Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In the middle of the night, episode 8

Oh, Claire was in rare form last night. She woke up crying 4 times!



"I want Daddy!"

Daddy heard this, as the child has a voice a Wagnerian soprano would envy. He went in, I climbed back into bed and resumed sipping my champagne. Miles wasn't gone very long and once more the house was peaceful.



"You're up, Daddy" says Mama.

Miles leaves again, and again, comes back quickly.

"Well?" I asked.

"She just misses me." Daddy didn't look too flattered by this, for some reason.


My turn.

"Claire, honey?"

Sobs, "Mom! There's a spider web!"

"No, sweetie. There's no spider web. It's just a dream. Go back to sleep."

Sniffle. "Ok, Mom."


"Claire! For crying out loud, what?!?" I loudly whisper.

"I forgot to give you a hug!"

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

In the middle of the night, episode 7


Sobbing from the girls' room. Sounds like Claire.


"Clairezie, honey, what's wrong?"

"Mom! I wanna be 4 years old!"

"Claire. You are 4 years old."

She stops sobbing. "Oh."

"G'nite Claire."

"Nite, Mom."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Contentment in the 'burbs

It was a beautiful day today; warm and sunny, with refreshing breezes.

Claire, Aeron and I took a walk around the neighborhood before lunch. The girls ran down the sidewalk, picked up sticks, smelled flowers and admired a neighbor's apple tree. (I know some of my readers are gagging about now, and lest ye think it was an unleavened Rockwell moment, I just want to let you know that Aeron managed to step in dog poo and smear it all over her legs...)

The girls and I had lunch on the front deck, then went inside to make Irish soda bread. Once the loaves were out of the oven, it was nap time. The girls settled down quickly and we all had a good rest.

When Kayla and Cameron came home, the first loaf of soda bread was 3/4 devoured. Toasted, with butter! Then Cam went off to golf practice with his grandfather, Kayla started homework and the wee lassies watched a Mister Rodgers DVD while I started dinner prep.

The girls, Cameron and Sasha, our neighbors' calico, and I were all sitting on the lawn when Daddy came home. Miles sat with us on the grass and tickled and roughhoused with the twins. The sight of Aeron, giggling and rolling in the grass, was wonderful. Then our neighbor walked by with her Jack Russell puppy and the girls were beside themselves with delight.

Terry stayed for dinner and we had spinach quiche, sweet potatoes fries and homegrown tomatoes on the front deck.

Now, it's quiet. Kayla's in her room reading "The Scarlet Letter", Cam and the girls are in bed and I can hear the crickets chirping thru the open windows.

It's all good.

In the middle of the night, episode 6


Both bedroom windows are wide open, allowing the delightful fresh breezes in. It feels wonderful to snuggle under the warm covers in the cool room.

I hear a noise. I turn my head, so my right clears the pillow. Was that a little girl?

More noises. But now I realize, they are coming from outside. What the heck?! It sounds like a bunch of kids staging a riot in the street.....

Then comes a howl.

Ah. It's the coyotes. From the sounds, it must be the whole pack. Yipping, howling, barking. They are really going at it.

Wonder why they carry on like that... I wonder as a drift back off to sleep to the singing.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Musings on the English language

When did the word fruit cease to be plural?

I was reading an review of "Eating the Sun" by Oliver Morton, in which he is quoted as saying, "...the source of energy that gives the stardust life is as close as the summer which ripened the fruits on our table." This British gentleman has a degree in history and philosophy of science. (I Googled him) He went to Cambridge, fer crying out loud! Mr. Morton isn't the only culprit, just the one fingered most recently.

Another pet peeve of mine was the incorrect usage of "negative reinforcement". What most people mean, when using that phrase, is "positive punishment". But a friend of mine in the field told me to give up; that genie was long gone out of the bottle.

Of course, that is how language evolves. For instance, the verb "to Google", that's a new one. Oh, and "to friend", i.e. "I friended Pastor Rob on Facebook yesterday."

But, really? Fruits?!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

In the middle of the night, episode 5


Oh, bloody hell!

It's Aeron, sobbing. I lay in bed, listening for a minute, hoping she'll shut up.

No soap.

"Aeron, honey, what's wrong?"

No answer, other than more sobbing. Ah, jeez, is she having night terrors...?

"Aeron? Do you want some water?"

"Yes!" Whew! (If she answers, it's not night terrors) So I give the kid a refill on her water and stagger back to bed.

"So, what was her damage?" asks the lump on the other side of the bed. "I dunno," I answer as I flop back into the pillows.

3 minutes later, more sobbing. Miles gets up this time. A little bit later, he comes back and flops.

A few quiet minutes pass. Then, more crying from Aeron. I go this time.

"Aeron! What!?" My whisper is becoming rather loud.

"I want Blue Bear!" What?! The god@%&# bear is right next to her bed! I shove the bear at her and leave the room. Miles doesn't even ask this time.

We tag-team the kid for another 20 minutes. Final score - Aeron: 6, parents: 0.

Or so we thought. The crying starts up again. I throw back the covers with anger and go stomping into the girls' room.

"Aeron....?" Aeron is quietly nursing on her sports bottle of water. The wailing is coming from the other bed. Claire is upset, and coughing. I go over to her, sooth her and tuck her covers around her, make sure she has Clairezie Bear and kissed her goodnight.

