the decision-making process

The Family is considering buying a new (very old) home. Fret not, local readers: we aren’t leaving Our Town any time soon. We just found a house around the corner that is pretty swell.

This being a serious decision, I decided to enlist my favorite sounding board: The Kidling. I asked her at breakfast this morning what she thought about our home vs. the prospect and which she preferred. Here’s what I got:

“Well, it would be good to have a basement that’s further away from the windows in case of a tornado. This one has (counts) one, two, three, four, five, six, seven windows–and the door–right by the basement.”

“Well, that one IS a lot bigger than ours,” she noted.
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing to you?” I asked.

“Let’s think about which one would be the nicer setting for Halloween? Which would have a better table for gourds?”

“This house does have something I like.”
“What’s that?” I questioned.
“There’s a race room.”

Hmm. A race room… we might need to be sure that transitions to the (potential) new digs. Couldn’t have a little gal lacking that now, could we?


The Kidling had a remarkable day yesterday. She was cheerful all afternoon when she returned home from school, overcame an enormous fear successfully, was able to stay up late to finish her homework without a meltdown, and didn’t even get ticked when the “two stories at bedtime” reward that I offered became “one story” then “maybe just half” after I realized that she had chosen quite the tome (and no one who values her sanity keeps The Kidling up past bedtime).

A banner day, really.

Naturally, as someone who values happiness and joy, I wanted to remind The Kidling of her general awesomeness first thing this morning.

“Did you dream about your great accomplishments last night?” I asked when The Kidling walked bleary-eyed into the room.

“No,” she replied incredulously. “I dreamed about My Little Ponies having a race!”



The Dada and The Big Footstep

This is a tale of half truths and partial understandings. It begins this evening in Our House. A typical Tuesday evening by all measures. The Family returned home from work and school at the usual time. The Kidling got ready for her swimming lesson at her usual pace–glacial–while I pulled together a snack for the car. I finished, then went upstairs to see how things were progressing.

Slowly. They were progressing slowly. It was, after all, a typical evening.

The movement toward swimming lessons ground to a sudden halt somewhere between the tankini and the sweatpants. That was when The Kidling ordered The Dada to make some serious changes:

“Dad! Don’t take big footsteps because that’s gas and it’s bad for the Earth!”

I was momentarily perplexed. Then came my AHA! moment.

“Do you mean his carbon footprint?” I inquired.

Some discussion ensued, thereby further delaying the donning of the aforementioned sweatpants and The Family’s progress toward the door and the swimming lessons that lay beyond.

“I thought it was because of a carbon Sasquatch. Because he takes big steps and he makes gas.”

So, so much better than any other explanation I could have hoped for. Brava, Kidling. Brava.

Our (college) Town

Our Town is a metropolis of a very particular variety: the college town. There are things about living in a college town in the middle west that I wouldn’t give up for the world. I love the small-town atmosphere where folks are friendly but humble, I love the phenomenal bookstores, arts festivals, and food. I love that when we sit down to Sunday brunch, my favorite author in the whole freaking world sits at the table next to mine.

Breathe, Mama. Breathe.

Of course, though I choose to live here (and, in fact, left the nation’s best weather to return), there are things I might prefer to be a little different. Not changed, per se. Just, well, um… modified.

The Kidling being The Kidling, she has observed and inquired about many quirks of life in a college town. I learned just how closely she pays attention when we were talking about a pretty little chair that I was re-homing.

Several years ago, I found a gem of a chair that I intended to reupholster, but I never got around to actually doing it.

Please don’t ask The Dada how many of those chairs we have.

I was telling The Kidling that this particular chair would soon be leaving our home and moving in with a graduate student. She was dubious, to say the least:

“Are they gonna take good care of it? Because you said sometimes grad students put couches on the roof. Are they gonna put chairs on the roof, too?”

I make no guarantees.


the miracle of tape, part one (and two)

Tape as major medical reconstructive tool:

“Wouldn’t it be bad if this part of your leg (gestures toward her knee area) was cut off? Then you would need clear tape! And then your fur wouldn’t stick up.”

And… tape as razor substitute. Maybe someone (ahem) needed to shave.

don’t inhale the concoction

Sometimes, The Mama can be a little indulgent.

No comment, The Dada. It’s my blog and I can understate if I want to.

I like to think that letting The Kidling do what she wants every now and then–even when her request is unorthodox–is  good for her creativity. And, fine, I get tired of saying “no” all of the freaking time. So when The Kidling asked for a bowl for her pine needles the other day so she could “make truffle oil,” I complied. No harm done, and I drew the line at wet ingredients.

See!? I set boundaries. So there.

As The Kidling sprinkled and stirred, she requested additional ingredients. I chose spices that met one of two conditions, 1) they were white, or 2) they wouldn’t stain. Salt, cream of tartar, coriander, pepper… Just as I was running out of ingredients that fit my criteria, The Kidling declared her truffle oil complete. I asked how it turned out, and she told me, “It smells marvelous, but it doesn’t feel marvelous if it gets up your nose.”

Remember that the next time you have the cinnamon nearby.

gene(tics) in a bottle*

Alice paused a recent conversation on genetics for clarification.

What? You don’t talk to your five year-old child about recessive genes, alleles, and zygotes? Slacker.

“Before, when you were talking about genies,” she began, “I was picturing two genies: a brown one and a hazel one. And the brown genie and the hazel one flew into each other and whichever one hit first won!” 

Sigh. I hate for reality to destroy that phenomenal visual image. Alas, I privileged truth over novelty, telling my clever munchkin, “Actually, it is ‘genes.’ But I like genies!”

She graciously allowed, “Well, you can pronounce it ‘genies’ too!”

Thank goodness. Life is a helluva lot more interesting when viewed through the eyes of The Kidling. Facts are suffocating.


* Yeah, so it doesn’t really work. So what?! Accuracy is no fun at all.

not-so-funny jokes, courtesy of The Kidling

A recent conversation with the director of Alice’s summer program yielded a verbatim recounting of The Kidling’s recent attempt at joke writing:

Alice: Why did the pig fly?
The Mama: I don’t know, why?
Alice: Because it had wings! (giggles)

Fair enough. But then:

Alice: Why did the potato jump over the moon?
The Mama: Why?
Alice: Because it was lonely! (erupts with laughter)

Hmm. Okay…

Alice: Why did the chicken cross the road?
The Mama: I don’t know.
Alice: Because it was crossing the road, then it turned its head and saw a ghost and it ran because it was scared!

Hell, if I thought I was just out for a little cross-road stroll and saw a ghost, I’d be pretty scared, too. I’ll go with it. I giggled at all of the jokes (perhaps more than the humor merited) and complimented Alice on her joke-writing. She was proud, if humble, telling me, “They all make sense! (pause) But the potato one doesn’t make sense.”

Sometimes the best ones don’t, munchkin…