Friday, February 29, 2008

Fighting Like Cats & Dogs

Hearing the increasing OW, OW, OW-ss from the other room, I knew it was time to intercede. I summoned C and S before me and asked just what was happening.

S: We are not being humans and C went ruff really mean in my face.

C: Well, he said meow, meow right at me!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

The Pull of Words

We have a wonderful 'problem.' Not sure if that statement is oxymoronic, but it has been growing for quite some time. It's just something we have avoided talking about, but it is getting more difficult to deal with or ignore.

We know that genetics are strong & they come by it naturally. They have aunts & uncles who have experienced some of the same struggle. Even their dad & I have had times when resistance to this overwhelming force was futile & we succumbed as well.

But we need to address this soon because we are having difficulty getting through many simple tasks throughout the day.

Who ever expected to hear these words come from ours mouths?

  • S, put down the book so you can put your socks on.

  • You need to stop reading, C, and eat breakfast.

  • F, it is time for bath not books.

  • Stop that. You can not walk and read at the same time.

Hi, our names are S/P/C/S/F, and we are addicted to reading.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Bad Mother Form

I took S & C to the dentist today. It had been niggling at me for some time. When we moved here, it was on my 'to do' list. It just took me many months to get it done.

We do not have dental insurance. I well understand why the state of one's teeth plays into social class divisions in our country. It is darn expensive to go to the dentist & unless you have actual pain in your teeth, you may very well put off a trip to the dentist in favor of, say, covering your rent or buying groceries. I knew we would pay for the boys' visit out of pocket so I asked for the rates right up front when scheduling their appointment by phone. Combined, it would cost just over $300 for their cleaning & fluoride treatment.

When the receptionist heard that C & S have a younger brother who is two years old, she asked if we wanted to schedule him for an appointment as well. I declined but immediately fired off an email to my sister who is a pediatrician to ask about the new guidelines about when to bring a young-un to the dentist. Since having children, I had heard conflicting reports on this. I had been going with the age three guideline for the older boys & it only took me until they were actually four-years-old to get them to their first visit. The new standards say that a child should visit the dentist at one year of age so I'm already behind on F's teeth care, too. At least I've been consistent.

While S was sitting in the chair, the dental hygienist brought up the fact he needed x-rays. This was not something I had discussed with the receptionist when making the appointment so I started hedging by asking about immediate necessity & cost. I certainly do not want to be overly negligent when it comes to my children's care (not any more so than letting them watch too much TV or letting them play on the computer beyond our in-theory-half-hour limit), but standing there-- I balked. The hygienist sent me to the receptionist to learn the actual cost of the x-rays. I guess if you spend all day dealing with peering into kids' mouths, you should at least be spared the messy job of relating the costs of such peering to their parents. I learned that with x-rays for both boys, this visit would now cost $498. I did some calculating in my head, thought of the washing machine repairman who was currently checking out our leaking machine & wondered if we might pay for dental insurance soon that would cover (some of) the cost of these x-rays in another six months when we return for their next cleaning.

"Would it be possible to have these x-rays done at the boys' next visit?" I asked the hygienist.

"Well, anything is actually possible. BUT...." She explained about the potential cavities that she nor the dentist may be able to see that could very well be growing larger by the moment, sneaking their way to the boys' nerves.

I stalled. Then I said it outright, "We're going to wait for x-rays until their next visit."

She nodded, not in an unfriendly way, but proceeded to pull out a new piece of paper to add to S's chart. She wrote some things on the form & then handed it over to me to sign. There it was in black & white: a waiver acknowledging that I was going against the recommended medical advice for my sons & accepting responsibility for such a decision.

Yup, I signed it. Now forever, in my sons' permanent dental records is what I will lovingly *cough* refer to as The Bad Mother Form. It's official.

Monday, February 25, 2008

O Brother, There Art Thou

I did not watch much of the Academy Awards telecast. In years past, there were times when I was most excited to see the awards show, cheer on my favorite movies and actors, comment on the dresses, & perhaps, be moved by that one perfect acceptance speech-- the kind that was truly sincere & heartfelt where the actor tended to thank his/her mother and/or high school English teacher. This year I just wasn't feeling it. Between questions of the telecast going on at all due to the writers' strike and the fact that I saw so few of the nominated films (only Juno & Atonement), I was not particularly drawn to watching the show although I have great affection for Jon Stewart's humor & hoped that some of his good jokes made their way to YouTube the next day.

