Our overburdened dishwasher just quit

We’re home and our dishwasher is broken. This may be what sends me back to therapy.

Like many of us, I’m totally fine and about to lose it. I just didn’t know the dishwasher would be the tipping point.

The Cape doesn’t even have a dishwasher. Maybe that’s in its favor. It makes no pretense of anything washing the dishes besides a person.

As the dishwasher-detergent subscriptions pile up, Captain is on the case. He’s fixed the fridge, the washing machine and the clothes dryer so I have faith even if we did call some repair people.

They’re backed up. Everyone’s dishwashers are breaking. Should’ve know. It’s another symptom of this pandemic, just like the backorder on exercise bikes, puppies and sweatpants.

I made that up. They better never run out of sweatpants.

We’re headed back to the Cape as soon as possible, but being there without Captain has brought BB’s lingering jealousy into relief.

At 6 am I’m jolted awake. BB’s little face is peering at me over the side of the bed. She whispers,

“I’m your first baby.”

“Yes! Of course!”

GOOD GRIEF and with that RB startles awake and starts wailing.

Never thought I’d get to the beach by 8am, but this is my year.

With Captain around to play Barbies and otherwise dote on BB, she couldn’t care less that RB is in bed with me. Without him around, she’s inclined to snatch every single toy away from her sister regardless of whether the toy is something she truly wants to play with.

She grabs a pot and pan lid from RB. RB screams. I mention,

“RB was playing with that.”

“But I NEED it.”

“You need it?”

“I don’t have any cymbals.”

And for many reasons this is about when we leave for the beach.

BB asks,

“Who do you love more?”

I have answered this question several ways. This time I try a new tactic,

“You love Frozen right?”

“Yes.”

“Do you love Frozen I or Frozen II?”

“Can I watch Frozen II?”

Sigh.

I pop into my obgyn office to get a mysterious spot checked out. No kids allowed. Yes I really had a spot. All is well. The doctor asks,

“Any postpartum depression?”

“No.” But can I tell you about my dishwasher?

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Magical unicorn escape from COVID at the Cape

At the beach! It’s kind of amazing. Only thing is I’m being followed around by 2 little people. They’re adorable, but A LOT of work. Technically only one can follow me around, the other one I carry. And technically the one that should be following me around marched herself out the door, down the street, to the beach, all by herself.

So maybe no one is following anyone around and it’s a free for all. BB is eating popsicles for all meals, RB had oyster crackers for dinner and I had ice cream cake for breakfast. It was my birthday.

BB also had a birthday. She’s 4! It was a Frozen extravaganza. Considering she didn’t get the friend birthday party she’d been planning all year, we went a little over the top: pin the carrot nose on Olaf, piñata for one kid and a pile of presents, including a ridiculous, ginormous unicorn that was not really my idea.

Last year at the beach there was another kid with a small, personal unicorn float. She let BB play with it and BB was in heaven. I was in the market for one of those.

I zip through Amazon. I see a $12 unicorn with hundreds of great reviews. Click. Done. Bought.

It arrives days before we leave for the Cape. I look at the box. There’s a picture of the float towering over an adult. What the heck? I look at the measurements for the first time.

Six feet long, 5 feet tall and 4 feet wide. The recommended age range is 14+.

What have I done? I check Amazon for a SMALL unicorn float. They cost more than the gigantic one and they might not arrive in time.

BB gets the ginormous one. We inflate it over the course of a morning. Will it even fit out the door or will we have a unicorn in our kitchen for the foreseeable future?

I get it to the beach. Heads are turning. It is the most ridiculous, most beautiful, most eye-catching unicorn float on the beach. BB is in heaven. I’m saying a small prayer that it doesn’t fly off ignoring all social-distancing rules.

Nine-month old RB is jealous of her sister’s new toys. I bought RB a consolation baby doll in a boat. She picked it up, flung it to the side and reached for BB’s new mermaid. BB started crying because she didn’t have her baby doll like RB’s.

I give up.

Heading into this vacation I felt like I had a major phone problem. I’m on it ALL THE TIME. Current events has consumed me: the national disaster that is our abysmal leadership and locally my town is arguing over a racist mascot that should’ve been changed ages ago.

Since I’ve been at the Cape, phone time is down to 40 minutes a day. It turns out wrangling kids at the beach requires 2 hands and as many other adults as possible.

We’re going home to regroup, make sure Captain doesn’t stay too well rested and then we’ll be back, floating out to sea on a giant unicorn, while we can.

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BB AND Captain cheated.

Taking my corona to the beach

Running along in my hamster wheel. Preschool zoom is over. The 10am-10:30am slot of my day has returned to the other indistinguishable slots of the day.

BB is a little befuddled.

“There’s no more morning meeting?”

“Not until the fall.”

BB hangs her head. For someone who sat in front of zoom picking her nose, putting her dress over her head or leaving the video frame, she is more upset about this than I expected.

I explain that it’s normal to have no school in the summer and that if all goes well she’ll go back in the fall. But will she? Or if she does, will it be for long?

Who knows? But we’re going to the Cape for almost three weeks. I might as well take my hamster wheel to the beach.

Two weeks ago I considered the baby swing which is too big to take with us. At first I thought to myself, “Good. We need to break this habit.” Then yesterday I panicked and googled travel swings.

RB is already too heavy for them. She’s been pandemic snacking on the reg. She’s wearing BB’s size 24-month summer clothes and the diapers that almost 4-year-old BB stopped wearing this year. RB is 8 months old. This made me check the weight limit on our current swing. We’re about to max out.

Ok so no swing for the Cape. Maybe what I need is a rocking chair for the beach. I wonder if something like that exists? I google it. It does! And it has a cup holder. Sold.

I can see it now. Drinking a beer on the beach. RB having whatever of that makes it into my breastmilk and both of us rocking away.

The other night I pop open a corona. BB jokes,

“Oh no! Not coronavirus.”

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Both kids contained. My work here is done.

The slow slide into mom clothes

Black Lives Matter. Defund the police now. Recognizing my white privilege and continuing to educate myself. That’s where I’m at.

I’ve been procrastinating blogging. A fluff piece about my facial hair and the lengthening inseam of my shorts, didn’t feel like a constructive addition to current events.

