Stage Six: Pickled
Hot Timbale

Domestic Interiors

I cut off all my hair yesterday. Not me, personally, like Deenie (Splendor in the Grass) or Deenie (Judy Blume) but I did ask the nice woman who usually just trims the ends to hack away until her shoulders began to ache. Eight inches gone, maybe nine once you take into account the way the much-shorter strands bounce toward my ears like so many helium filled balloons. Lately my mermaid hair was making me feel less like I was luring sailors to a watery but sexy grave and more like they would need to send the dive team out to try to free the propellers. When your own head starts making you think of red tide it's time for a change.

Patrick said it looks nice. Caroline was curious and said "Har? Har? Har?" a few times while walking around me like she wanted to kick my tires. Edward knows that I don't have tires and therefore I am of limited interest to him. Steve got the most horrible fixed smile on his face when I walked into his office and said, "Oh! My! Look at that! Your hair! Is Shorter!" Steve has always been abnormally attached to my hair so I think it's good for him to adjust to change suddenly. Keeps him young like a week at the seaside.

Patrick cried the first day of school because someone accidentally grabbed his lunch and it took a while to get sorted out. The old Patrick would have probably shrugged and said oh well tra la la but the new Patrick EATS and the threat of going another five hours without sustenance was too much for his delicate system to fathom. It turned out someone in another classroom has his identical lunchbox and took the wrong one by mistake. When Patrick came home and told me the story I mystically channeled an organized crafty mother (was it you? did you feel light-headed on Tuesday and cannot account for thirty minutes from that afternoon?) and I rummaged around in the kitchen junk drawer where I found fabric paint from two Halloweens ago. I added yellow stars and blue galaxies to his lunch sack (Patrick said, critically, "Um, have you ever heard of elliptical galaxies? Yours are all spiral" I said, "Have you ever heard of shut up." Well, I thought it at least.) Problem solved. Then Patrick collided cheek to skull (his cheek, the other kid's skull) while playing tag on day two and he cried again.  

-- Steve is gone tonight so Patrick is sleeping in my bed. I was letting him read in there until ten as a special treat but he just clumped out and very accusingly told me he was turning out the light because he was so tired he couldn't stay awake another second. I was, like, uh, ok? He clumped back again.

Despite the initial setbacks he has declared school thus far to be "not so bad." When I asked him over dinner tonight what his favorite thing at school was he said Gym. When I asked for his second favorite he said Art. This amuses me: Patrick, my arty little jock.

I have book ads up. I think we have collectively been identified as people who might be interested in books and since this is most likely true (and they pay me to run them) I am encouraged by this perception of us. The book being advertised right now is called Three Part Invention and I know nothing about it beyond what I read from the link. Go look. Have you read it? Do you recommend it?  

Caroline is chattering away in her crib. It is 9:45. She went to bed TWO HOURS AGO. I guess she is not technically bothering anybody but who's ever heard of a baby insomniac? What does she do in there for all that time? I heard her last night yakking about something at midnight.

-- She just escalated to crying. I went up and she was very excited to see me.

"Window?" she pointed. I asked if she wanted to look out the window (I'm a sharp one.)

"Yes," she said.

"OK but then back to bed." I took her to look out the window.

"Moon?" she asked. "Tar?"

"No moon tonight. No stars. Too cloudy."

"Cowds," she agreed shaking her little bobblehead.

"Bedtime. Time to sleep. Do you want music?"


So I turned on her music and I gave her another board book, dimmed the lights and left her to it.

I know what you are about to say. I do. You are about to say that we should ix-nay the usic-may and the books. Then she might go to sleep earlier. And you are no doubt correct. But this way they sleep until we wake them up at 8 or 8:30. Edward gets his thirteen hours and Caroline gets her eight and I get my five or six and we are as happy as larks. No. Bad analogy. As happy as a lazier bird altogether. Pigeons maybe.

I cannot get over Caroline's language boom. Like, window? Never heard that from her before, ever. I love it. I love it I love it I love it. Patrick was a total delight and the joy of my heart but he never uttered anything that made any sense for the first two and a half years and it is now so much fun to have a little creature who TALKS. This must be why people get parrots. When my mother was here we got Chinese food one night. I gave Patrick and the twinkles some chicken noodle soup because I am selfish and I didn't want to share the Chinese. Caroline looked at her bowl and then looked at my plate and was, like, oh no no no, I don't think so.

She pointed.

"What? Taste it? Me?" she said in such ringing bell-like tones that Steve and my mother and I goggled at her.

So she got moo shu.

Then Edward said, "Dada doo?"

So Edward got  moo shu too. 

She calls Steve "Dee"; she calls me "Mee"; she calls Edward "Eee". Patrick? He gets both syllables. "Pah-tuh," she says lovingly. But for Caroline herself she really puts in the effort: she is either Ka-ha-hine or Ka-yuh-yine. And sometimes she pats my chest and says Mee (short for mommy I assume) and then pats her own chest and says ME! Like, and don't you forget it.   

Edward has the funniest assortment of words that he says well: otter, tractor, wheel, car, heart, hexagon (hexagon?) more, read it, cracker, one two tree, TV and yes. There are a whole bunch more that he says terribly but I have decided after judicious consideration to give him the benefit of the doubt until he turns two. Unlike a young Patrick he appears to be improving in his speech, albeit much more slowly than other twins in the house. A propos of nothing else: at breakfast today he had his (formerly Caroline's) deer talk to his (formerly Caroline's) otter. He held them both by the scruffs of their necks and waggled them as he babbled. Apparently there was a quarrel because he starting shouting No no no (nah! nah! nah!) and then he slammed them against each other. But they reconciled (Yah? Yah) and kissed (mwak mwak mwak.)

End scene.

-- And now Edward has woken up crying for the first time in weeks and weeks. Criminey.

Hey, here's a question for you. I would have thought based upon our experience with Patrick that it would have been more likely for me to investigate teaching Caroline and Edward to pilot single-engine aircraft prior to kindergarten but Cricket has developed an avid interest in bathrooms and everything people do in there and I am wondering... you don't possibly suppose a twenty month old child, a baby really, practically an infant, could learn to use the potty? A few weeks ago Patrick brought down a copy of some toilet training book (the potty book for boys; it is written in really badly scanned rhyme) and proceeded to read it to Caroline and Edward. He then brought up one of his old potties from the basement (Patrick will make a great manny one day, I'm just telling you) and left it in the powder room. A week ago (two?) Caroline started grabbing her, oh, bikini area and shouting, "Pee! Wet!" before racing off to the potty where she would attempt to unzip her footie pajamas. Then two days ago a series of circumstances conspired to leave her naked for about five minutes during which time she, ah, well, relieved herself in a tidy, well, yes, about six inches to the left of the potty. I found her in the kitchen grabbing a cloth with which to go clean things up - they really are the anti-Patrick in so many ways. Where was I? Oh right. I have zero interest in potty training or toilet learning or whatever the enlightened are calling it these days if it means I spend the next year and a half inconveniencing myself when I could just as easily wait until she is ready and be done in a week. But I don't want to, oh I don't know, stifle the kid either. Can a twenty month old ditch the diapers? Please advise.

Our Lady of the Laundry Room (what's the feng shui on a cluttered laundry room?) 


Edward cannot hear you because he has a bin on his head.