I did end up catching a bit of the show late in the telecast. Watching the Coen brothers win one of their multiple Oscars, I suddenly had a moment. I don't know much about Ethan & Joel Coen. I've seen a few of their movies over the years, understand why P is particular to Raising Arizona, enjoy the O Brother.. soundtrack, & know that one is married to Frances McDormand, which makes me think he is cool because it is clear that she is exceptionally cool. When I saw the writer-director duo get up & walk to the stage together, I thought, "Wow~ they're brothers."

Now this epiphany certainly is not earth-shattering given that they often are referred to as the Coen brothers, but seeing them up on stage together made me think how unique & wonderful it is that these siblings are a team. They work together & they are really good at it. Sure, I know nothing of their dynamic, but I have to believe that they like one another, at least enough to keep at it.

It made me flash-forward to thinking of my boys as grown men. Will they like each other enough that they could work together? Would they even want to? It's not that I aspire for them to become film directors (although I may have once had dreams of making socially-conscious, relevant & inspiring documentaries). I certainly don't wish great fame & fortune upon them --think creepy Olsen twins. I just had a flash of what it might feel like to be the Coens' parents & how proud they might feel to see that their sons are good at their work, but even more-- they are good at it while working with one another.

I want my sons to be individuals. P & I purposely chose names for all three of our guys that were distinct & certainly didn't want anything alliterative or rhyming for the twins. We dress them differently & try to be attuned to their individual needs & wants. As they grow older & get in to school & out-of-school activities, we are most open to them pursuing their own interests & will support them doing 'their own thing.' However, I did get a warm, gooey feeling this weekend when C came out of his bedroom after lights out looking for his brother who was hanging for a bit in our bed. "Where's S? I can't sleep without S in the room with me."

Yes, I want the boys to be individually strong & independent. However, I do hope when they grow up, they like each other. And when they see each other daily or monthly, or maybe even just annually, they all feel with a degree of excitement/ happiness: "Oh, my brother, there art thou!" (OK, maybe not in those words).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Saturday Morning Rocking

While the boys were enjoying this, they decided
to get into the action.
I'm your eel. Ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-ee-eeeelllll

Friday, February 22, 2008

Smart Boy

C: I wish I lived in family with a sister. Too bad mom's not giving birth any more.

Time Together, Time Apart

The boys are home from school today-- our first full snow day of the year. I shouldn't be despairing given that our friends back in Maine already have had TEN snow days so far this year. It's just that the boys were home on Monday for President's Day & they've been on a bickering jag for few days. Suddenly our apartment feels really small & darn, those snowpants are sitting in their buckets at school. Do you think they understood when at 8:07AM, I looked at them & said, "We have 11 hours left. If the arguing, crying & shouting don't stop, it is going to be a looooooooooong day."


I am working hard to be supportive of other parents' choices & not join in the real or imagined 'mommy wars.' I admit that I can be quite a judgmental person (I have righteousness issues: not religiously-based, just general "it's clear what is the right thing") so I've been working on this. Parenting is incredibly humbling & it would be be really helpful if moms (dads, too) just banned together & said, "Boy, this is freaking hard. We're all just doing our best" instead of all that stay-at-home vs. working-outside-home moms' stuff or nursing vs. formula-feeding moms' disagreements, etc. etc.

With that said, I was struck last Sunday with two differing parental images:

A. STATE OF THE UNIONS: There is No 'We' in Marriage
Here are a few parts of this article featuring Andrew Krents and Jennifer Belle & their sons, Shepherd and Jasper:

In the third year of their marriage, she became pregnant, but miscarried. “Then, I couldn’t get pregnant again,” she said. “I was inconsolable over not having children. I wanted to be a mother very badly. It’s going to sound dark, but I think there should be something between now and cancer. I wanted joy and preschool applications.”

and then after, having children:

Now that they have two children, and she is working on another novel, the marriage has become “one big competition for time alone,” Ms. Belle said.

