Sunday, November 30, 2014

Posy's Pedicure

An obsessive cleaner, Posy enjoys any help with grooming I might want to give her…but that doesn’t mean she is going to help me help her, so to speak.  She loves a brushing, for example, but she likes to strut around with her tail held high while receiving the brushing, forcing me to chase after her as I brush.

She also doesn’t mind getting a “pedicure,” and will even purr during the procedure, but will still be at her squirmiest and will keep retracting her lethal talons.  So what we do now is poor Sean gets the unenviable job of holding her, while she tries her best to slice him, and while I try my best to at least get all of the talons clipped on one foot.  And then I tend to get all triumphant and rest on my laurels instead of attempting the rest of the feet shortly thereafter.

The other day, however, I realized Posy’s nails had gotten so long that she was making little clicking noises when she walked.  She already makes enough noises when she moves – from her tendency to narrate what she is doing, and her constant sneezing and snuffling and the forcing of air through microscopic nostrils – so the last thing she needed was more bells and whistles adding to her travels through the house.  Therefore, I asked Sean to hold her at his peril while I clipped some talons, and we did her whole front right foot, including the thumb!  And then the next day we did her two back feet!  So now we only have the front left to go, and then Posy is back to being a stealthy ninja, or at least as stealthy as a smushed-face cat can be.  Pretty Posy!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Owen These Days

Sean’s been working with Owen on his counting, and he no longer thinks ghee and pa are part of the numerical sequence.  But he will still tend to reach either five or ten when he counts, no matter how many objects are actually there.  He’s getting there though!  He will sometimes now open up his five fingers as he counts to five.  He’ll ask for a cookie, and when I say no, he’ll then ask for one two three four five cookies? – fanning out his fingers as he does so.  Um, no to that request too, Owen!

He’s a friendly little fellow.  He has always liked saying goodbye to people, especially when he wants them to leave, and when we took him to an emergency pediatrician a few Saturdays ago because he had an ear infection, he very happily said “Bye doc-tor!” several times as we were on our way out the door.  When he walks into his nursery school classroom, I’m told, he also will very happily proclaim, “Hello everybody!”  He’s our own little Norm.

Owen remains very polite, thanks to Susan’s teachings.  He only ever says “yes please” or “no, thank you”, and never will just say yes or no.  (In fact, when he was crying when the doctor listened to his chest with her stethoscope, he was crying, “No, thank you, doc-tor!” over and over.)  He is always saying “Sorry, Mommy!” or “Sorry, Daddy!” (although Sean pointed out that he doesn’t say his s’s yet, so says Horry instead).  And his latest thing is to say “Excuse me,” when he is walking through a store and comes across a person in his path.

We were at the library last weekend and when a girl around his age came up to him, Owen smiled and said, “Hello!”  The girl just stared at him.  So he tried again:  “Hello!” with a smile.  No answer.  Then he looked at me and said, “Mommy, it’s a kid!”  Such the only child, our Owen.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014


I discovered this month that it is hard to find Thanksgiving decorations – the sort one can put on a mantel.  We had no luck in Target, and even no luck in Wegman’s which I thought for sure would have some standing pilgrim or cornucopia or turkey.  I finally found a nice mantel and table centerpiece turkey at Paper on Pine in Philadelphia.  Isn’t he handsome?:

We have been watching many British detective shows via Netflix.  We first saw “Happy Valley,” which was excellent, and then watched “The Fall,” which was also good, albeit a little too serial killer-y for my tastes.  And now we are watching “Broadchurch,” which is a bit of a mess, but has a great soundtrack.  As I find is often the case when I watch British shows, it takes me awhile to get to the point where I can understand the majority of what they are saying.  Often I am a few sentences behind.  (My boss said she watches these shows with the captions on and just reads what they are saying – which is a good idea except that I am usually knitting while watching and it is hard to knit and read captions at the same time.)  There was a very apropos cartoon in last week’s New  Yorker, that had a man and a woman watching TV, and one of them says, “At some point, there’s only so high you can raise the volume before you admit you’re never gonna understand what British detectives are saying.”  Hee hee.  Anyway, I recommend all of them, especially “Happy Valley” (and Sean likes them too, except that he thinks we should not have watched all three of them in a row, and wants to watch a non-British, non-detective show next.  Fair enough!)

I don’t know why this is, but I have never NOT lived next to people who hate – and needlessly cut down – trees.  Our neighbors on both sides of us when I was growing up chopped down multiple very old and beautiful and huge trees from their backyards, leaving their yards ugly and sunny and naked, and of course negatively affecting the shade of our yard as well.  We had a huge tulip tree in our front yard that the city cut down for some nefarious reason.  And last month, neighbors across the street from us cut down a grove of six trees right across from our house.  The trees were on this ugly little scrap of land, too narrow to do anything with, and the land under the trees was neglected and filled with branches and scraps of wood, etc.  The trees weren’t particularly pretty, and I don’t think they had ever been planted by someone with aesthetics in mind.  But still – it was a nice wee bit of forest, the trees were very tall and leafy, and owls would spend time in them during the summer.  

