Thursday, January 29, 2009

Defying Both Nature and Nurture

Lula was playing with her new magnadoodle when she dropped the pen. I heard her very clearly utter the word "Shoot."


Not shit. Not fuck. Not goddammit.

Not even crap.

My daughter - my daughter - said "Shoot."

I have no idea where she gets these things. Maybe her grandmother taught her to say that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Last night, Lumpyhead and Lula wore their pajamas inside out.

This morning, Arlington County schools were closed.

I did not wear my pjs inside out last night.

This morning, the federal government was open.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Notes on the Inauguration

Yesterday was a great day in America. Here are my observations on the festivities, in no particular order.

- If you voted against a Supreme Court Justice's confirmation, but he becomes the Chief Justice anyway, don't let him administer your oath of office. If he has to do it because the Constitution says so, insist he use a notecard or something.

- My husband was immediately bothered by the line "Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath." If my Math Geek husband can figure out that something is wrong with that line, surely someone else could have caught the error. Maybe the speechwriting staff should have number-checked the inaugural address. Darn you, Grover Cleveland, with your non-consecutive terms.

- Sarah now has staff to take her photos and make her oatmeal. She also insists on carrying her friends' faces around on little sticks. I'm starting to worry about her.

- Wearing a bridesmaid's dress from ten years ago requires more undergarments than the first time around. I'm thinking along the lines of "foundation shapewear" but what I really mean is "a girdle so powerful it requires a structural engineer." Also, if you lose all sense of reality and ignore the laws of physics and gravity long enough to buy the Infinity bra, have a back-up plan. Because the Infinity bra does not perform as advertised, and when you find that out you will feel like an idiot for thinking it might work in the first place. You'll also be stuck with a goofy bra that doesn't stick on for long enough to zip up your dress, and you will have no choice but to go commando-on-top (which might have worked fine ten years ago is not a great option three kids later). But with good pasties and enough champagne - plus a reliable babysitter and a hot date - even a nursing mom can attend a ball.
Also: if you look drunk in a photograph, it's probably because you are.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm Not Crazy. You're Crazy.

People, there are more of them today than there were yesterday. They stand in perfect lines at strategic places in the Nation's Capital. They're amassing a huge force, and they're breeding.

There's no way we can keep up. It has taken me four years to make three humans - and that's considered pretty fast - and those little humans will need several years to mature. Two of those humans are still completely incontinent, for heaven's sake.

But these things - I hear these things can hold urine and fecal matter for days. Like it's their job.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Photo Progression

We keep most of the kids' toys in plastic bins. Lula demands Bump empty one every morning for her, and calls it her "boat."

Lula in a boat

Lumpyhead and Lula in a boat


Tuesday, January 13, 2009


The rental house has been a great way to try out different features of an eventual new home.

For example, the place has a two-car carport. Coming from Minnesota and Maine - where people build proper garages - the carport idea was completely foreign to us. Let me tell you this: carports are awesome. Not only does a carport provide a permanently shady spot for your car in the summer (without the bird poop that comes standard with every other shady spot in the DC area) but it also provides some protection from the cold in the winter. There have been several mornings when I have noticed light frost on other cars parked on the street, but our vehicles in the kickass carport are completely frost-free. All hail the carport.

A yard has been a Big Deal in our never-ending search for a new house. It has been a high priority for Bump; not only a decent-sized yard, but a flat one. Fenced. Perhaps it might hold a deck, definitely a big grill. It would be the kind of space where children would be sent to run, lightly supervised, for hours on end. Maybe this is because we had been condo-dwellers for the past 12 years, but Bump was even looking forward to mowing.

The rental house has a lot of yard. A large, sloped expanse in the front with new sod that felt like carpet between your toes. A huge fenced area in the back that is so big I can't hit you with a football if you stand at one end and I stand at the other. Most importantly, the yard came with a lawn service to deal with the maintenance and the leaves. Bump might have been looking forward to mowing, but every Tuesday when those lawn guys pulled up with their weed eaters and ear muffs and gigantic mowers, I was really flipping pleased that wasn't me.

