June 13, 2015

after a long hiatus

i am back to say:

work still sucks, mostly.

my oldest is a youtuber.

i refuse growth hormone treatment for my youngest.

cam is still the very best man i know.

the children are still minecraft-obsessed... and cam and i play far too much restaurant story 2.

we just bought a ridiculous fixer upper that in no way resembles the mcm home of our dreams.

and... i think it might be time to start making use of the ten dollars i spend per month to keep this site running.

January 19, 2015

pay us our due

i am very tired after a day at home with the kids.

it isn't so much that they are naughty or that they don't get along.

it's more that... they're so used to being waited upon that it isn't until i've already brought them something (for the 432nd time) that i realize WHAT THE HOLY HELL, THIS ISN'T SILVER SPOONS.

they've just got such a grand air about them. "this is how things are," they seem to be saying to me, "and life would be so much easier for you if you would just follow along."

June 8, 2014


my children graduated this past week.

my boy finished 5th grade, and my girl wrapped up kindergarten. with a whimper, not a bang. neither one covered themselves in glory in the conventional school-accepted ways, but the joy of their smiles once the fanfare was over brought tears to my eyes.

i'm proud of these kids. you go, babies. i will always love you, and i will always be proud of you. you are far smarter--far more aware--far more vivid--than i was at your age, and i am regularly awed by the brilliance you show in your own ways. thank you for letting me see you glow.

June 1, 2014

playing restaurant

paul: what's your order?
nola: we haven't decide yet.
nola: can we have a bit time?
paul: "can we have a bit time."
paul: such formal nola!

paul runs to bathroom.
nola: our waiter...
me: he's just taking a break.
nola: oh, he's just taking a break.
[sounds of plumbing]
nola: our waiter is done with his little break!

cam delivered my drink order--coffee. it turned out to be beer in a tiny teacup. disturbing.

at the end of the meal, paul brought me a receipt. $2.53 for two strawberry lemonades, one "coffee," two sandwiches, one miso soup, one chocolate cake and four cookies. what a bargain!

May 29, 2014

dairy disappointments

i don't have the details of what actually transpired, but the end result is that nola ate some bread containing milk and LIVED (yay, nola), and paul is feeling blue and left behind.

my poor paul.


nola's reactions have always been relatively minor compared to paul's, and her early bloodwork didn't show a milk allergy, but we made the decision of keep her off dairy in infancy because she developed a rash on her face whenever i consumed dairy products (remember, she didn't wean until she was 5, thank you very much). so i cut out dairy while i was her exclusive source of nutrition--to this day, i only eat cheese maybe once or twice a month (if that) when the kids aren't around.

(giant plug for double rainbow soy cream. LOVE the blueberry. when i first saw the line at whole foods i was compelled to buy some because of the double rainbow shop in rockridge. oh how i loved rockridge. i should have gone to barney's one more time before i swore off meat.)

despite the test results, we have always treated the kids if they had identical allergies. maybe this was unfair to nola, but i refuse to believe that she has been damaged by our choices. there is a life--a world--beyond the consumption of dairy products. ask morrissey!

so. we're going to set up allergy tests this summer, and we'll see where we can go from there. maybe we'll get some good news. maybe we won't. either way, we'll continue as we have been. we don't keep dairy in the house (minus a tiny stash of cowgirl creamery's mt tam... shhh), and i won't make a distinction between paul-safe and nola-safe food. there's just food, and our children are far more than what they can eat.

May 24, 2014


paul: i just broke the dimensional rift with plasma.

May 23, 2014


paul: i just used non-euclidean geometry to hax.

May 15, 2014

cake pops, for real this time

we didn't make cake pops for nola's birthday--we had cupcakes instead. but now it's the thursday night before her party, and goddammit, that beautiful sassy child will have allergen-free cake pops at her party if it kills me.

so i'm baking two cakes because she wanted chocolate cake pops and strawberry cake pops.

and i agreed to do this why?

because 1) i'm a sucker, and 2) it is completely unfair and sad that my kids can't eat the cakes at their own birthday parties. for paul's last birthday, i think he had a slice of pumpkin pie while everyone ate his cake. it was a fine cake, yes, if you happen to be free of allergies. don't feel bad for paul, though. he asked for pumpkin pie. he loves my pumpkin pie. so there.

nola wanted cake pops, so cake pops she will have. there will be far too many of them, and i will not be surprised if we end up with a ton of them left over, so they will go into the freezer and i will end up eating them every time i pass by the freezer like a crazy cake-pop-aholic, claiming, "we could totally use that freezer space, yo."

but wtf-ever. because apparently one turns six twice, and one should never waste an opportunity to celebrate.

May 7, 2014

it's a curse

paul said that nola was going to tap dance at the school talent show. huh? nola doesn't tap dance.

she nearly cried. "i don't want to go."

me: it's okay.
me: you don't have to participate.
me: i don't have any talents.
paul: yes, you do.
paul: WORK.

well, shit.

April 27, 2014


the children were completely and totally captivated by a toto display at a local appliance shop.

i'd close the lid of a particular toilet, and it would open itself right up again.

we probably closed the lid at least a half dozen times. the children shrieked with delight as the sentient toilet responded appropriately.

if i hadn't had wine with lunch, would i have been quite so accommodating?

April 6, 2014

overheard (and also. damn.)

paul: DUDE.
paul: i don't take turns in terms of winning.

April 1, 2014

elementary and middle

my brilliant babies now have reserved magnet spots for the next school year. wasn't really worried, but now really relieved!

March 23, 2014


yesterday cam and nola had an interesting conversation about gay marriage. apparently you can get married now in minecraft?

cam: i married a girl.
nola: I KNOW THAT.
cam: but girls can marry girls and boys can marry boys.
nola: okay.


nola: [excitedly] i'm going to marry her!
paul: what?
me: she can marry anybody she wants.
paul: yeah, okay, but she's already married.
me: OH.
me: okay, in that case, nola, you can marry anybody you want except somebody who's already married.

we're not quite THAT openminded.

March 22, 2014


the children have begun to communicate by skype while at opposite ends of the house.

i thought it was funny that cam and i text each other from different rooms, but i guess we're old school.

February 20, 2014

shampoo commercial

after a bath and a blowdry, no one in the world has hair as lovely as that of my children. i have serious hair envy with those two.

January 8, 2014


I'll get to the story of it (and backstory) one day, but really I just need to point out that cam and I somehow produced these beautiful offspring who would like nothing more than to get me in trouble with my mom by telling her about my [first] tattoo.

not that i'd get in trouble, exactly--for chrissakes, i'm dancing around 40--but the weight of her judgment is a bit much sometimes.

December 22, 2013

taking the wind out of one's sails

me: paul, did you clean your room?
paul: [angry whine and pout]
me: [aggressively] paul, i think you've forgotten who's in charge here.
nola: [cheerfully] it's me and you!
me: [running out of room to laugh]

December 14, 2013

things i never expected to say, the holiday edition

paul, you will NOT play beyblades against a dreidel.

November 30, 2013


the kids have always been entertained by this blog... even though my language and content can be more than a little questionable on occasion. bad mommy.

paul: if i see bad words, i just skip the post.

they like to read about things they've said. and now they can read the things they've written. expect occasional updates from small people.

November 29, 2013


paul: [indistinct speech]
paul: objection!
me: yes, phoenix wright.
paul: [minor outrage] i'm not phoenix wright.
paul: i'm paul... is right.

November 23, 2013

happy 50th

paul: since it's the 50th anniversary of the doctor who franchise, i'm playing the google game for it.

the game is adorable, as is paul.

paul: [calling from other room] this game is hard!
paul: oh, cybermen!
paul: oh dangit, a switch!

November 15, 2013

meta troll

nola: [repeating everything i say... quite well]
paul: nola is trolling you.
me: no, she's copying me.
me: imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
paul: imitation is the easiest form of trolling.
me: i need to write that down.
paul: on low foot clearance?
me: yeah.
paul: YEAH!

fruit soup

the children are currently obsessed with making their own desserts. god help me, they tend to involve mashed fruit and water. paul, my wee gourmand, has graduated to fruit and soy nog, but nola is sticking with the tried and mostly true.

October 19, 2013


experimenting with a balloon, string and paperclips:

paul: [shriek]
paul: ignore my screams.
paul: DANGIT!

October 17, 2013

yet another successful parent-teacher conference

we had a lovely, lovely parent-teacher conference with paul's two teachers today. he's brilliant, he's a good writer, he "thinks like a scientist." a joy to have in class. a little quiet, so please, let him know we want him to talk more because we think everyone would benefit from his contributions.

what did we do on the way home?

we passed the torch of personal responsibility and guilt back and forth, ruefully taking the blame for his academic weaknesses.

i roll my eyes at us.

September 22, 2013

no fries with that

the children declare they will go an entire year without eating mcdonalds' food, starting today. calendar alert already set for september 22, 2014.

September 21, 2013

oh yeah.

paul: i just made up THE BEST internet acronym.
paul: idcftw!
me: what is idc?
paul: i don't care.
me: for the win?
paul: yes!


nola: how do you spell [indistinguishable]?
me: what did you say?
nola: how do you spell [indistinguishable but sounds like bean]?
me: bean?
nola: bin!
me: bin?
me: like garbage bin?
paul: rubbish bin!
me: b. i. n.
me: hey, did you know that if you want to say that you threw something away, you could say that you binned it?
nola: i binned it!

i sense a theme

me: [to cam] i'm going to get "where were you on thursday night?" tattooed around my wrist!

me: [scrolling through tv listings]
nola: that says bad ink.
paul: instead of bad ink, is there good graphite?
me: you do know that when they say "ink," they generally mean tattoos?

me: look what i have!
me: tattoo paper!
paul: you're creeping me out.

September 20, 2013


paul: they mix animation with texture packs for absolutely stunning graphics.

September 17, 2013

it's NOT an acronym

paul: [sly look] brb.
me: [studiously ignoring]
cam: where's your cup?
paul: oh yeah!
me: [puts cup on table]
paul: mommy?
me: [looks over]
paul: [another sly look] t. h. x.
me: [internal eyeroll]

September 8, 2013


paul: [to cam] yes, i'll brb.
paul: [to me] yes, mommy, i really said that.

new one

the children squabbled because nola's name has more syllables than paul's.


sunday negotiations

paul: can i start my math in 40 minutes?
paul: so i can start at 2:30?
me: i want you to explain to me why you deserve to delay the start of your homework.
paul: i'm thinking.

ten minutes later...

me: did you think of your reasons?
paul: i'm thinking!
me: while you're playing with nola?
paul: i'm trying to think...
me: you're trying to think while running around with nola?
me: you're not trying.
paul: no!
paul: no, i've come up with some reasons but i know they won't work.
me: look, so you're trying to delay giving me your reasons for delay so it'll be 2:30 and you'll say, "oops, sorry, couldn't think of one."
paul: that doesn't make sense.
me: delayception.
paul: deception.
me: i think that sums it up pretty well.
paul: wait, no!

September 1, 2013

overheard (not really)

as reported to me by a person amused with his cleverness:

paul: i don't know that like a boss.
cam: well, do you know it like an employee?

paul was also tickled.

August 25, 2013

beach bells

we were in hawaii a month ago.

ostensibly, it was a family vacation, but the underlying reason was this: work-bff was getting married at sunset on a beach on the big island, and i was going to be there.

the first part of the trip was spent at the disney resort on oahu (AWESOMENESS--i recommend highly). it wasn't always smooth, and i worked more than i expected to have to work, but our accommodations were really cool, and we also got to visit cam's family.

then we island-hopped to the first outdoor airport i had ever seen in my life.

the big island... was a little dull. for a vegan, well, the eats weren't that great. we had gotten spoiled by the aulani, and sneaking out for a drink after the kids were in bed (my mom was with us, lest you think we would actually leave the children alone in a strange place) was not easy. but the pool there was fun, the volcanoes were interesting, and the children continued to work on their lovely tans.

we missed the first half of the rehearsal dinner (in transit from the other side of the island), and then cam proceeded to get somewhat shitfaced when we met up with the happy couple and friends at a bar afterwards. (note: if you feel the need to ask--at great volume--if you're embarrassing me, there is an excellent chance that you might be.) efforts to get home post-bar were rather stressful. who knew that big island cab service shut down around 11? fortunately, the bar was at a very nice resort, and their night manager permitted their bellhop to drive us back.

the next night was the wedding, and it was delightful. the setting was magical, the ceremony touching (who knew the work-bff had so much sweetness in him?), the food and drink plentiful... and who doesn't love a gay dance party under the stars? i lost an earring and a pair of sunglasses, and all i could do was laugh. thank you, work-bff, for inviting us, and thank you, mentor extraordinaire (work-bff's boss), taking time from your busy schedule to attend, and thank you, cam, for making this trip possible.

May 17, 2013


paul: [at computer] ahhh!
paul: i kicked the bucket!
nola: what bucket?
paul: kicked the bucket.
paul: it's an idiom meaning, "i died."

March 26, 2013


i was originally going to write about yesterday's business trip, but instead i have to write this:

my kids are having a "sleepover" in paul's room. first paul read nola some stories (many giggles could be heard), and then cam went in and did some magic shit to make them go to sleep. now nola and paul are sleeping back to back in paul's bed. SO EFFING CUTE.

March 24, 2013


we took paul's best friend with us to adventureplex today for rock-climbing and play-structure playing. at lunchtime paul appeared to be on the verge of a panic attack.

me: you looked like you were going to melt down.
paul: what do you mean?
me: you looked like you were about to freak out.
me: were you hungry?
paul: at the cafe?
me: yes.
paul: i was really hungry and tired.
me: was [friend] annoying you?
paul, yes, a lot.
paul: but i pushed through.

high praise

showing off some minecraft-related playable fan-artistry:

paul: this guy did so much work.
paul: i congratulate him on the high level of detail.


on the phone:

paul: i'll give it to you the next time i come over.
paul: patience is the key.
cam: [laughing from other room]

March 23, 2013


paul: WHAT THE!

March 10, 2013


on the phone with a friend:

paul: [boyish giggles]
paul: lol
paul: [giggles]
paul: epic fail
paul: [giggles]
paul: i'm practicing my parkour
paul: [humming]
paul: spleefing with locked chests... because they degrade
paul: [more giggles]
paul: yah! yah! yah!
paul: snowball fight!
paul: lol
paul: YES!
paul: i speed-run-styled the whole thing!
paul: you fly hacker!

i'm not joking when i tell people that my son talks like the internet.

March 3, 2013


i remind myself regularly, sometimes hourly, that my life is close to perfect.

i have a wonderful husband, two beautiful and brilliant children, good friends, a lovely home, a good job, strong work relationships. my mother gave up her home to live with me and help me with my children. we have limited debt. i am well-respected and well-liked. i can't remember the last time i took a sick day. i think i laugh a lot.

and yet some days i can feel such misery and frustration sweeping over me that my arms go numb while my heart rages hard enough to rip itself from my chest. then i want to curl up in a ball in my bed/the closet/under my desk at work--or if i can bite back my fear of being seen, i might actually venture past the low-walled cubicles--eyes glued to blackberry so as to avoid eye contact--to lock myself in a stall in the bathroom down the hall. i have anxiety attacks in the car, in crowded restaurants. i rely on surface tension to keep the tears in check. i hope cam won't notice but he always does.

i have no right to be so unhappy. part of me feels like i'm having a meltdown over my SHEER BALLSY LACK of right to have a meltdown. people in my circles (and just outside them) have real problems. when i start to feel the agony under the skin, i remind myself that i'm just self-indulgent. i try to shame myself out of my "moods"--how dare i weep over being overworked when i know people unemployed for far too long? how can i be so exhausted when i sit at a desk all day long? how i can i feel worn out and stressed by my kids when i know people who would do anything to have children? how i can complain about the behavior of my children when my own inability to communicate effectively has created the barrier between us? how can i be upset at my boss when he has so clearly made his priorities known? where do i get off being miserable about a headache when just about everyone i know has a serious health concern? i can't do anything right.

but i have good days, weeks, even, when the quality of life rises above sea level and i feel normal. fun. sassy. even my hair looks livelier than usual. my zingers have more zing. in those moments, i am ashamed for thinking that i have any kind of true emotional upset. self-indulgent prattle, indeed. call it pms, call it hormones. i do, and i hate myself for being so conventional.

and then back into the pit. cam's worried eyes haunt me. i would do better, i would try to be better, for him. the kids know to be quiet when mommy is crying. soft hugs and clumsy pats. i would try to be better for them, too, if i knew what to do. one day they'll look back at my mood swings and be scornful when they grasp the lack of reason behind them, but for now they are kind.

February 24, 2013


i fully expected that at some point in my life as a mother i would spend a long time blow-drying and combing out my child's long thick hair.

it just never occurred to me that hair would belong to my son. as his teacher says, it's unfair that boys get such beautiful shiny thick hair. so jealous.

for science!

yesterday the four of us spent the whole day at occidental college for the 2013 los angeles county science olympiad.

as a member of his school's team (a mix of fourth and fifth graders), paul participated in two events (aerodynamics and making/using a key). his first event wasn't until 11:40, but in true paul fashion, he insisted we get there at 8:30. he was all done by 1:30, but we stayed for the 3:30 award ceremony. gold medals for the team. we are very proud.

paul's level of interaction with his classmates tugged at the heartstrings a little. a couple of times during the day the kids were running around with a soccer ball... paul watched from a distance, and occasionally expressed a desire to "intercept" (he likes to cast himself an athletic bamf from time to time), but after one slip in the mud he was reduced to sulks. he was invited to play, but he always said no. when the kids were playing games on various mobile devices, the king of minecraft was in his element. kids peeked over his shoulder to see what he was doing. once his best friend showed up, they were all but inseparable. (cam called them "sam and eric," much to my amusement.) the two of them were clearly... different from the others, for the lack of a better word. paul's friend is like an alert little bird, keenly interested in the things that he deems interesting, clearly unconcerned with everything else--including such mundane things as shoelaces. paul is similar, but in paul i see a sort of longing to belong partly submerged in childish insouciance that is so familiar (and saddening) to me. not concerned enough to adjust one's approach, yet sensitive enough to feel the lack of connection... i think i've felt that way my entire life. i hope my poor dear has a smoother time of it.

February 9, 2013


my children are SO obsessive. they are world class. i can't remember the last time i had a conversation with paul that didn't reference minecraft. nola's fondness for a little girl in her preschool verges on single white female.

quelle surprise.

January 26, 2013


paul: DUDE!
paul: [angry sigh] i said NO ENCHANTMENTS!

screaming minecrafter on phone.

January 21, 2013

full bellies

because new year's day was a tuesday, mlk, jr. day ended up on my birthday.

so i am spending my 38th birthday at home with my children. (cam, working for a small company, did not have the day off.)

i cooked breakfast, paul made me lunch, and nola and i are working on dinner.

it's been a nice food-filled day.

January 19, 2013


today my son talked on the phone for over an hour with a friend. while playing minecraft together on the server that cam set up for use by paul and friends.

the hell? shouldn't he be sprawled on the couch in front of the tv? or teasing his sister?

tomorrow he has a playdate with his phone friend at his phone friend's house (they're classmates). his phone friend left a voicemail on my cell. (these kids, so forward.) paul will be bringing his laptop.

it's a little odd to me how paul is simultaneously a wee babe and a pre-teen-gamer-on-the-verge, but i've always appreciated a good dichotomy.

January 6, 2013

i don't even pretend to understand

the children are watching a chimneyswift review of a minecraft mod. says nola, "this is an awesome mod! i hope i can get it."

nola: i'm gonna troll you with...
paul: blackberries!
nola: no, raspberries.
paul: raspberries are my favorite fruit.
paul: OH!
nola: strawberries are red and raspberries are red.
nola: you can troll me with strawberries, paul.
paul: i'm going to troll you with coal plants!
nola: no!
nola: [half-crying] i don't like coal plants!

January 1, 2013

a discussion of hair

me: i'm going to cut your hair while you're asleep.
paul: wah.
me: i'm not going to cut it, sheesh.
paul: well, i thought you would.
nola: what happens when you cut off all your hair?
me: my hair?
me: my hair will be short, but it's no big deal because hair grows back.
nola: uncle bumbo's hair grows.
me: yes, it does.
nola: he likes his hair short.
paul: i like my hair long.
nola: he doesn't like his hair long because he doesn't want to look like a girl.

passive-aggressive nola.

December 30, 2012


lady, i know we've worked together forever and i know you're from a different generation, but my son. does. not. need. a. haircut.

just because YOU say so.

if i say so, well, that's another kettle of fish entirely, no? AND I AM NOT SAYING IT EVEN THOUGH I WANT TO BECAUSE THE DAMNFOOL BOY CHEWS ON HIS HAIR.

hairballs. humans shouldn't have them.

December 24, 2012

ho ho ho debunked

paul no longer believes in santa. cam had THAT talk with him this evening. to be honest, i'm surprised he ever did at all.

nola, on the other hand...

November 11, 2012

the littlest barkeep

paul: mommy?
paul: can i show you my bar?
me: [not looking up] sure.
paul: [brings up minecraft on laptop] here.
paul: see my little barstools?
paul: i made four of them.
me: [looking up, raising eyebrow] um.
me: child, explain to me--why do you have a bar?
paul: [making sour face]

apparently this bar serves glistering melon, milk and potions of slowness. i asked if he sold portions of crazy walking, but he said no.

minecraft is a very strange game. the amount of time and imaginative power people devote to it (and by "people," i also mean us) is truly staggering.

October 28, 2012


at a school book fair this past week, my son bought me a puffin classics (the children's imprint of penguin! how cute is that?) book--the extraordinary cases of sherlock holmes.

it's a good thing he doesn't know my current interest in sherlock is less deduction, more homoeroticism.


nola: if you say magic words, i'll disappear.
nola: [heavy sigh]
nola: presto!
nola: i disappear! [rolling off couch]
paul: really, nola?

October 27, 2012


this past wednesday was a rather monumental day--not only was it paul's birthday, but it was also nola's first field trip.

i worked from home that day so i could go with her. (cam's on the halloween party committee, so i knew he wouldn't be able to attend this, and i couldn't just send my mom.) it ended up working out perfectly because paul needed someone to take him to school and pick him up. (well, perfectly is a bit of a stretch because wednesdays are the worst possible day for me to out of the office, but sometimes life just works out that way.)

i was looking forward to this field trip for two reasons:

1) hello, first field trip EVER, and
2) preschool field trip t-shirts

when paul attended this preschool, he had a lime green city of ____ t-shirt that the school provided on field trip days. the teacher never let the kids take them home until the end of the school year because she was smart enough to know that if she sent them home any earlier, she'd have a hell of a time getting people to remember to wear them on field trip days. the t-shirts were all the same size, so short and tall alike wore the same shirt.

nola's t-shirt is turquoise. and it falls to mid-calf. EEEEEEEEEE.

the field trip was to a local pumpkin patch. we don't live anywhere where pumpkin patches can really... exist, so this is just a set-up in a local mall parking lot with a petting zoo, bounce houses and lots of hay and straw beneath a striped circus tent-type thing. nola was immediately annoyed by the smell, and continued to be bothered by it until we left. but she did pet a goat or two, and she did smile obediently at cameras, and she even got a parting gift of a cute little pumpkin.

(later she declared the pumpkin was an egg, and it would hatch... a baby snow golem. um, what?)

i'm glad i could go with her, even though it was hard being away from work (being pestered by text while trying to convince a clingy child to look at llamas is not my idea of fun). i missed so much of paul's preschool year because of work and pregnancy, so this is something non-negotiable.


i'm eavesdropping on the kids as they play a sort of real-life minecraft with paul's new minecraft lego set. (which is insanely cute.)

the kids are really good at making stevie dying sounds. lots of "ha ha, you're in the void... you died."

much to my amusement, they took a short break from lego-play to sit down in front of nola's toy kitchen.

nola: let's make a cake.
paul: there's a cow!
paul: i got three milk.
nola: i'll find the sugarcane.
paul: let's find the wheat.
paul: we need three.
paul: wait, i need an egg.
paul: i think there are some chickens spawning by the, you know, the lake.
paul: maybe we should craft bread?
paul: nola, do you have the sugarcane?
nola: yes.
paul: craft it down to sugar.
nola: here.
paul: i made the cake.
paul: yum!
nola: yum!

paul talks so fast sometimes.

and now they are back to lego minecraft. paul is trying to feed nola lines, but she is resisting his efforts. i bite back smiles.


paul: nola, you are one lucky kid.

October 24, 2012

happy birthday

my boy turned nine today.

he is my little genius. he represents my sweetest successes, my biggest failures. he carries my love of reading, my hatred of math, my messy kid tendencies, my bad allergy genes. he wears my grumpy silence, my barely controlled rages, my sulks, my sorrows, my joys. his giggles are contagious. he sings bad pop songs in a piping little boy voice.

he is almost my height. i can squeeze my feet into his shoes. his hands are simultaneously big and small.

"i think that's great," he deadpans as we try to sleep, four people squished into a queen-sized bed.

he calls himself a preteen (but not a tween). technically, he's right, but... i'm not ready for that. not truly. he invited girls to his birthday party. i'm not truly ready for that, either. by his age i already knew that i'd marry cam.

he's part baby, part adult, all anachronism. too old to be young in this time, too young to be old elsewhere.

where do you belong?

i hope you soon find your world, your community, your people.

but please let me enjoy your childhood dependence a little bit longer.

October 21, 2012


nola: the sign says, "no messing around in the movie theater"
paul: what does "messing around" mean?
nola: [outraged] PAUL!
nola: you know what messing around means!
paul: no, what does messing around in minecraft mean?
nola: oh.
paul: no placing and destroying blocks?
paul: no flying?
nola: yes.
paul: what about practicing?
paul: can I stand in front of the screen and pretend I'm in the movie?
nola: let me check the computer.

October 4, 2012

wrinkled dress shirts

"i HATE ironing," she declared grumpily.

September 30, 2012


the children are singing "we are never ever getting back together" while playing minecraft.

it would be much more annoying if they weren't practically babies.

it would also be much more annoying if paul didn't still have such a piping high little voice. and if nola didn't have this semi-hysterical filipino accent.

September 18, 2012

eggs and milk, milk and eggs (and peanuts)

yesterday we met paul and nola's new allergist (their former allergist (and my former pediatrician) retired about a year or so ago). we actually met her once in pediatrics, i think. strong grip. the nurses were kind of a mixed bag. some smiled, some didn't. some acted like we inconvenienced them by showing up.

1. when your department calls CAM after i provide you with three separate phone numbers for ME, please be aware that i already find you obnoxious.
2. when your department INFORMS US that paul should come in for an appt, then please be aware i find you incompetent for asking us why we're there.
3. just because cam is doing the lion's share of the talking doesn't mean that i have ceased to exist. a little EYE CONTACT, please.
4. cam, why do you have a mental block about nola's previous bloodwork?
5. yes, thank you, we are like separate families under one roof. he has his kid, i have mine. I DON'T KNOW, IT JUST WORKED OUT THAT WAY.
6. paul, the way you smiled through your tears during the skin test just broke my heart into a thousand little pieces. recurring theme: nerve endings on the outside!
7. kids, why so goddamned punchy?
8. medical professionals, you saw the big welts on paul's arm from the skin test. why so effing surprised we haven't fed him those same allergens that caused that bullshit?
9. well, cam, your fear of feeding the kids nuts has served you in good stead.
10. yes, yes, i do fail as a mom. i know nothing about my son. (see #3 and #5.) thanks.

round two: on saturday nola has to go to the lab for a blood draw so allergy can run some tests. then she gets to come back to allergy in two weeks for her own appointment. also that day she gets to meet her pediatric endocrinologist.

i think this is why i stay away from doctors. appointments beget appointments!

September 1, 2012

need a thesaurus

paul is watching a minecraft fanvid with an overly enthusiastic narrator.

me: "epic."
me: why is everything "epic"?
paul: i don't know.
paul: because it's awesome?

August 31, 2012


nola is teaching me how to play minecraft.

sort of.

we make gardens and we pretend to swim and we shoot each other with arrows and we giggle like fiends.

paul rolls his eyes, but he SO wants to join our games.

August 26, 2012

momwork, part 2

paul's homeroom teacher asked the parents to write letters to her about our kids.

i joked to cam about sending her the essay i wrote. he was horrified.

this is what i eventually decided to submit, and for reasons i'm not entirely sure of, this was damned hard to write:

Dear Mrs. XXXX,

My son Paul [insert last name] is in your class. At 8 (soon to be 9), he's a slight child, all big brown eyes and skinny limbs and shaggy dark hair. Mr. XXXX saw Paul's father at Back-to-School Night and noted a resemblance, but usually people say that he looks more like me.

Paul has severe food allergies to dairy and milk. Even the tiniest exposure can result in a bad reaction. We're in the process of getting his paperwork completed to keep an EpiPen in the nurse's office. If there is any reason to have food in the classroom (birthdays, snacks, experiments), please let us know and we'll make sure Paul has something comparable. He's had these allergies all of his life, so he knows to avoid his triggers and to tell someone as soon as possible if he's been exposed to them. He'll be going in for a skin test soon to determine if his reactions have changed in intensity over the last few years. He has already outgrown an allergy to wheat, so I'm optimistic. Aside from his allergies, his health is excellent. His eyes are perfect. But he's a bit of a hypochondriac, partially because of the special treatment he's always received because of his allergies, and partially because his primary day care has always been provided by grandparents with hypochondriac tendencies themselves.

He loves to read, but hates documenting it. He enjoys challenges and learning new things, but doesn't like doing the back-up work to reinforce what he's learned. For the first two years of school, he complained that his last name was too long to write. Then one day it just stopped bothering him. I'm hoping that he'll eventually get to that point with homework.

Paul is not a fan of math. He prefers science. He likes experiments. As a younger child, he had really specific interests/obsessions and focused exclusively on them--he loved spiders, tornadoes, and military history. He could converse quite intelligently on these topics with adults. I occasionally wondered how I ended up with such an old souled child. Over the last few years, though, he has mellowed considerably. I don't know if it was the influence of other kids or tv or the internet, but he went through a heavy Beyblade phase recently, and is now obsessed with Minecraft and "Gravity Falls." He occasionally asks to watch "Psych." He's happiest with an Apple device in hand.

He has a little sister, Nola. She's four. No one in the entire world loves him as much as she does, even when he is torturing her as big brothers do. She'll be starting preschool in a week in XXXX, and we're expecting her to attend kindergarten at XXXX next year. This is the beginning of his third year here (he spent kindergarten and first grade at XXXX), so he'll be well prepared to show her around.

If you have any questions about Paul or if there is anything you need us to do (or think we should be doing), please feel free to let us know. We look forward to working with you and Mr. XXXX.

seems innocuous enough. why so hard to write?

August 25, 2012


there are few things more instantly amusing than the sight of my youtube history.

i have two laptops (old black dell, newish tiny macbook air) at home. the kids use the dell regularly, the apple rarely. i have a big old dell desktop at work. i'm signed into my youtube account on all three computers, which means that my history is a mix of:

boyce avenue acoustic covers (me)
"sherlock" scenes and fanvids (me)
strawberry shortcake videos (nola)
nerf wars (paul)
minecraft song parodies (paul and nola)
minecraft fanvids (paul)
lego battles (paul)
pop song lyrics and videos (me, paul, and nola)
one direction videos (nola)
nanalan episodes (nola)

one day when i got home from work i asked nola if she had been watching strawberry shortcake videos while i was work. (i saw new videos at the top of the list that hadn't been there when i checked in the morning.) she looked confused... was mommy here or was she at work?

if i were a better parent, i know i'd be watching these videos to be sure that they are all they are supposed to be. youtube is such a... minefield. i've turned on the safety mode, so at least that provides some filter, but... i don't know. there is so much good on youtube (ALL ONE DIRECTION VIDEOS, ALL THE TIME), but there is also so much crap. my boss and i agree song parodies can be the road to hell. you think you're going to be listening to something you know--and then ONWARD with the naughty language and imagery... quick, quick, shut it down shut it down shut it DOWN! what to do?

August 23, 2012

back-to-school night

in single file, slightly apprehensive parents shuffled into the 4th grade classroom.

teacher: paul's mom and dad?
cam: how did you know?
teacher: i looked at your face.

as paul's math/science teacher started to talk, i suddenly felt more than slightly apprehensive. i was full-on apprehensive. i was suddenly in the fourth grade again and reminded anew of how much i hated math and science. math and science hated me. did i hate them because i was stupid? or was i stupid because i hated them? either way, the irony of sending a math/science-phobic child to a math/science school NEVER escaped me.

as the teachers' presentation continued (the 4th grade supports a tag team approach: classes are taught in pairs--each teacher covers the same topic twice a day), the apprehension continued. worries about paul's very sweet, coddling third grade teacher were bearing fruit in front of my face: the "as long as he understands the material and is doing it correctly, it doesn't matter if he only finishes less than half of an assignment" attitude of all of last year wasn't going to do paul any favors in a classroom environment where math success would come through repetition and drill and regular practice. cam liked the math/science teacher quite a bit. can't remember how many times i heard that "mr. x doesn't fuck around."

the teachers require a rather complicated paperwork system involving 13-compartment accordion files. i'm assuming it will work out okay because it sounded like this was the teachers' regular practice, but paul has a lot to learn about organization before he will be able to successfully implement something like this.

i don't mean to sound pessimistic, but i am torn between the concept of letting paul fail so he can learn the right lessons and taking all of the blame for the failures of my children. i could be completely wrong: forced to listen and do, he could flourish in this environment. but he could also get completely frustrated and shut down. i just don't know. time will tell, i suppose.

August 20, 2012


yesterday paul and i argued over a homework assignment. or rather--i tried to be helpful and supportive, he made snide faces and disregarded advice while still whining for it, i sharply told him i was done and made a halfhearted grab at his notebook, he shouted NO and stomped off to his room, declaring he would stay in his room FOREVER AND EVER AND I'M NEVER LEAVING AND I'LL DO THIS ALL BY MYSELF.

to that, i shrugged and said to myself, "what a good idea."

because the bitchery doesn't stop there, i proceeded to do my own version of his homework assignment ("write a story about an emotion you have experienced" or something along those lines):

emotion: frustration
triggering event: paul won't do his work.

My son Paul just started the 4th grade this past week. Because he is now going into the sixth year of his education, I had high hopes that he had finally acclimated to the school environment. However, these hopes were dashed as early as the night before the first day of school.

As we sat around in our living room on Monday evening, talking about what he needed to bring to school the next day and how we'd have to get used to the old schedule after a two-month break, we suddenly realized that one, he was woefully under-stocked in the way of school supplies, and two, he had apparently "forgotten" to do his summer reading log even after regular reminders over the past few days (which is when he actually remembered the assignment).

My overwhelming feeling was frustration. Sheer and utter frustration. I know he's a great kid. I know he's a brilliant kid. But I also know that he is a perfectionist, paralyzed by decision. I know he is more than occasionally lazy and unmotivated by anything other than what fits his comfort level and current interest. Reading is fun. Recording the fact of reading--proving that one has read--is lame and boring. Lectures are ignored. Questions are answered by silence, stares and sometimes even an insolent quirk of the lips that I feel must mask childish rage and misery. Paul and I are often at odds. I'm a short-fused individual, even under the best of circumstances.

The school supplies situation was annoying but fixable. He claimed to have a shopping list that must have been lost--WE must have thrown it out. He swore he left it on the tansu by the front door. If it wasn't there, well, it was clearly our fault. We were perfectly content to send him to school the first day with a pencil and a folder. His new teacher would send a shopping list home, we were sure of it.

The summer reading log was a different story altogether. His father had printed a few log sheets for him earlier in the week, and Paul heaved a world-weary sigh every time I asked him if he had worked on it. Monday night he finally sat down to do it, and Monday night he melted down at the concept coming up with TWO MONTHS' WORTH of reading data. (I sound like a jerk here because I could have/should have been following up sooner, and I acknowledge that. I was a self-starter, more or less, as a child, so I am probably not as attuned to his needs as I should be.)

So I offered to type one up for him (admittedly motivated by guilt), and that's what we ended up doing. Together we fudged a summer of reading logs. Part of the way through he decided that he wasn't going to finish it, and I nearly chewed off my tongue in frustration:



After constant prompting ("Then what did you read? For how long? From what page to what page?"), we finally completed it. He turned it in the next day. The teacher sent it back with a note: Nifty spreadsheet. So we saved him from his own procrastination AND made him look like a computer wizard at the same time. Great.

Maybe one day he'll learn how to do the things he needs to do without fuss, avoidance and tears. Maybe one day I'll learn to understand his modus operandi without the soul-knotting that trips my Hyde switch. Maybe one day we'll "get" each other. I just never thought that I'd have this kind of kid, and worse, I never thought I'd be this kind of parent.

i wonder how old paul will have to be before he can read this without needing therapy?

June 16, 2012

mix and match

the other day the kids decided they wanted to have a slumber party, so they set up little beds on my bedroom floor. nola, lacking a sleeping bag (paul got a cars one years ago as a present from his grandparents), somehow seemed content with a pillowcase. my god, that child is small.

before they went to sleep, paul asked nola if they should wear pajamas. she agreed this would be a good idea, and they ran off. much to my amusement, they returned giggling with paul unchanged and nola wearing an unmatched set (purple pants and a blue top... or was it blue pants and a purple top?). they sang a song:

mixing is important

and proceeded to abandon the beds on the floor in favor of a real bed and a story.

June 2, 2012

just a nice day

we had a lovely day today.

we decided to take the kids to the aquarium of the pacific. we wanted to get there early, but early means different things to different people, and as a result we didn't get there until almost noon.

the parking garage was packed. turned out there was a run that ended not that long before we got there. we went in the aquarium, which was similarly packed. turned out there was some kind of pacific islander festival going on inside. (me, coincidentally dressed in a hawaiian floral tank top, winced.) the drums, the crowds, the misbehaving of other children. (cam: just when i think our kids are being little shits, we go out and OH MY GOD.) lunch in the onsite cafe was not that great. the kids were a little whiny. we decided to go home, then i declared that i wanted to go for a walk... and life magically improved.

we walked from the aquarium over to shoreline village (which was magic in itself because i always thought shoreline village was SO far away), spent some time in the arcade, then took a WATER TAXI back to the aquarium. cam and nola went to see an exhibit while paul and i frolicked and chatted outside, then we dropped the kids off with cam's parents and sister while we had a dinner out alone. (during which much drama was discussed and i cried because i'm a freaking horrific emotional wreck these days, but it was okay.)

now the kids and cam are asleep, and i will soon get cam up so we can watch the last ten minutes of "heathers" (we almost finished it last night, but the kids woke up cranky so we had to get to bed).

there were no work emergencies today. no full-scale tantrums. just fun, sun, my lovely family, and beer. i wish every saturday could be so nice.

May 20, 2012

city girl

it is not physically possible for me to properly express my amusement with the kids' current obsession with tegan and sara. i am trying to not die laughing at their version of "walking with a ghost." i might be turning purple at this very moment.

April 6, 2012


paul: draw swirlies or something.

[children drawing furiously]

nola: i win.
paul: there is no winning in art.
paul: just draw what your mind tells you.

[children drawing furiously]

paul: i win.

March 24, 2012

chip off the old block, part two

it pleases me (in a bad way) very much that paul's third grade teacher has made a point to mention in TWO parent-teacher conferences that paul is very sarcastic (in a good way).


cam: the week after [next], he has spring break.
cam's sister: spring break!
cam's sister: i wish i had a spring break.
paul: that's one of the treasures of being young.

March 17, 2012

there is always a punchline

[random sounds from the living room]

paul: [making sounds into a cheap echoing microphone toy] hoo-oooh!
nola: hoooooh!
paul: we're making a noise contest!
paul: hoooo-ooooooh!
nola: [noticing for the first time that paul has her echo-phone] hey!
nola: paul, that's mine!
paul: [tries to drop it behind the couch]
me: that was unnecessary.
paul: [picks it up and waves it just out of reach]
me: paul, just give it to her.
nola: [crying] paul, give it to me!
paul: [dangles it by cord, then tugs cord when she reaches up]
me: [annoyed] paul, let go.
nola: [crying] paul, let go.
paul: [dramatically lets go]
paul: she didn't fall backward like i hoped.
me: nola, like i said earlier, paul is a bully.
paul: hey!
me: [sighing] paul, when you see preschoolers at school, do you push them and yell at them?
paul: there's a FENCE. [duh]

hear the drums and cymbals? he's here every night.

in retrospect, i shouldn't have been so quick to have him return the toy to her, but his attempts to keep it away from her were just so... irritating.

March 11, 2012


am now the proud owner of a disneyland annual pass.

it never occurred to me that such a thing might be a good idea until our trip there on the day before christmas. paul rode star tours what seemed like half a dozen times, and nola began an unhealthy obsession with disney junior live on stage.

faced with their obvious interest in the disney empire, i agreed with the idea of an annual pass, but at the same time i pooh-poohed it.

no, i'm sorry, annual passes to disneyland are for the obsessed. the people who know which characters are at what place at what time, the people who know the words to every movie and every song, the people who feel the need to just "drop by" disneyland in the way i "drop by" target.

but the idea kind of grew on me, and today we bit the bullet and bought the passes.

as a result, we had the most lowkey disney afternoon EVER. we got there after three. i took paul on star tours while cam and nola went to see the last showing of disney junior live on stage. we bought two bags of cotton candy and a loaf of boudin sourdough. (cam also bought a beer and directly confronted paul's obvious disapproval. har.) then we went home.

"we won't regret this," said cam on the tram back to the parking structure, a mere 3+ hours after arrival.

no, i don't imagine we will.

i've spent the last 30-something years looking at amusement parks as full-day excursions, events to plan to the ground. such days started at dawn and ended at midnight. you wore such-and-such lightweight jacket, wore your most comfortable walking shoes. you either needed a locker or tried to boil your accessories down to the essentials so you could skip the rental. if you didn't ride X number of rides or see Y number of sights, it was an unsuccessful day. when you've got small children, who needs that? and disney's so expensive, honestly, a few trips and the pass is already covered.

here's to a new era in the happiest place on earth. i hope this little investment proves to be a sound one.

March 6, 2012

under the weather

nola is turning somersaults on the couch.

me: nola, you're such a daredevil.
paul: *i'm* more of a daredevil.
paul: but i'm not at full capacity right now.

February 5, 2012

it writes itself

me: i've been following you around all day, cleaning up after you.
me: you've ignored everything i've asked you to do.
me: you left the giftwrap out, you knocked over a chair, you didn't put your plate away.
me: and you're still ignoring me.
me: and that's why i'm going to set your room on fire.
paul: [looking up from the ipad on his lap] what?

