Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Guess what we did last weekend?

Guess who got her first haircut ever?

Is it terrible that I could NOT stop laughing? Even Josh was getting annoyed and kept saying, "Seriously, it isn't funny. She's freaking out." But it was just so silly, and it wasn't hurting her, although if you'd asked Josie she said it was like getting toenails removed. I was shocked to see her cry so much, because this baby is TOUGH. She gets trampled and knocked over and doesn't bat an eyelash, but apparently haircuts push her over the edge!

The cut is adorable, though! She looks like a little French baby with her cute little bob haircut, especially in the back. It makes her little curls more noticeable, I think, because the curls are all even. We all love it! Josie says this is her first, and last, haircut, though!

I wanted to give you a cuter close-up, but that would require me actually combing her hair, so it's going to take some time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

at least it was free

A few weeks ago, this strange throbbing started in one of my teeth on the left hand side. The throbbing was sporadic, though. It would happen only once in a while, and it was never terrible, mostly just annoying. The vast majority of the time, it wasn't even annoying, I just felt like I knew my tooth was there. It was worse at night, but didn't seem to be affected by anything. I could eat hot foods or cold foods, hot drinks or cold drinks, crunchy food, hard food, it didn't matter. It would come and go, and sometimes I went 2 days without feeling anything.

But I worried. I'd go over these horrible scenarios of what it might be- I'd need a root canal or maybe the tooth would be so bad the dentist was going to have to pull it. I stressed and fretted and felt anxious over what the dentist might tell me. In the meantime, I started having crazy allergies and sinus pain. I know from experience that tooth pain often means a sinus infection, so I calmed down over the whole random throbbing and attributed it to sinus problems. But last week the sinus problems improved, although I'm still having what I assume are allergy headaches, and the tooth continued to bother me. I guess "bother" is the right word. It is such a weird problem to be having.

Finally, on Thursday I bit the bullet and called the dentist, got an appointment for this morning, and then worried myself to death over the weekend. I kept telling myself to let it go because it is what it is and there is nothing I can do about it, worrying won't change the tooth situation and I just have to hope for the best and not ruin our weekend over it. The tooth was about the same, maybe a little better, and I realized that the gums around the tooth were also swollen. Another worry added to my list, of course. Now I thought I might have some crazy gum disease that was infecting teeth. It was a fabulous weekend.

This morning I went to the dentist's office, and convinced myself that even a trip to the dentist, alone, with a great book, was really a good thing. Practically a vacation, right? The dentist whacked away at my teeth, did x-rays, chatted with me over symptoms, poked around while I yelped in response, and guess what?


I have apparently "shredded" my gums by flossing zealously and am aggravating the cuts every night when I floss again. I have been interpreting the throbbing as tooth pain when it was really GUM pain.

I'm thrilled by this diagnosis, of course, although I feel like a giant fool. I made Josh take off from work, made an extra long dentist appointment so he'd have time to repair the tooth if needed, worried for WEEKS over this, and now I have strict orders to STOP FLOSSING. I'm doing gum massages with my finger (which cracks me up), salt water rinses until the tissue heals, and no flossing for at least a week and even then, I'm resuming with a different brand and method.

Of course, Josh claims this is proof that his teeth care method is superior to mine- i.e. never, ever, under any circumstances, floss your teeth. Brush only sporadically.

Life is so unfair sometimes.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

avoid beheadings and crucifixions at all costs

It was raining yesterday, and given our new non-school situation, I've been trying to get the kids out the door and doing activities most days. If we stay home, I find that the percentage of screaming coming out of me goes up dramatically, so out the door we go.

I was feeling brave, and decided to attempt Boston's Museum of Fine Art. With a three year old. And a one year old. By myself. In the rain. Stop laughing. Seriously, it's not funny.

I did my research beforehand and read on the website that the MFA offers little bags of activities for kids and some handouts on ways to keep them engaged- something along the lines of "how many dogs can you find in these pictures?" I was excited and enthusiastic and I packed tons of snacks and talked up the visit and kept telling Gabe we were going to see pictures and sculptures and mummies and all that. I wavered at the last minute, wondering whether I should take a single or double stroller, because the double would mean full confinement for Gabe, but I decided in the end that taking him into a museum and not even letting him walk by himself was cruel and unusual punishment, and brought the single instead.

