Sunday, November 29, 2009

Stalling tactics

Aeron and Claire have reached the phase where they will do just about anything they can think of to stall at bedtime. This past Thanksgiving weekend, we had house guests, a couple of folks my girls are very fond of. Bedtime, thus, became a real challenge.

The girls were down, and the grownups were sitting downstairs, enjoying a well-deserved glass of wine. Rare, stimulating conversation having nothing to do with child-rearing was being had by the fire, when Claire calls out from her room. Due to architecture, it's quite easy to hold a conversation between the girls' room and the living room.

"Mom! I have to tell you something"

"What, Clairezie?"

"Mom! I'm looking at this book, and these bugs are really cool! I wanna show you!"

"Show me in the morning, Clairezie."

There is a pause as she considers this. "Okay. Nite Mom!"

Our guests grin at the exchange, then we again start talking about grown-up things. (I used more polysyllabic words this past weekend than I have in years...)

20 minutes later, I see movement out of the corner of my eye, near the stairs. I'm pretty sure I know who's lurking.

"What are you doing, little girl?" Claire shuffles over to the sofa, insect book in hand, trying to look worried, yet, a little smirk keeps appearing on her face. Like she's out-smarted Mama.

"Mom. This book... look, see this bug?" pointing to the picture of a potato bug, eyes wide.


"It's freaking me out!"

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

a famous question

Back in the day when I had cable, I was a huge fan of "Inside the Actor's Studio". Not because I ascribe to "the Method" (quite the opposite, actually) but because I loved to watch James Lipton interview some of the very best in the business. Lipton is known for doing two weeks of research on each guest, and also, famously asks a series of questions that he lifted from Bernard Pivot, who pinched it from Proust.

  1. What is your favorite word?
  2. What is your least favorite word?
  3. What turns you on?
  4. What turns you off?
  5. What sound or noise do you love?
  6. What sound or noise do you hate?
  7. What is your favorite curse word?
  8. What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
  9. What profession would you not like to do?
  10. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

It was my favorite part of the program. (Question 7 always prompts the guest to ask "can I say it on cable?" When Lipton reassures his guest that it's cool to cuss, they invariably let fly with relish!) But it's the last question that interests me the most. I've given this a lot of thought and here's what I've come up with:

"Hey there, Jen! Glad to see ya! The Library of All Knowledge is right through there; there's fresh Peet's coffee and California wine available at all times. Choir practice is at 7pm on the biggest cloud. Welcome home."

So, how would you answer?

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Here's the scene: Sunday morning, about 7am. The morning light coming softly through the window, birds chirping gently, warm, snoozing husband in the bed next to me. All is right with the world....then, the kitten pounces on my face.

I thrash up from under the covers, pushing the spaz kitten off of me and notice Aeron standing next to the bed.

"Good morning, Mama!" she chirps.

"Aeron, honey." I flop back down into the pillows. "Mama is still sleeping. Please go read a book or something in the other room."

"I want you, Mama!" she insists.

"Aeron. I'm still sleeping, go into the other room. "

"But, Mama.....", loudly. Miles isn't making a sound, the faker.

"Aeron, you're disturbing me. Go into the other room."

"I won't disturb you!" at high volume.

"You're disturbing me now."

"I'm not gonna disturb you!!" at even higher volume.

Finally, I sit up in bed, give her "the look" and point towards the door. Aeron runs out of the room and begins to cry and wail for Daddy.

"Boy. She just doesn't get a clue, does she?" remarks the lump on the other side of the bed. Then the kitten pounces on my face again.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Select photos of the Uber-Cuties.

At the butterfly exhibit at the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum.

With Uncle Chris.

With Lucie-Bug Dodge.

On the way to school.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Super Gra-Maw

For those who read my blog or are my friend on Facebook, you will no doubt be aware of how much grief the little girls have been giving me lately. They are willful, and argumentative, they dawdle slower than a iceberg, they ask incessant questions. And at the risk of repeating myself, there are two of 'em!

It just seems to get harder and harder. 3 was much worse than 2, and 4 is worse than 3!

So, this was the state of affairs at the Clark homestead by Sunday afternoon: the weekend had been brutal. The girls had been eating amazing amounts of sugar all weekend (Halloween, you know) and they were constantly pleading for more. Claire refused to nap, and so was fractious and sobbing at the drop of a hat. I was trying to get dinner prepped, our new kitten Mitzi was very ill with a nasty upper respiratory infection and the girls wouldn't leave her alone. I was about ready to go bang my head on the wall when......

Super Gra-Maw arrived!

My father-in-law had left town, so Pam was having dinner and spending the night. She walked in and was immediately tackled by Claire and Aeron. When the girls would fuss, for instance, where who was gonna sit where at the dining table, Pam would step in and calmly resolve the problem.

We had a nice Sunday dinner. Afterwards, Pam started in on the dishes and shooed Miles and I out the door to take a walk. We had a nice walk in the moonlight and by the time we got back, she had the girls in the tub and all the dishes washed. More evidence of her super-powers: the twins were fussing about having a bath, so Gra-Maw asked if they wanted to have a "pool party". With bubbles! The girls practically dove into the tub.

After the party, Gra-Maw shoveled the girls into clean jammies, and read a whole bunch of books. After we tucked 'em in, there was some fussing, but Super Gra-Maw nipped it in the bud.

The next morning, the girls were fed, dressed and out the door in record time. Super Gra-Maw not only helped with the morning routine, she also had the girls make their beds! I even was able to eat some breakfast before taking the girls to school; that never happens.

If only I could get her to move in......