit.

The Raisin Dance from Maureen on Vimeo.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The dove is probably better off without him

Jack and I go to the library at least once a week to play with the trains, attend story time, and get some books. Last week, I found a book entitled Who Killed Cock Robin? It’s a murder mystery picture book. For kids.

I have nothing against murder mysteries in general, but something about a murder mystery picture book, a book mixed in with If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, and Curious George strikes me as a little… off. Naturally, I checked it out.

It opens up with a picture of a newspaper story about a jewel heist. Cock Robin is the prime suspect. Then you turn the page and suddenly, the owl is questioning everyone in town. In rhyme. First he asks who did it, and we get this: “‘I,’ said the sparrow./ ‘With my bow and arrow,/ I killed Cock Robin.’” We then learn that the magpie saw him die (with his little eye), the duck covered the body, the pheasant dug the grave, and the crow carried the coffin. Yes, the coffin. Then there is a service, including a psalm reading and obligatory mourning by Cock Robin’s lost love and chief mourner, the dove.

Eventually, the hawk sees Cock Robin’s ghost, reports it to the owl, and the owl catches Cock Robin in the act of digging up his own grave in order to recover the stolen jewels mentioned in the opening newspaper article. At the end of the book, “All the birds of the air/ Fell a-sighin’ and a-sobbin’/ When they learned the fate/ Of poor Cock Robin.” (It is worth noting that this is the only stanza in the book in which the meter actually works. I say it’s worth noting, because the forced meter throughout the rest of the book drove me CRAZY. See: Sparrow’s stanza, above.)

On the last page is a list of the clues that led Owl to the truth. For example, the arrows that the sparrow was using had blue feathers, but the arrow that “killed” Cock Robin had red. And so forth. But the problem is that any kid old enough to solve a murder mystery by noticing and deciphering these clues is probably not browsing the PICTURE BOOK section of the library.

So, to sum up:
I don’t recommend
Murder mysteries for tots
I think there are lots
Of better options.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Another placeholder

Once again, I am working on a biggish post, and, since it's hard and requires thought, I keep finding other things to do than actually write it. So in the meantime, I want to share a couple of Jack stories.

First, here is a list of sentences I have spoken over these past months that would never be said in a house without children:

1. No running on the couch.
2. Only one bowl of syrup a day. (In response to his request for seconds after finishing the syrup - light! light syrup! - that came with the bowl -small! small bowl! - of diced peaches.)
3. Don't put cookies in your socks
4. Don't put cheese on Mommy.
5. Don't stand on your cereal bowl.

As I look over this list, I realize that these are all seemingly arbitrary rules and regulations that are clearly not instinctual. Sheesh! It's like we have to teach kids EVERYTHING!

But I am not the only one with amusing sentences. The other day, Jack was holding the chicken from a toy tractor set in which the animals fit onto certain spots of the tractor. When the animal is in place, you can press it to hear the appropriate animal sound. Well, appropriate except for the chicken which crows like a rooster even though it is clearly a hen. At any rate, the animals have holes on the bottom of their feet so they can fit on the tractor. On the chicken, this hole is green, in contrast to its yellow feet.

As Jack looked at the chicken, he noticed the hole. "Hey, thassa hole," he said. Then he said this:

"This green hole has a chicken on it!"

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Who knew I could talk this much about salt?

If you're married, you probably know that there always seems to be an item of some sort that you get many versions of. For us, it was salt and pepper shakers. Well, OK, those and wine glasses, but multiples of wine glasses are expected.

At any rate, out of the ten or so sets of salt and pepper shakers we received, we ended up choosing the ones shaped like a bagel with cream cheese (white cream cheese = salt) and a blueberry muffin (black blueberries = pepper). This is because they are adorable and also because switching out the salt and pepper shakers is not really something I'm going to spend a lot of energy on.

However. We have lately been having a LOT of trouble getting the salt out of the bagel. It's always been a bit touchy; the salt seems to get clogged, and there are only two holes, so it comes out really slowly. But for the past several weeks - weeks, mind you, that will be important in a few minutes - it's like no salt was coming out AT ALL. I tried unclogging the holes with a toothpick, to no avail. In frustration, I started using the other random salt shaker we had handy, because I just couldn't deal with the bagel anymore. But then I lost the other salt shaker during the spice cabinet reorganization (I know! How could it disappear during an ORGANIZATION EFFORT?), and I had to use the bagel last night.

"Augh! This stupid salt shaker!" I thought to myself, in frustration. OK, fine. FINE. I said it out loud. "Geez! It's like there's not even any salt IN there!" I grumbled. Then I paused. "Maybe there actually isn't any salt in there," I thought. (Really, I only thought that.) So I checked.

And... empty. It works better now.