Friday, May 30, 2008


Bear and I were sitting on the front porch, when one of the roofers working across the road shouted an impressively creative string of profanities. She looked at me with wide eyes, obviously wanting to laugh but checking my reaction first. Before I could comment, the same guy launched into a charming impromptu song containing the lyric "Then I licked her -", which was blesedly drowned out by his buddy's roars of appreciative laughter.

After moving our lunch inside, I explained calmly to Bear that when you don't go to college & find yourself nailing shingles to a roof for minimum wage, you have to make your own entertainment.

"Boy, they must be really bored," she commented.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jr. High Girl

Here are the clubs Bear wants to join in jr. high:

Student Council
Drama Club
Rocket Club (in which the kids spend the school year putting together model rockets and then launch them at the end of the year)

No big surprises there, except maybe the Rocket Club, which I do think she would really enjoy. I've heard the science teacher is wonderful, and I'm assuming he sponsors that one.

Notice the complete and total lack of any sports. Shocker, huh?

She is totally WIRED for junior high. Can’t wait to get there. Totally jazzed by the thought of:

-vending machines
-changing classes
-after-school clubs
-dances (damn it)
-did I mention the lockers? She really, reeeeeally wants a locker. A lot. (Anyone care to lay odds on how long it takes her to forget/misplace the combination?)
-using pens instead of pencils in class

Miraculously, the things that terrified me about jr. high don't seem to faze her:
-changing clothes for PE (what if I sweat??)
-showering IN FRONT of people after PE (no explanation necessary)
-detention (no, I never had to go, but the thought of it horrified me)

I can't believe she's almost done with elementary school. What just happened??

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Flat-Out Bragging

Bug qualified for both sections of Stretch (gifted & talented)! Starting next year, both her math and reading classes will be taken with the gifted teacher.

We're so proud of her, and it will help alleviate some of the boredom she complains about in class. The Stretch teacher definitely puts them through their paces, and she does some really neat enrichment activities and field trips with them.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bug's Concert

Doodle-Bug's second grade concert was this week, so we had a little photo shoot in the front yard before we left. Even though I know that she's eight, she'll always be my youngest and therefore the baby of the family. So it came as a total shock to me when I uploaded the photos into the computer and saw this:

I can't get over how grown-up and self-possessed she looks in these photos. There were also a bunch of shots of her slapping away mosquitoes and making annoyed faces where she looked like the little girl she is. But these shots here slayed me.

Until I got to this one. Well, it just wouldn't be a photo shoot of Bug without a few of these, would it?

The concert was cute and blessedly short (because the chorus teacher makes them sing the LAMEST made-up songs I've ever heard. Even the kids hate them). Bug had to say one line into the microphone and spoke up nicely. The best part, though, was how irked she kept getting with the little boy standing next to her on the risers. He was swaying back and forth erratically to the music, bumping into her, turning to talk to her while other kids were saying their lines, pretty much your average goof-off eight-year-old boy who didn't want to be there. A couple of times I saw her turn and say something to him, with a set expression and clenched jaw. Later, she seemed to be speaking to him rather sharply, especially when he over-swayed and grabbed her for support. I was torn between being amused, sympathetic (I always wound up standing by some loser), and wondering what on earth his parents were making of this little girl crabbing at their kid.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Making Special Memories...

Scene: Shaw's supermarket, this morning.

Skeevy-looking 60-ish cashier: (scanning my bag of jumbo marshmallows) Oh, I love these! I use my cigarette lighter to toast them for my granddaughter.

Me: (picturing burnt fingers) Yeah, they're yummy. Did you know you can do them in the microwave?

Skeevy cashier: Huh. We tried doing them over the stove once, but it's electric and it just melted onto the burner and caught fire.

Me: (at a loss for words)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Here's Hoping...

The latest in the saga of Bear's allergies is that she's been put on Allegra. A pill. That you swallow.

As the person that has to accompany Bear to the doctor when she needs a throat culture, I am here to attest that the phrase "hair trigger" does not begin to describe this child's gag reflex.

However, when presented with the option of swallowing a pill (it's about the size of a baby aspirin) or having weekly allergy shots, damned if the kid didn't gulp it down. We practiced with little candies first. It took three before she tried the pill. The look on her face was priceless when she realized the pill had gone down. Wonder. Shock. Relief.

Now let's hope the little buggers work.

Monday, May 19, 2008

House Arrest

I took this picture of Bear outside last week just before her seasonal allergies spiraled into the realm of Totally Batshit Crazy. Trust me. There are no other words.

The poor kid has been kept indoors with all doors and windows closed since last Wednesday. Even allowing her to play outside for half an hour with an immediate shower upon coming back inside results in hours and hours of painfully itchy and swollen eyes, stuffy nose, and bloody noses. Poor kid.

Yes, we have her on maximum allergy meds, eyedrops, and nasal spray.

Yes, we have a call in to her allergist. I'm guessing that the next line of defense is going to be allergy shots to get her through the weeks of tree pollination. I'm going to go out on a limb here and predict that she will be NOT HAPPY about this.

So send happy, non-itchy thoughts her way and pray for the trees to GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY.

***UPDATED TO ADD: I just talked to the nurse practitioner at the allergist's. They want her to try some new allergy nasal spray that's supposedly great for people who also suffer from nosebleeds. I'm skeptical but will try about anything short of sealing her in a bubble (and sometimes even that sounds like a reasonable option).

