talk about it more

a virtual baby book

When she was two, Fiona regularly said "Talk about it more!" to express her desire to know more about whatever we were discussing.

Friday, February 29, 2008

There are no cats at a cat scan...

...but that doughnut-shaped machine sure would look better with some sprinkles on it! Ian, Fiona, Nora and I just got back from my biopsy and cat scan. The wait was fairly long, but there were books and playthings in the waiting area, and Cheerios make everything better anyhow. Finally we were escorted back and everybody got to watch the biopsy. Fiona liked seeing my two thyroid masses get moved around on the little black and white screen during the guided biopsy. I liked the fact that the girls got to see calmness around needles.

The cat scan was next, and while everybody got to see the machine before the procedure began, Ian and the girls waited outside and listened to the whirring and humming of the huge device. It was great fun to have the doctor show us pictures of the insides of my head right away.

We should have results back in a week, but we already know that the cat scan looked good, and the doctor said that the slides from the biopsy looked good to the naked eye, too. Hooray! An interesting-- and also optimistic-- day was had by all.

Thursday, February 28, 2008


OK, Ivy didn't exactly say "Grrrrrr," but she wasn't particularly thrilled to go to the vet, either. The girls, however, really enjoy seeing the veterinarian, as well as the staff and the numerous pets who go in and out there.

Ivy had to go see our favorite vet for a case of Goopy Ear, and is now the ecstatic recipient of chilled ear drops for 2 weeks. (I'm looking forward to that myself...) Fiona and Nora, for the most part, watched with a mixture of fascination and horror as Ivy tried to growl, spit, and claw her way off the examining table. Poor Ivy. The good news is that she should feel better quite soon.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


as I cut up bananas at the breakfast table while the girls pretended together in the sleeping bag that hasn't been put away yet from my weekend retreat:

"You're a big friend."

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

No need to fight for your right to potty

We've been casually asking Nora if she'd like to try her potty for the past month or two-- no pressure, mind you-- and up until about a week ago her vehement answer has been, "No!" Honestly, it's mostly been me asking because I'm home more. But Ian asked her last week and she took him up on it. Since then, sitting has been a popular activity.

Last night both girls went upstairs to get the pajama thing started while I cleared off the supper table. The whole family was due to gather upstairs for toothbrushing, reading, diapering, singing, praying, and other bedtime routines, but Ian and I were still finishing stuff up downstairs.

Suddenly Fiona came riproaring into the kitchen with her arms flailing, hollering, "Come quick! Nora used the potty!" Ian and I gave each other impish glances, I tossed my dishtowel onto the counter, and the three of us galloped up the stairs together with more noise than a herd of elephants.

Nora was waiting for all of us in the bathroom, beaming like the sun. This blurry photo shows one excited toddler. Of course, we know this may not happen again for six months. That's fine. But it's just the kind of hubbub we love on these cold, wintry days when Spring seems close, yet just out of reach.

Friday, February 22, 2008

When Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy

That old saw is amusing until you try to say it to an overtired, grumpy mama; then watch out! It's funny how other people's quirks can be so annoying when I'm the one with the real issue.

When Ian finally got home from work today, we couldn't have been more grateful. Finally, a beam of sunlight joining us at the dinner table. A chance at levity. Smiles. Nora's sniffles could stop getting her down for a bit, and Fiona could rise from beneath her mother's horrible raincloud to laugh a little. It was good.

My eyelids are twitching from lack of sleep even as I write this post and search for a photo to add, so this one will be short. And relatively sweet. Goodnight.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

From shaggy to shorn

We had been letting Fiona's hair grow into a little bit of a shag this winter. The pixie seemed a little chilly to me during these frigid wintry days and nights. In addition, we thought we had to pull Fiona's hair back from her face for her dance recital this Spring, so we were letting it grow long enough that we could twist strands back out of the way. As it turns out, only kids with shoulder-length hair or longer need to worry about that. Whew!

Fiona is not a Let's Fuss With My Hair Now type of gal. She's more of a There's Play to Be Had if We Get Moving Now type. So we just had to find a $3 haircut Wednesday at the beauty college during which we weren't already filled to the gills with our usual activities, naps, and everyday fun.

