Corn is shaped like a rocket, and the color of moonlight.

My firstborn son is a poet.



Tembo has learned a lot from her "bubbas." Mostly that's a good thing. They've had quite a hand in teaching her to walk, and talk, and stack blocks, and play with trucks. All this is very wonderful... but alas, their influence isn't always quite so positive.

The other day, Isaiah and I were cuddled up on the couch, reading together. I don't recall what we were reading, but it was great fun. And Tembo wanted that book. There's no lack of fun picture books around here, but Tembo wanted that one. It would only be a few moments before Isaiah and I were ready to move on to a different book, but she wanted it right then.

Whining didn't get our little September-child what she wanted, so she tried a different strategy. Slowly and deliberately, she took her brother's foot into her mouth, and chomped down.

Et tu, Tembo?

Even as September has been learning from her older siblings, though, Isaiah has been learning from us. He didn't try to retaliate, didn't even show any anger. He simply raised one eyebrow, announced "Uh-oh, Timmo," and waited for me to remove the naughty little girl to her playpen.

All in all, I think I'm proud.


Strike Two

When the grocers went on strike a while back, it didn't really affect me that much. I simply shopped at the same non-union store as always. It was a little more crowded than usual, but the extra business put the employees in especially good moods. And the strike provided excellent fodder for small talk with strangers in the grocery store. If Californians tend to be a bit aloof, I do believe it is because the weather is so terribly uninteresting around here.

Yes, the grocery strike was not so bad... for me personally, at any rate. I was very glad on behalf of everyone involved when the whole situation was finally resolved, but it just didn't have a whole lot to do with me.

The current situation is another story altogether.

When the garbage men go on strike...

...it stinks.


Two things I like, and one thing that annoys and confuses me.

Two things I like:

1. Household cleaners that come in concentrated formulas. Nice and efficient and frugal and all that.

2. Household cleaners that come in spray bottles. Very convenient.

One thing that annoys and confuses me:

Concentrated household cleaners that come in spray bottles. What in the world am I supposed to do with that?


Time Out.

Last night Andy had a bunch of calls to make for work.

Parents aren't always particularly thrilled to get a call from a total stranger, informing them that their child qualifies for state-funded remedial tutoring.

Although the news really isn't nearly so insulting as they might think... under the No Child Left Behind Act, schools can't afford to waste valuable resources on students in the bottom quartile.

At any rate, Andy suspected that calling over the dinner hour might not help matters, but it was 5:30, and the calls had to be made. He thought about waiting until 7, but I vehemently nixed that idea. We did not hire a babysitter so I could sit at Starbucks and twiddle my thums while he made Title I calls. Besides, there's a reason why telemarketers always call over dinner. They're more likely to be home.

So he really was looking a bit guilty when he shut himself into the boys' room to make the calls in peace.

That's certainly how Isaiah interpreted it anyway. As he heard the door click, he grinned up at me.

"Dadder uh-oh!"


The Quotable Husband

"Two ears of corn, 3 Italian squash, a chicken... and thou."



My throat is raw and I hurt everywhere.

And I'd call the doctor...

except I have laryngitis.



Yesterday morning I glanced over at the bookshelf and saw a pile of things Andy had gathered up to take to work.

Whoops. So I put his grub in the fridge, and he came home for lunch.

When he opened up the refrigerator, and saw his pocket Latin dictionary on the second shelf, he just smiled and shrugged.

"Well, I guess it's a dead language. Wouldn't want it to spoil."


Giver of Kisses

The other day I had a dental appointment. I'd carefully scheduled it for a Monday, because Monday's are Andy's prep day, and thus pretty flexible, and he could watch the wuggies for me.

Except that after I'd scheduled my appointment, Andy's bosses scheduled a meeting in Pasadena, so there goes that bright idea.

