Friday, February 28, 2014

Tooth Fairy

Today is national tooth fairy day.

In honor of this momentous occasion, we had the tooth fairy visit for  not one, but two of our children last night. And Matthew had his braces removed as well ( but I'm not sure if that celebration should go into a different holiday, maybe for dentists?). Thomas and Joseph both lost teeth. They didn't lose them on the same day though. It was actually a day apart.

Thomas lost one of his molars on Wednesday. He put it ( as we always do) in a sealed white envelope for the tooth fairy to come and take. White envelopes are always available, they don't get mixed up, and make a fine tooth receptacle we have found. Unfortunately Michael got poked in the eye later that day with a soft nerf dart by one of his older brothers ( who will remain nameless) and scratched his cornea slightly.

He had to wear a patch to bed, and we made his sleep upstairs next to the bathroom, so he wouldn't have to navigate the stairs as  Captain Jack would, in the middle of the night. Thomas volunteered to watch over Michael, his 'best brother' for the evening. In all that commotion, with room switches and so forth,the tooth fairy couldn't find poor Thomas and the tooth wound up sitting under his pillow for a second night.

Joseph lost a tooth Thursday morning. He and Thomas decided to compare teeth and envelopes ( of course they did- they are little boys!) and  then Thomas left his toothy envelope on the kitchen counter. Later John-Paul,who was cleaning up the kitchen, threw the envelope away.

Joseph came to me late last night telling me Thomas was upset to have lost his tooth. I told him I would fix the problem. He looked totally incredulous. John Paul too, seemed doubtful of my ability to remedy this problem. I smirked.

Slinking into my bedroom closet I withdrew an entire hidden jar worth of teeth.  I then deposited one, just about the right size into an envelope, walked into the kitchen smeared ice cream and food on it, then wiped it off, crumpled it up, and then walked it down to Thomas room and told him without lying once "This looks like it was in the garbage- do you think it could be your tooth?" to which he happily agreed after feeling the hard lump in the envelope- that it must be- and deposited his head dreamily onto his pillow.

Problem solved.

I drew strange pictures on the envelopes later, letting them 'know' the tooth fairy had been there. I also deposited a few coins and household debris ( crayons, clips, a broken pencil) because Fred started this weird tradition years ago in our house. Leave it to Freddy, to make even the most basic of childhood traditions more complicated for me to deal with.  He said it wasn't enough for the tooth fairy to give them money, she had to give them other stuff to confuse them as to what her real goals were in the first place. This went back to a strange battle between Fred and the tooth fairy leftover from yester-year.

He  told Andrew and Peter that he caught the tooth fairy once as a little boy and put her in a cage in his room. He was so clever that he was actually able to trap her with one of his  wonderful teeth and grasp her by the wings.  Later his ghastly cat  named Toulouse let her escape! ( Cats are such untrustworthy fiends) My children simply CANNOT believe he had hold of her and let her escape. As a consequence, she is always a bit wary of Freddy's children's teeth, and has to decoy the reason for her visit by making it seem she *might* have been searching for something other than their wonderful teeth ( like broken up crayons or paper clips- really???).

Now, if my children don't get a strange pictures and leftover office supplies in their envelope, along with cash- they feel gypped.

How did you celebrate this wonderful holiday?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

The greatest dog we never had

We tried, many, many years ago- to own a dog. Francesco was the cutest dog on the planet. I am not a big dog lover, but he captured my heart. Unfortunately, my boys were too little and too rough for us to keep him safely. They didn't know better, and the doggie deserved better, so we gave him to a friend. I told Fred, the day we gave him away ( and I was the only heart broken member of our family over this, ironically) that I would never own a dog again. Any other pet, I'd be willing to give a try- but not another pup.

So over the years we have had guinea pigs, parakeets, bunnies, and chickens and we have loved all of them were well loved and also well  cared for. My kids have sometimes asked for a dog, as has Fred but its not up for discussion, and they know it. 

But Sophie has a dog. 

