Tuesday, November 1, 2011

White Halloween

We had a white Halloween this year. This was taken the day before Halloween:


Very happy ladybug (sans antennae)                                                                      Policeman-- not so happy to have his picture taken

The best I could get before my camera battery died

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Jessica is, well, unmotivated when it comes to extracurricular activities. She didn't want to play tee ball last spring, she doesn't want swimming lessons, she stopped karate after one session (8 weeks). Just like with school, these activities cut into her play time, and anything that cuts into her play time is a bad thing.

However, as parents do, Hari and I wanted her to participate in a team sport, not to earn future scholarships, but to learn how to work and play well with others, all that good stuff. Last spring I was talking to her friend Helen's parents and asked if Helen was going to be playing soccer. If one of her friends does something, she's much more likely to be willing to do it. As it turned out, not only was Helen playing but her parents were coaching and they told me to ask for Jessica to be on Helen's team when I registered her. So I did.

At least half a dozen times over the summer I informed Jessica she was going to be playing soccer in the fall. At first I got a couple of "okay"s but then I started to hear "I don't want to play soccer." Even after I reminded her she'd be on Helen's team. I was a bit nervous that my request wouldn't be honored but I didn't let Jessica know that. As it was, being on Helen's team was not as persuasive as it had been.

I agonized over what to do. I didn't really want to force her to play, because that really doesn't work well in this situation. I mean, I couldn't go on the field and push her foot to kick the ball. I was just about to give in and tell her she didn't have to play. I asked her one last time: "Okay, Jess, do you want to play soccer?"

"Yes!" she said, as if I were an idiot for having had any doubts about it. I don't know what changed her mind, but we went to the first practice and she had fun and was willing to go back. Mission accomplished.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Times gone by

Jessica and I have been reading the Little House on the Prairie series. First we read Little House in the Big Woods and we just finished Little House on the Prairie. Next up is Little House on Plum Creek.

Now, Jessica didn't want to read them at first. I had brought the book home from the library and told her I was going to read it to her. "Nooooo!" she protested as if I had suggested drowning the cats. I told her I would read a few pages and if she didn't like it, I would stop and it wouldn't count towards her bedtime reading.

I read a few pages. I stopped. "Should I keep going?" I asked.


I have to say, boy, were parents lucky back then. Children didn't speak when they were spoken to, they *always* listened to their parents (because on the rare occasion they didn't, Pa whipped them, so who can blame them), and they were satisfied with the smallest of presents.

At Christmas time in the 2nd book, Laura and Mary were over the moon because they got cookies made with--get this--WHITE sugar (not brown) and also got candy canes and then...wait for it...they each got their VERY OWN tin cup. Previously they had had to share the same cup at every meal.

One reason I'm enjoying this so much is how it reminds me of my childhood. Lisa and I used to play Little House on the Prairie with our friend Cindy. I got stuck playing Mary because my hair was the closest to blonde, like Mary's. Lisa was Carrie because she was the smallest. Cindy was Laura. We either pretended our bikes were horses or we just galloped along, pretending we were riding horses.

I really enjoying doing the same things with Jessica that I did when I was a little girl. I hope she enjoys it too!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Mother's curse

You know the Mother's curse? "Someday you'll have a child just like you!"

Well, it's come to pass.

When I was little, I was apparently a very picky eater. Now I have 1 1/2 picky eaters. Xander is a full-time extremely picky eater. Jessica is hard to feed lunch and sometimes dinner. I recently heard myself saying to her, "You don't want peanut butter and jelly, or grilled cheese or soup or lunch meats."

Then I remembered the somewhat infamous incident in my childhood when my mother went on a rant directed at me, "You don't like chicken, you don't like fish, you don't like turkey, you don't like steak. What *do* you like?"

And then Lisa, ever useful, even at age 6, piped up, "I know something else Laura doesn't like."

