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November 2012

One Singular Sensation

I just spent the past hour carefully constructing a post about picking Patrick up today. I was trying to share something without being obnoxious and it was a fine line. I considered each adjective carefully. I pursed my lips and weighed the varying merits of similar verbs. I parsed. I honed. I deleted.

Oh damn it all! I deleted and deleted and then saw the whirling colored circle that foretells Mac doom and I held my breath while I waited to see if... yeah I deleted the freaking whole thing. 778 words, more or less, each of them perfect.


Patrick and I have a standing date. The twins go to bed around 7:45 and at eight o'clock on Fridays (if I am home from Date Night with Steve - Saturdays if I am not) we watch Project Runway. He makes popcorn. I drink wine. Steve joins us on the couch with his laptop so he is with us in body if not spirit and we discuss color and fabric and taste levels. Here's a hint: if Patrick thinks your fabric choices are over the top... man don't feed those bears. Patrick also does a wicked Nina Garcia (I just don't think it's... lip purse... appropriate.) Most recently - and I apologize if you have never watched this show because I know how annoying it is to be given obscure references - Patrick asked, "Why do they always say 'And the beautiful Georgina Chapman'? We can all see that she is beautiful but didn't they also say she has her own company and she must be successful or she wouldn't be a judge. Who wants to be known as beautiful when it has nothing to do with you?"

I said: I don't know.

(Gar. Three minutes late already.)

So I'm rushing here but the story I wanted to tell is that Patrick got a D on a Latin roots quiz this week and I saw it in his backpack today and wanted to smack his bottom. Not because he got a D (because we can all work to our abilities and still fall short) but because I knew for an absolute fact that he had not so much as looked at those Latin roots since he was handed the sheet and shoved it into his desk.

I said, "Patrick, do you want to tell me about this quiz?" and I held it up.

He said, "Yeah. I got a D."

I said, "Why?"

He said, "I thought I knew Latin! Like those kids who just pick up the violin and play it. I guess I don't. I'll study next time."

And I said, "And this? What was this?" I pointed to the bottom of his quiz.

"I thought she might give points for humor?'


I told him to shape up and I totally meant it.

Patrick has three birthday parties to attend this weekend. A school friend tomorrow morning, another school friend for a slumber party tomorrow night and then a neighbor on Sunday whose mom sent a very sweet note saying that her son really wants to invite Patrick but everyone else will be a second grader so if Patrick was uncomfortable they understood... AS IF.

My point - which was so eloquent the first time, alas - is that nothing, I mean nothing, that I thought I understood about raising Patrick was true.

I find it humbling, infinitely reassuring and I wish I had spent less time in the past worrying about him because I am always wrong about what's coming next.

PS 8:25. Not-Heidi here we come.


Edward woke up dry today.

I know, I know, nes gadol hayah poh* but this is what happened. I read all of your comments (have I ever mentioned how much I love you, collectively? very very much. supportive, diverse, respectful, informed and informative - as the big sea turtle said to the little sea turtle and Steve often says to me: you so totally rock, squirt) and I thought, well now isn't that interesting.

The range of suggestions was considerable and it is obvious that there is no one solution, even for a given child, but what struck me was the number of the things it had never occurred to me to even try. My previous experience was: Patrick was dry during the day and then spent, oh, maybe a month in overnights before we started taking him to pee in his sleep before we went to bed. What prompted this was the fact that he was having consistent night terrors and I thought if I took him to the bathroom right before the time he generally started it might help break the pattern. Did this for about a week, never had an accident (and the night terrors dropped off as well) and it was done. As for Caroline, as soon as she was able to use the bathroom consistently during the day she was able to do so at night. I think she spent maybe two nights in an overnight and then we ditched them.

So when Edward didn't follow either pattern I assumed that he just wasn't there yet. The comments were helpful because I realized that as a result of my preconceptions I had basically given up without really giving him a chance to see what he can do. 