I contributed funds. It’s what I can do while I cower in a corner counting my toilet paper rolls and wondering what happened to that virus.

I don’t want to wish away the summer, but I’ve read Dr. Seuss’ One Vote, Two Votes, I Vote, You Vote and I’m ready for November.

Things are reopening. Captain and I are not in total agreement about what we should and shouldn’t be doing. We’ve done zero take-out. I tell Captain,

“I want to get a haircut and I’d like BB to get one too. What do you think?”

“Does she need a haircut?”

Does anyone NEED a haircut? I don’t need Chinese food either, but it sure would be a nice break from whatever we’ve been eating out of the freezer. Last night BB said,

“When are you going to cook dinner on the stove again?”

Whenever you go to school.

As the day of my haircut approached I panicked. Aside from my adoring family, no one has been close to my face in months. The state of my facial hair is like the current cleanliness level of our home. I can’t be bothered.

Without my usual waxes, I tried to tweeze. Tweezing my upper lip is torture. I pull one measly hair and tears are streaming down my face.

Then I remember: I have to wear a mask! It will cover all stray facial hairs. Phew.

I mention my facial hair during our zoom book club. I’m informed that the Tinkle razor is the way to go. Ordered. I’ll try it and worse case scenario I’ll start wearing my mask at home.

A week ago I slipped into a pair of shorts. They felt funny. I was pregnant last summer so I haven’t worn my regular summer clothes in 2 years. The shorts fit fine, but there was something not quite right.

I contemplate them in the mirror. Is the 4 inch inseam too short? It seems like yesterday I bought them because my 2-inch, inseam shorts felt too short.

It also doesn’t feel like that long ago that I got sent home from junior high for wearing too short shorts. I couldn’t understand who would wear shorts with ANY inseam.

Last week I ordered some with a 5 inch inseam. I tried them on yesterday. NOPE. I’m not ready for 5 inches.

I ordered a dress too. I’m not thrilled with it. But then it crosses my mind: “this is the perfect house dress!”

House dress. That’s also where I’m at.

Gonna spend this summer living it up with my moderately short shorts, take-out dinner and a Black Lives Matter vigil. It’s gotta be done.

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I’ve spotted my first gray hairs

What day is it? I’m delirious. I have everything in the world to be thankful for and I am. There’s even a sign in my kitchen that says,

“Start each day with a grateful heart.”

I do. I am. I’m also on the verge of losing it.

At the beginning of this I thought: ‘Oh good, time at home. I can recover from my postpartum hair loss and I’ll get all that stuff done that I’ve been meaning to do.’

Lies. All lies. My hair is growing in gray and I’m accomplishing less than when I was able to leave the house. It’s time consuming to compulsively check the news and hit “ignore limit” on every restriction I’ve set on my phone.

In an effort to cut ties, I started putting my phone in the kitchen cabinet. Sometimes this works.

In the vacuum void where a color-coded daily schedule would be, there has emerged a routine. Or at least things that usually happen:

Coffee. Non-negotiable.

Solo walks. Even in the rain.

Shower. Every other day. I’ve never been a shower-every-day type of person. No reason to go crazy now.

Preschool zoom meeting and a silent prayer that they don’t mention any more projects I need to do.

Encourage RB to roll over. She’s done it twice and seems to have decided that that’s it. It’s hard having the munchablest thigh rolls I’ve ever munched on.

Snack. When in doubt we all have a snack. Something other than baby legs.

Get BB outside. If it means she rolls down the giant pile of mud in our yard so be it.

Naptime. The ultimate goal of every day is to have both children in their rooms at the same time. Some days it works out better than others. It’s the only hope I have of getting a blog written before fall or whenever kids go back to school.

Now it’s the homestretch. TV. Dinner. Captain emerges from the library/office/toy overflow room. BB is no longer my responsibility.

BED.

Maybe emerge from putting RB to bed.

Back to bed.

Rinse and repeat.

Another sign in my house says: “Every path has its puddles… JUMP IN FEET FIRST.” Yes it’s yelling at me. We’ve definitely hit a puddle and I am doing some jumping. Thanks virtual Zumba.

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Blogging: Home Edition

Here we are. Home. Everyday.

Preschool is on Zoom. Zumba is on Zoom. Book club is on Zoom. A week ago I’d never even heard of Zoom.

I mention to Captain,

“I need to test out this so-called Zoom app”

“That’s what we use for work!”

Captain’s on Zoom too, but he’s not singing “Where is Thumbkin?”

Thumbkin is at home trying to social distance himself from Pointer, Tall Man, Ring Lady and Pinky.

RB is 5 months old and living her best life. Until now most of her life was spent being carted around wherever BB needed to go. Now she spends her days rolling around the living room floor and napping for however long she’d like.

BB is mostly unfazed with moments of clarity. The other day,

“I want to go to school.”

“I know you do. Remember we’re staying home so we don’t spread germs?”

“I cover when I cough. It’s so-and-so’s fault, he doesn’t cover!”

I explain that everyone everywhere is staying home. Except last week when I made a liquor store run.

We’re stocked up on groceries. I did that 3 weeks before the general rush on toilet paper. We have a fair amount of alcohol, but no rosé and I’m guessing we’ll still be home well into rosé season.

Captain’s productivity hasn’t been optimal. He remarks,

“RB’s crying is like nails on a chalk board.”

“Really?”

For whatever reason, her crying doesn’t bother me that much. Girl’s gonna be ok.

My sanity is being sustained by solo walks, but I’m missing my evenings out with girlfriends. I now see the benefit of a she-shed. Captain can do the kids’ bedtimes and I’ll go sit in the swing set with my rosé.

If I didn’t know I was going to be housebound for the foreseeable future, my life hasn’t changed all that much. I just get to wear my favorite sweatshirt a lot more frequently.

I’m trying to put my feet up because my vascular surgeon’s office called with this news:

“Your insurance denied coverage. We’re canceling your procedure.

When I pressed for more information, she declared,

“We’re in the middle of a pandemic you know!”

I’ve heard.

I also need to manage BB’s birthday party expectations. Is it normal for a kid to talk about her birthday party ALL year?

I had been thinking June, when her friends are around and still in school. Now that seems unlikely. There are parts of her plan I can still fulfill: a bucket of M&Ms and a bucket of Reese’s Pieces.