I guess I deserve my picky eaters.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

This and that

Hide and...seek?
Jessica and Xander love to go off and hide whenever it's time to do things like leave for school, get dressed, etc. Tonight I told them it was time to clean up before bedtime. Off they ran to their room, yelling "hide!"

"You know," I called out in the general direction of their room, "if I don't find you, you won't be able to clean up and if you don't clean up you won't be able to watch tv before bed."

"But we're not really hiding," was Jessica's response.

"That's okay," I said. "I'm not really looking."

* * *
I love it when Xander and Jessica play either Mommy/kid scenarios or Mommy/Daddy scenarios. They're all "sweetie" this and "darling" that.

* * *
The clay kid
Jessica took an art class at a nearby arts school in January and February. I had originally signed her up for a clay class because that's what she really wanted but the woman running the program called to tell me it was cancelled for lack of enrollment. Jessica took a mosaics class instead. When the next session rolled around, I signed her up for clay again. I figured there might be a chance it would be cancelled again, so I put down a painting class as an alternative.

The woman running the program called to tell me that again the clay class was cancelled and that she'd have to take the painting class, just as I thought. The woman was apologetic about it being cancelled again.

As it turned out, we missed the first class because of a long weekend away in Connecticut. The next week I got another call from the woman at the art school. She told me how, even though 4 kids were signed up for the class, for some reason, 2 of them (in addition to Jessica) hadn't shown up and the one kid that did show up was so freaked out because she was the only kid in class, that she dropped out. I was given the option to get my money back or switch her to another class, which wasn't for another week because April vacation was coming up.

Well, I kind of forgot about it and when I finally remembered, another class had passed and she would have missed something like 3 classes. I called to just get my money back.

I explained why I was calling and who Jessica was and what the situation was. Finally, the woman said, "Oh! The clay kid!"

I've been pretty impressed with Jessica's vocabulary lately. Recently she used the word "fret" instead of worry. Yesterday, she corrected me when I said "next" week.

"You mean 'upcoming,'" she informed me. "Next doesn't mean time."

I double-checked and you can use next for time but upcoming was still a pretty good word.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


I'm stealing this story from Xander's Aunt Nutan.

While they were at a picnic this past weekend, Xander looked at Aunt Nutan and said, "I want to marry you." She asked him why. He said it was because he loved her. Then he said, "but he'll have to leave." "He" was Uncle Eric.

What I want to know is what about me? I thought he was going to marry *me.*

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Nail biting update

I am so proud of Jessica. After I told her she could paint her nails if she grew them long enough, she stopped biting them almost entirely. In less than 2 weeks I could see the whites of her nails and see that she wasn't biting the skin anymore either. A week after that I had to trim her nails.

Good job, Jessica!


Jessica has this book called "26 Princesses" where each princess's name starts with a different letter of the alphabet. So...26 of them.

We were walking home from school one day and she mentioned her book, "27 Princesses."

"26, sweetie," I said gently.

"No! 27." Because Jessica is never wrong.

I explained how there was one princess for each letter of the alphabet and that there are 26 letters in the alphabet.

"27," she corrected me.

To show her that there are, in fact, 26 letters in the alphabet we counted. I said the alphabet and as I said each letter, she counted.

Somehow we ended up with a total of 27.

I insisted we redo it more slowly and we got 26. She seemed doubtful but agreed the count was right.

A week or two later, she mentioned how I had said the title of the book was 27 princesses and was insistent that *she* was the one who had said 26 princesses.

A week or two after that, we were in her room, getting ready for bed. She brought up the 27 princesses book.

I went into the living room, pulled out the book and showed it to her. I didn't want to press the point that she was *wrong* but just show her that there. are. 26. letters. in. the. alphabet. She did seem a little upset to be wrong about the title.

We haven't discussed the book since. I'm hoping the matter is settled.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

"What I always wanted"

Last Friday was the bridging ceremony for Jessica, when she bridged from being a Daisy to being a Brownie. It was held along with a barbeque, so we picked Xander up from preschool and went straight to the bbq site.