January 21, 2012


we had a lovely late birthday lunch at shojin.

cam baked me a vegan chocolate cake.

the kids gave me puzzles they could do with me. (awww.)

now i'm drinking wine and having a snack with my best friend. (never mind that said best friend bought me a 40th birthday card. um. jerk.)

i'm more fortunate than i have any right to be.

December 18, 2011

but how else is santa going to know?

me: what would santa say about nola?
nola: i want a fairy kitchen.
me: nola wants a fairy kitchen?
nola: yes.
me: what would santa say about paul?
paul: that i want more beyblade stuff.
me: and what would santa say about daddy?
paul: that he needs more coal.
me: i'm going to put that up on facebook RIGHT NOW.
paul: don't.
paul: you.
paul: dare.

September 24, 2011

says paul

"paul is sick but extremely active."

(dictated but not read.)

September 23, 2011

friday night

paul and nola are asleep in my bed. (cam's on the couch.)

nola fell asleep to "the goose-girl." lucky for me, she passed out before the "waiting-woman" could declare that the appropriate punishment for deception is to be put into a barrel and dragged by horses "until dead." oy.

paul, cutely enough, fell asleep listening to the wiggles lullaby album. i think he specifically wanted to sleep in here with us so that he could at least eavesdrop on our bedtime routine:

  • one red dot
  • 2-3 stories from the sesame street treasury
  • one story from my phone (i've been downloading free fairy tales)
  • wiggles lullabies

now i'm dealing with paul's school fundraiser. i've already filled out countless forms for him in the past two weeks... what's a few more? not the most exciting of evenings, but i've been going to sleep early lately because i've been sick and tired and just generally drained, so it's just kind of nice to be awake.

June 13, 2011


paul: nola, fight me!
paul: i'm vulnerable!

May 29, 2011

new and improved cheap toy glider

just an ordinary conversation with my son.

me: does the propeller do anything?
paul: no, it just spins in the wind.
paul: i hate it.
me: why don't you take it off?
paul: i did.
paul: there was a marked improvement in straight flying and a reduction in the stall rate.

May 8, 2011

mother's weekend

paul informed me that it's not just mother's day, it's mother's weekend. so awesome.

so far i've received one snack delivered to me in bed (i actually had to go to wait in bed in the middle of the day), a big bunch of flowers and a pair of purple sneakers. (a trip to target resulted in converse one star sneakers for everyone: purple for me, gray for paul and cam, and pink plaid ones for nola.)

i told paul i wanted to stay in bed all day on mother's day, and he promised me four meals "on a tray"--breakfast, lunch, snack and dinner. i wonder if i'll get the opportunity to collect?

April 30, 2011

happy two-days-early birthday

today we had a party for nola at cam's parents' house. the usual group: cam's parents, sister, uncle, my mom, and us.

the best gifts were homemade (iron-on) ducky momo shirts--one from paul and several (identical) from cam's uncle.

the creepiest gift was a pair of sing-a-ma-jigs. but the adults loved them.

the strangest moment was when nola burst into tears when we sang "happy birthday" (and covered her ears) and wouldn't blow out the candles.

the most annoying moments were when my mom had outsized reactions to paul's behavior. yeah, so he was a little hyper and attention-hogging when nola was opening gifts. whatever. he's a kid.

the most unexpected moment was when paul and i decided to take a walk around the block and i got him to tell me that he felt left out when the neighbor girls decided to do an activity instead of playing a game with him.

the cutest moment was when the kids snuggled down on nola's new pillow pet and wrapped themselves in her new hello kitty throw.

the funniest moment was when nola pretended to read bedtime stories to us. "once time. bamdaid. my bamdaid. come here, boy. the end." there were quite a few. i wish i could remember them all.

i like these family parties. low-key. i'm not looking forward to the day when we'll have to host parties for groups of giggling girls.

i hate people

ducky momo is a current obsession in our house.

April 28, 2011


according to paul, a single ritz cracker is known as a rit.

April 27, 2011

inside joke

paul: you're mad.
paul: you're not mad.
paul: you're stickles!
nola: [laughing hysterically]

cook and fly

today paul and i played communist-controlled aircraft while nola made a salad of acorns and leaves. partway through, paul took a break from battle to help nola find more salad fixings.

paul: [outraged] you stepped on my plane!
nola: no--i cooking!
paul: [looking in bucket] can i see?
nola: yes.
nola: booberries, bwackberries, stwaberries.
paul: mmm, that looks good.
paul: can i help you find more food?
nola: yes.

he gave her some blades of grass and a small piece of blue fabric ("have some blueberry paste") he found on the ground, then matter-of-factly returned to his stated mission of destroying me.

April 24, 2011

mr. and mrs. easter bunny

yesterday cam and i rather hastily assembled easter baskets for the kids.

it wasn't so much that i forgot--it was more that i thought it wasn't necessary. (yeah, i'm lame.)

so cam brought up the old baskets up from under the house and made a target run. my mom and i went to the 99-cent store for some plastic grass and assorted gimcracks.

we put the baskets together before we went to bed, and cam hid them.

the kids found them pretty quickly the next morning.

one of the things i included in the baskets was freeze-dried fruit--a fuji apple spongebob packet for paul and a banana dora the explorer one for nola. paul opened his and nibbled enthusiastically. distracted and busy in the kitchen, i made an offhand comment about buying those. he pounced.

paul: so YOU made my basket?!
me: um, no... i just put in one thing, the fruit.
paul: what did daddy put in?
me: i don't know...?
paul: i'm going to tell daddy he's lazy.
me: um... no!
me: he put in the punch balloons. [this was a desperate grab... cam put one punch balloon in each basket; the rest went into a ziploc bag he then left on the counter.]
paul: oh...
me: yeah, we just put in one thing each.
paul: [skeptical] ookay.

it never occurred to me that paul might still believe in the easter bunny or some other sort of deity tasked with the delivery of... stuff. i just assumed all along that he knew it was us. sometimes i forget he's only seven.

April 17, 2011


paul: dahDEE!
me: i don't want to hear the whining.
paul: DAHdee!
paul: [whispering] i said it sternly.
me: yes, i heard you say it sternly.
me: that was much better.


today paul talked to me about anubis, expressed an interest in sewing, called me sir, and hummed "smoke on the water."

i can't think of anything in my life that prepared me to be the mother of this.

April 16, 2011

signature sound

my children are so lazy, they don't even go to the effort of laughing anymore.

instead they just make a "hmp" sound. it's very strange, but i find myself doing it, too--but then i have to smile because i so clearly picked up from them.

March 27, 2011


a toddler, left to her own devices with an ipod touch, was watching the cosby show.

1) how did she find the cosby show?
2) why did she decide the cosby show was what she wanted to watch?
3) the cosby show?

i thought i heard talking, so i asked paul what nola was watching.

paul: [peering over her shoulder] it looks like tv.
me: tv?
paul: and it looks inappropriate!
me: [looking over his shoulder] oh, it's the cosby show!
me: it's very appropriate, actually.
paul: oh... it looks hilarious!

trickery 2

paul: go shopping.
me: all right.
me: hey, stop stealing stuff from my bag!
paul: no!

[this post was dictated almost entirely by paul, with the exception of this bracketed note. "now save," he ordered. "it's going to be funny."]

March 21, 2011


bought paul four pairs of pants out of guilt because i've been putting it off. how did i not notice that the child's ankles were peeking out between the bottom of his pants and tops of his shoes?

October 17, 2010


we heard paul laughing in other room.

nola: [sleepily] paul!
nola: paul laughing!
me: yes, that's paul.
paul: [more laughing]
nola: more paul!

the neighbor's dog barked outside our bedroom window.

nola: dog!
me: yes, that's the dog.
neighbor's dog: [more barking]
nola: more dog!

cam stirred and snored lightly.

nola: daddy sleeping?
me: yes, daddy's sleeping.
me: daddy's snoring.
nola: daddy snoring.
cam: [more snoring]
nola: more daddy snoring!
nola: [fake snore]
nola: more snoring!

October 16, 2010

good manners

took the kids to lunch at coco's today.

at nola's request, the two of us went to examine the restaurant's halloween decor after we finished eating. an old woman approached us while cam and paul were paying for our lunch at the counter.

old woman: those are the best behaved children i've ever seen in a restaurant.
me: thank you!
old woman: [nodding] i used to work with children.

after a few comments on nola's age (she thought she was only a year old) and size, she went one way and we went the other.

she must have been looking in the other direction when they were beating each other up. and maybe she was in the restroom when they were blowing on each other?

September 12, 2010

dinosaurs in the city

today cam and i took paul to watch "walking with dinosaurs" at staples center. i don't know what i was expecting, but i was surprised how many little kids were there.

well, duh. how many people above the age of eight are still really into dinosaurs?

it was an entertaining show. i especially liked the plant effects (inflatable plants!). paul sat on my lap for most of the show, but transferred over to cam's lap towards the end. (i did pay for a seat for him, so it's not like i tried to sneak a six-year-old into the venue in my purse.)

the tickets, snacks ($3 for a little bag of skittles?) and souvenirs were far too expensive but it was nice to take paul out for a final all-him outing before the first day of school.

September 5, 2010

kinda sorta inauspicious

so. there were two reasons for taking off tuesday earlier this week:

1) rescheduled ob/gyn appointment.
2) paul's new school orientation.

a few months ago, i got a friendly little note from my medical provider. hey, it's time for your next pap smear, it said.

oh yeah, i thought, and set it aside.

fast forward. another note: hey. HEY. pap smear!!! OR ELSE.

i made an appointment within days of that charming reminder, and planned to work from home the day of the appointment. much to my irritation, i had to reschedule that appointment due to my period. (speaking of which, i apparently have an extremely regular 28-day cycle. out of curiosity, i downloaded a free tracking app for my phone, and lo and behold, the "projected date" is always right. it makes me wonder if perhaps i've always had such an insanely regular cycle. that would mean my own inability to read a calendar would be behind my lifelong idea that i've had an irregular cycle.)

the appointment went as expected. not a whole lot to report, other than the fact that i left cam in the waiting room for this one. oh speculum, you are not my friend.

in the afternoon, paul, cam and i went to paul's new school for his magnet orientation. can you say, "bloody waste of time?"

seriously, the only good things that came out of it were 1) we discovered they were smoking something when they called our house to remind us to bring in paperwork we were never obligated to provide, 2) we learned they don't require a uniform, and 3) we got to wander the halls and blacktop of our old school.

but still. i wouldn't have missed it. what a trip. and what a nice thing to spend some time with just paul. love nola to pieces, but sometimes, i want to just cuddle with my little boy.

it was a pretty busy day. i meant to spend my final night before returning to work going over some papers i brought home on friday, but i ended up being so tired i didn't even bother getting up after nola went to sleep.

August 29, 2010

angels and demons

my children are lovely, beautiful and intelligent... but they are also the whiniest little shits i've ever known.

omg, will this weekend never end? part of me is dying to go back to work tomorrow.

August 17, 2010


inspecting the wares of the avatar marketplace:

paul: those are all made of lego!
cam: no, that's just how graphics looked when i was kid.

August 14, 2010

amusement parked

took the kids to universal studios today. exhausted. hope the kids sleep in late tomorrow.

let me just say that the "front of line" pass is expensive, but worth it on crowded days like today -- even though i felt like a total d-bag as i nonchalantly strolled past the miles of lines to get to the tram/rides/shows.

July 18, 2010

just the three of us

today cam went to see "inception" with his dad.

i had planned to hit the nordstrom anniversary sale with my mom, but we decided on sunday morning instead. we could have taken the kids with us and gone today (well, i guess yesterday? saturday), but paul would have been the most miserable child ever.

(speaking of movies, paul saw "despicable me" with his grandfather the other day. i felt secretly teary because i've never been to the movies with paul.)

i did think -- foolishly -- that i'd be able to get some cleaning done, but the children had other ideas. the kids played in the backyard with nola's water table, then while nola napped, paul and i ate a snack/early lunch and read encyclopedia brown stories.

paul is hysterical about encyclopedia brown ("eb," he says). when i asked him if he knew the solution to a case, he told me he knew but wouldn't tell me. once i read the solution at the back of the book, he crowed, "i was right!" the times i i thought i knew the answer, he would tell me that he knew it, too, but he always kept mum until i told him my suspicions. then, of course, "i was thinking the same thing." and if i'm right, then "i was right! you were, too."

when cam came back, i was a little sad but more than a little relieved. it's funny -- cam and i are just so tied at the hip that i have so little experience spending time with both kids without him.

July 17, 2010

saturday morning cartoons

the kids have been watching saturday morning cartoons for almost two hours now. i feel like i should stop them, but i possess a bit of the potato in my soul as well.

June 27, 2010

paul the human

paul: knock knock.
nola: who there?
paul: time.
me: time who?
paul: adventure time! [nola and paul fist bump]

June 20, 2010

a joke from paul

paul: knock, knock.
me: who's there?
paul: oobi.
me: oobi who?
paul: oobi tickles! [complete with tickling motions]

June 18, 2010

last day of school

this was prematurely published. thanks, cam.

am working from home today for a variety of reasons.

1) because i can.

2) because paul needs a ride to school in the morning.

3) because paul needs a ride home after school.

4) because i couldn't yesterday.

it's his last day at this particular school, and i haven't picked him up from school this entire year. how could i say no?

June 11, 2010

inarticulate rage

last week paul picked up nola's baby doll and deliberately dropped it to the floor.

nola immediately pointed at him and let loose a veritable volley of syllables and angry-sounding warbles. she sounded exactly like pingu.

paul, initially nonplussed, quickly recovered and pointed back at her. and responded in garbly kind.

it was a very strange moment.

June 6, 2010

directly indirect

paul says "carry." nola says "come."

both mean essentially the same thing, but clearly nola is working on the devious arts of manipulation. wouldn't you feel more amenable to tiny outstretched arms and a tearful request to "come"?

no mouths were injured in the making of this bump on the head

paul was up early, clamoring for food and being needy/whiny, so i can tell he's fine. the swelling has gone down, too. i would have expected more black-and-blueness, but there just appears to be a small bruise on a knee.

kids are so amazingly resilient. i pedaled my stationary recumbent bike for 30 minutes last night and i think i'm more beat up the paul.

bumps and scrapes

today my poor boy ate it.

running (in crocs) out at the new outdoor section of del amo mall, he stumbled and fell, scraped an arm and banged his forehead on the ground. he is now the unhappy owner of a big bump on his forehead.

i was a few yards behind him with nola in my arms, and when he went down and started to wail, i ran to his side. a nice older lady stopped by to tell me he had hit his head pretty hard.

he cried a lot at first, but he was back to normal pretty quickly. within an hour of returning home, he was trying to convince me that drinking cold soda was required for his convalescence because the cold liquid would rush to his bloodstream and then move up to his head and make the bump feel better. um, sure?

now, that doesn't mean we won't be checking on him during the night, but i think it was a pretty good sign all was reasonably well in paulville.

June 3, 2010

half full, half empty

now both kids are playing with trains.

they are sharing a big track, but they aren't really playing together. nola is happy waving her train and yelling "choo-choo!" paul is imagining disasters.

that pretty much sums up their life experiences to date.

May 29, 2010

the new parenting

the other day i asked paul to help me design a tattoo.

no, he said. it would hurt.

May 28, 2010

she fought the law

paul: she broke the law.
me: she broke the law?
paul: she broke newton's laws.
me: what?
paul: you can't have two things in the same place at the same time!

i'm still not sure what she did.

May 26, 2010

they look as if they were wearing tuxedos

my children ARE pingu and pinga.

May 25, 2010

dangerous cotton insects

we have a sears outlet nearby, which means yay! cheap lands end stuff.

i recently stopped buying their stuff for me, but i still like it for cam and the kids because their stuff generally washes and wears well. (not so much for me, but no, i'm not bitter.)

the other day i bought paul a t-shirt with a mosquito on it for $5. it was a little big, so i expected it would stay in the closet for a while.

of course i was wrong.

he wore it on saturday. before i could express surprise that he was happily wearing a shirt at least two sizes too big, he sidled up and bumped me.

paul: sting!
paul: now you have malaria.

where does he get this stuff?

April 13, 2010

overt signs of aging

paul: your skin looks like sedimentary rock -- lots of layers.

March 4, 2010


paul: i can't multitask!

he gets that from his father.

February 28, 2010

one day he will get an earful

i was folding laundry and starting a load of whites in the basement when i heard yelling.

paul: [from the top of the basement stairs] mommy?!
me: yes?
paul: when you come back up, you have to say the password.
me: okay.
me: i'll have to think about it, though, because i don't think i know the password.
paul: i'll give you a clue.
paul: it's a four-letter word.
me: [cheerfully] oh, i know LOTS of four-letter words!
paul: what?
me: oh, nothing...

rainy with a chance of tsunami

saturday was a busy (rainy) day.

playing with my cell, nola managed to call paul's dentist. sigh.

we went to a book fair at paul's school. as far as we knew, it started at 9. we planned to get there at 9 because we had afternoon plans, but... we're us, so we got there after 10. sitting in the car in front of the school, i looked out at the marquee and discovered, hey, it started at 10. i was so glad we didn't rush.

even though paul kept saying all morning with great excitement that that the book fair would be open until 2, we were out within half an hour. they didn't have any encyclopedia brown books, so he got a cam jansen one instead, along with a military picture book and two little nature books. nola picked a book with a clock with positionable hands.

after the book fair, we went home, got my mom and headed out to moreno valley for a birthday party. this party would usually be a joint birthday party for my grandmother and my uncle's mother, but my poor little grandmother didn't make it this far. but everyone ended up watching the remembrance and funeral video my cousin made, so i guess it was her party, too.

we were late because we stopped for lunch at cpk in riverside. even though the party was to be a typical filipino party (you know, with lots of food), there is almost never anything for the kids or me to eat. for myself, that's fine, i'm used to it, but i always feel a little weird when family is coaxing me to eat and i really just want to say, "well, then you should have cooked something for me." while we were there, we watched the news on a big screen tv about tsunami warnings in hawaii. (thank god they didn't amount to much!) then after lunch there was a lot of traffic on the freeway, so we were even later than expected. (kind of the story of my life.)

the party turned out to be a pretty good time. nola was charming and funny (clingy, of course), and even paul seemed to enjoy himself. poor cam was so tired after the drive because he had stayed up very late the night before, so he took a nap.

i had a work emergency, but it was cleared up fairly quickly.

towards the end, my favorite aunt insisted on taking pictures with everyone. she explained to me that she always hated picture time because she thinks of herself as ugly, but recently she realized that means she's missed so much because she's not in the pictures she has, so now she's determined to be in as many pictures as possible. for some reason, that made me tear up.

then we drove home. nola talked ALL the way home. the conversation went something like this:

nola: daddy?
cam: yes, nola?
nola: shoes.
cam: i don't have any shoes.
nola: mommy? [pronounced mahMEE!]
me: yes?
nola: shoes.
me: yes, i know you have shoes.
nola: meema? [pronounced meeMAH!]
my mother: yes?
nola: shoes!
my mother: yes, you have shoes.
nola: meema?
my mother: yes?
nola: shoes!
my mother: yes, you are wearing shoes.
nola: meema?
my mother: yes?
nola: SHOES!
my mother: [wearily] yes, shoes.

paul slept in the car, so he got to push off bedtime until later (would have preferred that he stayed asleep when we got home, but fat chance of that). nola and i went to bed by 9, then i got up at 10:30 to work. i just finished what i wanted to finish about 10 minutes ago.

i guess it's time for bed, but it's also just about time for another day. decisions...

February 27, 2010

just how old do you think i am?

me: are you the only one wearing a uniform these days?
paul: practically.
paul: i liked james' shirt yesterday.
paul: it said green day and it had the military on it.
paul: do you even know what green day is?
me: a band.
paul: [silence]
me. was i not supposed to know that?

February 21, 2010

in-home care

cam, paul, nola and i have been sick for what feels like years.

paul has been in and out of school. cam has spent quite a few days working from home. (my mother guilted me for going to work while nola was ill.)

everyone coughs, snuffles and swallows painfully.

i had pinkeye!

these past few days have been particularly galling because cam and i seem to have gotten worse (although it's been okay today) instead of better. i'm losing my voice for the second time in two weeks, and the illness is completely different from what it was then. nose, please stop dripping.

must we run through the entire gamut of potential colds/flu before this winter is over?

February 6, 2010

chip off the old block

cam: why do you get to make all the decisions?
me: because he whines the loudest.
cam: [laughter]
paul: [seriously] I make all of the decisions because I whine the loudest.
me: that's right.
paul: whine is a homophone.
paul: there's whine, which is to throw a fit, and there's wine, which you drink.

i crown paul the newest little robot in the house.

February 2, 2010

foam sweet home

the children are yelling hellos at each other while climbing all over their new foam home. (no, we didn't pay that price, it showed up on kids woot for about half that, i think.) the house is super-cute, but the kids are even cuter.

January 31, 2010

no speech therapy

nola is very talkative. when paul was her age, he communicated mostly by signs, so this is new to us. (of course, now paul won't stop talking, so this means we have multiple children with mouths that. never. close.)

she calls her grandfather "beepa."

she likes to count: "one two three four five six five six five six"

our favorite sentence (a little garbled, but still understandable): "help, i'm stuck!"

she likes to laugh like the count: "ha ha ha."

she likes to sing "tinkle tinkle," much to the delight of her grandparents. she also likes to sing the theme song for "yayoo" (caillou).

wook (look), uh-oh, mulk (milk), wahr (water) and mommy/daddy/paul still pretty much make up the bulk of her conversation, but it's a lot of fun trying to deciper the rest of her warbling.

January 30, 2010

awake = noise

in the car after running some errands this evening, paul declared it was time for a "just being silent" contest.

predictably, both kids fell asleep.

January 23, 2010


i have been informed that nola now knows how to unbuckle the top buckle on her graco snugride. not so good when she does it while the car is in motion... on the freeway. paul, sitting next to her, apparently freaked out and lost his shit when she did it.

time to dust off paul's old britax marathon. it was newly manufactured when we bought it, so it's still got a couple of good years left in it.

January 7, 2010

of little significance

while going through the mail last night, i discovered a baby announcement.

me: sweetie, you have a new cousin.
paul: nola has a new cousin?
me: you do, too.
paul: you said nola.
me: no, i said sweetie... i should have said sweeties!
paul: [no longer interested]

nola wandered over to me. i held up the baby picture and she took it. she walked around, waving it, occasionally stopping to study it. then, with the same degree of nonchalance, she dropped it into the trash.

my children. so very much the center of the universe.

January 3, 2010


i was pleased to see cam wearing his glasses.

paul was not pleased. "you look like harry potter!" he smart-assed.

cam was not pleased.

December 31, 2009

field trip day

skipped out on work a bit early today to accompany the family to the discovery science center in santa ana. it was a good break, even if i was checking my blackberry every few minutes. (cam's office has been closed all week, so the fam has been on museum mode for the past several days.) paul likes it there a lot, and i think nola enjoyed herself, even though the place isn"t really structured for toddlers. my mom was with us, and she was kind of amazed that such a kid-centric environment existed. right. my childhood was clearly all porn, hookers and blow.

they went to the aquarium of the pacific a few days before. i suspect i would have liked that better, but this was fun. i'm just glad i was able to accompany them on at least one trip.

December 29, 2009

call this a day off?


i sobbed.
cam yelled.
paul whined.
and nola ate mud.

but it wasn't all bad.

December 24, 2009


paul: [holding up a roll of gift wrap with a glove on the end] this is a good human analog!

December 7, 2009

with my little eye

paul: i spy with my little eye...
paul: something that starts with o.
paul: it's something that nola likes.
me: um...
paul: do you know what it is?
me: starts with an o?
paul: yes.
me: no, i don't.
paul: nola likes it...
me: no, i'm sorry, i still don't know.
paul: obama!


today cam and i met with paul's teacher.

we were very interested to discover that he works just as slowly at school as he does at home. good grief. but his teacher felt that he was just a methodical worker, not that he lacked focus.

this evening paul lollygagged over his homework (various locations, various pencils, various excuses) until cam took his homework away. hysterics ensued. paul was given a second chance, and he turned around and finished his homework in less than 15 minutes.


December 6, 2009

cookie monsters

my children like their oatmeal with chocolate chips. why do we bother making oatmeal? let's just make a huge batch of chocolate-chip oatmeal cookies and call it breakfast.

December 5, 2009

naughty pictures

a few weeks back, i left my laptop on in the bedroom and went to the kitchen.

at some point, paul came upon my computer and took over. i'm used to him stealing it to play games, so i didn't think anything of it.

i don't really remember the details, but i did notice that paul was unusually secretive about what he was doing. we were admonished to not look. cam and i joked that it was almost as if he were checking out porn.

when i got back to my computer, i realized that the last thing i had been looking at was a slideshow of nsfw american apparel ads. it had been a link off some fashion forum. oops! i guess he was sort of looking at porn. cam laughed when i told him.

can't help but cringe every time i see an american apparel ad these days. have to be much more careful what gets left up on an unattended laptop.

December 3, 2009

navy fleece

i bought matching pajamas for the whole family. paul and nola are so very adorable in theirs. as for cam and myself, i cannot express how hilarious it is that we two now have clothes from gymboree.

November 28, 2009

tot fury

paul: i just woke up.

that's true love

last week paul kissed me on the cheek, told me he loved me and then promised to give me all of his brown legos so i could build a pirate ship.

today he said he loved me, but he didn't offer me any legos.

at least he didn't make me promise to buy him more.


paul is jonesing for a snuggie.

November 27, 2009


cam just informed me that paul ("our vain boy") wants a blemish covered. um. i don't think my concealer will be the right shade.

shaking a wee stick

with paul's latest bout with illness, i've come to see that mr. baby is a perfect nickname for him. he really is a querulous and cantankerous little old man when he's sick. it will be interesting to see if this changes as he gets older.

future wife, when you enter the picture, we are going to have to have a little talk about how men usually are babies when they don't feel well, but this one goes to the other extreme...

November 26, 2009


the children are very sick, so we stayed home today.

cam's dad delivered turkey to our doorstep for dinner (to make up for our lack of thanksgiving lunch).

the flu actually hit me last friday (by the way, the bowling birthday party paul attended last friday? perfection. i see more bowling in paul's future, but hopefully not in mine), so i'm pretty much well-ish now. still a little sniffly, a little worn around the edges, a little cloudy, but not too bad all things considered. cam, remarkably, may actually get through this unhealthy season unscathed.

nola is feverish and clingy. she threw up on me twice last night, and today she has scarcely eaten. i have been carrying her for most of the day.

paul complains of cold and stomach pains. he whines and squeals in misery.

neither one slept well last night. naps today have been brief.

it's going to be a long day for my poor babies.

November 22, 2009

well, duh

paul: [irritated] STOP IT, NOLA!
me: what's going on?
paul: she's rubbing me with an eraser!
me: maybe she's trying to erase you.
paul: [highly annoyed] NOT FUNNY!

November 21, 2009

first blood

nola cut paul with a pair of scissors. oy vey.

i was trying to attend to a screaming bloody-thumbed paul -- "oh MY! oh MY! it HURTS!" -- but my mom kept getting in the way. i finally had to stop her.

me: would you PLEASE keep an eye on nola?

eventually she left the room to pick up nola... and then came back to crowd us at the sink. sigh.

we stopped the bleeding and put a bandage on his thumb. then he wanted a frozen lemonade to help stop the bleeding ("from the inside out?" i asked). then he wanted me to hold his thumb with one hand and feed him orange veggie straws with the other.

cam was out buying sandwiches when it happened. by the time he came home, all was well. of course, when paul told cam about it, he was very dramatic, but that luckily did not last that long.

point to nola, i guess.


paul: daddy, it looks almost like a cruise missile!

November 19, 2009

cold hard cash

paul sang a song today:

i like to have money
to buy things from the store
money money money
i want more
a penny is worth one cent
a nickel is worth five
a dime is worth ten cents
and a quarter is twenty-five

children. so moneygrubbing. so materialistic.

November 15, 2009

where they are

nola likes to pretend to sleep -- she will lie down and mock-snore, but her eyes stay open. she likes to say "look" (wook), "hat," "babies" and "shoes" and loves to wear her little boots (target-brand faux uggs). nola won't drink milk other than breastmilk and drinks more water than i do. at the ripe old age of 18 months, she is finally wearing 9-12 month clothing.

paul is a really good speller and is also very good at math. he finally had his first birthday party with friends. paul loves sweets, but is partial to vegetable soup and english muffins. he likes pizza crust, but can do without pizza. his arms are too long for size 4 lands end long-sleeved polos, but he can still wear that size in the short-sleeved ones.

both children snore. they love to be swung around by their arms. paul will drop food on the floor and nola will pick it up and eat it. in a fight, i think nola would win because she uses her claws. i haven't yet decided which one is funnier, though.

November 10, 2009

coughs and hives, oh my

about two weeks ago, cam got concerned about paul's lingering cough, so we went to the doctor. a nasal infection was the cause of the cough. the doctor put paul on a two-week course of amoxicillin and off we went.

over this past weekend, paul started to complain of an itch. cam woke me in the middle of the night to show me a series of raised welts on paul's chest. he had recently discovered sesame balls (the kind with sweet bean paste in the middle), so we wondered if perhaps there had been an allergen in them. since his breathing wasn't affected, we thought we'd give it a day or so to clear out of his system.

my second thought was chicken pox, but it wasn't scabbing.

but then the hives spread to his legs and his arms. he was itchy and miserable. cam debated with himself about taking paul to the doctor, when it seemed to me that he was futzing for no reason. i mean, look, the child is covered in welts.

so cam took him to back to the hospital and discovered that the poor thing was having a reaction to the amoxicillin. they took him off that (his infection had cleared, yay) and put him on atarax (antihistamine) instead. and they gave him a note to stay home from school.

yesterday the rash had moved up to his face, but today his skin is much clearer. he's not as itchy and life seems sunnier. he should be back at school by thursday.

my poor boy. don't you ever get a break?

November 8, 2009


pretending to be piloting a plane:

paul: i need to go balls to the wall.

(i had to look up the origin of the phrase. benign enough, yes, but from a six-year-old it sounds so... wrong.)

parental ignorance

paul: what does dna stand for?
me: [laughing in disbelief] you know, i don't remember!
paul: you're supposed to learn that in high school.
paul: you're THIIIIRRRRRTTY-FIVE. [me: not yet!]
me: you can read.
me: look it up.

October 29, 2009

bad ideas

the other night paul was giggling and not sleeping.

me: why aren't you sleeping?
paul: because daddy was stupid and gave me cake!
me: he gave you CAKE before bed?

October 25, 2009

natal day

a few days ago paul saw a commercial for a giant cupcake pan and declared that he wanted that for his birthday cake.

in a panic, i told cam that we had to find that pan in a store because it was too late to order it. finally made it to a target friday night. they didn't have the exact pan (silicone), but they did have a very similar one made of metal. so we bought it, a box of cake mix and a container of frosting. (i would have preferred to do it all from scratch, but you can't have everything.) i planned to make the cake that night.

but then paul announced that he wanted to help make the cake, so that nixed the nighttime bake-off. and cam's parents suggested we go to disneyland, so that threw us into a puddle of confusion. not that we had firm plans for saturday, but we did think a family lunch party was in the works. paul agreed to disneyland (and to bring nola rather than leave her with the in-laws), so we tentatively decided to come by afterwards with cake.

fast-forward. paul no longer wants to help with cake, throws tiny fit about the giant cupcake pan being too small. paul wants pancakes for breakfast. i wake cam and get him to go out to buy round cake pans (because i have one square and a loaf pan). i throw cake ingredients into the mixer and cook pancakes with a baby girl on my hip. paul watches tv. when cam returns, it comes out that paul no longer wants to go to disneyland. cam and i instantly become frustrated and stressed-out wrecks. (yay, parenthood!) we dither around for a while (yes disney, no disney, yes grandpa's house, no grandpa's house), and then finally hit on a plan to just go to grandpa's house after lunch for cake and ice cream and presents. much easier and lower on stress because we (and they) don't feel obligated to make a big lunch.

paul was snitty. so much so that he and cam went back to bed for a minute or two so they could start the day over. it sort of worked.

we went a bit crazy on the presents. cam's dad and uncle went similarly crazy and bought model planes. as i scraped tiny nubs of plastic off the sides of tiny plastic parts with an x-acto knife, i remembered why i don't always like sewing. there's only so much leeway... cooking is more my speed. improv. dash of this, sprinkle of that. much better than 1/4" seam allowances and x-acto knives! but re the model planes -- it's a nice idea in theory, but paul is still a little boy, and these can only take so much playing. go ahead and call missing pieces and broken bits "battle damage" because he can accept that when his stuff breaks or goes missing. but when we get upset with him for not respecting his belongings, well, how much did we respect our stuff when we were that age? i'm sure we all went through periods of acting like our parents were made of money.

nola had a lot of fun. cam's sister had a friend visiting, and by the end of the day nola was comfortable enough to be carried by her all over the place.

cam and i snuck out to buy a birthday present for a next-door neighbor kid -- paul will be going over there for a birthday party on sunday afternoon. we wanted paul to come along to pick the present, but he threw a mini-fit. secretly i was glad, and it worked out fine because he told us to get legos and we found a nice little lego set that wasn't too old or too expensive.

one thing i've known about but yet didn't really see until today was paul's devotion to his new friends. i swear, once we got to cam's parents' house, i think i saw paul for a total of one hour out of five. it's so cute, but it's also a little irritating. like when we went to pick him up on friday night, he CRIED when he saw us and complained we were too early. um, buck up, kid, it's already bedtime. but i am pleased he has friends because i was a little concerned about his lack of connection to people his age.

the day worked out well, better than i was expecting. still think disney would have been nice, though.

October 24, 2009


happy birthday, dear boy. (holy crap, how did i become the mother of a 6-year-old? dude.) it's independence day -- time to be a big boy ALL. THE. TIME.

October 14, 2009


i was informed a few days ago that paul intends to have a birthday party. um, what?

but all attempts at getting information out of paul (other than the potential invitees) have failed, so i'm just going to focus on my original plan of getting classroom goody bags ready to distribute next friday.

paul has been really picky about what is to go into those bags. i had been considering buying more of the little diecast jets that paul got from the miramar air show, but paul didn't appreciate that idea.

paul: i already have those.
me: but these aren't for you.
paul: but i get a bag, too.

couldn't exactly argue with that. i ended up going with pencils, pencil sharpeners (that's a story for another day), a tiny notepad and a pullback jet toy. hope paul is satisfied.

October 10, 2009


a few months ago, paul told me that kari byron was pregnant.

(we don't watch mythbusters all that often anymore, but paul is watching is right now, so that's why i'm thinking about this.)

me: really?
paul: [nodding] don't tell daddy.

months went by, and one day it popped into my head again. disregarding paul's wishes, i mentioned the conversation to cam.

me: and then he said, "don't tell daddy."
cam: why?
cam: did he get her pregnant?

October 4, 2009

very sensitive

i wish paul wasn't so thin-skinned. not every single comment is a rebuke. my poor boy has some toughening up to do. it feels like he's saying "i give up!" or wrapping his arms around himself (self-protection? this one breaks my heart) a zillion times a day.

October 2, 2009


cam recently bought the beatles: rock band (and an xbox 360). he plays it with the children: cam on drums, paul on guitar, nola on cam's lap with microphone. they are so painfully cute.

October 1, 2009

back to school

tuesday night cam and i went to back-to-school night at paul's school.

i like paul's teacher. she actually had a lot more to say than the "we hope to have a great year!" speech that school administration seems obligated to deliver. (i understand that i haven't actually witnessed too many of these as a parent, but goddammit, i was a student once, too.) she talked for longer than the allotted time, which obviously was not a big deal for us because we don't have kids in other grades, about the curriculum and new programs. she talked a lot about a new math system the school is trying out, and she provided a handout for the parents. she talked about a reading program and the science studies for the year. she described her homework schedule. she talked about spelling tests. she explained the need for "high-frequency" words and the importance of reading to get the message in what you're reading.

sitting in paul's little chair at paul's little desk, i felt like i was in school again. it was a little intimidating but also a little exhilarating. sure, the homework schedule seems excessive, but it sounds like there could be some real learning at work here.

September 26, 2009

little maverick

because of paul's extreme interest in military airplanes, cam's dad showed him a heavily, heavily, heavily edited version of "top gun."

even knowing this, i did have a brief moment of befuddlement when i heard him humming a song from the movie this morning.

come on, "top gun"! that's a movie from MY childhood.

September 25, 2009

progress report

paul seems to be enjoying school. the work is going well, he's eating a lot of his lunch, he's doing a lot of running. he's also as modest as ever.

me: you have beautiful handwriting.
paul: [weary] i know.

cam and his sister have apparently hit upon the secret of making him do his homework -- turning it into a competition. who can write her/his name faster? can you finish your homework before i finish taking out the trash? whatever they're doing, it works better than standing over him and saying, "why aren't you doing your homework?"

today his class did some cooking -- they baked an apple crisp. the teacher, intentionally or unintentionally, bought a dairy-free margarine, so we didn't even need to provide anything. the school sent home a new set of forms for paul's epipen, so we didn't even need to request them. if the school didn't push the fundraising so much, they might be almost perfect.

September 11, 2009

first week

paul's first (partial) week of school is over. it's going to be both a long year and a short one.

lunches were easy this week because the "main course" was premade -- at paul's request, i made dairy/egg-free pigs in blankets on wednesday morning, and he ate those during the week. he also ate oatmeal bars that i baked, fruit and dairy-free cheddar crackers. he carried a thermos of soy milk, but he didn't really drink it, so i'm returning to milk and juice boxes next week.

he is still in last year's uniforms, but his old pants are a little too short. haven't broken out the new pants yet, though, because he's been wearing shorts instead (i only bought him one pair of uniform shorts last year, but i made two more over the summer by cutting and hemming two pairs of uniform pants with worn-out knees). he's wearing the same shoes, carrying the same lunchbox. new camouflage backpack.

cam and i worked from home on wednesday so that we could take paul to school and pick him up. we had been feeling a little apprehensive because we hadn't heard a damned thing from the school, and we were wondering if a letter from the school had been misdelivered or just lost. we didn't have a school supplies list, we didn't have a teacher. we didn't know anything at all.

so off we went to school. the class lists were posted on a little wall close to the front gate, so that solved that mystery. we peeked in the classroom, then headed out to the playground to figure out where paul's class would line up. i was a little sad to see that only one of his kindy classmates was in his class. i was also a little sad because everyone else in the class seemed to know each other. (and i was also a little sad because paul often pulled away from me to cling to cam, but that's nothing new so it hardly rates a mention.) the principal gave a short speech, and the classes marched off. we followed behind, but paul didn't pay us any attention.

i had a work conference call in the middle of the day. they asked me how the first day of school went. "i expected tears," i said, laughing, "but there were none!" someone told a cute story about how his sister followed the school bus to school, then came back to school at the end of the day to follow the school bus home. her kids had a great day and didn't even know. "oh, the parents are always worse off than the kids," we joked.

at the end of the day, we picked him up and he was perfectly fine. happy, even. we left him and nola (she came along to pick him up) with their grandfather and aunt, and returned home to work.

that night, the homework struggles began. homework was laid out the same way as in kindergarten (assignment sheet and assignments distributed at the end of the week, each night's homework returned the following morning in a folder), and paul's attitude towards homework was equally unchanged. wednesday night and thursday night were difficult. i found myself getting really rather impatient on thursday (to my shame) because i know he can do the work really quickly if he decides to do it, but the dawdling stretches out 5-minute assignments to over an hour's worth of fuss. good gravy.

but -- all in all -- this year is off to a better start than previous school years. fingers crossed it stays that way.

September 6, 2009

out and about and out again

yesterday was a tremendously eventful day. busy busy busy. i can't have too many days like that or i'd be even more of a wreck than i am now.

in the morning, we went to the farmer's market with my mom to buy flowers to take to the cemetery. nola and i went with my mother to the flower stall while cam and paul bought fruit. it was hot and crowded and cam and i both got very stressed. i was glad to leave. (amusingly enough, we ran into our next-door neighbors. the husband commented on cam's rather hirsute appearance, saying he looked a bit like keanu reeves. i smirked internally. personally i think cam looks more like bo brady (at least in the 80s-90s... dunno if he still looks like that), but i see where my neighbor was going with the comparison.)

then we went to the cemetery. it's important to note that my mom doesn't like to drive if she can avoid it -- and as a non-driver, i understand -- so she was squished in the backseat between paul's high-backed booster and nola's rearfacing infant seat. (we had to take her pt cruiser because our a3 isn't big enough for three in the backseat AT ALL.) she never wants to sit up front if cam's driving, so she insists on sitting in the back even though it would be less of a squeeze for me back there. nola fell asleep on the way and continued to snooze upon arrival, so cam stayed in the car with her. paul had picked out a bouquet of flowers "to plant," he declared (note that we had already bought the flowers and they were waiting in the car by this time, so it was just one more thing to be stressed out about -- hurry up and let's go!), so he came with us to the gravesite. cam let him run across the street unattended -- it was a cemetery, after all -- and i questioned cam, but ultimately it didn't matter because no one was coming. part way through the flower arranging, paul got bored, so i escorted him back to the car. he then decided he wanted to come back to us, so he "helped" us out by rearranging flowers and cutting some very short. i then refused to play because 1) i was still dealing with flowers and 2) we were in a cemetery for chrissakes, so i brought my sulky little boy back to the car. my mother got very stressed.

on the way to the cemetery, cam and i had joked about test-driving a bigger car (this topic had actually come up about a week prior) afterwards. well, after we left the cemetery, that's exactly what we did. paul was reluctant, so cam convinced him of the fun of it. then cam got cold feet, but paul really wanted to go. har. so cam test-drove his big car of choice at the moment, a ford flex (which he partially likes because it looks like a giant mini cooper). we were initially going to all go on the drive, but then i thought maybe nola, my mom and i would stay behind. but then paul wanted cam to sit with him, so i decided to tag along to give paul a traveling companion (and to let cam focus on the car). oh, how nola wailed when i handed her to my mother...

the drive was nice. cam seemed impressed and paul LOVED it. we sat in the third row and paul was the happiest little test-driver in the world. he wouldn't stop talking -- we were, he said, in a big airplane with cupholders and storage for toys. if we pushed certain spots on the car, things would happen. i asked him, "can we do anything to help the people up front?" he told me to push a spot on the window while he did the same on his side.

me: what was that for?
him: it made cupholders pop out in the front.
me: oh, how nice.

after the test-drive, we drove to a local mall for lunch. i was thinking food court, but cam convinced paul to let us go to cpk because i had been wanting to go there (grilled vegetable salad, yum). turned out cam needed to bribe paul with a ride in a $7 (!) rental double stroller shaped like a fire truck. lunch was beyond stressful. nola nibbled crayons, paul pouted. nola screamed, paul climbed around on the bench seat. nola rubbed food on my shorts. a table of pretty young girls in their 20s looked over at us while i shoveled food in my mouth while trying to keep nola from crawling on the table.

i've had finer moments.

after lunch, we walked about the mall with our expensive rental stroller. the kids were happy (even nola, the hater of strollers), but i was embarrassed to be walking a mall with that monstrosity. i can struggle with a car cart in a grocery store, but a mall? ugh. i then took my mom into nordstrom, abandoning cam with the kids, and we hit the shoes, then the petite section. i ended up buying two dresses, a wrap and a sheath with elbow-length sleeves. now that i'm not pumping anymore, i love my dresses. i wasn't sold on one of them (the sheath), but i wanted to show cam before just saying no to it completely. besides, my mom would have been disgruntled if i didn't get that one because that was the one she liked better. (cam ended up liking that one better, too, but he liked the wrap as well.) my mom didn't like anything she tried on, so she left with the same amount of money she brought in.

after the mall we finally went home. i fed nola and we took a brief nap while cam filled up an inflatable pool in the backyard. when nola awoke, we got in the pool. it was freezing, so we didn't stay in too long. then we took quick showers and went to whole foods for groceries and dinner.

the kids got to bed really late. cam and i intended to stay up and have some wine, but we were completely bushed and fell asleep. sleep of the just, i say.