We’re stocked up on treats in general, but out of few key things like girl scout cookies. BB asks,

“Can I have one of those peanut butter cookies?”

“I’m sorry, they’re all gone.”

“All gone?! Where’d they go?”

“I ate them.”

“All 5 boxes?”

Shoot. She’s counting.

Last night she dropped her ice cream sandwich. She looked at me and said in an aw-shucks kind of way,

“Gravity.”

My homeschooling here is done.

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COVID-19: If I wash my hands one more time they’re going to crack open and bleed

COVID-19, coronavirus, where you guys at with this? A month ago I was FREAKED. No one else seemed worried and everyone was talking containment.

Containment seemed like a dream. I have a 3-year-old. I’ve seen her wipe snot on the living room rug and lick a table at the YMCA.

I’ve been through so many stages with this: concern, anxiety, preparing for the end of the world and now kinda over it.

Two weeks ago I did my apocalyptic preparation: not just stocking up on toilet paper, but enough mac n cheese and dino chicken nuggets to see us through to the other side.

An article I read said to stock up, but not hoard. Where’s the line? Twenty boxes of mac n cheese? Thirty? We’ll eat them all eventually.

And people are definitely hoarding because if you’ve tried to buy hand sanitizer, good luck. I put some rubbing alcohol in a spritz bottle. When in doubt I spray BB.

Two weeks ago everyone at book club was incredulous that I was stocking up. Maybe it was unnecessary.

If we were serious about not spreading this we’d all stop going anywhere right now, but if Captain is going on the train to work and BB is going to school with a bunch of petri dishes, I might as well go out for dinner.

I watch the server refill my water glass. The rim of the water pitcher makes contact with the mouth of my glass. I imagine that water pitcher touching everyone else’s glass in the restaurant. I’m thirsty. I take a gulp of my water. There’s no hope.

So if at some point we’re told to isolate, don’t worry about us, we’ve got enough chocolate to see us through.

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Disclaimer

I have my dear neighbor to thank for this mug:

I am a writer mug

When RB was a couple weeks old my neighbor arrived bearing dinners. She made TWO dinners: one for Captain and me and one especially for BB, a Dora the Explorer plate piled with dino chicken nuggets and mac n cheese.

Ours was delicious and BB is still talking about hers. As in,

“I want my dinner on the Dora plate P gave me. You remember the dinner she made me?”

Yes.

In addition there was the mug. I thanked her at the time, but was way more focused on the food.

Four months later, this mug is a highlight of my morning.

For years I’ve gone to bed looking forward to my morning coffee. This has only amplified now that it’s my sliver of alone time.

I shuffle into the kitchen in my slippers. You know the ones. The sun is rising. I pour steaming black coffee into my I-am-a-Writer mug. Life is good.

Not only am I alone, drinking coffee and eating a chocolate I don’t have to answer to BB about, I am being reminded by my mug that I am a writer. I’m not just a big human keeping two little humans alive. Some days reduce me to that, but then I get to wake up, get my writer mug out and try again.

I love all things coffee. I love drinking it; I love reading books where other people drink it and while blogging this I’ve learned that I love writing about drinking it.

In addition to boosting my self-esteem, I’m pretending this mug is fair warning to BB and RB.

I do not blog about them with impunity. I am aware that someday they may take real issue with being blog fodder.

I’m also hypocritical. I’m reluctant to post their photos on social media. Let them make their own internet trail when they’re ready or whatever age it’s acceptable for them to have a phone, 18?

So someday when BB and RB wave my blog at me and say,

“How dare you?”

I’ll point to my mug,

“You read my daily disclaimer and you continued to live here.”

 

Hi Mom I'm a blogger

After a couple false starts, ski team Curtis is coming together

Ski vacation was fun! Even if the effort required to travel and sleep somewhere new is almost enough to make me never leave home again. And yes our trip was over a week ago.

It was our first time traveling with 2 kids and our first ski trip in 3 years without any vomit. For 5 hours I rode in the third row of our SUV or however long it takes to lose feeling in the lower half of your body.

But it was worth it. We picked up my mom on the way. Not only is it helpful to outnumber the little people, but she did some major childcare. I skied every morning and got a couple nights out with Captain.

Captain and I had quality time with BB and so did the rest of the adults in the hot tub.

BB had the option of sleeping in the bed or sleeping on the couch cushions on the floor. They were very nice cushions. BB chose the floor. She also had the choice of underwear or a pull-up for bed. That choice was a mistake. Sorry couch cushions.

I booked ski-in ski-out because I knew that’s the only way I’d get a decent chunk of skiing time in before RB needed to nurse.

She’s not taking a bottle. She’s got nothing against it. She’ll hold it, play with it, chew on it. Just about anything to it, except drink from it.

A month ago I was miffed, but at this point if she’s happy ish, she can hold out as long as she wants, I’ll be at book club.

It was my first time at Stowe and my first time at our hotel. I slip on my comfy, well-worn slippers and head down to ski check. By well-worn, I mean I’ve been wearing them all day every day for over a year and they’re dead.

I see everyone leaving their shoes under the benches. I spot the same pair of slippers as mine. I’d hate to be left with someone else’s well-loved pair. I check my slippers so they’re safe with the ski-check guys.

I hit the slopes. First time skiing in 2 years and minimal post-partum core strength. It was weird and great.

By the end of the trip BB could even take a couple runs with me. And by couple runs I mean we went up the magic carpet and down the slightest incline while Captain walked with us.

We signed BB up for one day of ski school with the idea that if she liked it she could do more. She loved it! They skied, came in for cocoa, skied, came in for lunch, skied, came in for cocoa, skied, came in for pick-up.

I asked BB about her day. She compared it to her regular school, so she found the routine a little perplexing. She said,

“It was a different kind of day. We just kept skiing.”

Outfitting one small child for the snow, one time a day, feels like all I can manage, never mind multiple small children in and out all day long. Bless those instructors.

I return to ski check and hand over my boots. The guy says,

“Have a nice afternoon!”

“Thank you, I just need to grab my slippers from you.”

He returns with those bad boys and remarks,

“Good thing you checked these.”

Back home I tuck BB into her bed. She sighs,

“It’s nice to not be sleeping on the floor anymore.”

As if we’d been roughing it.