She has a really great dog named Biggie. He's a golden labradoodle, and he 'belongs' to my sister Bernadette. Bernadette was so excited when she got him that she sent me a text to show the girls. In it, she had Biggie 'talk' to Mary, and Sarah, and Sophie saying hello. Sophia became convinced that Biggie really loved her back, and was her dog, that  Aunt Bernadette was taking care of him for her. And so their relationship began. Bernadette would send me a video, Sophie would watch it over and over and over and over again. She'd send one back to Biggie, thinking of course Biggie is as interested in her as she is in him! 

If I ask Sophie to do something for me, like sing a song, or dance, she usually says "no" and walks away. But if I ask her to do so for Biggie she complies immediately. Biggie is the greatest dog we never had. Not only does he go to doggie school and let Sophie watch him, he can bark for her, and sit pretty, and find his favorite chair or bed. He is super smart. 

I won't even mention how much cheaper and easier it is to 'own' someone else's dog. No walking, no vet's, no dog food, or chewed slippers. Eventually this might wear off, but for now, it is the sweetest thing to watch her have a long distance dog, and way more fun than I ever expected!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


I am hating all this snow. Just like the rest of you. And while I am *supposed* to be more used to being stuck at home, and snow days given that I am a SAHM and home-schooler, I'm way low on the tolerance level these days. Not having co-op classes, or ballet, or even a small reason to sneak out from these walls without facing the life threatening ICE that takes over the roads, like the  slow moving blob in the 70's movie I vaguely recall with a shudder from my youth, is hideous.

My measly level of tolerance might be in part attributable to my new low carb diet. I needed to lose weight. Like really NEEDED to. And I never kid myself into thinking I don't know how I gained it. I ate too much really good food. I don't even regret it, if I'm totally honest. Last year was tough, so its easy enough to say it was the grief, but I also spent oodles of those 'tough parts' in New York, where all the food is wonderful and fresh, and gloriously available, all the time. So, I carpe'd the heck out of that diem.

But it was time to work out and diet again so I began with the new year. And then a funny thing happened. My scale would not move. Not an ounce. I won't tell you the words entering my brain, they just weren't pretty. Clearly I had to change tactics and here is where the low carb hell began.

What I can say to all you low carb enthusiasts is that it  "Yes- it works!" Ok? Is that enough? Cause that's about all you're gonna get out of me.The weight is coming off, and pretty quickly too. But this is TORTURE. No wonder it works, its just terrible. And the more I read about it, the more upset I become. Apparently this is actually good for you! It comes with all kinds of benefits for your heart, and prevents cancer, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure- but its AWFUL!

If you have other options- take them now. TRUST ME.

I am sick of protein. I am sick of it. I love veggies and salads, but enough is enough. The light has gone out of my life I tell you! No pasta, no bread (well this was easy since there basically is no decent bread outside of NY) , no sugar, no potatoes- no fun. Life is just not worth living without some decent carbs in it. And to add insult to injury my kids still expect to eat a real dinner each night and don't care that I am lusting after like a castaway stranded at sea without water.

 I was telling my sister this recently. (The one who never has to watch her weight, and eats the worst diet on the planet, with no repercussions- cruel fate to be born into the same family as this odious soul.) She responded  "But won't you gain it all back if you quit once the weight is off?" And I was honest and said "YES-HAPPILY!" but thought, No, I really won't eat that much pasta/cake/sugar/fill-in-the-carb-blank-here again, I've learned a little bit from this horrible stint. Like how NEVER to go back to a low carb diet again.

So if you are wondering what I have been up to these days, try to imagine going on your second month with no sugar, no carbs, no JOY in your life, and to it add snow storms after snow storm. But now multiply your few pairs of boots, and bulky jackets, gloves, and hats, and scarves by twelve. Next try teaching pre-algebra among other things to none other than Matthew, that sweet-docile-eager-to-learn ( NOT!) child.  And just for real fun I've been trying to catch Mike and Tom up on the multiplication tables by listening to these drill songs from Hades. And Sarah is learning to read too when she isn't practicing plies with Mary and Sophie while watching the Barbie Nutcracker for the hundredth time in a week. ( Thanks for that one Ang!)

Overall, I'd characterize myself as somewhere between cranky and maniacal.

The chickens are doing well though.
So there's that.