on the road… again

Another week, another work trip.

Fine, I’m being dramatic. I really don’t travel often at all, but I happen to have been away for quite a few days this month. That, however, doesn’t make for a pithy opening line.

When I am away, The Kidling misses me. Well, she usually misses me. Sometimes she has fun activities to keep her occupied. Then she only misses me a wee bit. And sometimes she has Nana to hang out with. Then she doesn’t miss me at all. You can be damn sure I miss her (and The Dada, but this blog isn’t called Dadaville and he doesn’t ask cute questions and say silly things when I’m away).

This week while I was in DC, I chatted with The Kidling on the phone. She told me about her day and about the exciting evening she had at school. In her pajamas.

Confidential to my readers who are responsible for a small child: are daycare, preschool, and school way the hell more fun than when we were kids? Because The Kidling does new and exciting things all the time. Water parks, apple orchards, picnics, library trips… I do not remember my life being quite so charmed when I was a kidling.

The Kidling and her classmates went home, changed into their pajamas, and returned to school for spooky story hour in the media center.

There’s another one of those fun kid things. “Media Center.” What the hell is a Media Center? When I was a kidling, it was called a library. Also? I am old and crotchety.

She was super excited to tell me about it, and gave me what I am certain is an accurate count of the attendance (800. Or 1000!). What chatted for a while longer before The Kidling said mournfully into the phone, “I wish you could come through there.” 

Cue Mama guilt.

This, of course, reminded me of other funny little things The Kidling has said or asked about in the course of my travels. On one recent trip to New York, The Kidling was interested in the details of my accommodations: something about which I had given little thought.  Apparently she wanted to ensure the rooms were suitable for The Mama, because she grilled me:

“Do you have a kitchen?” she began.

“No.” I replied. Then, a logical follow-up. “Oh, then you have to go to restaurants?”


“Do you have a potty room?” she asked. I replied with a giggle, “Yes.”

Then, another one (seriously, no one has ever cared so much about my hotel room), “Do you have a stove?”


Eventually, she got to the important question: the one that had been bothering her for entire seconds “Can you roast marshmallows?”

“Nope.” I told her.

Clearly disappointed, she abandoned her questioning and allowed me to ask about her day. I honestly don’t remember much more of our conversation, but I do know one thing:

The next time I book a room, I’m going to make damn sure I can roast a marshmallow in it.

a morning at the museum

The Kidling loves animals. I know all kids love animals, but she seems to love them even more intensely than other kids. Dogs, cats, birds, horses, dinosaurs, dragons, unicorns (no one said they had to be real animals)… she adores them all. As such, we knew our trip to New York must include a visit to the American Museum of Natural History. Some things are nonnegotiable.

The museum did not disappoint. Alice ran from diorama to diorama, peering inside and providing thoughtful commentary and asking difficult questions:

“Why is the owl in there (pointing to a display with a brightly painted background)? They are nocturnal and it is day time.”

“It’s a raven!”

“Why are that antelope’s horns curved backward? How does he protect himself, then?”

This went on for hours.

And hours…

Later, we approached a diorama with a buffalo and several birds. Alice asked how the birds would escape the buffalo. I told her that the birds would fly away (neglecting to point out that a buffalo, being herbivorous, would have no interest in catching a bird. You win some, you lose some). The Kidling remained unconvinced of the feasibility of that plan and predicted that, to catch the birds, “Buffalo stand on their tippy hooves!”


sometimes smart just isn’t enough

We were walking around midtown Saturday early evening in search of ice cream (confidential to The Dada: I swear that Tasty Treat was so much closer than that. It must have been moved during dinner). After 20ish minutes of wandering, we gave up when we spied a McDonald’s.

Don’t judge: a promise is a promise, and McDonald’s soft serve is still technically ice cream. Besides, I didn’t promise ice cream of any particular quality.

We must have looked less lost than we felt (or perhaps upon spotting an ice cream source, we looked more confident of our destination), because someone stopped us on the street to ask us for directions.

