Saturday, March 29, 2008

You can tell this book was written by a woman

QOC, reading "big sibling" book to ducklings: "Papa said, 'You can teach things to the new baby, like how to burp with its mouth closed.'"

DOB's mother, overhearing: (hysterical laughter)

QOC: Hmmm. I don't think your Papa would say anything like that.

DOB, hearing about it later: "Is it possible to burp with your mouth closed?"

Friday, March 28, 2008

Easter Pictures

This is how we spent most of the day:

But we still did get some egg-and-carrot hunting in. (Note the outfits, Carrie!)

This last one is not from Easter. This is what happens when you neglect to take your afternoon nap. You will fall asleep at the dinner table. And then your parents will mock you.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Why is this so difficult?

I have a lot of files of book lists. Books I have read to the ducklings, which I might want to read again, to them or to a younger batch. Books I might want to read to the ducklings someday, but which they are still too young for. Books I want to read. Books I have read and now want to buy. Books I don't want to read (to save myself the bother of checking them out again).

Unfortunately, I have had no system of naming these files. So they're all named things like "Book List" "Reading List" "Books to Read Again." I usually have to open two or three files before I stumble upon the list I'm actually looking for.

It finally occurred to me today to at least name my personal reading list, the one I am most often looking for, "MY PERSONAL reading list." Now I hope that I can at least find it again on the first try.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


  • The ducklings found the bag of plastic eggs this morning and were all excitement. "Now we will hide them and you can find them," they announced. I thought not. That sounds too much like the games we play every other day of the year. ("Where did you leave your shoes?") The whole point of the Easter egg hunt is to reverse the situation for once.
  • We don't get contagious-sick very often. In fact, this is the first time this winter. But we do seem to make our few sicknesses coincide with major holidays. We are setting to be the inverse of those people who only go to church on Christmas and Easter; we go every Sunday except those.
  • At least staying home from church I didn't have to risk hearing "He Lives," a song for which I have an (according to others) irrational antipathy. But DOB reported they didn't sing it anyway, so I could have safely gone. Instead I sat on the couch with a box of tissues and wiped every nose that came by.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


So I failed my standard prenatal one-hour glucose test. (I failed! Sob! I never fail tests. Except driving ones.) It's my understanding that this is pretty common with twins and usually further testing reveals no problem; the body is just under an even bigger strain than usual.

The lady from the doctor's office said I need to get back in to the lab and do the three-hour test "at my earliest convenience."

Hmm. When will it be convenient for me to fast twelve hours, drive to the lab, drink a nasty orange drink, and sit around for three hours getting periodically stabbed in between watching interminable episodes of CourtTV?

Never, that's when.

Perhaps that's not quite what she meant.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

How to Feel Better About Pregnancy Symptoms

Step 1: Be pregnant, huge, and cranky. Whine about (well, if you've ever been or married to one, you know what about).

Step 2: Get the flu. Spend a week struggling to breathe and swallow on top of all of the above.

Step 3: Get better. Suddenly it doesn't seem so bad.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Trouble With Two

D2 is pretty mellow as two-year-olds go. If he has a meltdown, it's almost always simply a sign that he needs ten minutes alone in his room with Puppy and a book, and he's happy again.

But that doesn't mean he's not busy trying to figure out how to Assert Independence through contradiction. He just usually does it with a twinkle in his eye: "No, I don't want to be clean. I want to be dirty!" "It's not red, it's orange!" DOB especially gives him lots of opportunities to exercise this property by saying things wrong as much as possible.

D1 recently received a book on manners and has been quite intrigued. Last night she sat up to the table and announced, "I am not putting my elbows on the table."

I approved mildly, but when you are very short and eating at a very big table, putting your elbows on the table is hardly possible and certainly less of a concern than the rule about not bouncing around in your chair so that you fall out mid-meal.

But D2 was immediately alerted. Stretching his tiny arm as far as it would go, he announced, "I am putting my elbows on the table."

If you really want to mess with his mind, just keep agreeing with him. One day he told us that he was going to give his picture to Papa to take to work.

"That would be fine," we said.

"Actually I'm not going to give my picture to Papa," he said.

"OK," we said, "It's your picture."

His eyes begin to whirl. "Actually I am . . . no I amn't . . . "

How can a two-year-old define himself if no one will disagree with him?

Multiples of Four

A belated reply to Mama Squirrel

4 Jobs I’ve Had in My Life

Office manager
Research analyst
High school teacher

4 Shows I DVR (TIVO)
Don't own any of the above, but shows we get from the library:

Jeeves and Wooster
Brother Cadfael
Hmm . . . that's all I can think of right now. We're kind of running low on ideas.

4 Places I’ve Been

Oxford, England. (Punting and all!)
Boston, Massachusetts. (Not in the fall, though.)
San Juan Island, Washington. (Where I would want to live, if it weren't for the ferry fees and water supply issues)
Mammoth Cave, Kentucky (But I haven't actually been inside yet. Next time we'll time it better.)

4 Favorite Foods

I don't really have a good answer to this question right now. Anything that goes down easily and stays down. And that tastes like I cooked it back when I still could cook but I haven't actually had to cook.

I'm declaring this blog an open-tag zone until the brain fog lifts (however many years that takes) so feel free to grab this if you haven't done it.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

JAMBOG 2008, Phase 2

The very late and boring edition:

Scenario #2: You're at a kids' soccer game and stay late to help pack everything up. After you've seen absolutely everyone off, you get in your vehicle and turn the key. Nothing happens. How do you get home?

(This scenario has been neglected, so I felt obliged to choose it. I'm that way about abstract and inanimate objects. Not about puppies.)

