Thursday, 13 December 2012

Baby Carrot

I was visiting with a young mother today whose three-year-old daughter was instantly leery of me.  I tried to be  Happy, Friendly Pre-K Lady but she wasn’t having any of it.  When she finally ventured over  with her baby doll, I chirped sweetly, “What’s your baby’s name?”  She took a step closer and whispered, “My baby’s name is Baby Carrot.”  I ecstatically cooed over the dolly and gave it a tender little kiss on the forehead.  Surreptitiously rubbing her baby’s head clean, she leaned over and quietly informed me, “Baby Carrot doesn’t like you.”   I guess you could say I have a certain genius when it comes to children.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Old News

Mr. Personality
 I came across a copy of an e-mail I had sent Dan on November 17, 2005 while he was in England and I was teaching at QSI Sarajevo.  At the time, Logan was 17 months old and Hannah was 4.  It's like time travelling, but without the hassle of building a time machine.

Hi Honey,
Since we don't have a lot of time to talk, I thought I'd keep you in the loop via e-mail.
     Logan has really developed his own personality.  I'm not sure I like it all the time.  For example, if I get mad at him and sternly tell him to go to sleep, he'll shout back at me, calling me a fascist dictator, or something like that.  When he was in the tub tonight, he started to throw the bath toys out of the tub.  I told him not to do it--twice--and after each time, he threw out another toy.  Then I wagged my finger and scolded, so he threw out another one.  I smacked his hand and threatened him, he protested and called me names as he threw out another toy.  I finally hauled him out of the tub to the sound of his angry tears and protests.
     Hannah has really taken to one of the kids in our class.  Of course, it's the kid who is the biggest trouble maker.  His parents are going to be called in for a conference regarding his behaviour.  He is from another country and is learning to speak English.  He has some learning disability that is sort of like ADHD, but somehow, much, MUCH worse.  Hannah gets a kick out of his accent and has learned to mimic it to perfection.  It makes me see PURPLE.  Her ability to copy voice inflections is unbelievable.   However, I just don't want to hear that accent if I'm not getting paid!
     She had to do a worksheet today writing the numerals one through four.  She whizzed right through it with no assistance, writing much better than 90%  of the other kids who have been in school over a year longer than she has.  Hannah has only started school since October.  She also knows her letters and sounds better than ALL of the other kids and can easily read and write, "at, cat, hat, mat, sat, rat, fat, bat."
     It has taken her about a month to figure out her place in the class.  She annoys the snot out of most kids because she doesn't respond to their nonverbal cues, but she is finally figuring out she can't just knock down other children's towers or climb on them or barge into their games.  Most of the English speaking kids were there last year and have formed their own cliques, so that leaves her the non-English speakers with which to play.  I told her when we moved to England, ALL the kids would be able to speak English.
     Honey, if you really want us to fly to England in 30 days for Christmas, we need to get the tickets and I haven't heard from you yet regarding where and when Ryan Air flies.  To be honest, the whole thought of having to pack up and drag 2 little kids across Europe is not high on my list of things I can't wait to do, so I'm pretty willing to let it slide.  I'm going to need some help on this one, OK?
     Well baby, I've got a sink full of dishes and toys scattered everywhere that beckons, so I need to go.

P.S.  We did end up flying to England for Christmas and it was exactly the 3-ring circus I knew it would be.  Luckily, my mom was with me and helped us get to Heathrow with some sanity.  Hannah fell ill on the flight with a fever and when we got to the airport, was delusional.  Good times...

First snow in Sarajevo

Learning to work with others


Friday, 24 August 2012

The End is Near

Art Camp

The title might lead you to believe I'm talking about the whole gloomy 2012 Mayan Calender/end of the world thing. Nothing could be further from the truth; it's a rallying cry to all you stay-at-home moms who have trudged through NINETY, sweltering, endless days of summer vacation and never once had Child Protective Services called to your home.  School is just around the corner! Summer is almost over! The finish line is within sight!  Make it your mantra as the little darlings bicker about  who actually saw the slug-bug first, or when they're disputing precisely what would happen if we were sucked into a black hole, or what Santa might or might not deem acceptable on a Christmas list.  Congratulate yourself for having been a successful cruise director on a seemingly interminable voyage with surly, impatient, egomaniacs as your passengers.

 I  suggest you nonchalantly have your kids reminisce with you all the fun things you did together (chalk drawing, making cookies, going to the matinee, water pad, pool, picnics etc).  Seriously.  Get out a big poster board and write it all out, then have them color  pictures by each event.  Why?  Because on the first day of school, the teacher is going to ask them what they did for summer vacation and they are going to draw a blank and write something like, "we didn't do anything except watch TV and play video games."   It doesn't matter if you took them on a voyage to the space station Meir, they.will.NOT.remember!   Forewarned is forearmed, people.
4th of July Parade
Cub Scout Camp
Lemonade Stand

Dallas Trip


Sunday, 12 August 2012


We've been living in these here parts for well over a year now so we've had time to learn a few things.  First off, deer are protected and therefore very prolific in our neighborhood.  We toss all our fruit and veggie peelings in the back yard and within 30 minutes, we have at least 2 or 3 deer nibbling away.  Sometimes, we even hand feed a few of the tamer ones.  When we have guests over, they get all giddy if they go out Mama the doe eats right out of their hands.  It's really awesome until you realize that not only will they eat your watermelon rinds in the summer and your jack-o-lantern leavings in the fall, but everything you might plant all year long.  Rats with hooves every.single.oneofthem.