I loved the idea of simply getting rid of the goodnite but as it happens Edward has gone commando more times than I can count (1. Steve does bedtime and forgets; 2. Our sitter does bedtime and believes Edward when he says he just wears pajamas now; 3. I say OK Edward you can try it again but remember! What are you going to do if you need to go pee?) and we have never had that magic moment ourselves. It is nice to know it worked for quite a few and let this be a lesson to the rest of you. First, try ditching the overnight and see what happens.

Also helpful were the cadre of people who had come up with ways to manage the transitional period (eg bed lasagne) with the realization that it might take days or weeks to work. Since all of the times Edward has gone without a not-corset have been accidental or deemed failures there has never been any consistency.

And I am embarrassed to say that the idea of really discussing it with him had never occurred to me either. It's so hard for me to personally conceive of making even remotely conscious choices in my sleep (get up! don't get up! pee! no no no don't pee right now you fool!) that it seemed silly to talk to Edward about his noctural decision making process. However, so many of you had obviously made the effort successfully with your own kids that you made me feel churlish.

So last night I ordered a pair of Super Undies per your suggestion as a way to perhaps give Edward some dignity while also providing protection (results pending although I got an email today saying they have already shipped - nice service.) I talked to him about getting up if he needed to pee in the night. I put a new nightlight in the hallway and another one in bathroom and I made sure the path from his bed to the door was clutter free.

But this is the kicker: I took him to pee after he fell asleep - nothing. I took him again before I went to bed - success. Then he climbed into bed with us after a nightmare at 4 in the morning and I took him to the bathroom again.  

So yay he was dry by seven. On the other hand I had to personally transport him to the bathroom twice in five hours and frankly I like more uninteruppted sleep than that. Still I suppose it is better than doing the trek three times and having him wake up wet.

What I have ultimately concluded is that Edward might be one of those people who are simply not wired to be dry all night at this age. I know this is a possibility (see: heredity; subheading: Steve) and many of you in the comments have experience with this. But he might not be and in the face of his earnest desire I owe it to him to help him try at least until it is obvious that, Yuke, there is no try.

So thank you. Thank you very much for giving hints and encouragement and perspective. I shall, of course, report back on progress as warranted.

Oh and the subtext of all of this is: twin or not, Edward is my baby and it was uncomfortably obvious to me as I read your thoughts that I sometimes infantalize him because it doesn't occur to me to do otherwise. He's just so damned cuddly.

*Last year I was unbearably snarky and holier than thou as I decried the fact that none of our local retailers had any dreidels for sale and I wanted dreidels. Five thousand linear feet of Christmas stuff and not twelve inches to spare for another major religion? I questioned hotly.

A commenter tactfully noted that it was the end of December and Hannukah had come and gone already so... I read it and blushed. I might even have smacked my head against my desk. How mortifying to be all up on my soapbox only to discover that I was the ignorant one.

This week I was at Target and I passed a well-stocked endcap and... I bought my dreidels. The nice thing about being a secular humanist is that I get to appreciate all of the religions and some of them involve gambling for candy.

Anyway, sorry about all that last year, Party City. My bad.

PS Hey! You're right! Party City DID say they did not carry Hannukah stuff. Huh. I feel better.

It's Not A Corset

At night Edward wears a discreet undergarment, one that pulls up and is designed for the retention of unexpected moisture - you know, in case a pipe bursts in the wall and Edward's bed is accidentally flooded.

I think this is perfectly normal, children develop differently and at their own pace, all things in good time, to every flower there is a season and possibly some Simon and Garfunkle lyrics as well. Mellow, patient, rosemary, thyme, the opposite of nonplussed which I think should be plussed. Steve - well, without spreading gossip from the early 1970s - let's just say Steve is the very last person on the planet who would ever lift an eyebrow over a heavy sleeper with a small bladder. And even though Caroline has been sleeping a la Marilyn Monroe (she's not even wearing a smile) for two years nobody mentions it - not even Caroline.