August 30, 2009


a woman was soliciting donations for a womens' shelter outside of a local drugstore. cam gave her a dollar, so she told him he could take a tootsie-pop. paul and cam deliberated, and finally settled on a cherry one. we had looked up tootsie rolls once upon a time and were surprised to see paul could eat them, so we were fairly confident he could eat one of these.

but we were wrong. cam checked the ingredients and found a milk product. paul burst into tears. "i give up on all candy," he sobbed. i fought the lump in my throat and blinked a few times.

cam: breaks my heart.
me: i know.

i know some of you might scoff and think we're fools for even wanting to give our boy such an unhealthy treat, but i don't care. every kid should be able to enjoy an unexpected sweet every once in a while and not have to worry about getting very sick from it.

August 23, 2009

the walls have eyes

sweetie, those self-adhesive googly eyes do not belong on my ipod. or daddy's phone. or that screwdriver over there. or the front door, for that matter!

August 22, 2009

not using one's powers for good

it is cool to have a kid with a great sense of humor. it is not cool when that kid uses that great sense of humor to delay bedtime for HOURS.

August 21, 2009


paul informed me a few minutes ago that he loves starlight mints and that he wants me to buy him a big bag. i had to chuckle. even though i've seen them in stores, i can't say i've ever seen anyone buy any. can't we just grab a handful at the next restaurant we visit?

August 15, 2009

in charge

last night we had a bit of a pissing contest at dinner: who's the boss?

paul declared he was the boss -- and that it was because he sings fewer dora songs than everyone else in the house. or that it was because he talks less than everyone else. and because of this and that and that and this.

every time he said something new, we'd refute him.

cam: that sounds like nola.
me: or me -- i'm the boss.
cam: nope, that's me.

after a few minutes of this, paul put on his i'm-so-clever face. he announced that the boss was five. aha!

cam: then you'll only be the boss for a few more months, then nola will be the boss in few years.

he seemed fine with that, so, well, he's the boss. enjoy it, kid.

tooth and nail

i am SO tired of struggling with the children over the trimming of fingernails and toenails. can't i just have them declawed?

August 11, 2009

very specific tastes

it's a little disconcerting that paul can be happy watching either noggin or the military channel.

July 24, 2009

not quite right

paul slept at his grandparents' house last night. I walked by his room a minute ago and it just seemed so dark and lonely. not that he's normally a bundle of energy at this time in the morning, but the room was just so... still.

July 21, 2009

grabbing hands grab all they can

paul is slowly getting accustomed to the idea of moving things out of nola's reach instead of yelling at her and pushing her head to try to get her to turn around. (i know.) unfortunately, this also means they argue more because he has no qualms about yanking stuff right out of her hands. i'm in no hurry for her to talk if it just means that the chorus of "but mommy"s is just going to double.


paul: what is that?
me: cheerios -- want some?
paul: they taste like bread.
paul: why do they taste like bread?
me: they just do.
me: they make them like that.
paul: i don't like bread made into tiny circles.

July 16, 2009

short and sweet, i guess

just got back from a half hour or so at the park. I thought we'd just have another walk, but paul had other ideas.

me: how did our nice little walk get so complicated?
cam: our nice little boy got so complicated.

so we drove to the park. nola and i walked around while paul and cam played with a balsa wood airplane and a frisbee-type thing. it was cute.

now we're home and i'm trying (in a very half-assed way) to get nola to sleep. (one could argue that nola is trying in a very half-assed way to go to sleep.) paul will be bed-bound soon, too. good lord, evenings are short around here.

July 6, 2009

listen to me, dammit

last night cam went to a birthday party for a former coworker. i stayed home with the kids. we watched a bunch of wiggles dvds on netflix (because i am the lazy kind of mom). all was fine (there were some dinner squabbles that were irritating, but not a big deal) until paul started getting a little too aggressive with his little sister.

he had been picking on her a little bit -- running to get ahead of her, standing in her way -- but then he started yelling and tossing stuff around. he'd see that she had something and he would come flying across the room to yank it out of her hands. he pushed her, nearly hit her.

me: stop it, paul, let her play.
me: stop it, paul.
me: PAUL.
me: STOP IT.

finally he looked at me.

paul: no one can stop me.
me: i can.

i stood up, turned off the lights and the tv.

me: go to bed.

the tears! cam arrived a few minutes later and i willingly turned paul over to him. it was past nola's bedtime and she, too, was getting cranky. paul cried and whined for what seemed like an eternity.

paul: i don't have ANY choices.
me: you did have choices, but you lost them.

paul: i don't have any choices!
cam: you do: bed or bath?

that kid. i would have totally relented if there hadn't been a fit of such enormous proportions. but i guess it's better this way because he did need to realize there were consequences for his behavior.

July 4, 2009

a saturday in july

today felt like a sunday because we had friday off (which still strikes me as odd, although i'm not sure why).

my mom's youngest brother has been here since thursday. he just got back from the philippines, and because he's between jobs, my mom and i decided to pay him to paint a fence. so while he worked on that, we worked on the railings in the front -- sanding and scraping in preparation to repaint.

but before we could get started, there was a lot to do. i made pancakes for breakfast (paul requested shaped pancakes, so i made him an airplane and a rocket (cooked in cookie cutters in the pan). it was so much effort, i decided against making others like that and ended up just making big pancakes and cutting them with cookie cutters. after breakfast, paul wanted to go early to cam's parents' house (where we were going for lunch), but had to wait an hour while they got ready... so cam had to amuse him while i started in on the railings (nola hung out with my mom). i worked alone until cam returned from dropping paul off, then we worked together for a bit longer than we should have. cam had to call his parents to tell them to eat without us. by the time we got over there, everyone had already eaten, but paul sat with us and ate a shocking amount of corn.

after lunch, paul and cam's sister made lemonade and set up a stand in the backyard, where they sold said lemonade for a penny a cup. nola played in the sprinkler and got soaking wet. i had to forcibly remove bits of dried grass from her mouth. that child will eat anything. around 3ish, i tried to feed nola so she'd take a nap, but she was uncooperative. cam and i ended up leaving paul there while we took nola home to sleep.

we returned to cam's parents' house around 7ish. we ate dinner and went outside to watch the fireworks. it was much more toned down than in previous years. the whole day was much more toned down -- we used to dislike this holiday because of the block parties and the insane fireworks. but today was quiet and mild. paul still thought the fireworks were too loud, but it wasn't nearly as bad as before. nola was fine with the loud sounds, but she started melting down because she was up past her bedtime.

when we got home, the kids went to bed fairly quickly and easily, so now here we are, sitting in front of laptops and tv with wine and coffee. it's a little noisy outside, but nothing too bad. happy 4th of july.

July 1, 2009

sibling rivalry

the kids, oh how they fight. nola usually wins with a swipe and a scream. paul falls back, pouting and whining. it's a little disturbing to realize that it can only get worse from here, but i can find comfort in the fact that it will not last. at least it won't if i can help it.

my brother and i fought like crazy when we were growing up. we argued over anything, everything. (my mother blamed me for the decline of that relationship.) we were legendary amongst the family for our inability to get along. it was so bad that at my own brother's FUNERAL my aunt asked me why i was sad. "you hated each other." never mind that we had pretty much eased up on the fighting for years by the time he died. never mind that he was MY brother and i was HIS sister and that DEATH had taken away a person i had known my entire life. he was GONE. is GONE. FOREVER.

pardon the caps. the rank stupidity of that comment never fails to rankle.

i like to think that my brother and i could have had a good adult relationship. it hurts that there isn't one. i think about people estranged from their siblings and i wonder, "how could they have let that happen? this is the only person who knows exactly what you went through. there is a lifetime, a wealth of shared experience wasted because of past strife." (not that i always think in such language.) nola and paul will one day be friends -- or just not enemies. that's all i ask.

June 26, 2009

walk the walk

did i mention that nola is now standing on her own? it is sooo cute. paul likes to have standing contests with her -- when she sits down on her diapered behind, paul cheers. "i win!" (it's crucial to him that he wins, and it's not important to her if she loses, so... there you have it.) i both can't wait for and fear the advent of walking. it will be a new era.

but even without walking, it's not like she's not mobile. just the other day she scooted through an open baby gate and shoved it closed -- with me on the other side. i looked at cam. "your mom says she does that to her all the time," he remarked.

she's almost 14 months now. paul started walking at 15. when will her turn come?

June 19, 2009

end of the year festivities

well, so things did kind of go to hell while i was away, but i wouldn't have missed paul's performance for anything. so cute! dressed in yellow with yellow chicken hats, his class performed to a medley of the chicken dance, the itsy bitsy spider and head shoulders knees and toes. one class sang a truncated version of bob marley's "three little birds." they wore red/yellow/green cardboard bands on their heads with long black and brown yarn dreads attached. it was sort of surreal. another class (also in yellow, but with curious george hats) sang a song about sharing. there was also hula dancing and a new york, new york ("first grade, first grade") revue. at the end the classes all got together and sang a mostly garbled song about summer vacation that involved jumping up and down. the teachers were very excited that the year was over.

then the students went back to their classes and the principal stalled the parents for a few moments so the kids could get settled.

the parents milled around while the kids ate. then the parents stood around while the kids played. paul chased some friends around and was chased in return. it's always so nice to see him having fun with other kids. then we went home, happy and overheated after all running around in the mid-afternoon southern california sunshine.

June 6, 2009

wub club

so far it seems there are two things that the children will watch together that doesn't seem to be inappropriate for either. (yes, my one-year-old watches tv. do you have a problem with that?) one would be the they might be giants dvds ("here come the 1-2-3s" and "here come the a-b-cs"). the other, amusingly enough, is wow wow wubbzy.

(the kids will watch the wiggles together, but it's pretty young stuff so i'm surprised paul tolerates it. same with blue's clues. nola apparently likes family guy and conan o'brien, but paul doesn't watch either one. paul's shows aren't really big hits with nola. she's not that keen on dinosaurs yet.)

so we are watching wubbzy right now. i think nola likes it because of the songs and the colors. paul likes it because it's funny and "old." (i don't know what that means.) i like it because it's surprisingly uncloying. it could be worse, right?

May 30, 2009

hobby shop

paul still has some interest in his usual topics (bugs, spiders, dinosaurs, giant squid, calamitous weather conditions), but he has a new obsession:

world war I and II fighter planes.

i know. perfect for a five-year-old.

and to top it off, cam's uncle gave paul a model plane (8+, of course) on memorial day -- complete with tiny naked lady painted on the side. jesu cristo. i think nola already snapped off a propeller blade.

i see lots of tiny wheels, fancy decals and special glue in our future.

May 28, 2009


it was open house at paul's school this evening. it was nice to see paul's teacher again and to hear from her that he is doing well and that he has come such a long way.

i read an interesting thread today on a message board about keeping kids back in school even if they make the age cut-off for kindergarten. i remember my uncle's daughter from his first marriage had spent the year in between kindergarten and first grade in something called "transition." i think it was for students who had done passably well in kindergarten, but were not yet deemed ready for first grade (of course, my mean-spirited brother and i were rather gleeful that she had "failed" kindergarten). in retrospect, it was a good idea -- i don't think i ever knew anything about her academic performance, but i did know that she had some social readiness and maturity issues. better that she go into transition than have to repeat kindergarten and be bored. i don't think she would have benefited from just spending an extra year at home. she was only a couple of months younger than me, so i don't think they would have kept her at home, anyway.

but the reasoning some people were giving for keeping their kids back a year amazed me. keeping girls home so they can be leaders? keeping boys home so they can be bigger for sports?

paul is on the young side, so we conceivably could have held him back -- socially, maybe it would have been a good move because he is a very young five. academically it would have been silly. but according to his teacher, his classmates have tried to comfort and cheer him up during his tantrums. "it's okay," they tell him. "we lose sometimes, too." cam and i think this has worked out well for him. besides, the cut-off is there for a reason -- he was a couple months ahead of it, so why pretend that he wasn't?

May 27, 2009

highway robbery, or ungratefully photogenic

yes, i understand that pictures are worth a thousand words, etc. etc. etc. i know that i will be happy to have so many pictures of paul as a kindergartener because he'll one day be an adult and i will cherish my fading memories of him as a tiny boy. yes, yes, yes, yada yada yada. i know all this is true.

but that doesn't mean i want his school to push photos on me at every opportunity. tell me, why are there two picture days a year? (the first one, i understand -- but the second one? how dare you send home $45 worth of pictures and then tell me just to simply send back what i don't want. how can i return pictures of MY son? SHADY.) why is there an expensive custom classroom photobook? stop trying to appeal to my mommy heart while stealing from my mommy wallet.

May 24, 2009

prehistoric waitstaff

paul kept saying he was going to play "shay dinos" and have a pretend lunch. i kept thinking, "what the hell is that?"

a few minutes ago paul asked for help with his menu. how utterly amused i was to realize he was playing "chez dinos." what a good name for a restaurant!

May 18, 2009

variations on a theme, or swine flu?

am home with nola today because she is a sad and sick little girl. cam came home midday (with lunch) because he is sick, too. all i need is a call from the paul's school nurse to make my day complete.

May 16, 2009

doctorly concern

the kids saw their pediatrician friday afternoon. paul is doing well, but the ped was concerned about nola's weight -- nola has plummeted since january. she has gained weight, but very little. the ped hoping that her recent illness (she's only been sick since yesterday) and poor appetite account for the weight issue, so we have to go back in two weeks. because she was clearly sick and unhappy, her immunizations were postponed until that follow-up appointment. poor baby. (lucky paul, though -- he doesn't have any more shots until he's 11!)

May 11, 2009

authority figure

the only threat these days that seems to strike any fear into the heart of paul is "i'm going to tell mrs. [kindergarten teacher]." i don't know why this is, but apparently the idea strikes fear into my heart, too.

this morning i woke in a panic after this dreamed exchange:

me: i'm sorry, he seems to have the flu.
her: the flu?
her: you need to take better care of your son.
her: i know you're busy, but...

good grief! do all parents develop a fear of their children's teachers?

day of mom, observed (by school)

today i planned to work from home a half day. in the afternoon, i was supposed to meet paul at school for a kindergarten performance and mother's day tea.

but this morning i was awakened by a very sad boy. "mommy, i am sorry you can't come. i am sick."

so paul is taking a sick day with me while i work. (my mom took nola away because she wanted to play). we've eaten oatmeal, answered brain-quest questions and watched "here come the abc's." i've promised cupcakes later. he's promised to do catch-up schoolwork later. he's doing a puzzle right now. "mommy, when you're done working, would you please help me?"

working from home is so exhausting when it also involves mommying.

day of mom

i had a very nice mother's day. it took a while to get moving, but that's typical for us.

paul made me the awesomest poster. i love it. i need to hang it up at work.

we got takeout from veggie grill and noah's bagels, then went to a park in rpv for a picnic and playtime. sitting happily on the grass, nola made plenty of people smile as they walked by. after we ate, we explored the park for few minutes, then paul and cam went to play baseball. nola and i went for a walk and i took many pictures of her. at one point i let her crawl around on the grass. while looking at the camera, i was alarmed to discover that i had snapped a picture of her eating weeds. she screamed with delight and fun as i tried to fish greenery out of her mouth.

on our way to cam's parents' house afterwards, we drove by the trump golf course. who knew it was so close?

it was a good day. we need more of those.

May 9, 2009

everything but pancakes

paul walking by the kitchen with a sour expression:

me: where are you going, paul?
paul: to my room.
paul: i am giving up on everything.
me: everything?

following him to the hallway:

paul: [thoughtfully] but you can keep making pancakes.
me: you'll come back out for pancakes?
paul: yes.
me: okay.

May 8, 2009

fleetingly sweet

last night paul said he was going to marry me. then i got a hug. i'm going to have store that pretty memory to cling to the next time paul has a meltdown.

April 28, 2009

hokey pokey

this morning i got up at the usual time, took care of the usual chores (lunches, unloading dishwasher, refilling coffeemaker) and then returned to the bedroom to feed nola.

when i got back to the bedroom, i just stopped and burst into hysterical silent laughter. all three of them (cam, nola and paul (our 2 am visitor)) were asleep with one leg sticking out from the covers. (nola has recently become crazed about not sleeping with both legs under covers. she can be totally asleep, but she'll start wiggling and kicking as soon as i pull the blanket up.) i couldn't help it -- i had my phone on me (i don't really know why), so i took pictures of them. i don't really like pictures of sleeping people (i blame that on my mom), but these pictures just crack me up.

April 27, 2009


paul: daddy, where do my eyelids go when i open my eyes?

April 25, 2009

lunchtime note

i have a bazillion of these to post. sadly, i wrote very few of them. it's all i can do to get paul's lunch (and my own) made. i think i must have murdered that morning person i once was. oh well.

April 16, 2009


paul's t-ball team had their first (and only) and only practice game last night. it was freezing cold and cam had to stand in the outfield with paul -- one, to try to shield him from the wind, and two, to keep him company, it seemed. i had flashbacks to preschool. cam looked stressed.

but i thought he was okay with the whole thing until we were walking back to the car. then there were tears and cam had to carry him.

paul: you know what i was thinking while the coach was talking?
paul: i was thinking i wanted to quit before saturday [opening day].

my poor baby. is this really a good idea?

April 11, 2009


paul: the enemy of protoraptor is n-o-l-a.

April 10, 2009

get well or die

i used to take off every friday because i had an overabundance of benefit time that i needed to use up. but... a combination of circumstance, illness and incompetence has been forcing me into the office for the last few weeks.

today is the last weekday of paul's spring break, and someone else's illness meant that i didn't get to enjoy any of those days with him. cam and i had briefly discussed disneyland for friday, but we wouldn't have ended up there anyway because the crowds this week (being spring break and all) have been monstrous.


fine, don't give a shit about your health. fine, make lameass excuses to yourself about why you are the way you are. fine, ignore everyone who has ever made an effort to care about you. but goddammit, it's not fair that your inability to take care of your own business means i have to miss out on my child's life.

paul: since you're not going to work tomorrow...
me: no, sweetie, i have to go to work, i'm sorry.
paul: oh.
paul: if you didn't have to go to work, you could dye eggs with us.
me: oh.

i hate you sometimes.

March 30, 2009

dainty feet

paul needs new shoes. size 13. he requested a pair of pink ones with red flowers. where on earth am i going to find those?

March 20, 2009

playing the game

paul is registered in a local tee-ball league. he had his first practice the other day, and from what i heard and what i saw (my mother picked me up from work so that cam could take paul -- and nola -- to practice; we arrived at the park at the tail-end), it was not the most successful mission ever.

on the way to the park, my mother and i discussed pauls and sports. i am not particularly keen on tee-ball. i am not particularly keen on team sports in general. i had kind of figured maybe we'd enroll paul in a martial art, maybe something academic, i don't know, something a little less prone to be populated by sports-parents and blame.

my brother spent a very short period of time in little league. i remember him with a red face, wheezing, big-eyed. i always thought he quit because of the asthma attacks, but my mother fondly and nostalgically dispelled that notion.

my mom: he thought if he knew...
me: statistics?
my mom: he thought if he knew everything about it, he would be able to play.
my mom: he thought if he knew all the rules... who was the best...
my mom: if he knew statistics, he thought he'd be able to hit the ball.

she laughed a little ruefully. he was so nervous, so anxious, so plainly miserable that my mother convinced my father to take him out of little league. my dad didn't believe her at first, but he eventually saw what she saw. it was not fun; it was disillusionment and confusion. that was the end of paul's baseball career. he continued to have a fondness for the sport, watching, studying, but not playing. he was no athlete. he just wasn't.

it was a sad, sad little story. i look at my own little paul and wonder what his experience will be like. will he be a good player? it's a little early to tell, but i fear for him. when i tried to talk to him about tee-ball a few months ago, he boasted of skill without ever having tested it. now that he's going to see that there's a lot to learn, he is not going to take it so well. (oh god, and how i dread the kids and parents and what they'll say to my poor sensitive boy.) people may think i'm overreacting -- maybe i am overreacting -- but this is not a child who stomps blithely through life. this is a child who screamed about failure because he couldn't draw a dinosaur the way he saw it in his head. no child is a failure, especially at the age of five. (yes yes, i understand this is supposedly common for kids this age, but i don't care about all kids this age. i don't need to care about all kids this age.) i fear the road of disillusionment and confusion that may lie ahead.

March 17, 2009


paul: it's saint patrick's day?
paul: let's pick some clovers and decorate the house!

March 1, 2009

little fashionista?

cam bought me a purse today (a dooney doctor satchel in a yummy brown leather -- it was nice to see that there weren't ducks all over everything), but paul would have preferred it if cam bought him one instead. i swear, he found at least three or four little bags that were to his liking.

paul: mommy!
paul: [holding up bag, pointing to bag, then pointing to himself]
paul: for me.

he even stopped in the coach store to put a little hobo bag on his shoulder. i knew at one point i'd have to share my bags with nola (i often tell her, "one day these will all be yours"), but it never occurred to me that paul might want them first.

family party surprises

went to my aunt's house for my grandmother's birthday party yesterday.

the drives went very well. with the help of david archuleta, there was minimal crying on nola's part. poor cam forgot his headphones, though, so there may have been slightly more crying on his end.

the party itself was fun. it was nice to see my aunts, uncles and cousins. not much for us to eat, but that's pretty much how things have gone for me since i stopped eating meat over a decade ago.

one of my cousins has a son two years older than paul, and they played together pretty well for two boys with very little in common. my poor boy can be very sensitive sometimes. as cam puts it, paul is "pretty good -- he's social, but playmates can be overwhelming." it was a little alarming to see how my cousin's boy appears to have an aversion to going to the bathroom. (we thought paul's own distaste would go away soon -- but if the other boy is still going strong two years later... ugh.) my cousin's boy also had some temper/fighting/behavior issues that i didn"t really see -- cam took him in hand, though. cam is a really good dad.

paul was terrified of a little dog. i don't think he's always been afraid of dogs, so i was a little surprised by the tears.

everyone loved nola, but nola wanted nothing to do with everyone. she has been considerably more social in the past, so again, i was a little surprised by the tears.

it was a pretty good day (surprisingly), but i'm in no hurry to do that sort of socializing thing again anytime soon (unsurprisingly).

February 22, 2009


if paul whines half as much as school as he does at home, i will send his teacher the BIGGEST bouquet of flowers at the end of the school year.

grrr!!! is there anything that boy won't whine about? thank god for cam. i don't know how he manages sometimes.

when i worked with first-graders, i don't think they whined as much, but it could have been a school thing. they may have been total holy terrors at home -- with their mothers, fathers, siblings, nannies... in their palaces, villas and mansions (they were rich kids, after all). but then again, it could be because they were older. i don't know. i will have to see, but good freaking god, will i live that long?

February 15, 2009

what's brown and sounds like a bell?

paul: your feet are made of coprolite.
paul: do you know what coprolite is?
cam: what?
paul: fossilized poop.
cam: oh, the insults of the nerdy.

February 13, 2009

unfamiliar grounds

this morning we took paul to school.

as usual, we were running late. cam dropped us off at the front while he and nola tried to find parking.

three boys tried to keep paul from hanging up his backpack. he didn't seem upset, so i stood back and just watched. he just kept smiling -- an "oh, you guys" kind of a smile -- but i felt a little bit worried for him. he was finally able to hang up his backpack, then he came over to me to get his bag of valentines.

one of the mothers introduced herself after paul went in the classroom. she was rather fond of paul, it seemed. i felt totally at a loss because she seemed to know so much about me while i didn't have a clue who she was. she didn't introduce herself as so-and-so's mom, so i wasn't even sure if she was a kindergarten mom at first. i fear i babbled in my discomfort.

of course, then to make matters worse, i had no idea where cam was after i exited the school. i walked one direction while the other mom walked another. i ended up crossing paths with her again. she made a commiserating comment ("that happened to me once, too"), but i still wanted to hide. i eventually found cam and nola parked near the entrance of the school.

if paul is half as awkward as i am, school must be really rough on him.

February 7, 2009


cam and paul just went to t-ball sign-ups.

i'm happy that our boy is interested in an activity involving other kids, but i have to say that i am very wary and very nervous about this. i get that most kids this age are not necessarily athletically gifted or even coordinated. i get that a lot of kids this age are going to be prone to perfectionist meltdowns. i get that t-ball is much more lowkey than baseball. i get that this could be very good for paul. but goddammit if i'm not freaking out inside that my very sensitive, very hard-on-himself little boy wants to thrust himself into the world of organized team sports. i kind of expected that maybe he'd start with a martial art or something. something a bit more, i don't know, solo?

i've tried to talk to him about the importance of practice and how it's okay to not be perfect at something from the very beginning, but he dismisses me. i ache with the fears of anticipated tantrums and slights. will the other little kids be nice to paul? will their parents? i appreciate how his bravery levels have so drastically improved (after all, this child once cried at school everyday), but that doesn't mean i can't be scared for him as he ventures further out into the world. i read once that being a parent is like having no skin. every nerve is exposed, tingling. some days i can laugh it off, but other days i cry even before the hurt comes.

February 4, 2009

bedtime routines

last night i read to paul while cam watched nola.

he picked a dinosaur book, and because it was so big, i put it on the bed and propped myself on my elbows to read it. he did the same next to me, so i told him to lie down and put his head on the pillow. he informed me that he would do that when he was tired and ready to go to sleep.

paul: then my dad reads to me until he falls asleep.
me: when do you go to sleep?
paul: about six minutes later.
me: oh.

cam was amused.

February 3, 2009

you sing a sad song just to turn it around

paul just reminded me that his favorite song when he was three was daniel powter's "bad day."

me: how did you remember that?
paul: my head was singing it.
paul: it was in my head!

he declared that it had been in his head since he was one, two, three, four, five. good grief, i think that song would have driven me mad after just one year.

February 2, 2009


paul loves pajamas -- the kind with a button-down shirt. he just got his first pair (red with polar bears -- makes me think of coca cola) in mid-december because he needed to wear pjs for a kindergarten "pajama party." he liked them so much i got him a camo pair on sale from garnet hill (love that site, but damn, the prices are a bit much).

it's amazing how hard it is to find that style of pajamas, and once you find them, it's amazing how expensive they can be. the ones from target are thin polyester -- they started out soft, but after a while they just feel kind of nubby. the garnet hill ones are cotton flannel, nice and thick. paul asked for more, but i haven't found any to his specifications. instead i keep coming across these ugly spongebob or spiderman ones that are just polyester long-sleeve t-shirts and matching pants. what's wrong with the button-down kind? is it just too hard to fit a licensed character on them?


paul's latest thing is to wear the camo top with the red pants -- or the red top with the green pants. he comes to show me, and then triumphantly cackles when i say, "hey, you don't match!" why is this so funny? i laugh at his exuberance, but part of me is thinking, "oh, you cute little dork."

February 1, 2009

[super]bowl of blackberries and blueberries

the children and i stayed at my mom's house from 3-8 so that cam could watch the game in peace. they ate almost nonstop. you'd think we never fed them.

January 31, 2009


paul: the mass extinction is beginning!

January 30, 2009


my little guru told me to return the boots. he doesn't like boots. so back they go, i suppose.

January 27, 2009

bumped and bruised

poor paul lost his balance and fell, smack! right on his head on the corner of the coffee table. he's going to have a bruise or a bump or both right by his left eye.

i was in the other room, changing my clothes, when i heard the thump. cam had both kids with him, and i thought, "oh my god, he dropped the baby on her head." but it was paul who lost his balance and fell. the poor sweetie screamed and screamed out of pain rather than fear, he said, but the opposite was probably true because he settled down very quickly. now he's eating a hot dog while cam dabs at paul's head with a bag of frozen corn. kids always recover quicker than adults. paul was already calmly watching tv while cam was still gasping for air.

January 26, 2009

mr. blackwell

paul is my tiny fashion guru. "what not to wear says yes," he'll whisper approvingly as i model a new outfit.

but lately i've begun to wonder about his sense of color. on saturday, he insisted that what not to wear would say no to my dark blue trouser jeans, navy top and brown suede jacket. my jacket also needed to be dark blue, he said, and my shirt should be red. on sunday, he declared i needed to wear a blue dress with a pink jacket and red pants.

eeesh. thank goodness he doesn't buy my clothes.

January 25, 2009

much less scary than i would have expected

says paul:

tyrannosaurus rex says.... boo!

January 24, 2009

u plus sign me equal sign

paul just introduced me to the concept of the "love triangle." apparently that is what is formed when cam, paul and i hold hands. when nola is old enough to hold our hands, we'll be a "love square."

"or a love rectangle," says cam, "because mommy and i are longer. or a love rhombus because we're all different sizes."

i could pretty much see the "whatEVER!" on paul's face.

January 21, 2009

lunchtime note

damn. as usual, i'm behind.

from 1/12:

Dear Paul,

I hope you are having a great day at school! I can't believe your vacation is over already. Thanks for doing such a great job on your letters -- you are fabulous. :)


from 1/13:

Dear Paul,

Have you had to write 09 yet for the year? I have. This is the second note because I accidentally wrote 08 the first time.


P.S. Wedge tornado [tiny drawing]

from 1/14:

Dear Paul,

I would like to go on a bug hunt with you soon. I hope you are having a great day at school.


from 1/15:

Dear Paul,

Hope you are having a great day at school today! Can you believe it is already Thursday? Soon you can play with the humidifier all day. :) How foggy it will be!


from 1/16:

Dear Paul,

Happy Friday! It's almost time for a 3-day weekend. We get Monday off because it is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday*. Have you learned about him yet?


*i was not about to explain -- in a lunchtime note, no less -- the notion of a birthday being "observed" on a day different from the actual birthday.

from 1/20:

Dear Paul,

I had a great time with you yesterday! We should spend more mommy-Paul time. I really liked working on the dinosaur book with you. More teamwork! :)


January 16, 2009

a first

i do think paul has to be the first person ever to request -- and eat -- a turkey AND tofurky sandwich.

January 6, 2009

walk softly

one night paul came into our room, frightened nearly to death by the experience of sleeping in his own room. much to my astonishment, the child was carrying a stick. where does a kindergartener get the idea that he needs to be ARMED to walk through his own house?

polite acknowledgments

since paul is now in kindergarten and is writing in a regular basis, i decided that this would be the time for paul to learn how to write his own thank-you notes. i printed out some lined paper (complete with that cute little dotted line in the middle) for him to use. he is supposed to be doing some writing practice over his winter break, so i figured that this would cover it. we'd just send photocopies of his work to his teacher when school started again.

sounds like a good idea, right?

can i just say that this is one of the most painful activities i have ever invented? jesus h. christ. watching him futz and fiddle and generally waste his time and my time while trying to avoid doing anything is seventh level of hell kind of stuff. what's worse is that we can't simply abandon this project because that would show him that it's okay to 1) be ungrateful, and 2) be a brat about things he doesn't want to do because we'll "save" him from it. bullshit. so on we trudge, with threats of returned gifts and gritted-teeth encouragement for the stuff he does grudgingly write.

that said, his letters are fabulous. i would be THRILLED to get one.

December 31, 2008

everybody clap

how could i forget the song that started the wiggle parade in my skull? "rock-a-bye your bear" became an earworm of epic proportions because i made the mistake of letting paul know it was in my head. at every opportunity he mocked me and attempted to torture me by making cam sing it or having me listen to it every single bleeding time it was on tv. but little did he know that his utter joy in the joke made the song tolerable... there's something just so honest and so hilarious about a little kid's sense of humor.

December 29, 2008

lunchtime note

paul has been off school since 12/19, so i've been hoarding these in my bag for over a week.

from 12/12:

Dear Paul,

I was impressed with your drawing last night. You are quite the artist.


P.S. [drawing: stick figures (labeled Nola, Mom, You, Me), the sun and a large spider labeled "Spider."]

from 12/15:

Dear Paul,

The last week of school before winter break is here. You won't have school until next year! See you tonight.

Love you,

from 12/16:

Dear Paul,

December is passing fast. We are already more than half way through. Have a good day.

I love you, Dad

P.S. Have you heard the joke on the other side before?

Joke: Why is six scared of seven? Because 7-8-9!

from 12/17:

Dear Paul,

I am glad that you are my son. Have a great day. I love you. See you tonight.


from 12/18:

Dear Paul -

I am looking forward to seeing your holiday program and going to the Kindergarten pajama party with you tonight. It's a Paul kind of day!


from 12/19:

Dear Paul,

You did such a great job yesterday! We are so proud of you. I wish Nola could have seen you. Would you like to perform for her? You could put on a private show! :)


December 25, 2008

holly berries and mistletoe

merry christmas!

so far it's actually been a pretty decent day. all of the gifts at home have been opened (except the ones not for us, of course), nola is having a late breakfast, my poor sick mom went home to lie down, and cam and paul are playing with legos (ones he already had, of course). nola was not that interested in her gifts, but oh how she loved the idea of eating wrapping paper. paul was dismissive of clothes, but he did say, "i've always wanted this" to a number of presents -- it's always nice to hear that.

as always, i'm astonished by the generosity and the sheer amount of stuff that the kids have received. my co-workers -- one assistant in particular -- lavished gifts on paul and nola. it's true, this part of the holiday is really for children, and it's fun to shop for them. it makes me feel a little sheepish that i did giftcards, but since i have the youngest baby, i think people might cut me some slack.

we'll be heading over to cam's parents for lunch and more gifts. our food contribution this year -- and honestly, we usually don't bring a thing -- is a vegan chocolate fondue and assorted things (banana bread cubes, pretzels, raspberries, strawberries and bananas) for dipping. earlier this morning my father's sister and her family dropped by for a brief visit. it's not even noon and i've already had to be more social than i can stand -- especially when i'm sick and losing my voice (yeah, not sure when that happened). but oh well, peace, goodwill towards man and all that good stuff.

hope you and your families and friends are having a good day.

December 21, 2008


paul was so silly at babies'r'us that i thought i was going to have a meltdown. at one point he actually hid something in his pocket and giggled about it. oy vey.


cam, paul and i went to benihana today with cam's parents, sister and uncle for an early birthday lunch. i had originally planned to stay home with the baby while my mom went with them, but she changed her mind and volunteered to babysit so that i could go. i took pity on her obvious discomfort (what, go out with the in-laws without me?) and agreed.

we had a really nice lunch. i had been a little leery about it because paul has traditionally not been a fan of the experience (we go to benihana every year except for the year that our local one was closed for remodeling), but this time he was into it and ate a lot. there were some tears (when he dropped his chopsticks on the floor, when cam broke a water glass, when he got a splinter from a chopstick), but he was generally in a good mood. after lunch we stopped by two baby stores, then headed home. he was so boisterous that it wasn't a surprise when he passed out in the car.

i dealt with laundry and wrapped up a package for cam to drop off at the ups store (so last-minute, alas), then went to get nola.

i should have known something was wrong when the first thing my mom did was apologize. there, on my poor baby's head was a small purple bruise. she had fallen off the couch. i calmly inspected her head while my mom went on and on, apologizing to nola and to me. "she didn't even cry..." she said, "much." what really distressed nola was when my mom tried to put ice on her head -- she preferred to suck on it. i sighed inwardly.

she does seem fine and the swelling and discoloring is actually very faint. i know these bumps and bruises are the price she pays for mobility, but that doesn't mean any of us -- her included -- have to like it.

coming to town

last night paul sang a song:

santa claus is doing some stuff.
he's making a list
and checking it twice
he's going to find out who's naughty or nice
santa claus is doing some stuff.

i was a little disappointed to find out that he got it from cam -- who couldn't remember all the words. still, it was pretty funny.

December 16, 2008

fiery drive

paul was telling me a very elaborate story about a racecar driver this evening, using a pen/racecar toy to demonstrate. the driver's name was "drive captain." the car? "flaming ball of death," he said. (in his defense, the car did have orange flames printed on the sides.) i don't know why i was surprised. it's not like i thought he'd say herbie or kit or something like that, but "flaming ball of death" just seems so... not five years old.

December 14, 2008

the start of the season

for the first time, yesterday made me feel like the holidays were upon us.

in the morning, we did our annual holiday decorating thing at the cemetery. every year i think, "why?" but every year i dutifully go for my mom's sake. honestly, my brother wasn't exactly kris kringle, nor was my dad, but we go and decorate their graves like they were known for wearing christmas sweaters or something. but, you know, it's not like flowers or whatever are really for the dead folks, anyway, so if this activity actually forces certain family members to remember to honor my grandfather -- if not my dad and brother -- then good. i felt bad because i carried nola almost the whole time and therefore couldn't exactly help out too much. then i walked around with paul and nola, so there was more time spent not being useful to the rest of my family. my cousin showed up with her husband and new baby just in time to take pictures, so i guess she was even less useful. she didn't even seem that interested in her own baby, but that's a story for another time (or not). we tried to take some pics of paul and nola to use on our christmas card, but they didn't want to cooperate. great pics of them separately, but together? not quite.

after we finished up, they all went out to lunch to a filipino restaurant. because we are eschewing eggs and dairy, the four of us declined to go with them (much to the surprise of two cousins and an uncle, who hadn't realized we weren't until they arrived at the restaurant). i was ready to head home, but paul declared we needed to go to a restaurant that didn't require us to drive on the freeway. big sigh. we ended up at a red robin five miles away. i was expected crowds (aren't most of those attached to malls or shopping centers?), but it was positively empty.

late afternoon, two old friends arrived at our house for a visit. it was lovely, although i did feel a little sad about how they found marriage to be such a logistical and practical nightmare. (i do understand their concerns, however, and i do agree that it is easier if you marry younger rather than older because you aren't so set on your own ways, etc.) paul was so keen on playing with my friends that cam eventually had to forcibly take him away. he returned close to the end of their visit, and showed off legos like they were going out of style. cam repeatedly called him back, but "i'm not paying attention to my daddy," he said. we took some pictures and paul cheerfully bossed everyone into position. he also gave them school pictures with his name written twice on the back -- once with solid lines, once with dotted lines so that my friends could write his name, too.

it was a nice festive kind of a day. more social than we're used to, but that's no surprise because we're hermits.

December 12, 2008

lunchtime note

from 12/11:

Dear Paul,

I sent in the pajama party form today. I said we'd come and bring Nola. See you tonight.


does anyone besides me think that it's really sad that cam is writing more of my blog than i am these days?

lunchtime note

from 12/10:

Dear Paul,

Your ladybug was better than you described. Twelve spots! I didn't know that. Its wings were open and it was flying. Awesome!


paul made a craft. it was awesome.

lunchtime note

from 12/9:

Dear Paul,

I have a pig. What do you have? 3. I have a cow. What do you have? 4. I have a horse. What do you have? 5. I have a duck. What do you have? 6. I have a lamb. What do we have? 7.


P.S. What?!

on monday nights, part of paul's homework is to read a little book (called a "pre-decodable" -- of course, the first time i heard that word, i said, "what?") to two people. this past monday the book was called "the farm," and my silly and frustrating little boy either couldn't stop laughing. when he finally settled down, he started reading the page numbers just to be funny, so that's where tuesday's note came from.

lunchtime note

from 12/8:

Dear Paul,

Make an awesome beetle today in art class. I can't wait to see it.


December 9, 2008

falling on deaf ears

tell me:

how can FOUR people be asleep in one room and yet only ONE of them can wake up to the sound of an alarm? and how is it that the remaining three then don't hear the second alarm going off in the same room, while the one awake person can hear it... from the BASEMENT?

you people scare me.

December 8, 2008

lunchtime note

from 12/5:


I'm looking forward to hanging Christmas lights with you this weekend.


P.S. Deadly spider [drawing of spider]

sadly enough, our house is still unlit. who has time, i ask?!

December 5, 2008

lunchtime note

from 12/3:

Dear Paul --

We missed you last night! You must have been so tired. I hope this means you got enough rest and are ready for a great day!


P.S. We have to talk about your progress report. Great job!

lunchtime note

from 12/2:


I made you a bologna (pronounced baloney) sandwich today. I hope you like it. Have a good shortened day. I'll see you tonight.


December 2, 2008

lunchtime note

from 12/1:


Look! December already. I put lettuce, tomato and pickles in your sandwich today. I hope you like it. There is another half at Grandpa's.


P.S. Bug [tiny drawing of bug]

lunchtime note

from 11/31:

Dear Paul,

I'm holding Nola as I write this note. She will do the P.S. Have a good day at school and Grand'pa's. I love you and am proud of you.


P.S. [scribble] I held the pen to the paper but she moved it.

lunchtime note

from 11/26:


Congratulations on your Student of the Month award. Mom and I are very proud of you. Hope you are having a good day. See you tonight.


December 1, 2008

for the second time

this morning i got to work at 9 because cam and i went to paul's school. our dear boy has been named one of the students of the month (am pretty certain they have rigged it so that EVERY kindy kid gets to be student of the month), so we got a little handout the other day inviting us to an quick outdoor assembly set for last wednesday. the handout stated that the assembly would be postponed if it rained, so we crossed our fingers.

i woke up in the middle of the night to hear pouring rain. i sighed.

but by the time i got up in the morning, it wasn't raining anymore. cam, my mom, cam's dad, nola and i accompanied paul to school... only to discover that it was too wet outside for them to hold the assembly.

so off we went to work.

this morning it wasn't rainy, nor was it wet, so we tried again. this time, my mom stayed home because nola was still asleep.

it was just as well. while the main road was drenched in sunlight, the school was shrouded in fog. the assembly was postponed yet again.

tomorrow we have a parent-teacher conference before school, so we'll try again. if the third time is NOT the charm, then sweetie, i'm sorry, but i don't think i can go to work late four days in a row.