In the spring, we have March of the Tarantulas.  Apparently they migrate every year RIGHT PAST OUR HOME.  Really freaky until you find out that  they aren't poisonous (much), nor  aggressive, and they will kill scorpions--who are about six notches higher on the creepy scale than tarantulas.  What, you didn't know there was a Creep-o-Meter?  It varies from region to region, but in Texas lake country it looks like this:
10. Wolf spiders (they're big but not big time poisonous)
  9. Cockroaches (you know, the really BIG ones-*shiver*)
  8. Tarantulas (big and hairy, but the only ones on the list that kills another item on the list)
  7. Ticks (courtesy of the deer)
  6. Mosquitos (the whole West Nile hysteria)
  5. Wasps and Africanized bees  (very grumpy and stingy)
  4. Centipedes (they've been supersized and measure between 8-12")
  3. Scorpions (Satan's little minions)
  2. Rattle snakes (at least they give you a warning)
  1. Water Moccasins (who are aggressive and territorial which makes swimming in the lake an adventure every.SINGLE. time)

On the domestic side of Critterville is the pooch.  He's fluffy on the outside but all ninja on the inside.  He'll take on anything from a Great Dane to a tarantula.  We make sure he's inside come nightfall so he doesn't become a cougar hors d'oeuvres.  Yep, there's been sightings of the big cats here.  So though he runs off the local yokels with ferocious glee (squirrels, deer and the occasional cat), he never fails to welcome all humans as long lost pals. It's embarrassing, really.

One of the newer additions to our family is a Fancy Russian Dwarf Hamster named Misty.  She's so soft, you want to have 3,000 just like her so you can skin them and make a nice fur coat...but you wouldn't of course because that would be vile and inhumane and ooooh soooo plush...

Also, as of last month, we have two she-rats.  They've got names, but I just call them Poopy Pants and Not  So Poopy Pants.  Because they poop. On you.  Repeatedly. While you're holding them.    They're not pictured here because they are quick and inquisitive--a bad combination when trying to take pictures. Ask any parent of a two-year-old.

I know the kids will give this entry poor reviews if I fail to mention we also have two Japanese Fighting Fish. In separate tanks, of course so all you PETA gorillas can stand down.  You can Google it if you want to see them.  Oh, never mind, here's a link because you and I both know you're not going to look it up:

It is my sincere hope that there will be no more beasties added to our menagerie.  Hannah would very much like to keep a gecko and a lizard but has grudgingly conceded to a "catch and release" program.  I wouldn't mind a gecko loose in the house since they prey upon bugs, but I draw the line at salmonella. I know...  I'm heartless.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Unabashed Plagiarism

I've really been trying to find something to write about, but we have no entertaining stories to share. I blame the children. They're not trying hard enough to amuse me. Lucky for you, Hannah's teacher had the class write letters from the point of view of a fairy tale character back in January, so I'm just going to pass Hannah's writing along as my post.

Dear Granny and Red,
I am the wolf that ate Granny and I have a few things to say. First of all, I have a name. It is Winston, not "The Wolf". Also, I was extremely hungry that day, and you Red, took a perfectly good meal away.
Another thing, was it really necessary to bring the rocks into the whole process? I mean it's bad enough you had to give me SURGERY without an ANESTETIC. But filling me up with rocks? Really?! Do you realize how LONG it takes to DIGEST those things?! You could have just told me about the burger joint 3 blocks away. I didn't even know it exsisted until I fell into the river, then a passing turtle family (the same ones who rescued me, mind you) told me about it. But after surgery by non-certified doctors, half drowning, and being dissed by a FISH, I wasn't in the mood for a burger. So next time you see a hungry wolf, just tell him about that joint. Saves a lot of trouble.


Winston the Wolf

The first time I read it, I was subbing at the kids' school and Hannah's teacher let me have a sneak peek. She showed me two other of her "top" stories and of course, my daughter's was the most cleverly written. Unfortunately, the teacher didn't post the grade on it nor leave any remarks. I leave that for you to do in the comments section:

Monday, 23 January 2012

The Eighties

In a movie we were watching, there was a reference to Budda being unavailable. I explained to Logan that it was funny because Budda had lived thousands of years ago and was therefore, dead--which was why he was unavailable. He wanted to make sure he understood and asked, "Budda lived hundreds of years ago?"
"Yes, hundreds and HUNDREDS of years ago," I confirmed
"So, did he lived back in the '80's?" he asked. With a chuckle, I agreed, "Yeah, back in the '80's."

So all of you born in the '80's or before,---welcome to being classified as ancient history.

Family Dynamics Defined

Recently, we've been trying to encourage Logan to speak more, which means Hannah is required to give him more opportunities to speak. Imagine trying to get a girl to quit talking so she can ponder what a boy thinks... As you can see, it's nearly an impossible task.

Logan best illustrated this while I was helping him learn his spelling words last week. On one particularly ticklish word, he was having trouble sorting out which vowels to use first in the word "fuel". I explained that we could hear the long U sound, but that U needed another vowel to help him "say his name". I trotted out the well worn reminder, "When two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking...and the second one says nothing at all." He watched as I circled the letter U and softly crossed out the letter E to indicate that E says nothing at all. Pointing to the U, he said, "That one's Hannah" then he pointed to the E, "and that one's me."