However Edward has noticed in the past few weeks that this foundation piece is remarkably similar in its design to that of a diaper. And do you know who wears diapers? BABIES. And do you know what Edward most certainly is not? A BABY. In case you haven't noticed - and he is perfectly willing to scream this information directly into your ear - he is a big boy.

So Edward has started asking, sometimes piteously and sometimes aggressively and sometimes in song, to wear pajamas without anything underneath them. And I have said sure, absolutely, but before he does that he needs to make sure his body is ready, too, and the best way for him to know that his body is ready is for him to wake up dry in the morning.

To date this has never happened. Ever. No I lie. He woke up dry once a couple of years ago but he was sick and horribly dehydrated. But apart from that, never. 

In an effort to assist him we have: limited bedtime drinks, taken him to pee before bed, woken him up an hour and a half later and taken him to pee again but when I go up to check on him an hour after that... he's wet. Seriously between the hours of 9 and midnight the child has never once not peed in his sleep.

If it were up to me I would simply carry on with the pull-up until he stops on his own but he's upset about it and I would like to help him if I can. Usually I am pretty confident in my parenting instincts (I didn't say I was right; I just said I was confident) but I am utterly stumped by this. Putting a resisting child into an overnight diaper feels wrong wrong wrong but having him wake up in a cold sticky... well that certainly isn't right either.

Do you have any thoughts at all? Either on how to help him stay dry overnight or how to help him feel better about the need to wait until he strips or a product suggestion that might feel less diaper-like while keeping me out of the laundry room at three in the morning? Anything? I had come to the conclusion that the entire notion of bed-wetting was created by previous generations of parents with unreasonable expectations (why take away the safety net before you've learned how to walk on the wire?) but I had never contemplated a child who obstinately rejected my acceptance.

PS Yeah, he's in goodnites already. The monster truck motif is failing to convince him of anything.

Very Very Exclusive

One of the things that Patrick said... well, OK, he implied or maybe I just inferred... is that he dislikes swim crew because the coaching is general rather than specific. They all do the butterfly and then they are all told that they need to reaaaaach and get. themselves. up. out of the water. Since Patrick takes criticism the way I take peppermint patties (get it? he internalizes? ha ha ha) I thought maybe the lack of individual whatsit for individual performance was depressing him.

Or maybe laps are just really boring.

Anyway, I could do something, maybe, with my first theory so I went with it. I asked Patrick if he would like to swim with the teacher he had before since Patrick had loved him (in a very Patrick, yeah, he's ok, good teacher, kind of way.) Actually when I say he loved him - it took a while. I will never forget the look on Patrick's face when he climbed out of the pool the first time and the guy said, "Yeah, you really need to work on your breaststroke."

Like most modern children Patrick is used to getting a trophy just for showing up so the idea that someone would mention his weaknesses right off the bat like that... well he never.

[I have a friend whose son played, I dunno, basketball or something at the elementary aged community ed level. They competed against other teams and ultimately the ones with the best records went on to a final tournament. Like all devoted parents who are sick to death of driving and sitting around a gym/pool/rink/arena on weekends, she was relieved when her son's team failed to qualify. She was then startled to learn that they were expected to go to a different tournament. A tournament for the so-called Celebration bracket.

"Celebration" bracket.

My friend was, like, wait, you mean the losers' bracket, right? Because it is comprised of all of the teams that did not win? The ones who - in point of fact - lost?

Fortunately, someone threw a Merona jacket over her head and bundled her into the back of a minvan before any of the children could hear her heretical ramblings about how the opposite of winner is not everyone's a winner.]

So it took a bit for Patrick to warm up to someone who only told him "good job" when he thought he had actually done a good job but once he adjusted he liked it. More importantly Patrick said that this guy was really good at explaining what he needed to do differently with his body in order to swim faster and he (Patrick) made measurable progress. So I made inquiries into whether he might be willing to give Patrick some private instruction and I asked Patrick if swimming for this guy again once a week would make the swim crew more palatable and Patrick said yes, yes it would. 