Hari went and got Xander from school while Jessica and I waited in the car. When Xander got to the car and saw us, he was really happy. He's usually pretty happy when I pick him up, so I thought that was why.

Then he said, "This is what I always wanted." I wasn't really sure what he was talking about. I just smiled at him and nodded, which I usually do when I don't know what he's talking about.

A few minutes later, he said it again, "This is what I always wanted." So I asked him what he meant.

"You and Daddy picked me up."

And then I knew what he was talking about. One of his school friends apparently always gets picked up by both his mother and his father. Xander's always asking if both of us can pick him up at the same time. I explained that usually that wasn't convenient.

So, even though I hadn't planned it, by picking him up en route to the bridging ceremony, we had given him what he always wanted. If only I could always give him what he wanted so easily.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Mom Knows Best

Jessica is a nail biter. Not only does she bite her nails to the quick, she chews the flesh along the nails. Being a mostly recovered nail biter myself, I can sympathize.

A few days ago I was in Walmart near the cosmetic section. I saw the nail polish and had a flashback to the summer I was 10. I remember it vividly. We were on vacation at the Jersey shore. My mother wanted me to stop biting my nails so she told me if I did, I could paint them. Mom may deny any recollection of this, but if I say it was the vacation where she got a bug in her ear, I'm sure she'll remember that.

Anyway, it worked. Not soon after my nails grew long enough so I could paint them.

So, I saw the nail polish and a more modern invention: nail decals. I bought some of each and told Jessica when she stopped biting her nails she could paint them and put decals on.

Every day since then, she pushes her grubby little fingers into my face and says, "Can I put on nail polish now?" So far, I've denied her but she is showing a visible improvement. Fingers crossed that Mom (my mom) knew best.

Saturday, May 7, 2011


One of the ways I weed out the kids' toys is to pick some things I think they don't really play with and throw them out in a garbage can inside their closet. They never go into the closet. Then if, after enough time has passed, they haven't mentioned the toys or noticed their absence, I throw them out for real. Occasionally Xander has noticed something in the trash can and complained, "Why is in the garbage?" To which I replay: "Oh! That was a mistake" and retrieve said item.

Apparently he's caught on to this trick. Last night the closet door was open so I closed it. Immediately Xander went over and opened it again. I told him we needed to keep it closed.

"But I want to look in the garbage and see if any toys are there," he replied.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Duct tape--what can't it do?

Jessica has been complaining for a while about these 2 bumps on her feet, one on each heel. She would complain about it every day when I was helping her put her socks on but when I asked her if she wanted me to call the doctor, she would say no. She is terrified of all things related to the doctor, poor thing.

Finally, when we noticed she was walking on her tiptoes because it hurt too much to put weight on her heels we took her to the doctor.

Diagnosis: plantar warts. Now, the doctor wanted to scrape off some skin and freeze them off but Jessica was having no part of that. Hari waited with her for 45 minutes trying to convince her, but no go. The doctor then suggested salicylic acid, which is used for both corn and wart removal. I bought some in a bottle as well as some medicated disks. The disks kept slipping off her sweaty little feet.

Before I got to trying the liquid stuff, Hari mentioned duct tape. I had heard of this method before, but never had occasion to try it for a wart. We had duct tape, so we tried it.

It's been less than a week and parts of both warts have fallen off. The doctor said to make sure we get all of it, including the root. I don't think those are gone yet because it still hurts if she presses directly on it, but she can now walk on her heels pain free.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The difference between a 7 year old and a 4 year old

Conversation from yesterday:

Mom: Guess what, kids?

Kids: What?

Mom: I love you!

7 year old: (sigh) We *know* that, Mom.

4 year old: I love you, too!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Drop off methodology

I've been trying to find a good way to drop Xander off at school that results in less tears. A few weeks ago, I took him into the classroom. The entire class was sitting down listening to a story being read.

Now, usually I have to hand Xander off physically to one of the teachers or else he'll stay attached to me. Since one teacher was reading and the other was helping a kid in the bathroom, there was no one to hand him off to.