Although I agree, it is nice to be home.

Time for a cookie

My brain feels like a shell of itself. I was not at peak mental prowess before RB was born, but whatever state I’m in now feels mushier than that.

The other day a ray of light shone down from the heavens and both kids took an afternoon nap at the same time.

I tried to start a blog, but my brain wasn’t working. I opened up photos: ‘Look how small RB was when she was born!’ Three months ago.

Captain declares,

“Both kids asleep! Are you enjoying this?”

“Yes! I’m looking at their photos.”

He stares at me like I’m crazy. I LOVE looking at their photos. They’re so adorable! And their photos don’t talk back or fuss or need anything from me.

I used to look at them after BB went to bed for the night, but now I go to bed at 8pm.

I’m in bed from 8pm to 7am. I don’t feel all that sleep deprived. Maybe the countless wake-ups are destroying brain cells or maybe 37-and-a-half is hitting me hard.

Where to go from here? I don’t know. I promised myself a cookie if I finished this blog.

You’re right, I was going to get a cookie whether I finished it or not.

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We love our new potty stool!

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Can we store toys in the Land of Make Believe?

SO MANY TOYS. I am the number one contributor to this problem. I’m not sure what to do about it. I want to give BB presents. I also want to be able to see the floor of my living room.

There are toys that haven’t even come out of their boxes yet and toys that did, but BB refused to play with.

She opened her Buzz Lightyear jammies and declared,

“I’m still looking for a Buzz Lightyear costume.”

I explain that the jammies can go both ways. Then she opens what I thought was a fantastic idea for my little space, Toy Story enthusiast: a Buzz Lightyear helmet and jet pack. I’m thinking that can go over the jammies to make it a real costume.

A week later BB has yet to try on the helmet.

I ask BB,

“I’m thinking about returning the Buzz Lightyear helmet, what do you think?”

“No, I want it.”

“Do you want to wear it?”

“No.”

“Then maybe I can return it.”

“I’ll wear it in the summer.”

Last year I returned a Christmas present and BB missed it so much that the Easter Bunny brought it back.

For RB we just rewrapped BB’s old toys. I thought BB was oblivious, but after opening another baby toy for RB she declares,

“Did I play with this when I was a baby?”

“Yes.”

Santa re-gifting was not an issue, but I did field more questions. Not my strong suit. BB tells Captain and me,

“Open your stockings!”

“There’s nothing in them.”

“Why?”

“Santa only does the kids’ stockings.”

“Why?”

Because Santa has a new baby and whatever Santa managed to do this year is a miracle.

BB gestures to her toys that are sitting in front of the fireplace,

“Were those in the way of Santa?”

“Oh no. That doesn’t stop him.” Although the child safety lock might’ve given him some trouble.

I’m still struggling with this whole thing. Where does it end? Now when BB asks where Santa lives, I’ve changed my story. I say,

“He lives in the North Pole in the Land of Make Believe, along with the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy.”

BB is very satisfied with this answer and still believes in all of them.

She’s planning a trip to the Land of Make Believe to get a pet unicorn. She says she wants one real one and one pretend one.

Maybe I can return the Buzz Lightyear helmet and she can help herself to a pretend one.

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Adding a little bounce to my holiday

 

Happy Holidays! Where’s my package?

Hanukkah is tomorrow! Christmas sometime after that! Am I ready? Maybe? It’s hard to say because my brain is shot.

I was finishing up my wrapping a week ago and I realized I was missing a package from JCrew. I felt like I’d seen it at some point, but couldn’t find it anywhere. I wouldn’t have thrown it out, would I? I couldn’t be sure.

I called them and told them the package they said had arrived a week ago had not. They were very apologetic and issued an instant refund. I asked,

“Could you resend the items instead? I need those presents.”

Nope. All out.

Oh well. Captain will survive without me wrapping up a new pair of work pants.

I went about my life. I did a semi-clean of the dining room in preparation for our Hanukkah present display. For the rest of the year we use our dining room for toy storage, so by semi-clean I mean I moved the toys around to make room for all the new toys we’re wrapping up.

And there was the missing JCrew package! Along with THREE other packages I didn’t know I was missing.

I called JCrew back and gave them the good news. But the most alarming part was that I’d completely forgotten about all that other stuff.

On Black Friday, besides JCrew, I saw a deal on Godiva cherry cordials and thought to myself “am I supposed to get BB’s teachers an individual gift or do they do some sort of collection and group gift?”

I could’ve asked someone. I could’ve waited. But the sale! I bought a fair number of Godiva cherry cordials, because what was the worst thing that could happen?

The next week an email came suggesting a monetary contribution to a communal present for BB’s teachers. Done. I started eating cherry cordials.

Yesterday I head in to BB’s school for their Hanukkah party. I’m such a mom-of-a-school-kid newbie. I watch the moms juggling 3 or 4 kids. Everyone seems to be functioning and all kids are dressed. Thank goodness RB is immobile and BB hasn’t wandered too far into the parking lot.

After a sing-a-long with the cantor who’s wearing a light-up, menorah hat, we sit down to eat. The teachers are passing by chatting and some parents are handing them individual gifts. Oh man. Should I have contributed money AND given the chocolates? What’s the protocol?

Two weeks ago I had the audacity to think I had my act together. So now everything may or may not be wrapped. We may or may not be ready. But BB has plenty of new toys to open, RB has plenty of BB’s old toys wrapped up, Captain has new work pants and I’m enjoying my chocolate cherry cordials.

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‘Tis the season

Two months postpartum and it’s that time of year. Having a new baby for the holidays is simultaneously lovely and a terrible idea.

Last week I managed to throw out the rotting pumpkin on our front steps and Tutu our elf on the shelf is out and about. She hasn’t remembered to move from the plant in the kitchen. But she did remember to get out of the attic, so points for that.

Update: as of this morning Tutu is nowhere to be found. Either she’s back at the North Pole for good or Captain decided to take initiative.

Update on the update. Captain moved her! She was on top of the kitchen light and Captain has earned himself a new job.

Note on the updates: Before kids I used to write these blogs in one sitting at 11am. Now I write them over the course of a week, starting at 6am. That’s why it’s possible to need multiple updates.

Ok that’s it. No more asides.

