Saturday, December 3, 2011

Throw Those Expectations Out the Window

I think that's excellent general advice for parenting, although of course I have a specific event in mind. That is, our trip to get our Christmas tree yesterday with Cubby.

As I have mentioned before, we go to what is basically a hardscrabble farm in the hills with some trees planted around the house to get our tree--15 dollars to cut your own, 20 for a pre-cut one. The past couple of years we've just grabbed one of the pre-cut trees they lean against the picnic table in the front, extra five bucks be damned.

Big spenders, that's us.

This year, however, since Cubby was with us we decided to wander around so he could run around and play some. And then we thought, since he's such a fan of tools and since we found a nice tree still in the ground, A. would cut our tree so Cubby could watch him use the saw.

Fun for all!


First of all, the people that own the place have acquired chickens (chuk-uhs, to Cubby). And no boring old tree is going to compete with chuk-uhs. Especially since these little hens were quite obviously accustomed to getting food from people and ran right up to us when we got out of the car. And followed us part of the way to the trees.

They did not, however, follow us all the way, and when we tried to bring Cubby to the trees after a play session with the chickens, he was not so pleased with the re-direct. He was also not very pleased about the fact that he wasn't allowed to hold the saw that A. was using to cut the tree.

He was momentarily appeased by the massive truck with some kind of hydraulic hoist on it or something that was sitting outside the barn, but then, once again, not too happy about being removed from it to get back in our car.

Sorry, kid. We don't live here, and I don't think the nice man who is trying to work on this truck really wants us to hang out all day.

So, all in all, it was maybe not the making-Norman-Rockwell-memories experience it might have been, but we got our tree. Mission accomplished.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Trip to Hallmark

Today is my newest niece's birthday--this would be my sister's fiance's daughter, so technically a step-niece, but let's just dispense with all that "step" nonsense, shall we? So, Newest Niece, hereinafter referred to as N.N. because it's shorter, is turning 1o today. The significance of this event to you will be explained later, but first! A short story about a birthday card.

I don't usually send birthday cards, but I made an exception for N.N. Cubby and I were in the Small City on Tuesday, specifically to go to the mall.

I sort of feel as if I should enclose "the mall" in quotes (like, uh, that), to convey to you how unlike this particular mall is to the sort of malls you're probably thinking of. I think it has two dozen stores. A Small Mall for a Small City.


I had some birthday and Christmas presents to buy, so off we went. And while we were there, we stopped in at the Hallmark store for a card for N.N.

I should explain some logistics of moving around with Cubby. Despite his earlier love of his stroller, he does not love it now and will not be contained. So I have the choice of either carrying him, which is somewhat detrimental to my back after a short while, or putting him down. This usually results in him eventually making a beeline for something inappropriate, being pulled back, getting mad, and then I have to pick him up again anyway. It's a challenge.

By the time we got to the Hallmark store, my back was due for a break, so I put him down.

Bad plan.

You know what Hallmark stores look like, right? All those cards! So many pictures! RIGHT AT TODDLER LEVEL.

Cubby stood there for a second while I surveyed the MASSIVE rack of cards (From the Group, For a Preteen Boy, You're Old and Here's a Rude and Not-Very-Funny Card) (that last ones's not a real category, but I think you know what I'm talking about) trying to see where to even start. And then he was off. He pulled out a card. So I said, quite reasonably, "Okay, you can look at that one. But just that one, okay?"

Sure, Mom.

Five seconds later, he had a stack of cards in one hand and was racing down the aisle straight towards the lady at the end who was giving me a look that clearly questioned my ability to control my child.

No, lady. I can't control him. Bet you couldn't either.

Anyway, I chased after him, and when I caught him, took away the cards. Then I looked at them. He had a few of all the same card, and lo and behold, they were specifically birthday cards for a niece. Well then! Our work here is done! Thank you for picking out N.N.'s card, Cubby, and let's get right out of this store before you find the highly breakable seasonal ornaments!

That's how shopping with toddlers goes.

Okay! Now here's where you come in. Now that I've made N.N. famous (HAHA) online, it's time for all you people out there to join me in wishing her a happy birthday in the comments. So everyone who left comments yesterday discussing ironing*? Stick a happy birthday for N.N. in that comment box, would you? And everyone else, too. GO!

* Thank you, by the way, for the numerous comments on what is essentially the dullest topic ever. It's nice to have company in my lameness.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Sign that I'm Boring?

Yes, for today, we shall discuss ironing.