November 27, 2008


while the rest of the family lounges around at cam's parents' house, paul and i are at home. he's having a time-out in his room -- for 90 minutes, he declared! -- because he hit cam with a baton. (no, not a police baton, more like a twirling one with water and glitter inside a clear tube.) i'm hoping that he'll take a nap because he claims he's tired, but we'll see. i'm sort of thinking in that direction for myself.

paul's biggest problem, i think, is that he seems to expect that a simple apology will get him off scot-free regardless of what he's done. come on now, whacking someone with a stick? he seems to think whatever he is doing is fine until he's in trouble. (then comes the apologies, the tears and the screams.) i don't care if this is "age appropriate behavior" (as in "all kids this age are testing limits, blah blah blah sensitiveparentingcakes"), that doesn't make this any less a pain in the ass.

November 26, 2008

lunchtime note

from 11/25:

front of card: "Thinking of you"


Nola picked this card. She must think of you a lot. I hope you enjoy your fruit salad and cornbread.


P.S. Is it raining?

lunchtime note

from 11/24:

Paul [gigantic scrawly P with an 8-looking thing at the bottom],

The hi from home on the front is from Nola. She wrote part of it including the P in your name.

Dad & Nola

P.S. Did you see her 8?

rip van winkle

paul has been asleep FOREVER. he was asleep when we got home from work a little after six. he slept through dinner. he didn't do his homework. he didn't change clothes. he was just sound asleep on the couch. moving him to his bed, i reasoned, would make or break the night. if he woke up, we had a late night ahead of us. if he slept, we had a good chance of getting some sleep, too.

he slept on.

we went to sleep before nine so that we could get up really early (or really late) with him. he woke up around midnight, but only stayed awake long enough to be transferred to our bed.

and now it's almost 5 am. we're all awake... except for paul. good god, i bet he's not going to sleep for the whole weekend.

November 25, 2008

constant companion

paul: you have to go with me everywhere i go.
paul: except school.
paul: you can't go to school.

November 24, 2008

lunchtime note

from 11/20:

Dear Paul,

Who do you think is louder: you or Nola? She talks and cries pretty loud, but I think you win. :) Hm, between the two of you, I think I need earplugs for Christmas!


P.S. Earplugs? What?!

maybe this one wasn't so nice, but dammit, my kids are noisy.

lunchtime note

from 11/19:

Dear Paul,

Today it might seem like you have a lot of sandwiches, but it's actually the same as yesterday -- everything is just crammed into a smaller box! Hope your day is a good one.


November 22, 2008


we were playing tug-o-war. paul declared he was going to "dis-socket" my arm.

me: dislocate, is that what you mean?
me: or did you say "dis-socket" like you were going pull my arm out of its socket?
paul: dis-socket.
paul: things coming off its normal body part.
paul: like your arm comes out of your body.
paul: now i'm going to pull your head off your neck!
paul: i'm going to pull your back off your legs!

November 19, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Hope you are having a great day at school today. Today I gave you some banana bread -- cut into little cubes and served with the funniest fork ever. Enjoy!


okay, it wasn't exactly the funniest fork EVER (i think that would have to be a spork), but it was a little two-pronged cocktail pick that was the perfect size for his lunch container.

lunchtime note


Thank you for a fun weekend. I had a good time at the Natural History Museum. I hope you did, too.


P.S. Dung beetle. [accompanied by a drawing of a dung beetle]

November 18, 2008

lunchtime note

from 11/13:


Happy Thursday. I am proud of how well you did in our spelling bee last night.


P.S. aaah. (drawing of face with a tongue sticking out. to make it clearer, there's an arrow pointing to the tongue with "tongue" written next to it.)

paul has been concerned about his spelling because he knows he will be tested on his "high-frequency words" (more on that some other time). i sure hope spelling skills aren't genetic because there are some pretty poor spellers on both sides of the family.

November 15, 2008

wiggly parties

we're watching the wiggles again. cam is singing and waving his arms. nola is watching him with a very stoic expression on her face. cam and paul danced earlier to "the wiggle groove." i feel very nostalgic.

jingle bells, or of boys and presents

paul just informed me that we'll be singing a new song for christmas.

paul: happy christmas to you...

then for thanksgiving we get another song.

paul: happy thanksgiving to you...

he's been bringing me "presents" for the last 15 minutes -- books, toys, various small things he can wrap up in a halloween placemat. it's so nice to have him in a good mood that i don't mind the frequent interruptions. my last present consisted of two books, stickers, a hug and a kiss.

paul: you know why you're getting a lot of presents?
paul: it's because i heard the word "party."
paul: next time i'm going to give you a lot more presents.
paul: next time i'm going to give you fifty presents.

it's so funny how a single comment from cam about my firm's christmas party suddenly unleashed a whole bucket of cute from paul.

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy Friday! Can you believe it is time for another weekend already? Soon you can pick up more bugs from the museum. :) Have a great day at school!


way to go

just a minute ago, my boy counted all the way up to 201. good job, paul!

November 13, 2008

lunchtime note


Have fun at recess!

this was the last note paul chose himself.


Two sandwiches again. If your lunch looks weird, its because I put part of it together.


P.S. Madrona Mars

there was a funny little squiggle below the last line. cam informed me that the squiggle was madrona mars. i wonder if it's related to madrona marsh.

lunchtime note


what's as big as a hippo but weighs nothing?

its shadow!

clearly another paul-selected note -- this time from 11/10.


Two sandwiches for you today. One jelly and one turkey. I hope you're having a good day at school. See you tonight.


November 8, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy Friday! For lunch you have two little jelly sandwiches (along with the usual stuff) -- give 'em a try. Hope today is a great day... for science. :) Love you!


i used another one of the paul-selected notecards. this one reads:

why do birds fly south?

it's too far to walk!

why do all kid jokes = corny?

November 6, 2008

lunchtime note

paul picked a bunch of notecards in advance. today's has a joke on it. "hear this," he ordered:

what did the teddy bear say when he was offered dessert?

no thanks, i'm stuffed!

cue uproarious kid laughter.

Dear Paul,

Happy Thursday! It's been a while since you've gone to school this many days in a row. :) Hope you are having a great day. Computer lab today, right?


November 5, 2008

lunchtime note


The marks on here are from Nola. She helped me write your note today. We love you.

Dad & Nola

the note is covered with little scribbly lines. cam told me he had to take the pen away when nola started doodling on the counter.

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy Halloween! Did you have fun on Halloween?

Paul and Mommy

not only did he help write the note (and he drew a witch -- i drew a ghost), paul picked his own notecard. on the front it reads:

What never gets any wetter, no matter how much it rains? The sea!

he thought this was hilarious. this was written last sunday for his monday lunchbox.

lunchtime note

i'm way behind because, well, because.

october 30 (packed the lunch and wrote the note, but he didn't go to school):

Dear Paul,

You and me, googly eyes and pedipalp pipe cleaners, tonight! We need to finish your costume. Can you believe Halloween is tomorrow?! Exciting!


October 31, 2008

sweet holiday (and the not-so-sweet)

another halloween is over and i managed to eat no candy whatsoever. but paul did pick up some candy, so i guess there is still the possibility i'll stuff my face with his stash when he's not looking...

paul didn't go to school today again. instead we went to the hospital for an emergency appointment. turns out he has bronchitis and an ear infection (it was the earache that brought us there), so he's on amoxicillin, mucinex/robitussin pe, motrin (for days) and tylenol (for nights). he was a whining mess all night thursday -- he and cam got very little sleep -- but after the first dose of amoxicillin he seemed much happier.

of course, because we would be absolute ogres otherwise, we did do some trick-or-treating in cam's parents' neighborhood. (i was pleased because goddammit, i made those costumes.) amusingly enough, people seemed to think nola wasn't a girl because she was dressed as a little brown spider. next year i guess i better make her a princess. paul was more interested in passing out candy than eating it or even trick-or-treating for it, so there wasn't much difference there from the year before. nola rolled all over the floor and kicked her little feet while watching the simpsons with great intensity.

i'm glad paul got some joy out of halloween. he missed school, he missed thursday's craft project, he missed the costume parade and the school festival, but i think he was reasonably happy enough. if he were a more outgoing kid, he may have mourned the loss more, but he's not -- so the day at home wasn't too much of a chore.


i don't mean to be unsympathetic -- i do really feel bad that he's sick -- but because his sick whining is the same as his pissy bad mood whining, the sound just sets my teeth on edge.

October 30, 2008


paul did not go to school today -- he seems to have caught the flu, possibly from cam's dad. poor kid. is he going to be sick every week? it was too bad he wasn't able to go to school, but at least the popcorn did. it wouldn't have been fair to deprive the other kids just because my poor boy has a less than stellar immune system.

lunchtime note


Library day! I want to see what book you picked.


P.S. [drawing of spider]

October 29, 2008

pop pop pop

tonight i have to pop around 40 cups of popcorn for paul's class tomorrow. (they're doing some kind of craft activity that requires popcorn, spider rings, juice boxes, candy corn and some other stuff. if it turns out that they're just going to eat popcorn and candy while drinking juice and wearing rings, i will be, well, not exactly livid, but at least irritated.) we own a microwave popcorn bowl that doesn't need oil or butter or anything. since paul can't have any dairy, that rules out most prepackaged microwave popcorns, so i think all the popcorn he has ever eaten has come from this bowl.

when i was a kid, we had two popcorn poppers that i can think of -- an air popper (we have actually had multiples of this because i know it kept breaking) and an old fashioned oil-in-the-bottom/melted-butter-on-top popper. the latter was probably in some marvelous retro colors, like avocado or mustard. i still remember bringing salted popcorn (not buttered) from home into drive-in movies in a big yellow kodak plastic bag with a red logo. for the sake of convenience (and coolness), we moved over to the jiffy pop stovetop pans, and when microwave popcorn entered the scene in those little paper bags, we were all over that. my brother particularly liked microwave caramel popcorn. then came the flavored popcorn rage (i think i liked the cheddar cheese), which seemed to manifest itself in large tins given as christmas gifts. a few years later farmers markets became trendy in the suburbs and we all fell in love with kettle corn.

add all that to the sentimental favorite, movie popcorn, and you can see that in my lifetime i've eaten at least 8-10 different kinds of popcorn. easily. some healthier than others. some i've liked, some i didn't. but this new breed, these kindergarteners, what do they know? have their lives been filled with nothing but movie popcorn and overly processed microwave stuff? will paul's favorite unsalted and unbuttered popcorn strike them as being something akin to packing peanuts?

October 28, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

How are you doing today? Learning anything fun? I'm really glad you are enjoying school more -- school is a great place to learn about cool things and to make friends.


lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

I hope you are having a great day at school. Have fun in art class. I'm looking forward to seeing what you painted.


lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday dear Paul, happy birthday to you! Hope you are having a great day at school. We love you, you brand-new 5-year-old!


clearly i'm behind. this is for october 24.

October 26, 2008

sometimes it's for the best when the best laid plans go awry

this weekend has been a little slapdash, a little thrown together. we were supposed to go to san diego to celebrate paul's birthday -- sea world, the fleet science center, weekend in a hotel, fish & chips, etc. etc. etc. i was all set to take friday off so that i could get ready and pack, then we could pick up paul from school and be on our way. it was going to be great... but then we all got sick. paul was sick enough to miss two days of school. i was sick enough to break my self-imposed no-meds ban.

cam canceled the hotel reservations, i canceled my day off. yesterday we didn't do much of anything (except cough), but today we had a small family party for paul.

we (our usual crowd: cam's parents, sister and uncle; the four of us, and my mom) had a good time. paul has been generally less whiny since he turned five -- cam may disagree -- and he was in good spirits. he enjoyed his gifts, liked his cake, had fun smacking his pinata (after two pinatas at two birthday parties, he was more than ready for one of his own), and loved rolling around in the giga ball we bought him from target. everyone was happy.

it wasn't san diego, but it was still good. it may have even been better. there will always be time for the four of us to spend together, but we won't always get to share that time with other people who love us.

October 24, 2008


happy birthday, dear boy! hope you are feeling well enough for a whole day of school -- i would consider keeping you out another day (i mean, it IS friday), but i hear you miss school. so go... and enjoy yourself.

a funny story about paul and school: on tuesday we worked from home, so we brought him to school ourselves. he told us in the car that when the bell rings and we see his teacher, we should leave. his teacher has been working with the kids on being independent and has been trying to keep parents from walking with their children in line to the classroom -- i guess it's been rubbing off on him. so there we were about 15-20 minutes later, standing by him as he waited in line on the playground when he suddenly blurted out, "there's my teacher. go!" i kissed him and rushed cam away (poor cam was all "wtf?"). but cam wanted to look for a certain little female friend of paul's who was apparently a little late for school, so we lingered by the gate to watch the kids go by. our very independent little paul saw us and waved multiple times when he got close. sweet boy. big enough to not need us to walk with him, but small enough to not get embarrassed when we are clearly loitering in his territory.

October 21, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

It's already Tuesday -- the week is that much closer to being done. Are you looking forward to your birthday and weekend in San Diego? Enjoy your warm pasta and cold fruit.


October 19, 2008


paul: can you carry a house?
cam: only a small house.

October 18, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy Friday! Hope you are having a good day. Did you smile for the camera? I look forward to seeing your pictures -- I bet they are very nice.


lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy Friday! Another week almost over and done -- now it's almost time for the weekend! Think of all the things you want to do...


this note is actually for 10/10. i just found it under the couch.

October 17, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Have a good day at school. Eat your lunch. Let's catch crickets for the spiders tonight.


October 15, 2008

my first note!

"you can't say he doesn't love you," said cam, handing me a piece of paper.

written in blue felt-tip marker was a message just for me:


drawn underneath were two stick figures, one big, one small, and five red hearts in a line above the little stick figure's head.

i need to frame this.

(note: a strange word appears in multiple places on the paper -- XEEASL (the s is almost always backwards.) OYV shows up three times. i must find out what he was trying to write.)


tonight paul was going to sleep over at his grandparents' house, but around 9 pm he decided he had had enough and wanted to come home. i was pleased because i missed him. but because the crying and whining started within minutes of his arrival, i had to wonder if maybe tonight i would have preferred to miss him.

October 14, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Hope you are having a good short day! Please try to eat a little more lunch today, okay? You need food for energy -- you also need it to grow big and strong.


sometimes i wonder why i write these little notes -- he already told me that he doesn't read them. the other day cam wrote the note instead, and paul apparently not only read it, he wrote him a note in response. oh well. if it's possible to be a daddy's boy, paul is it.

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy Monday! We hope you have a fabulous day today. Please think of what we need to add to your costume -- googly eyes, maybe? :)


October 12, 2008


about a year or so ago we received a little subscription request notice from highlights magazine. (we had subscriptions to turtle and humpty dumpty -- and nick jr. magazine at one point -- so i guess our names were in the great big kids magazine subscription system in the sky.) because i had super-fond nostalgia for highlights magazine from my childhood, we signed up for a subscription (even though i thought the magazine pretty much sucked by the time my childhood subscription ended -- the ones from the late '70s were really much better).

now i don't know if things were like this before. i didn't get the mail (was i tall enough to reach the mailbox?), so i don't know if highlights has always had A THOUSAND different spin-off "clubs," each with their own publications/invoices/account numbers. maybe they did and my parents wisely tossed them. in any event, we are not so wise: i signed paul up for one because he seemed interested. cam signed paul up for another -- in fact, paul painstakingly filled out part of the invitation card himself.

after about four months, i cancelled both of those club memberships. stuff was coming faster than paul could read it; i felt like i was constantly sending them money. and to be honest, some of these activities were a little old for him. maybe at some point in the future we can resume his memberships, but until then, those membership invites are going into the recycle bin the minute they show up in our mailbox. I MEAN IT.

October 11, 2008

gel and mousse and spray, oh my

paul has very recently become interested in styling his hair. am very recently wondering if it's time to add a second bathroom to our house.

October 7, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

You are doing really well at school -- we are so proud of you. I hope you are proud of you, too! :)


P.S. Please bring home your behavior card!

October 6, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul --

Hope you are having a great day! You are my number 1 boy and it makes me happy when you are happy.


today's note was supershort because i was using these tiny little cards we bought the other day from target specifically for this purpose (it's kind of like these). there was a drawing on the other side of a piece of notebook paper and a red crayon. "i love you" and a wobbly happy face were written in red. much to my delight, paul drew a red and black bug on the "paper." so cute!

October 5, 2008

the mouth on her

people always say that babies have oral fixations, but until we had nola, i wasn't sure i believed it.

paul was never that interested in putting stuff into his mouth. we didn't have to worry too much about him on that front. in retrospect, maybe he was just wary because there were so many things out there that made him feel sick.

nola, on the other hand, would lick a raccoon if it got close enough. everything goes to her mouth. i am constantly prying things -- sodden things -- out of her slimy viselike grip. it's insane. i've never seen a child so hellbent on tasting THE ENTIRE WORLD.

in many ways, nola is the total opposite of paul. it's funny, but it's a little weird. so much of this baby-raising thing is familiar, but a lot of it is completely new territory.

October 4, 2008

not quite varsity blues

paul is not the biggest fan of school. he doesn't like the fact that we can't be there with him. if he had friends, it would be better, i think, but when he talks to us about school, he doesn't seem to be interested in forging friendships -- all he wants to tell me is that kid x and kid y got in trouble.

paul: do i have school today?
me: yes.
paul: waaaahhhhh!

paul: do i have school today?
me: no, it's saturday.
paul: do i have school the day after tomorrow?
me: yes.
paul: waaaahhhhh!

on thursday night he was miserable. he was dreading school because his teacher was to attend an all-day meeting, thus necessitating a substitute teacher. paul is very attached to his teacher. when we met her at back to school night, she said very matter-of-factly that paul wasn't happy at lunch because she wasn't there with him.

friday went better than he expected, but he's still not so happy about school on monday. i do feel for him -- i was afraid of everything as child, shyer than shy (little has changed) -- but i'm worn out by his whining. i try to be sympathetic, but he's clearly wanting me to say that he doesn't have to go to school and i can't say that. i can't rescue him from this. i've started saying, "i'm sorry, but you don't have a choice." (then cam comes in and is so understanding and kind-sounding that i feel like bad cop.) i've tried talking him about taking what he's unhappy about and trying to make it better, but he's so stuck on the notion that he's alone at school. i wish he was happier, i wish i could do something for him, but isn't school something he needs to do on his own?

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

I hope today is a good day at school. I know you miss Mrs. Graff, but she'll be back. Give the substitute teacher a chance -- he might be more fun than you expect. Hope Mrs. Graff told him about the treasure box. :)


P.S. Did I show you Nola's behavior chart from daycare? She did much better.

October 2, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

I really like the footprints you made last night! May I bring it to work and put it up in my office? I think it would be nice to have your footprints next to Nola's footprints. You know, when you were a baby, your feet were as small as hers. Hard to believe, isn't it?


P.S. Enjoy the oranges!

October 1, 2008

no, we are not related

today part of paul's homework was to practice writing the letter g.

me: my name starts with g.
paul: my teacher's name starts with g.
me: that's right.
me: you know who else has a name that starts with g?
me: aunty gail.
paul: aunty pail.
me: aunty pail?
me: who's aunty pail?
paul: you know who i was talking about?
paul: sarah palin.
paul: there's no g.
me: no, there is no g in sarah palin.

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy October. I used orange paper because pumpkins are orange, jack-o-lanterns are made of pumpkins, jack-o-lanterns are made for Halloween, and Halloween is in October. Enjoy your day at school.


[small drawing of a jack-o-lantern]

September 30, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

No school today! You know what that makes you? A lucky duck. :) What?! Hope you have a really fun free day.


P.S. Quack quack...

September 29, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Did you have a good time at the party yesterday? Was it cool holding a real live tarantula? (Was it scary?) Maybe the girls will have the Lizard Wizard come to their party again next year and you can try holding a snake!


P.S. I like it when you are happy.

September 28, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Did you enjoy The Very Hungry Caterpillar? Did it make you hungry? :) When you were a baby, you had a little outfit with that caterpillar on it. You were very cute in it. We didn't save it for Nola because it was a boy outfit, I think, but she would have been cute in it, too.


P.S. Happy Friday!

September 25, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

I hope you are having a good day at school. Have you decorated your shoebox yet? I bet that you will draw bugs all over it (or maybe polka dots)! It's fun to do art and craft projects. I always liked doing them when I was your age.


P.S. Have fun in computer lab!

September 24, 2008

lunchtime note


I hope you are having a great day at school. I'm looking forward to hearing about it.

Did you like the Morris and Boris book we read last night?

Here is a drawing from Nola. [scribble]


don't have time for this

argh!! where did the elastic strap for paul's bento box go?! why is nola awake?!

September 23, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul --

[drawing of giant of squid] vs. [drawing of spider and web]

Who will win?


P.S. Please don't forget to bring home your behavior cards. Thanks!

bad tastes

paul just delivered the strangest monologue:

i hate dairy cheese. it tastes just like turkey flesh. no, turkey beak. dairy cheese tastes like rotten turkey. rotten. and dairy milk tastes like cowtooth. that tastes like nolie.

i know his disdain for dairy stems from his allergy to dairy, but where did he get the idea that his sister tastes like the tooth of a cow?

September 22, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Happy Monday! I hope you have a good day. Please ask for help when opening your lunch containers -- they are really hard to open and close! By the way, I put all the meat (and fake meat) in one container so I could put a surprise in the last one... enjoy!


P.S. Why was the train a criminal train?!

today's lunch was a homemade version of lunchables -- we just call them cracker sandwiches (made with saltines, tofurky, turkey, ham and tofutti american cheese slices). we packed it in this strange four compartment container that relatives sent him from hawaii. his surprise was a little piece of chocolate banana bread. to my surprise, he only took a small bite.

September 21, 2008


because paul thought we should, nola and i accompanied paul and cam to the newest exhibit at the la museum of natural history: the spider pavilion.

blech. i am not a fan of spiders.

but it wasn't too bad, and paul was obviously thrilled to be there. i was amused to note that little boys outnumbered little girls 10 to 1, and paul was far from being the only little boy there wearing a t-shirt with a spider on it. afterwards we split up for about half an hour -- nola and i to a quiet place to nurse, paul and cam to the insect zoo.

it was a nice way to spend a sunday morning.

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

You did it! Happy Friday -- a whole week over and done. Think about what you would like to do this weekend. (I know -- but hunts!) Maybe we can go to the park or an aquarium. Hope we have nice weather!


P.S. Nar!

Cam also included a note -- a drawing of a dinosaur saying "Have fun at school!" (They were drawing dinosaurs the night before as part of Paul's Thursday night homework.)

September 20, 2008


on tuesday, cam and i worked from home in order to make it to paul's back-to-school night on time. i know that sounds weird, but when you think of how much driving cam has to do and how crazy the traffic is, it makes sense.

since we were home -- and cam's dad was sick -- we took paul to school. it was, as i said to cam, "a rare treat." apparently lots of parents had similar ideas about working from home/taking the day off, because there were lots of parents there. i actually thought that there were normally that many parents lingering about, but cam told me that was not the case (he's gone to school with paul before). a little boy asked paul to play, but paul said politely, "no, thank you." then we walked him to class from the playground (they have to line up there in the mornings and the teacher picks them up), helped him put his backpack on the hook and dried his tears when he didn't want to go inside. we peeked in the room while they sang their morning song, then we went home to work.

nola and my mom made frequent appearances during the day. whenever i'm home, i've noticed that my mom takes one of two positions:

1) i want to reassert my role as alpha female during the week, so i want to give her a bottle. go ahead, tell me no.
2) since you're here, take her, i'm going home.

we had to pick paul up at 12:40 because cam's dad still wasn't feeling up to watching him. we got there on time, but because parking was scarce (i would hate to live in that neighborhood) and the teacher appeared to be a few minutes ahead of schedule, cam and nola dropped me off and drove away in search of parking. paul saw me, got dismissed and walked over my way, but then started to cry and fight me. i felt like saying, "sorry i'm not daddy, okay?" but i bit my tongue. he told me later that he cried because he wanted his grandfather to pick him up, so apparently i got the generation wrong if not the gender. cam and nola showed up shortly afterwards and we walked back to our car. stopped by the burger king drive-thru for lunch.

once home, cam entertained paul while i tried to work (both with and without nola). after a while, i took over the entertainment of paul while cam worked. a little before five, cam's mom came over to watch paul (my mom was still on nola duty), and cam and i went back to school.

the first fifteen minutes were spent in the auditorium. from 5:15 to 5:30, the principal spoke to the kindergarten and first grade parents (other grades came later). then the parents were sent off to the individual classrooms for half-an-hour. paul's teacher had folders per kid for the parents -- included were forms, schedules, kindergarten standards and a laminated sheet of words the kids were expected to know how to read and spell by the end of the year (none of the words were longer than four letters, i think). she talked about classroom policies and took questions. one thing she mentioned -- that we had already read about in the school bulletin -- was that birthday cupcakes (any food at all, actually) were now forbidden due to the large amount of allergies in the student body. although i was a little sad about this at first, it was also a relief because while we could make acceptable cupcakes for a boy, we couldn't say the same for anyone else. dairy and egg substitutes are just a part of our lives. but this creates a whole new host of problems because gift bags with trinkets are a bit more expensive than cupcakes, and i have to wonder if there will be some competition at work amongst the parents. (there was a birthday on thursday and paul came home with a goody bag with playdoh and a "high school musical" pencil -- nice to be the first birthday kid. less pressure.)

one thing that surprised me was the focus of so many parents on getting their kids into the magnet program. people were OBSESSED. (oh, and one mother was a little too proud of her daughter because she had already read all the books (her older brother had just finished kindergarten) and would clearly be so BORED this year.) cam and i talked about it later. our focus is more on making sure that paul is happy and well-adjusted, but it might be a different story if he were a little less whiny and a little less obviously bent on world domination. if he wasn't already reading and throwing out words like "invertebrate" on a daily basis, maybe i'd be a little more of a school stage mom, waving the flash cards and blasting the beethoven.

the teacher had everyone write a note to their kids and leave it on their desks. she would be reading the notes to the kids the next day. for the kids whose parents were unable to attend, she would write notes for them. (very thoughtful.)

we talked to the teacher a bit after the session. she told us that paul was improving and having better days. cam mentioned to her that paul wasn't eating (his lunch had been coming home a bit grubbier but still essentially all there), so she promised to look out for that because hunger might be contributing to his sleepiness (he had been oversleeping during naptime) and general grumpiness.

it was a good back-to-school night, i thought. the teacher and the principal really stressed being involved in your child's life and i appreciated that. i don't really remembering my parents doing a whole lot with my school work when i was a kid, but i chalked that up to the fact that they worked odd hours (plus i wasn't even really sure my dad could read until i was a bit older) and that they expected us to not need the help. i liked school, but it was pretty stressful. i'd like paul's school experience to be as positive as possible, and i think this place is off to a good start.

September 18, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Today you get strawberries and kiwis with your lunch. I don't know why strawberries and kiwis go well together, but they do. (Are they friends?) When I was a kid, strawberry-kiwi juice was one of my favorite drinks. Yummy! Hope you have a good day today.


P.S. We eat seeds because we are birds. What?

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Today you get an extra drink: one for lunch and one for snack. It's just an experiment to see if you like having more to drink. Please eat something at both recess and lunch -- you need fuel to get through the long school day.


P.S. Tasty cricket soup...

September 16, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Kiddo,

Do you even need to bring a lunch today? If so, here it is. Have a great (short!) day at school and we'll see you soon.


P.S. "I'm not listening." What?!

military humor

paul, wearing my slippers, looked down at them and declared he wanted ones just like them.

paul: [smirking] army...
me: [looking] no, old navy.
me: new army?
paul: [very patient look]

sigh. he's supposed to find me funny for at least another few years.

September 15, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Today is the first day you get to use your cool new lunch container. For a nice treat I gave you strawberries and powdered sugar (not cornstarch!). Your sandwich is in the bottom. Hope you have a good day at school. It will get better, I promise.


P.S. Gluten-free walking sticks! What?

September 14, 2008

tasty bugs

paul and cam giggled and taped a little piece of paper over the label on a bag of pretzel sticks. glutino would be disturbed to discover that they now make "gluten free walking sticks." oh, the grossness!

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

We hope you are feeling better today. Nola and I missed you last night, but we know you needed your rest. Daddy needed his rest, too -- he was asleep by 8:35. :) Have a good day and don't run around too much.


P.S. A blanket with a head? What?!

this was from friday -- paul stayed home again. on thursday, he fell asleep on the way home from cam's parents' house and miraculously enough didn't really wake up until the next morning. clearly he wasn't feeling well because he NEVER sleeps like that. i wish he would, though, because he always wakes up in a fabulous mood when he sleeps longer than usual.

September 13, 2008

packing a lunch

the fact that paul now needs a full-fledged lunch packed for him every day is a little intimidating. sure, i can pack a cute snack twice a week, but lunch five days out of seven is brutal. because of his allergies it's not like i can give him cafeteria money and call it done, so i guess i should potentially prep myself for 13 years of lunches.

i bought a copy of vegan lunchbox (not because he's a vegan, but because it's more appealing to add meat to a vegan meal than it is to use dairy and egg substitutes in a non-vegan one -- who knows if the substitutes will blend well or not?) and pored over it, but cam warned me to stay away from fancy. he's right, of course, but i'm hoping that these recipes might get me interested in cooking again, period. i've also spent some time looking at bento sites online and know that i will never reach that level of lunchtime coolness, but i'm hoping at least to pick up some tricks.

happily, paul has agreed to carry his lunchbox again. when i asked cam why paul wanted paper and plastic bags, he thought it was to fit in, which struck me as weird because i thought most of the kids carried lunchboxes. but when i asked paul myself, he said it was because it was too heavy. i managed to convince him that with the substitution of a milkbox for the thermos, the lunchbox would be fine. he's been carrying it ever since. the trick now is figuring out what kind of containers to use inside. the standard containers that we use for lunch aren't really working too well because there's too much space between the top of the subcontainers and the lids, which means that contents are mixing (sometimes unpleasantly). i've heard that press 'n' seal works well to keep stuff in those interior containers, but i haven't had the most luck with that (i learned this while packing my own lunches back during the gestational diabetes days). he does have a set of nesting shinkansen containers, but i suspect that the lids might be too hard for paul to remove. i like lock & lock containers (used one for my own lunch on friday), but there's still that little gap at the top. tomorrow i'm hoping to get to the local japanese 99-cent store so i can hunt for a container narrow enough to stand upright in the lunchbox.

foodwise, these lunches have been pretty boring. a plain turkey half-sandwich, a fruit (either a fresh fruit, a fruit cocktail cup or blueberry applesauce), a cereal bar (possibly for snack), milk and crackers seem to be it. i've put in some baby carrots and unshelled edamame and neither were particularly successful. (we usually eat shelled edamame, but the unshelled was all trader joe's had during my mom's shopping trick last week.) from what usually remains of his lunch, i think he eats very little at school and then maybe eats a little more while at his grandpa's house. i'm not terribly concerned about when he eats as long as he eats enough when he's hungry. i figure he'll adapt to the lunch schedule over the next few weeks.

i'm hoping to get a bit more creative with his lunches, at least in part because i've been packing my own lately, too -- since i pump, i need to eat. maybe once we all get settled and have the proper supplies, we'll be able to move past the crustless turkey half-sandwich and applesauce.

September 11, 2008

lunchtime note

today's note was a drawing of a giant squid holding a person that was supposed to be me.

Dear Paul,


(paul didn't go to school today because of a stomach bug, but he still took his lunch over to grandpa's house.)

September 10, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Once upon a time there was a giant squid named Joe. Joe liked to eat cuttlefish. One day a little cuttlefish got mad and bit Joe. "Ow," said Joe, and while he was looking for a band-aid, he got chomped by a sperm whale. The end. :) What a silly story!


P.S. Joe was 60 feet long.

September 9, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

How are you doing today? We hope you are having fun at school. Are you reading any good stories in your classroom? (I think Nola liked the Bono the monkey one!) Maybe you can read to us tonight.


P.S. Awesome burrow, by the way. I bet the RC tarantula is happy there.

September 8, 2008

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

Hope you are having a great day at school today. Learn anything cool? If your class goes to the jungle gym today, give it a try. (Be careful!) It might be more fun than you think. See you tonight!


P.S. 1-2-3-4, I declare a thumb war!

September 6, 2008


paul was never all that big on stuffed animals, and now all of a sudden he's amassed a few and is actually playing with them. he got a dolphin (which has a most irritating battery-powered voice/motion box) and a killer whale (blissfully silent) from sea world. he reclaimed my stuffed giant squid as his own. he got an eagle ray from the aquarium the week before school started. today he took one of our old stuffed animals (a dark purply-blue lizard) on a trek in the backyard. the poor thing posed for pictures, rode down a hill tied to a tricycle, and had to feign amusement when tickled.

i'm a little puzzled by this new development, but hey, it's not the first time paul has baffled me with newfound interests.

September 5, 2008

rules, regulations and rivers

yesterday i had to discuss the lausd internet acceptable use policy with paul. that was kind of weird. then i had to talk to him about the school handbook. that was also kind of weird. while this was all going on, he was pretending to be at [a very different type of] school. at the end he had a request.

paul: you have to say, "now it's time to practice crossing the river."
me: now it's time to practice crossing the river.

and he did -- he hopped over his sleeping bag on the floor and landed on a mattress.

me: okay, now i want you to practice crossing the river this way.
me: and give me a hug.
paul: [crossing river and giving me a hug] i did really good.
me: yes, you did.

not always a talker

i don't really know how or what paul is doing at school because he won't really talk about it. this doesn't necessarily mean that anything is wrong (like the child is hiding his misery) -- he is known to only talk about the things he wants to talk about, and school has NEVER been something he's wanted to talk about. he doesn't like to talk (at least not extensively) about places he's been or things he's done or even things he's seen (unless, of course, those things are bugs or other cool science-y things). i understand that this is how is he is and i don't try to badger him about it. (cam is better at drawing him out, but even he hits tot-sized brick walls a lot of the time.) i figure that he'll talk about stuff when he's ready (after all, it's not like he's silent, he's just mum on certain subjects), but part of me wonders if my laissez-faire attitude is making him even less inclined to speak.

that said, my sister-in-law said that paul told her he cried "just a little bit" today, so it sounds like the kinder-life is improving. i just hope that he won't have to start from scratch again on monday.

lunchtime note

Dear Paul,

We hope you have a great day today! Learn something new so we can play school this weekend. You can be the teacher if you want. Nola can go to the principal's office again. :)


P.S. Now it's time to practice crossing the river.

September 4, 2008

lunchtime note


I hope you are having a good day at school. Are there any spiders or insects on the playground? I will see you when I get home from work. You can tell me about your school day.

Remember that Grandpa is picking you up today. Give him a thumbs up when you see him.


day two

cam talked to the teacher -- she said paul had a better dya, but he cried during snack and lunch. my poor, poor sweetie. everyone says, "oh, he'll get used to it," but that doesn't mean i have to like the tears.

September 3, 2008

new accessories

you know, kindergarten, it would have been good to know in advance that you planned to give the kids legal-sized folders. we wouldn't have sent the child to school with a too-small backpack. and to think i laughed when i saw all the tiny kids with their enormous backpacks, thinking that we had done something clever by getting him one a little closer to his size. apparently we were the silly ones.

i'm a little bummed about his backpack. it's a cute little black ll bean one with storm chaser patches (did i write about how i accidentally sewed a pocket shut when i sewed the patches on the first time? note how i say "the first time." i would have left them -- what does he need pockets for, anyway? -- but i felt guilty.) sewn on it. he used it in preschool and it still looked a little big on him, but i guess not big enough. cam picked a new one up from rite-aid. the new one is perfectly nice and i'll be sewing on a spider patch tomorrow night, but i'm still sad about the old one.

i'm also sad about his lunchbox. i got a sort-of matching one from ll bean with a spider patch on it -- and i packed his food in a cute little plastic bento box with his soymilk in a thermos -- and it didn't meet paul's standards. nope, he wants a brown paper bag, soymilk in a juicebox-type thing, and food in ziplocs. (all attempts at reducing waste have been thrown out the window.) now this, i hope this is a phase. i don't mind the ziplocs and the milkbox so much, but why scuttle the lunchbox? i can totally see cam saying, "you know, boys don't care about this stuff," but dammit, this is a boy who picked grape crocs as his shoes of choice. was i so offbase to think he might actually care about a lunchbox?


color a picture of a school
practice the pledge of allegiance, the name of the school, the teacher's name and his room number

the verbal stuff, no sweat, but coloring was surprisingly difficult because a certain little con man kept trying to make ME do it. as it was, i did some coloring, plus i had to draw part of a fence, a death's head cockroach, a black widow and a school bus. his teacher is going to be quite surprised.

not a bad substitute

silk's spice-flavored soymilk is almost as good as silk soynog. not that i get to drink that much of it, though, because paul is a spice-flavored soymilk HOG.

first day aftermath

so... paul didn't appear to enjoy the day too much.

he had a rough time, the teacher told us when we got him at the end of the day. poor thing. cam picked him up and he burst into tears. he insisted on being carried for most of the walk to cam's parents' house.

by the time we arrived at the house, he seemed to be in a better mood, but it pretty quickly turned to a case of the sulks. at one point, he grabbed a bunch of papers out of my hand and hid them. every question or comment got a reply of "good night," "i give up" or "i'm going to bed." cam had enough, so we took paul home instead of letting him play at their house. he cried a bit more.

the rest of the afternoon passed decently enough. with the help of a snack and some ice cream, he cheered up enough to answer some questions about school. he did some of his homework (still needs to finish it) and we played in the backyard while cam ran some errands.


today is paul's first day of kindergarten. he looked like such a big boy at home (in his uniform!), but he was so little once we got to school.

how can mr. baby possibly be old enough for kindergarten?

of course i cried.

August 23, 2008


with a dark room, two flashlights and two pieces of wooden lettuce from a wooden sandwich-making kit, paul created his own planetarium. where does he get this stuff?

(clearly not from me: i have a vague memory of my mother waxing rhapsodic about one of my little cousins and her imaginative powers, so i've always taken that to mean that i have little of my own.)

August 22, 2008


one day i called paul "kiddo." in return he called me "mommo."

new school blues

school starts september 3. paul has a backpack with tornado patches on it, a lunchbox with a spider on it, a new pair of navy blue pants, six new polo shirts (two white, four light blue), new socks, new underwear, a new navy blue jacket just like daddy's, a new pair of shoes just like grandpa's, assorted name labels -- and two parents who are silently freaking out about the idea of kindergarten. god help us all.

August 21, 2008

sing a song

paul breaks into song quite frequently. i almost wish i had a dance i could teach him so that i could pretend that i lived in a musical. how awesome that would be. we could be chatting or something, and then bam! song and dance!

his song of choice at the moment is a hawaiian war chant (at least that's what he tells me). at first he just hummed it. then i'd occasionally hear a few words. the other day he just busted out with the whole song. (i apparently failed to realize that he had been in the process of learning the song.) on the way to san diego we heard it many, many times.

sometimes paul will sing the alphabet to the tunes of all the songs he knows. sometimes he sings 1-10 in (somewhat garbled) spanish to those same tunes. i tell you, you just haven't lived until you've heard spanish numbers being sung to the tune of "taba naba."

i'm thinking that maybe i want to introduce him to some of MY music. after all, he has shown a tiny spark of interest in some crowded house stuff (he greatly enjoyed their live earth set), and i think that the alphabet in the tune of "fall at your feet" could be pretty cool.

August 19, 2008

sunny san diego

we just took a mini-vacation to san diego -- sunday afternoon to tuesday afternoon. sunday we went to the fleet science center in balboa park. monday we went to sea world. today we just drove home. it was a very spur of the moment thing. i mean, we knew we wanted to take a short trip, and we had kind of a halfassed idea that sea world might be the thing to do, but we didn't make any real plans until friday or saturday.

but, oddly enough, it worked. we stayed at a hyatt near sea world, and although it was a bit pricey, it was a great place to stay -- we got upgraded to a nice suite (very west elm in decor, i thought), they offered soy milk on the room service menu, we could see the sea world fireworks from our room, and the hotel had three pools (one of which had a little sloping "beach" area). we ate breakfast and dinner in our room (we had a big dining/conference table) and spent some time in the pools. both nights dinner for the guys was fish and chips from a place within walking distance. paul declared that fish and chips were the best dinner ever. he loved the room. he loved san diego. he had the best time ever. in fact, he cried as we prepared to leave because he "hate[s] home" and "love[s] vacations." (i don't necessarily agree, but i understand the sentiment.)

we brought the stroller with us to sea world, and thank goodness we did because paul refused to walk -- he spent almost the entire day (which was abbreviated because he got tired, anyway) riding the wheeled board. nola, on the other hand, spent her time in the sling. poor baby got a mild sunburn on one arm because it was hanging out of the sling.

i don't know if it was just me, but sea world seemed really outdated. the aquariums were not very spectacular. some of the tanks just looked too small for their inhabitants. plus i've never been a big fan of trained animal shows, and those are key at sea world. (never mind that watching marine life documentaries has really messed with my ability to enjoy killer whales and other animals. eesh.)

today we initially planned to return to balboa park for the natural history museum, but changed our minds because paul and cam are going to the natural history museum in la tomorrow. i'm glad because i need a rest. it was nice to come home and just veg after spending the last few days out and about.

we should take impulse vacations more often. it will be interesting to see if we can top paul's assertion that this was the best vacation ever.

August 12, 2008

farmer in the dell

paul is planting a vegetable garden in the living room. there's a tomato plant on the floor (two throw pillows wrapped in a green blanket, a lemon one next to it, carrots growing on the couch, an eggplant on the tansu and a green bean hanging from the lamp. (i also found an apple in a cabinet -- i was wondering why it wouldn't close properly.) the boppy and the couch cushions appear to be some kind of irrigation system. my phone is being used as the water controller. this must be related to a game he was playing last night in which he and nola were ears of corn.

August 11, 2008

cold, wet and sleepy

spent a lot of time in the pool again today. i had no intention of getting in -- i was just going to sit by the pool so paul could play in it -- but he asked me to, so i sighed and agreed. unfortunately, the water was so cold that i wished i said no for both of us! but we perservered and had a lot of silly fun.

nola wasn't initially in the water with us, but she kept looking over to see what we were doing. eventually my mom put her in a swim diaper and brought her to the pool. sitting in the water she was miserable, but she settled into some sort of glazed contentment while floating around in the inflatable plane, which paul called "the nola tour." she didn't look thrilled, but she didn't scream, either, so we figured she was happy enough. when i accidentally splashed water onto her head, the crying started, so i thought she might be ready to get out -- but when we put her back into the plane, she settled down immediately and passed out. i wanted to bring her into the house, but paul was adamant that we remain in the pool until cam got home. (ugh. after a morning of fights, i was just... not wanting a fight.) because it was getting kind of chilly, he permitted us to put a towel over nola like a blanket. luckily, cam arrived not too long afterwards.

once in the house, nola (now awake, obviously, and less than thrilled) and i took a nice warm shower while cam got paul dried and dressed. cam had told me earlier he had a headache, so i told him to take a nap while i sat with the kids. much to my surprise, paul and nola were soon asleep. i wanted to nap, too, but i needed to get those bathing suits and towels into the washer. then i sorted mail, drank some coffee to thaw out my insides and opened a package. nola woke up while i was thus engaged, and i stopped what i was doing to nurse her on the couch next to paul's sleeping self. cam got up a little while afterwards and was much amused (and mildly horrified) that paul was asleep.

funny how my family all reacted the same way to different experiences -- cam to work, paul to play and nola to riding around in a pool float. me, i think i deserved sleep, too, but every home needs a martyr.