Hanukkah decorations are in full swing and I’m ready to wrap presents as soon as I get a minute without a kid, so maybe next year.

I know it’s too soon to say much about RB’s personality, but as much as BB is a clone of Captain, RB seems to be more like me. At the very least she seems chill and very smiley and happy despite being congested for 6 out of the 8 weeks she’s been alive.

It’s tough having an older sibling in school. BB spent the first month of RB’s life sneezing and coughing all over her. In the last month BB decided she’s capable of covering, which is wonderful, but still hasn’t prevented us from sharing every cold.

An email comes in from BB’s school: ‘just want to let you know a child has hand, foot and mouth.’

Oh help us.

Through all the colds, spitting up enormous amounts of milk and phlegm all over her face and into her eyes, because back is best? RB is still smiley.

I know people say babies don’t smile socially for several weeks, but I SWEAR RB has been smiling socially since she was born. She smiles for everyone. I’m not that indiscriminate with my smiles, but close.

On the other hand, if you get a smile out of BB, you’ve EARNED it. There are a million other things I could list that make BB and Captain twins, including their artistic talents, but there’s one recent discovery that I’m in awe of.

Captain can fart on command. I have a moderate amount of control to stop a fart, but I have no idea how to create one on cue.

During a moment of dinnertime tension: BB playing with her carrot sticks, me about to take her plate away, Captain tried to lighten the mood. He directed a fart at BB. I looked at her. She had a funny face. Was she upset? She directed a fart back at Captain. He did another one at her, she did another one at him!

Amazing! Such control, especially for someone who still won’t poop in the potty.

BB tries again. She’s running on empty. Frustrated she declares,

“I need more toots! How do I make more toots?”

Captain offers,

“Eat more green beans.”

The incentive is strong enough to incite a green bean nibble before the playing begins again and I take the plate away.

We relent on the cupcake because when everyone is exhausted, snotty and BB with her double ear infection isn’t eating, but will eat the chocolate frosting off a cupcake and then go to bed. A deal is made.

Also a deal was made to write about Captain farting on command. He said it was okay as long as I include a Ren and Stimpy photo. Here ya go.

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Blog-life balance is hard. And to BB, I’m sorry. Just sorry

One month postpartum. I’ve been DESPERATE to write a blog for a couple weeks and finding time feels hard.

Aside from that and BB being mad at me, things are good. Maybe it’s the placenta pills.

When my placenta came out covered in meconium, RB’s first poop in the womb, the nurse said,

“You don’t want this.”

I spent 9 months making and maintaining that thing and I’ve already paid $400 to get it made into pills, so I DO want it.

“Did you see your placenta? You don’t want it.”

“I do want it.” And considering it’s 2am, I want to save it until I can check with my placenta person and see if it’s still good to ingest.

“We need to send it to pathology.”

“Why do you need to send it to pathology?”

“When there’s meconium we send it to pathology.”

It avoided pathology and was allowed to go home with my mom who was kind enough to escort it out a day early.

And in case you were thinking:

‘Hey! Whatever happened to Jess’ varicose veins and those sexy tights?’

Well let me tell you.

Immediately after delivery the veins in my legs felt better. That or a million more important things were going on and I forgot I had legs.

I had 2 pairs of compression tights in my hospital bag and I didn’t think about them for a second.

The day after I delivered I woke up at 4am to intense pain. All my bulging veins had clotted. They were super hard, hot and painful. I could barely walk.

The irony of having an intact vagina but hobbling about because of my varicose veins was not lost on me.

At the time I didn’t realize there are all different types of thrombosis and what I have is painful, ugly and not life threatening. The blood clots are superficial and can’t move anywhere in my body, unlike deep vein thrombosis. That’s the deadly one.

At 4am we alerted the powers that be, but no one was alarmed. After multiple calls to the nurses, they told us that the doctor isn’t concerned and someone will be in to see us eventually.

Captain and I did the only logical thing to do if you’re in a hospital and think you might have something deadly going on. We consulted Google. It was unclear what signs of imminent death we should be looking for, but to be on the safe side we didn’t go back to sleep.

The nurse put a loose heating pack on my leg. I asked her for a way to strap it on. She said,

“Like an ace bandage?”

“Yes!”

“We don’t carry those on the maternity floor.”

“Ok.” I’m waiting for her to follow up with how she’s going to get one from somewhere else because we’re in a HOSPITAL. She proceeds to tie a baby swaddle blanket around my leg.

After an ultrasound to confirm what they suspected: nothing deep and deadly, we went home. They recommended I start wearing my compression tights again. A month later my newly found vascular surgeon tells me,

“Yes, wearing your tights after delivery definitely could’ve helped.”

Screw you people. I wore them my entire pregnancy, through JULY AND AUGUST. I could have worn them for one more day and maybe prevented or minimized the clots, but no one told me.

My vascular surgeon adds,

“It could be helpful to wear them now.”

Maybe, but now the pain is so minimal and the stockings are so annoying, that the pain-annoyance ratio is not in the tights’ favor.

Three months until surgery to remove the clots. I’m sorry BB and RB. It’s hereditary.

But BB has enough to worry about right now. She’s not happy. I’ve taken a lot of my love and attention that would’ve gone toward her or no one and directed it toward 10 pounds of screaming, helpless cuteness.

With the rainbow theme in full effect in RB’s room, BB informs me,

“You know I like rainbows too.”

“Yes! Of course you do!” There are plenty of rainbows for everyone.

Three days postpartum my placenta began the process of being turned into pills in my kitchen. The meconium did not disqualify it.

At this point I’ve swallowed about half of my placenta. And if you thought this would be free from the sting of sibling rivalry, you’re wrong.

BB had a lot of questions including,

“What did you do with my placenta?”

Sorry kid. We threw it out.

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My placenta print. You’re welcome.

 

Birth Story! Don’t say I didn’t warn you

Rainbow Baby is here! I’m thrilled and Captain has PTSD.

On my due date we went for a regularly scheduled check-up. RB (Rainbow Baby) was doing well and I was doing well. My midwife was happy for us to wait to go into labor naturally, which is what I was hoping for.

Four days later we went for an ultrasound to make sure everything still looked good. RB was doing well and there was plenty of amniotic fluid. I felt relieved. Then they took my blood pressure: 160/90. My midwife was alarmed. She asked,

“Are you anxious?”

