Category Archives: appearance screw-ups

We Both Like to Roll in the Mud and Neither of Us Enjoy Bacon, Thus We Are Just the Same

When I was a kid, I used to beg my parents incessantly to play board games with me. If I nagged and whined enough, or got sick, they would give in for a game or two. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t excited about board games. Were they just too busy?

Now I am the parent. I have two kids who whine and nag me to play board games. Something odd happened on the day my firstborn arrived: I now loathe board games. I hate them. I despise them. Even the quick, easy ones make me cringe. “Just one more game of Sneaky Squirrel, Mom? Please? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE?”

Dumples’ favorite game is Super Why. If you’ve never heard of Super Why, then you certainly have never owned a toddler in recent history. Super Why is a PBS show about reading, superheroes, and fairytales. Dumples wants to BE Super Why. Whose real name is Whyatt. Just so you know.

“Please please please please PLEASE, Mom, will you play Super Why with me?”

I cracked. Just one time, I said. Because, you know, I’m super BUSY. Just like my parents were when I was four.

Dumples set up the game board, the spinner, the playing cards, the game pieces. She grabbed the Whyatt token. “I’m going to be Super Why!” she said. Of course she was. “And Mom, you are most like Alpha Pig so you can be Alpha Pig.”

Alpha Pig: my brother from another mother.

Alpha Pig: my brother from another mother.

I think I’ve figured out why I no longer enjoy board games.



The Secret Sock Story

When I get home from work this evening, Erma is wearing one pink cat sock and her other six-year-old foot is naked. “What happened to your other sock?” I ask her.

She sighs. “It’s kind of complicated.”

And that’s all she would tell me.

Bombs Away

Here is a conversation I had tonight with my three-and-a-half-year-old, upon getting home from work.

“Mom, how come all your bombs are white?”

“I don’t know. Just because.”

“You should get some other color bombs.”

“Why? Don’t you like white?”

“Because other color bombs would be cooler.”

“Like what color?”

“Like blue! You should have blue bombs!”

“I don’t have any blue bombs.”

“Do you have any more colorful bombs?”

“I have tan bombs.”

“Hand bombs? You put bombs on your hands?!?”

“No, not hand. Tan. The color tan. Like brown only lighter.”

“Oh, I thought you were going to wear bombs on your hands. You’re a silly mom!”


What is the first thing you do when you get home from work? Because for me, the first thing I do is discard my bombs. And I’ll let you guess what that means.

The Flower Song

Parenthood has brought me to the boundaries of bribery I never thought I would reach. “I’ll play E-I-E-I-O if you get in the car and get buckled,” I say after picking Sigourney up from childcare. This is the fifth or sixth bribe in the same number of minutes. “We can go home and see Daddy if you put your coat on.” “If you want to have dinner, you better put your mittens on.” “Get in your seat if you want to look at the book.” And in the end: “SIT DOWN RIGHT NOW SO I CAN BUCKLE YOU. IT IS 12 DEGREES AND MOMMY IS COLD!” Which is not so much a bribe as an ambiguous threat/frantic plea.

“I no want E-I-E-I-O,” Sigourney says in her whiniest possible voice. “I want Flowah Song.”

“Other song?” I switch to the next song. “This other song?”

ponchoNo. NO. FLOWAH SONG!”

“Flower song?”

“Yeah. Yeah! Flowah Song!”

I made the mix CD we are listening to. There is no Flower Song.

We skip from song to song while Sigourney skips from impatient to frustrated to angry. “NOOOO! Dat not flowah song!”

Thirty-three songs later we get to the Flower Song. Its formal name is, “Do Your Ears Hang Low?” There is no reference to flowers in the song.

This is the slow path to insanity.

In other news, Sigourney knows her colors now! Well — except for red, blue, and green. And purple.


La vida loca!

Picture It: December 2012

She may not look like me, but I’ve compiled a neat list of signs that my daughter and I share at least a few of our genes:

  • “I’m cold. I should snuggle under a blanket. Brrrrrrrrr. When is it going to be summer again?”
  • “I love playing with nesting dolls! Aww, look at this one; it’s so tiny. AWWWW.”
  • “Drinking water makes my body healthy. … Do I have to drink ALL the water in this cup?”
  • “Yeah, I want to dress up as an old lady Pia Pillow!”
  • “Ow! I hurt my thumb eating my dessert.”
  • “Is my hair going to ever be uncurly again? Will the curliers make it curly forever? Let’s brush it out before it stays curly for forever.”
  • “MOM! I have an emergency! My movie isn’t working!”
  • “How small does this sucking candy need to be before I can bite it? This small? This small? How about THIS small?”
  • “I think I have a tummy ache. It’s a gas bubble. I think it’s just gas. … I’m hungry.”
  • “Go to bed? But I haven’t had any dessert yet!”
  • “Let’s just read ONE more book before going to bed. Please?”
  • “I give up!”


