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Archive for April, 2009

img_Apr_30_2009_10_21I yanked an ad out of the Sunday paper (again folks, that’s a thing with news in it that they throw on your porch every morning…for now).
I saved it so I could make fun of it. The Living Baby Doll: She sucks on a pacifier! She gently falls asleep! She turns her head!”
And the kicker: “She responds to you like a real baby.”
You mean, she wakes up every 90 minutes, she spits up on your couch every time she eats, she screams and writhes and kicks her legs and tries to smear poop everywhere when you try to change her diaper?
(That’s right, I like ’em better once they start walking.)
And the best part, the real-fake baby costs only $149.
It was as if they put this ad in the paper just so I could lampoon it, but the plan backfired.
I left it sitting out, Fontaine saw it, and now she wants one.
But Fontaine is, at times, WBHY, Wise Beyond Her Years. Here’s what she got from the ad:
“It’s a real baby, only it doesn’t cry. But I read it, and it said it’s only for adults to collect, which is silly. Really silly.”
That’s my girl. I am so proud.
Now, I’m going to take this ad, crumple it up and bury it in the trash can under some coffee grounds.

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img_Apr_29_2009_00_28Rose will be two next month. I read last year that redheads often have an advanced ability to learn languages.
Rosebud hardly shuts up. She probably gets it from her sisters. Often in this house, at least two, sometimes three or four, people talk at the same time.
I don’t mean, talk a little and then, “Oh, sorry, go ahead.”
I mean, full on sentences, paragraphs, stories, everybody weaving a yarn without regard to anyone else.
Rosebud, again, she’s less than two, says words like “actually” and phrases like, “These shoes fit me well.” One of her first phrases, an absolutely essential one in this house was, “I talking first!”
Tonight, driving her home from one of Fontaine’s school events, she pointed to some triangles of quesadilla in the console of the car (we always keep some there, just in case) and said: “No like the quesadilla. Throw it out the window.” (I’m not a fan either. It’s a long word that means, in Spanish, “Mexican grilled cheese sandwich.”)
So, driving down a fairly major thoroughfare in a not-very-major city, I zipped the window down and chucked a couple of slivers of quesadilla out toward the sidewalk.
Man, kids give you an excuse to do some fun stuff, don’t they? Next time you’re feeling a little glum, I suggest hurling some quesadillas out the window. It’s quite satisfying.

That’s the back of Fontaine’s red mane in the photo

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img_Apr_27_2009_26_07Ever wonder, or scoff snidely, at the freaks who wait until mid-January to put their Christmas tree out on the curb? Well, I’m about to put ours out in May. Here’s why:
My name is Lon, and I’m a Tree Killer.
I never pictured myself as one, growing up spending most of my time tromping through the woods, building dams in the stream down the hill, “needing” hip waders as a 14-year-old to better pursue the trout.
But things change. This past Christmas, which, yeah, was like half a year ago, wife and I decided to save money, get a tree we knew was “fresh cut,” and in fact save at least one Christmas tree from being cut off the side of a mountain, so we whacked down an evergreen that we planted in the wrong spot in our backyard.
OK, precisely, I got a saw and cut it down.
Fontaine stood off to the side, saying something like, and I’m pretty sure this is accurate: “Boys will just never understand girls. Girls like to save trees, and boys like to cut them down.”
For clarity here: I was the boy. (Though I haven’t looked lately, pretty sure I still am the boy).
So we used that evergreen as our Christmas tree, and to stifle the on-going environmentalist uprising around here, we agreed that after Christmas we would prop it in the backyard “for wildlife habitat.”
That was early January. It’s still there, though I have yet to see a budding Eastern Cougar population in our urban backyard.
And even if I did, I’d still be the tree killer.
Fontaine now vows she’ll spend the rest of her life avenging the cutting down of this 7-foot tree. She’s truly become quite a tree climber, and as soon as she finds one that’s about to be cut down, she says she aims to climb it and camp out there until the bad chainsaw man goes away.
I say she can go ahead, take her $7 trust fund and spend the post-college years in a Redwood. It’ll be a short st