I remember an idea I had read in a parenting magazine about telling your child you'll stay for a while, and then they'll feel free to relax and get involved in play.

I tried it. "Xander, why don't you go sit on the rug, and I'll stay for a minute, okay?"

Worked like a charm. He sat down, I waited a minute and then I said good-bye from a distance. Piece of cake.

Except that it didn't work again on any subsequent attempts.

However, fortunately, Hari discovered a better method of improving drop-off. He dropped Xander off last week one day and encouraged Xander to push him out of the room. I didn't know about this till the next time I went to drop him off.

I brought him into the room and over to an activity table. I was getting ready to kneel next to him to see how he was doing and he pushed me!

"Leave, Mom!" he said.

I didn't need to be told twice.

This worked the next time I took him just as well. The third morning I tried it, Xander was feeling kind of sad in the car. When I took him out so we could walk to the building, I reminded him how he was going to push me out of the room.

This brightened him up immensely and the drop-off went without a hitch, or a tear.

This method is a keeper!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


I let Xander have a sip of my Dr. Pepper. Jessica was standing next to him. I caught her eye and she said, "You know what the next thing to come out of my mouth is." So I handed her the can when Xander was done.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

It's always Mommy's fault, part 2. = )

Jessica is very demanding. Not just in the "give me this" and "give me that" kind of demanding. But she expects a lot of me. For example, her class is going on a field trip on March 14. I got the permission slip last week and it was due "by March 7," which is a Monday. On Thursday, she got very annoyed with me that I hadn't sent in the permission slip yet and whined repeatedly that she wouldn't be able to go on the field trip so I had to send it in TOMORROW. When I said it wasn't due till Monday, she then whined that her teacher had said it was due Friday. Whatever. I sent it in Friday so I wouldn't have to hear any more about it.

Then there's playdates. I have been trying to arrange a playdate with Helen, a friend of hers, for several months. Helen is very busy and her mother's a bit flakey (like someone else I know) so it hasn't worked out yet. I tried again after her Daisy meeting last week, but Helen is busy this weekend. Jessica then got mad at me because she wasn't available. Why is this my fault?

She also blames lots of things on me, usually books and papers that she can't find at home. When she can't find them, it's my fault. To be fair, sometimes it is. But at least half the time whatever the missing item is can be found in her desk. I once spent at least 3 days looking for 2 library books that I asked her every day "Are they in your desk?" only to get a negative response. Where were they? In her desk.

This week her lunchbox went missing. The last day I sent it, Hari picked her up, so I thought maybe she had taken it out in the car and left it there. Nope. I dug out her old, slightly gross, lunchbox from last year and sent lunch in that. Yesterday, when I picked her up from school, I asked her if the lunchbox was in her desk. "No." I then went on a slightly long lecture about how she'd be stuck with her old lunchbox unless we found the newer one or I got around to getting a new one.

When we got home, I opened her backpack. Both lunchboxes were there.

Why do I even talk?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

8 arms

I was doing stuff around the house yesterday. Xander asked me to do something and I said, as usual, "in a minute."

"I wish I was an octopus," I thought I heard him say.

This seemed like a total non sequitur, so I asked him to repeat it.

"I wish you were an octopus," he said. I was still confused until I realized he was saying that because I would have more arms to do more things at once.

It was actually quite a good suggestion. Sometimes I wish I were an octopus, too.

It's always Mom's fault

Whenever she comes home from anywhere, Jessica walks in the door, takes off her shoes, coat, gloves, hat and backpack, and immediately drops them on the floor. After 3 or 4 or 7 requests, she's 40% likely to hang up her coat. The other things usually remain on the floor.

Yesterday, we were getting ready to go out. I was kneeling on the floor, helping Xander put on his shoes. I guess I was unknowingly kneeling on her hat. It's her favorite hat, with a little pom-pom on the top. She started tugging at it (instead of saying, "Mom, please get off my hat."). She got the hat out from under my leg but at a cost--the pomp pomp ripped off.

