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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

2008-06-20 ... 11:02 a.m.


Johanna Hurwitz. The author of beginning chapter books like Busybody Nora and Rip-Roaring Russell makes a huge mistake with the first in a new series called "Park Pals." It's PeeWee's Tale and a synopsis follows. Ready? Okay. Kid gets a guinea pig from an uncle as a birthday present. (Strike one! Pets, as a gift, from a peripheral family member!) Mom hates the guinea pig, freaks out, calls it "that thing," screams and carries on. (Strike two! Pissy, hysterical, drama-queen mom!) Mom hectors Dad into getting rid of the guinea pig, and eventually Dad caves and agrees to let it loose in the park while kid is at a sleepover. Mom claims he'll get over it. (OMFG, strikes three, four, five, a million! Weak, ineffectual father! Evil, scheming, deceptive mother! The idea that it is okay to dispose of pets in the great outdoors!)

Spoiler alert: PeeWee makes wild-animal friends and gets along okay after a few false starts, yeah you couldn't see that one coming. He eventually sees his previous owner on the playground and the kid seems happy enough and has a dog on a leash, so the discarded guinea pig is all like "c'est la vie" and Nora and I are like WHAT?? Nora really wanted the kid to find his pet and take him home again, whereas I really wanted the whole book to never have been written in the first place.

Kevin Henkes. His books are usually pretty spot-on about kids' emotions, but then he wrote Owen, in which clueless parents try to think of ways to separate Owen from his security blanket. Ways that include outright stealing it and dipping it in vinegar. Again with the lying-ass parents! They end up snipping the blanket into handkerchief-sized pieces so that he is able to still carry it to school in some format, but I was still confused. Why not just leave it at home, if it's a kindergarten or preschool setting? Sorry, blankets/stuffed animals/pacifiers don't go to school, end of discussion. If "school" means "daycare" in this case and there is a nap issue, then what is the big deal about bringing the blanket?

I am starting a new mental category of bad children's books, called TRUST NO ONE, where I will file all the books involving parents/friends/loved ones who sneak around behind your back plotting things. It will go in between the NARCISSISTIC PARENTAL STALKER category (books like The Runaway Bunny and Guess How Much I Love You) and the BORROWING TROUBLE category (all those "get ready for kindergarten books" that focus on being scared, worrying about making friends, missing mom. Seriously, why is it so hard to find a 100% positive book about school? If a kid is already expressing anxiety that's one thing, but why assume?)


I really need to figure out my position on backtalk, grumbling, harrumphing, and other forms of incoherent five-year-old protest speech. Nora is generally compliant as long as you phrase your request in terms of the amazing grown-up thing she gets to do (truly, most forms of housework are very exciting to her) but every once in a while she is in a Mood and the simplest task or forbidden activity will result in grumping. I have a weirdly strong reaction to the grumping, which I know is mostly my own issue, but after a long day of more or less treating Nora like an equal (in terms of conversation, anyway) I feel like oh hell no, WHY ARE YOU ACTING LIKE A CHILD?! Oh wait.

So I cannot decide if I (a) don't care about the exasperated grumpy noises, as long as my instructions are carried out or (b) want to be all "you don't speak that way to me missy" and turn it into a Thing. I think the answer is (a), at least for now, because when she is acting that way we are already having a de facto Thing (defiance, rule-breaking), and do I really want to add another Thing (tone of voice) right then? When do they learn to swear at you under their breath and out of earshot? I think I would actually prefer that.


1. I was fake-bonding with a playground mom about stuff and she suddenly went on a no-sugar rant and mentioned that her son's preschool gave out LOLLIPOPS on the last day of class OH THE HORROR. She used the word "inappropriate" and I laughed and then had to cover it up when she turned out to mean it.

2. My nanny is looking for a new job in the fall, when her hours get all strange because of student teaching and ours dwindle because of full-day kindergarten. She told me of someone who contacted her looking for 50% childcare/50% housecleaning and who wanted to pay eight dollars an hour. I thought she was making a joke but sadly, no. I assume the position is still open, so if anyone out there wants to neglect THREE young children while also cleaning a house for slave wages, let me know.

3. MORMONS! I am reading Under The Banner Of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, and incidentally why does he title all his books with prepositional phrases? Into The Wild. Into Thin Air. Behind The Stove. Under My Ball Sac. By Jon Krakauer.

Anyway, everyone has already read this book so you are probably over it (Over It, by Jon Krakauer), but I am finding something new and jaw-droppingly weird on every other page. I am not even talking about the murder bits, just about Mormons in general. By way of disclaimer, I will say that the Bible and the Koran are pretty damn weird as well. But at least the Old Testament god was nice and clear! At least he gave understandable instructions like, "Kill your son in the morning and prove your loyalty" or "build me a big boat." In contrast, this Moroni angel is a scavenger-hunt-loving pain in the ass, telling Joseph Smith to dig up a golden book but PSYCH you can't have it, wait until next year. And then use this special magic rock and magic spectacles to translate! Oh man SO WEIRD. And that is before we even get to the polygamy.

Of course there are Mormons and then there are Mormons. The FLDS and not the LDS are the ones who really picked up the polygamy football and ran with it, and it pisses me off that their little inbred towns like Colorado City get all kinds of federal money for their "school" systems and infrastructure and that the ACLU spends time and cash defending their religious right to forcibly marry and rape and impregnate 14-year-old girls. It is their RELIGION, you see. Well it's my religion to kick you in the crotch repeatedly, is that okay?

Despite my anger at those kinds of issues, I really do find the magic rocks, sacred underpants, and practical-joking angels hysterical, and I read about Mormons in bed at night and laugh and laugh. And then I have the Wow They're Serious moment. They're really serious! Wow.

---mimi smartypants: first-time caller, long-time blasphemer.


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