To Toys ‘R’ Us.

The Dada and I apologized for our ignorance. We were prepared to move on, when Alice told the inquirers, “I’m smart, and I don’t even know!” As we walked across the street, I thanked her for wanting to help, to which she replied, “I was looking at the signs, but I just can’t read!” *

Now that’s self-awareness.


* Post edited to reflect the fact that The Dada told me I got the quote wrong. I am so glad there are two of us…

on fairness

The Kidling has spent a lot of time as of late pondering fairness. This contemplation has taken many forms.

Some are predictable: Alice is fond of foot-stomping, lower-lip protruding declarations that an injustice has been served upon her, usually by The Mama. This particular consideration of fairness typically concludes with the quote, “No fair!” and is often finished with a dramatic exit from the room.

Hey, the girl has flair. You’ve got to give her that.

Others are surprising in their selfishness: Last night, for example, The Kidling fell and sustained an injury (to her ego). While still on the ground, she huffed, “It’s no fair that I got hurt and you didn’t!” Hours later when she hit an arm on the door frame while flopping her tiny kidling body around, another lament, this time, “It’s no fair that I got hurt two times and you got hurt none.”  Stomp. Huff. Exit stage right.

Sweet, no?

Finally, other observations take a decidedly empathetic tone: Such was the case on our Saturday morning car ride to the airport. As you know, The Family recently returned from a family wedding in New York. The Dada does the driving on such trips (thank you, dear!). As I was distributing a snack to the back seat, Alice commented, “It’s too bad Dad has to do all the driving and we get to do all the eating!”

I guess that depends on who you ask.

traveling with The Kidling

The Family recently returned from a trip with a big girl (Alice) to a big city (New York). It was fun. And highly quotable. The next few days’ stories will be tales from the trip. We begin with a story of appreciation from the car ride to the airport:

“It’s good we have a snack to keep us healthy and hydronated.”

Indeed it is. Also? A new entry for The Dictionary.

Hy-dro-nat-ed. adj. The state of having adequate water in an object. Not to be confused with hydrogenated.

guessing game

Last week, The Mama traveled for work.

And The Dada carted The Kidling off to Nana and Papa’s house.

Before you judge (which I obviously set you up to do), this was kind of justified. The Dada stayed home with The Kidling for four of seven work days (three because pre-school was closed for conferences, and one because she was sick). Then I got sick. Then he got sick.

Oh yeah, and it was his birthday.

See? A fully justified abdication of parenting duties.

The Kidling was lucky to spend the weekend with Nana, Papa and her cousin, The Kidd-0.

And Nell. The cutest damn dog on the planet.

The Dada being a good dada-type, he drove to Nearby Town to pick up The Kidling and The Kidd-o and cart them back to Our Town.

And our car on the drive home is the setting for this story. You see, the girls spent approximately 3/4 of the drive drawing pictures in notebooks. They are both five, and you might have heard that five-year-old children do not realistic artists make.

Suddenly, The Kidling had an idea. She thought that one girl should draw a picture and the other should guess what the drawing is meant to depict. The Kidd-0 took the first turn as artist. When it came time for Alice to make her guesses, she scrutinized the drawing carefully. After several moments, she guessed.

Alice: Is that some kind of weird-looking robot?

The Kidd-o: No.

Alice: Is it a strange underwater sea creature?

“No,” The Kidd-o lamented, “it’s a sheep!”

overheard in chicago

The Family just returned from a three-day jaunt to the Windy City. We don’t often take mini-vacations, because:

  1. We like our own mini-rooms, and need not pay a small fortune to borrow the mini-room of another. Which brings me to…
  2. The Family is cheap;
  3. We love Our Town; and
  4. Where do people find the time? Seriously.

The result of this little trip was more than a few soundbites that brought smiles to our faces and hearty laughter to our bellies. As such, I am declaring this overheard in chicago week on the book of alice.

I hope you enjoy.