August 10, 2008

water play

cam inflated and filled up our kiddie pool again today. he also set up our old canopy as shade and inflated a little floating airplane that we got at a kbtoys outlet for a few bucks. paul wanted to ride in the airplane before the lunch, so he put on his swim trunks and got in. of course, once he was in there he didn't want to come out for lunch, so he whined for a while until cam got him out. then we left the pool uncovered so the water could warm up for the afternoon.

after a few hours, cam and paul got ready to get into the pool. i dressed nola in a swim diaper and a onesie and put her in the floating airplane. she seemed to enjoy it -- at the very least, she didn't seem to dislike it. once cam and paul were in the pool with her, i left the three of them and changed into my own suit.

we spent a long time in the pool. nola got out earlier than the rest of us and stayed with my mom. it was pretty funny because even though she didn't want to be in the water, she wanted to be near the water (and therefore near us) so every time my mom tried to bring her inside, she would scream bloody murder until they were back with us. the first time my mom brought her inside to change her clothes, but she cried so hard that my mom brought her back out in just a bathrobe. then she brought her back in for a diaper, but she could only manage a disposable instead of a cloth one because a cloth one would have taken her too long to put on. they spent most of their time sitting on my mom's front steps.

cam was trying to get paul to float on his back (nola had submitted to my attempts at floating her), but i don't know how successful he was. i do know that he did get paul to hear underwater. paul's favorite game was one where he would try to crawl/float away while i was holding onto his ankle. then when he got far enough to almost grab a toy fish, i would yank him back. we must have played that game a thousand times. he did get dunked once and started to cry, but after wiping his eyes he decided he was okay.

again, he didn't want to get out of the pool, but i forced the issue because his lips were turning blue. once i got out, he, of course, was in a hurry to get out, too.

it was a good outdoorsy afternoon, and i have the tan lines to prove it. (really should have picked a bathing suit with straps instead of a halter.)

if the whining doesn't stop

me: i will take him somewhere -- and i WILL lose him.
cam: [smile]

tape is a boy's best friend

for a while now paul has been playing a game called "____ hunt." it might be a bug hunt, a spider hunt, a natural disaster hunt, a sea creature hunt -- but whatever it is, the game involves hiding pictures of whatever all over the house, and then dragging cam along to show him where said pictures are hidden. and then pictures are taken. (unless you're talking about a bug hunt or spider hunt outside the house -- those involve dragging cam outside with a camera to take pictures of said items. and then there is all the fun of cropping those pictures! yeah, i don't get it.)

in the early days of these hunts, he used to hide plastic spiders, pictures cut from magazines, drawings by adults in his life. lately he has taken to doing his own drawings and they are surprisingly good (says his mother). there has been another change -- in the beginning these hunted items were just lying around. now they must be taped down with blue painters tape. i now have a purple starfish (which i drew and colored at paul's request) taped over my bed.

paul loves the blue tape and is constantly asking for tape loops so he can stick stuff up. (yesterday he taped something to a plant. sigh.) we currently have at least three rolls in use and i am trying really hard to keep them out of paul's hands. i've stored them (along with other rolls of tape) in a box on a shelf, but cam keeps getting them down for paul and then forgets to put them away. then they have the audacity to ask me where the tape is. um, same place where your MIND is hiding?

this evening i was forced to do almost all of the drawing. i had to draw a megalodon, a starfish and a reef shark sans fins because he wanted to draw the fins himself. then i had to cut them out because he couldn't remember where his safety scissors were, and then i had to get the tape and tear off little pieces so he could make loops. he kept asking me, "what sea creature should i draw?" but i guess he actually meant "what sea creatures should you draw?" (the other day he had us draw shells and he piled them up on a balled-up blanket and declared it was a coral reef. it was cute for about a minute, then he started whining when i dared to lift nola off the boppy because apparently she, too, was a denizen of the reef.)

i'm getting sick of the taped stuff. in the past, i could pick up the volcanoes/spiders/worms/fish-spitting-out-an-ostracod myself and put them in an envelope in his room. but the taped stuff... if i even suggest taking them down or moving them, i get shrieked at like i just stuffed his best friend in the dishwasher. or god forbid, suggested he eat what the rest of us are having for dinner. we have a firefly squid taped above the linen cabinet, a clam on the floor, a tinier clam on the tansu, a whale above the alarm keypad, a reef shark taped to the bedroom wall, a giant squid on the fireplace, a humboldt squid taped to the computer room doorframe, etc. etc. etc. i am constantly finding these damned things all over the freaking house. i don't mind the hunting games, but the tape, the blasted tape...


about a week or so ago, i got a catalog in the mail for fancy kids clothing. i found a shirt with a spider on it and thought paul might like it. i showed him the catalog and he was meh, but he was all fired up about the idea of a spider shirt. (figures.) so we went on an online spider hunt and eventually ordered one from a store called "gimos."

gimos is apparently the gap of argentina or something like that. since i don't shop at the gap, i was amused to find myself shopping at a foreign alternative. the shirt was a little pricey (okay, make that a lot pricey for a long-sleeved t-shirt), but turns out that it is a great shirt. soft and sturdy, washes up pretty good (had to air-dry it, though, for the sake of the spider) -- all that is fine and dandy, but the spider is actually really cool and fuzzy! nice detailing. paul insisted on putting it on immediately. plus the shirt arrived quickly, wrapped in orange tissue in a white shirtbox tied with an orange ribbon. there was also a logoed orange ballpoint pen and a matching notepad. very pleasant touch.

i'm not sure if i'll be ordering again from them anytime soon, but if they one day again have a shirt that corresponds to paul's next obsession, i would buy it from them without hesitation.

surprisingly youthful

paul just announced that cam looks older than me. when asked how old i am, paul declared confidently, "22." wow. thanks, kid.

August 9, 2008

nap, dammit

my mom is off visiting relatives for the day. paul and cam are off bug-hunting at madrona marsh. nola is asleep. why am i not asleep? so far i have done some laundry, loaded up the dishwasher, tied the water hyacinth to a rock to keep it from floating around the edge of the pond (the raccoons savaged it last night), and general picking-up-around the house.

i was convinced i'd fall asleep instantly because we had a rough night. woke up at one point to find paul in the bed. four people in a queen-sized bed does not make for a comfortable sleeping experience. my children are aggressive sleepers. nola by herself can almost knock me off the bed. paul CAN knock me off the bed. i spent a lot of time hanging off the bed while trying to protect nola from her brother's feet and elbows. yes, i could have put her back in the crib, but where's the fun in that?

my head is splitting, my bones ache and yet i persist in sitting here, awake...

August 5, 2008

bananas about bananas

my mother announced a few days ago that she had some bananas on the verge of overripeness so if i wanted to make banana bread again i could have them. i took her up on her offer, and today i baked the very popular bread with the substitution of egg replacer and vegan margarine and the addition of allergen-free chocolate chips, just like before. (i think it's pretty funny that this recipe comes from the woman behind learning movable type. i spent much time there when i was starting this blog,) amusingly enough, it's already half gone. i suspect paul would consider eating the whole thing if i would let him.

sophisticated tastes

the other day at whole foods, we told paul to pick a flavor of ice cream (they sell this great dairy-free ice cream by turtle mountain). the last time we bought "cookie avalanche," a cookies & cream alternative. i expected him to pick the same flavor since it struck me as very kid-friendly. nope, instead he picked pomegranate chip. when i was four, i don't think i even knew what a pomegranate was!

August 3, 2008

wet and wild

after a semi-disastrous trip to the citadel outlet mall in commerce, cam and paul inflated our little swimming pool and filled it partway with cold water. since it was already heading towards late afternoon, i sort of questioned the wisdom of such actions -- but since hell hath no fury like a paul thwarted, i just shrugged.

turned out to be a pretty good move. nola and i even donned suits (hers was an old tshirt and an oversized swim diaper) and stayed in until nola's and paul's lips turned blue. great wholesome fun!

August 2, 2008

kenny rogers

paul has discovered a new skill. my mother just spent the last ten minutes hunting up every scarf, handkerchief and towel she owns just so he could have the fun of unfolding and refolding them.

August 1, 2008

hot baked goodness

made a banana-chocolate loaf yesterday. after the peach cobbler incidents (paul: i'm sorry, i thought it would taste better), i wasn't all that sure that paul would eat it, but he LOVED this. success! i'm always happy to shovel homemade sweets into my children.


after shoving some stuff around in paul's room (he isn't here, after all), i have come to the conclusion that he has too much furniture and junk. of course, i am sure he will disagree -- and there is also the good possibility that he will throw fits that i dared to move anything. he is not the most laid-back of children.

disney sans us

on friday paul is going to disneyland with cam's folks and sister. they'll be picking him up mid-morning and he'll be spending the night at their house. i think it's great that he gets to go, considering that nola's not ready for anything like that yet, but it still makes me sad that he's going without us.

July 31, 2008

tv influence

bought a pair of peep-toe low wedges from eddie bauer. they showed up today and i modeled them for paul, nola and my mom.

paul: you look like someone from "what not to wear."
me: is that good or bad?
paul: good!
paul: everyone is staring at you.

oh, dear.

July 30, 2008

invented dinner

paul was eating wagon wheels with tomato sauce for dinner. he noticed a bowl of cooked wagon wheels sans sauce on the counter and proceeded to eat them, too. then he noticed a jar of craisins (courtesy of my mother) on the counter and asked for those, too.

paul: can i put the craisins with the wagon wheels?
me: uh, you can, but i wouldn't -- i was thinking we could eat them with oatmeal tomorrow since we're out of raisins.

curiosity got the better of him and he mixed some craisins in with the plain wagon wheels.

paul: you know what i call these?
paul: cran-wheels.

then he insisted i eat some. all i have to say is thank goodness he didn't mix the craisins with the tomato sauce. i'm not sure i would have been able to eat that with a straight face.


as usual, paul and nola didn't go down easy.

cam: how did we end up with nocturnal kids?
cam: is it because we are, too?

how can he say that we're all nocturnal? it's only 10:55 and i'm the only one still awake!


paul has been calling nola "nolies" for several weeks now. the funny thing about this affectionate little name is that the rest of us get the same treatment.

paul: good night, nolies!
paul: good night, mommies!
me: good night, paul.
paul: don't you mean "paulies"?

July 29, 2008


am a little rattled. not a big fan of earthquakes. nola, predictably, didn't seem to notice. (paul, on the other hand, cried a little bit and didn't want to come out from under the table at his grandparents' house.)

July 28, 2008


because of a strange little conversation we had yesterday, paul keeps saying "comic sans" and laughing.

dammit. i hate comic sans.

i don't know where he gets this stuff

after paul nearly spilled frozen lemonade on the couch:

me: okay, i'll feed you.
me: poor couch, we've only had it a little while and it's already so abused.
paul: you know why the couch is abused?
paul: because it's obese.
me: what?
paul: see how wide it is?
paul: it's so wide!

i honestly had no idea how to respond to that. have i transferred my poor self image to the couch?

July 25, 2008

no room of one's own

i just realized i have never mentioned how we fit nola into our house.

when we bought this house, i think we originally intended to have only one kid, so the fact that we had only two bedrooms wasn't an issue. (yes, we have a computer/craft/junk room, but it opens to the backyard. like hell i am going to give a child a bedroom with a door to the outside world. if said child grows up and sneaks out the window, that's one thing, but i'm not about to hand the kid his/her very own escape route.) now that we have two kids, they'll share a room once nola is old enough for a big girl bed until they can't stand to share a room any longer. (no idea when that will be.)

nola's crib (paul's old crib, painted purple) is now in our room. the underbed drawer kept falling off its track, so we removed it completely and put it on casters. i moved paul's old rocking chair (which is upholstered in blue denim) to our room, too. we used to have two canvas-covered shelving units with our clothes (the closet in our room isn't very big, so we kept stuff on shelves and in plastic drawer units hidden by the canvas covers) but they were farmed out to other places in the house and replaced with ikea pax wardrobes. the plastic drawer units now live in our closet, full of nola's stuff. her little dresses also take up part of a clothing rail.

paul's room has not escaped unscathed. i replaced the rocking chair with a big chair and ottoman poached from the living room (for storytime). he keeps his clothes in a big blue armoire, so we cleared out his closet to hold the changing table and nola's diapering supplies. we call it the "changing room." luckily the closet has a little window in it so we can air it out every once in a while.

after all the prep for paul's nursery, it was weird and a little sad that we had to shoehorn nola in like this, but she doesn't seem to mind. this whole process has reminded me how little a baby actually needs. as long as she has food and diapers, she's a happy girl.

her influence

my mom: don't jerk her so much.

paul is constantly playing a little too rough with nola -- tugging her legs, twisting her arms, pushing her head. (not out of meanness, of course.) drives my mom batty. i've taken to saying, "don't do that or grandma will freak out." i have been careful to avoid her eyes when i say it. sure, when it's just me and the kids, i'm always telling him to stop doing whatever it is he is doing:

don't you dare step on her head
let go of her feet
don't drop her
don't touch her eyes

but his level of "stop that!" activity always seems to go up when my mom's around. i'm not sure if he's actually doing more or if her panicked reaction to every move just makes it seem that way.

life at home

so... during my past life as an adult working outside the home, paul would spend every wednesday and every other friday with cam's dad. oddly enough, during my temporary current life on house arrest, paul has been spending practically every day with cam's dad. you'd think he'd want to spend more time with his mother, but it seems to be the opposite. sometimes it hurts my feelings a little bit -- i'll think that we're getting along SO well -- or maybe that he's mad at me and is choosing to lash out by shunning my company -- but sometimes i'm all, "go on, get out of here, good riddance!" it's not that i don't want to spend time with both my kids, but inevitably there will be a moment when everything is happening/everyone is talking or screaming or crying at the same time and i want to cover my ears and holler "eeeek!"

paul's imitation of me saying, "everything's going on at the same time!" is note-perfect. he lives to mock me, i suspect.

a few days ago, i had the rather unique experience of both children pooping at the same time: paul was in the bathroom while i was changing nola's diaper. then the phone rang (cam), so i hurriedly fastened nola's diaper and ran to the phone. didn't put the diaper cover on. big mistake. she pooped again and warm wet babyshit was soon running all over my hand and down my arm. paul laughed hysterically from the bathroom. poor cam, the stuff he must have heard. (the same thing happened the next day, minus the phone and the diaper explosion. i swear, these children are in cahoots.)

i'm glad that paul adores his little sister. the lack of "pay attention to me!" does make life easier, but i could do without him crawling all over her, trying to carry her, trying to pick her up, dragging her around the couch, etc. (i could also do without my mother's irritation and panic with paul's mild rough-housing and less-than-gentle caresses.) the way he tells me that she wants something that he really wants -- as if he were the royal translator -- sometimes makes me roll my eyes. don't feed me that bullshit, i do not believe that the infant wants a frozen lemonade.

i think as far as keeping paul home with me, this maternity leave has been an absolute failure. however, as far as keeping my sanity, having paul not here all the time has been a wee bit of a blessing. (oh, the guilt i feel by putting that in writing...)

July 17, 2008


paul: mommy, i have good news for you.
paul: i don't have any work today.
me: work?
paul: i don't have to work today.
me: what is your work?
paul: my work is playing minesweeper.

July 16, 2008

doctor's (random) orders

paul: stepping on your mail...
paul: is good for your life!
me: what?
paul: stepping on your mail is good for your life.
me: why?
paul: because then you can take a piece of it and put it in your mouth.
paul: it will dissolve and you'll feel better.
paul: it's like a paper pill.
me: okay.
me: thank you, paul.

July 12, 2008


me: stop it.
me: you're messing up my stuff.
me: stop it.
me: stop.
me: how many times do i have to tell you to stop?
paul: just one.
cam: paul, what did mommy say?
cam: how many times did mommy tell you to stop?
paul: just one.
cam: i heard her say it at least three times.
paul: maybe it was the echo.


paul: i was raised in a barn - i left the door open!


paul: [humming]
paul: do you know what that was?
cam: i know - silly old gordon fell in a ditch, fell in a ditch, fell in a ditch, silly old gordon fell in a ditch, all on a monday morning.
paul: no, it was similar to "wheels on the bus."
cam: the wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round, round and round...
paul: [humming]
paul: the wheels on the bus... version 10.

July 11, 2008


i am genuinely bewildered by this. if paul's feet are too hot, they need to be cooled down (with a damp cloth) or he can't sleep. i told cam i thought it was crap, but he revealed that he was the same way as a child. tonight i watched cam cool off paul's feet. within minutes paul was asleep. it was the oddest thing. if it works, it works, but it's still weird.

figures!, part 2

paul has been home just a few hours and has already been reprimanded SEVERAL times.

me: can we give him back?

seriously speaking, though, i'm glad he's home. i had a hard time getting to sleep last night because i missed him. (i also had coffee too late, but i'm not taking that into account!)

late night sighs

i miss my boy. i know that lots of kids do overnights with the grandparents, but mine generally isn't one of those kids. goodnight kisses should not also be goodbye kisses.

July 10, 2008

could this really be happening?

a boy declared he was going to have a slumber party at his grandparents' house. it's almost 11 and we haven't been asked to come pick him up yet...

bug hunting robots

paul and i went for a bug hunt this afternoon while my mother watched nola. not much of a choice outside around noonish - guess it's too hot? all we saw were wasps, bees, flies and ants. the spider webs were all dried out. paul, much to my amusement, tried to step on every fly he saw on the ground.

paul: i'm fly attacker robot 2000!

i asked him why he disliked flies. "they eat your food," he said.

during our walk, two boys in a go-kart passed by us. "i'll race your lawnmower," one boy yelled to a gardener driving by. paul was intrigued. when we got home, we found a picture of a go-kart and emailed it to cam with a request to build one. i think bug hunts would certainly go faster if we had a go-kart.

a heartier breakfast

damn my next-door neighbors for cooking their breakfast so late and giving paul the idea that he wants something for breakfast other than what i've already given him.

paul: that makes me think i want something cooked that isn't sweet. [like the plain oatmeal i gave him that he completely covered with sugar?]
paul: i want BACON.

temper, temper

i am ashamed of the way i can barely control my emotions when it comes to paul's constant whining. i know that he's still maneuvering through the world of boundaries and expectations. i know that he's still figuring out his own capabilities and abilities. i know all this. i know he's supposed to be testing me - that's what little kids do. so why am i failing so miserably?

July 9, 2008


paul: subterfuge.
me: what?
me: did you say "subterfuge"?
paul: auf wiedersehen.

my mother's keeper

me: look, i cut my finger.
paul: how?
me: i cut it when i was cutting up peaches.
paul: i'm sorry.
paul: i should have watched you.

always prepared

a few weeks ago, we found ourselves watching an episode of "franklin." his parents were going on a trip and his grandparents were unavailable, so he needed - for the first time - a new babysitter. she managed to win him over, but it took time and a special [hand]bag of tricks. (she was like mary poppins!) paul and i talked it over and we decided that i needed to restock my own bag. with paul's input, we determined that i needed to add the following items to my usual arsenal of wallet, first aid kit, benadryl, diapers and other baby supplies:
bubble liquid
cookie cutters
tennis ball

clearly i'm going to need a bigger bag.

July 8, 2008

san pedro tea party

the last two days paul has insisted that we eat supper, which he defines as the meal between lunch and dinner. yesterday supper took the form of a picnic (watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple, mini lemon cupcakes and edamame) in the backyard. today paul said we should have a tea party, but upon being told that we were not going to drink tea because it was too hot, he conceded that oreos and milk would be a fine substitute. i was all set to eat peach cobbler, but he didn't like it. nola, as usual, had no opinion either way.

more sleep, please

on weekdays we have settled into a routine: cam gets up for work, showers, eats breakfast and gets paul up so he can wave goodbye. if paul can't wake up, cam drops him off into our room, where nola and i are usually still asleep. if paul can wake up, he waves goodbye from the window and then heads over to our room to crawl into bed. paul and i usually get up a few hours later - maybe around 9ish. we eat breakfast and then play, watch tv, etc. until nola gets up. sometimes nola wakes when we do, but lately she's been a litle lie-abed.

this morning, paul AND nola refused to go back to sleep. since i couldn't sleep until after one and nola woke me up at 2:30, and then i was up again by 5:30, i was pretty tired. nola fell asleep again around 7:30 and i started crashing shortly thereafter - paul tried to get me to stay awake, but i couldn't do it. he hung out with my mom while nola and i napped. just before ten, we got up and rejoined our boy. i was still exhausted (couldn't speak for nola), but i didn't want to let him down again.

friendliest skies

the last two days we've been playing "airplane," which involves sitting on paul's loft bed and talking about how we're in a plane. today we were a medical crew. nola needed to be airlifted to a hospital because she had a rare pooping condition that required excessive diaper changes. while en route, paul decided that there was "a baby growing" in the seat next to me.

me: growing?
me: you mean like nola?
paul: it's not born yet.
me: there's a pregnant woman on this plane?
paul: look, there's another one over there!

it took some time, but i finally got out of paul that these babies were growing in peapods. the pods expanded as the babies grew and then eventually split open -- leaving you with a tiny full-grown baby. at one point i think we had at least fifty babies on board.

a bunch of little throw pillows served as the "electrical" system. they were moved around and rearranged as paul deemed necessary.

i spent a lot of time buckling imaginary babies (and paul) into their seats.

he insisted we needed to wear pilots' hats and pulled out two freebie hats that looked like cycling caps. pointing at the large "pepsi" on the brim, paul told me it said "pilot." then he smirked.

like any good traveler, he wanted snacks. after i told him that we couldn't eat in his bed, he decided we should move to the living room. funny how five pillows and a couple of imaginary five-point harnesses can transform a plain sectional into a sectional plane.

weight limits

paul wants to know if the bed will fall apart if we all sit on it. (the loft has a 400 lb weight limit.)

me: it won't break right now.
paul: what if daddy sits on it?
me: with us?
paul: yes.
me: um, let me think... if daddy, you and me sit on it, we're okay.
me: but if nola came up here, it would break.

he found this very amusing.

July 7, 2008

busier than ever

i realized about a month and a half ago i could do this two-kid thing when i found myself carrying paul while standing on one foot and rocking nola in her carseat on the ground with the other foot. it's funny how multitasking has really become multitasking since nola was born.

July 6, 2008


at bedtime this evening i was reading selections from wonders of nature to paul. this particular book was published by parents magazine back in 1974 and it is utterly bizarre. (my mother said it was my book because it was published in 1974. i myself was published in 1975, so i was amused that she quite possibly bought me a book before i was born.) tonight we read about insects and marine life. what astonished me the most was the book's repeated assertion that animals are really important because people eat them:

"Fish are good to eat. They are full of vitamins and minerals, which help make us big and strong."

"Crab meat is good to eat... Market Crabs have much meat and are an important food for man."

"Shrimp make tasty food."

"Most of the Tuna's meat is put into cans and sent all over the world for us to eat."

"Sea Bass usually weigh about two to five pounds and are very good to eat."

"Catfish are very hardy and can live out of water longer than most fish. Many people like to eat Catfish."

"Even though [Sunfish] are small, they make a tasty meal."

eeesh. i guess back in 1974, the only good fish was the one on your plate. (don't even get me started on the entry for crocodiles -- apparently the importance of crocodiles to humanity can be measured in leather goods and perfume.)

THE field trip location

today paul announced that he wanted to go to the aquarium -- specifically the "close" one (cabrillo) because he didn't want to "see the movie" (the aquarium of the pacific in long beach turns off the lights and projects short films onto the walls several times each day. i don't know why, but this always freaks the boy out in a major way.). being that cabrillo closes at 5 pm on sundays and it was already half past three, i was astonished when cam agreed. nola and i almost didn't go with them, but cam decided at the last minute that we should.

there had been a preschool field trip a few months back, so paul and cam were there recently, but the last time for me was back in elementary school. cam had been paired with my best friend susan, and my partner was cam's best friend paul. (funny, huh?) but paul was a goof and seemed to really like embarrassing me, so i stuck close to cam and susan. (at least that's the way i remember it.)

the place looked unfamiliar from the outside, but the main hall struck me as having a lot of really old science fair-looking exhibits that very well could have been there 20 years ago. whatever it was, there was definitely a sense of deja vu for me.

after touring the aquarium complex, cam and paul decided to walk on the beach. as i was carrying a baby wrapped in a blanket and my splurge-y leather diaper bag, i was less than pleased. couldn't even sit down because i was afraid of getting sand into the bag (or damaging the bag). at least i was wearing shorts and flipflops. i amused myself by people-watching. when nola fell asleep, i tucked her into a sling to give my arms a break. paul had no desire to step into the water, so they spent the majority of their time playing in the sand. we left after about half an hour.

unpleasantly, it took us about another half hour to get out of the parking lot.

as we were driving away, i saw a "tsunami evacuation route" sign. who knew? thank goodness i live on a hill.

it wasn't the greatest afternoon, but it was all right, i suppose. at least paul was happy and nola was quiet.

July 5, 2008


on a whim i entered paul into a catalog model contest this evening. my mother's friend had recently taken a bunch of pictures of the boy that looked amusingly like headshots, so i sent one in. i don't want him to win the grand prize, but the first prize (of which there are ten) is a $100 gift certificate for that catalog. we could always use free money.

new title

the other day i was cleaning up a plant arrangement paul gave me for mother's day. (my mother pointed out that most of the plants in the planter had different needs and therefore had no business being lumped together -- she apparently was right because some of the plants are now dying.) paul objected to my attempts to remove a big pink bow from the front of the planter. he also thought i should leave in the pink plastic sign included in the arrangement.

paul: number one mom.
paul: that's you.

what a sweetie.


paul has been obsessed with spiders and insects for the past few weeks. i could deal with the constant chatter about tornadoes, but creepy crawly things just gross me out. it's times like this that i am really glad to not be a single mom. cam, bless you for going on all of those damned bug hunts.

July 4, 2008

new big boy space

with the help of the other adults living in this house, i've been slowly revamping paul's room.

*picked out two fabrics (a turquoise with leaves and a red with spiderwebs) and my mother covered a bunch of mismatched throw pillows with them. these pillows now live under paul's loft bed.

*took down paul's navy blue tabtop curtains and replaced them with white rod-pocket roman shades. they were too heavy for the thin wooden curtain rods we had in there, so i replaced them with cafe rods. much nicer. also sewed a line of red rickrack to the shades to dress them up a little.

*cam bought a homasote alternative from home depot so i could make giant (and cheap) bulletin boards. found a cheap neutral linen fabric and covered three 2' x 4' boards with it. (god, how i love a staple gun.) tacked a line of red rickrack to top for color. came up with this idea after realizing that painters tape can be unkind to construction paper preschool art projects.

*moved paul's growing collection of books to another room so that i could stash more toys in there.

eventually i'll paint the room a pale turquoise (will have to do so before i return to work), but until i can do that, i think these mini projects are freshening up the space quite nicely.

June 30, 2008


paul and i sometimes sing instead of talk. when we're in that mood, we sing anything and everything -- we'll sing about the baby pooping, we'll sing about shoes and food and getting dressed. today we sang about my exercise bike, a tiny spider i found in the diaper drawer and some new onesies that my mom bought. it's a little bit "wonder pets" and "trapped in the closet."

June 27, 2008

mii, mii and you

we spent an amusing amount of time today refining our miis. gave my mii a new hairstyle that more closely resembles my newly short hair. nola has a mii of her very own -- she looks just like paul but with longer hair (black instead of brown) and gray eyes. i set her up just so that she could hang out at our pokemon ranch with us, but it's somewhat surreal to have her walking around there when right now the child can't even hold her head up. we also adjusted our heights -- it was a little weird to have three out of the four people in this family be exactly the same height.

(set up a mii for my mom, too, so i can try to shame her into trying wii fit. don't see it happening, though.)

new jobs

paul: i want to be a bugologist.
me: wouldn't that be an entomologist?
paul: i want to be that, too.
paul: but i really want to be a spiderologist.

June 24, 2008

the new truth

we've been trying to wean paul of "ginormous," but it's not really working. (still don't know where he picked that one up.) instead he keeps coming up with new and stranger variations.

paul: i looked up "pimormous" on the internet.
paul: it says it's a real word.
me: does it?
paul: [satisfied] yes.

he was pleased enough by his cleverness that he decided that it would be a good idea to once again cite the internet as his own personal knowledge bank.

paul: this is how you count:
paul: one nine eight seven six five four three two ten!
me: what?
me: that's not right!
paul: i looked it up on the internet and it says that's right.
me: don't believe everything you read.
me: just because you saw it on the internet doesn't mean that it's the truth.
paul: yes, it is true!

god give me strength.

June 23, 2008

stuff we do when cam isn't home

today i irritated my boy by shooing him away from the tv because he was disrupting my game of "defend your castle" (while i was breastfeeding, how about that?) but i think i made up for it by getting him a silver medal in fishing via wii play. then i amused him by taking pictures of his grandfather's mii dancing at our pokemon ranch. i'm not sure that this is the mom that i'd thought i'd be, but at least nobody actually sees this stuff going on but my mom and the kids.

(for the record, paul and i also pretended to cook the fish we caught, created a lego factory out of legos, set cricket/rat/roach traps as directed by the baby and hunted for imaginary spiders. i also baked vegan cupcakes. so... i didn't spend the entire day sitting on my ass.)

June 21, 2008

unusual emergency

paul: i'm calling 911.
paul: hello?
paul: my baby has a monkey stuck to her stomach.

cut to nola, oblivious, with a tiny stuffed monkey sitting on her stomach.


"my stomach bug," says paul, "is a spider."

stomach bugs

now both children are vomiting today. poor things. i think we should all just go back to bed. (of course, paul will have none of it, but nola goes where i make her go.)

June 19, 2008

mommy jewelry

after much internal debate, i bought this necklace for myself. i wanted a little something for myself to commemorate our little family, so it has all four names on it. (the sample is hilarious -- apparently we should have named our kids jack and jayden.) i ordered it at the same time i bought cam's keychain. i like to wear it with my kinda-sorta "push present" -- a necklace from cam. i do NOT wear it with the other necklace he bought at the same time.

(just an aside: paul finds the white trash charm necklaces equally amusing, but he thinks the dude one is more appropriate for a boy. oddly enough, this is from a child who happily sported the trophy wife one around the house and would have worn it in public if i didn't take it from him.)

June 18, 2008


a few weeks ago paul wanted strawberries with powdered sugar. to my surprise, he wasn't interested in the sugar, said he couldn't really taste it. the next day i realized i gave him CORNSTARCH (i have them next to each other in identical containers). good grief. i told him and he wasn't mad at mad, but i did have to endure some ribbing for the next few days... guess i got off easy.


paul was telling me about a cereal that has more vitamins and minerals than daddy's favorite bran flakes.

paul: you know what it's called?
me: no, what?
paul: total.
me: oh!
paul: like colgate total.
paul: the second part.
paul: just total.

two sleepyheads

am sitting on the bed, the laptop on a pillow on my feet. the baby is sleeping on the boppy on my lap. paul is sleeping next to me, clutching my knee. it's nice to see them so peaceful -- and QUIET. is it a crime that i like them best when they are sleeping?

(i'd go to sleep, too, but i want to keep an eye on paul in case he starts throwing up again.)


one child is fussy, the other is vomiting. cam decided to work from home today. (thank you, thank you.) this could be the start to a very long day.

June 17, 2008


today my mother and i offended paul by laughing. we tried to explain that we weren't laughing at him, but he didn't care.

but how else were we supposed to react when he pointed out that tracy turnblad's mom obviously had a man's voice? i didn't even think he was paying attention. good ears, little one.


paul: i'm a jumping spider.
paul: bzzz.
paul: there's a bee!
paul: i'm going to jump on it.
paul: you're a black widow.
me: oh, thanks.
paul: we have to protect nola.
paul: she's a little daddy-long-legs spider.
me: okay.
nola: [blank face]
paul: now i'm an ant-mimic spider.
me: i'm a nursery web spider.
paul: with young.
me: yes.
paul: now what kind of spider am i?
me: an orb weaver?
paul: no, just a dimorphic jumping spider.

June 14, 2008

zero tolerance (the aftermath)

paul: you're going through mommy's stuff!
my mom: [defensively] oh, sorry.

lately i've been challenging my mother -- okay, baiting -- about reading my mail, but i hadn't really thought about paul taking notice.


that said, it was still an absolutely freaking hilarious moment.

June 10, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

its hard to believe that this school year is almost over. you have done really well and we are all so proud of you. hope your next-to-last day of school is a fun one. enjoy your day and we'll see you this afternoon. we love you.

mommy and nola

so proud

got a call from the elementary school principal. paul had been accepted into the advanced studies program -- did we want to accept the spot? damn straight.

back to school sales and uniforms, here we come!

June 8, 2008

the modern multitasking mom

breastfeeding a newborn while playing wario ware to amuse a preschooler is not easy. those two-handed forms jiggle the newborn just a little too much.

June 7, 2008

goldilocks one and two

call us stupid.

back before paul was born, we did excessive research. (surprise!) bought what we believed to be the very best mattress for his crib -- the colgate classica I.

he never liked sleeping in his crib, so we didn't force it. instead we became reluctant co-sleepers -- it was super-convenient for middle-of-the-night nursing, so i was fine with it, and when i went back to work i enjoyed having that extra cuddle time, but truth be told, we would have been thrilled if he had slept in his crib every once in a while, especially when he reached the age when perpendicular became the position of choice (head on cam, feet on me, or the other way around).

damn, that was a long sentence.

he slept with us for a long time. as he got taller and taller, the bed seemed to shrink. his nursery was kind of a waste -- it was just a place for diaper changes and to keep clothes and toys. why did we decorate the room? why did we spend $300+ on a crib?

we were determined that nola would not sleep with us. yeah, well, we failed in that regard. she would sleep in the crib for an hour or two during the day, but at night she never lasted more than a half hour at a stretch. in the beginning, i would take her to the living room and we'd sleep on the couch (me sitting up with her in my arms). after a few weeks, we ended up sleeping in the bed together.

a lightbulb went off the other day. what if, god forbid, it was the MATTRESS that was the problem? what if a softer crib mattress (concrete would be softer than the classica I) would make nola a happy crib sleeper?

we went to babies'r'us last sunday and picked one out, but couldn't buy it because it wouldn't fit in the car if we had any kids with us (and nola was with us). today cam left us all at home so he could buy it.

nola has been asleep in her crib for about two hours now. jesu cristo. how very rueful i feel.

cam: wow, it's almost like a real mattress.
cam: we kept feeling the [old one] and saying, "it's so hard."
me: and doing nothing about it.
cam: yeah.

to think i could have spent paul's early toddlerhood in so much more comfort is a little irksome, but oh well, it's nice to know that quite possibly we might get our money's worth out of the crib.


cam: you hit me in the head.
paul: i apologize.
cam: [wry look]
me: [muffled laughter]

rice cake

paul: did mochi win?
me: no.
paul: bleah!
paul: i don't like what you said.

June 6, 2008

tiniest world

set the scene: we're trying to get paul into an elementary school other than our neighborhood one. we missed the magnet application deadline, so that left us with two options to get into that school -- apply for (1) a childcare permit (because this school is actually in cam's parents' neighborhood and cam's dad is going to be responsible for getting paul to and from school while we're at work) or (2) admission into the school's advanced studies program. when cam went to the school's office to pick up the applications, he was told to complete the second one first because that one had a deadline that was coming up soon. (the first one would be more of a last resort, anyway.)

with this in mind, we decided to move ahead on the second one. there was a brief application and paul's preschool teacher had to write a letter of recommendation. today we had an interview with a teacher and the school's principal and provide some samples of paul's work. (for a public school KINDERGARTEN. yeah, it blows my mind, too. maybe this is common, but this is my first kid in school, you know.)

nola was bawling all the way to school, so i was almost positive that i wouldn't be able to attend the interview -- a thought that had me almost in tears, too, because i feel like i've absolutely failed paul as a parent when it comes to school stuff. but the little girl came through for us and we had a great little interview.

paul dealt with the teacher while cam and i spoke to the principal. it was a little weird because i was trying to listen to paul while trying to tune him out at the same time so i could give the principal my full attention. i'm sure i smiled at weird times during the principal's spiel, but oh well. during the interview, she said something about my old old elementary school (the one i attended before the one where cam and i met) in passing to the teacher, which i filed away in my head but didn't think about too closely. i was busy trying to remember if the teacher was cam's parents' next door neighbor (turns out she is).

but then things took a very strange turn. if you've been reading this site for a while, you know that paul's last name is gracelastname-camlastname. (if you haven't, well, now you know.) the principal asked which one of us was camlastname -- cam said it was him. then she turned to me and said my name and said that i seemed really familiar to her and did i have a relative in education. nope, i said, smiling because i get "you look familiar" ALL THE TIME. (hello there, generic asian!) offhandedly, i thought to say that i went to such-and-such elementary school.

silence. i wondered if maybe i had heard wrong earlier and that she had no ties to that school.

the principal asked me when. i told her the years. and then it came out that she knew my brother. it was so weird. i told her that i thought her name was familiar, but i couldn't place it. (in talking to my mom -- who recognized the name instantly -- i learned that the principal had been my brother's 5th and 6th grade teacher.) i then was in the very unhappy spot of having to inform her that he had died 15 years ago. she said she was going to have to call another teacher (whose name i did recognize) to tell him.

who would have expected this from a kindergarten interview? welling-up tears, even. i've told lots of people about the ultimate fate of the original paul, but this time was especially hard because i was having to tell a former teacher who remembered a 10-, 11-year-old boy from 28 years ago and wanted to know how he was doing. "he had a very round face. i can see him." sometimes i forget that he had a life outside of us -- that he touched other people's lives and that people outside the family might actually remember him. i'm so used to inhabiting this world where i have to remind my mother of things he said and did.

i think the interview went well. from a proud mommy point of view, paul certainly showed his stuff (talking about tornadoes and his newfound love of spiders). from a cynical point of view, well, if paul doesn't get in now, maybe i should have worked my angle a bit harder.

June 4, 2008

snacktime note


i hope you are having a good time in school today. i will see you in about 40 minutes.


word of the day: assemble - to put together

June 2, 2008

the darkness in the hearts of infants

a few minutes ago paul told me he was going to my mom's house.

his reason? his sister had an "evil cry," he said very seriously.

evil? congrats on mastering that concept so young, nola. it took me many years to get to that point.

May 28, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

there is a funny oreo in your snack today. (what is different about it?) please eat more pear slices -- at least 5. when you come home, do you want to bake a cake? have a good day. we love you.

mommy and nola

May 26, 2008

just the thing for a growing boy

two little girls from paul's school have invited him to birthday parties. both times cam talked to their mothers to find out what sort of things the girls would like for a gift. one liked hello kitty and hannah montana. the other enjoyed "running a pet store." today i wondered how i'd answer if someone asked me about a possible present for paul: "oh, he's interested in science -- particularly meteorology -- and medieval weaponry." makes me glad his birthday has already passed.

May 25, 2008


paul has been singing a lot lately. right now i hear this from the living room:

oh my darling
oh my darling
oh my darling clementine
you are gone and lost forever
dreadful sorry, clementine.

(am not so fond of the other song he sings with this tune ("found a peanut, found a peanut").)

he is just pipingly high (and off-key) enough to be ridiculously cute.

when i was little i thought i had an excellent singing voice and made sure my family knew about it. thank goodness for my highly developed sense of public shame and my parents' justified lack of enthusiasm for my "talent" or i could have ended up on star search or something equally cringey. hope paul isn't going that route.

May 21, 2008

exercise play

paul is playing (is that the right word?) wii fit. apparently he needs more exercise, it tells him. duh, this is a preschooler who is more interested in science and tv than active play.

cam: now let me try so it can tell me i'm obese.

since you can password-protect your profile, i am so going to use this thing. i'll set a weight goal with my going-back-to-work date as my target. wonder how well it'll work?

snacktime note

dear paul,

hope you enjoy your snack today. it looked very good when i was making it. nola says, "squeak!" have a good time at school and at grandpa's house. smile for your class picture. i love you.


the weakest link, or they don't make them like they used to

this morning i was making paul's snack for preschool (in the past few weeks, i've noticed that i've upgraded his snack from snack-sized to lunch-sized -- must be the collateral damage from that whole nesting thing) when nola started shrieking bloody murder. as a result of feeling rather faint (early morning coffee on an empty stomach), i had just quickly inhaled a slice of cold pizza and was in the process of drinking a cup of milk. since i was feeling a little better, i latched her on and continued to put paul's snack together. hurray for multitasking.

paul came into the kitchen and spied a box of cheerios on a shelf. he had already eaten his breakfast, so he was only interested in the speed racer turbo car that was included with the cereal. he had been whining all morning, so i wasn't exactly feeling all that receptive.

paul: please get the car.
me: no.
paul: [whine]
me: no, i'm sorry.
paul: [whine]
me: [frustrated] call your father.
me: if he says yes, i'll get it for you.

bad move. he ran for the phone and called cam, who told him to give the phone to me.

cam: is that what you said?
me: yep.
cam: okay, give the phone to him.

cam told him yes.

me: thanks a lot.
cam: was i supposed to say no?

i sent paul to the living room with promises to get the car for him. i drank my milk and tried not to think about ulcers.

paul: [calling from the living room] i'm ready for my car now!
me: [quietly] shit.

i pulled the bag of cereal out of the box and shook it. didn't see a car. twisted the bag this way and that way. no car. sighing, i took a big bowl and poured all of the cheerios out into the bowl. no car. i called cam.

me: did you already get the car out of the cheerios?
cam: no.
me: i poured out the whole bag -- there's no car in there.
me: ugh... i better tell paul.

paul predictably began to cry and accused me of not looking hard enough. as i put the cheerios back into the bag/box and then put the box back on the shelf, i noticed a little plastic-wrapped white thing on the table. apparently the car had been wrapped separately from the cereal and must have fallen out of the box when i pulled out the cereal. paul was delighted. nola, still latched on, couldn't care less.

me: yeah well, the car was there.
cam: when we were kids, the toy was ALWAYS mixed in with the cereal.
me: yeah.

cereal manufacturers must have figured out that it's more sanitary and less stressful if we don't have to empty the goddamned box of cereal in order to find the prize. wish i got the memo.

i still can't believe i gave in.

breathe in, breathe out...