“Now I am!”

She gave me some time to calm down and then she checked again, 160/90.

She told us to go to the hospital to get blood work, a urine test and a non-stress test for RB. She recommended taking our bags with us in case they wanted to induce me.

I started freaking out. I was already on the verge of a freak out at any point in this pregnancy.

The day was not supposed to be going like this. I had been looking forward to an afternoon nap and then an anniversary dinner with Captain.

And the least of it, but not helping my anxiety, was that the next day was our Angel Baby’s birthday. A year to the day that she died. I was becoming a hormonal, emotional wreck.

We went home, had lunch, packed our hospital bags. I got in the car and told Captain,

“I don’t want to go. I have a really bad gut feeling about this.” I was feeling like my blood pressure was up because I was anxious and that instead of calming down I was just getting more and more anxious. I felt desperate to stay home and rest.

Captain felt strongly about going to the hospital and getting tested. I agreed to go with the stipulation that we’d leave if I wanted to.

The non-stress test showed baby was still doing well. My blood pressure was still 160/90. The blood work was normal but there was protein in my urine and they diagnosed me with preeclampsia.

I understood the severity of this. I also understood that no one was whisking me away for a c-section.

It was 5pm. The midwife wanted me to stay at the hospital and start an induction. She said it could take up to 2 days. I said,

“If it could take 2 days, then I’d like to go home, get a good night’s sleep and start the induction in the morning.”

“We don’t recommend that.”

They wanted to monitor the baby and me in case things got worse. The doctor came to talk to me. He said that if I were 30 weeks pregnant they’d hold off on inducing me.

I knew if I stayed in the hospital I wouldn’t sleep and how the heck am I supposed to have the stamina for a 2 day induction if I start off by pulling an all-nighter? I felt desperate to be well rested for this.

Against the doctor, midwife and Captain’s better judgment, I went with one of the strongest gut feelings I’ve ever had. I signed myself out of the hospital and agreed to come back at 9:30am the next morning to start the induction.

We got take-out. Not the anniversary I’d imagined, but at least I was home. Captain was terrified. I became a little more nervous. If anything bad happened now, I was 100% responsible and what would that do to our marriage if we both blamed me?

I took a long hot shower, followed by a long hot bath. I was determined to relax. So you can imagine how that went. Captain was snoring in no time and my mind was racing. At 11pm I got crampy. Nothing too bad. At 11:40pm I was too uncomfortable to stay in bed and also excited that maybe labor was starting on its own.

I began tracking my contractions. They seemed really close together for having just started. They were coming every 3-4 minutes, but only for 35-40 seconds. I wasn’t convinced this was for real, although the intensity felt for real. I figured I should track them for an hour to see if there was a regular pattern, but by 12:30am I told Captain we should go to the hospital.

Even if it weren’t for real, I was nervous enough about my blood pressure and RB.

Captain woke my mom up at 12:40am. I repacked my bag, changed my pants, told my mom she could go back to sleep, turned off some lights, told Captain to let my OB office know we’re headed to the hospital.

At 12:55pm we left. After the fact my mom said she was one minute away from making us stay and calling 911.

I knew from BB that contractions in the car are no fun. So when a really bad one hit me half way through the 15 minute drive to the hospital I figured I probably had one more to get through and then we’d be there. I moaned through a third as we drove up the hill to the hospital. Captain asked,

“Can you walk in?”

“Yes.”

Another contraction as we pulled in by the emergency room and with that my water broke. I screamed at Captain,

“The baby’s coming I can’t walk in!” I ripped off my pants.

He sprinted for the emergency room and came back with a man and a woman pushing a wheelchair. I climbed into the wheelchair, wearing one of Captain’s undershirts and nothing else. I instructed Captain on what bags we needed and we were off.

I was told that the woman said to stop screaming and asked what happened to my pants. All I remember is her trying to cover my crotch with my t-shirt and keep a hand there in case Baby popped out.

Later, multiple nurses asked me what happened to my pants. Baby was coming out so I took them off. I am unclear on how I was supposed to have a baby with pants on.

I left a trail of blood through the halls. Days later a couple drops were still there.

The ER peeps rolled me into an empty maternity floor. Staff appeared out of nowhere.

I’d seen meconium in my amniotic fluid and was terrified that RB wasn’t ok. I screamed at the nurse,

“Is my baby alive?”

“I have no idea.”

RB was crowning as I threw myself onto the triage table. I knew I wanted to be on my side.  My midwife had said that’s the best bet if I want to minimize tearing.

The triage “bed/chair” was in an upright position. I was on my side diagonally across it. Captain had one of my legs which he handed off to a nurse and I was resting my head on a side table thing.

I was given the all clear to push and RB came right out. It was 15 minutes since we left home and 2 hours since labor started.

RB was whimpering! They cut her cord and whisked her away. Captain went with her. He came back to report all was well. She swallowed meconium but hadn’t inhaled it.

The doctor who was there for the delivery wasn’t part of my OB practice, so she peaced out.

I asked Captain for the angelica root tincture that my midwife had recommended I take to help release my placenta.

The gruff nurse said,

“You’re not putting anything in your mouth, I don’t even know who you are.”

“I don’t know who you are!”

The doctor from my practice showed up. The same doctor we’d seen a few hours earlier who didn’t want us to go home. He was so kind and funny. He said if my midwife said to take it, I could take it. He asked,

“What time was the baby born?”

Everyone looked at each other. I looked at the clock. I have NO idea. No one knew. A nurse said,

“1:10?”

So let it be written.

The doctor started the task of inspecting the damage. I cringed and waited to hear the worst. I knew I was supposed to push the baby out slow and easy and nothing about this had been slow. Although fairly easy!

The doctor sent the gruff nurse for anesthetic. There was some misunderstanding and she came back without it. He sent her away again. When she came back he said,

“You took so long that the patient is all healed up.”

And that is how I found out the most amazing news: NO STITCHES!

I’d been hoping for minimal tearing, but I didn’t have the audacity to begin to hope for NO tearing.

Our healthy rainbow baby was placed on my chest at 1:30am, 20 minutes after she was born. And as for her sharing a birthday with our angel baby, it feels miraculous. I wouldn’t change a thing, except maybe leaving for the hospital 10 minutes sooner so as not to traumatize poor Captain. But maybe this cured him of the temptation for a third.