“Andy’s desperate to work all the time, and I want to work,” she said. “I spend a lot of time saying things like, ‘My work is important, too!’ I must say that 25 times a day.”

They do have help — Suzy’s Chinese restaurant does most of the cooking, and they have a nanny 50 hours a week. “If I had the money, it would be more, frankly,” she said.

Wow, fifty hours I immediately thought.

B. Later that evening, while P had control of the TV remote, I made him stop at Extreme Home Makeover to check out the family for whom they were building a new home. P knows I am totally a sucker for such stories & is kind to indulge me as I get teary & sentimental. However, he seems less pysched by my new, growing 'addiction' to A&E's Intervention....

Anyway, this episode featured the Hughes family. This family has three boys. The oldest, Patrick Henry, is a talented musician. He also happens to be blind & wheelchair bound. Now at college, Patrick Henry is member of his university's marching band. In order for Patrick Henry to participate fully with the other 200 marching band members, his father, Patrick John, attends every practice & every game/half-time show so he can push his son through the band's steps and formations. Imagine the amount of snot running down my face when I saw that dad dressed in his version of the band's uniform, cheerily grasping the handles of his son's chair as he pushed & twirled the trumpeter .

You know, I couldn't help myself immediately juxtaposing Parents A and Parent B....

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Sound that Destroys Reason

One of the benefits of having kids close in age, specifically the same age, who generally get along with each other is the amount of time they play together. Don't misunderstand-- there are times when C & S bicker constantly over most anything: the color of the spoon, the seat in the car, the shirt the other is wearing, who gets milk in his cup first, etc. However, there are long stretches of time when the two of them, with F sometimes involved, will just play together.

In fact, I realized that when we moved to New Haven, we were all pretty much playdate virgins. Oh sure, on our rural campus up in Maine, we would have the few other faculty kids over at various times. These were never particularly scheduled & never ever referred to as "playdates." We just randomly ended up in each other's homes after brunch in the dining hall or met up after running around outside in the campus bowl. Because the boys always had each other, we didn't feel the same need/urge to schedule time for playing with other kids their ages as perhaps parents of singletons do (often to save their own sanity so the parents can finally put down the legos, play-doh or puzzle pieces). Our new foray into the world of playdates has been interesting, but that's a subject for another post, another day.

S & C are particularly good at imaginary play. They could be really successful on that improv comedy show, Who's Line Is It Anyway? The original British version of that show was often pee-in-your-pants funny, but I'm not saying the boys are comedic geniuses-- even though they make us laugh regularly. However, they do like to make up their own song lyrics which they unselfconsciously sing out strong, and they would be particularly good at that props game where the contestants get a random item that they must make a variety of uses for. You should see what the guys can do with a laundry basket or a spatula.

During this play, they create elaborate scenarios. Ok, 'create' might be misleading as they often lift the main points of their plots from books & shows. (We've yet to begin talk about plagirism & appropriate crediting/citations. That will come when they're six). S & C throw themselves with great gusto into their new characters & frequently get their stuffed animals involved & maybe a laundry basket or two. A favorite scene involves becoming their stuffed animals. I applaud & encourage this imagination-at-work & frequently peer quietly through open doors to watch them in action. But, I admit it-- I just can't stand the noise their puppy-selves make. This high-pitched chatter has me gritting my teeth & tensing all the muscles in my back & shoulders. This morning's before-school puppy play nearly drive me over the edge of sanity.

Perhaps there is a need to do some new stuffed animal shopping. Bullfrog, C? A large, adult bulldog, S?

Monday, February 18, 2008

True Love

This evening I continued my Sunday-night lovefest with Jane Austen, hunkering down for another installment of PBS's complete Austen series. I must admit that last week while watching the first part of Pride and Prejudice, I was tired after a particularly long day and I nodded off while settled in front of the fire, missing a good hour or so.

During tonight's opening montage of scenes preparing the audience for the continuance of Pride and Prejudice, I gasped. Seeing the untucked Mr. Darcy in his wet, flowing white shirt just coming out of his pond, I turned in alarm to my hubby, asking, "Did I miss Elizabeth running into Darcy unexpectedly at Pemberley?"

