Monday, June 30, 2008


QOC, to semi-repentant D2: You should not have hit D1 with your bat. Bats are for hitting balls. We do not hit people with bats.

D2: But I couldn't find my ball!

When someone on the other end asks, "Can you please hold?" don't you want to wail and plead, "NOOOOOO! Don't leave me! I can't hold!"

It looks like we have passed the cutoff for having them born in June, which makes DOB happy since they won't share a birth month with D1. But he doesn't want them born on the Fourth of July, either. (Too hard for birthday parties, plus it will make D4's chosen name sound like patriotic overkill.) Cicero doesn't want them born on her birthday (tomorrow). Wondergirl doesn't want them born until she has finished preparing the house for the painting she wants to do while I'm in labor.

I want them born. Right. Now.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Another Try

My doula suggested that visiting the zoo was a good way to jump start labor. Not only did you have all the walking around, but the animal hormones in the air seemed to encourage things. With 39 weeks closing in and the babies edging closer to 8 lbs apiece (!) I am ready to try almost anything. But not castor oil. Not yet.

We were too cheap and tired to do a full zoo visit, so we went to see the farm animals at a county park. I had pineapple and raspberry leaf tea for breakfast. I walked around the animal pens, inhaling deeply (it smelled more like manure than hormones to me, but you never know).

Then, for good measure, we took care of some much-needed shopping: a booster seat for D1, a pair of "Uncle Steve" shoes (knock-off Crocs) for D2, whose feet have grown too wide to fit in the lovely leather sandals I picked up for him at a yard sale last summer. Then groceries and fabric store, to get fabric to try this. For two babies. Somehow.

Every time we passed a small baby, I pointed out to D3 and D4 how blissful existence in the outer world was. Unless the small baby wasn't looking too blissful, in which case I moved quickly on.

Now my feet hurt. DOB is passed out on the couch.

Still no labor. Does it really have to be the zoo?

D1 and D2 certainly had a good time, though.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

To Each His Own . . . Nightmare

Last night I dreamed I had put up a couple of posts on the blog criticizing something. A few hours later, I realized they were full of bad writing and bad logic. I rushed back to the computer to edit them to what I really meant to say, only to find out that people had already read and replied ripping my original posts to shreds. Then I felt dishonest about editing them.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Vanity Fair

Vanity Fair is one of those books I've been meaning to get around to for a very long time. I finally did, much to my enjoyment.

In writing style, Thackeray feels most like Dickens, at least in the scope and detail of the picture he paints and general Victorian style. The colors are less intense, though; there is no broad comedy (though plenty of wit) and no dark images of despair. This can be something of a relief.

In plot, I was at first disturbed to find Vanity Fair very similar to Gone With the Wind: two women, one ruthlessly devoted to money and social position, the other so stupidly ignorant in her virtue that she becomes annoying, set against a backdrop of epic war. But Vanity Fair was a lot more fun.

Maybe it was because Becky Sharp is more consistent, coherent, and just all around villainous than Scarlett O'Hara. She knows exactly what she's after, she knows exactly what she's willing to sacrifice to get it, and she heads there with single-minded determination and unquenchable hypocrisy. It's wickedly fun to watch, and fortunately she doesn't take down nearly as many innocent people in her wake as Scarlett does. (It's a testimony to her nastiness that she makes her scapegrace husband look good by comparison.)

Or maybe the saving grace was that the see-no-evil woman, Amelia Sedley, finally does get thoroughly told off by the far too longsuffering Major Dobbin. Which gives somebody in the book a chance for happily-ever-after.

The Victorians were seldom subtle in their prose, and the theme of the book is right there in the title: the emptiness and deception of the big, glittering world. It gets hammered pretty thoroughly. But Vanity Fair is a fun place to visit, nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Yesterday I returned from a long waddle. (Three blocks out and back. That's a long way when every step hurts.) The ducklings were blowing bubbles with Wondergirl in the front yard. D2 came running to greet me and asked, "Can I hug the babies?"

"Yes," I said, "Hug the babies and tell them they can come out now."

"Oh!" he said, "Are they coming out now?"

"No. Believe me, if they were coming out, I would be making very strange noises."

"I want them to come out so they can hold my fingers. Will they come out when we go inside?"

"Probably not."

Nor did they.

A few other words of wisdom from the ducklings:

"Firemen put out fires and cowboys put out cows."

