Sunday, September 28, 2008


Z.: I'm not going to answeuhr da question so da question can answeuhr itseuwf.

Thus it begins

Today I went to a "Kindergarten Tea" with Z. No, she's not going into kindergarten yet, but she will be in pre-K next year, and we have heard mixed things about the pre-K teacher at her school, and there are a goodly number of private schools* that start at pre-K around here.

What is a "Kindergarten Tea," you ask? Well, it's exactly like a college fair, but for preschoolers. It was held in the basement of the Unitarian church, and because of various other things happening in my life today, like rain and grocery shopping and new discipline strategies and snack, by the time we got there, folks were starting to clear up. But there were name tags to fill out and stick on, and banquet tables all around the edge of the room (not a very big room), and sign-up sheets, and professionally assembled information packets, and admissions officers or PTA parents sounding very cheery. In one corner, there were baked goods, and a samovar with tea bags, and cider with clear plastic cups to pour it into. I did manage to put our name down on some mailing lists, and I took a little subversive pleasure in writing "MyFeminineFirstName and A.'sMasculineFirstName OurSharedLastName" on the line for parents...little do they know what they're getting! Yeah, yeah, I know we're far from the first lesbo family for any of these schools, but I do kind of like that we won't particularly stand out on the mailing lists, since in the end we won't wind up being affiliated with most of them. I am all about flying under the radar until I know what the territory looks like.

Anyhow, I expect we will start to get catalogs in the mail in a week or two, and there will be open houses all fall and then applications and admissions visits and oh, lots of stuff to juggle in the coming months, and possibly all of this to do all over again next year.

One thing I did learn: it was a little hard to sort out the guests from the hosts, but it seems that you are supposed to be wearing a black t-shirt and khaki pants if you're either a Quaker-school admissions officer or a Unitarian mom.

*Why private? Long story. I'll tell you sometime if you're interested.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Our spate of dead possums

Tuesday night, A. was taking out the garbage while I was finishing the dishes. She came in with trepidation in her voice.

A.: S.? I think there might be a dead animal in our yard. Like a mouse or a shrew or something.

S.: Where?

A.: Out there, on the walk. In the shadows.

(S. goes out to the patio in bare feet and peers down the darkened walk)

A.: I'll do the rest of the dishes if you take care of it.

S.: Can I wait until morning, when I can see it? (comes back inside) You don't have to do the dishes.

A.: Yes, sure, just so long as I don't have to do it.

S.: This is where my secret butch powers come into play.

A.: I don't think there's anything secret about them. You went to dead animal camp. I went to music camp.

In the morning, there was the usual September getting-ready-for-school oyster carnival, so the dead animal was still there in our path as I was finally ready to drag Z. from the house to school. A dead possum, a young one, larger than a mouse or a shrew, maybe a little smaller than a squirrel (not counting tails.) How to keep her from seeing it? I eyed it from afar. I flicked and pushed and pulled the elements that set the stroller up, and put my three-and-a-half-foot three-and-a-half-year-old into the stroller while still on the patio five stairs above the street. We rolled down the walk until I needed to lift the stroller up and over the remains.

Z.: Why ah you doing dat?

S.: Because there's something on the path. (Returns the stroller to ground)

Z.: What is it?

S.: (Opens gate) A dead baby possum. (Pushes stroller through)

Z.: Why is it dead?

S.: (Lifts 50+ pounds of kid and stroller down stairs.) Something killed it, another animal, you know how some animals eat other animals to live. (Deposits stroller on sidewalk.) It was probably an animal that wanted to eat it.

Z.: But it DIDN'T eat it. (Stroller is rolling towards school.) I thzink it prwobably smelled bad.

S.: I'm sure it does now.

Once home, I used the spade and a Whole Foods bag to deal with the problem. Trash was still on the curb, so I counted my blessing as I deposited the paper bag into the can, and when the garbage truck rumbled in place in front of my house, I had the happy thought that the possum was on its way to return to the earth, and not the earth in our yard, either.

In the bath that night, Z. told me she wanted me to have my arms around her when she died. I told her that one of the special things about mamas and their babies is that whenever the baby dies, even if she lives a long life and she's an old woman when she dies, is that she can feel her mama's arms around her then. Even if her mama has already died, she can feel like her mama is holding her. Z. told me that after we both die, she wants me to hold her.

I promised her that I would.


Hunter Dog has still been taking a suspiciously long time to return to the door when we call her in, and her digestion has not been of the best. Last night she whined me up in the middle of the night to visit the outdoors and this morning I came downstairs to a note on the door from A.

