Saturday, November 28, 2015

Why parents drink.

The scene: Skipper has just gotten out of the shower, and flossing and tooth-brushing before bedtime is the next step. She is feeling fairly jaunty and pleased with herself for having (finally) executed this weekly chore. Because the mood is positive, I dare to suggest a minor break in routine.

Me: Hey, do you want me to braid your hair before you go to bed?
Skipper: (puzzled silence)
Me: It would help keep your hair contained so it won't get tangly while you're sleeping. And it would be kind of curly in the morning!
Skipper: I don't want it to be curly!
Me: Okay. No braid. That's fine.
Skipper: It's not fair! I don't want a braid!
Me: Okay.
Skipper: You can't make me have a braid!
Me: You don't have to have a braid. I was just offering to braid your hair if you wanted to try it.
Skipper: Fine! I'll have a braid! But you can't make me floss and brush if you're making me have a braid!
Me: You don't have to have a braid. I'm not making you have a braid. If you want a braid, I would be happy to braid your hair. But I'm not making you have a braid. (I walk away with an armful of dirty laundry, attempting to avoid escalation, but inevitably enraging her further by making her feel that I am diminishing the significance of her feelings.)
Me: (unable to resist engaging in petty argument, even though I actually do know better) I'm pretty sure that doesn't count as a lecture.
Skipper: YOU'RE MEAN!!!!!!!
Me: (walking down the basement stairs with the laundry, thinking "And you're a PSYCHOPATH!!!!") I know you're feeling really angry.

Friday, November 27, 2015


She lost this tooth today.
Note the braces!

Friday, November 20, 2015

What have we been up to?

Well, this last week we've been throwing up. And now that we're done with that, tonight we took Duchess and her best kung fu friend out for a slightly delayed birthday celebration of pizza and another archery session. (Best Kung Fu Friend, besides being a generally lovable person, is an excellent solution to the problem of how to invite some of one's school friends but not others - just invite a friend whom none of your other friends know!)

That's pretty much the news. Skipper wore a DIFFERENT OUTFIT to school today, to my great delight. Cook still hasn't put his fenders on, in spite of torrential rain. It might snow next week! Exciting stuff.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

sibilant update

Everything's fine. We're just boringly busy. Duchess's 11th birthday is just around the corner, and she acts more like a stereotypical teenager every day, complete with surly snarling, sullen sulking, and snarky superiority. She doesn't play with Skipper much anymore, and Skipper is grieving over the loss. Skipper is, however, expanding confidently and happily into her own world of school and aftercare, and finding her own place.

The weather has turned wintry, cold and rainy and dark. Cook keeps procrastinating putting the fenders on his bike, but I think he'll have to give in and do that this weekend. I have given up bike commuting for the season, and am very content to listen to podcasts on the warm, dry bus.

That is all.

Sunday, November 1, 2015


I appreciate that my children are generally pretty pragmatic and utilitarian about their costume choices. Skipper, for example, chose a costume that uses the same black pants and black sweatshirt as last year's costume, plus a new felt mask (handmade by Cook).  Duchess is wearing the same piratical shirt she has worn for many dress-up events* in the past, and a belt (and lunar theme) from three Halloweens ago.

This year we went to the home of our friends who live in a wealthy neighborhood that turns out to attract an enormous number of trick-or-treaters. It was pouring rain, so the hordes of kids were all carrying umbrellas, and between maneuvering the giant moon on her back and continually being poked with umbrellas, Duchess felt it was all too hard, gave up after a block and returned to our friends' house to give out candy to the continual stream of soggy kids. Skipper made it a little further, but in the end they both much more enjoyed the giving of candy than the procuring of candy. And the modest pile of loot was the perfect size for enjoying in a moderate orgy divided between the night of and the morning after. (I think a heap of candy for breakfast is pretty great, personally.) No leftovers!

I most enjoyed the 45 minutes before we left, when Skipper was wearing her mask** and fully inhabiting her character, prowling and growling and pouncing around the house. This is a kid for whom the magic of masks is particularly potent, allowing her to leave behind all the hesitations and worries of her ordinary self and just be somebody else. Which is one of the great things about Halloween, too.

*Photographed episodes include last Halloween, the Halloween before that, and Pirate weekend at Catalina.
** Technical problems with the bridge of the nose compromised what was otherwise a pretty fabulous creation.