Also, DC is hot. Summers are too hot to venture outdoors for two pansies from Minnesota and Maine. When we were brave enough to face the horrifically sweltering temperatures, the mosquitoes were terrible. Lumpyhead and Lula would come back in the house after 20 minutes, scratching at dozens of huge welts and still reeking of the bug spray that obviously didn't do any good. That ideal back yard didn't get much use, and the beautiful sod on the front lawn looks dead now.

But Suprise Wonderful Feature #2 (with #1 being the carport) is the screen porch. When we moved in we expected the screen porch would serve only as a place to put on our shoes. It is now being used as a dumping ground for shoes and a cold place to store beer (more convenient than the basement fridge) and a temporary holding facility for a broken recliner (until bulk trash comes to pick it up), just as we foresaw. But! For a few weeks in October, when the weather was beautiful and the mornings sunny, we spent all day on the screen porch. It was a lovely extra room that caught a light breeze from the street and was free from the bugs that plagued the back yard. It even has a ledge all around the interior, so you can set your drink down anywhere along the perimeter. Sweet.

It has been nice to have a trial run with a house. We have enjoyed elements we never thought we would use, and have changed our minds about the importance of others.

We bought a house last week. We're excited. We're trading the carport for a garage and losing the screen porch. We're giving up on a yard, but getting a playground at the end of the cul-de-sac. We'll move in as soon as it's built.

Also: how do you pronounce the word "bedroom"? Do you say "BED-ruhm" or "BEH-droom"? Just wondering.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Answers to Friday's Quiz

1. Lula.The pink heart on her outfit should have been a dead give-away.

2. Lumpyhead.On the occasion of his first rice cereal.

3. Nathan Jr.On the occasion of his first rice cereal. Blue bib is the clue there, but the pink spoon and purple seat might have thrown you off.

4. Nathan Jr.Bump is wearing the same shirt as in #2. Just trying to mess with you.

5. Lula.Looking skeptical. She looked skeptical a lot.

6. Lumpyhead.With the remote, in the condo.

7. Nathan Jr.With a new remote, in the rental house (not that you can really tell - and Lumpyhead wore that sleeper, too).

8. Lula.Not that you can see her face, but it's Lula. She's got Lumpyhead's blanket over her. Here's a case where too much knowledge might trip you up.

9. Lula.Grinning goofily, and it would be a great photo if it weren't for my finger coming out of the side of her head.

10. Nathan Jr.He's on the new sofa, which we didn't have when the other two were babies. (But there's really not enough of the sofa in the shot to give that clue. He is covered in his blanket, though, so that's an easy marker.)

11. Lumpyhead.Impossible to tell without the date stamp, because all three of them wore that sleeper. I haven't seen that pastel plaid blanket since Lumpyhead was a baby, but if I were going by face alone, I would have guessed Nathan Jr.

12. Lula.Clever, huh? The identifying bits are covered up there. Sorry for my fat head in the way.

13. Nathan Jr.Dimples. I would have guessed Nathan Jr for the dimples, but honestly, I would probably have guessed Nathan Jr for all of them.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Which Baby Is It?

We got a new home computer last month. It's wonderful. We no longer have to limp along on my work laptop, we have a real internet connection again, I can edit video, and there's even a slot for my camera's memory card - I don't have to dig the USB adapter out of my bag, I can just shove the card right in there.

But the best thing about the new computer, the thing Bump and I love the most, is the screensaver.

I know that's dumb.

But the screensaver cycles through all my digital photos - from the crazy beach trips before we had children to the most recent shots (including those shitty family portraits in front of the tree from a few days ago). We can sit for hours and just stare. Even Lumpyhead and Lula like it, every once in awhile stopping what they're doing to shout "Who's that?" or "What's that guy doing?" Bump and I are relieved that the program cycles fast enough that by the time we get over to the computer it's too late to have to respond "Oh, that's Annie O with her bra on her head" or "That's called 'Flip Cup,' Sweetie."

Most of the photos are of the kids, though, with the computer randomly picking a shot from the last four years. But without a date stamp, the baby who pops up on the screen might be any one of them, and often we're forced to play the "Which Baby Is It?" game.

Sometimes it's easy. Clothing is the best hint. Is the baby wearing pink? A dress? That baby is Lula. Is the baby wearing a helmet? Then it's Lumpyhead.