May 20, 2008

snacktime note

hi paul,

today your snack is a chicken sandwich, wheat thins and strawberries. for a special treat, you also have powdered sugar for dipping. we hope you have fun at school and with grandpa. we love you.

mommy and nola

May 14, 2008

snacktime note


by now i am back from the post office and am sitting in the car. i hope you are having a good day. i love you.


p.s. nola says "squeak"

snacktime note

dear paul,

we hope you have a great day at school today. don't forget to give the cards to ms. raquel. we think she will like the birth announcement. see you later!

mommy and nola

toothy, part 3

paul has been complaining of some pain lately, so cam took paul to the dentist again today. his gums are a little red. she did some cleaning and reminded cam to floss paul regularly.

cam feels really guilty about the state of paul's teeth because he's in charge of his oral health (i merely provide insurance). when paul was a baby, i couldn't stand using the finger brush on him because of his iron jaws, so cam took over.

as paul gets ready to go to school fulltime, i feel like all of our parenting flaws are being put on display. the teeth, the clinginess, the whining, the distaste for sharing, etc. etc. etc.... i'm so sorry, baby. we could have done better by you.

May 13, 2008

snacktime note


have a good day and come home soon. i love you.


snacktime note


i hope you are having a good time at school. i am looking forward to seeing your craft.


May 8, 2008

toothy, part 2

cam took paul to the dentist to have his cavities treated today -- and cam was in tears. one cavity was filled and the other afflicted tooth received a stainless steel crown. it wasn't the work that bothered cam so much as the system of restraints in place to ensure paul didn't run away or, you know, move. cam said it reminded him of "a clockwork orange."

pediatric dentistry appears to have changed a lot since i was a kid. i was looking over the paperwork the dentist's office sent home with cam and was startled by all the choices available for behavior management. cam had opted for the "papoose board," which ended up being essentially a straitjacket and head restraints. his other options were nothing, varying levels of conscious sedation (which the dentist recommended), pain relief via gas mask, and general anesthesia. good lord. is this all supposed to reduce one's fear of the dentist?

for the record, paul was a champ. he's my brave boy. he had a freakout period while the lidocaine was wearing off (he feared he was having an allergic reaction and cried for benadryl), but apparently was otherwise unscarred. cam, on the other hand...

May 5, 2008


no hate mail, please -- but my son just saw the dentist for the very first time today. he has two cavities, both of which will be dealt with during a follow-up appointment for later this week. poor thing. i know he should have gone to the dentist, what, THREE YEARS AGO, but i, shamefully, have placed dental health somewhere only slightly above a formal religious education.

(if you know me, don't snort.)

May 1, 2008


at some point in the early morning, cam brought paul over to our bed. i didn't realize it until a couple of hours later -- cam had already gotten out of bed and started work for the day when paul woke me up.

paul: mommy?
me: hm?
paul: daddy already got up.
me: okay.
paul: i have to get closer to you because i want some warmness.
me: okay, let's snuggle.

April 30, 2008

40th thursday

tomorrow is my due date, but i don't expect to spend it in the hospital. nope, we'll save that for friday.

tomorrow paul and i are going to spend the day together while cam works from home (his last day before a two-week vacation). i am not sure what we're going to do. we've talked about a walk, i've thought about baking a cake, but chances are just as good that we'll sit on the couch and watch a variety of tivo'd shows about tornadoes. i'm not really sure how the day will go, but i am determined to not take up the day with housework and nesting-type crap when this is the last day that paul will be an only child. it will be a good day, goddammit.

today cam and i talked a little about stuff we'll do once the baby arrives. we'll come along to preschool, i declare bravely, we'll go for picnics, all four of us. we'll fly a kite, cam says, making a mental note to buy a new one because god only knows where the old one went. we smile, but there's a hint of nervous desperation behind it because we know that very soon things will NEVER BE THE SAME. may paul forgive us for what we are about to do to his world.

snacktime note

dear paul,

today your snack is a blueberry bar and funny little turkey rolls. don't worry, i didn't put any special mayo in it. i hope you have a great day at school. (if you don't want to play outside, you can sit on a bench.) i love you.


April 25, 2008

i wish i were four

me: paul, how old are you?
paul: four.
me: four, not forty?
paul: four years old.
me: what do you do when you're four?
paul: supposedly eat all day.
paul: [grinning] couch.
me: sit on the couch?
paul: and do nothing.
paul: crumbs!
paul: crumbs on the couch!

April 23, 2008

school day

went to paul's preschool today. he's doing so well. he's so adorable. cam's right -- everyone likes paul. he is really destined to be a man coddled by women.

low point: a little girl asked me if i was going to have a baby -- because the teacher was talking to them, i was too afraid to say anything for fear it would be disruptive. she must have thought i was dumb. (i chuckled to (and at) myself later.)

high point: paul's strut. that boy can walk. that will be useful when he grows up.

April 22, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

i hope you are having a good day at school! today your snack is a little different -- hope you eat at least some of it! (your gummies are packed with the oreos.) have fun and i will see you later. i love you.


an honest woman

i brought home the decorations from the baby shower. one of them was a centerpiece -- a heart-shaped "baby" sign mounted on a lavender honeycomb tissue thing. (sorry, i don't know how else to describe it.) paul found it very amusing -- and quickly found a bizarre use for it.

paul: [holding it up] when i put this in front of you, i'm going to marry you, mommy.


cam: you can't marry mommy, that's my job.

paul then spent about 15-20 minutes chasing me around the house to put the centerpiece at my feet. he seemed to have shed his oedipal moment, though, and kept telling cam that it was time to marry me.

April 19, 2008

faster of mouth than foot

today paul tumbled off the edge of the couch and hit the coffee table. the wailing began instantly. i got off the couch and asked him if he was okay. then i picked him up and dusted him off. he continued to wail for another minute, then declared quickly (and sniffily), "i do my own stunts."

alrighty then. guess he was fine.

April 16, 2008

snacktime note


i gave you the bonus oreo we talked about yesterday. i hope you liked them pre-twisted because i did it again today. have a good day. i love you. see you tonight.


April 15, 2008

snacktime note


you have two oreos with your snack today. but i want you to eat your blueberry bar and oranges first. i pre-opened your oreos. have fun on the playground. i will see you tonight.


April 12, 2008

the crunch of chlorophyll

ate at coco's for dinner tonight. paul was a fabulous eater (and it is always hilarious to hear him order). while he was distracted by something else, i tried to feed him a dark green leaf from his salad. he looked at it and demurred. cam said authoritatively, "he only likes crunchy parts," and guided the fork to a piece of anemic-looking romaine. i raised an eyebrow.

dude. whoever said that mealtimes were only about the things you like?

April 10, 2008


as i head into the final weeks of my pregnancy, cam has declared that he will get up with our little poor sleeper. he's been really good about it, too. if i hear whimpers in the night, i wake up cam and off he goes.

last night, however, cam was less than willing.

cam: [mumbling] can you go?

so i got my giant self out of bed and hobbled to paul's room.

paul: [crying] my eyelashes are too long.
me: your eyelashes are too long?
paul: can you cut them?
paul: my eyebrows, too.
me: [thinking] baby, you barely have any eyebrows as it is.
me: we'll see what we can do.

i ended up taking him out of bed and cuddling with him in the chair in his room. comforted, he passed out again. i quickly followed suit. about an hour and a half later, i woke up and put him back into his bed (not an easy feat since i'm under 5' without shoes, 37 weeks pregnant and he sleeps in a loft bed). then i staggered back to bed myself.

poor baby. BUT I WILL NOT CUT THOSE BEAUTIFUL EYELASHES. (what kind of dreams do you have?) so there.

April 8, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

i hope you have a great field trip today to the cabrillo aquarium. i haven't been there since i was a little girl. you will have to tell me all about it. have fun. i love you.


April 2, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

happy wednesday! isn't it amazing how fast time is moving? soon it will be summer. this year we will have to play more outside -- we'll definitely need to inflate the little swimming pool! have fun at school today. i love you.


April 1, 2008


paul: what did you do?
me: i had to tell daddy to record something on tv.
paul: what is it?
me: oh, just csi: ciami. [i can't believe we still call it that.]
me: you don't watch that.
paul: yes, i do.
me: you do?
paul: [loftily] i watch various things.
me: that you do.

snacktime note

dear paul,

today is the first day of a new month. because it's april, today is known as april fool's day -- it's a day for playing tricks on people! be nice, though -- people may play tricks on you! have a good day. i love you.


March 30, 2008


paul: the funnel cloud moves over the texas panhandle...

March 26, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

i hope you and daddy have a great time on the field trip today to the railroad museum! i've never been there, so you'll have to tell me all about it tonight. you will also have to tell me if your new backpack is a good size for school. have fun today. i love you.


March 25, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

today your snack is all apples -- an apple cereal bar and applesauce. (i also gave you some pretzels just in case you get sick of apples.) hope you have a good day. i love you!


March 24, 2008

yellow dye

no matter what paul says, i think "spring" oreos (the kind with yellow filling) taste just like regular oreos. (the bag even says so: "same great taste!" or some nonsense like that.)

paul: no, it's a little bit different.

maybe he's more discerning than i am -- can he taste a food coloring? -- but i'm the mommy and goddammit, i'm tired of giving in on EVERYTHING. give me this tiny victory, please?

March 19, 2008

a laptop for a boy

we got new computers at work, so the firm decided to offer the old computers at greatly reduced prices ($175 for laptops, $60 for desktops) to employees. cam said to buy two laptops, one for paul and one for one of his coworkers. i dutifully put in my request... and waited several months to be told i could only have one.


i picked up a laptop yesterday afternoon -- a dell d400. i had actually asked for a d600 (i think?), but after waiting half an hour or so in line (doesn't sound like much, but i'm prone to overheating and lightheadedness these days) and seeing nothing but dinged-up and scratched ones, i pointed at a cute little d400 in some desperation and said, "how about that one?"

me: this is actually for a four-year-old.
it guy: then this is perfect.

i don't think the folks here who actually used these computers would be so pleased to hear that.

on the way back to my desk, i ran into someone from my department. "i just bought a computer for my son," i told her. she sighed at me. guess she didn't consider it a wise purchase.

cam has been setting it up and i think it's going to work really well. paul seems to like having his own computer, and honestly, the idea of NOT sharing mine anymore is a very pleasant thought. $175 is a small price to pay for "mommy's computer" to really be mommy's again. i can't count the times i've settled down to use my laptop only to have a boy commandeer it for playhouse disney.

March 17, 2008

redecorate with paint

we spent part of yesterday afternoon at home depot, trying to get paint for the kitchen (touch-ups) and for the crib (i'll talk about this later). while we waited for cam, paul showed me some mickey mouse-shaped paint chips he had picked.

paul: [pointing] this is for me...
me: oh, have you picked your own colors?
me: i've already been thinking about colors for your room.
paul: [confused look] this isn't for my room.
paul: [pointing] that one is for my bed, that one is for the crib and that one is for your bed.
me: wait, wait, hold on.
me: your bed is already painted. [it's whitewashed.]
paul: not really.
paul: when you paint it, it will be beautiful.

how do you argue with that? but then again, how can you paint a BRAND NEW and EXPENSIVE bed? sigh. we brought his paint chips home, but i think maybe i ought to hide them.

new world order

last night paul was flipping through a geography pop-up book.

paul: look, it says "amazon."
me: [reading something else] yes, there's a river with that name.
paul: but i was thinking about the store.

March 13, 2008

drugged out

the other night paul had an allergic reaction and asked for benadryl. we gave him a dose of the cherry-flavored kind and he unpredictably conked out early. (i say "unpredictably" because this child NEVER passes out post-benadryl. i do every single time, but him? NEVER.)

last night:
paul: i want to have an allergic reaction.
me: why?
me: you want more benadryl?
paul: yes.
paul: it tastes kind of good.

god knows i was surely tempted to drug the child and make an early night of it, but i swear, the idea was only tempting for a minute. or maybe two.

March 11, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

i hope you have a fun day at school today. maybe you can talk to ms. raquel about tornadoes or volcanoes. enjoy your snack and don't forget to cover your mouth if you have to cough.


March 8, 2008


today paul used the word "hypothesis." correctly. cam and i just looked at each other.

March 5, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

i hope you and daddy have a good day at school and learn something new and interesting. enjoy your snack of plums, pretzel sticks and an apple cereal bar. see you tonight. i love you.


March 4, 2008

sandwich cookie

paul had his first oreo cookies this past weekend. (yes, i do occasionally give my son junk food. you know why? because we're so happy we don't need to worry that he'll die because he had some wheat.)

he blamed them for his friday-night wakefulness. "you know why i had so much energy? it was the oreos!"

he was intrigued by the "secret" of twisting them to separate one cookie from another. "mommy," he screamed while i was in the basement. "twist my oreo!"

he wanted to try them with milk. several oreos later, he determined that they really were "milk's favorite cookie."

the ring of black crumbs around his mouth made me smile.

February 27, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

today you get grapes, pretzels and a chocolate cereal bar (not as good as chocolate ice cream in a cone, is it?). hope everyone has a good time on the field trip. if you like the dentist, maybe you can go there again. have a good day. i love you.



paul's preschool has a field trip today to a local dentist's office for a puppet show. what a fun-sounding activity. i hope the day is entirely successful.

February 26, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

today your snack is applesauce, pretzels and a blueberry cereal bar. i also packed your vitamins -- don't forget to take them! hope you have a good day. have fun at school. we love you.

mommy and daddy

February 14, 2008

flu season just became open season

cam is still sick at home. but paul is also rather ill, and dammit if i don't feel like hell, too.

um, happy valentine's day.

February 13, 2008

heart-shaped party

paul's valentine's day celebration at school was quite astonishing. school valentines were, i remembered, nothing much -- just little cards in little envelopes. maybe we got some candy, i don't know. the valentines paul and i worked on were very simple. but he came home with goody bags, pencils, stencils, lollipops, a fancy bookmark, a lace-up valentine card and a heart-shaped cookie decorated with white frosting and red and pink sprinkles. for a class of eight kids, this is quite a haul.

February 12, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

enjoy your pretzels and plum for snack today. (there is a fork in your backpack if you need it.) don't forget to return your library book. have a good day. i love you.


February 11, 2008

things we learned from a boy

did you know that helium is 100% lighter than a big chunk of steel?

did you know that water is 100% wetter than a regular dry old cup?

did you know that telephone poles are 100% taller than tinkertoys?

we laughed silently from the front seat of the car.

February 5, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

hope you are having a good day today. enjoy your applesauce and pretzels. daddy packed your lunch today so you will not get sick. we love you.

mommy and daddy

February 4, 2008

how messy that would be

my mother just called because she thought paul wanted her to pour hot water into an ice cream cone. turned out he wanted her to pour chocolate milk into an ice cream cone. not so different. when we explained that wouldn't work, he ran away from the phone in a bad mood. why is the child thinking of ice cream cones at 9 am?

trying to be considerate

so that cam could watch the superbowl in peace, i took paul to my mom's house with the intent of keeping him there from 3-ish to 7. it worked, but i think the aggravation we suffered upon returning to the house made it SO NOT WORTH IT.

January 30, 2008

snacktime note

dear paul,

hope you are having a good time at school today. see you tonight. we love you.

mommy and daddy

January 29, 2008

snacktime note

one day it occurred to us that paul might like to find a note with his preschool snack, so we wrote one. thought it would be a nice treat for our little reader. cam informed me that paul read it out loud (therefore inflaming his note-less classmates with jealousy).

since then, we've included a note with each snack. i used to empty out his bag each night and just toss the note, but i've decided to immortalize them -- simple as they may be -- here before getting rid of them.


i hope you are having a good day at school. enjoy playing with your friends and grandpa will see you tonight. we love you.

mom and dad

freeze frame

nodding head at video camera on tripod:
paul: i set up a surveillance system.

January 25, 2008

early morning cuteness

paul: [sleepily] i just want to be holded with blanket.

January 19, 2008

cartoon network

paul: i have a new name for the baby and it's a funny one!
me: what is it?
paul: dee dee.
me: are you dexter?
paul: no -- you are.
me: because i have glasses?
paul: yes.
me: but i don't have a secret laboratory under the house.
me: i do spend a lot of time in the basement, but that's because i'm doing the laundry.
paul: you have to turn the basement into a secret laboratory.
paul: when the baby comes, she will break everything.
paul: and then you have to rebuild all of it.
me: oh, okay.

January 18, 2008


he's on his way home for a night in his own bed, the little sweetie.

sort of a reprieve

he decided not to spend the night with his grandparents last night. he may decide to stay tonight instead. although he's a perfectly big boy of four and he's plenty ready for a sleepover at his own grandparents' house, it still makes me very sad. but, i will admit, the idea is a little bit tempting because it means i can sleep in for once on a saturday morning.

January 17, 2008


paul may spend the night at his grandparents' house either tonight or tomorrow night. i am so not ready for that -- we've never spent a night away from him. i may cry.

January 8, 2008

starting with a

paul has expressed an interest in naming the baby himself.

paul: a-b-z.
me: abz?
paul: a-b-c-z.
paul: a-b-c-d-z!

after he was told that "abz" could be short for abigail, he then proceeded to root for abigail to be his new sister's name. we were actually okay with this -- the name had come up before and had failed to excite too much negative feedback -- until i checked the latest social security lists and discovered it was just too freaking popular for our taste. i hated being "grace r." growing up (to distinguish me from grace k.), so i don't really wish to have her go through school as "abigail r." or "abigail r.-c."

paul was really on the abz/abigail kick for a while, but the other night my mother announced paul had come up with a new name. a little warily, i asked what it was.

paul: andalee.
me: andalee?
me: how did you come up with that?
paul: i just said it and i liked how it sounded.

people have given children names for worse reasons, i suppose. cam thinks it's cute. it is cute, but i'm not sold. (plus i googled it and first hit was a belly dancer. hmm.)

January 5, 2008

tasteful palette

also been thinking about a color scheme for the boy/girl bedroom. i showed cam and paul a picture of a kid's room in a pretty avocado green.

paul: no good.
me: why is this no good?
paul: avocado green is no good because she will think she will always be eating.

i'm not sure how to argue with that.

January 4, 2008

shared room

been thinking a lot about space issues in the past few days because paul and the new baby are going to have to share a room at some point. i'm leaning towards this plan:

*get the flexa low loft for paul so that he can slowly get used to being up higher than usual (or maybe i should just spring for the bunk bed now?)
*get the additional pieces from flexa to convert the low loft to the low bunk bed when paul is old enough for the top bunk and the new baby is old enough for the bottom bunk
*when both kids are old enough for top bunks, get additional pieces to convert the bunk to two high loft beds so we can put their desks underneath
*"elfa-ize" (probably a cheaper alternative) the closet to accommodate both kids' clothes

when the kids are old enough to want their own rooms, we can either give up our room, build up, or move. we'll see.

cam: it's so funny that you're thinking ten years from now.
me: that's because we didn't think ten years from now when we bought this house.

my mom recommended that we move -- "it's a great time to buy a house!" -- but i nixed that idea immediately. dammit, we can make this work.

January 2, 2008

light show

we watched fireworks outside our house at midnight on new year's. how nice it is to live up on a hill near a large body of water (in our case, the harbor). paul valiantly tried to stay up, but passed out around 11:30 -- luckily we were able to rouse him when the festivities started or we would have had one very pissed-off toddler rampaging around the house in the morning...

December 31, 2007


cam has been directing paul through a series of very complicated obstacle courses -- climb through tunnels, take two complete spins on the sit & spin, shoot a dart at a punching bag, put on shoes, etc. etc. etc. this is very much a father-son activity.

paul: [to cam] are you done?
paul: [exasperated] you have to stop.
paul: this is taking too long.

but, of course, as he finishes each run, he tells his father the next one should be longer.
paul: overcross.
paul: that means longer.
paul: it's an overcross obstacle course.
paul: you have to reset everything.

he's usually in bed by this time, but cam had him take a long nap earlier today in order to stay awake tonight to watch some of the new year's eve festivities. it seems to me that such active play can only wear him down faster, but since they're having so much fun i'll happily keep my mouth shut.

December 24, 2007

twas the night before

paul is finally asleep. (what a trial that was -- he was so wired!) a hand-drawn "santa map" is sitting on the counter, santa's trail marked courtesy of the norad santa tracker. presents are all wrapped and beribboned under the tree. homemade cookies on a little plate are waiting on the coffee table, soon to be replaced by crumbs and a friendly thank-you note (i think i disguised my handwriting pretty well). the camera and video camera are charging. cam's alarm clock is set for 6.

sleep well. hope your morning is a good one.

December 23, 2007

a boy's secrets

lately paul has been on a big secrecy kick.

paul: who cares what i'm doing?
paul: you don't care what i'm doing.
paul: daddy doesn't care what i'm doing.
paul: grandpa doesn't care what i'm doing.
paul: grandma doesn't care what i'm doing.
paul: aunty doesn't care what i'm doing.
paul: the other grandma doesn't care what i'm doing.
paul: who cares what i'm doing?
me: what are you doing?
paul: i don't want to tell you.

sometimes it's because he's done something he knows he shouldn't have done.

me: paul!
me: what did you do?
paul: [sulkily] i don't want to tell you.

sometimes it's because he wants to do something he's not supposed to.

paul: close your eyes.
paul: i don't want you to see.

sometimes it's just because.

me: what do you want for dinner?
paul: i don't want to tell you.

sometimes it means he comes out of his room decorated in bandaids. sometimes it just means he wants to scratch himself in impolite places. sometimes it means i haven't given him the right response. whatever it is, i hope he outgrows it soon.

name game

asked paul the other morning what his sister's name should be.

paul: trebuchet.
me: i don't think that's a very girly name.
paul: trebucah.
me: not sure about that one, either.
paul: u-g-l-a-a-l-a-l-a-l-a- [etc. etc. etc.]
me: how do you say that?
paul: [gleefully] uglaalalalaa [various guttural sounds]
me: um, no.

i think i liked it better when he said that the new baby should be named paul because "she would be my friend."

December 21, 2007


turns out paul really likes the pasta i made for his preschool party. hurray! i cooked it for his benefit, anyway.

December 20, 2007

i'm so lost without you

paul complained when i kissed his cheek.

paul: [rubbing face] too wet.
me: what?
me: fine, here is a dry kiss. [kissing cheek]
paul: [rubbing cheek]
me: okay, is there a no kissing rule? [drawing in air heart in circle with a line through it]
paul: how do you write "love"?
me: [drawing in air] l-o-v-e
me: the e is like a swirl.
me: like a c with a little bit extra on top.
paul: [laughing]
paul: watch this. [drawing the word love in a circle with a line through it]
me: no love?
paul: [sighs] i lost my love.
me: how did you do that?
paul: [sighs] it just faded away.
me: that's too bad.
paul: i can get some from you. [hugs]
me: now you have lots of love.
paul: why?
me: because i love you and daddy loves you.
paul: okay.


last night paul and i were reading about iron pyrite. in honor of this strange mineral, paul made up a poem (he called it a "joke," but when i called it a poem, he didn't demur):

fools' gold
fools' gold
fools' gold
i fooled you
i tricked you
i'm the winner!

December 19, 2007

missed holiday festivities

today is the holiday party at paul's preschool. it's a potluck, so i was up late cooking a tomato-sauced pasta (nemo-shaped, even) and tree-shaped chocolate cookies. the sad part is that i don't even get to go -- i'm stuck at work because one of my assistants needed to be out today. oh well. it's not the first time i've missed out on a preschool party.

December 12, 2007

supposed to be a big day

i took the day off work because i had my big ultrasound scheduled for today.

took advantage of the free morning by attending preschool with paul and cam. preschool was an interesting experience. paul was up-and-down, but i think it was a pretty good day. he did, however, not listen to cam when it was time to return inside after playground time, and that was a little stressful. when the teacher snapped at me for asking paul if he needed help on a ladder, that was also stressful. meh. what did she think i was going to do, grab him off the ladder and spoonfeed him pureed peas? he was stuck. i just asked if he needed help. the "working" parents that day made me feel in the way, so i tried to stick to the wall and be unobtrusive as possible. the children themselves -- when they noticed me -- were a bit more welcoming.

during a playtime, a girl yelled at paul he was playing hopscotch incorrectly. he raised his arm as if to strike her, then hid behind me with his usual, "i don't want ANYTHING."

me: [yelling girl] is brutal.
cam: paul is a ninny.

as soon as class was over, i headed to the car to drink a quart of water before the appointment.

when paul finally finished his goodbyes, we all went to kaiser for my ultrasound appointment. the lab tech called me in quickly (half an hour prior to my actual appointment!) and told cam and paul that he'd call them in to see pictures after the exam. the exam part took about 15 minutes, mostly spent in silence. then the tech left to bring in cam and paul. after several minutes, he returned alone, saying he was unable to find them. i was really disappointed, but what could i do? he rushed through some shots, then asked me if i wanted to know the sex. i said yes, and he indicated that he was "leaning towards a girl." then it was all over. i asked if i'd get pictures, and he breezily said his printer was broken. there i was, disappointed about cam and paul missing out, disappointed about his lack of certainly re gender and disappointed by the lack of pictures. well. it wasn't that the tech wasn't nice, because he was, but he was awfully cavalier about the whole thing.

as i opened the door to the waiting room, cam and paul walked up. they took one look at me and realized that the appointment was over. cam looked pissed and paul started wailing. they were so clearly upset about missing the ultrasound that i started to cry. i didn't even get to the bathroom, even though i was on the verge of desperation (the bladder of a pregnant woman is no laughing matter). i was too busy apologizing to paul.

but, as usual, out of the wreckage came a few moments of hilarity.

paul: [tearful] but how do they know it's a girl?
cam: they're looking for something.
paul: what?
cam: uh, okay, they're looking for a thing -- like yours.
cam: if they don't find one, then it's a girl.
cam: because little girls don't have one.
paul: but big girls do?
cam: um, no, they don't.
paul: [practically sobbing] but how do they pee?
me: can we please not have this conversation NOW?

we dropped paul off with his grandfather (and i had my much needed bathroom break), then we went home to take a nap. cam explained he wasn't mad at me, but i wasn't really convinced. if i hadn't been lying on a table with gel all over my stomach, i would have told the tech i'd find them myself (they were in the bathroom, by the way).

it was a pretty exhausting day. as nice as it was to take a day off work, enough bummerish things happened to make it less than fully pleasant. i guess i just had idealized visions of how the day was supposed to be.

December 11, 2007

little sleep

me: did you take a nap?
paul: no.
paul: nap day is 800 light-years away.
me: huh?
me: are you too old for naps now?
paul: no, i think 5 or 6 is...

paul is not big on naps, now that he's an old man of four. not that he was ever big on naps, but there was a time when the nap days outnumbered the no-nap days. as he gets older, the less he wants to sleep during the day. (which is funny, because the older i get, the more i want to sleep during the day.) he might fall asleep in the car, but he doesn't consider those real naps. (which is funny, because when he was a baby, a 15-minute nap in the car was the equivalent of a 2-3 hour "real nap.") brief snoozes in the car are "car naps" and are dismissed as a commonplace fact of life.

one interesting thing that we've noticed about paul's napping and lack of napping is that he's pretty much ready to sleep at the same time each time, no matter what. sure, if he falls asleep during a car trip after 7 pm, chances are he'll sleep through the night, but more likely than not, he'll be going to bed sometime around 9:30ish. it's kind of nice, this stable bedtime. what a novelty.

December 10, 2007


my mom: we went back to my house to bake cookies.
my mom: and paul said that on the internet they said that the oats and sugar needed to be mixed by hand.
me: huh?
my mom: so i said, "this is not the internet, this is my house."
me: wait... by hand?
my mom: by hand.
my mom: he screamed, "don't interfere with me!"

my assistant: that is YOUR son.
me: [sighing] i know.

December 9, 2007

up late for once

i would not be entirely truthful if i said that i wasn't bothered by paul's occasional outright rejection. about half an hour ago, i woke up to paul crying out "daddy, daddy" -- i asked cam's sleeping figure if i should go check on him. being asleep, he didn't respond, so i got up.

usually these days when paul calls out for his father in the middle of the night, he doesn't mind when i show up instead. tonight was different.

paul: [screaming] not you!
paul: [takes a swing] where's daddy!?
me: he's asleep.
me: i'll go get him, okay?
paul: [still mad] okay.

so i woke cam up, then had my bedtime snack. not really sleepy, i cleaned up the living room a little and here i am, sitting on the couch and watching the discovery times network. i know i shouldn't let it bother me, but cam was kind of a git before bedtime and i was already feeling sort of sick and hormonal. i'm just... a little tired of it all.

December 5, 2007

leave a message after the beep

this morning when i got to the office i saw i had two missed calls -- one from cam's cell and the other from an attorney in tokyo. the little voicemail light was on, so i figured that the tokyo attorney had left a message. i didn't look at the time of cam's call, thinking he must have called last night while i was on my way down to the car.

leaving the phone until later, i started to quickly scan my emails. buried in the pile were two emails from the tokyo attorney, one of them asking for a call back.

the phone rang. it was the tokyo attorney. my first words to him were, "hi. you're impatient."

he laughed. (clearly we're friends.)

i finally got around to checking my voicemail -- to my surprise, there was only one and it wasn't from the tokyo attorney.

paul: hi.
paul: i love you.
paul: bye.

what a great surprise! thinking back, i did see him playing with cam's phone last night, but it never occurred to me that he actually made a call.

December 1, 2007


my son likes wheat thins and bran flakes, and prefers saltines to club crackers. who knew?

November 30, 2007

wheat-free no longer

cam just called to tell me that he had talked to paul's allergist, and there's a very good possibility that paul is NO LONGER ALLERGIC TO PEANUTS AND WHEAT. a blood test showed that he had no significant reaction to either. milk and eggs are still a problem, but peanuts and wheat may not be. we're supposed to start him on a little wheat this weekend. (being allergic to peanuts myself, i am not exactly certain how to go about starting him on that.)

oh my god. i am so excited i am in tears. who would have guessed he'd outgrow any of his allergies so soon?

November 22, 2007

turkey day

a couple of days ago it occurred to us that paul would yet again be shortchanged food-wise at an upcoming family gathering. not that paul would really care, but as often is the case, the idea of paul's one or two dishes compared to the family's tableful of food made me very, very sad.

so we decided to make him his own thankgiving feast. out came the big stand-mixer, the cutting boards, the measuring cups, the big bowls, the baking trays, the random herbs and spices that smell like the holidays.

me [peering into the oven]: i have never gone to this much effort before for thanksgiving.

we turned out a very credible little butter-free turkey roast, wheat/dairy-free stuffing (from scratch -- thanks, betty crocker cookbook (there's not a whole lot of call for turkey stuffing in my pile of vegetarian cookbooks)), wheat-free mushroom gravy and nice little crustless dairy/wheat/egg-free pumpkin pies (baked in muffin tins for paul-sized snacking). with the addition of plain mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, plus soy ice cream and soy whipped cream for his "pie," i think paul may have had the most complete holiday meal he has ever had in his entire life.

(me, i ate a tofurky roast for the first time ever. no one else cared for it very much, but as the only regular eater of meat substitutes, i thought it wasn't too bad. the deli slices might be better, though.)

November 15, 2007

day in, day out

the child wore the same shirt to preschool two days in a row. i sent another shirt with him when we dropped him off at his grandparents, but he refused to wear it. the shame, it consumes me.

November 9, 2007

winter coats

paul and i both have toggle coats. paul is now very interested in toggles. he knows buttons, he knows zippers, he knows velcro -- but toggles?

paul: what is a toggle?
paul: where is a toggle?
paul: why is it a toggle?

must get a children's dictionary so he can look these things up himself. not sure it would be much help for the whys and wheres, though.

October 29, 2007

vm from my mom

hi, it's me. i just wanted to know if i should give paul his medicine. oh, and can you tell me why i had to order two orders of fries -- one well done, one regular -- instead of just one?

duh, it's because you went to in'n'out and paul is ALL savvy on the secret menu.


me: hi.
paul: hi.
paul: when are you coming home?
me: after work -- the usual time.
paul: when is the sun going to come up?
me: it's not up yet? [trying to see out window]
paul: just a little bit.
paul: is it going to rain?
me: you know, i saw in the elevator this morning that it was going to be cloudy.
paul: what did the elevator say?
me: partially cloudy.
paul: you know what it says now?
me: what?
paul: snowing.
me: snowing!
paul: yes.
me: then you better wear your boots.
paul: i'll wear my jacket.
me: yes, you should wear a jacket, too.
paul: i like cold.
me: but you don't like rain?
paul: yes.
paul: you know what my weather chart says?
me: what?
paul: snowing.
me: well, that's good if you like the cold.
paul: bye.
me: bye.

out of the mouths of babes

went to the hospital on saturday. paul was a riot.

nurse: does anyone smoke in your home?
cam: no.
paul: but there were the malibu fires...

doctor: are you taking any medication?
paul: i took my gummies already.

doctor: do you brush your teeth?
paul: i brush my teeth ALL THE TIME.

it was a good thing he was in such a cheerful mood -- going to see the doctor for a minor case of balanitis isn't exactly one's idea of fun.

as for me... i was too busy being irritated with the doctor on duty (or whatever she was) to fully appreciate paul's good mood. honestly, what kind of a medical professional could mistake a dried milk moustache for eczema?

October 24, 2007

birthday boy

today mr. baby turns four. i know i should probably retire the whole "mr. baby" thing because he's practically ancient now, but i just can't...

October 19, 2007

runny, part 2

talked to paul. he is feeling almost normal -- which is good because a fda panel just recommended that cold meds not be used with children younger than six. good timing.


poor paul has come down with a cold.

he woke me up at 3:45 this morning, crying "mommy" over the baby monitor in sad little helpless tones. i went to see him. he was rolling back and forth and sniffling and crying. i rubbed his back and he tried to go back to sleep, but he was a little too congested (and a little too awake) to be able to fall asleep easily. he asked me to stop by a store on the way home from work and buy him some medicine.

so we sat up until about 5:30, talking about roller coasters and the toys of his infancy. i meant to take a 5-minute catnap, but i ended up sleeping for about 15 minutes. when i woke up, paul was asleep, but unfortunately, so was cam. he told me later that he had heard us having a very "coherent" conversation, so he thought that it was saturday and went back to sleep! needless to say, we were a bit late to work this morning.

i hope paul is feeling okay when he wakes up. poor sniffly little thing.

October 16, 2007


paul's halloween costume arrived yesterday -- a fireman raincoat and boots from gymboree. (he already has a hat to go with it.) when we got home from work, he was at my mom's house. i brought him the coat. he promptly told me that i forgot to get a hat.

me: you already have a hat.
paul: you know what you forgot?
paul: you forgot gloves.
cam: we did forget those.
paul: you forgot boots.
me: no, the boots are in the kitchen.
me: what else did i forget?
me: a hose -- a fire extinguisher?
me: an axe -- a walkie-talkie?

he put on his furry boots (because those were the ones he had worn to go to my mom's house) and fastened up the coat. then we raced across the backyard to get home.

once in the house, i gave him the boots and brought him his hat. he was so adorable. he seemed pleased with his new fireman gear, so i sighed all kinds of silent sighs of relief. knowing my boy, there was a very good chance that he'd disclaim all previous stated desires of being a fireman for halloween. he asked me for a hose that would spray blue paper. i said i'd think about it.

considering that he originally wanted to be the king of all cosmos, i think i got off really easy this year. seemingly out of nowhere he declared he was going to be a fireman instead.

the hat came from cam's mom, who works for the city of torrance (hence the fact that the hat actually says "torrance" on it and came with an activity book). i looked for costumes, but didn't like the cheesiness of them. (and oh my god, the prices!) i think my solution -- raingear -- will work out excellently well.

October 10, 2007

sign painter

the other night paul and i were playing with watercolors. i didn't really want to, but it's so rare that paul wants to do anything remotely art-related, so i relented. it's not the watercolors themselves that i object to -- it's that 1) paul likes to mix all of the colors in the paint tray, and 2) paul eventually finds it more fun to just play with the black water he has created with his mixed paints.

cam came up with the interesting idea that paul use watercolors on one of his "homework" assignments -- a craft project he had refused to do at school. paul and i worked on that for a little bit. the parts i painted are hilariously obvious.

when we were finished with his craft (a "paintbrush"), i thought that he'd want to stop with the paints because he seemed to lose interest in them by the end. but suddenly he came up with a new idea -- he wanted me to paint a "sign."

me: a sign?
paul: yes.
me: what should it say?
paul: [singing] what do you do?

so... i painted a sign that read, "what do you do?" he told me to add "all day long" after i had finished it. i put them in parentheses underneath.

paul: [singing] what do you do?
paul: [singing] all day long!

he asked me to paint several more signs and sang the requested text to me.

what went wrong?
what came apart?
what does it take to build a machine?
how good is your day today?
how tasty is your juice?
(my personal favorite -- i can't even say this without laughing)

then we taped them to various doorways for cam to discover. he was, predictably, amused. the signs are still up. i don't expect we'll take them down for a while, even though they do make it a little hard to close some of our doors.

September 26, 2007


here it is, the official write-up of paul's first day of preschool: it sort of went well.

we were about ten minutes late because cam thought class started at 10 instead of 9:30. it was not the most auspicious beginning.

paul didn't want to sit on the little mats. he didn't want to listen to the story. he didn't want to stay in line. he didn't want to play with the others. he cried when the whole group got to say what kind of weather we were having. he didn't even want to stand.

i didn't think we were going to stay the whole time, but we did. or rather -- cam did. about halfway through, i couldn't deal anymore, the nausea was killing me (from all the crouching, getting up, sitting down, chasing paul). got the car keys from cam and passed out in the car. i woke up when cam ran by the car after playground time to see how i was doing.

at 11:30, i got up and went inside. the teacher was singing and the kids were all sitting on the little mats. except paul. paul was lying on the floor on the other side of the room. cam was sitting with him.

but even though he seemed to be fairly anti, when the class ended, he shouted "bye!" and hugged the teacher. he said "bye" to everyone and was nice and smiley. except, of course, when the other parents wanted a group picture. paul refused to be in it. he ran away. when he finally agreed, he stood a foot in front of the others.

but the teacher said he did well, especially for a child who has never been in a group environment before. i have my doubts. i couldn't decide if i wanted to laugh, cry or just be embarrassed.

after school, i thought we were leaving, but cam was a little concerned about a boy who was sitting by himself outside (his mother was inside with the teacher). we went over to see how he was doing. next thing i knew, he and paul were sort of playing together, sort of playing next to each other. we ended up staying for another hour while the boys played -- first on the grass, then in the playground. when the boy's mother came out to find her son, she found the four of us over at the swings. she was... a character, but she was super-friendly and kept suggesting paul come over to her house to play.

so. paul was non-compliant and grumpy, for the most part, but he seemed happy with school after it was over and he did a craft project i put on the mantel. plus he made a friend. i think that counts as a tiny victory, maybe even a tiny success.

first day

re the first day of preschool:

let me just say that while he may prance around like a mini adult ("would you please read home wiring to me?"), paul is very much still a little kid. a reeeaaallly little kid.

but he's my reeeaaallly little kid and i'm proud of him.

September 24, 2007

the dryer says "grrr"

i was coming up the stairs from the basement, overloaded hamper in my arms. it was kind of dim (early evening) and as far as i knew, cam and paul were busy somewhere else in the house.

suddenly a small boy showed up in the doorway to the basement. (he must have opened the baby gate because i know i closed it.) i screamed in surprise.

paul: it's just me.
me: you scared me!
paul: how about you do that again?
paul: don't move. [leaving]
paul: [showing up again]
me: [screaming obediently]
paul: boo.
me: [surprised] eee!
paul: that's what jack-o'-lanterns say.
me: jack-o'-lanterns say boo?
paul: yes.
me: oh no, i forgot to turn on the dryer.
paul: [panicked] don't turn it on until i'm gone!
paul: [running away]

why is that the dryer inspires more fear that talking pumpkin heads?

September 22, 2007


cam and i bought some school clothes for paul at sears (i like lands end, what can i say?). long-torso'd child that he is, we bought him toddler-sized pants and little kid-sized shirts. if paul had come with us, i'm sure the errand would have taken over an hour. but me and cam, we're pros -- i think we were in and out of there in about 15 minutes.

we stuck to basics: jeans, cords, solid-color t-shirts. cam kept showing me little quilted jackets with corduroy patches ("he'd need a pipe," said cam). i would have liked cuter stuff, but the boys department was pretty spare. how i would have loved garanimals.

shopping for new clothes for paul is a lot like shopping for new clothes for cam. it's such a utilitarian experience. object to cover upper body, check. object to cover lower body, check. foot protection, check. granted, shopping for paul is a little more emotional because we look at the smaller sizes with nostalgia and weep with despair that he's ready to graduate to school-appropriate attire, but the results are similar. how long will it be before paul's entire wardrobe consists of jeans and solid-color t-shirts?

September 16, 2007

evolving tastes

when paul used to request (demand) to use my computer, he always wanted to play preschool games -- nick jr., playhouse disney, thomas the tank engine, etc. etc. etc. then he went through a heavy video phase -- rube goldberg videos, punkin chunkins, trebuchets, lego stop-motion, roller coaster tycoon, stuff set to the music of they might be giants. he went back to games for a while (we spent SO much time looking for rube goldberg games), but eventually he developed an interest in "howstuffworks" videos, which seemed like the natural companion for one of his favorite shows, "how it's made."

i'm marshall brain, and THIS is how stuff works.

but as he gets older, he seems to getting less and less interested in the inner workings of machinery and more and more interested in the art of slapstick. the child is now positively obsessed with "tom and jerry." it's truly fascinating to see him laughing uproariously about a cat getting beat up in all sorts of ways. before, when he wanted me to see things on television, he would find the remote, rewind and pause, then come get me. now he just yells, "look!" and then erupts into a pile of belly-laughs.

my small wonder has suddenly become a real boy.

but his newfound affection for the cat vs. mouse hasn't dimmed his love for a good set of contraptions. his current computer game of choice? "tom's trap-o-matic" on the cartoon network site. "tom-and-jerry-rube-goldberg-GAME, tom-and-jerry-rube-goldberg-GAME!" he chants as he climbs up onto the bed in order to grab the laptop.

September 14, 2007


whenever paul sees a word that starts with "ru," his first instinct is to say that the word is "rubbish." the length of the word doesn't matter -- it could be "rue" or "rule" or "rudimentary." it's all the same.

this always cracks me up. rubbish? why does this three-year-old say "rubbish"?