"Hunter Dog has apparently been getting at the possum again. I put it under the big flowerpot in the middle of the patio so Z. wouldn't see it. :(, <3 Thanks! A."

A nest of dead possums? Either Hunter Dog is living up to her name or there's a killer cat on the loose on our block.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anuddeur one

Can you tell me da stoawie of Beauty and duh Beast, just, wiss bees?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Transitions are not our friends

The beginning of the school year, yeah? Meltdown, meltdown, meltdown. Z. does not do well with transitions, like the ones between taking her pajamas off and putting her clothes for the day on. Or the one between not having a toothbrush in her mouth and having one. And going home? Well, in the time it took us to go from daycare to parking our car on the block, one of her classmates' moms had already walked her kid past our house to The Co-op on the Corner, completed her grocery shopping, and was passing us on the way back to her house. And we still had two more pauses for acting out and discipline before we made it to our gate.

Yeah. We are having some fine, hysterical times around here.

But I do think that Z. gets to the end of the day and she just needs to be hysterical for awhile.

Magpie helped us out today, by giving me the link that led me to this little piece of toddler catnip:

It's the most hilarious thing she's seen in months. She had to watch it twice, of course. And then when Mommy came home, she needed to jump up and down on the furniture for awhile.

Z: I want you to get off dat chair so I can double over wiss laughter.

As I recall, this doesn't last all school year, but it's gonna be a long September.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Halfway to Four

The semi-annual tooth-cleaning of the boo was yesterday, and as it happens, it was also her half-birthday.

We are bopping along in the car on our way to the dentist, listening to a cd a friend of mine put together for me for my own birthday a bunch of months back, and Z. is singing along to the words she can decipher.

Z.: "Happy Birssday..." When I listen to diss I sink dey're singing about me!

S.: Oh yeah?

Z.: Yes, because it's going to be my birssday soon!

S.: Sweetie, your birthday is still a long time away. As long as it's been since your last birthday, that's how long it is until your next birthday. There are a lot of months between now and then, and a lot of holidays first. Your birthday isn't until around Purim.

Z.: Dzat's vewy soon.

S.: Well, it's getting closer every day.

Z.: Dat's TWUE! En den it will be my BIRSSDAY!
1. My uncle once gave me a piece of wood from the petrified forest.

2. Never in my life have I been to Australia.

3. When I was five, I moved away from paradise.

4. High school was the first time I learned about friends leaving me behind.

5. I will never forget the feel of my daughter's head under my fingertips as she crowned.

6. Once I met an irresistible force.

7. There's this girl I know who's having a hard time, and it's twisting me up, too.

8. Once at a bar I saw a bottle fight between two women who looked like your high school gym teacher.

9. By noon I've usually found three different ways my life is a mess.

10. Last night I was asleep before 11:00.

11. If I only had a couple million dollars and a two-family house.

12. Next time I go to shul will be to pick my daughter up from preschool.

13. What worries me most is that I may crash and burn.

14. When I turn my head left I see a mess of books and papers.

15. When I turn my head right I see my fig tree, through the corner of my window.

16. You know I'm lying if I tell you things are fine at the store.

17. What I miss most about the Eighties is working theater tech. Lord help me.

18. If I were a character in Shakespeare I'd be Peter Quince.

19. By this time next year I hope to be financially and emotionally stable. Or pregnant. Right now those sentences appear to be incompatible.

20. A better name for me would be what my family calls me.

21. I have a hard time understanding how my heart works.

22. If I ever go back to school it will be to qualify to teach middle-school science.

23. You know I like you if I have a conversation with you when it's not socially necessary.

24. If I ever won an award, the first person I would thank would be my mom.

25. Take my advice: never have a baby and start a business in the same year.

26. My ideal breakfast is full of protein.

27. A song I love but do not have is "Flower."

28. If you visit my hometown, I suggest this tea shop E. and I went to on Saturday.

29. Why won’t people figure out a better way of doing capitalism?

30. If you spend a night at my house, I'll show you the bookstore in the morning.

31. I’d stop my wedding for heat prostration among the main participants. It was hot that day.

32. The world could do without corporate personhood.

33. I’d rather lick the belly of a cockroach than its head.

34. My favorite blonde gave me dinner Sunday night.

35. Paper clips are more useful than pipe cleaners.

36. If I do anything well it’s raise Z.

37. I can’t help but stay up late when I've had too much coming at me.

38. I usually cry when I feel like I can't find myself.

39. My advice to my nephew/niece is to be gentle on your mama, getting born.

40. And by the way, that girl who's having the hard time? I miss her right. now.