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My DNA results are in!

I sent my DNA to 23andMe. I waited as my spit traveled through the multi-step process. I ripped open each incoming email:

  • Kit registered
  • Sample received
  • DNA in queue for extraction
  • Genotyping your DNA
  • Reviewing your genetic data
  • “Results for Jessica Curtis are in. A world of DNA discovery is waiting.”

I was excited. Too excited. After hearing so many crazy genetic stories about people finding long lost relatives, I had myself convinced I was going to learn something other than that I’m 50% Jewish and my parents are exactly who I thought they were.

One close relative, my mom, was listed and after that just 2nd, 3rd and 4th cousins.

I’m not sure who I was hoping to find, but confirmation of who my mom is wasn’t a surprise. She’s the one who bought the kit for me in the first place. 23andMe offered a look at my connections,

“We detected close family: Mother (predicted). Would you like to connect?”

Thanks. I’ll text her.

Then I got a little bit excited again when I browsed the genetic traits category. The first one was,

“Less likely to be able to match a musical pitch.”

That’s so me! Back in the day my piano teacher said the good news was I wasn’t completely tone deaf. The bad news is BB only wants me to sing when she’s going to sleep. Any other time I get asked to be quiet.

My excitement started to wane after that. There was:

  • Less likely to have flat feet.
    • I have flat feet
  • Likely little baby hair.
    • I had plenty.
  • Likely to get motion sickness.
    • Sometimes, but really only when cleaning toilets below deck on rough seas.
  • More likely to be afraid of heights.
    • I’ve been sky diving no issues.
  • Likely at least a little unibrow.
    • That one’s correct.

It started to feel like a horoscope. I could easily believe in it if I wanted to or not. It did say I have a 43% chance of developing type 2 diabetes.

That isn’t a complete shocker because for whatever reason my blood sugar was on the high end at the start of this pregnancy. I laid off the several powdered donuts for breakfast, soda for lunch and chocolate for afternoon snack. That seems to be helping for now so I added the chocolate back in.

It also said I’m likely to wake up at 8:11am. Before BB I was likely to wake up at 10am and now that BB exists, 7am is all I get. I’ll let her know that 8:11am would be ideal based on my genetic makeup.

Supposedly I’m likely to consume less caffeine than average: 17mg less. That’s an 8th of a cup of coffee. I’ve been helping myself to that additional splash to make up for not sleeping until 8:11am.

And fun fact, I have a gene that is common in elite, power athletes, which may be why I was able to bounce BB for as long as I did.

Captain has a kit waiting for his spit. So if BB ever decides to submit her DNA she’ll have at least 3 close connections to contact if she’d like. And hopefully just as little excitement.

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Still growing this baby

22 weeks pregnant and holding the course. I’m doing what feels like an enormous amount of self care: therapy, pregnancy-after-loss support group, midwife appointments, acupuncture, chiropractic, pelvic floor physical therapy, yoga, walking, haircuts, book club and considering a prenatal massage.

I can’t control much of this baby making process, but I’m good at making appointments. 

This is short lived. As soon as this baby is on the outside my self care will be down to the occasional shower and walk. Or maybe just shower and nap if I tear my crotch to pieces again.

Overall I’d describe myself as NOT an anxious person, but of course that’s not doing me any good now. My therapist said that I can’t expect to have zero anxiety and she thinks I’m doing about as well as I can hope. So there’s that.

At my last ultrasound scan the doctor said,

“I have no concerns aside from your advanced maternal age.”

Perfect. I’ll be 37 in July. In general I feel great, healthy, strong, vibrant, full of life, optimistic, all that good stuff. But 36.9 and pregnant? I feel OLD. My hips are aching; my legs are throbbing and I’m leaking urine just thinking about it.

I see why 22 years old is physically a great age to give birth. Although the only thing I was prepared to give birth to at that time was this blog. That’s right, this blog was born in 2005. And yes I know where to find those posts and no they’re not public. They’d only reassure you that waiting to have kids in my thirties was the right decision.

I’m also in full blown nesting mode. I had this feeling when I was pregnant with BB, but we were in a one bedroom, so after we squeezed in a changing table, there wasn’t much else I could do.

Now I can decorate a whole nursery! The rational part of me says,

“BB didn’t sleep in her own room for a year. This kid is going to be in your bedroom for a long time, no rush to decorate her room now.”

The anxious, superstitious part of me says,

“Don’t you dare decorate that room, you have NO idea what’s going to happen.”

The hormonal, pregnant, nesting part of me says,

“But I really wanted to do this when I was pregnant with BB and I couldn’t. This is my chance!”

I’m going with the hormonal part of me. She’s the most insistent. Plus we already have all the big nursery furniture. The crib has been stored in that room for over a year. All I had to do was move it to the other side of the room.

I’m going with a rainbow theme considering sometimes people call the baby they have after a loss their rainbow baby. It may be overplayed, but I like it. And heaven forbid this kid doesn’t make it, if some kid makes it at some point, they’ll be our rainbow baby.

Captain painted the walls a light blue, so it’s ready for rainbows. BB slid her bare butt across the new cloud rug, so that’s broken in. And I’ve been making frequent trips to HomeGoods to keep an eye on the rainbow/cloud paraphernalia.

All that’s left to do is keep going. And whatever concerns I have about labor and delivery, I can let those go because the other day BB told me,

“Mom, when you push the baby out?”

“Yes?”

“I’ll catch her.”

Self-care pregnancy

I can do this. I’ve got the rubber duckies, the letters and the bubbles, tear free!

Baby #3 for the win? TBD

If all goes well, we’ll see what happens, you never know, chances are, God willing, if we luck out, if the stars align, I don’t want to count my chicky before she hatches, BUT I’m 20 weeks pregnant!

I can’t believe I’m halfway through. Between this pregnancy and the last one I feel like I’ve been in some sort of first trimester purgatory.

I’m due early October. Twenty more weeks to go. A whole summer of being pregnant. I’m feeling hot thinking about it. Not sexy hot. Sweat dripping down my enormous belly and settling in my crotch hot.

Or not since the sweat will be absorbed by the full length compression tights I’ve started wearing. These are $50 pantyhose that I got a prescription for. That’s how sexy they are. Not just anybody can get their hands on these.