September 13, 2007

school daze

i apologize for not writing much. i apologize to myself on a daily basis for this. i miss my blog, but honestly, i'm just pregnant enough to be exhausted by nine. sometimes eight. plus i just puked my guts out after some minor furniture-moving exertion.

but i'm not staying up late because of THAT. i'm staying up past my bedtime to write this post which must be written: paul starts a twice-a-week preschool on september 25.


a few weeks ago, a dear friend asked if paul was going to preschool this year or next year. i wrote back something along the lines of... burying one's head in the sand.

then i started to calculate ages. then i started to panic. then i started to research.

our local school district allows children to enroll in kindergarten as long as the fifth birthday takes place by december 2 (i think) of the enrolling year. paul will be four in a month and change. unless we want to redshirt him and make him one of the oldest kids at school, the time for preschool is NOW. shite. where the hell did the time go?

i found a local co-op preschool that sounded great and started trading emails with a teacher. luckily there was one opening in the appropriate age group, so we started driving around trying to find the school. then a few days ago, i found an article in the local paper about a city-subsidized preschool reopening after a two-year hiatus.

while the preschool madness was swirling around our heads, i was also researching kindergartens. our neighborhood elementary is okay, but not great. our neighborhood middle school and high school are even less than okay. in fact, both the middle school and high school have not been able (according to the school district handout for the 2007-08 year) to meet certain goals, and because of this, students assigned to these schools have the opportunity to transfer out to other schools. well, that's all fine and dandy, but priority is given to low-performing students from low-income families. in principle, i understand the rationale for this. i do, really, but that doesn't mean i feel good about my kid potentially being stuck in a less than ideal school situation because we're fortunate enough to have good jobs. (i am not saying anything about his performance because we don't know what it'll be.)

let's face it. we don't want to put him in the local religious private school because we're not religious and we don't want him to feel like an outsider (although we could afford that school). we don't make enough to send him to that private school up the hill with private-college-worthy tuitions and a mandatory carpool policy. we don't want him to stagnate at a bad neighborhood school. i can't homeschool. what to do?

the magnet program. please, gods of magnet education, take my boy.

but back to the present. last night the local co-op was supposed to have their first parent meeting. (cam had called the co-op teacher a few times and she was supposed to call him back with details.) but yesterday was also registration day for the city preschool. (i had only been mildly optimistic about that one because we're not residents of the particular city sponsoring the preschool, so i feared that there wouldn't be any space left after resident registration.) cam went to that and came back with a receipt for the first semester fee. sometime during that evening, we decided that we were happy with the city school -- for a number of reasons (parent participation, price, schedule, guaranteed spot, nice teacher cam had already met), not just because we hadn't heard from the co-op teacher -- and i emailed the co-op teacher to let her know. (i found out the next day that she had had some health issues and was unable to get to her messages. it gave me more sympathy for her, but it didn't change our decision.)

so. next tuesday morning is our first parents meeting, then school starts the following tuesday. i've already arranged to take both days off work. (i also scheduled my prenatal registration appointment for next tuesday afternoon because, well, it's an efficient use of a day off.)

when i think about paul in school, i feel a little panicky because i'm not sure any of us are ready for this change. as usual, i find myself immersing myself in the minutiae (new clothes? a backpack? snacks?) to get through it all in the most practical way possible. i'm trying not to think too much about how sad i could be feeling about this. last night we went for a little walk in our neighborhood and on the way home i started to tear up because he suddenly seemed so big yet so small.

mr. baby, are we ready to let you go?

September 10, 2007

brutally sweet

looking at a candy dispenser in the lobby of a restaurant:

me: those are little fruit-shaped candies.
me: i don't know what they're called.
me: those are gumballs.
me: and those are m&m's.
me: no, wait, they're skittles.
paul: no, they're s&m's.
me: sure, why not?

September 8, 2007

and the sun is always shining in hell

at the ripe old age of almost four, i would describe paul as an eternal optimist with a persecution complex. even while declaring that several people are trying to hurt him, he will staunchly state that nothing bad can ever happen.

the anti-disaster confidence can be a little disconcerting sometimes. this morning we were looking at a science book and reading the section on tidal waves.

me: those look scary.
paul: don't worry.
paul: we don't get tidal waves in california.
me: we don't?
paul: [worldweary] they only happen far away.
me: oh.

crashes and accidents are merely "impact tests." a dead pig being tortured in various ways on mythbusters is not really a dead pig -- "it's made of gelatin."

the out-to-get-me thinking is also kind of freaky. you'd be surprised how many imaginary people have been total imaginary assholes. sometimes the assholes are his parents. sometimes i get really tired of being cast as the villain in my son's made-up tableau (even if i do twirl my moustache most appealingly).

i'm not sure where he gets the optimistic side of his personality. god knows i'm a pessimist of the first water (and that goes hand-in-hand with the whole persecution thing) and cam isn't exactly all puppy dogs and roses himself. hm. maybe i need to observe him a bit more closely to see if it's more denial than optimism. THAT'S something i can get behind.

August 27, 2007

typical dialogue

paul: guess what?
me: what?
paul: chickenbutt.
paul: guess what?
me: what?
paul: chickenbutt.
paul: guess what?
me: what?
paul: chicken poop.
me: [sigh]
paul: mommy, would you please draw a rube goldberg for me that i can make out of tinkertoys, blocks and string?

August 20, 2007


when we got home, paul's little ikea plastic step-thing was in front of the kitchen sink. i don't know why.

when i went to wash the dishes post-dinner, i decided to use it instead of putting it away. (it reminded me of the little step we had at my parents' house. my aunt used it when she washed dishes. she's maybe 4'9"? i think i stopped using it when i turned 10.) holy crap. if that's what it's like being six inches taller, i'm glad i'm short. the sink looked so very far away. my back started to hurt.

scrub, scrub, scrub. ache, ache, ache.

then i heard footsteps. i jumped down and kicked the step-thing to the side... but i was too late. cam had already spotted me. he laughed. i felt sheepish.

cam: give little mommy a hug.
paul: little mommy!
me: feh.
me: stop calling me that.
cam: hey, i wouldn't have even noticed if you hadn't jumped and kicked the footstool.

little mommy: feh.

fanboy and fangirl

me: do you want an "i love kari" shirt?
paul: yes.
paul: and you can have a "mommy is grant's friend" shirt.

i see he's been thinking about my myspace profile.

August 19, 2007

still life with girl

paul: i want to watch something.
me: okay, what?
paul: daniel cook.
paul: no, i want to watch a mythbusters.
paul: oh!
paul: emily yeung.
me: sure, you can watch an emily yeung.
paul: you know we have a new one: the post office.
me: oh, we have newer ones than that.
paul: here's a new one: building a treehouse.
me: that sounds cool.
paul: there's a new one called "nothing."
paul: she just stands there.

cam: mommy's been telling me about the emily yeung called "nothing."
cam: she just stands there for five minutes?
paul: more like six minutes.

August 15, 2007


paul really likes the map section of "world and space," an old childcraft book we unearthed at my aunt's house. (the set of childcraft books at her house originally belonged to my brother and myself, but i don't really remember most of them.) of particular interest to paul is a map of a town where you have to go two blocks north -- from your house -- up main street and one block west on ogilvie street in order to go to the school. paul has been saying ogilvie a lot lately.

me: we can have a kid and name him "ogilvie."
me: we can call him "baby oggo." [bonus points if you thought of deko boko friends]
paul: no, we'll get a kid and call it "baby mommy."
paul: and it will look just like you!
me: where would we get this baby?
me: from the kid store?
paul: yes.

August 14, 2007

save the children

my mother told me that paul was freaking out one day because of a children's charity commercial.

paul: it says "call now!"
paul: you better call!
paul: you have to call now!

he continued to nag her to call until he saw pictures of the children served by charitable giving.

paul: you mean i'd get a child?
my mom: yes.
paul: i don't want a child.

so... you can imagine my surprise when paul informed me that we'd have another kid in the house by december. but, he said, we'd just get him from the "kid store."

August 13, 2007


just gave paul a bath. he smells so nice.

August 12, 2007


we had another barbeque this evening -- tonight we had hot dogs, veggie skewers (i chopped up a lot of vegetables yesterday, obviously) and beer.

paul: [looking at his bottle of root beer] rinness.
me: we are SUCH bad role models.

it was kind of funny how we could all say we had hot dogs for dinner, yet no one ate the same thing as the person next to them (or across from them) -- i had a veggie dog in a regular bun, cam had a regular hot dog in a regular bun, paul had a regular hot dog wrapped in a corn tortilla. intolerances and preferences make for a short-order-cook kind of life sometimes.

the flies were all over us. (i had no idea flies liked beer.) but because we got started much earlier in the evening, we were able to be done by dark -- so at least we could see when the flies were on our plates, bottles, us, etc.

even though i really really wanted to go out to eat, i thought this was quite nice. i feel a little dumb that we're starting these "summer" activities so late in the season, but life in so cal means we don't need to stop once september is upon us.

August 11, 2007

backyard dining

tonight we had a little barbeque, just the three of us and my mom. it was really nice, but we need to get more outdoor lighting -- the main source of light was a motion-sensitive one in front of my mom's house. whenever it went off, it was paul's job to run over to it so that it would go on again. eventually he decided cam should do it, but then i ended up taking over at the end. we also had candles on the table, but those were really, you know, just decorative.

paul, my mom and i ate veggie skewers. i also had a veggie burger. cam grilled chicken and a steak he tried to share with paul, but by the time those were done paul just wanted potato chips. there were beers for everyone -- except for my mom, who refused all forms -- newcastle for cam, guinness for me, and root for paul.

paul: [from inside my mom's house] mommy, come here.
me: let me just finish my beer.
me: [to my mom] wow, that sounded inappropriate, didn't it?
my mom: [laughing]

it was a lovely evening. we ought to do that sort of thing more often.


i know that the toddler years are some of the most solipsistic years in one's life, but damn.

NO, they are not talking to you.
NO, she is not looking at you.
NO, he's not trying to talk to you.
NO, they are not trying to take your picture.
NO, she does not want you to go over there.

argh! can you pretend for just one minute that you don't think that the world revolves around you?

my new favorite word

when things are going wrong, blocks are falling over, monkeys are jumping all over the furniture, cam calls out, "disaster!"

one of us must have used the word "catastrophe" while paul was in earshot. or maybe one of the mythbusters said it.

hence, "disastrophe."

August 10, 2007

this or that?

last night we went to souplantation for dinner. i would have cooked, but the water was off because my mom was having a faucet installed outside. (excuses, excuses.)

when we were seated, paul asked me if THE girl was there. i sighed.

me: no, baby, she's not here.
me: she and her family must be eating somewhere else for dinner.
paul: oh.

he got over it quickly enough (after all, there were other girls there), but he was clearly bummed for a second there. i was telling my mom about it this morning, rolling my eyes at paul's behavior. "i didn't expect this stuff to start so early!"

across the room, cam laughed. "but maybe he'll be more willing to go if he thinks she's going to be there..."

i concede this is a good point (getting a toddler out of the house can be an absolute trial sometimes), but i am not really ready to trade toys for girls in terms of bribery.

August 9, 2007

geek sex symbol

i know paul loves her and all, but my god, i am so absolutely tired of kari byron.

August 7, 2007

fan of status quo

cam: do you like mommy's haircut now?
paul: not yet!
me: thanks.
cam: do you like my haircut?
paul: yep.
cam: [laughs] you like it now?
paul: yes, it looks same.


on saturday i ceased to be a pekingese.

sure, my hair isn't all that short -- if i slouch, my hair is practically shoulder-length -- but it is a lot shorter than it has been since paul was a wee tot.

paul whined in the car on the way to the hairdresser: "i DON'T want mommy to get a haircut."

paul screamed when he saw the finished product.

paul: i don't like your haircut!
paul: i don't like your haircut! [runs out the door]
me: i'll get him.
me: cam, PAY! [runs out the door]

he was more or less fine with it within ten minutes. i guess it didn't hurt that within that ten-minute span we bought him a pair of spiderman light-up flipflops. (hey, he needed a new pair -- his heels were hanging off the backs of his old ones.)

later than evening, i decided to test his haircut tolerance. putting on my glasses, i observed aloud that if i cut my hair shorter, i'd look like bre pettis.

paul: get another haircut.

suffice it to say that my hair was no longer a sore spot for him.

rapid change of subject

paul: [getting off of the potty] look.
paul: it's so full.
me: yes, it is.
paul: [struggling into pants] they look for a glint.
me: what?
paul: that's what a sniper does.
paul: the sniper looks for a glint off his opponent's scope.

August 5, 2007


after dinner, cam said he'd do the dishes while i read paul his bedtime stories. i agreed to this, but when paul and cam ran off to play, i decided that i might as well just do the dishes since there weren't all that many of them.

gloves on, water pouring into the sink, i quickly washed most of the dishes. i was almost done when a pan slipped in the dishrack, alerting cam to the broken agreement. suddenly i heard tiny pounding footsteps.

paul: [fierce expression] stop doing the dishes!
paul: stop doing the dishes!
paul: daddy's gonna do the dishes!
me: [laughing]

paul ran away, but he was soon back with the same fierce look -- brows drawn together, eyes angry, mouth pouty.

paul: daddy frowned at you!

oh, the terror.

August 3, 2007


cam: you think this looks like mommy?
paul: yes.

i had to investigate. they were looking at a poster of death of the endless (yes, cam does own such a poster).

me: thanks!

sweet paul. i wish i were that cute.

August 2, 2007

a little romance

the other night we went to a local souplantation ("the salad place") for dinner. this restaurant is now partially spoiled for me because of a very nice little girl.

shortly after sitting down, paul decided he had to go to the potty. because cam is just... not good at taking paul to public restrooms, i took him. i like the restroom there because they have a nice big handicapped stall with a fold-down changing table inside it. i usually sit paul on the changing table (because i can't trust him to go running around with bare feet, touching EVERYTHING in sight) while i put the paper cover on the toilet and then his folding potty seat on top of that. this time, paul wouldn't stop talking. talk, talk, talk. i can see how cam gets stressed. he read all the signs in the stall and wanted to know what they meant. after we were done, i wiped down the counter so he could sit down and wash his hands. he's particularly fond of the "pregnancy and alcohol do not mix" sign by the soap dispenser.

anyway, while we were washing hands, a pretty little girl at the other sink started talking to us.

pyt: he is SO cute.
pyt: what's your name?
paul: [stunned] paul.
pyt: i'm sitting at the table next to yours.
me: did you know that, paul?
paul: [stunned silence]
pyt: i'll see you later!
paul: [stunned] okay.

when we got back to the table, paul spotted her and from that moment on, had NO INTEREST IN FOOD. in fact, he only ate when i put food in his mouth. he was too busy waving at her.

pyt: [laughing] he's not shy!
me: [laughing weakly]
me: [whispering] paul, stop that -- let the poor girl eat.

he was enraptured. when she got up, he casually declared he wanted to get more food. i looked at his full plate and sighed. he nearly got whiplash when cam informed him that she had already returned to her table.

toward the end of the meal, he suddenly decided she needed to see his temporary tattoo. he waved his arm at her several times, pointing at the faded image, but she never looked up.

when we left, i was relieved to see that paul was very nonchalant about walking past her table. i don't know what i would have done if he had made a big flourishy scene, complete with boombox on his head.

July 29, 2007

paternal patterns

cam tells me that positive reinforcement never worked on him. only taking things away from him could force a reaction. according to cam's mom, paul is just like cam.

just great. you know, this is intel i could have used a VERY LONG TIME AGO. all that wasted positivity when negativity would have worked even better...

July 28, 2007


i scratched my head in befuddlement all day long. who is this child?

usually fearful of bridges (trying to avoid such things has gotten us semi-lost more than once), paul declared the normally mundane harbor sights down below to be suddenly glorious.

usually shy, paul headed boldly over to the art table (a place to color cutouts of animals and tape them up to a habitat board) at the aquarium of the pacific, climbed into a chair and talked to the "volunteen" on duty. when she told him that his puffin (actually colored by cam) didn't belong next to his walrus (which he did color himself), he climbed down from his chair and followed her without a complaint to the proper habitat board. we had to scramble to catch up.

usually prone to backing out of activities, paul picked a temporary tattoo from the board and silently let the attendant airbrush a blue and yellow jellyfish on his forearm. he admired the handiwork for the rest of the day. "see my tattoo? it's cool!"

usually unhappy about bathtime, paul cheerfully climbed into the tub. he made only the smallest of fusses about having his hair washed. (me: cam, there's a tattooed young man in our bathtub.)

it was an odd sort of day. if it wasn't for the occasional bursts of whining, i would have thought that we had a stranger in our midst.


apparently we don't know our own strength.

this morning i was cleaning the bottom shelf of the refrigerator in the sink while paul watched tv in the living room. the plastic drawers were already drying on towels on the counters. hands in yellow rubber gloves, hot water cascading over the shelf, i slowly pried the glass away from the frame. as the glass touched the sink, there was a tremendous crash and glass (safety glass, of course) went everywhere. my hands were still in the same position. i blinked, stunned. the obvious thing to do would be to swear really loudly, but there are no doors separating the living room from the kitchen. instead i turned off the water and stood there for a while, listening numbly to the strange cracking-ice-like sounds coming from the sink full of glass and water. the next step was to find the manual for the refrigerator, look for the model number, then hit the phone book for appliance part shops. a chance glance at a sears ad had me running for my computer. had the part for what i thought was a reasonable price, but i feared the shipping costs. local sears stores (searses?) didn't have the part in stock. i googled a bit and found another place that not only sold the part, but sold it for half of the sears price -- as a result, i was able to get the replacement glass and 2-3 day shipping for cheaper than the item alone from sears. once the embarrassing cya-shopping was done, i returned to the kitchen to clean up.

later in the day, we were all hanging out in the living room while eating our dinner. cam was trying to catch a fly. paul protested the fact of an open window and proceeded to smack the window hard. the loud sound i heard i thought was just the window frame hitting the sill (i have no idea what the technical names for these things might be), but cam's horrified face made me realize that the child had broken the window. thank god for laminated glass. paul burst into tears. once we determined that he wasn't hurt, we were just astonished that he could have hit a window hard enough to break it. i really thought i had a few years before the window-breaking of boyhood began, and i most definitely thought it would be stray balls, not wee bare hands. jesu cristo.

if i hear another crash later today, i'm just going to bed.

July 27, 2007


the whining felt like it would never stop.

we made plans to go out to dinner, the three of us, but then paul whined so much cam called it off while we were in the driveway. (i was already buckled into the front seat.) paul agreed to eat corn, but then whined at me about the butter i put on it, so i had to wipe it off. (angrily.) i threw the knife into the sink. (noisily.) paul cried. i muttered to cam that i didn't mean to scare him, but cam wryly pointed out that paul was upset only because he thought i threw his corn away.

cam left to pick up dinner (and alcohol to deaden the rattled nerves). he called me to see how we were doing.

cam: is he behaving?
me: you could say that.
me: he's behaving like a little shit.

i tried to soothe myself by cleaning the refrigerator. after removing the bottom shelf and the attached drawers, i crouched down next to it in order to scrub the bottom. paul complained of the cold, but i insisted he stay near me where i could see him. his response was to try to close the door to push me inside the refrigerator.

once cam returned home, the rest of the evening passed fairly uneventfully.

i don't mean to be a grump -- i had actually had a pretty decent day at work. someone once told me that he felt that being a parent made him a better employee because he was now used to having to explain things over and over at home, so having to do so at work didn't faze him the way that it did prior to the birth of his son. my reply to that was being an employee made me a better parent because work had trained me to deal with people with multiple personalities. based on that, paul's total morph into mr. whiny shouldn't have been a problem, but i guess cam's bad mood (do i depend on him too much? i suspect i do) may have tipped the scales far enough in favor of my own morphing into bitch mom from hell. i dunno.

may tomorow be a better day.

July 22, 2007

rub a dub

paul hates taking baths. screams bloody murder. hates hate HATES having his hair washed. yet he submits to -- nay, suggests! -- bathtime at his grandparents' house. makes me feel like a slatternly, slovenly mom in slippers and curlers with a virginia slims hanging out of my mouth. (all right, slight exaggeration. but i still feel like ms. horrible hygiene.)

me: why don't you like to take a bath at home?
paul: the water here is so heavy.
paul: [drops to the floor]
paul: [dramatically] it weighs me down.


dinner theater

this is baby paul
eating soup
and french fries
on the counter

me: what rhymes with fries?
paul: highs.

which is highs
we'll have lots of fun
with baby paul

me: i almost said, "lots of soup."
paul: lots of poop!

this is baby paul... poop.

chew and swallow
chew and swallow
because choking is bad manners!

i think turning dinnertime into musical comedy only works when the singer and the eater aren't the same person.


paul woke us up this morning by silently coming into our bedroom and kissing our feet. kissing! where does he get these ideas?

tucked in

while reading paul bedtime stories:

paul: mommy, can you hug?
paul: let's snuggle!

July 21, 2007

alarm clock

trying to wake up cam:

paul: daddy?
paul: it's me, paul.

this is

paul is obsessed with "this is daniel cook." we have about 40 eps tivo'd (which comes out to what, 200 minutes?).

his favorites seem to be "learning about electricity" and "learning to figure skate" (which paul calls "finger skate").

a few weeks ago, cam showed us a video of paul checking out the corn in his grandparents' backyard. i could almost see the titles on the screen. "this is paul picking corn."

since then, i've been puzzling in my head what paul's theme song might be. i recently learned about "this is emily yeung," so i see that the music (which totally gets stuck in your head) can be used with other words.

this is baby paul
reading books
in a park
picking corn
on a walk
to different places
with happy faces
we'll have lots of fun
with baby paul

paul wants his own show. "let's make a book, a cd, a dvd!" he crows.

July 20, 2007

sunday drive

the other day we were playing in the backyard.

sitting on a blanket on the deck, paul declared that we were riding in a maximum car. daddy was to be the driver, i was a passenger. paul, sitting between us, was to be the "keeper-eyer."
i took that to be the navigator.

paul: the keeper-eyer always keeps an eye on where the car goes.
paul: if you don't have a keeper-eyer, you always crash.

we drove around for miles and miles, but because paul insisted that car needed new spark plugs we had to stop. amusingly enough, the passenger suddenly had no choice but to become the auto parts dealer. one of my specialties, apparently, was the spray-painting of imaginary spark plugs to match the whims of the keeper-eyer.

sometimes i really wonder why we even bother buying toys. the imagination seems to be the best toy of all.

July 18, 2007

oh good

me: time to wake up.
me: it's time to go to aunty gramma grampa.
paul: [stretches]
paul: i love you.
me: i love you, too.
paul: oh good.
me: what is that from?
paul: remember blue's clues?
paul: it was the robot.
me: ah, gilda the builder?
paul: yes.
paul: i'm going to aunty gramma grampa.
paul: oh good.
paul: i'm going to aunty gramma grampa.
paul: oh good.

he repeated that at least ten times before we even left the house.


last night paul and his father (or cam and his son) invented a new game that involved dumping almost 200 marbles on the floor -- hardwood floors -- and shouting "marble city!" they would then marvel at the random scattering of the "little people" all over the goddamned room. i could have cheerfully killed them both.

July 16, 2007

night music

i kept waking paul up with my snoring.
"stop that."
i'm sorry, was i snoring?
it happened like three times!

poor paul. poor me, too -- how many times in the past ten years have i nudged cam gently and then admonished him to shut the hell up?

July 9, 2007

there ARE stupid questions

paul: i'm going to have a picnic.
me: by yourself?
paul: with gramma.
me: oh, okay.
me: what are you eating?
paul: [decisively] nothing.
me: [laughter]
paul: when the picnic starts, i will have food.
me: that's good.

July 8, 2007


cam: nuts do bad things to the people i love.
cam: that's why nuts are not my friends.
paul: but pizza is your friend?

July 7, 2007


paul: do you know what "rove" is?
me: [thinking] what does paul know about karl rove?
me: um, i don't know, to wander?
paul: no, it's a nickname for "road."
me: oh.
paul: do you know what a "rover" is?
me: a nickname for a dog?
paul: no, it's a machine that lives on mars in an airbag.

these are trick questions, aren't they?

July 2, 2007

backyard picnic

with the weather in san pedro so nice in the evenings -- and the grass so cool underfoot -- and the sun not setting until after 8 pm -- paul has shown a decided taste for dining under the stars. today i finished cooking dinner and was on the way to the living room, bowls in hand, when i heard his little voice talking to cam about a picnic. next thing i knew, i had everything on a tray and was heading towards the back door.

we spent the next 45 minutes or so lolling about on a picnic blanket, laughing as paul frolicked madly on the grass. he tried to get my mom to come sit with us, declaring he needed "four friends: daddy, mommy, paul and grandma!" he decided we were machines that needed to tilt in order to move paul from one end of the blanket to the other. he put a flower in a shoe.

i hope the good weather lasts. it's so nice to come home to something like this.

July 1, 2007

new growth

paul has become an astonishingly good reader. it amazes me because i never thought we pushed the reading as much as i thought we (read: i) should. the funny thing about him reading so well is that when he reads something to me, i tear up instantly. i just do.

it reminds me of the first time i saw him walking around (holding cam's hands) as a baby. i just sat there on the floor, laughing and crying and trying to pretend i was crying because i was laughing so hard. but honestly, i was just crying. this growing up, this reaching of milestones (mind you, the child still can't eat neatly and reliably with utensils), this tiny show of independence -- it's like paul is shedding his babyskin before my eyes and i can't get there fast enough to catch it before it hits the ground and disappears.

June 24, 2007

of girls and dogs

this morning paul and i went for a walk while cam slept in (which he totally deserved to do because i've been little miss lazy-lie-abed lately where paul is concerned).

as we were starting to go up one street, i saw a little girl with a little white dog sitting on the ground. knowing paul would probably go all antisocial once we were actually close to her, i gently tried to convince him to cross the street. he was unwilling, though, so we kept going. he was intrigued by the sight of two men trimming a palm tree. some little fruit-things rolled down the sidewalk.

the little girl (pretty little thing, maybe about six?) tried to convince paul to touch her dog.

her: do you want to pet my dog?
her: he doesn't bite!
paul: the fruit rolled down and stopped at my boot!
her: he's really soft!

paul started to back up. soon the dog leash was wrapped around my legs as paul desperately scrambled to get away. i laughed and picked him up.

her: he doesn't bite!
her: he just licks!
me: look, paul, he's licking my arm.
paul: why?
her: he likes you.
paul: [looking curiously at the dog and girl]

we made our escape and said thank you to the nice little girl. before we got too far, we heard her yelling.

her: bye! [waving dog's paw]
me: bye!
me: say bye.
paul: bye!
me: why don't you wave?
paul: [waving]
paul: i love you.
me: [choking]

my wee boy. courage always comes a little too late.

June 23, 2007

think, think, think

paul: i want to watch a mythbusters.
me: okay, which one?
paul: we have to decide.
paul: "decide" is "think" in spanish.
me: it is?
paul: yes.
paul: i'm thinking.
paul: when i think, there's a question mark over my head...

June 20, 2007

good morning baby

paul was sleeping so soundly this morning i didn't want to wake him, but it was time to go. i touched his hand.

paul: [eyes popping open] what?
me: oh, sorry.
me: we have to go auntie gramma granpa.
paul: [sitting up] yay!
paul: [rubbing eyes]
paul: [crawling around] i'm your wife.
me: what?
paul: i'm your wife.
paul: [kissing own hand]
paul: [rubbing kiss on my cheek]
me: [kissing paul on cheek]
paul: thank you.
me: thank you.

June 17, 2007


we got cam a mug for father's day. original, eh?

but it wasn't any ordinary mug -- it was the father's day 2007 special from cafepress, complete with a recent paul addition to our everyday vernacular (okay, maybe not everyday, but still). so cam's mug read:

the much:
greater than a few, less than the most
("it's when you have a lot of water," says paul)

happy father's day 2007

the idea, unfortunately, was stronger than the execution. it printed badly, but i figured, as long as it was legible, it would do. i decided this partially because i timed the order poorly. oh well. but cam was pleased with it, and ultimately, that's all that matters.

paul signed the card with his charmingly three-year-old writing. he messed up on his "u," laughed and wrote another one right by it. i loved that. no self-consciousness, no dismay, just "oops!" cam liked his card, too.

i was kind of embarrassed because i felt like we were less... gifty than we should have been, but the holiday kind of crept up on me. i swear, it wasn't on my calendar, and then holy shit, it's next week! i hate it when that happens.

June 11, 2007


paul: you need to go on a diet.
me: excuse me?
paul: you know what a diet is for?
me: what is a diet for?
paul: if you have a fat tummy [puts hands on his own stomach]
paul: and you go on a diet, your tummy gets smaller [sucks in stomach as far as it will go]
me: so i have a fat tummy?
paul: yes.

so. sometimes you just want to tell your kid to go to hell.

June 4, 2007


poor paul has caught a teary-eyed, runny-nosed, coughy kind of cold. poor baby, it could be a very rough night for him. i hate it when he's sick. (but, admittedly, it is a little funny to hear him say, "aaahhh, kleeeeeeenex.")

June 2, 2007

fish foodie

cam asked paul if he wanted a fish. paul said he already had one, but it was dead so that he could eat it. i looked up.

me: wait, you mean a pet?
cam: yeah, i saved the aquarium [from the junk haulers].
me: yeah, and when i heard about that i was surprised.
cam: oh...

cam then offered paul a fish again.
paul: then you can make it dead and eat it.
cam: no!
cam: i'm not going to get you a goldfish so you can make it dead and eat it!

i guess maybe he isn't ready for a pet fish.

May 27, 2007


paul saw a bra lying on the bed and was curious.

me: it's a bra. [wishing i had remembered to put it away]
paul: what's a bra?
cam: it's clothes.
cam: it's like underwear.
paul: [grinning] a bra is to cover your grope.
me: [hiding my face]
cam: um, yeah, that's about right.

May 25, 2007

read those labels

yesterday my mom called me at work in a minor tizzy. paul was sick, she said. she couldn't figure out why. he had eaten nothing new, really, just a new brand of syrup with his waffles. she read the ingredients to me and i didn't hear anything out of the ordinary. she had given him lots of water, sugar (always helps stop allergic reactions for me) and now he was asking for vitamins.

me: um, so go get him the vitamins.

i asked her to put him on the phone, but he refused, crying. i had no idea what that was all about, but since she said she hadn't fed him anything weird, i thought maybe he was just being dramatic. she certainly seemed to imply that this was the case. he's known to fret over the unfamiliar and/or the unwanted, so i just put it out of my head.

spoke to her later in the day. she was much more relaxed, telling me with a chuckle that he would occasionally fake-cough or whimper when he remembered he was supposed to be sick. all's well that ends well, i figured.

when we got home, my mother said that she figured out what the problem was -- it was the waffles. they had egg whites in them. baffled, i followed her to her kitchen. knowing that he only ate a certain brand of waffles that were free of all major allergens, i couldn't understand why those waffles suddenly contained egg whites. she handed me the box.

oh sweet jesus.

these waffles contained eggs, milk and wheat, and were manufactured on equipment shared with products containing peanuts and tree nuts. because they were the same fucking brand and were next to each other in the freezer case, she assumed they were the same. never mind that the ones he can eat are clearly labeled gluten-free, eggless, dairy-free and vegan on the front of the box.

i chewed her out. "i can't believe you fed him these! you didn't even look at the box?"

she was defensive towards me the rest of the day. "sorry about the boy," she muttered in passing.

she should be defensive. feh.

May 20, 2007


today we went outlet shopping in the city of commerce. because of paul's refusal to allow us to drive over a bridge, we ended up driving past downtown and then taking an unexpected detour back into downtown to change a tire.

while cam toiled in a taxi zone, i took paul on a walk.

paul: this is fun!
paul: i love taking a walk!

we walked down the hill on grand, turned right on fifth, down past the library tower and up the library steps to the fountain in front of mccormick & schmicks. cam wasn't done, so we went up to the mellon bank building and paul walked around on what he called his "very own sidewalks" (the ledges surrounding the water feature and various planters). we yelled down at cam from the patio outside my work.

who would have guessed a little walk downtown could be such fun?

May 18, 2007


last night i read (at his request, of course) "once upon a potty" as a bedtime story.

i know it's a itty bitty little book with maybe ten pages. but damned if i wasn't surprised (and amused) by the boy's vehement efforts to make sure i adhered to the text as printed.

May 12, 2007

making our home that much safer

paul has suddenly become very interested in disney's "lou and lou: safety patrol."

he's been calling out "safety violations" all day. earlier today he essentially told me to stage one for his amusement, so i put a boot in the middle of the bedroom floor and pretended to trip over it. he was pleased. "safety violation! put your shoes away!"

poor cam hasn't been able to escape the wrath of the safety patrol, either.

me: safety violation!
me: [pointing] his shirt [from jalopnik: "save the enzos"] has a crashed car on it.
cam: huh?

then i laughed and went to take care of something in the other room.

paul: [earnestly] safety violation!
paul: your shirt has a crashed car on it.
paul: take it off.
cam: what?

he dutifully changed his shirt. now -- was it a safety violation or fashion violation? you decide.

of dogs and koalas

boowa and kwala are paul's favorite cartoon characters without a cartoon (that we've seen).

we came across their site one day when we were googling "preschool games online." instant love. songs, silly games, stories -- it's a treasure trove of fun. paul was delighted. he especially enjoyed an egg finding game with a little side activity of clicking on a toilet to make kwala poop. the little "la la la lala la la la, la la la lala la... plop!" still cracks him up every time. i'm partial to the "salt is salty, sugar is sweet" song myself.

as charming as they are, i'm glad that our exposure to them has been limited to the internet. it keeps them fresh. i'm not sure we'd like them so much if we had the option of catching them on the tv four times a day.

May 11, 2007


me: [playing with fireman action figure] everything's coming up roses!
me: see, his arms go up like this.
paul: why?
me: because there is nothing a fireman likes more than good musical theater.
paul: what you said?
me: oh, nothing...


paul: [cam's uncle] lives in hus office.
me: his office?
me: do you mean his apartment?
paul: hus office.
me: you have to go up stairs to get to his front door, right?
paul: yes.
me: where is his office, anyway?
paul: southwest of the airport.

why is it that "apartment" is a foreign concept, yet "southwest of the airport" is not?

botanical companionship

when i feel like wearing a necklace to work, i tend to bypass my daintier pieces in favor of larger costume ones. i usually alternate between a silver swirl on a silver chain and a large flower (cut from a shell) on a black silk cord. this morning i wore the flower.

paul: [standing on bed] yay!
paul: [sniffs flower]
me: huh?
me: did you just kiss the flower?
paul: yes.
paul: [kisses flower]
paul: i kissed it.

i picked him up off the bed and he rested his head on my shoulder.

paul: [sighs]
paul: my friend.
me: who is your friend?
paul: [sighs again] the flower.

May 9, 2007

holiday cannibalism

mother's day is coming up. paul has decided that we should make "mommy pupcakes" with my face in pink frosting. cupcakes with pink frosting i can get behind, but i'm not really convinced i'd feel comfortable eating my own likeness.

May 8, 2007

with family like this

paul: live long and prosper!
cam: oh, my poor baby, you never had a chance.

May 4, 2007

so rude

me: paul, why did you call grandpa cheap?
paul: do you know why he is cheap?
me: [warily] why?
paul: because his car doesn't have a sunroof.
me: [sigh]


as reported by my mom:

cam's dad: i don't have the science channel.
paul: i have the science channel.
paul: i'm not cheap.


May 3, 2007

uncomfortable balance

was in the shower this morning when i heard the doorknob rattle. thinking cam wanted to put his toothbrush back or something, i stuck my arm out of the shower and unlocked the door.

much to my surprise, a small hand pushed the door open. i peeked out and saw paul standing there most solemnly.

paul: what are you doing?
me: i'm taking a shower.
paul: but what are you going to do?
me: i'm taking a shower because i've got to get ready for work.
paul: waaaaaahhhhhhhhh!

poor baby. how tempted i was to just turn off the water and stay home. but instead i called for cam to look after him so i could continue to be the good little worker bee i've always been. jesus. even though i know the tears stop as soon as we turn the corner and stop waving from the car, it's still wrenching.

April 30, 2007

the chase

i'm not sure why, but this is paul's favorite post.

today we were just standing in the kitchen when he suddenly whispered "pajamica" and pointed at the floor.

paul: here's a gift for you.
paul: there's a magnet under it.

and off we ran through the house, screaming and laughing. the gift chased me through the kitchen, across the living room, into the bedroom, out of the bedroom, into the bathroom and back out to the kitchen.

i wonder what the gift was supposed to be. i don't think i ever caught it -- and i'm pretty sure it didn't catch me.

thoughtful boy

in front of a display of greeting cards:

paul: hey!
paul: we can buy a birthday card for mommy day!

April 29, 2007

trying to tell me something

paul: you know how babies eat salt?
me: no, how do babies eat salt?
paul: they pick up the salt shaker and sprinkle it on their heads!
me: oh, i didn't know that.
paul: you know how babies eat oatmeal?
me: how do babies eat oatmeal?
paul: they scoop it up with a spoon... and then dump it on the floor!
me: babies are very messy, aren't they?
paul: yes.

April 26, 2007

baker's duet

paul: pattycake!
me: okay.
me: pattycake, pattycake, baker's man.
[awkward clapping]
me: bake me a cake as fast as you can.
me: pat it and roll it and...
paul: squish it.
me: squish it and tickle it.
paul: no!
paul: no tickle!
me: okay, no tickle.
me: and mark it with a...
paul: p.
me: b?
paul: i thought it was p.
me: and mark it with a p.
paul: [whispering] p for paul.
paul: and put in the oven for mommy and paul.
me: yay!
paul: no wheat in it?
me: no wheat in it.

April 24, 2007

beware of the scissors

my mom: he woke up, he said he was hungry.
my mom: so he stood in front of the refrigerator for a long time.
my mom: he decided he wanted the jello.
me: [thinking] oh god, i forgot to throw that out WEEKS ago.
my mom: i opened it up and it was moldy.
me: [sheepishly] yeah.
my mom: i said, "oh, you can't eat that," and i showed it to him.
my mom: then he fell on the floor and said, "i'm dead already."
me: what?
my mom: [patiently] "i'm dead already."
me: oh.
my mom: [to paul] do you want to talk to your mommy?
paul: [getting on the phone] mmm mmmm mm [running away]
me: what did you say, sweetie?
me: paul?
my mom: [to paul] are you done?
paul: yes.
my mom: he doesn't want to talk because he's "dead again."

April 23, 2007


paul: [kicking and pushing] i'm driving you crazy!

April 22, 2007

zoo pals make eating fun

i am not a fan of zoo pals disposable plates. not that i have a problem with disposable plates -- they're useful things -- but i just don't think they're cute. plus i hate the commercial... that damned earworm of a song.... ugh! (i do not like "ribbet.") cam likes it, and seems to make a point of singing along when it's on.

yesterday paul and i were watching tv sans cam. as the familiar music began to play, paul chuckled to himself.
paul: that's my dad's favorite song.

good god. that's not the man i married.

April 21, 2007

poor substitute

if you've seen the commercial, you'll understand.

me: yuck, "kidz bop."
paul: [correcting] kidz bop 11.
paul: i want that.
me: kidz bop 11 is so wrong.
me: paul, you know, if you want to listen to pop music (and you can, that's fine), i think you'd be better off listening to the original songs.
me: not versions inappropriately sung by a choir of children.
paul: kidz bop 11 is so wrong because did you ever see kids singing with so many balloons all over the place?
me: well, you know, that works, too.

April 19, 2007

blow out

cam got a haircut. paul's initial reaction was less than favorable.

paul: aahh! [pointing]
cam: you don't like my haircut?
paul: i thought you were a different guy.

he has since come around, but he was pretty grumpy about it for a few days (even shooting cam with the "long hair gun"). i've been thinking about cutting my own hair, but i fear that his reaction will be even more violent.

April 17, 2007

stinky fruit

cam: canta-loop.
paul: canta-poop!
me: [sigh]

nice rack

cam: cantaloupe.
cam: canta-loop.
paul: canta-grope.
me: cam.
cam: hey, don't look at me.

April 16, 2007


the other day we went to a miniature golf course.

of course, there isn't any such thing as a simply a mini golf course. no, i guess they're "family fun centers" or something silly like that -- as if the concept of family fun could be summed up with childish activities without a maximum height restriction. the one near us has mini golf, an arcade with video games and cheesy ticket-earning games, laser tag, rock-climbing wall, batting cages, a cute little preschool paddle boat area (complete with guy in waders carrying the kids to and from the boats) and a bunch of other areas i didn't see.

as a rule i don't play mini golf. i used to play with my brother (castle park, random motels across the continental u.s., etc. etc. etc.) and for some reason, i just didn't want to play with anyone else.

cam: that was a typical date idea i couldn't use.

well, having a new paul in my life means i now sort of play mini golf. he was just so cute whacking at the ground with his tiny little club -- how does one resist?

after playing -- if you can call our nice little walk with occasional swings of the club "playing" in the golf sense -- a few holes, paul decided he was cold. cam went to the car to get his sweater. while cam was gone, paul decided he just didn't want to play anymore because it was too crowded. i had been getting a little irritated with the older kids because they were just racing around us while we were trying to leisurely play, so i was more than happy to give it up.

i was rather startled to discover that paul's definition of "crowded" outside didn't apply to what i perceived to be a very "crowded" inside. we stayed in and played the ticket-winning games for a considerable amount of time. i made a very little video of paul and cam playing air hockey at the cutest little air hockey table ever.

when we left, paul cried. i promised i'd bring him back on a weekday. am not sure that i have a choice -- i have about 60 tickets in my wallet just dying to be spent on foolish trinkets.

April 15, 2007


paul: you said "but."
paul: i have a butt.

April 10, 2007


my mom: your son won't take a nap.
my mom: he says there's no use.
me: no use?!
my mom: i told him, "you could out tonight with your mommy and daddy."
my mom: he said, "i DON'T want to go out tonight."
my mom: then i said, "naps will help you grow big -- you're still a little boy."
my mom: he said, "naps make the boy grow smaller."
me: naps make the boy grow smaller? [chuckle]
my mom: he always has an answer for everything.
paul: [taking the phone] where are you?
me: who am i?
paul: no, where?!
me: oh, i'm at work.
me: where should i be?
paul: target.
me: why would i be doing at target?
paul: getting stuff for my rube goldberg machine.
me: well, if you'd take a nap, we could do that tonight.
paul: okay.
my mom: [taking back the phone] he just closed his eyes!

April 9, 2007

disappearing eggs

yesterday paul kept asking, "is it still easter?" bemused, we looked at his anxious little face.

"yes, paul, it's still easter."

this morning around 5 am he woke up and asked again.

"no, paul, easter is over."

waaaaaaah! "is my easter basket gone?"

good heavens.