"Cowboys ride on cows to catch horses, but I don't know what cowgirls ride."

Monday, June 23, 2008

D1 Turns Four

We celebrated D1's birthday yesterday with a rather low-key celebration, just in case it had to be postponed. We missed our chance to have four children under the age of four, though. (Not that I had that as a goal.)

Alas, I forgot to make the birthday crown. But she had a snowman cake. (No, I don't know why. It was what she wanted.) She opened presents. She played with friends. In short, it was all that a birthday required.

As she has since infancy, D1 loves people. No need to prompt her to say "thank you" for her presents--she's ready to call up all absent family members on the spot. (In fact, the only time in recent memory she threw a tantrum was when I refused to let her take part in a phone conversation with my doula. She still has not learned that not *everybody* in the world wants to talk to her, or that we cannot randomly invite ourselves over to strangers' homes.)

She likes to read books with plots of her own composition, to write long words nobody else can read, and to sing songs never heard before. She knows what needs to be done, and she's happy to tell you how to do it. She can do practically anything around the house accessible to people under four feet tall, including folding and organizing her laundry more neatly than I can. She is baby-crazy and very eager to see her big sisterly role expand.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Every once in awhile, at this stage, I feel a need to post just to say: Still here. Still in one piece. Still waiting.

We are also waiting to see if the ducklings are going to come down with the chicken pox. (Two weeks ago, Cicero had an outbreak of shingles right after babysitting them.) It would certainly be better to get that over with before the babies arrive. This situation has precedent, as DOB and his siblings began erupting just as their mother went into labor with B5.

One of the carseat covers is clean. The other does not seem to detach from the seat. That has got to be the stupidest idea ever--a non-washable infant car seat?--or else we are all just missing something obvious.

I have crossed the point of true desperation--where labor sounds like more fun than still being pregnant. Wondergirl sent ahead some matching outfits for coming home, both in newborn (5-8 lb.) and 0-3 m. sizes. If I snip the tags off the newborn size clothes and wash them right away the babies will wait until 41 weeks and be 8.5 lbs each.

The weather has cooled off enough to permit long walks and Wondergirl arrives tomorrow afternoon. Some people say fresh pineapple helps--it couldn't hurt to try.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Get Those Animals Out of the Muddy, Muddy

We read the story of the flood today. Later D1 was reading it to herself out of a "Bible." (Technically it was a Vest Pocket Rhyming Dictionary, but it was small and black and looked official.)

"And the Lord said, 'Take seven of all the clean animals and two dirty ones.'"

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Identity Crisis

The ducklings have been insisting, with a surprising degree of consistency over several days, that each is the other. This sounds cute in the abstract. Switching places at the table was no problem. But what about comfort toys at bedtime--is that just asking for a midnight squabble?

When investigating the scene of a crime, how does one tell the difference between confession and accusation?

Toothbrushes--definitely the line must be drawn at swapping toothbrushes.

And then there's the whole factor of one being potty-trained and one not, which occasions much inappropriate small child mirth.

Eventually the parental mind becomes overtaxed with being corrected at every turn. "No, I'm not D2. I'm D1!" DOB was at last forced to declare a ban on assumed names until the grownups have more mental energy.

And privately commented that he had thought it most unfair long ago when his parents had enacted the same rule.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Things Containing Five

The rules:
1. Post the rules of the game at the beginning.
2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.
3. At the end of the post, the player then tags five people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read the player’s blog.
4. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer.

I was tagged by Wendy from Zoom Times.

What were you doing five years ago?
Five years ago I was finishing up my work at two different jobs (public policy research and teaching high school government) in preparation for getting married and moving across the country. DOB was across the country, trying to start a financial planning business. We didn't get to talk very much. It's nice to have him handier now--at least we can collapse in exhaustion together, even though we still don't get to talk very much.

What are five things on your to-do list for today?
1. Fix breakfast.
2. Fix lunch.
3. Keep the ducklings alive and reasonably happy.
4. Make sure the ducklings are ready to go to Grandma's house.
5. Nap.