Step 1: Using disciplinary magic, we send the children scouring the car for stray money and also search our wallets. Fortunately it is garage sale season, so we actually do have a little cash. Total: $137.89.

Step 2: Setting the twin table we were hoping to sell (because by the time any of our kids are playing soccer the twins will definitely have outgrown restrained feeding devices) in the middle of the road, we wait for a victim.

Step 3: A brand-new minivan swerves to miss the table and stops right in front of us. With cash in hand and our mind-molding magical techniques in service, we step up to offer them a trade.

Step 4: "Sure, it's only $137.89, but with this article on how to double your money, it's really worth far more. You only have to double it nine times for it to be $70,559.68--far more than the value of your vehicle." Somehow they accept, and we drive off.

Step 5: We realize that we live one block from the soccer field and wonder why we went to all that trouble. But hey, we got a new minivan out of it!

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Inappropriate Prenatal Advice

Wrong Culture:
For snacks, try a cheese and vegemite sandwich. (Oy.)
Do your exercises every time you have a cup of tea. (So, twice a month, then?)

Wrong Era:
Take a list of people to call with you to the hospital. (What modern parent doesn't already have everybody from their parents to their first college roommate's old number still programmed in their phone?)

Wrong Planet:
Increase your calorie intake by adding more courses to your meals. Start with soup, then salad, bread, main dish, and dessert. All freshly made from organic ingredients, of course. (Sure, when maternity insurance coverage includes a personal chef and dishwasher. Until then, we'll have to survive on one-pot casseroles.)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

I Feel Cheated

Having read The Long Winter many times, I have always wanted to experience a blizzard (from safe inside a sturdy, warm, well-stocked house). So today the news reports say we're having a blizzard.

This is no blizzard. Where is the black sky, the sudden impact, howling winds, electrical sparks, and snow so thick you can't walk to the barn? Where are the sub, sub, sub-zero temperatures? I can see houses all the way down the street and I've seen worse winds on a balmy spring day. The snow is getting rather thick, I'll admit, but on the whole I'm completely disappointed.

I want my money back.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Phone call

"Hello, policeman? There's a bad guy in my room and he's eating my food. And his name is (five different names, most previously unknown to mankind) and he's asleep right now. So can you please come and get him and put him in jail? Thank you, policeman. I love you."

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


Funny how a little bit of information changes everything. Suddenly I seem so much bigger, more tired, thirstier. Suddenly I have twice as much to do and half the time and energy to do it in.

"Expect to be slowing down by the 25th week," I read. Slow down? I haven't sped up yet! Reading all these how-to-prepare-for-twins books when you didn't find out until the fifth month is sort of like reading wedding preparation timelines when DOB and I were engaged. Most of them started sometime before we had met. However, our wedding came off just fine and I presume somehow we'll be ready when the babies arrive. At least we found out before they were born.

It seems that with a twin pregnancy you sort of skip the second trimester, moving straight from being nauseated and tired to huge and tired. (On some days, all of the above.) It also seems that eating to appetite is not enough (which is why I haven't gained much weight) when your nausea blends into squashed stomach. I'm trying to force myself to eat more, but it is Not Fun. (Ideas for healthy, cheap, easy, high-calorie, low-bulk food are welcome, although I can't promise they'll sound good.)

On the plus side, I have a reason for all this now. I am not a wimp. I'm running two pregnancies concurrently! Some other year I will cook gourmet meals, grow an organic garden, do elaborate projects with the ducklings, write a great novel, and clean the attic. This year I'm just going to try to keep everyone alive and reasonably healthy.

One thing we are working hard on is encouraging the older ducklings to be more independent. DOB discovered that bribing D2 with a Skittle (one Skittle) was enough to motivate him to figure out how to change his own clothes. It was a little disturbing to discover that he'd changed into his pajamas and taken off his wet (pinned, cloth) diaper without bothering to put on a dry one. But it is still a great milestone! (Yes, he's probably ready to potty-train, too. I just don't think I can deal with it.)

Time to lie down again. I don't see how they can ever put me on bedrest, at least. I'm not doing anything as it is.

Monday, March 03, 2008

The Ducklings' Costuming Guide

With just a few simple household items, you too can transform yourself into any role we might desire. Here are some favorites:

Mary and Joseph: Drape a blanket over your head. The style of the blanket does not matter; yellow duck print is just fine. However, if you are playing Joseph (being D2) you must insist on the blanket going down to your feet, whereupon it will trip you up, fall off, and you will have to ask for it to be put on again.

Uncle: Wear a watch. It's best if you have swiped this watch from an actual uncle.

Missionary: Wear a baseball cap backwards. (No, I have no idea why this works.)

Since some people don't fully appreciate role-playing, it's easier if you skip acting things out and just run around announcing loudly who you are.

Please, everyone

Do not ball your eyes out. It sounds like an exceedingly painful self-operation done with dull kitchen implements.

If you must, bawl your eyes out.

Thank you,

~Grammar Commando (Whose alter ego has been lurking on too many maternal message boards, where careful grammar is NOT the order of the day.)

Saturday, March 01, 2008

JAMBOG 2008, Phase 1

It's time for the Jones' Annual Midwinter Blues Online Game! (Go visit them for the full rules.)

This is the Twin Shopping Edition:

A Book
Rather a two-book set, of course. On how to discipline by magic. (I would have more confidence if Mrs. Weasley wrote them.) We'll have to use magic, as we don't have energy for anything more concerted.

Mode of Transportation
The choices are, of course, between minivans and . . . other minivans. Fortunately this is DOB's shopping department.

Something Yellow
Double strollers, yes. But a special twin feeding table? I think two second-hand high chairs ought to do the trick for one-tenth the price.

Double money would help. Five years seems a little too long, though. Maybe five months?