The idea is to give the new arrangement a month and if Patrick is still bored by swimming he'll stop after Christmas. Last night I got a time that would work for this guy and checked with Patrick again before committing.

I said, "So C has time to coach you on Sundays at 3. Does that sound ok to you?"

Patrick said, "Yeah that sounds great."

And I said, to be fair, "Bear in mind it might make Sunday crowded when you start skiiing again."

Patrick scrunched his face up and said slowly, "Huh. It will cut into my playdate time... but that's ok! I have been thinking that I have been spending too much time with friends as it is. I don't need bonding. I don't need age-appropriate social interaction or the esteem of my peers. In fact, you know what, you can just send me to private school; I'll be fine with it!"

Since this was not an actual hysterical outburst, just Patrick experimenting with one way he might react under the circumstances in a dramatic interpretation; I said mildly that I was sure he would still have plenty of time to see his friends and he said he supposed so and that was that.

Later that night when I went to tuck him in, though, I had to ask, "Patrick when you said that about private school... you know that private schools are just schools that are not funded with public money. They aren't actual private schools, like for one individual kid, right?"

Patrick said, "Ohhhh. I did not know that."

I asked, "So when I told you that your aunt and uncle are looking at private schools for your cousin next year... ?"

"I pictured all of these empty classrooms with teachers standing around with nothing to do because he would be with someone else at the time."

I am still laughing.

Quote Sick Endquote Day

Caroline so rarely gets sick - or rather, she so rarely stays sick for more than an hour or two - that I did not have the heart to move her back to her own room last night as she coughed and coughed and coughed and then got up to cough/vomit and then coughed some more. I did, however, ask her this morning why she found it necessary to kick me so much while I was soothing her with cold water and letting her share my pillow. It was a rhetorical question, really, so I was surprised when she answered, "Oh I kept kicking because I was uncomfortable."

"Then why didn't you go back to your own room?"

She looked at me, all limpid eyed, and breathed, "Because I wanted to be near you."

And I said, "Yeah, ok, that's nice but you kicked me so much that I wound up sleeping somewhere else."

Caroline smiled and said, "Um hmmm. I noticed that. But your bed is so warm and cozy and your blanket is softer than mine. And I was much less uncomfortable once I wasn't so smooshed."

So I taught her the ten in the bed song

(There were ten in the bed and the little one said

Roll over! I'm crowded!

So they all rolled over and one fell out

There were nine in the bed et cetera

At the end of the song there is one in the bed and the little one says, "That's better")

and Caroline liked it very much indeed.

I realized around four am that she was not going to be going to preschool (confirmed when she was still sound asleep in my bed a good forty minutes after school started) and when I went up to get Edward I noted his nose was pretty gunky.

As I walked into his room he looked up and said, "Oh. Morning! I thought you were Caroyine coming to get me. Where is she?"

I said, "She's asleep in my bed. She's sick."

Edward immediately said, "Sick? Is today a preschool day? I'm sick too!" and then he coughed a couple of times for emphasis. "I have yots of coughs. I can't go to school because I don't want to get my friends sick."

I thought yeah, right, what nobility, and was amused when not ten minutes later I went to rouse Patrick and discovered he was all hoarse and raspy.

"I... I don't think I should go to school," he croaked. "I don't want everyone in my class to get what I have."

I don't mean to brag but really how do I do it? Raising two such thoughtful, considerate, altruistric children. Both of them willing to put aside their own educational needs for the common weal. I am simply bursting with pride.


Transparent junior cons aside I had already decided that any time Patrick starts a hint of anything upper respiratory this winter I am going to keep him home for at least a day and force him to rest with fluids and frequent saline flushes of the head. I keep telling him that he is NOT going to get a sinus infection again. He IS NOT. And he says, "Mom you're creeping me out" but he obedient swallows his naturopathic potions and takes his probiotics and submits to the neti pot and snorts his Flonase. 