As I fell back into my bed for the final time, I checked the time. 12:53am.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fatigue of the soul

The little girls had a 5-day weekend, due to Labor Day. 5 days where I had to find something to keep them busy and prevent them from tearing the place up. I rather think I failed at that, by the looks of the joint. 5 days of managing twin 4 year-olds, who don't want to get up, lay down, eat, stop eating, or go potty when instructed.

I'm tired of the drama, the wailing and sobbing when a blanket or a bear goes missing. The anguish when asked to put a shirt on. The yelling when the short-order cook (that's me) won't make what they want for lunch. The bitching when they've decided they want to go to the park, but it's too late, because it's now dark and they fooled around and wouldn't get their shoes on.

I know it's just the stage they are in. They want to control their world, and there are precious few opportunities of that kind for a 4 year-old.

But I'm awful tired.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

It's just so stupid

Generally, I avoid discussing politics. People get all up in arms and I'm not going to change their opinions, no matter what I say. Miles and I discuss the political news from time to time, but we often have to stop, as we get so very frustrated and feel so powerless.

However, this time, I really feel I need to express myself. I didn't pay the news coverage much attention at first. Seemed like just another partisan flap to me. But now, the kerfuffle over President Obama's speech to school children has reached ridiculous proportions.

The Superintendent of Templeton United School District, Dr. Deborah Bowers. has issued a directive to the Templeton schools stating teachers were free to use the President's speech in their classes if they chose, and any student could be excused if they, or their parents, objected. But, then, one of the members of the Templeton Unified School District Board of Trustees Dr. David La Rue, wrote a letter to the District Superintendent threatening punitive action against any teacher or administrator who showed the President's speech in class.

A Special School Board Meeting was held this morning to discuss the issue with the community and parents. Miles attended, as did approximately 70 other people. (The usual community attendance at these meetings is generally less than 1 or2) Out of that number, only 3 people were in favor of not allowing students to see the President's speech. And one of the 3 was a woman who started ranting about Nazis and Socialism. (Miles reports there were scoffs and catcalls from the audience during this woman's statement. Susan said she couldn't help laughing out loud...) Everyone else spoke in favor of the speech being shown to students. One woman, who clutched an American flag, even demanded the recall of Dr.La Rue.

When Dr. La Rue spoke, he insisted he was acting as a parent, still possessing his 1st Amendment rights of free speech, not as a board member. However, he had signed the letter to Dr. Bowers as a School Board Trustee. A fellow board member was disgusted enough to call Dr. La Rue a bully to his face. It seems quite clear Dr. La Rue was attempting to use his privileged position to impose his will upon the Templeton School District's policies.

In the end, the TUSD Board voted 3 to 2 to allow the speech to shown to students.

Why were folks so threatened by a speech from the democratically elected President of the United States? A speech in which Mr. Obama encourages kids to stay in school and work hard? A speech in which the President cites examples of kids who didn't let their disadvantages hold them back, who got a good education despite being ill, or poor or from a broken family?

Beats the heck outta me. Seems pretty stupid.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Outta the mouths of babes....

Claire: "Mom, is it a 'church night' "?

Me: "Yup. Tomorrow is Sunday and you're going to church."

Claire: "Yay! We get to do Jesus and go to Sunday school!"

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

In the middle of the night*, episode 4

*OK, not actually the middle of the night. More like 11:30pm. But still....

I'm reading in bed, (military science fiction) having a glass of chardonnay. Miles is doing same, but he's perusing a volume of beginning Spanish grammar. (spicy, huh?) The window is open above our bed and the crickets are chirping. A pleasant end of the day. A train went by, as it does every night, horn echoing mournfully over the sleepy town of Mayberry.

Then I heard a small, low sound of misery wafting through the dark. I sighed, tossed back my last slurp of wine, threw my book overboard and got outta the bed.

"Clairezie, honey, what's wrong?" I whispered.

"The train is too loud!" she whisper-sobbed. "I can't sleep! It's too loud for me!"

I sat down on the floor next to her bed. She was lying with her head at the foot and her Purple Blanket wrapped around her neck. Her pillow was on the floor. That kid is all over the place in her sleep.

"You know what, Claire?" I asked, running my fingers through her damp hair.

Sniffle. "What?"

It's amazing what she conveyed with that "What?" The message I actually received was, "What can you possibly say to me, Mother, that will make me feel even the slightest bit better about the *suffering* I'm currently enduring?!" Claire's got a real gift of communication.

Undaunted, I soldiered on.

"When I was just a little older than you, I moved to a place where there were 4 train tracks. We only have 1 here in Templeton. And the trains ran all night, and the horns were blowing all night. I learned to sleep through the sound. And you usually do, too. 'Cause the trains have been going by your *whole* life, and mostly, you don't hear them. But when I was little, and I did hear the trains? I liked the sound, 'cause it meant I was warm and safe and cozy in bed."

"Oh," she said with a sniffle, eyeing me like I was trying to put one over on her.

"So, close you eyes and get all cozy with Clairezie Bear and go to sleep, love."

She pondered that instruction for a moment. Then fatigue won out.

"Ok." Sniffle. "G'nite, Mom."

And she grabbed the covers, pulled 'em up to her chin and rolled over.

As I climbed back in bed with my book, "What was her damage?" asked Miles, not looking up from his book.

"Train's too loud."

"Phfft! She better get over that!"

"Yup. Pass the bottle."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


It's 1:22am.

I could be in bed.

But I'm wide-awake.

I know I should try to sleep, but I'm cruising the Internet, looking for amusement. I know I'm gonna hate myself when Miles hauls me out of bed for our morning walk. But I'm not sleepy...