"Oh no. Not to worry. You didn't miss that scene and you know, I would have woken you up for it," P replied.

And so I ask--Do you think Colin Firth would do the same for his wife?

Sunday, February 17, 2008


It's official. When I speak to them, all my sons must hear are those funny, muted trombone sounds that the Peanuts' characters heard when adults spoke in their world. Today I looked directly at C and made a request. He deigned to notice that I was actually talking to him, turned his face toward mine, and parroted back to me perfectly, "Mwa-mwa-mwa-mwa-mwaaa." Those 'words' exactly.

So that's why I can never get them to put their shoes and coats on in the morning when it's time to leave the house. The mystery has been solved.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

My Funny Valentines

If I get nothing else right in this parenting gig, the one thing I want my boys to know with great certainty-- the are loved. As these fellows like to say, "Have a good Love Day."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Long Live the Queen

The queen bed, that is.

For over nine years of our marriage, P & I slept on a double (full) bed. Neither of us is particularly tall although I dare not say, neither of us is particularly 'big' given my weight gain over the years. When we had the older boys (we hardly ever call them 'the twins'), we purchased a co-sleeper that attached to our bed with straps that snaked under our mattress. C & S slept together there for some months until they moved into one crib across the room from us in our one-bedroom NYC apartment, eventually ending up in two cribs head-to-head.

We don't practice hard-core attachment parenting nor would I say we are non-attachment or anti-attachment parents (although some of those hard-core folks may well accuse us of this). We wore the boys in slings & Bjorns when we could; I nursed on demand for over a year--with a bit of a wait after the initial demand for the one who didn't get to the breast first, since I never really mastered the double nursing thing. We are not against the family bed, especially given that we lived in countries where this was the norm for economic & practical reasons. However, we don't have a family bed. Perhaps because we had two at once & we slept in a double bed, we simply never had the room to have all four of us at the same time & with the co-sleeper right there, we didn't feel the urgency. At times during early infancy, S liked to stretch out over P's chest, gently riding his breaths, sleeping there a few hours between feedings. The boys didn't seem to need to sleep with us too often, perhaps because they had one another for comfort or they never felt like they were missing out too much as they went down to sleep together. Therefore, our kids-sleeping-in-our-bed philosophy evolved: we don't want a child in our bed, all night, every night, but if he is sick or scared or shows a general strong need for warmth & cuddling, we tuck him between us, sometimes through the night but sometimes returning him to his own bed when he seems settled or his elbows are just too sharp & flailing for the two of us to get sleep in this narrow space.

When F joined the pary, we were living in a two-bedroom apartment. We chose to keep him with us for the year, again moving from co-sleeper to crib on the other side of our bedroom. We wanted S & C to sleep through the night undisturbed by their little brother's cries, especially since they had not done so until we had moved to the two-bedroom apartment when they were just over a year old. There were times F ended up sleeping in our bed but that was often at 4:30AM & if we just rubbed his back for the next 62 minutes or so, we could stay in bed in the prone position, hoping for just a minute's sleep more. When he moved into his brothers' room, the transition went smoothly. I almost dare not say this since I may well tempt the gods of going-to-bed children who will smite me for admitting this, but the boys' bedtime has never been particularly painful--for us or them. We have our routine & we rarely waver in it. In our new apartment, all three continue to share a room & go down at the same time so it is like a nightly slumber party, without the shaving cream or fingers-in-the-water tricks (for right now, that is). I hear of others with twins who have more space who separate their kids in different bedrooms early on as to not disturb one another's sleep. However, we have never had this option & for the moment, I couldn't see any of my guys accepting this scenario. They like being together & tend to scamper into bed relatively easily as long as we have followed our bedtime ritual.