I KNOW. The excitement! But you know, that's just the way my life goes. Sometimes I find myself ironing at 8 p.m. because Cubby is being, ahem, difficult, about napping, and I am therefore finding it difficult to get anything accomplished during the day. At least, anything that really must be done Cubby-free. Maneuvering a searingly hot, heavy piece of metal on a cord, with a plug, most definitely qualifies.

So. Ironing at 8 p.m. My original intention was just to iron A.'s shirt for him, because it's his only clean one and it's been sitting around for days unironed and he had to go to court this morning and so needed a shirt. So even though pretty much the last thing I wanted to do at that stage in the evening was iron, I did it.

I really hate ironing shirts. Men's shirts particularly. They're just so big, and they have so many parts, and I can never get the crease in the arm right. But I figure it's mostly under his suit coat anyway, right?

Right. Any justification for my ineptitude is aces.

Then, since I had the iron out, I decided to iron the pile of napkins and tablecloths that's been sitting around for, um, months. Yes, literally.

This being Blackrock, the House of Accumulation, we have way more table linens than any modern family needs. But of course, many of them are from the Not Modern era (several sets belonged to A.'s great-great aunt, which would make them . . . at least a hundred years old). So we use them. And when they are used, they do not get returned to the sideboard until they've been washed and ironed. Which is why there is usually a pile of napkins somewhere downstairs sitting around awaiting ironing.

I was pretty sick of looking at this particular pile of two tablecloths and about a dozen napkins, so I ironed them too. Ironing tablecloths kind of sucks, because they have to be moved around so much on the ironing board, but ironing napkins I find to be sort of soothing. I mean, I'm not saying it's something I go out of my way to engage in to calm my nerves or anything, but it is delightfully simple. One flat square ironed all smooth, then folded into the desired shape and pressed once again, and what was once a ball of wrinkled linen is now a respectable and classy napkin ready for company.

That's kind of nice.

So how about you, poppets? What's your opinion of ironing?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A Universal Fascination

I don't know what it is about clomping around in big shoes that is so amusing to every child in the world, but there's no denying the fascination.

Also no denying that Mia manages to get her enormous self in half the pictures I take of Cubby. Oh well. At least she loves him.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Vocabulary Lessons

Cubby has gotten to the point where he's saying (or at least attempting to say) every new word he hears. This means, of course, that I have been making an even more concerted effort to check my mouth, because while it's pretty cute to hear him say, "bumma," (bummer), it is not quite so cute to hear "sheet" (shit) come out of his pretty little mouth.

It also means that as of now his vocabulary includes quite a few words in constant use that are a bit unusual, to say the least. "Shoo" (shoot) is a frequent one now that hunting season is upon us. As are "guh-NUH" (gun) and "dee-ah" (deer), usually closely followed by "meat" (that one actually sounds just like the actual word) and the query "ee?" (eat).

Yes, Daddy shoots the deer with his gun and then we cut it up into meat and eat it. Thank you for exposing us as the woodchucks we are, my sweet.

Then there was the pleasant surprise I got the other day. I sneezed, as has been a frequent occurrence lately thanks to this wretched cold, and Cubby quite out of the blue said, "Bess-oo."

Thank you, my child. And bless you for giving your mother hope that you're not going to be a completely coarse redneck.

Just mostly.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Yesterday morning when it seemed that a nap was imminent for Cubby--and I knew this because he had started throwing himself to the ground because I wouldn't let him play with the meat saw A. was using to cut up the deer because I am a MEAN MOMMY--I decided I'd better bring him inside for some lunch. But first I wanted to look in the hay barn for some eggs.

So Cubby and I trekked through the paddock to the sheep barn, where he was delighted to discover an egg ("Ug-uh?") in the lower nest and I recovered another egg from the higher nest. On our way back to the house, he was even more delighted to be holding "his" egg for me, and then asked, "Ee?"

"Sure," I said. "We can eat them."

So we went inside and fried the two eggs Cubby had brought back from the hay barn not two minutes before, and he ate them both.

Nobody will ever be able to accuse that kid of not knowing where his food comes from.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

No, Don't Want To

That was A.'s first full sentence as a child. I must admit to feeling something like that sulky child as I gear myself up for going outside to cut up that deer. I was kind of already over the butchering thing, thanks to the two lambs we've already cut up this fall, but now I really don't want to do it because I have a cold. All I want to do during Cubby's nap right now is take a nap myself.

Unfortunately, that venison won't cut itself up, so off I go to heed the call of the carcass. Happy Sunday, poppets.