Today was that day, so the pixie has returned. Spring can't be too far behind, right? Everything's coming up roses, right? Apparently not-- everything's coming up haircuts. Once Nora discovered-- about last week or so-- that her beloved sister was getting a haircut, she was hell-bent to get one as well. "My pixie cut? Yes?" has been her perpetual mantra as she has grabbed handfuls of her own hair and tugged surprisingly hard on it.

Visions of our usual Nora holding any of a number of verboten items and running away with them above her head ran across my mind's eye. I tried to imagine how long it would be before Nora hacked her own hair as I unloaded the dishwasher or fed the cats or something. "Yes Nora," Ian and I decided, "you can have your hair cut too. Maybe not in a pixie quite yet, but a trim wouldn't hurt anything." I had trimmed her bangs myself not too very long ago (remember how THAT turned out last time?), and it was probably time for the rest of her head to get some attention anyhow. Now she has a layered inverse bob. She love, love, LOVES it. Fiona is glad to get back to her pixie roots as well.

Yeah. Haircuts all around. We meant to do that. Right?

Monday, February 18, 2008

The School Talk

Ian and I are having The School Talk. We had regularly scheduled company during the local Choice Fair, so we didn't tour all the local school options. We had regularly scheduled company during the parochial school open house, so we didn't go there, either. It's not that we can't make informed opinions without these things; but well, we'll have a kindergartener this fall. If we're going to enroll, the time is now. If we're not, the time to prepare is yesterday.

Our feelings are mixed regarding what to do about Fiona's schooling. Can you tell? Last year our answer was to send her for the kindergarten assessment we thought she'd need, pay her kindergarten roundup fees, then get cold feet and keep her home. We haven't regretted it for a moment. Though we still have work to do, over the past year Fiona has grown by leaps and bounds emotionally. She's also fine physically and intellectually. During our year of dabbling in homeschooling, Fiona has joined a religious education class, a travel club, an early reader book group, a reading group, a Montessori math class, and a dance class. Our adventures in homeschooling have led us to such diverse projects as cooking, planting, building, singing, dancing, and many other forms of random discovery. We've made new friends, and done our best to keep up with old ones. She's learning how to read, and how to cut and do various other arts and crafts projects. We visit a nursing home with a homeschool group somewhat regularly. She is taking on some regular pet care and housework tasks. Most people can recognize what her drawings represent. What else is kindergarten for, anyway?

We still aren't sure what Fiona is going to do for kindergarten. I did ask her the other day, though. I told her that what she wanted was not necessarily what was going to happen, but that it was definitely a factor in our decision. I presented all of her options and asked her opinion. She said she preferred to have kindergarten at home. When asked why, she said bluntly, "Because it's easier." I couldn't really get her to explain what that meant to her at all. But I'm certain that the decision isn't easy for Ian or me. Not by a long shot.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Noodling around

Yesterday the girls and I got noodle lessons from a good friend. We (well, mostly the grownups-- and by that I mostly mean her) made spaghetti, fettuccine, chickpea rosemary bowties, parmesan and squash-filled ravioli and also herb spiced ricotta-filled ravioli. Mmmmm!

I would have taken more photos, but we were far too busy talking, working, and, of course, eating! It was a fine, fine day of noodling around. I think we may have to think about our own pasta maker...

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Birthday party candy

Fiona and I went to the birthday party of one of her friends from her old daycare today, and Fiona came home with some candy and cookies and other loot. She was sharing some stuff with the rest of us after dinner, but had some heart-shaped chocolates that she wasn't as willing to part with. Nora was a bit disappointed, but I got out a small peppermint patty to share with her.

Nora, however, didn't want to share. She said "Me!" when I offered her a bite of the patty, and I let her hold it and said "now take a bite and give it back to me, since we're sharing it." Howling. Running. Cornered by her mom, she was deposited back in my lap, where I explained once again that we were sharing it.

"So now you take a bite," I said.

I watched the idea form in her eyes. From idea to execution probably took less than a second.

And I'll leave it to your imagination how much peppermint patty was left after her bite.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pirates and geese and bears-- oh my!

