Posted by: Kate | March 4, 2010


“Kate, I think what you want is a laxative, over in this aisle!”
Announced over a distance of a dozen or so feet, as Jenny and I wandered through CVS following Monday’s OB-GYN appointment. For those in need of such information, without friends willing to share their search efforts with the whole store, castor oil is actually kept in the same aisle with the children’s medications, not with the mineral oil and Dulcolax.

“Can I have another doughnut?”
Request filed by Jacob, after he had already accepted not one, but two doughnuts from the people sharing the waiting room with us while Emily was in an appointment. Not wanting to delve into a “Don’t take food from strangers” or “How on earth do you not know better??” type discussion in front of said strangers, I had settled myself with a “Jacob, come on, you know you’re not allowed to have snacks before dinner” lecture, with plans to blitz him with the “What the hell were you thinking?” chorus on the drive home.

I also was suddenly and incoherently pissed at the mother in this mother-daughter doughnut-delivering duo, because who on earth hands out food to a child without asking the child’s mother first? It’s true, something about the woman had been off-putting enough to me that I had deliberately avoided eye contact and buried myself in my knitting (thus missing the initial doughnut handover), but still. Aren’t there a set of universal, unwritten rules out there, having to do with how you interact with other people’s children? Let me be the first to go ahead and write one down: Don’t offer food or candy to my kid without my permission. We’ve had the don’t-talk-to-strangers talk before, and you can be certain we’ve spent some time on the new and expanded version since then, so now I’m reasonably confident that he’ll find a different mistake to make in the future, but still. Don’t put my kids in that position, it’s just awkward. And wrong.

“Eeny, meeny, miney, mo, catch a tiger by the toe.  Hippy hollers, let him go…”
I just love Jacob’s mondegreens. It’s quite a challenge, preventing his big sister from know-it-all’ing him into complete grammatical and pronunciational correctness.

“If only someone had told her to put it up on a secure, high-up, flat surface, preferably in another room.  Oh, wait, I think I did.  Three times.” Immediately followed by, “Look, I really, really hate saying this, and if I had any self-control, I wouldn’t. But I did tell you so.”
One of the funnest aspects of parenthood is that constant vigilance against the spilled drink, the messy shoeprints through the house, the head-bonking on the underside of tables… the preventable accidents, which you spend some uncountable number of minutes pointing out and attempting to, well, prevent. And of course there are those moments when you tried, and your advice went unheeded, and a tragedy of international proportion unfolds.

This time it had to do with a brand-new, very special dragon purchased for Emily at this little store in downtown Salem that specializes in… well, I can’t accurately characterize it, really. There’s a section devoted to carcinogens, an area for out-of-date comic books, a small but tasteless porn aisle, a mix of candy the likes of which I have never seen in one store before (over 100 Pez dispensers, Mallomars, Moxie soda… things I’m not even sure they even still make anymore, and frankly I wouldn’t be shocked if this was just all original, unsold stock) and – what has caught Emily’s eye and mind and heart since we moved to town – a large selection of figurines, running to the fairy/dragon/knight theme. She actively salivates at the mere mention of the store, and after some tough experiences around homework and classroom behavior in January, I promised her a trip to the Red Lion once she successfully made it through two consecutive weeks of completing and turning in all of her homework. It took some doing, but she succeeded, and thus we wandered through the store for a while after Tuesday’s appointment. Jacob was in trouble for the doughnut incident, so he was allowed to shop-but-not-buy for now.  Emily deliberated and debated and finally chose a silvery dragon perched atop a crystal ball. I had thought the ball was made from glass and the dragon from ceramic – thankfully, I was incorrect.

Because, perhaps four hours later, after she did that night’s homework and nightly chores and even deigned to engage with the rest of us at dinner (and bless her heart, I can only imagine how hard it was for her to tolerate those distractions, because she is really, really, really into this dragon, in the way that the rest of us might be really into the idea of taking the next breath), the figurine got clipped off the edge of the soft, knee-height, downward-sloping ottoman where it had been placed.  Either that met Emily’s definition of “secure, high-up and flat,” or the counter three feet behind her would have represented just more geographical distance than she could bear. Emily is an intense child, by nature, prone to focusing overly intently on that which is important to her and forming very strong and quick emotional bonds to inanimate objects, so when this thing hit the floor, it was instant angst and woe and weeping. She perched on the self-same ottoman, curled herself into a little ball, and wailed as though she had just witnessed a spree killing, while the rest of us assessed the damage. Since it was plastic, the dragon stayed largely intact – one wing snapped off, along with a few points at the edges here and there, but the ball itself was unharmed – so I was able to Superglue it back together, and within moments Emily was back to the ecstasy of her pre-gravtity encounter.

And the kid had the gall to ask if she could put it back in the same spot, only this time wrapped in a dishtowel, “so he can watch us play our game.” Umm…. how about, NO.

“I won!  And I’m little!  But now I think I am getting bigger, because little kids don’t win board games.”
Announced by Jacob, following a rousing family game of I Spy, board game edition. I’m not one to tout products here all that often, but if you’ve got children at varying levels of reading skill and are bored senseless by Candy Land and the like, this is completely worth the $20. Jacob did win, and fair and square: no “Oh, just let him win,” or somehow handicapping the older players, or having us help him with constant reminders of the rules as happens during Sorry or Life. He just was able to seek out the details faster than the rest of us. And he just keeps on growing bigger, ready or not.

I’d better work on having another baby soon, I think. I’m not ready to be done with little kids, quite yet.


  1. We have that I Spy and love it!

  2. Love, love, love all of these! I can’t wait to have these of my own….

  3. Funny how fast they get big isn’t it?

  4. Cute!

  5. Darren said to tell you AGAIN not to do the castor oil. He said it’s my penance for putting him through a night of hell!

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