We arrived and he started running ahead immediately, telling anyone who would listen we were going to look at pictures and having a special day. I checked our coats (less baggage), headed straight to the visitor's center for our free bag of goodies, and we were on our way. The bag was totally not age appropriate, but Gabe felt super special just to be carrying it around. We would arrive into a room and he'd plop down on a bench and remove all his items from the bag, sort the papers, and put them all back again.

We basically did a speed tour of the museum. We'd walk into a room and I'd offer commentary about this lady's hat, or that pack of dogs, or "wow! Look at those cows!" and then we'd move on. I talked up the newest exhibit containing items from a tomb, thinking the toy ships would be a big hit, but he barely looked at them. We liked the walking around, and except for an incident where HE TRIED TO SHIMMY UP A SCULPTURE, all was right with the visit. Let's not talk about the sculpture climbing, I've blocked it out and I hope no one caught it on video.

The museum was fairly loud, thank goodness, due to visiting school children and tourist groups, so our chattering went unnoticed. Three year olds and one year olds are not clear on the whole "inside quiet voices" thing. We did get reprimanded when Josie realized her voice echoed in one hall and she let out several loud "ahas" as I raced through the room. The employee at the museum sternly told her to stop, which I found kind of unnecessary as I was obviously doing my darnedest to get out of the room asap. Stopping us in the middle to shush us did not speed up the process. Plus, dude, she's one. And small for one, most people assume she is 9 months old.

The Japanese gardens were great, and both kids balanced on rocks and walked across the benches and enjoyed the reprieve from the rain. Lunch was also a hit, and we sat at a table and looked outside at the courtyard and talked about what we'd seen.

All in all, I'm not doing it again any time soon, but it was fine. Gabe would tell you he saw "some picture men and a guitar", Josie would tell you she was pissed I wouldn't let her out of the stroller, and I'd tell you I'm happy to be able to tell my in-laws I took their grandkids to the museum. I survived, only a little frazzled and not much worse for the wear. Next time, though, it's the Aquarium for us.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

drama with the 3 year old crowd

I can't believe I forgot to tell you what happened when we got back from California! I had to pull Gabe out of the CRAZY PRESCHOOL. I know. Summer started veeeerrrrryyy early in the Halloweenlover household, and it hasn't been pretty.

I'm sure you remember the preschool drama, but for those of you who missed it, you can catch up here.

The continuation is that the day I was flying home from California, when Gabe was supposed to be back at school 2 days later, I get a message on my cell phone letting me know BOTH of Gabe's teachers quit while we were gone. One just up and quit and never showed up again at work, and the other claims she got a full-time job and they needed her to start asap. With 6 weeks left of the school year, and no notice. So the director was left to find two substitutes for Gabe's classroom with, ohhh, 3 days of notice.

I called the teacher back, listened to her long-winded, totally unclear explanation, and then called the director to get more details. In the meantime, Josh and I start talking about what to do. I wasn't fully comfortable sending Gabe into a classroom with two substitutes that were found at the last minute and no supervision from the director or the other 20+ years experience teacher. Josh assured me, though, the two substitutes couldn't possibly be left alone with the ten children given the circumstances.

Oh wait, did I mention this would be Gabe's FIFTH and SIXTH new teachers of the year? We have had multiple teachers quit since he started in September.

Anyway, I called the director back on Monday morning to get the scoop before Gabe was supposed to be in at 9am. She exploded on the phone at me, ranting about the teachers and how unprofessional they'd been (agreed) and how it made her look bad (agreed) and how everyone was going to think she'd fired them (um, no that isn't precisely what it make me think) and how ridiculous the whole situation was (agreed). She went on and on about what the teachers quitting was doing to HER, and how SHE felt about the situation, and what a bad position SHE was in.

At some point in our chat, I said I assumed since there were two classrooms, let's call the other classroom room A (no disruption all year), and Gabe's classroom room B (fifth and sixth new teachers), with two teachers each, she would be putting one experienced teacher in each class, and one substitute or temporary teacher in each class. So room A would get one original experienced teacher and one new teacher, and room B would get one experienced teacher and one new teacher also. This seemed the fairest plan to me, since room B has already had so much upheaval.