I hear a cry of outrage. "Look what you did!" she yelled.

Yeah, right.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


We went to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem this weekend. Salem is, of course, all about witches. We talked about it in the car and how witches aren't real.

"Yes, they are," Jessica said. She then went on to explain her reasoning.

"Witches have black cats. Black cats are real. So witches are real too."


Friday, February 11, 2011

Maybe Mom's not always wrong

Valentine's Day is approaching. For reasons I don't quite understand, this holiday is big for the preschool and elementary school crowd. I got notes from both teachers telling me if we send in valentines, we need to have one for every child in the class.

I asked Jessica if she wanted to bring them in. I pointed out to her that she would (gasp, the horror!) have to write the classmate's name and sign her name on EVERY SINGLE valentine. For the record, there are 20 kids in her class, so this means writing out 19 cards which means, at minimum writing 18 words.

She didn't want to do it.

I then pointed out that probably most kids in her class were going to give her a valentine and that she might feel bad if she got cards from other kids and didn't have anything for them.

She still didn't want to do it.

Being a mommy, when I went out to buy valentines for Xander, I bought some for Jessica just in case she changed her mind.

She didn't.

Being the scatterbrain that I am, I thought today was the day they were exchanging valentines. When I picked Jessica up, she asked me if I still had the valentines I had bought. I said yes. She said she did want to send them after all.

What I haven't gotten out of her yet is whether I had the day wrong, and they're doing it on Monday or if she got a bunch of cards, feels bad about it and wants to give them out on Monday anyway.


Jessica and Xander are participating in the "Secret Valentine" at church. Basically, the secret valentine sends them a card during the week and then reveals who they are at church on Sunday and presents the kids with a small gift and a dessert after lunch.

They both got their cards today. Xander's card included a bunch of stickers. Jessica's card included one dollar. Now, last night Jessica lost her 4th tooth, so when she woke up this morning, she had a dollar waiting for her, so with the valentine dollar, she had two dollars.

She came over to me and whispered, "Since I got a dollar from my valentine and from the Tooth Fairy, I want to give one to Xander."

I told her that was a great idea and that she should.

And she did.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Jessica refuses to stop dressing in the living room. I know, I'm the parent, but I'm just happy she's getting dressed at all. This morning she had stripped down to nothing. Xander was nearby and he touched her on the back with his freezing cold hand.

She didn't like that.

I took this opportunity to say, "If you were wearing clothes, it wouldn't have felt so cold."

She replied, "Yes, but sadly, I wasn't." As if this were a completely unavoidable fate.

Monday, January 17, 2011

(Not) Partners in Crime

I bought something for the kids today. I told them not to tell Daddy because Daddy thinks I buy them too many things as it is. He's right. The next best thing to not buying them more things is to tell them not to tell him I'm buying them more things.

When Hari got home, what was the first thing out of Xander's mouth? "Mommy bought us something but she told us not to tell."

Thanks, kid.

Although I don't know that I can entirely blame them.

There was an incident many years ago where Hari was doing something he wasn't supposed to be doing and I was keeping lookout. We had a code word set up that I was supposed to say if someone came near. I don't remember the code word, but let's say it was "bananas." Instead of saying "bananas" when the person got close, I blurted out, "Hari! Someone's coming!"

We both concluded I was not a good candidate for a life of crime. Similarly, neither are my children.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Slave driver

I started making quilts for the kids over a year ago. I remember distinctly that I bought the fabric on Veteran's Day 2009. For a while I was slow, but making progress. Then we moved and I haven't done a stitch of quilting (ha!) since.

Till this week. During the blizzard I decided to finally get out the quilts and start up again, because I want them to be used this winter.

Xander was all for this. In fact, he was downright bossy.

"Why aren't you sewing?" he asked a couple of times when I had the audacity to step away from the sewing machine.

Then he got bossier: "Sew! Sew!" he said.