It all worked out fine, though, because Justy came with us, and pushed our big, beautiful Wuggy Buggy around shopping plaza. So while I got my teeth poked and prodded and x-rayed, they visited the pet store and big lots and the 99c store and the garage where they were working on bug cars. Bug cars! Nathan got a red truck. Isaiah got a blue truck. Tembo got a dolly. I got the news that I need four fillings and three wisdom tooth extractions, and that not only are they going to drill me, they're going to gouge me, too. (Over $1k for four fillings? Surely I can do better than that... anyone know a reasonable dentist in Anaheim?)

I think I got the rotten end of the deal.

Anyway, the boys like their trucks very much. It's a funny thing... I never would have gotten Nathan the red one and Isaiah the blue one, it's always the other way around in my mind. But oh, they are very happy with this particular ownership arrangement. As I was putting them down for their quiet time that afternoon, Isaiah's truck happened still to be out in the living room. So Nathan shared... for a little while. When he got his truck back, he sighed with pleasure, and announced, "Share the Bubba. But mine. Truck, like it!"

Tembo has been carrying around her little dolly, and oh, she's just as cute as can be. Dadders tried to teach her how to give Dolly huggies and snoofles and kisses, but she hasn't really caught on, and is quite content simply to carry her around in one hand.

Nevertheless, Tembo really does know how much Dolly needs affection. I was sitting on the couch when my baby brought her little baby up to me. Holding her by the feet, Tembo pressed the top of Dolly's head against my mouth, and made kissing noises. So I kissed Dolly's head just as I do Tembo's own, over and over all at once in a great cluster of kisses.

She giggled and giggled. Tembo was thrilled with the game, and I was thrilled with her delight. Because all those kisses that just pour right out of me, that I hardly think about, I just can't help them... it really does matter to her, and in her little mind, what a baby needs above all is kisses. Mama-kisses.

Someday soon she'll figure out that "mama" is a relationship, and she'll start playing mama herself with respect to her dollies. But for now, Mama is simply and only a person, and I am the giver of kisses.



Today I did a boatload of laundry, compared consumer reviews to decide upon the best blender and the best water filter for our money. I carefully planned out the menus for a weeks worth of nutritious, economical meals, and made out a meticulous shopping list.

But now that it's six o'clock, I remember what I haven't done.

Decided what's for dinner.

Good news/Bad news: Is a tantruming toddler sufficient reason for using this emergency exit?

Last night, I had cause to discover first-hand just how very un-quadruple-stroller-friendly Barnes and Noble is.

That is the good news and the bad news all rolled into one, because despite it all, I still like Barnes and Noble, and I adore our new stroller.

And, well... I'm sure that the boys will love their slightly damaged Thomas the Train book.

Thank God it's not a slightly damaged American Girl doll.

Our next outing will be to the zoo.



Nathan has discovered the joys of "no."

Sometimes this is played out in the dreaded two-and-a-half tantrums, where he wants what he wants, but oh, not that way, no he doesn't want it that way, not at all, but he HAS to have it, NOOOOOOO! Nothing is satisfactory, short of altering the laws of the universe, maybe going back in time so he would have gone down for his nap earlier or a had little more excercise the previous day. We all feel like that sometimes, I think, and it's quite an enlightening experience to see the jumbled emotions of intense frustration laid out so openly and clearly, in the full glory of their irrationality.

Ah, yes. Tantrums.

But usually, no is a fun word, a delicious word. Sometimes thoughtful, sometimes pedanting, but always matter of fact and measured and congenially decisive.

"Mama, I'm takin' a bath."

"Oh, really, Meepo? That's great!"

He raised one eyebrow at me, in a look of indulgent longsufferring patience.

"Mama," he repeated, this time nodding for emphasis between each word, "I'ma... takin'... a bath."

"Oh, so you're taking a bath?"

It was with triumphant dignity that he grinned up at me and pronounced, simply and definitively...



No sooner did my dear husband fix the keyboard, than we all caught the flu. Between the aches and the chills, I haven't had much to say beyond "sniffle, sniffle, cough, blech."

I'm getting better now (though Isaiah and September are coughing this morning) and the brain fog is slowly clearing up.

In the meantime, though, I'll simply leave you with some wise words from Sharon.

This is definitely worth a read.