Today was a really fun, full, happy day. We spent the morning with our friends Annie Rose and Sharon today, and it was fabulous! Sometimes we remember to bring the camera on outings like these, and sometimes we forget. I'm glad today we brought it, because there was much to see! In addition to pretending to be pirates, big black bears, geese, squirrels, Native Americans, and friends at a tea party, we also enjoyed a lovely brunch full of blueberry waffles and eggs. Thanks, ladies!

From there Nora got a little shuteye until Fiona's early-reader book group at the library. She and fourteen other beginning readers discussed Ted Arnold's Hi, Fly Guy! They talked about what made a great pet, and what made an annoying pest. She also drew her favorite kind of pet in the world for a Shrinky-Dink keychain. (Here's a hint-- they're real-live kittens whose names rhyme with Velda and Divy). Fiona came home requesting to dictate a chapter story about how we came to acquire our beloved cats. She's not finished, but so far so good!

Shortly after taquitos tonight both girls collapsed into bed. And if their dance clothes were ready for tomorrow morning, I would too!

Again and again and again...

Nora has some intriguing turns of phrase. One of them includes, "again and again and again," which she uses whenever she can; as in bellowing, "No, Mama! I want to nurse you again and again and again!" as I try in vain to distract her with board books or the missal at Mass on Sunday.

"Again and again" came up yet again last night at dinnertime. Ian was working another night shift at work, and I decided to make a simple supper of scrambled eggs and leftovers. Sounds delightful, doesn't it? Anyway, for some reason our eggs stuck to the bottom of the pan, so I put some water in the skillet and put it back on the still-warm burner during dinner. Some water had dripped onto the bottom of the pan, and it sizzled off and on throughout our meal.

Her face lit up in animated excitement, Nora said repeatedly, "Mom! An explosion! Again and again and again!" I continued to explain that it wasn't an explosion, but actually the sound that water makes under the pan when it gets really, really hot. Nora put her two index fingertips together and said in a small, squeaky voice, "A little explosion, Mama?" She remained unconvinced.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Your valentine

We bought a handful of valentines to send; but, um, they're going to be late. This will have to do:

Click to play your funny valentine
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Make a postcard - it's easy!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Reverse psychology

Fiona and Nora got me a Rubik's Cube for Christmas. They knew that I was learning to solve it from a teen at work. Now, they've gotten a couple keychain versions of their own, as some kind of prize at the Seuss Day at the Botanical Conservatory. They were very excited when they saw that these mini cubes were one of the choices. They're a little stiff, but are getting better with use.

Earlier today I solved Fiona's for her after she mixed it up. Then, about half an hour ago, she announced her intent to mix both of them up for the cats. I'm not sure what the attraction of a randomized cube is to cats, but obviously I don't know everything.

Just now, Fiona came to me and said "Daddy, can you solve this cube please?" I was busy with something else, so I said "Not right now." She looked at me slyly and said "I bet you can't solve it." I said that I could, later. She said "I bet you can't. Look how mixed up it is! You can't solve it." Yes, she has discovered the "Bet you can't" strategy. But it didn't work on me.

"I'll START it now, but I really don't have time to finish it," I said, claiming my Pyrrhic victory.

"No - that's okay. I really want it to be mixed up for the cats," she said, and darted off.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Au contraire

Neither Ian nor I believe in "terrible twos". We don't necessarily call them the "terrific twos," but we do, in general, think age two gets a bad rap. This is not to say we've had a good week, though. Not by any stretch of the imagination.

I noticed that we haven't been blogging like we usually do, and stopped to try to figure out why not. And while I'm still not completely sure, I do think things have slowed down considerably because somebody is feeling a mite, well, contrary. About just about anything you'd like to mention. Some gems of the week have included:

  • "No, I don't love you, Dad!"
  • "KISS! NO KISS!"
  • "I don't like Cebolla's!" (demonstrably untrue within twenty minutes of declaration)

Now we know that this is just a phase, that it's a healthy part of becoming independent. It will pass. But when it's cold, one still needs a coat, you know? And leaving extra time to sort out those kinds of details, for just about everything we do, cuts down drastically on what actually gets done.

So in the next week or two as you get out of your car, sit down for a meal, leave your house, or do any other common task without hearing raucous screaming, take a deep breath and enjoy it. Then think of us and wish us well, please.