All of which is to say that I wound up with three kids at home today out of which only one was genuinely sick and as per usual Caroline's ne plus ultra immune system kicked in and she was sunny by lunchtime. For a while they did their own stuff and then they got together and things were loud loud loud and then... quiet. Too quiet.

But you know what? Sometimes, even if you just know that wherever they are the children are using permanent marker on the walls or dyeing the cat purple, sometimes you don't care. It's like those few minutes of silence are worth having to replace all of the dry wall on the main floor.

Eventually I called "Patrick? Where are you guys? What are you doing?"

He called back, "I'm just decorating the twins."

And I said, "Oh. OK!" and then "Wait. What?"





Ohhhhhh decorating the twins.

Right. Very good. Carry on.

PS I should have realized as Patrick leaned against my back to look at my computer that his gratifying but unusual interest in an ancestry page hid a more nefarious purpose.



They adorned my backside as well.

Children are so... juvenile.

Purple Monkey Dishwasher

Edward has an imaginary little brother who has been managing the hotel for him in Brazil. We had been unaware of his existence so were surprised when he arrived in his imaginary black pick-up truck to spend the holidays with us, but pleasantly so. He seems like a nice enough kid and if he does require his own cup and bowl at breakfast he is also ok with the fact that they are empty.

I asked Edward what his little brother's name is and Edward looked thoughtful.

"Well," he said, "at first I thought his name was Edward and then I thought it was Poop but... ."

He brightened. "Guess!" he said.

"You want me to guess what your little brother's name is?"

Edward nodded. 

"OK. Is it... Steele?"

Personally, I like the name Steele.

"Yes!" Edward said. "It's Steve. His name is Steve. Yah. Just like my dad."

Edward made a great show of introducing Steve to Patrick. Edward beamed. Patrick looked stony. I glared at Patrick.

"Say hi to Steve, Patrick," I said.

Patrick gave me the oh my god are you kidding me, furrowed brow, open jawed look of a preteen pushed to his limits by idiot parents.

I said, "You know, Edward, when Patrick was your age he had an invisible cat friend who was 153 years old. Good old Sassy. I once made a birthday cake for Sassy as I recall... when was Sassy's birthday, Patrick? January something?"

Patrick groaned but Edward said, "Sassy? Did you say Sassy? Did you hear that, Steve?"

He turned to Patrick and explained, "Steve has a cat named Sassy." 

I said, "Well, now, fancy that. What a small world" and I turned to Patrick to ask if there was any chance his old friend Sassy knew Steve's cat but Patrick had fled.

Later that I night Patrick came downstairs and I maliciously asked him how Steve was doing. "Isn't he bunking with you?" I asked.

"He's going to be bunking with the angels," he said, which just goes to show you that Patrick is still capable of whimsy provided it's pure film noire.

Oh good heavens. How embarrassing. I have no idea what the point was to that story. I am pretty sure I began it with the idea that I was going to wind up somewhere else but I have been interrupted so many times since I started typing I have lost the thread. Huh.

So..... how about a recipe? Let me go get my camera. I'll add a photo and we'll forget all about the fact that I am losing my mind.

This is a pantry/freezer soup and it has a lot of different iterations based upon what I have around. Tonight I unearthed frozen chorizo links, quanitites of the frozen cheese tortellini puchased after discovering too late that Patrick likes ravioli but not tortellini (whatever), a box of frozen spinach for a spanakopita that is never going to happen and broth and beans and tomatoes in the pantry:

Chorizo, Tortellini, White Bean and Spinach Soup

1 lb pkg of cooked chorizo (or andouille) links, sliced into coins and then halved

1 medium onion, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced (or 2 t jarred minced garlic - it doesn't matter in soup)

1/2 t dried thyme

8-9 cups chicken broth (I like Swanson Natural Goodness)

14 oz can diced tomatoes (Muir Glen has one with chipotle that I used tonight. zingy)

14 oz can Great Northern or cannellini white beans, drained and rinsed

10 oz pkg frozen chopped spinach

1 pkg frozen cheese tortellini


Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook tortellini for three minutes, then drain, cool slightly and put into a storage container. Meanwhile, in a heavy stockpot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil, then add chorizo. Let it sear, about three minutes, before stirring, then continue to brown the sausage for another few minutes. Remove chorizo with a slotted spoon and rest on a plate lined with paper towels.