Thursday, May 15, 2008


If, at your eleven-year-old daughter's school concert, you stand up out of the audience and run over really quick to take her picture after the band has taken their seats, THIS is the face you will get:

Doesn't she look pleased and proud that her mother loves her enough to record this moment for posterity? Yeah, I thought so, too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's Violet Time

It's hard to get motivated to mow the lawn this time of year in Maine. If you let the grass get just long enough, it becomes carpeted with tiny purple and white violets. Dainty and beautiful, they are sweetly fragrant. Bug likes to wear them in her hair and bring tiny bouquets of them inside to put in my smallest vase. Maisy (the cat) enjoys the violets as well, just in more of a gustatory sense.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day!

Wishing a very happy Mother's Day to Mom & Tina. I'm sure Tom will agree with me that it truly takes becoming a parent to fully appreciate all your parents have done for you.

Nothing has shocked me more about parenthood than to have certain phrases fly out of my mouth and then realize Holy crap, that's exactly what my mother used to say to me. And then, a few minutes later ... and she was RIGHT! I can think of numerous times we butted heads in my childhood where I stood firmly behind my position and belief that I was the one being wronged until some twenty years later when one of my kids did the same thing, and I found myself in the same situation but arguing from my mother's position. Dang karma.

So, although we were not always grateful or even very pleasant to be around at the time, we've come around.


You were right. Almost always. Happy Mother's Day!

Jenny (& Tom although he doesn't know it)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Hormonal With a Side of Crabby Condescension

Look at this face:Sweet, right? HA. Looks can be deceiving, folks. We have officially entered the years of Hormone-Induced Nastiness.

Typical conversation around here:

Me: Bear, could you go pick up the three days' worth of dirty clothes off your floor?

Bear: (silence)

Me: Bear, did you hear me?


Me: Bear?

Bear: FINE!!

Or this conversation...

Bug: Bear, could you pass the cereal box to me?

Bear: (silence)

Bug: Bear-

Bear: I HEAR YOU. Geez, Bug, get off my back.

Bug (confused, but always game for an argument): I'm not on your back! I'm not even touching you!

Bear (with withering stare): It's a FIGURE of SPEECH, Bug.

P.S. - Mom, I can totally hear you laughing all the way out here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

They're Heeeere!

Blackflies. Lots. I was bombarded yesterday while waiting for the school bus. The horde of blackflies swirling around my head seemed unable to reach a consensus as to whether they'd rather crawl up my nose or just gouge hunks out of my flesh with their tiny, tiny jaws.

In such a situation, there's really only one thing to do. As Mark Twain said, “Under certain circumstances, profanity provides a relief denied even to prayer.” Goddamn right.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Waiting for the Fun...

So I went today to get highlights put in my hair for the first time. It turned out waaay more blonde than I expected, but I think I like it. I think. It still scares the crap out of me every time I look in the mirror. (And, Dad, this is NOT your cue to say, "So how is this different from any other time you look in the mirror?")

How Did I Not Know About This Holiday??

Apparently, May 6th is International No Diet Day

I would like to request a do-over, since I only had Shredded Wheat for breakfast and would definitely have whipped up some cinnamon rolls had I known.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Free: One Kid. You Haul.

Every June the fifth graders take a one-day field trip to Boston. They visit the Aquarium and the Science Museum. Since third grade, when Bear got wind of this trip, she has been adamant that she does not want to go.


"I don't know."

The reasons she gives have fluctuated with the years. She's afraid of getting carsick. She isn't really interested in seeing Boston (this from the kid who is fascinated by history). She heard they'd be seeing an exhibit of dead people. (They aren't). The trip would take too long on a bus (actually a valid point, but I didn't concede it). She doesn't want to see the Science Museum. She probably wouldn't have anyone to sit with on the bus. Now with the peanut allergy, she has a new fear - that the restaurant they eat dinner in wouldn't be peanut-free.

Sidenote: I contacted her teacher weeks ago about the difficulty of her dealing with the peanut issue on this trip. She said that I could have a chaperone spot, which is a total score. Tons of parents volunteer; the lucky few are drawn out of a hat.

Even knowing I would be going AND bringing Dramamine AND finding out if the restaurant was OK for her didn't reassure Bear. She moped and moped and moped about it.

I asked her to make a list of some concrete reasons for not wanting to go on this field trip. She listed 12. About 2 were grounded in some form of reality. I talked it over with Tom. I found out from her teacher that the trip was optional. We decided that she has herself so worked up over it that she probably wouldn't enjoy it anyway. We caved.

She smiled happily and hugged me when I told her. I was disappointed that she'd be missing out on a really cool trip, but pleased to ease her anxieties. And, hey, we'd be making a family trip down to Boston at some point in the near future.

Ten minutes later she drifted back into the kitchen, "Mom? I might want to go on the Boston trip, OK?"

God help me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

My Sister-in-Law is Way Cool

Why, you ask?

Well, today I came home to find a box on my front porch. Things were already looking promising.

Inside the box, under layers of tissue in a cute little DLM box and artfully wrapped in individual cellophane bags, were these:

But wait. There's more. She sent them to me not only because she's a sweetie, but she also wants my opinion on them. I dearly love to be asked my opinion, especially about food. Plus! This pretty much requires me to sample quite a few cookies, so I can give her a really good opinion. I mean, the first cookie and even the second might be delightful, but something could have gone horribly wrong with, say, the fifth cookie. I have to be really scientific about this. I feel like I owe her that much.


P.S.: I convinced the girls that even though they each got a cookie after school that I had to take a bite out of each of theirs. Really.