Sometimes context provides enough clues. Is the baby in the rental house? Then it's Nathan Jr. Is the baby in the condo? Then it's not.

This is probably only a high-stakes game if you're supposed to know my children very well. If you've only met them on the blog, then it doesn't really matter if you can't tell Lula from Nathan Jr. But for us - you know, their parents - it's a little embarrassing not to be able to tell which baby is which.

Wanna play? Here we go.

Lumpyhead, Lula, or Nathan Jr?













Thursday, January 08, 2009

Top Bangs

Listen, Melissa's elimination on Top Chef last night was a long time coming. Ditto for you, Eugene. Carla, you're going to be eliminated next week, so you'd better cook that vegetarian dish while you've got the chance.

Hey, you know what? THIS:
is Exhibit A in the Why I Won't Give Lula Bangs argument.

My hair is no styling triumph, either, but Come. On.

And sometimes Lula lets me pull her hair back into a little topknot,
and it's really cute,
and even though she pulls it out about 4.5 seconds later . . .

May I remind you:
I rest my case.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

More About Bangs (Also, Please Tell Me To Shut the Hell Up Already About Bangs)

So, Lula's hair. Right.

While I was at work last Friday, Bump attended a playdate with other families from Lumpyhead's preschool.

Bump reported that no parent at the playdate would weigh in on the issue of Lula's hair. (He's certain no one wanted to be named as the culprit when he came home and reported that "_______ agrees we need to cut Lula's hair."

He did, however, report the following conversation:

Bump: She really needs a haircut.
Other Mother: So is cutting her hair an ongoing debate in your house?
Bump: Oh, there's no debate. Both positions are firmly held, and no one is changing their minds. If only she would keep clips or ponytails in her hair, it wouldn't be an issue.
Other Mother: Oh, I know. Mia [her six-year-old] wouldn't keep things in her hair, either.

Mia has bangs.

So, shall I interpret her position as "You should give in and cut her hair, just like I did with my daughter" or as "Don’t do it! Don’t give in like I did or Lula will have bangs her entire life, just like Mia!"

Version 2, right? RIGHT? (read that last part in a very, very threatening manner)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

What Barack Obama Needs Most As President

When the 44th President is sworn into office on January 20, he will immediately face huge challenges. A crippled economy, a nation in the grips of a recession, two wars, record budget deficits, a health care system in crisis, and entitlement programs facing impending bankruptcy.

I expect him to set forth a vision for a new America and back up that vision with a realistic budget plan.

Putting America back on track will be hard work. It will require public support. A willing media. A cooperative Congress. And most of all: pacifiers.

Yep. Pacifiers.

They're what President Obama needs to conquer the nation's problems.

It won't be easy. It won't be for the faint-hearted. But for little girls who are turning two on January 23, it will be required.

Yes, Dear Lula, Barack Obama needs your pacifier.

Are you a patriot? A patriot who can part with her pacifier at night and at naptime? Because the President-elect called, and he needs that pacifier more than you.

This message paid for by Mothers Who Believe the Toddler No Longer Needs That Damn Thing in her Mouth.

Monday, January 05, 2009

The Magic of the Holidays

Bump's mother insisted on family pictures in front of the Christmas tree. We warned her it was probably not the best time.

The photos are Awesome.
Please take note that while Lula is wearing her Christmas gown, Lumpyhead and I are still in our pajamas.

While this photo is truly awful of everyone, it isn't the worst photo of Bump from the session.


This is:
You can even tell that I am physically restraining Lumpyhead, because the clenched-teeth promise of three jellybeans when Grammy is done had clearly lost its gleam.

Also: Lula so DOES NOT need a haircut, SHUT UP.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Happy New Year, Welcome Back to Work

It's my first day back at the office, and boy howdy am I busy.

Ahem. Not really.

It is nice to be back. The office is quiet, as a lot of my colleagues are still out, and I haven't heard this much silence in months. Ahhhh.

Also, I'm not sure what the optimal number of houseguests is. I can tell you that having two houseguests - if those two houseguests are grandparents who dote on your children and wash the dishes and prepare a meal or two - is a pleasant thing. Eight houseguests, however - when only half of them are adults - are too many. Way. Too many.