Add a little more olive oil to the pan if it looks dry, then add chopped onion. Saute onion until translucent, then add garlic and thyme. Cook until fragrant, about one minute.

Add broth and tomatoes to pot. Scrape bottom with wooden spoon to release onion garlic and chorizo bits, then let simmer for fifteen minutes.

Add spinach (still frozen is ok) and beans. Add sausage back to pot. Simmer another ten minutes breaking up spinach as needed.

To serve place tortellini into a bowl and ladle soup on top. Pepper to taste. For leftovers store soup and cooked tortellini separately, then re-heat soup and add tortellini directly from the fridge.



I love soup.

PS I thought you were joking about the Facebook like button which just goes to show you how very antediluvian I am. But it kept coming up in the comments so I finally checked last night and, hey, look at that. Typepad has a Facebook like button I was able to add.

Duel Averted

It never occurred to us that the waterpark would not open until ten in the morning so yesterday we found ourselves outside a locked door in our bathing suits trying to decide what to do for half an hour. Ultimately we waited and while we waited we were joined by another family who had apparently arrived early on purpose; the better to stake out prime slide-side real estate. Which, you know, go for it.

One of their children, a little girl of about seven, wandered around for a bit and then peered at Edward. She said, "Your face is really red."

I thought, I'm sorry, ok? I mean, o lord how long will I cry and thou wilt not hear? even cry out to thee of April Freshness and thou wilt not save! I just wanted my pillowcases to smell like Procter or maybe Gamble. Don't judge me!

Caroline, who had been sidling up to the bigger girl, no doubt about to introduce herself, heard this potentially negative assessment of Edward's appearance and stiffened.

You know, Caroline might spend her free time making sure that Edward knows his place is right next to her only just a leetle bit lower but she'll be damned if she's going to let anyone else chivvy him. He came with me to pick her up from Chinese school once and this kid leapt out at him from behind the door and roared. I suspect they had been talking about dragons. Anyway, as Edward jumped back Caroline flung herself at the kid, shouting "No! You're scaring him!" Then she put her arms around Edward and glared over his shoulder at her classmate.

"Don't even look at him!" she snapped.

The kid and I exchanged glances, like, whoa, hey, what's up with the crazy girl and he said something in Chinese and she said "Not good!" and then repeated 'not good' in Chinese. I mean, I think that's what she said. Boo, something.   


So the child commented on Edward's rosy cheeks and Caroline said, with a deadly yet polite chill that would have done Miss Manners credit, "My brother is very sensitive. He has a very bad rash." Then she tilted her chin upwards and looked at the girl in a way that usually makes the rest of our family take a step back.

Just as I wondered if she was going to throw down the gauntlet in the form of an arm floatie, Edward chimed in.

"Yah," he said cheerfully. "I gotta bad rash but it's getting a yidduh better."

And he hoiked down his swimsuit, bent over and showed everyone his bottom.

Patrick died.


We were at Wilderness, which is my favorite indoor waterpark in the Dells with kids this age (how's that for a modifier.) I started a migraine on the way home - an unkind if effective reminder to always carry something for migraines even you haven't gotten one in months. Slept in the car with a coat over my head and then crashed on the couch for the past four hours. My children are monsters by the way. Patrick kept waking me up asking for Minecraft tech support and Caroline pulled my foot under from under the blanket and put... things... in between my toes. I think they were raisins. Edward just exploited my coma by lying on top of me and watching TV.

Off to bed.