About a month ago, P & I got a queen-sized bed. It was not something we went out & purchased or intentially sought. Due to family circumstances, a queen-sized bed was up for grabs & my siblings kindly directed it our way. I was a bit sad to break down our double bed. I loved its history & simple lines. Plus we had a great mattress we bought when I was 8 11/12 months pregnant with F & my hips ached to such extremes, I was hanging more on the comfy couch in the wee hours of night than in bed. Before this purchase, I never truly understood the difference a good mattress can make. Funnily enough, when we went to buy the new full-sized mattress, it never even occured to us to take this money & upgrade to a larger sized bed. After F turned a year old & sometimes two little fellows would seek time in our bed on the same night, we wondered why we hadn't. But this queen bed came our way anyway.

Initially, it was bizarre to see this hulking dark wood structure take over our entire bedroom. When we first climbed in, it felt enormous like a massive cruise ship or something. The first nights were particulary strange as I dreamed of my father who, not too many days before, had napped in this bed and often stretched out on this mattress, leaning against propped-up pillows to watch football on tv in his bedroom. But in less than a week, P & I grew accustomed to the bed & slowly something has happened since it arrived in our home. We seem to be having more nightly visitors in our bed. I haven't charted the progress or even checked the polls, but I swear since the queen bed arrived, the boys have been in our bed with greater frequency than ever before. Why is this? Does more space have some sort of magnetic pull on them to fill it? Are we quicker to invite them in when they call out at night? Do they feel the need for more physical comforting at this time of increased disquiet in our lives?

The call from the other room came out at 1:07AM last night, growing more & more insistent. "Mama. Maa-maa. Maaaaaaaaa-maaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!" P jumped up & returned with an F bundle, along with two stuffed bears & one furry-red, stuffed, friendly monster. Back rubbing didn't work. His little body tossed around. At one point, P again jumped from bed, this time with a yelp when a small, flailing foot connected with his groin area. This morning, P said wearily, "Wow. He managed to kick me in the balls AND then in the eyeballs with all his flipping and moving around." The extra space of this queen-upgrade erased in mere moments. However, she won't be replaced any time soon. We aren't particularly looking to crown a new (male) successor. We just want a night of uninterrupted sleep.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Inspiring Mamas

I haven't really thought this whole blog idea through. In the past years, I spent time doing a bit of writing for a friend's zine & I contemplated writing/publishing my own, but I just never worked up the energy. With the move, I thought it would be a perfect starting point to get more writing going, but the transition was a lot tougher than I expected & as time rolled on, it always seemed like I've always had one more thing to deal with. Writing was not that thing. However, I really enjoyed reading a few other blogs, often ones that focused on parenting but included other life musings along the way.

When I started this blog last weekend, I decided just to start writing. I had been composing some essays in my head & yearned for an outlet to get them out. When I sent the link to one of my sisters, she wrote back: Hey, I read the blog... good stuff. What do you do with it? I've never understood blogs. I can't say I know how to answer that question. I've shared news of my blog with a total of perhaps nine people. Yes, I would like folks to read my writing but don't currently have great dreams for what I want for it nor can I really answer what purpose I want my blog to serve. I'll just write what strikes me & go from there & see how it unfolds. I suspect I will focus quite a bit on parenting stories given that as a stay-at-home parent this year, this is what I know.

However, there are times when I read & see things that inspire me or make me think, & I immediately want to get it out to my friends & start some sort of discussion. It must be the teacher-learner in me. This morning, is one of those times. If you are so moved, check out this link from Sundays's New York Times, an article & an video, that feature incredibly inspiring mamas:

Holding On to Hope:

Make sure you also click on to the video on that same page called A Mother's Love

So THANK YOU, Mary Tallouzi, for being such an inspiring mama. I hope in my ugly or sorrowful parenting moments, I can stop, take a breath & think of you & your son Daniel-- and remember that yes, my hands are full.

Friday, February 8, 2008

THIS is why I should turn off the TV at 9PM & go to bed

There are plenty of nights I don't watch television and get into bed at a reasonable hour. Every once in awhile, however, I get stuck on the couch and become sucked into watching one bad thing after another. I see the minutes on the cable box flash later and later, and I know I am going to regret not getting enough sleep the next day. Yet I sit and stare and I can almost feel my brain cells dying one by one.

Last night, I think I finally learned my lesson. 2AM & this comes on:
Make sure you click the TWO-minute version of this commercial because the torture went on for at least that long. I just don't even have words...

