Category Archives: won’t somebody please think of the children

It Was Such a Cute Little Tushie

Chickie turned seven years old today, which means I’ve been a mother for seven years. I think I’m totally getting this parenting thing now. Upon heading out for a small celebration with a few of her friends, she warned me in her most stern seven-year-old voice:

“Now remember, Mom. You can talk to my friends about anything EXCEPT for my teeny tiny baby tushie.”

Mom? I have become you.

Little Sister: taking notes on tushie talk.


Majesty, Monsters, and Mexico

At the dinner table, Dumples is without her favorite condiment. She says to her father, “Could I please have some more ketchup, Your Majesty?”

“Excuse me,” I interjected. “Did you just call him Your Majesty?” She nods. “So what does that make me?”

Without missing a beat, my favorite four-year-old replies, “You’re The Boss.”

Can’t argue with that logic.

Ketchup makes the rounds and Chicken tells a story from first grade land. A classmate is moving away. “She had to move,” Chicken tells us, jabbing her fork in the air for emphasis.

“Do you know where she moved?” Your Majesty asked.

“Ummm. Yeah. She moved to Mexico,” Chicken replied, almost stabbing herself in the face with her fork.

“Mexico?!?” I said. “Really? Why did she move to Mexico?” Because when you live in Minnesota and you’re fleeing the country, you go to Canada. It’s right there.

Chicken shrugged and applied six-going-on-seven-year-old logic. “Probably there were no houses to buy in Minnesota.”

Dumples and I are attending a parent-child class every Monday night in March. She receives undivided attention from me while she does (mostly) the same stuff she does at home — paints, builds, puzzles, asks a lot of questions, sings, points at other kids who are doing interesting things, etc.

The last fifteen minutes of the class is separation time. That means she eats Scooby Snacks while the grown-ups go into another room and talk about love, logic, and chore charts.

I came to collect her afterward. We were the last to leave, and her teacher said, “Did you tell your Mom what kind of cookie you want her to make you?”

Apparently, the snack time convo fell under the topic of “What’s your favorite kind of cookie?” and the teacher’s answer of “monster cookie” was making Dumples drool.

The teacher told me, “I guess you’ll be making monster cookies now.”

We walked out the door but not out of earshot when Dumples announced, “I know you won’t make monster cookies, Mom. Because you can’t cook!”

I heard the giggles behind me. But it’s true. The Boss can’t cook. Your Majesty is in charge of the monster cookies, the ketchup allotments, eye injuries, and any plans for our future exile. In other words, he’s King of the Castle.

Shake It Off

A lot of things have changed since I was in elementary school. My Chicken is teaching me all kinds of new things.

The first thing she is teaching me is bus music. We didn’t have bus music when I was a kid. The combustible engine hadn’t been invented yet. And neither had the wheel. Or at least, the bus drivers were these super strict old ladies who stopped the bus and started screaming at us in Southern accents that we needed to “quit it” whatever “it” was or the bus would not be taking us home that day. That was the melody of our bus rides.

Chickie’s bus rides are totally different. The kids are sharing snacks, they’re licking the walls, they’re listening to bus music.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re imagining a gaggle of kids in harmony, striking up tunes like, “The Wheels on the Bus,” or — more risque — “Hail to the Bus Driver.”

But what they are actually listening to is Beyonce and Big Sean and someone whose name cannot be said aloud because it is comprised entirely of punctuation marks. When she started singing “Mother Vase” out of the blue one day, I decided it was time to see what these songs are about — and ensuring that little Chick does NOT know what these songs are about.

We made a list of her favorite bus songs and youtubed them.

  • Animals – Maroon 5
  • Stay with Me – Sam Smith
  • Don’t – Ed Sheeran
  • One More Night – Maroon 5
  • Get Lucky – Daft Punk
  • Daylight – Maroon 5
  • Firework – Katy Perry
  • Maps – Maroon 5
  • Stay High – Tove Lo

We even made a CD of bus songs so we could listen to bus songs in the car. (The fact that I am still burning CDs may have proven my senior status.)

I did not teach them to pose like that.

A few days go by and my Chickadee thinks I’m some kind of miracle worker who can youtube any song she has on her mind. She asks me if I can find the name of a song she has stuck in her head. I say, sure. (I’m kind of a big deal.) (That’s the slogan of the zoo crew on the Bus station, BIG 98.7 FM.)

So she says, “It goes NA NA NA — NA NA NA.” She looks at me.  “Can you find it?”


Here’s what we know: It’s not Roxette, which, in my realm is the only good NA NA song.

Now I turn to the People of the Internet. Can you tell me the name of the NA NA NA song? Can you tell me the name of any NA NA NA song? You could win lunch with Pike, Jesse, and Amanda in the morning. But only if you’re caller 10.

Proof the Chicken Is Smarter Than Me

At dinner, Chicken was making those “ew gross” noises at the idea of people kissing: namely, the idea of her parents kissing.

“Hey!” I told her, opening my mouth without thinking (per usual), “if your parents didn’t kiss, you wouldn’t even be here right now.”

But instead of opening a Pandora’s Box of exciting! new! awkward! questions, she chose to become defensive. “Mom! That’s not what I meant! It’s just gross if you kiss in public.”