H to T

I should preface this by saying that I don't really like turkey. Or, um, pie. To me pie is the ill-begotten pairing of bread and cake; not doughy enough to be toothsome, not sweet enough to bridge the moments between peppermint patties. So although I am as much of a traditionalist as the next corn muffin (Steve recently described me as sentimental) I was open to suggestions when it came to our Thanksgiving plans.

As it so happened the first person to suggest anything was Patrick, who is neither traditional nor sentimental, so




we're at a waterpark in the Dells.

Right now I am at the bar drinking (huh) Miller Lite and Patrick is on the ropes course and Caroline and Edward are doing laps in a habitrail for children [overlooked by the bar. the one thing our local indoor playground is missing.] Speaking of missing, I haven't seen Steve in twenty minutes. I hope he is not lost. On the plus side I am currently three for three in the football pool.

On the plus plus side... well, everything. 

So happy thanksgiving to you in the States and for the rest of the world I hope you enjoyed a day without America yapping at you. 

Planting Memories, Pinching Arms

The day after I failed to convince anyone to plant daffodils with me it snowed. And I thought, oh well, to hell with any chance of color next Spring; once it snows in Minnesota you can pretty much just pack it up until April. This year, however, we have had a unexpected burst of late warm weather and I was able to get some couple many dozens of bulbs into the ground. I knew, by the way, that the actual leaves and flowers of the daffodil are supposed to be shunned by deer but I had no idea that the bulbs are rejected by squirrels and gophers and moles and meerkat and... and I don't know what else lives underground in our yard. Miners, maybe. Anyway, you inspired me with this observation and when I thought my arms were about to fall off as I made all those holes I remembered your comments and persevered in the hopes that next spring I will be enjoying something more efflorescent than two inches of chewed off tulip stem.  

I asked Caroline to help and she squealed in anticipation and ran off to get her work gloves.



I asked Edward, "Do you want to help me plant bulbs outside?" and he said, "I want to watch TV." Then we blinked at each other.

You know, I doubt anyone is ever going to keep their roommate awake late into the night trying to puzzle out just what Edward meant by something. An enigma he is not.

Since watching television wasn't, acshuwee, one of his options he decided to join us. Caroline immediately assumed a supervisory role; acting as if she herself hadn't just learned five seconds earlier which end of a bulb is up, calling him "Buddy" and lavishing him with praise.




Personally I would find her a little condescending for someone only forty'ish minutes older (note to self: I never remember when Edward was born; check with Steve) and two inches shorter but he laps it up.


[In a similar vein the other day Caroline and Edward sat on the same chair and colored. Caroline made birthday cards for herself (no. really) and Edward practiced writing numbers.



When he announced that he had successfully written the number 100 she flung her arms around him and gushed, "Oh EDWARD! I'm so proud of you!"


I guess I can see her appeal. I wish someone did that to me every time I finished a blog post or unloaded the dishwasher.]

Anyway, we put in the bulbs and as we worked I asked, "What do you think Daddy will say when he sees all of these beautiful flowers next Spring?"

Caroline said, "He'll say 'Caroline! My dearest daughter! You are my only child.'"

Edward said "Hey! What about me?"

Caroline said, "We're twins, Edward. They had to have you."

So Edward pinched her and said "Shut up, you idiot"* and Caroline squawked and I went further up the hill pretending not to notice any of it.

PS CeraVe has been great and the Sarna seems to really help Edward with the itching. I also did a few days of 1% hydrocortisone on his cheeks.

This was a week ago


And this was yesterday. You can see that his cheeks are still a little rough and red (oh and he has the remnants of his black eye) but, you know, much better. I am in your debt.


PPS A couple of you mentioned essential oils as a way to make things smell nice without poisoning anybody. Patrick and I are quite into the idea - we like smells (in moderation) - and both of us have been trapped with Scentfree Steve for, like, ever. I was going to order some oils online but... where do we go so that we can actually smell them? Who sells essential oils?

* Yes. Yes, they do watch programs that are more appropriate for older children. Why do you ask?