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the latest waddle:

good morning, wordpress - 10:36 a.m. , 2009-07-03

elaborate murder attempt - 2:56 p.m. , 2009-07-01

building a tractor in the basement - 10:42 a.m. , 2009-06-19

ask no questions tell just a few lies - 3:17 p.m. , 2009-06-09

my long lasting flavor really lasts long - 1:10 p.m. , 2009-06-04

2005-01-27 ... 11:09 a.m.

"I don't care if you are the Dark Lord of the Sith, young man, you are still getting a time out!"


Nora is just on the edge of being ready to receive more "parental guidance" from me, to use the woo-woo Dr Sears-ish term. When you start to discipline (excuse me, "guide") your child, you really learn a lot about yourself. You learn what drives you absolutely batshit, even though it is objectively not that big a deal (spitting out food or dropping it on the floor), and what you are surprisingly good at dealing with (toddler negativity and tantrums---I have the shaman-like ability to calmly float away from the screaming of NO! and keep repeating my soothing mantra of mommyspeak as I jam shoes on her flailing feet).

Another thing I have noticed is that I have a tendency to frame discussion of the Nora-rules as things that she either "forgets" or "remembers." If she draws on the table instead of paper, I find myself saying things like, "No, we* don�t draw on the table. We only draw on paper. I guess Nora** forgot that rule." And if she does it again, I explain that I am taking the crayons away until she can "remember" to not draw on the table. When she actually is drawing on paper, I will say that she's doing a good job of remembering. I don't know where I got this construction, and part of me thinks that it is well and truly wack, and kind of freakishly postmodern, in the "society and its rules are an amnesiac's dream" sense. It also gives Nora a huge "out" in terms of personal responsibility that I may come to regret---she only "forgot," after all! On the other hand, there are still consequences for "forgetting," so ignorance of the law is no excuse! Oh, all the codes and signs and signifiers of child-rearing are entirely too complicated for me sometimes, and I know I overthink but HOW CAN YOU NOT. It's like Jacques Derrida is running a daycare center in my head.

*What's with the we-speak? Nora is going to grow up thinking she lives in a socialist collective. A dear friend of mine went through a phase where all his poems were written in the plural first person, and they had this wonderful, foreboding, corporate-memo feeling about them ("we would like to inform you..."). He should do a similar series, only make it about drinking our juice and how we don't draw on the table.

**And if Nora doesn't grow up thinking she lives in a socialist collective, she will at the very least grow up talking like Elmo if I don't get some goddamned pronouns into my discourse right quick.


1. Apparently I could refinance our mortgage online, with the same company, at the same rate, with the same terms, with no closing costs, and sign all the papers at home so I wouldn't even have to spend an afternoon sitting on my ass in some icky title company office. It would save the Smartypants family about $80/month. I am by no means so rich that I can totally blow off the idea of an extra $80 a month, but I am also so terminally full of slacker-style ennui that the Whiny Teenager portion of my brain is already rolling its eyes and sighing dramatically at the very idea of all those papers and all that notarizing. It's like all those "Pennypincher" articles in the 1970s housewife magazines that talked about how you could hem worn-out sheets and turn them into pillowcases! and a whole generation of women said (I hope), "Oh please." Although maybe it's not quite like that, because there is really very little labor for me involved when it comes to filling out a form about the mortgage and signing and FedEx-ing some paperwork. I will probably end up doing this, but not without the requisite moaning and bitching and nailbiting on my website.

2. Nora turned two years old this week! We had a birthday party, with three toddlers, one preschooler, and their associated adults, plus the grandparents and aunts, for an afternoon of cocktails and cake and celebrating. It was about twenty people total, and I ordered a cake from a local bakery. A Blue's Clues cake. I know I am a big baby about the phone, but you honestly don't know what it took for me to call up a stranger and ask her to make a cake for me, and to put Blue's Clues doohickeys on it. I mean, I talk about Blue's Clues at least once a day, but I am aware that is not how the outside world functions. The baker-girl took it in stride, of course, and the cake was very cute and very delicious, and the perfect amount for twenty people---just three small pieces left over, which became breakfast for me and LT and Nora (yeah, I know) the next day.


And hooray for somehow being splashed with slushwater by a passing truck or an overzealous puddlestomper without even noticing it---at least I assume that is how I ended up with gray irregular blotches of something all over the back left calf of my tights. Unless a very low-flying bird quietly shat on my leg. So now I look like a hobo, but hopefully I do not smell like one, unlike my subway car yesterday morning, which stank very strongly of hobo but get this: THERE WAS NO HOBO IN EVIDENCE. Ghost hobo! Then I got off the train and a very drunk guy (possibly a hobo) was under the El tracks at Bryn Mawr screaming something over and over, and I think the something he was screaming was "Hall and Oates! Hall and Oates! Hall and Oates!" It probably wasn't, but that is what it sounded like to me, and I had fun making up a story about a hobo with a grudge against Hall and Oates, or even better about a crazy hobo who goes postal and holds a whole bunch of people hostage while demanding that the police bring Hall and Oates to him right now. It is not really cool to hope for hostage situations but that one would kind of crack me up.


I just had to see that one more time. Nora! My little baby! Just grown up enough to wreak serious havoc and still be infuriatingly lovable, not grown up enough for well-regulated impulse control or serious study of non-Dr-Seuss-level literature! But she is precisely grown up enough to enjoy spending an evening taking off her pants, putting them on her head, and posing for pictures. Between the pants on the head and Nora's exhortations of "Mommy, drink!" whenever I have a beer in my hand, it seems that my kid is ready for college a bit early.

---mimi smartypants is a "known issue."


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