“That’s right,” Flathead said supportively. “Chicken doesn’t like PDA.”

“PDA?” asked Chicken. “What’s PDA?”

Flathead, much quicker than I, offered up: “Pizza…delivery…um…”

“System!” I declared proudly.

“Um, Mom? System doesn’t even begin with an ‘A.'”

Okay, so she’s six years old and smarter than her mom. But let’s just say I didn’t set the bar all that high.

It’s probably the glasses that are making her smarter than me. Oh wait. I wear glasses, too. And my vision is much, much worse than hers. Doh!

Easy as Spy

Setting: A chilly, overcast fall day, driving through Fargo-Moorhead, me and Dumples. Dumples wants to play I Spy, but I tell her that I can’t play because I am driving.

“That’s okay. I can play by myself.

I SPY WITH MY WITTLE EYE…something…white.

Is it the car?


Uh, that was too easy.

I’m bored with this game.”

Things You Can Do with Playdough

Dumples is four today!

Every Wednesday and Friday she goes to preschool. Every Wednesday and Friday, she cries at drop off. At the end of the two hours, she has had a great time. Every Wednesday and Friday at dinner, I ask her what she did at preschool.

“I played wif Playdough,” she tells me.

“You sure play with Playdough a lot,” I told her. Better at preschool than at home. That stuff is crazy hard to get out of nooks and crannies, and once it gets under your fingernails, fuggedaboudit.

“Yeah,” agrees Dumples. “He’s my best fwiend.”

Wait, what?

“You mean the clay stuff that you mush into shapes and hide in the couch cushions?”

“No. Playdough isn’t a clay stuff. Playdough is a puhson.”

Today, for Dumple’s birthday, I took the day off from work to do fun stuff with her. (Yay birthdays!) First, I accompanied her to preschool so she could show me all the cool stuff they have to play with.

“Okay,” I said, kneeling down next to her as we glanced around the room buzzing with eager children, “which one is Playdough?”

“Uh, Mom,” she hissed at me, “There’s no kid named Playdough. That was just pwetend.”

Dumples + Playdough = Best Friends

At the end of preschool, I picked her up to take her to lunch (Chuck E. Cheese!). “How was preschool?” She told me she wasn’t shy today, on her birthday; she talked! She told the class about her show-and-tell item, her Flying Doggie. “And I played with Playdough,” she said. And she laughed.


My boss is leaving. He’s not REALLY leaving. He’s just going to work in a different role in the same place, but it feels like he’s packing it all in. Maybe that is because he is literally packing it all in. His office already looks like an estate sale, and he’s been kindly bestowing upon me many mementos in the form of classic works of literature.

Today he bequeathed to me the 1971 Compact Oxford English dictionary, with the presumption that it might enhance my children’s vocabularies. The double tomes weighed approximately 500 pounds. (Compact! Ha! If you heave this thing open and turn the page to “irony” you’ll see a picture of this dictionary set.) As I hefted them toward my car this afternoon, I wondered how dictionaries could be getting smaller (pocket-sized even!), even as we keep adding more and more words to it. These two volumes would not include the words “selfie,” “hashtag,” or even “internet.” (Remember when Internet had to be capitalized because it was like a proper noun, a location? Glad that’s over and done.)

The dictionary set comes with a tiny sliding drawer that contains a rectangular magnifying glass.

dictionary3Dumples and I worked together to pull one of the large books from its encasement. Now we know why this is the compact version.

I guess if the power ever goes out and we have no internet access and are playing Scrabble, I would pick this dictionary as my second-choice Scrabble dictionary (after Because aside from “wackadoo” and “ohmigosh,” this dictionary must have everything else. If you can read it.


The Light Up Backpack

Dumples started preschool last week. It’s only two hours, two days a week. Basically, there’s time for a song, an art project, and a snack. She needs her own backpack now, and she picked out the only one in the whole store that lights up when you shake it.  She uses it to bring her art projects home and, I presume, to engage new friends.

After the first day of preschool, I asked Dumples if she had made any new friends. “Yep!” she said, beaming.

“Tell me their names,” I coaxed her.

She thought for a moment, then eureka’d, “Silas!” She added, “Silas is my best fwiend.”

“Oh yeah? Did you play with Silas today?”


“Did you talk to Silas today?”


“But he’s your best friend?”


I’m pretty sure this best friendship is all about the light up backup. I can’t see how it could be based on anything else. If Silas even knows who Dumples is.

Important Announcement

Erma and Sigourney would like to announce the retirement of their silly nicknames. From now on, they will be referred to as Chicken and Dumples.

Be a Rebel

Erma switched elementary schools from kindergarten to first grade, because we moved. Now she is a really big kid, who takes the big yellow banana to school and possesses her own protractor.

The new elementary school is pretty great. Only three classes of first grade; no automatic flushes in the bathroom; and the principal gave us the school tour herself! The only thing that troubles me is…they promote rebellion.

Well, they promote rebellion and conformity at the same time. It’s a little confusing. Apparently, the rebel way is for everybody to dress alike.

My favorite rebel behavior is “leave no trace.” Frankly, this sounds very gangster. It’s both rebellious and conformist at the same time. It wins!

And anyway, being a rebel is a mite bit better than Erma’s previous school, at which she was a potato. Go Spuds!