Show her you know her. I definitely don't know her-- no 'her' I know would possibly want such a thing. I always thought of Vermont as one of the coolest states. Now I am not so sure.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Shhhhh~ They'll Run Us Out of Town....

My boys don't like New Haven pizza. I am almost afraid to say that aloud (type that aloud?) as it seems somewhat sacrilegious. When we first told folks we were moving here, the initial response we got 99% of the time was "You know, New Haven has great pizza." There are ongoing debates about which pizza place is best & even people who don't live in New Haven can name the two most renowned pizzerias.

"Good pizza. This is a good thing," P & I agreed. We could continue our Friday-night-is-pizza-night tradition that we established long ago. It's the perfect end to a long work/school week when we are all tired. No one deals with cooking or cleaning saucepans. Just call the pizza place & order & everyone likes pizza. Right?

Now in Maine, my fellows had a preferred pizza place from which we got take-out. Of course, it wasn't the closest or the easiest to get to. It was a good 45 minute round-trip affair to go get our Boomers' pie. But I have to admit, Boomers' pizza was better than the local pizza made by an extremely nice Greek family. One of the first times we got pizza from Boomers though, it did not look promising. No, in fact, it looked burnt. We got the box home, opened it & really it was beyond dark or crispy-- it was actually burnt. The scene turned ugly quickly when two very picky, but hungry, two-and-a-half-year-olds who were excited to get pizza looked at the darkened circle & immediately labeled it "Yucky!" (who teaches them that word!) & started to cry. Somehow, though, we did end up trying Boomers again, maybe because living in a rural area, we were quite limited in take-out choices. I spent four years dreaming of Indian food. In the end, C & S became totally hooked on Boomers' pizza with its chewy, not-too-doughy crust & well-cooked cheese top (not burnt now) which the boys affectionately referred to as "black spots."

Fast forward to New Haven. Friday night. Take-out pizza. We try one place and the boys take a bite or two, & declare that they cannot eat it. Well, not so much declare it, but immediately, make screwed up faces & let the partially-chewed bites fall from their mouths in disgust while wiping their tongues with their sleeves. "The green things, the green things," known as herbs to most of us (that can be pronounced "erbs" to majority of us in the States or "hhhherbs" if you are Martha Stewart), are the cause of their distress.

The next week, we try a different pizza place, one slightly less local but with a much 'bigger' reputation. S looks at it & won't eat it, seeing those offensive herbs on this pie too, but C & F are game. Between them, they eat perhaps three slices. So we go back & go back & go back, each Friday night for the past few months until last week when we finally face the truth-- they just aren't eating this pizza. In Maine, the two older ones might eat a whole small pie by themselves, but here, we seemed to be sticking more leftover slices in the fridge than are going down their gullets. Something is wrong when you are begging your kids, "Just eat the pizza. Please just take a bite!" Forget the desperation over broccoli (not happening in our home), we are talking greasy, clog-your-arteries, not-good-for-the-childhood-obesity-epidemic, PIZZA. But we can't give up the Friday night tradition & heck, there are only two other dinners all three of the boys will eat so we try again. We abandon the idea of 'good' New Haven pizza & last Friday, got a pie from a little local shop, the kind you could find in Kentucky or Kansas. Very straightforward pizza, nothing fancy, plain dough, a small amount of sauce & really no herbs in sight. But still, S refuses to eat any, taking the smallest 'mouse bite' & declaring it inedible & C complains that there is "too much sauce" even though I can barely see any red between the whites of the cheese & dough. S declares with great conviction, "I don't like New Haven pizza. I like Maine pizza! I want the pizza with black spots & no herbs."