I sewed. I'm almost done with his. I hope Jessica isn't as pushy.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Xander's game

Xander and Hari developed this game yesterday where Xander picks a word for each player and then Hari says "Go!" and the players try to say their word as fast as possible and say it more times than the other person until Hari says "stop!"

I got in on the game. Hari got "police car," and I've forgotten what word Xander gave himself. What word did he give Mommy? "Emergency motorcycle." In case you were wondering, there are 8 syllables in that word(s).

Needless to say, I lost that round.


We're safe and snug in our house for Blizzard #2 of winter 2010-11. It's about 12:30. Jessica has yet to change out of her pajamas. I did manage to get her to finish her homework for the day. Whew.

Earlier Xander said 2 words I thought he'd never say: "Let's clean." Needless to say, I dropped everything I was doing, jumped up and helped him clean.

Then we started talking about his birthday party coming up on Saturday. He told me he didn't want to play Musical Chairs, which, after the tears at Jessica's party, I was not planning on doing. He also said he doesn't want to play Pin the Tail on the Donkey. I then suggested (without thinking) Pin the Headlight on the Racecar, which he loves. Now I have to figure out how to make that happen. = )

I was a little worried about the party at first, since the day I sent in the invitations, another girl sent in invitations for her party on the same day. Fortunately, Xander's party is scheduled for 11:30 to 1:00 and this girl's party is 1:00 to 2:30. But I had a nervous few days when I got two negative responses and then finally 3 positive responses. If no one else comes, 4 is definitely enough. We've got the Cars cake on order, people are showing up, now I just need to plan some party games and get some party supplies. Yay!

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I got a new Ipod Touch for Christmas, 4th generation with camera. That Santa really knows what I like. Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures while we were in NJ for Christmas vacation.

At one point I decided to review the pictures to see how they came out. There were about 200 pictures. I didn't remember taking 200 pictures. Then I remembered this. And I looked closely at the pictures.

I think this is Xander's face:

This, of course, would be Jessica's bum. Explanation? "I wanted to see what my butt looked like." Well, honey, this is what it looks like:

Jessica's foot:

Xander's feet

Once the pictures of body parts start showing up, you know there are children involved.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Jessica got her ears pierced last spring. It wasn't the best experience, given her complete intolerance of any kind of pain. Since then she has refused to let me change her earrings. She doesn't even want me to touch her ears.

I tried a bunch of things. I bought her cute new earrings for her birthday. Every time I see a friend with pretty earrings, I point it out. I told her she could wear my earrings. When she went to the doctor for her annual check-up I asked if she would allow the doctor to take them out. The doctor lobbied on my behalf.

No. No. No. No.

Last week, while overenthusastically drying her hair after a bath, I actually pulled (accidentally, I swear) one of the earrings out. I was going to put the starter earring (which of course she's still wearing since she hasn't changed them) back in but I felt the tip and of course it was very sharp. I was afraid if I tried to put it back in, it would hurt a lot. Since I was wearing 5 earrings at the time, I put on one of my earrings, with much duller points.

Putting earrings in someone else's ear is not as easy as it might seem. Especially when that person has never had earrings put in (other than the initial piercing). I fumbled a little and it hurt her a little but she admitted it didn't hurt *that* much.

So, then she was wearing one pink earring (starter) and one blue one (mine). She swore when we got home she would let me take both out and put in one of the pairs I got her for her birthday. One's butterflies, one is flowers. Come on, what 7 year old girl could resist that?

Mine, apparently. I have tried several times since then to change the earrings. No go. She told me how when I put in the other earring "It was killing me," which was a far cry from what she had told me at the time.

Finally, I took one of the butterfly earrings and put it in my ear. Hey, someone might as well wear it.

She now informs me that she won't change her earrings till she turns 8. I seem to remember a similar promise last spring about how she would change her earrings when she turned 7.

At this point, I'm not going to be surprised if she's still wearing 2 different earrings on her wedding day.