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I never remember my parents complaining about this shi, this stuff, but surely they must’ve when we img_Apr_23_2009_55_23weren’t around. (Overly) organized sports, what a pain in the rump.
Fontaine’s T-ball league is like the U.N., like when one country with about 300 people blocks a global environmental treaty that would halt global warming.
Team pictures are Saturday. You have to arrive 30 minutes ahead of photo time. If you don’t come for the pictures, you can’t play in the game that day, because these days if you don’t have a picture of your kid doing it, they didn’t do it.
So for missing the team picture it’s a one game suspension. For a six-year-old girl who plays on a team called the Pink Sox. (Oh well, it’s the same penalty as failing the steroid test.)
You pay a $75 entry fee, but have to take turns working in the snack bar, doing maintance on the fields, selling raffle tickets.
I never heard my parents complain about any of this. Maybe they should’ve had a blog.

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img_Apr_11_2009_25_49Wife had the three daughters at the dollar store a few days ago. What a great place (and what an opportunity for a shrewd advertiser like Dollar Tree, which could sponsor this blog for cheap and grab the attention of at least five mothers with household purchasing authority).
But back to their shopping. At Dollar Tree (based in nearby Chesapeake, and a finely run operation…wink) even a cash-strapped mom can let each kid pick out one thing. Cost: three bucks.
Fontaine chose reading glasses. Magnification of 1.0. They are silver wire-rimmed, a la Sting in 1987.
We are bad parents. We have no idea if they are right for her eyes, but they are right for one thing.
You’ve heard “Clothes make the man.” That being well-dressed brings about a change of the level of respect for that person by others and the person himself?
Well, glasses are making this kid. She puts them on, it’s like Clark Kent becoming Superman. Attitude change. For the way better.
She can be an aggressive agitator. A psychological scab-picker with poor Elizabeth. She puts these glasses on, she’s Mahatma Gandhi.
She had them on at dinner. I was coming down on Elizabeth about sliding some plate of food all over the table, and I grabbed it from her. That made her more upset.
Then the Bespectacled One spoke: Couldn’t she just have it? Wouldn’t it be worth it, to keep the peace?
I looked at wife, and she at me.
“A DOLLAR?!” I said.
We cracked up.
Sure, we’ll take her to the optometrist. We think she probably needs something, but I don’t care if she goes cross-eyed, if she wants glasses she’s getting them.
(Just kidding, more or less.)

That’s one of Fontaine’s dolls in the picture. As you can see, she drew glasses on the poor thing.

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Elizabeth turned four and a half today. That makes it her “half birthday.”img_Apr_09_2009_03_45
We started doing these when one of the girls was about to be born, and we knew that baby would overshadow the other girls, so we had a half birthday. (I just checked with wife to firm up the details on that. She confirmed that was the case: “Something like that,” she said, “I don’t remember.”)
No gifts on half birthdays. We just do cupcakes. And of course sing a round of “Happy Halfbirthday to you.”
But we let this one get away. Elizabeth had a friend come over to play. For dinner, wife made macaroni and cheese cupcakes, which the four-and-a-half year old said were “too cheesy.”
Asked to eat something, anything, for dinner before she had a real half-birthday cupcake, she said she was full.
Given a little gift of princess stickers by her elder sister, who came up with the idea all herself, she barely said thanks.
So, I swear, we are seriously considering cutting the number of birthday celebrations in this house in half. Cutting all the way back to…one a year.

You may think you know when your half-birthday is, but you can’t be sure until you check the Half Birthday Calculator. Really, there is one.

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The latest in egg-technology, Moms and Dads. I give you the talking egg.
Seriously, how many days until you dunk these in water and then lift up a bunch of garbage in the kiimg_Apr_07_2009_50_00tchen trash can and bury them under it? (C’mon, like I’m the only one who’s ever disappeared an annoying toy that way.)
Two days? One?
I’m going to stick with the old fashioned means of finding over-hidden easter eggs: Waiting until they stink enough to home in on them.
But hey, if you are a parent of young kids and you don’t have enough beeping, honking and talking stuff in the house to annoy you, go ahead.
A clutch of electronic Easter eggs runs $14.99.

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