"no, baby, it's still here. no one took it away, i promise."

comforted, he went back to sleep. where does he get these ideas? i don't think we took away any of his christmas presents after christmas or birthday presents after his birthday.


me: i have cold legs.
paul: i have cold eggs.
me: cold eggs?
paul: chicken eggs.
paul: they have a blanket over them.
me: to keep them warm?
paul: yes.
paul: they cracked.
paul: [pretending to hold a baby chick] look.
paul: hello.
paul: [pretending to kiss the baby chick] it has to go now.
me: where?
paul: to its grandma's house.
paul: bye.

paul: i had cooked eggs.
paul: and i ate them.
paul: they were eating-eggs.
paul: it was lunch.

i guess he still has easter on the brain? this child has probably touched maybe a total of three eggs ever in his entire life.

April 7, 2007

heavyweight humor

paul: you want to know a good name for a baby?
paul: this is one-hundred-pounds funny.
me: what?
paul: baby poop.

paul is far too amused by the word "poop." far, far too amused.
cam: it's universal humor.

paul: baby poop.
paul: [shrieking with laughter]

all i can do is shrug and sigh and hope this phase will be over soon.

April 6, 2007


my mother informs me that paul's recent interest in a particular tivo'd ep of blue's clues ("contraptions") has less to do with the show itself and more to do with the commercials.

paul: [muffled] ... end of contraptions.
me: you want something at the end of contraptions?
paul: [to my mom] tell her what i want.
my mom: i'm supposed to tell you what he wants.
me: i heard.

my mom proceeded to tell me that paul is very interested in bratz commercials.

my mom: he wants the horse and the skateboard.
my mom: oh, and that magic hair thing.
me: really?
my mom: he sees the commercials and he keeps saying, "i want that. i want that."
my mom: i said, "it's for girls."
my mom: he said, "mommy can play."
me: you know, if he wants a doll, that's fine with me.
me: but please tell him i don't think that those are 3+.

ugh. bratz give me the creeps. i wonder if i could steer him towards barbie instead.

mythic citrus

paul: i just busted a myth!
me: you did?
paul: i just busted an orange!
me: um... was it a... mythological orange?
paul: [proudly] it busted inside a sock.
me: what?
my mom: [taking the phone] uh, we'll just have to tell you about it later.

April 5, 2007

lip servicing

me: there. [kisses top of head]
me: i kissed your big head.
paul: thank you.
paul: look worried.
me: [looking worried] like this?
paul: yes. [kisses my cheek]
me: thank you.

paul is very affectionate.

paul: i gived her a kiss.
paul: she gived me a kiss!

all this affection is nice, but sometimes paul gets weird ideas.

paul: let's touch tongues.
me: no!
paul: i'm a crash test dummy.
paul: you're a real person.
paul: i'm gonna lick you so i can be a person.
me: wait, so if a crash test dummy licks a real person, it'll become a real person, too?
paul: right.
me: oookay... but don't lick me, please.

aesthetically speaking

me: uh-oh.
paul: how you don't say that.
me: what?
paul: 'uh-oh.'
paul: how you don't say that.
me: why not?
paul: it's an ugly sound.

bionic woman

i cupped a marble in my hands and shook it. it clinked against my wedding ring.

me: hey, paul, listen to this.
paul: what is that?
me: does it sound like metal?
paul: yes.
me: where is the metal on my hands?
paul: remember when the dentist cut your hands open like this [pointing] and put in pieces of metal?
me: he did?
paul: [nodding] he used glue.
me: he used glue to keep the metal in place?
paul: yes.
me: so that is what is making that sound?
paul: yes.
me: okay.

later that evening...
me: paul, remember that metal sound?
paul: [long-suffering look] i think it was your ring.

April 3, 2007


paul: i have a pinata.
me: a pinata?
paul: it's hanging in grandma's house.
paul: when you come home to my house i will show it to you.
me: wait, is grandma's house your house?
me: or is your house grandma's house?
my mom: what did he say?
me: i'm so confused.
my mom: yeah, he saw a pinata at dora's [the explorer?] house.
my mom: he wanted one and he said it had to be colorful.
my mom: so i took some newspaper, tied the ends and let him beat the hell out of it.
me: [faintly] oh... that's nice.
my mom: it had to have candy, but i told him that the only "candy" i had were cough drops.
my mom: he said that was fine.
me: [sighing] i am just going to have to see this in person.

April 1, 2007

on loss and losing

cam: i knew this day would come...
cam: i just didn't expect it to happen when he was three.
cam: i thought i'd have more time -- a few years -- before he'd beat me at a video game.

paul is phenomenally good at wii sports bowling.

cam: hey, you're better left-handed than i am... [quietly] right-handed.

March 25, 2007


paul: i want tylenol, too!
cam: are you sick?
paul: i'm still a little sick.
paul: i have THOSE hiccups.
cam: THOSE hiccups? [laughing]
cam: you don't need tylenol for that.
cam: you can just have water for THOSE hiccups.

strange ammo

paul: i shot you with bullets.
me: ow.
paul: what are you doing?
me: i'm dead.
me: you shot me with bullets.
paul: no!
paul: i shot you with eighties.
me: eighties?
me: what are eighties?
paul: just a little number.

March 24, 2007


paul: we have a new rule.
paul: you have to take care of mommy.
cam: that's a good rule.
cam: you have a loving son.

three cheers for bribery

paul: i gotta go.
me: okay, let's go to the big potty.
paul: no, the little one.
me: no, the big one.
me: i have a deal for you. [picking him up and carrying him to the bathroom]
paul: deal or no deal.
paul: [impatiently] deal or no deal.
me: deal.
me: [helping him up to the toilet]
me: here's the deal: every time you use the big potty, you get a quarter that you can use however you want.
me: so... right now you just earned yourself a quarter.
me: but every time you use the little potty, i take away a quarter.
paul: when i grow up to be a man, i'll have TEN coins!
me: that's a lot of coins.
paul: [satisfied] yes.

March 21, 2007

like a commercial

paul: see this french fry?
paul: i'm gonna eat it because it's crunchy.
me: crunchy?
paul: i like crunchy things, like potato chips and french fries.
paul: [crunch]
paul: hear that?
paul: it's crunchy.

March 20, 2007

marching along

i suspect i have incurred paul's displeasure by refusing to do the algorithm march with cam. how do i explain to him that i have less coordination than a piece of wood?


paul: here comes trouble.
cam: are you trouble?
paul: [seriously] no.

feelings of abandonment

paul is sick again. i spent the first half of the night in his room, then retreated to my own. a few minutes after i got into my bed, he started crying. when i got to his room, i found him sitting up and looking completely miserable.

paul: mommy!
me: i'm here.
paul: [crying] want to be carried.
me: [picking him up] you're shaking!
me: why are you shaking?
paul: because i thought you wouldn't come back.

after that, how could i leave? i spent the rest of the night in his room, curled up at his feet.

mild disparity

paul: mommy...
paul: wamy salami.
me: is that my new nickname?
me: mommy wamy salami?
paul: yes.
me: does daddy have a new nickname, too?
paul: yes.
me: what is it?
paul: cam.

March 17, 2007

bullet time

me: i don't think guns are good toys.
paul: guns are beautiful toys.
paul: i had a nine-volt gun.
me: a nine volt?
paul: it was so long!
paul: it was a three-pound gun, no, it was a zero-pound gun.
paul: i shot it and it hit the target and it broke the glass and came back at me!
me: that doesn't sound very good.
paul: it was a good gun.

i guess this should have been the time for a life lesson in how guns are bad and they aren't toys, but he ran away so i could flush the toilet. funny how a child can be so fearless of guns, but so fearful of the sound of a flush.

surprising response

paul: can i have the milk?
me: no, i'm going to drink it.
paul: no!
paul: it's mine.
me: no, i'm pouring it, so it's mine.
paul: can i drink it?
me: did you ask nicely?
paul: please?
me: please what?
paul: please can i drink the milk?
paul: sure?
me: okay. [hands him the milk]
paul: i can drink it!
me: what do you say?
paul: please?
me: no, after i give it to you, what do you say?
paul: gracias.
me: !!!


i have a metal travel mug from work. across the mug it has in big black letters "www.[insertname].com." because this stretches across the entire mug, you can't really see what it says without rotating it.

one day at home* i was drinking tea out of it. paul took one look at the "www" facing us.

paul: what are you drinking?
me: tea.
me: you're too cute.
paul: [incredibly precocious child-star smile]

*it has to be at home. drinking out of a work mug at work makes me feel like i'm wearing a mickey mouse sweatshirt to disneyland.

no liquid diet

cam: we were talking about getting smoothies for lunch.
cam: let's go get smoothies.
paul: this is the smoothie place
paul: here is a picture of me holding a drink
paul: and here's a circle with a line [drawing in the air]
me: no smoothies?
paul: [walking away]

March 15, 2007


paul: pajamica!
me: pajamica?
me: is that a holiday?
paul: here's a gift.
paul: [pointing] there's a gift on a the floor.
me: really?
paul: there are magnets under the box and they slide it.
me: you mean they slide the gift all over the floor?
paul: [nodding] you have to run away!
me: the gift chases you?
paul: yes!
me: interesting holiday, this pajamica.

March 14, 2007


a friend reassured me that paul's current potty-training woes are typical boy behavior.

"yep," she said. i could almost see her nodding. "my son is the same way and he's four. my brother was the same way until he was six."

why did this not make me feel any better about changing paul's sheets four times in five days?

March 13, 2007

not the right answer

paul: hi.
me: hi.
paul: um, will you come home and play bowling with me, please?
paul: i want you to come home.
me: i can't, i'm sorry.
me: can you drive?
paul: no, i don't have a car.
me: i don't have a car, either.
paul: why don't you just go in daddy's car?
me: but daddy's car is so far away.
me: when daddy picks me up, i'll come home and play bowling with you.
paul: can you just walk?
me: that's 20 miles!
paul: [puts the phone down and runs away]


i needed to buy some underwear, so when we went to target last night, i grabbed a few pairs and tossed them into the cart (no victoria's secret for me). paul turned around in his seat and peered into the back.

paul: that doesn't look like underwear.
paul: that looks like a T.
cam: [laughing] look at mommy... she's humiliated.
paul: i want to sit on the floor with mommy.

March 12, 2007

words of love

paul was charmingly affectionate this weekend. i would be pleased to see any of these on a greeting card.

you know who i love? you.

i like guys more than girls... but i like you.

i love you more than me.

March 9, 2007

can't take him anywhere

paul REALLY likes to flirt with waitresses. i nearly choked several times last night at dinner.

March 8, 2007

speeding up the aging process

my mom: he's saying that when he was three, he did all kinds of stuff.
me: really.
my mom: he told me that he has grown the whole year.
me: but the year's not over yet.
my mom: and now he's so tall.
my mom: you know how old he is now?
me: how old is he?
my mom: 50.


paul called me today:

are you coming home with a machine that looks like an elephant and cuts an apple in half when you push a button? are you bringing home that machine?

pray tell, where would i find such a thing?

March 7, 2007

fish, fries and only children

yesterday paul and my mom went to the aquarium of the pacific (we're members). i knew they were going because my mom called me right before they left.

my mom: we've been getting ready since 9 am.
my mom: what is it now?
me: um, 12:20.
my mom: yeah.
my mom: he's standing by the door.
my mom: but now he won't wear shoes -- just slippers, the blue polka dot ones.
me: well, if you can convince him to keep them on, then i think you'll be okay.
me: what choice do you have, anyway?
paul: [far away mumble]
my mom: [sounding tired] he just said, "we have to go NOW."
me: uh, okay, have fun.

he fell asleep in the car on the way home, so they just stayed in the car in front of the house. when he woke up, he didn't want to go upstairs right away.

my mom: so he crawled into the back and is lying down.
me: he's asleep in the TRUNK?
my assistant: [horrified look]
my mom: no, he's just lying there.
me: ookay.
my mom: are you really busy right now?
me: kind of.
my mom: i have stories for you when you come home.
me: okay, we'll talk tonight.

but we didn't get to talk. i did hear a little story about how he had refused to share his food (paul: french fries are for ME) when they ate in the onsite cafe, but there wasn't the opportunity to hear more. i'm sure she'll tell me bit by bit over the next few days.

there is one story i'm really curious about. cam mentioned in the car on the way home that she had told him a little story about a guy pushing a little girl in a stroller. paul watched with some interest, i guess, so she asked him if he wanted a little sister.

paul: no.

she asked him if he wanted a little brother.

paul: no.

and this is where it gets weird: apparently he started waving his arms, chanting "no babies, zero babies." i hadn't realized he really was so deadset against a sibling.

cam: you have to have your mom tell you that story.
cam: she has a funny little dance that goes with it.

i'm not sure if i'd rather see my mom's funny little dance or paul's. but either way, i will hear the rest of that tale.


paul: make a rube goldberg.
me: what will it do?
paul: everything.
me: wow.

March 6, 2007


me: if i have to watch one more rube goldberg video
me: or watch "border slingshot" again
me: or even watch "playing store," you know, blue's clues, one more time
me: i'm going to go straight to the bedroom and push the bench in front of the door.
cam: you might as well do that as soon as we get home.

damn him, he was right.

March 4, 2007

love bites

paul: i have a little bump on my back.
paul: i'm scratching it.
me: where is it?
paul: here.
me: oh, did something bite you?
paul: a bug bit me!
me: do bugs think you're tasty?
me: do bugs think paul is yummy?
paul: no, only my parents love me.
me: what did you say?
paul: a bug bit me.

March 1, 2007

morning greetings

me: hello?
paul: hi.
me: hi!
paul: i want you to come home when you are done with work.
me: of course.
me: how are you feeling?
paul: good.
paul: just a little coughing.
me: do you need some tylenol?
paul: no.
paul: not until you come home.
me: gramma can't give you tylenol?
paul: no.

February 28, 2007

a strange counting song

one-two-three-four is five
one-two, three-four is air

February 27, 2007

things that go bump

me: what was that sound?
me: i think it's raining.
paul: [lying on the floor] no, it was me.
paul: i just dropped my foot.
paul: see.
me: ah.
paul: i think it's raining.
me: is it?
paul: or maybe the stick under the bed fell down. [note: our bed has a support in the center that is constantly falling over. cam is always crawling/reaching under the bed to stand it up again.]
me: oh, maybe.
paul: we need to put a trap under the bed to keep the stick from falling down.
me: a trap?
paul: we can use a helmet.
me: what would a helmet do?
paul: [speaking very slowly] it would keep the stick from falling down.
me: oh.

February 26, 2007


my aunt's house has those doorstops that are essentially a tightly coiled spring with a rubber cap on the end. there were two small boys in the house (one of them mine). both found the doorstops irresistible, despite repeated entreaties to just leave the damned things alone.

February 22, 2007

iceman cometh

one morning when i wasn't quite all there (we were lounging about in the bedroom -- i may have been half asleep), i thought i was losing my mind when i heard paul declare, "snowman!" much to my amusement, we were instructed to stack our heads -- cam's head on the bottom, mine in the middle and paul's on top. this, i was told, was the snowman, and we needed to build one. NOW.

so we did. my ears were a little squished, but it was so funny it was worth it.

the other night paul decided that we needed to make another snowman, just the two of us. we were sitting in our rocking chair, so i put my head down on the armrest. he put his little head on top of my head and we giggled like fiends. for a child who has never seen snow, i guess this is a fine alternative.

February 21, 2007


me: hello.
paul: [opens one eye]
paul: what?
me: good morning.
paul: [closes open eye]
me: it's time to go to aunty gramma grampa.
paul: [opens both eyes]
paul: thank you.
me: for what?
paul: because i want to go there.

February 20, 2007


i brought some work home in an interoffice envelope with a red string tie. as soon as paul saw that envelope, it was his. (i will have to take it back when he's asleep.) in paul's hands, the envelope has become an airbag, a paper shredder, a chair, a curtain, a "car loader" and a "door taker-away."

paul: [demonstrating] watch.

chain reaction

walking through the kb toys outlet at citadel (outlet mall in commerce):

me: here's a joke.
me: a three-year-old walks into a toy store and says, "i want a rube goldberg machine."
cam: [chuckles]

paul has been positively fascinated by rube goldberg machines for a little while now. the other day cam mentioned rather offhandedly that his dad and paul had been watching videos of rube goldberg machines. i think i raised an eyebrow, but didn't think anything of it because, after all, those two watch nasa tv together, too.

during the weekend cam called me over to the computer. they had been watching video clips from a japanese tv show called "pitagora suicchi." each show, i'm guessing, contains a segment where they show off the most astonishing little rube goldberg contraptions. paul was in awe. ever since then, he's been wanting to build some of his own. everywhere we go, he wants to buy something that he could use in his rube goldberg machine. i want to tell him that he needs to start small and just use his tinkertoys, but i doubt he'd listen.

February 19, 2007

tiny bladder

sitting on his little potty at 7:21 am:

paul: i am peeing forEVER.

it seems like a boy is trained. the situation isn't perfect, though -- he refuses to pull down (and likewise pull up) his own pants, he only wants to use his own little potty (and it has to be in his room), and if he's anywhere near an actual toilet, it can't be flushed when he is in the room (which has caused minor meltdowns in public restrooms, let me tell you). but who cares? a boy is pretty much free from the tyranny of diapers. yay for him!

just one of the guys

this is kind of a big deal for me. i know it's going to sound pretty dumb, but i'm rather proud of myself. i built a trebuchet (tinkertoys) on a rolling platform (a shallow flat box with matchbox cars taped to the bottom) with a quick release (more tinkertoys plus string). it throws a projectile (clay on a short length of knotted string) all the way across the living room. cam and paul have been building trebuchets for a while now, but this is my first attempt.

it was all trial and error. after the structure tipped over a few times, i came up with the rolling platform, sort of modeled after all of those damned trebuchet games online paul has been making me find. the quick-release gadget was something i had come up with the night before (making a small barrel fall from a hook by yanking on a string), but i was able to adapt it to fit my trebuchet with great success.

as i was working, i alternately grinned and frowned at myself. maybe paul, cam and the constant construction have rubbed off on me. i may not be much of a homemaker, but i'm apparently quite deadly with siege weapons.

February 18, 2007


me: you want some coffee, hon?
cam: yeah, sure.
me: how about you, paul?
me: do you want some coffee?
paul: nah.
paul: no, please.
paul: i don't like coffee, remember?

February 17, 2007


listening to steve burns cover tmbg's "dead":

paul: this is a worried song.

every rose has its thorn

paul: mommy, tell me a story.
me: about what?
paul: tell me a story about how you got all those dots on your face.

roses are red

spying a valentine's card on the table:

paul: why do you have a heart sticker?
me: oh, that's from my friend.
paul: i have two heart stickers for TWO valentines.
me: two valentines?!
me: who is your valentine?
paul: you.
paul: [climbing on my lap]
paul: i love you.

February 14, 2007

when stuffed animals attack

last night we played something called "dodge puppy." it involved running around, yelling and trying to hit each other with extremely soft and furry projectiles. the humane society of the united states will be happy to know that no real puppies were harmed in the making of this game.

new to him

on a whim i put a new shower curtain in the bathroom over the weekend. (it wasn't really new, it was just one that we had retired a long time ago.) i didn't think paul had seen it or even particularly cared, but my mother told me one evening that paul had practically forced her into the bathroom to show her.

paul: there's something new in here!

February 12, 2007

in need of a good mechanic

paul likes to pretend he's on the phone. amusingly enough, he almost always says the same thing:

could you fix my car, please?
the coolant and the purple bottle blew up
and then the coolant blew away because it was loose.
never be found.

cam never heard this until today. "you are the awesome," he says to paul.


cam and paul are launching bits of clay across the living room with the tinkertoy trebuchet they just built. cam is rather pleased with himself. paul is just pleased, period. predictably, i do not really share their joy in this new invention. if i find smushed clay on the couch, i will confiscate both the trebuchet and the ammunition.

yes, i AM bad cop.


paul announced that we should watch tesla coil videos. who or what is this child?

February 11, 2007

too young for me

killing time at old navy while waiting for cam to meet us after his appointment with our tax guy:

me: [holding up a colorful shoulder bag]
me: what do you think of this bag, paul?
me: would you fit inside it?
paul: no.
paul: it is not good for you.
paul: that bag is for younger girls.
me: and i'm an older girl?
paul: yes.
me: thanks.


i'm not sure adam savage is the best role model for my son.

adam: [looking at a barrel crammed with bricks] it's too damned strong!
paul: [grinning] that's what i said.
paul: it's too damn strong.

think pink

paul has a pink barbapapa (i guess it is THE papa? i know nothing of them.) stuffed toy hanging on the doorknob to his room. usually it is facing out, but sometimes it gets turned around -- like here:

paul: shhh.
paul: you have to walk by him very carefully.
paul: tiptoe.
me: so we don't disturb him?
paul: yes.
paul: shh.

girlish figure

looking at a headless mannequin:

paul: look at that piece of girl!

not a new friend

standing in front of a train table at pottery barn kids:

paul: [looking at another little boy] why doesn't he go... over there?
little boy's father: [laughing]

February 10, 2007


paul: tell me a story.
me: i can tell you about the bad dream i just had.
paul: okay.
me: i was still in school.
me: i lost my purse and my backpack.
me: and i looked everywhere and i couldn't find them.
paul: if you had your telescope, you could have found them really easily.
me: i know, but i didn't have a telescope.
me: so i was walking and walking...
paul: then i was there and i found a bag with a handle.
paul: that was your purse!
paul: i gave it to you.
me: you found my purse!
me: you are my hero.
paul: then daddy came and we found another bag with straps on the back.
paul: it was your backpack.
paul: we gave it to you.
paul: we can both be your heroes!


looking at a picture book:

paul: [pointing] what is he doing?
me: he is giving his baby brother a bath.
me: would you want to give a baby brother or a baby sister a bath?
paul: i don't care.
me: do you want a baby brother or a baby sister?
paul: i don't care.
me: ookay.

February 9, 2007


we were looking at kids' bedding at target when suddenly paul crossed one leg over the other and said -- desperately -- "i gotta go."

and then we ran!

next time you're at a store and you suddenly see an entire family zipping by -- mom pushing the cart, natch -- know that they're probably potty-training.

February 6, 2007


yesterday we discovered that paul can't play with play-doh because it contains wheat. not being a big proponent of play-doh (or any clay, for that matter), i am not really that disappointed, but... come on, play-doh! it's part of the tradition of the american childhood, isn't it?

February 5, 2007


me: i like you.
me: you're a nice boy.
paul: i like you.
paul: you're a nice girl.

February 4, 2007

underwater market

looking at etsy for squid-themed items:

paul: you see that brown squid?
paul: he is happy.
mommy: he is happy?
paul: he is happy because he just got food.
paul: from the grocery store.
paul: he swam there.

February 2, 2007


me: paul, come play my agatha christie game with me.
paul: what you said?
paul: a kristy crusty game?

lack of control

this happened a while ago, but my mom just reminded me of it last night.

my mom: do you need to go potty?
paul: not yet.
my mom: okay, just tell me when.
several minutes passed...
paul: oh!
my mom: what's wrong?
paul: oh darn, i just peed on the floor.

my mom: how could you be mad at that?
my mom: "oh darn!"

January 31, 2007


cam: turkey avocado croissant, french fries, pepsi
me: gardenburger (hold the onions), sweet potato fries, coffee
paul: garden salad (no croutons, extra mushrooms, italian dressing on the side), side of bacon, apple juice

if paul could have his way, i suspect he'd eat nothing but bacon, mushrooms and french fries for the rest of his life.

drier than ever before

the last few days paul has really been great about wearing underwear and letting us know when he's gotta run to the bathroom. in fact, yesterday we went out to dinner and he used a public restroom quite successfully (with help, of course). we were practically begging him to let us put him in a diaper before we left home, but he resisted. good for him.

who is this strange almost-potty-trained child? have we met?

January 30, 2007

how do you measure love?

cam: kiss mommy goodnight.
cam: tell her how much you love her.
paul: three.

January 29, 2007

revisions to the guitar hero story

apparently i was delirious (at least to some extent).

actually it was the other way around
his desire to play the song prompted me to buy it
he wanted me to bring the ps2, a tv, and the game into his room
i told him i couldn't
then i asked him if i could put it on my ipod
he said no
then i just played some song and he played along
but then i told him "hold on," went and bought the song, and fired up the camera


paul: i want to play a game with you.
me: okay, when i come home.
paul: bye.
me: bye.
paul: [to my mom] i'm done talking. [hangs up phone]

a new guitar hero

last night paul asked cam to bring the guitar hero guitar to his room. it struck me as a strange request, considering, of course, that the ps2 and therefore guitar hero 2 itself were in the living room. i sort of shrugged and went back to bed.

as i lay in my sickbed, i could hear the allman brothers "jessica" (primarily known in our household as the top gear theme song) playing from paul's room and somewhat absently wondered how that could be. was i so sick i was delirious?

maybe half an hour later, paul and cam came to the bedroom with the laptop to show me that i had not imagined the music. there had been a concert in paul's room, prompted by cam's purchase of the song from itunes.

cam: that's the best $1 i ever spent.


cam: grmph! [pretending to bite paul]
cam: i'm a shark.
paul: no!
me: look, daddy is a shark.
cam: grmph!
paul: no, you are a person.
paul: you have feet.

me: did you know that you're a person because you have feet?
cam: i've heard rumors.

January 26, 2007

daily phone call

me: hi.
paul: hullo.
me: hullo.
me: what's up?
paul: eating.
paul: eating again... eating corntilla.

my mom: [in the background] he's trying to kiss you.
me: he's trying to kiss the phone?
paul: [kiss]
my mom: [to paul] no, no, your mommy doesn't eat bacon!
my mom: he's trying to put the little bowl of bacon in front of the phone.

paul: i love you.
paul: bye.
paul: [to my mom] she's going back to work
me: um, bye.
my mom: [laughing] he wanted to call you.
my mom: he dialed the phone himself.
my mom: he knew he made a mistake -- "that's the wrong number," he said.
my mom: "let's start over."
paul: now let's call my daddy.

January 25, 2007

the big eater

me: hi.
paul: hello.
me: how are you?
paul: fine.
paul: i am eating a million sugars.
me: a million sugars?
me: why are you eating a million sugars?
paul: because i like a millions things.

my mom:
he asked me, "do you have sugar?"
i said, "yeah, i think so."
then he said he wanted a million.
"a million! i don't want to count to a million."
so i took a spoon and just started pouring.
he said, "stop! that's already a million."
he was trying to count the grains.

she also reported that he had eaten nectarines, bacon, tiny wheat-free waffles and jelly. (oh good, actual food.)

paul: i want to go out.
me: where do you want to go?
paul: in 'n' out.
paul: i'm hungry.
paul: i want french fries and coke.
me: but you're already eating a lot.
paul: no, i'm not.
paul: i'm just eating a little.
paul: bye. [hangs up]

how dry he is

a boy! slept! in underpants! all night! and not a wet bed to be seen. a fluke, surely, but still...

January 22, 2007

do you even know what gum is?

a story from cam:

so... paul wanted some raspberry gum
he liked it
and i kept reminding him "okay. don't swallow. just chew"
so then i said "are you ready to spit it out?"
"i can't. it's in my stomach"

January 21, 2007


the other day i realized i was calling paul "pauly" all the time. cam realized independently that he was doing the same. we picked up this habit from cam's dad -- at least i did, i think.

cam: do you want to be called paul or pauly?
paul: paul.
cam: you don't like pauly?
paul: NO.

so that's that. every time i hear myself calling him pauly, i make an effort to stop, rewind, redo. i never liked pauly, so this is not a really hard thing to do.


no wonder i was thinking about paul's sleeping habits last night. he's sick. poor baby was miserable. at about 5, he suddenly freaked out and wanted to sleep on a pillow on the floor. i ended up sitting with him in my lap for about 45 minutes until he fell back asleep. my poor sweetie. i would take all this illness away and put it on myself if i could.


i blame myself for paul's poor sleep habits. whatever my excuses may be -- work, laziness, a desperate need for sleep, a desperate need to make up for being away from him all day, i don't know -- i do wholly accept that i could have and should done a better job with this.


christmas stuff officially came down last weekend. i had already removed the decorations the week before that (during the colts-chiefs game), but cam didn't pull down the tree for a week. while cam was taking apart the tree, i took the christmas cards off the wall (which i should have done earlier, but i wanted to make sure i got a picture of my display before i dismantled it). the living room is just about back to normal.

when i started removing ornaments from the tree, paul was miffed, but it was time. (i had wanted to take the tree down before new year's day, but he had requested an extension.) as soon as i lifted one shiny blue ball off a branch, paul was standing in front of me.

paul: no!
paul: don't do that.
paul: we can leave it up all decorated.
paul: soon it will be christmas again!
me: so, what you're saying is that we should leave everything the way it is all year long so that when it's christmas again we'll be ready?
paul: yes.
me: um, NO.
cam: [laughter]
paul: [walks away in defeat]

i'm all for shortcuts and economy of motion, but jesu cristo, ignoring the post-holiday clean-up for the sake of saving some time in december is just not an option that appeals to me.

January 20, 2007

vertically challenged

me, reading a poem from turtle magazine:
please don't slump.
please don't hunch.
it only makes you smaller.
stand up straight.
you'll look great --
and ever so much taller.

paul, unimpressed:
scrunch up.
you'll be smaller.
you'll look great.

icy treat

no amount of correction will convince paul that "popiscles" are actually called popsicles.


i find paul's manner of speaking adorable.

watch he.

that's the car that bes on tv.

of course, it's adorable because he's three. if he's still talking like this at four, we may have some work to do.

lest you think otherwise

i am NOT ashamed of my boy. i love him more than life.

bringing her up to speed

i was trying to write a letter to a mommy friend and failing miserably. could barely get past the "how were your holidays?" before just trailing off and letting myself get distracted by stuff... like keyboard lint.

it's not that i don't like writing to my friend. it's just that she wants paul updates (she doesn't even know about this blog -- if she does, she's not sayin') and the competitive little bitch in me is all, "riiiight, so you can compare my little stinker against your perfect little one and then feel like you're winning the mommy stakes" -- which is totally unfair because she has never been like that, but other moms just bring out the sad and angry in me.

i told cam today that although sometimes i feel like of lonely, i'm mostly glad to not have other moms and kids around because i can forget about the milestones that paul is missing. there are yardsticks i can ignore. i can concentrate on stuff like paul's burgeoning lexiconnoisseurness --

paul: look at this syringe. [pointing at imaginary needles on the floor -- gah, what an image]
paul: there are two of them.
paul: i built this trebuchet all by myself.
cam: paul, you have the most amazing vocabulary.
cam: i don't even know how old i was when i learned words like "syringe" and "trebuchet."
me: i think i just learned "trebuchet" last year.

no, paul does not dress himself. no, paul does not pick up after himself. yes, he still fights the toothbrushing. yes, he drinks far too much milk. no, he doesn't like to draw. no, he is not potty-trained. no, he's not reading words yet. no, he's afraid of other children.

when distilling the life and progress of a child down to a single page of single-spaced 10-pt arial, we grasp at the obvious. is he developing the way that he should? based on charts and studies and books and experts, is he doing all the things a three-year-old should be doing? i get insecure. i make jokes. i paint less-than-flattering pictures. i don't want to be the gushy mommy, talking about my son's latest habit of drawing on the wall and isn't that cute, he's a pint-sized picasso. huh. i veer to the other side. (leave the heavy praise to my mom -- it's her right as a grandmother.) i mock my mothering skills. if he's not hitting those high notes, it's because i've failed him.

he's a normal kid, i say. he runs, he jumps, he scores! he whines, he fights bedtime, he throws tinkertoys!

yes, i know your tot has been helping you put away the silverware since he was a year and a half. yes, i know that my son's inability to understand what goes where in the kitchen reflects poorly on me. give me a break.

talking to another friend, the dejection sets in. "i have a really great core relationship with my kids, so i'm not worried about what they'll be like when they're teenagers," she chirps. can i hang up on you now? this doesn't make me want to talk to other parents (aside from cam, of course).

i will just have to try again next week. maybe something will happen over the weekend to put me in the communicating mood.

January 19, 2007


we played a game last night that involved the imaginary throwing of imaginary objects. at me. it started out with a ball, moved up to a tiny soft friend and then a slightly bigger soft but wooden friend. eventually paul was throwing entire rooms. some people might consider this peculiar, but i have great imaginary catching skills.

January 18, 2007

wet noses and hot wheels

sitting on his bed:

paul: hullo.
me: hello.
paul: [crawling into my lap]
me: are you a baby or a puppy?
paul: [whimpering puppy sounds]
me: oh, you're a puppy.
paul: [leans head on my shoulder with eyes closed]
paul: [pretend sleeping sounds]
me: what a nice puppy.
paul: hello.
me: oh, you're not a puppy anymore?
paul: no, i'm a boy.
paul: [kiss]
me: what a nice boy.
paul: let's play car crash.
me: okay.

January 17, 2007

novel recipe

paul: hello.
me: hi.
me: what are you doing?
paul: i'm just trying to see why this lemonade is brown.
me: brown lemonade!?
paul: yes.
me: why is it brown?
paul: because i put bacon in it.

January 16, 2007


reactions to my hair have been positive. cam likes it. my mother has been noncommittal. the two people at work who noticed thought it was cute. it's definitely a lot easier to deal with the shorter hair. paul didn't like it at first, amusingly enough.

cam: look at mommy's hair.
cam: don't you want to look at mommy's cute short hair?
paul: no.
paul: [sniffly] i don't want to look.

i don't miss my hair, really, not that much. i don't miss getting my hair caught under my handbag strap in the crook of my elbow or my forearm. i don't miss paul pulling my hair for fun, but i do miss paul grabbing handfuls of my hair for the sole purpose of putting it on his head.

paul: share hair.
paul: i'm sharing your hair, mommy.

January 15, 2007


cam had to go to work today, so paul and i were alone all day (minus a short visit to my mom's house for lemonade and grape tomatoes). we played computer games, watched mythbusters and ate lots and lots of toast. i cut little stars and moons out of brown rice bread (spread thickly with vegan butter). he ate the cutouts. i ate the crusts. he wanted seven slices, so i dutifully toasted, cut and buttered. he dutifully ate.

he got mad at me because i said that i couldn't help him stack dominos because dominos are not meant to stand up. he got over it when i distracted him with pete yorn's new video. he liked the little birds.

we were sitting on the couch with mythbusters ("border slingshot") and toast when i asked him if he wanted to go for a walk. he jumped up and willingly put on jacket and boots. we went down the stairs and started to walk. when a lady with a stroller crossed the street in front of us, paul lagged back and distracted me by pointing down an driveway. then he turned around and announced we were going to walk the other way. we barely got around the corner when his attention was diverted by a little wooden duck with spinning legs. it was really windy, so the legs were moving rather quickly. after a few seconds of pointing at it and talking about it, he suddenly declared we were going back. in front of our house, i asked him for our next destination.

paul: [firmly] inside.

we were probably outside for about 15 minutes, tops. so much for fresh air. that was the world's shortest walk.

he didn't want to try cooking or baking anything. he also wouldn't let me deal with the laundry. i was hoping to have dinner and laundry done by the time cam arrived from work, but paul was having none of that (plus the fact that i had to throw out what i was going to cook -- i lost track of time and my eggplant in the fridge was much older than i realized. oops.). eh. i'm not a good homemaker. cam should just be glad i'm not a good home-burner-downer or a good child-neglecter.

everyone seems to be expecting me to be a worn-out wreck after a day alone with paul (hey, i may work outside the home, but it doesn't make me a total weakling), but believe it or not, life with the fussy mr. baby is not always a struggle. it was a lovely day.

January 13, 2007

nondairy fun

me: say milk.
paul: milk.
me: say nilk.
paul: nilk! [hysterical laughter]

i don't get why this is so funny, but i swear, it never gets old for him.

January 12, 2007

ungrateful, revised

paul decided -- with cam's help -- that a telescope was a pretty good gift after all. i think it's a rad gift, personally, and much more interesting than many other gifts that he preferred, but a boy's mindset is such that if it doesn't have wheels, it sucks.

January 11, 2007

ungratefully yours

my mom: paul has something to say to you. [hands phone to paul]
paul: can i open the package?
me: what package?
paul: it's a package.
me: where did it come from?
paul: it came from the package.
me: from the package?
paul: it came from the mailman.
me: oh, so it just showed up.
me: put your grandma on the phone.
my mom: what is it?
paul: [in the background] i'm going to rip it...
me: where did the package come from?
my mom: it's from [my aunt].
me: ah, okay, put paul back on the phone.
me: i'll tell him he can open it.
paul: can i open the package?
me: yes, go ahead and open it.
[sounds of paper being ripped to shreds]
my mom: [in the background] what is that?
me: what?
my mom: it's a telescope.
me: she got him a telescope?
paul: it's a telescope.
paul: it's not a lightsaber.
me: no, it's not a lightsaber.
me: did you want a lightsaber?
paul: it's not a sword.
me: thank goodness.
paul: it's nothing.
paul: it's just nothing.
paul: it's just a telescope.

January 10, 2007

how to accessorize

last night paul handed me a matchbox car -- a ford shelby cobra concept in black with a wide silver stripe.

paul: this is your car.
me: why?
paul: because it is all black and silver.

with that logic, it's surprising that he doesn't think the raiders should be my team.

January 8, 2007


my mother called. paul told her he was hungry and then proceeded to demonstrate "the sound of a hungry body" by drumming on the metal lid of a tinkertoy container. she noted that it did actually sort of sound like a growling stomach. the boy, is he a genius or just weird?

fun with music

just bought tickets for the wiggles at gibson amphitheatre. cam, paul and i will be going with a friend from work and her baby. yay! we are looking forward to it. i will miss greg, but am sure the new yellow wiggle will be just fine.

January 7, 2007

somewhat painful truths revisited

went through two cabinets (two short billy bookcases with doors) in the library today to see if i could clear up some space to store toys. yeah, i know. don't say it. paul has enough toys to keep an entire third-world country entertained. yeah.

was able to ditch a some catalogs and assorted magazines, but the greatest amount of space came from the disposal of grad school paperwork. as i enter my last year of repayment for my student loan, it seemed like maybe it was time to admit that i would never ever reread my old papers because, well, let's face it, i wasn't the greatest student. my grades were good, but it was all diligence, not brilliance. the comments on my papers would bear me out -- "you write very well, but..." all style, all earnestness -- flimsy theses, simplistic arguments. i knew this about myself back then and i know it now... never claimed to be particularly deep or even particularly bright. still, it does sort of sting. i knew i wasn't cut out for the academic life, but seeing those old notations don't exactly make me want to say, "yep, so true, so true!"

i ended up keeping just a few mementos from the past -- jr./high school journalism records (my mom made me keep a notebook of everything i published back then), a reader for tagalog class, notes from an intensive beginning spanish course at cal state dominguez (i needed a language course for grad school, and i wasn't about to pay for a class at any other of the claremont colleges), some high school creative writing papers kept solely for amusement value at the extravagance of praise, and some aphio stuff i should probably toss (including my pledge notebook).

almost got rid of a pile of 2003 better homes & gardens, but i was weak and they looked so pretty.

in the end, i managed to clear up two and a half shelves. it's so nice to be able to put some of paul's toys out of sight. with luck, he'll forget about them and i'll be able to sneak them out the door...

January 5, 2007

short putt

yesterday a boy played miniature golf with my mother and her friend. apparently he got a hole in one.

i guess all that wii golf has really paid off.


paul wanted to empty out his piggy bank. (it's not really a pig -- it's a puppy with "paul" nicely written on the side. it barks when you put in money. "puppy bank" sounds funny, though. like a place where you'd get and deposit puppies.)

so he did. all over the floor and his bed. not that he's independently wealthy or anything, but when he first got it, he actively solicited donations from anyone willing to part with some change. the thing was stuffed. it was so jampacked it wouldn't even bark anymore.

the coins were then used in made-up games involving throwing money at walls and behind the bed. i expect that when we move the furniture around in paul's room we are going to find a fortune.

night before last i tried to strike a deal with paul. he pick up the coins and i'd get out his toy bowling set. i was so tired of slipping around on change, tired of finding them everywhere, tired of hearing them clank whenever i sat on the bed.

paul: put them in my hand?
me: no, well... yes, put them in your hand and then put them in your bank.
paul: i will pick up ten.
me: no, you have to pick up all of them or i won't give you your bowling set.
paul: it's so difficult.
me: it's not.
paul: here are ten.
paul: one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten.
me: it's not hard -- here's another one.
paul: eleven!
me: i'm not going to give you the bowling set.
me: you didn't pick up all the coins.
paul: i don't want the bowling set.
me: [despairingly] look, i pushed all the coins together.
me: now you can pick them up easier.
paul: [leaves the room]
me: [sighs]

so last night i just picked them up myself, put them in the bank (which barked for several minutes straight) and put the bank on top of an armoire. the boy didn't even notice. i should have just done it earlier. sure, he needs to learn to clean up after himself, but people who throw stones at me for this have never had to live with 50 bucks in change all over their wood floors.

January 4, 2007

always looking on the bright side

my mom called to tell me paul was not reacting well to the change in milk brands. apparently he had thrown the bottle at her and said, "i don't like this milk. i want the REGULAR one."

me: cam, he's being a little shit.
cam: yeah... but at least we're not home.

rotating stock

disaster! catastrophe! costco has stopped carrying my son's favorite brand of soymilk.


the other day i fulfilled my goal of making a pizza for paul.

i had a brand new box of wheat-free pizza crust mix, so i used that. don't know what happened, but after adding the liquid, the dough turned out far wetter than it should have been. it wasn't a familiar brand, so it felt a little strange to my hands. they recommended adding their own branded rice flour to bulk it up if the dough was sticky, but i just used some all-purpose wheat-free flour that i had on hand. turned out all right, but i wasn't very happy with it.

cooked up some tomato sauce, grated some casein-free cheese, added some mushrooms and tossed the whole thing in the oven for maybe 20 minutes. moved it up to the broiler so the cheese would melt. when it was done, it actually looked and smelled pretty nice. tasted all right, too. BUT... paul would not eat it. he ran away. i was ready to cry. cam and i ended up eating half and putting the rest in the fridge.

i used the remaining dough to make soft breadsticks, which he did eat (sliced in half lengthwise with jelly), so the work wasn't a complete waste, but... it was pretty heartbreaking to have my efforts rejected like that.

January 3, 2007

paul's first words to me on january 1st

bye. i don't want you, mommy.

these terrible threes, they are a-trying on the soul.

January 1, 2007

electric guitar hero worship

paul: i am not good at guitar hero.
paul: you are good at it because you always win.
paul: and i don't win.
cam: that's okay.
cam: it is a big game for you.
cam: i think it is at least 8 and up.
cam: and you are only 3.