Seriously, I haven't even bothered to mention it throughout the year because it seems so absurd, but Gabe's classroom has been wild. I've arrived to mad chaos almost every day, and teachers who look defeated and unhappy and uninspired. I hear stories from other parents about conflicts they've had both with the director and with the teachers, and although the kids seem fine, they don't seem to be thriving. Gabe was in a little home-based toddler program last year, and he seemed so much happier and excited to go every day, and when I came to pick him up at the end of the morning, the director never seemed to annoyed and frustrated with the kids. Whenever there has been an event, such as a teacher leaving or a child having problems, I see a noticeable effect on the kids, Gabe included.

Okay, back to the conversation. I said I thought it was most fair for the teachers (the director is one of the teachers in the other classroom) to be split between both classrooms so both classes get a little upheaval and lots of stability. Her response? "To be honest with you, we're not doing that because I don't feel like it." (emphasis added on my part) "I just don't want to have to deal with a substitute teacher. I think I have a difficult classroom this year, and I enjoy working with my assistant teacher, and I just don't have the strength or inclination to deal with someone new."

Wait, are you speechless yet? Are you noticing she ISN'T EVEN PRETENDING this is about the kids? My response? "Well, to be honest with you, I don't think Gabe's class is the easiest class ever, and I don't feel comfortable sending him into a class with teachers who haven't worked with these kids before and who were found on such short notice." She said she understood, but again, didn't really care, and didn't want to deal with the temporary teacher, and thought it wasn't a bit deal for the kids to have all of this change, and didn't think it was affecting them, so she wasn't changing anything. Oh, and if I didn't like it, I was welcome to leave.

The conversation was longer than this, of course, but I was actually pretty proud of myself because I tend to not say what I'm thinking in confrontational situations, but in this case, where my son was concerned, I said what I thought. I said I was disappointed in the situation. I said I didn't think she was being fair. I said I wasn't comfortable, and at the end, I said I was pulling him out of the school. And she said fine. And then I chickened out, so Josh called back and asked for our money back for the last two months and she agreed.

We were in a particular situation, where we'd been on vacation for 2 weeks, so Gabe already had a period of separation from the school and had no idea what had gone on with all of the teachers quitting. There were 6 weeks left of school (one of which was April vacation), and we didn't think it made sense to put him through all those changes and adjustments just to leave in such a short time. Josh, in particular, felt strongly he didn't want Gabe sent back to the school.

The first week, I'm not going to lie, I panicked. It was April, and the summer stretched on interminably and September looked ridiculously far off. I buckled down, though, and started making plans for day trips. I've called everyone we know, made playdates for every day, and taken the kids to the Museum of Science, the Children's Museum, Boston Common, parks everyday, the library, long walks, whatever gets us out of the house and onto a schedule has been included. The first days were painful, and just when I assumed Gabe would never ask, he asked if he could go to school tomorrow and I had to tell him school was over. It was sad, but Gabe didn't seem all that upset, although we had a couple days of less than stellar behavior which I attributed to the news.

Lately, though, things have been great. The house is a little messier, and dinner has been a little skimpier, but everyone is happy and busy and enjoying the days. I'm glad we made this choice, and I hope next year's preschool is better in so many ways. Closer, more professional, more stable, and NOT CRAZY! Is that too much to ask?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

bloggy business and mother's day too!

I did it! I did it!

It's been years, but I finally updated my blog. I was a little sad to do it, because I did love the customized autumn blog theme, but it was time. This bloggy background is more Spring and Summer appropriate. Hopefully before Halloween comes back around, I'll be able to find something a little more Fall and Winter appropriate. Plus, the graphic artist who designed it is from Argentina! Totally fitting, no?

What do you think? Better? That "labels" feature, which tells you how many posts are about any given subject is kind of scaring me, though. I apparently talk about Gabe A LOT. Poor Josie is going to start feeling neglected if I don't start sharing the news about her!

Happy belated Mother's Day also! My day was fabulous and the kids were sweet and Josh was generous and helpful and I had a great time. I received cards in bed and a book about cheese, because I've decided I want to be a cheese connoisseur (long story for another post). My book about cheese was accompanied by a gift certificate to my favorite cheese shop and a promise to take me on a Vermont Cheese Tour. We spent the day in Rockport, Massachusetts, and walked around in the freezing wind drinking hot chocolates, window shopping, eating cupcakes, and then taking leisurely drives up the coast.

It was truly lovely, and the kids were funny and silly and behaved beautifully. I think I'll keep the three of them. I do adore them.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Years ago, when I first started blogging, I obviously didn't understand the power of the Internet. I didn't (and I know I'm not the only one) realize that simple comments I made, or (what I thought were) generic references regarding my town would allow readers to pinpoint my location or learn who I was. I thought I was being super secretive, but I realize now there is really no such thing. Once you put yourself out there, inevitably you'll say something allowing people to know where you live or what your name is, no matter how careful you think you're being.