What are five snacks you enjoy?
1. Popcorn, air popped with butter and salt
2. Smoothies or popsicles made with yogurt and fruit
3. Banana bread or zucchini bread with cream cheese (Oh please, please, please. I've been craving this for weeks.)
4. Baby carrots
5. Graham crackers with peanut butter

What are five things you would do if you were a billionaire?
1. Buy an incredibly cool house.
2. Hire a garden designer to make an incredibly cool back garden with all sorts of surprises. And no mosquitoes. Or hardly any.
3. Hire a full-time housekeeper and maybe a gardener while I was at it.
4. Buy a second home on the Puget Sound and spend the summer out there every year.
5. Write books with DOB.

What are five of your bad habits?
1. Procrastination
2. Setting down books on their spines to mark my place (Evil, evil, evil. But I never can keep track of bookmarks.)
3. Reading or surfing the internet while I eat.
4. Ignoring everything around me.
5. Nit-picking the grammar and logic of perfectly nice and sincere people. (Not to their faces, of course.)

What are five places where you have lived?
1. Olalla, Washington
2. Olympia, Washington
3. Wilmington, Ohio
4. Loveland, Ohio
5. Cincinnati, Ohio

What are five jobs you’ve had?
1. Office manager for a homeschooling organization
2. Research analyst for a public policy think tank
3. Teacher at a Christian high school
4. Assistant to DOB in financial planning (Paperwork is NOT my thing, I discovered.)
5. Mother

Time to return to item number 5 on my to-do list, so I'll skip the tagging for now. Feel free to take it!

Friday, June 06, 2008

All-Natural Hair Mousse

All-natural hair products are hard to find. Especially mousse for some reason. What can be found is outrageously expensive. We didn't think there was any hope of us making our own, though, when we can hardly get dinner on the table. Until we discovered this recipe for homemade mousse:

1/4 tsp. plain gelatin
1 cup boiling water

Mix together thoroughly (that's the important part, it can take a few minutes for the gelatin to completely dissolve), allow to cool, and use on your hair.

That's it. We stored it in an old hair gel bottle and it works great. You don't get that fun foamy white stuff out of it, but it does hold hair steady very nicely. You can adapt the amount of gelatin if you want a bit stiffer mixture; DOB likes 3/8 teaspoon per cup of water.

Find more frugal tips at Frugal Friday.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Guessing Game

After what happened last time, I'm a little nervous about posting this. But I refuse to be superstitious.

So, it is time to guess when D3 and D4 will arrive and how large they will be. Winner gets . . . can we award the same titles we used last time? If not, you'll have to be content with bragging rights.

Enter guesses as to: The date of their joint arrival, the time between their individual births, and each one's individual weight. If you really want to play outsmart the ultrasound technician and guess a different gender combination than we have been told, that's up to you.

Pertinent Facts:
Official due date is July 8.
Although twins proverbially come early, that's just an average and accounts for the larger number of people with complications. I haven't had any complications or any signs of labor so far.
I've never gone overdue.
I currently have no backup plan for induction or c-section. My doctor is committed to letting nature take its course, assuming there's no signs of trouble. I'm going to start taking long wobbles as soon as Wondergirl arrives on the 17th, though.
The twins have been measuring right on target for single babies of the same gestational age, with the advantage of an ounce or two going to the boy at last check. Ultrasound weights are notoriously sketchy, though.

We don't get it

Gone With the Wind. Supposedly one of the greatest movies of all time.


Every once in awhile DOB and I pick out a movie to watch just because of its alleged cultural significance (as opposed to the classic movies we watch because we do, in fact, like classic movies). We've been working our way through the Star Wars series, slowly and painfully, on this theory, but at least there I can see the childhood nostalgia angle.

But Gone With the Wind's popularity can't be coming from that. So what is there to like? Every single character in the film is either despicable or insipid. Or despicably insipid, like Ashley Wilkes. (Who really ought to be off being the Scarlet Pimpernel, anyway.) And everyone is so whiny. If the southerners were really that whiny, no wonder they lost the war.

We trudged on through hour after hour (not consecutively) of How Scarlett's Consummate Selfishness Caused Nearly As Much Trouble As General Sherman. We never did get it. I suppose it counts as tragedy, since she ends up with only the money and land she has sacrificed everyone else to get, but tragedy is only worth watching if the main character is somewhat interesting. Scarlett is just a brat, who transforms herself into a more cunning brat. A brat in nice dresses, yes, but that should hardly be enough.

At last we reached the end, and took heart. Tomorrow is another day, and the fourth season of Jeeves and Wooster has come into the library.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's not what it looks like

We're really not running a gambling den for preschoolers.

But we do have some pretty shady characters around here.