Postcards, Potpourri, and Ponchos from Turkey

Sigourney has a multitude of questions in her repertoire. We are familiar with, “Whatsat?”, “What you do-een?”, and “Where Sis-tah go?”

But falling into place with her second birthday (October 15), Sigourney has lived up to the toddler code of conduct and introduced to us and the world around us that age-old toddler interrogative.

“We need to go this way,” I told her this morning as I hustled her out of the pediatrics clinic where we had discussed her ongoing coughing issues and gained from the proceedings an appointment to see a pulmonologist and four Scooby Doo stickers.


“Because this is the way out,” I explained patiently.


“Because we are leaving now. We are done with the doctor.”


“Because it’s time to go to school now.”

“Oh. Ride dat?”

“No, you cannot ride in the wheelchair.”


“Because it’s not for you. It’s for people who can’t walk.”


“Okay, here we are at the door. Come on, come on. Now we need to hold hands.”


“Because we are going outside and we are going to walk across the street to our car.”


“Because it’s time to go to school now.”


The thing is, I don’t mind answering the mysteries of the universe questions, but I don’t feel like she is really listening to the answers. It’s just filler for her toddler mind while she thinks about which pocket she put her Scooby Doo stickers in, who that one guy is over there, or when I will pause long enough for her to ask WHY again.

Tonight, after a long morning of WHYs and a long afternoon at work of HOWs, I came home to a package addressed to me.

The truth is, I already knew it would be waiting, because I had received the following email from my beloved (who shall remain unnamed):

Did you order something from Ankara, Turkey???

To which I replied:

Yes, I did. My poncho.

Laughter ensued in the form of chatspeak abbreviations. For some reason, receiving a lovely garment from a romantic faraway land makes a person guffaw? I can’t imagine why.

When I arrived home, I tore into that foreign packaging (very similar to domestic packaging, disappointingly) and unveiled:

I’m knitting a hat. Or a legwarmer. Or a fur coat. It’s hard to tell. So far I’ve done more unraveling than stitching.

This poncho is going to change my life. I can wear it while I’m knitting. I can wear it while Drawing Something. I can wear it to work? Can I? Say I can.

“Oh, Mom, you look beautiful,” Erma said, and in the same breath, “When can *I* wear your boncho?”

Sigourney just stared. Long moments of blissful silence. Then she summed up everything in one word:


Poncho + Scrunchie = Mad Success


A Vacation from Myself

In case you haven’t yet received your postcard (*shakes fist at postal service*), you should know that I’m on vacation. I’m taking a vacation from myself.

No, that’s not true. I wish that was true.

I am taking a vacation from the children. I took them on a 30-hour train ride so my parents could “spend quality time with their granddaughters” in a cozy downtown setting, while I play on the internet. That was The Plan.

On the third day of my vacation, Sigourney decided it would be fun if we visited the Emergency Room, where she was diagnosed with bacterial pneumonia. That was a fun four hours, especially for my sick, little almost-two-year-old. I have never seen her this sick.

I have to wonder how she contracted bacterial pneumonia. It could be attributed to:

  • Licking the train windows (they taste like bacon…so I have heard)
  • Eating random things off the floor of the train
  • Too much dairy (pretty sure too much dairy is the cause of All Bad Things)
  • Daycare

Or we could just lump it into one big group called “bad mothering.”

Anyway, she is recovering and not sleeping and I am recovering from her recovering and not sleeping, and we’re all doing it together here in downtown Portland.

The first sign that something was off with Sigourney was when she developed bugeyes on Saturday afternoon.

The White Whale

The dingy fluorescent lighting in the bathroom at work really highlights the occasional silver in my hair. Once a strand catches the light, I have to hunt it down (a la Shark Week) until I have finally removed it. Usually, there is a new bald spot where I have been pulling hairs in search of the white whale.

The silver hair is only half as embarrassing as how dirty I now notice the bathroom mirror is.

But this one time, this ONE time, I just could not yank that glowing ember of former brown.

I brought my problem home to Flathead. “Can you please pull out my silver hair?” I asked him.

He replied, “All of them?!?!”

That was a real punch in the self esteem.

I thought there was only that one.

The Super Secret Solution to Precarious Parenting Predicaments

I have just uncovered the secret to parenting.

That should be capitalized, bold, starred, and upped a notch.

And I am going to share it with you.

It’s stickers.

That’s right. Stickers.

Here is what you do:

  1. Get a bunch of stickers.
  2. Get a child.
  3. Get a book.

Then lay down and enjoy the ride.

Look at the enjoyment in my eyes.

Seriously, the kids were busy decorating me with stickers for hours. HOURS. If I had my Nook or an episode of Seinfeld or some Neil Diamond music, it would have been pretty close to my idea of parenting paradise.

The next question for the universe to answer is this:

How am I going to remove all these blasted stickers?

The Combover

My petite hair stylist has advanced from fixing up her own ‘do to making her sister sparkle and shine.

So it begins.


It might be a little knottier than it was before, but it’s really starting to LOOK like something.


Voila! Erma is like a new preschooler!