When Captain saw me in them he said,

“Straight out of a J.C. Penney catalog!”

I think he meant it as a compliment.

My varicose veins are popping. And mostly it’s an aesthetic issue, but by the end of the day they are achy, throbby and uncomfortable. If I wear the tights, they’re not, but then I get to be uncomfortable in a bunch of other ways. So so far it’s a real toss up.

My main complaint is that the compression tights are so strong that they squish everything up and then the compression stops right below my butt/crotch and everything spills over the top.

There never used to be a line of demarcation on my leg. My thighs increased in width until they somewhat smoothly met up with my butt. That is no longer the case.

I called the pharmacist back and asked about compression all the way up. That’s not a thing. I tried adding some maternity spanx on top of my pantyhose. Not only was it not strong enough to contain the thigh spillage, the number of layers was getting ridiculous.

Yes of course I would accept a million varicose veins and 10 months of being pregnant in the summer if I can get my hands on a healthy baby, but I sure as heck am not about to do it quietly. Or at least not anymore.

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Glue for the girl who has everything

I’ve got my dreidel jammies on, that means it’s Hanukkah time! Or was. Our dreidel jammies are comfortable enough to wear all day, all Winter. Just ask Captain. I made the mistake of putting them on before Thanksgiving and BB exclaimed,

“Fall is over already? It’s Hanukkah time?!!”

“First Thanksgiving and then Hanukkah.”

I string some Christmas lights along the railing upstairs. BB shouts,

“It’s Halloween time?!”

Things are getting confusing.

I ask BB, 

“What are you excited about for Hanukkah?”

“Crispy latkes!”

Me too!

All year I’ve marveled at how much stuff BB has. In October I wondered if there was anything left to get her. 

Two nights before Hanukkah I found myself wrapping up almost 30 presents for her. How did this happen?

We wanted to get her arts and crafts supplies. I don’t like to shop, so doing it online is the best way. I browse the selection. It’s hard to get an idea of everything that’s available and appropriate for someone with limited fine motor skills. 

I decide it’s a good idea to go to a brick and mortar Michael’s. By myself. 

I walk into the store. Oh no. This is bad. What was I thinking? I don’t like shopping and I don’t like arts and crafts. This store is a combination of both of them. I feel overwhelmed just standing in the entrance.

I head to the kid section. A month ago BB told me,

“I need colored pencils.”

“Ok put them on your Hanukkah list.”

The next day, 

“Mom, I need colored pencils.”

“I know, they’re on your Hanukkah list.”

A few days later,

“Colored pencils?”

“Hanukkah list!”

We continued this way for a month. I look at the colored pencils in the kid’s section of Michael’s. Not only are there at least 4 different brands of colored pencils, but they’re in 4 different aisles within the kid’s section so if I want to price/color count compare. It’s just about impossible. I postpone making a colored pencil decision.

I get kiddie scissors. That’s also a comparison nightmare. Glue. I stop comparing. Elmer’s all the way. It claims to be washable. Then there’s white construction paper, colored construction paper, markers, water colors, water-color paper, and some Hanukkah stickers.

Mission accomplished. I check out, head home and hide it all away until I’m wrapping presents two days before Hanukkah.

I pull out the Michael’s bag. Where are the colored pencils? I scan the receipt. I NEVER bought them. The only thing BB put on her Hanukkah list everyday for a month, and it costs all of $5, I did not buy. 

I could go back to Michael’s, Target or even Stop & Shop. I don’t consider it. With limited comparison, I settle on a 36 count box Prime next day shipping. DONE.

BB opens up her Elmer’s glue. She declares,

“Mom, I need googly eyes.”

Good news. I already have a bunch. I got them years ago to April Fool’s prank Captain. I bought them online.

Last night BB opened her last Hanukkah present.  She exclaims,

“Colored pencils!”

The countdown is on for my diminishing coolness

This post is 2 weeks late, but that’s in keeping with all of my posts now, so maybe that means it’s on time.

Halloween. It was a big success. Baby Bop fit into last year’s dinosaur costume and Captain and I fit into our Mommy/Daddysaurus t-shirts. It was a $50 investment, so good news that we got to use them again.

Yes I could wear my Mommysaurus t-shirt any day of the year. I’m tempted to, but I’m not sure what sort of statement I’m making without a babysaurus in tow.

Before Halloween arrived, in August, neighbors kept telling us,

“Halloween is epic here!” “We went through 20 bags of candy last year.”

Captain turns to me,

“Should we buy candy now to make sure we have enough?”

“It’s August.”

He’s unconvinced and I’m not sure what else to say. I buy candy in September. It stayed unopened for all of 30 minutes after I got home. The week before Halloween I made a mad candy dash because someone, me, had eaten all the candy.

You think one piece here or there isn’t going to add up, but if you eat one piece followed by several more pieces every day for 2 months, that does the trick.

The Halloween plan was for Captain to hold down the fort and for Baby Bop and me to toddle around the neighborhood for as long as each of us could stand it.

Baby Bop screams when she sees me headed her way with the dinosaur costume, but she lets me put it on and then she couldn’t care less. For someone who has strong feelings about not wearing certain standard pieces of clothing, I’m surprised. We hit the street.

All it takes is Baby Bop sighting the “big kids” walking up to random doors and she’s all about it. Baby Bop would follow a 6-year-old just about anywhere.

We go to 5 houses and I’m done. Baby Bop is thrilled. She is at the stage that putting objects in and out of containers is very appealing. So lots of shiny crinkly things to put in her little pumpkin is delightful.

A bunch of kids see Baby Bop toddling up to them and squeal in delight,

“Oh she’s so cute!”

A four-year-old asks me,

“What is she?”

“A dinosaur!”

He rolls his eyes, lets out a long sigh and says really slowly,

“What kind?”

“Oh, a stegosaurus I think.”

“That would make sense, that’s what’s on your t-shirt.”

Thanks kid. I’ve never been cool, but exasperating a 4-year-old is new.

We head home. We did not get a lot of trick-or-treaters. Some. But not 20 bags of candy worth. So here’s to blogging while I eat a Reese’s, a Twix, a Milky Way and a Snickers. We’re saving the candy for next year.