I remember reading one of my favorite blogs and having her reference a dinosaur exhibit in her town, and out of curiosity, I googled the dinosaur reference and BOOM, all of a sudden I knew exactly which very small town she lived in. Another blogger told me a story about a reader emailing her with very personal details about her address and her children, simply from a few comments she'd made about her library, a farm they frequented, and a general description of her town. I don't blog under my real name for precisely this reason, I guess. I don't have a totally crazy name, but it is unique enough to pinpoint me on the map.

Anyway, Josh implores me to do my best to keep our location private, so I do, but this certainly puts a cramp in my blogging style. On a daily basis I think of things to tell you about our town's ridiculous garbage situation, or the dramatic police event that took place in our front yard yesterday, or the ridiculous nature of some of my neighbors, but I don't. Maybe it is a wasted exercise and totally unnecessary, because obviously tons of people blog under their real name, but I am paranoid, so I don't.

What about the rest of you? Do you worry about this? I know some of you blog under your real name, but what made you decide to be straight with the Internet? If you're not, are you super careful with your details?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

spoiled, ungrateful, bitchy, all of the above

Josh asked me if an appropriate Mother's Day gift would be a contribution to our swing set fund.

Am I meanest, most selfish mom EVER if I say no?

I don't know, something about swing set fund contributions does not feel Mother's Day-ish to me. I don't even care about any presents. I'd be thrilled with breakfast in bed and homemade scribbles from the kids, and maybe a little fabric shopping outing for me. I love to fabric shop, did I ever mention that? But the whole kid gift contribution thing felt very non-gifty to me.

I'm sure he meant well, since he knows I am desperate for a swing set which will (hopefully) provide countless hours of amusement for my two monsters. His heart was definitely in the right place, I am just hard to please perhaps.

What are your Mother's Day traditions? Give me ideas!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

letting the hippie out

Sorry, but I'm taking the excitement level down around here. Last post was about seductive dance, today's is about drying your clothes. Titillating, I know. Try to contain yourselves.

I need some advice. I hate using the electric clothes dryer, and our laundry room is often seen overrun with clothes hanging from a metal drying rack, wet clothes on hangers hung all over the room, and sometimes even clothes in the dining room or kitchen draped over chairs. My old house had this fabulous clothes line across the section of the basement devoted to laundry, but the new house is lacking in such novelties. Our new room is a largish laundry room, so there is no reason why I can't eventually add some laundry hanging racks or whatever, but it isn't in the budget right now.

Anyway, I've never experimented with outdoor laundry drying, and I'm intrigued. I read people's reports of the fresh outdoor smell on sheets or clothing, and I want to see if this smell really lives up to its reputation. I want a clothesline.

Josh is mortified, of course, and has been muttering under his breath how tacky we are going to look and what is wrong with me, and keeps suggesting ridiculous alternatives to dry our clothes that do not include drying outside. I will not be deterred, though. I want the fresh smell, I want to feel these amazing sheets, I want to embrace my eco-friendly side.

My problem is, I don't know where to start. My instinct is to buy two pulleys, string one from our deck and one from our tree. Then I'd stand on the deck with our laundry basket and attach each piece of laundry and pull the string away from me as I load it up, then do the opposite when I take it down. Of course, this is maximum visibility and maximum tackiness in Josh's opinion. This is the cheapest and easiest option, however. Another possibility is to buy one of these portable racks and put it outside on the patio or deck or whatever when I'd like to hang up clothes, but there are an awful lot of portable racks and they aren't quite as inexpensive as I'd hoped. I looked up all the other directions for installing a more permanent clothesline, but those directions involved concrete and digging holes and I just don't think we'll ever get to it these days.

So, suggestions? Anyone use a clothesline? Liked it, hated it? Have tips on which to buy? Would like to tell me what a crazy crunchy nut I'm turning out to be? If you'd told me a few years ago when I was dry cleaning everything I owned, ordering take out every night at the office, and gas guzzling all over town, that in a few short years I would be hanging everything up to dry, breastfeeding my 16 month old, participating in a community supported agriculture share, and buying tons of organic foods, I'd have laughed in your face.

Oh, how times have changed!