Yesterday, while grocery shopping after ten days of desperately needing to (running out of Cheerios finally drove me over the brink), I get a bright idea. Let's make our own pizza! We'll do the simplest pizza ever, the boys will like the cooking project & then, because they are excited about having made it themselves, they will eat it. So I buy plain sauce, believe me--it was the plainest I could find, peering in the glass bottles to see how few herbs could be discerned. I add to my cart pre-shredded mozzarella & one of those ready-made crusts (not dough you mold yourself but already cooked, perfectly circle- shaped which I could never do out of the dough myself, plain white bread crusts). The boys are excited for the project. S paints the crust with olive oil; C spoons sauce on & spreads it with the back of the spoon so he can be in control of the perfect amount of sauce; they both sprinkle the cheese. Even F gets in on the act, grabbing the shredded mozzarella, stuffing half in his mouth & dropping a few thin stands onto the pie. They are all thrilled to see the cooked pie emerge from the oven; although we can't quite master the 'black spots' S wants.

In the end, F & C eat away. S's dinner consists of milk & orange slices. Hmmm. What are the chances he'll go for vegetable somosas & chicken tikka masala?

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Hard to Argue with This Reasoning...

C: Mom, they kill chickens to make chicken, and they kill turkeys to make turkey. Do they kill puffins to make Puffins*?

Listed Ingredients: Wholegrain brown rice flour, dehydrated cane juice, rice bran, honey, expeller pressed high oleic oil (canola and/or sunflower), sea salt, natural flavor, natural vitamin E (mixed tocopherols)

Nope, no puffin extract. But just what are tocopherols?

* Barbara's Bakery Puffins Cereal

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Schoolhouse Rocks Goes Burlesque?

Ok, admittedly this is a strange first post subject, but I figure I gotta start somewhere...

Today I had a big 'mommy date' with my two oldest boys, twins C & S, who are five. Yes, I know it's Superbowl Sunday & yes, I am the daughter of a former football coach & yes, I know exactly what all those hand gestures those men-in-stripes signal actually mean (& do explain them to my hubby, P, on the rare day he ever sets eyes on a football game). However, instead of hunkering down in front of a big screen with chips trying to decide which team to cheer for-- the Giants, located just South of us, & the Pats, located just North of us-- the boys & I headed to the theater.

A few weeks ago, I noticed in the paper that SchoolHouse Rocks, Jr *the Musical* was coming our way. I quickly purchased tickets thinking how much my guys would love it. A couple of years ago, I bought the SchoolHouse Rocks collector DVD that has all these wonderful, short, truly educational cartoons that I remember so well from my Saturday morning TV time during childhood (even ones I don't remember, The Check's In the Mail, anyone? Maybe this signifies an early disinterest in dealing with money that unfortunately remains today). Anyway, when the DVD first arrived in our home, only P & I seemed to have any interest in it, a wonderful dash of nostalgia we wanted to share with our sons, but they weren't biting. Yet suddenly out of the blue, Leo, June, Rocket, and others got pushed aside and this throw-back was discovered a few weeks ago by the boys. Now you can hear strains of Interplanet Janet, She's a Galaxy Girl from the back of the car or Electricity, Electricity from the other room as the guys change into p.j.s.

P & I used the "If you don't ___________, you won't be able to go to the SchoolHouse Rocks show" a few times over these past weeks as S & C were immediately in countdown mode when we told them about the tickets. The three of us happily piled into the car, drove off for our hour-trip to a town we had never been before. The boys tumbled over each other to get out of the van, ran down the sidewalk into the theater, skipped down to their seats & opened their eyes (& mouths) wide once the lights went down.

The musical was performed by a young actors troop & the boys were sucked in for the first moment. I thought the kids, the ones on the stage & mine in the audience, did really well. But I must admit, Conjunction Junction will now & forever be altered for me. The actors, decked out in blue jeans & solid color t's, had a few choice props that worked well during most of the numbers. The feather boas during Conjunction Junction did not, at least for me, anyway. The boas, however, seemed to work really well for the four girls performing the number, especially the soloist in front, who be-braced, didn't look older than a seventh grader.
Yes, she had a great singing voice but this family-friendly show suddenly became something perhaps worthy of Dita von Treese, just roll out that large martini glass & climb in. Shaking her hips and shoulders, this girl worked that boa & added a *mature* roll in her voice as she belted out "Hooking up words & phrases & clauses," eyes shining, dreaming of the big-time, Broadway, maybe, the PussyCat Dolls lounge, perhaps....

Ok, gotta go. No, Tom & Eli in the 'big game' aren't calling. Jane, of team Austen, is!