Posted by Duff

It’s funny, how love reveals itself, both in the things you’ll do for others and the way they show you they care. 

I’ve never been one for Valentine’s Day. I’m a big fan of love, in general. I’ve done unrequited (lots of that) and loved and lost, and found love in unforeseen places, and I’m grateful for it everyday–but I’m not really one to go all out on the day I’m supposed to, because I don’t like to be told what to do.

I know, I sound like a sourpuss.  Believe me, I got the ass-kicking I deserved.

Last week, we added a new cat to our family.  I know, no one cares about the new cat, and it’s not a story of the love of a new cat. The meat of it is this: the cat likes my kids better than she likes me, and that’s fine. Except my husband and I were the ones who discovered the fallout from the cat’s discovery: diapers have some of the same ingredients as cat litter.  And the cat crapped on Valentine’s Day, literally.

She snuck into Atticus’s room when I went to check on him the night before and was stuck in there for the night, and well, Happy Valentines Day to me.  Atticus woke up, delighted by his companion. I was not so delighted by the surprise I found. 

Later that day, Atticus and I went for a walk in the melting snow. Thanks to the magic of smartphones and Pandora, as he stomped through puddles in his Buzz Lightyear boots, we got to listen to REM’s Fall on Me. Add that to the C’mon mama of a nearly two-year-old who beams at you with eyes as blue as the sky of an unseasonably warm day and you get what my grinchly heart much needed and got:

One of life’s perfect moments.


Posted by Duff

My plans for the day:

Pick up enough food, infant Motrin, diapers, and entertainment for 2 days.

Call our town offices regarding signing up The Dervish for kindergarten. Yes. Kindergarten.

Call the vet to inquire about side effects from cat’s recent dental work.

Do enough laundry to get us by in the event of lost power.

Prepare meals, wipe faces and heinies, save children from themselves.

My husband’s plans for the day:

Go apesh*t outside with the snowblower, shovel, and broom to prep for the next 2 days. 

Order sandbags for upcoming but seeming impossible thaw.

The Dervish’s plans for the day:

Become a princess

Become the baby she used to be, so she can remember what it’s like.

Purchase mini-muffins, fruit snacks, lollipops, juice boxes and chocolate

Play, alone, with everything within reach

Atticus’s plans for the day:

Throw food. Pour juice. Sit on mommy’s lap in the bathroom.

Be carried around. Avoid the car, all store carts, the changing table, the crib.

Purchase mini-muffins, fruit snacks, juice, and chocolate

Play with everything The Dervish has made look interesting.

Snot on everything.


We’re looking at two days inside. Please send reinforcements. And entertainment. And snowboots that dry faster.

Posted by Duff

Please help. I’m being held prisoner by attitude over here, the preschool and toddler kinds. 

Please send advice on how to outwit them, or  keep them from killing each other. Or, at the very least, how to keep them from killing me so I can keep raising them–hopefully to be the nice kind of people that don’t harm anyone other than each other and their mother.

Also, while you’re at it, please send Spring.  Three. feet. of. snow.

And, good news is always welcome.

Posted by Duff

If it has fur, scare it.

If it contains a tomato ingredient, eat it.

If it has a face, slap it. Then say ‘hi’.

If it is blunt, use it as a weapon. Smile. Say ‘hi’.

If it is a lap, back into it.

If it has a foothold, climb it.

If it can be fallen from, fall from it.

If it is a floor, meet it hard with your face.

If it is chocolate, scream for it.

If it is soft, press your cheek to it.

If it is a sister, irritate it. Poke it. Chase it. Sit with it patiently in Time Out.

If it is a question, the answer is ‘no’.

If it is fleece, wear it. Unless it’s a hat. Then don’t wear it. Throw it.

If it is a diaper, avoid it.

If it is liquid, pour it.

If it is oatmeal, paint with it.

If it is syrup (or ketchup), eat it, alone, with a fork.

If it is a mommy, follow it. Test it. Hug it. Scream at it. Scream for it. Pat it. Repeat.

Posted by Duff

You know the truth about toddlers: they’re explosive, unpredictable creatures.  I could weep for what Atticus, my sweet bear, has become in recent weeks.  I get screamed at a lot. And hit a lot. Diaper and clothing changes require wrestling holds and strong biceps and let’s face it, a thick skin these days.

It’s a good thing he’s cute.

I feel a little guilty, because I haven’t been enjoying our time together that much, and have been wishing away some of that time that I always tout as so precious. I feel like a hypocrite.  But really, when was the last time you wanted to spend time with someone who hits you and pulls your hair and tells you (in his own way) how dissatisfied he is with your failure to understand him? (Kind of sounds like some guys I knew in elementary school, actually, the ones who liked me).

So  I performed a test. See, the little guy is adorably honest these days, and prone to glorious exhibits of attachment that make up for a LOT.

“Atticus,” I said, “Do you want some milk?”

“No,” he said.  With some annoyance.


“Noooo.” He may have swiped at me.

“A snack?”

“NO!” This is where he backs up into things and gets mad at whatever he backs into.

So I gave up. And sat on the floor, criss-cross applesauce. And he made his way over to me, slowly. Backed into my lap, pouting.

“Atticus,” I said, barely loud enough for him to hear me. “Do you love me?”

” ‘Es.” And he leaned back into me.

Like I said, I could weep at what he’s become.

Posted by Duff


Sticky Rice: 1/Duff: 0


Atticus: 1/Sticky Rice: 0

Which tells me that it’s not the game that matters, it’s the players.

Note: some substances should be allowed to dry before being cleaned up. Estimated drying time for sticky rice is 7.2 hours. Bring a book.

Posted by Duff

Because raising two kids isn’t hard enough, I’ve decided (well, my husband and I have decided by our failure to make a decision) to raise the stakes.

This second time around, we didn’t babyproof.

Before you think that I’m putting my child at risk, I’m not. I’m putting myself at risk. Of a temper tantrum. All stairs are gated or behind closed, locked doors. All outlets are covered. All solvents and choking hazards have been moved to cabinets unreachable, even to me, without a chair. I’m talking about everything else: pots, pans, paper and melanine plates; plastic spoons; fruit cups; tupperware; napkins (damned irresistable lazy susan) And of course, on my forgetful days, that holy grail: toilet paper.  And more. So, so much more that I can’t think of, but Atticus can. And he can find any of it in seconds. Add to that a four year old Dervish who is part raccoon (think birthday candles, clothespins, stickers, you name it) and entices the little guy around the house like a honey-blond pied piper, and basically, I’m screwed.

As if powerwashing the high chair three times a day (make that five, I forgot snacks) or wiping noses and heinies (with love, of course, because they are sweet noses and heinies) wasn’t enough. I like to keep myself guessing.

I don’t recommend our method. I don’t want to tell you how much time I spend cleaning up the same things, and it’s my own fault, as much as I’d like to blame it on lack of short-term storage. There is, after all, an entire row at baby stores dedicated to cabinet locks.

And no, I won’t be posting a picture, because I still have a few friends who think my house is clean. The truth is, it’s not clean. I just spend a lot of time cleaning.

I don’t have to tell you the moral of this story.