Apparently, the city asked our neighbor to trim the branches that were hanging over the road, and instead of doing so, he decided he would chop them all down.  Instead of hiring professionals to do this, he hired a Mutt & Jeff, who hacked at the (very, very tall) trees with a rusty basement saw over the course of four or so weeks, and caused us and the other surrounding neighbors much consternation as huge branches fell towards our cars and houses.  (They broke a telephone pole).  All this is to say that our little piece of wild across the street is now an ugly view of a fence, and filled with stumps (which they of course did not take out) and sawdust and branches.  Gone are the trees, gone our shade, gone the owls.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Oh Don't You Dare, Cold #4

Although the baby gear market certainly seems glutted, from time to time we come across a gaping hole just waiting for an inventor and some capital.  For example, someone needs to invent: a night diaper that lets you know when your child has pooped in it, so that you don’t have to deal with a false alarm that transitions your child from drowsy to wide awake and the ensuing unpleasant consequences; a v-neck parka for toddlers that don’t have much of a neck and therefore no place for that extra few inches with snap and zippers that act as a built in scarf; and some fool-proof way to confirm that your child has an ear infection, as well as access to antibiotics during off hours.  I’m not asking for very much here, people!  Get busy.

We found ourselves in need of invention number three on Saturday, the majority of which Owen spent inconsolable and whining.  Now we aren’t strangers to the occasional grumpy weekend, so at first we were just oh here we go again about his mood.  But when he woke up from a nap and could not stop this strange shrieking, we realized something was indeed amiss and headed over to the pediatric emergency center.  It was confirmed that Nursery School Cold #3 had given Owen Ear Infection #2 in one of his ears.  Poor Owen whimpered and cuddled in the waiting room, cried “No, thank you, Doctor” while the doctor listened to his front and back with her stethoscope, and then much more happily said, “Bye bye, Doctor!  Have a good week!” on our way out the door.

We are learning the hard way how nasty ear infections are.  Owen basically could not stop crying in the late afternoon, despite his first dose of the pink meds, so we ended up putting him to bed very early at 6:15.  And he did actually sleep until 6:30 the next morning, except for when he woke up at 11 and said in a clear voice, “Oh! Where did Mommy and Daddy go?”  And then a few seconds later, “I wonder what Mommy and Daddy are doing.”  (Hoping against hope you’ll go back to sleep, my son!)

So that was our fun weekend!  Aren’t you envious!  Ear infections and sorrow and then lots and lots of the spring fever episode of Curious George (or as Owen calls it, the one where George RIDES UP IN A BLOON!)  


Friday, November 14, 2014


Since the weather has just gotten colder, we’ve been having a bit of a turf battle in our kitchen between us and some field mice who would like to become house mice for the winter.  This is not okay with us for multiple obvious reasons, so the battle has begun.  So far, we have caught one mouse in a humane trap, but either we didn’t release it far enough away from our house, or it was part of a couple, because we still have at least one mouse visiting our kitchen at night and ruining our ripening pears.

Now you are probably wondering, hey, what about your two cats?  Shouldn’t they be earning their keep by catching the mice?  Shouldn’t they, indeed.  It turns out that whereas Plum and Posy will interestedly sit in front of the hole by the side of the stove which the mice use to enter the kitchen, they will only do so until it is time for them to nap elsewhere.  And it is time for them to nap elsewhere most of the time.

I’m not being completely fair to Plum, who did start knocking all and sundry off the counter late one night in an effort to keep the mouse from reaching our bowl of pears.  And then he did alert Sean when the mouse had gone into the humane trap.  So he is trying, somewhat.  And also in Plum’s defense, we give him his meds at night, so it is hard for him to stay all vengeancy when the clomicalm is making him happy.  I’m not sure what Posy’s excuse is, except that while the mouse is out and about, Posy is usually upstairs with me, purring and giving me a nice cuddle.

Meanwhile, Owen has started calling both cats Posy (or “Popey”) and it bothers me more than it should.  I keep telling him, when he calls Plum Popey, that the big gray one is Plum!  Popey’s the little cream one who is always sneezing.  But so far to no avail.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Owen Goes To The Library

Owen continues to have what I will carefully call an interesting relationship with books.  He’s not like my nephew Henry was, who at Owen’s age would back up into your lap with a book the minute you sat down.  But I wouldn’t say Owen is NOT interested in books; it’s just that it takes a little finagling to get him to sit and pay attention to one.

He still likes the books he likes, and the books he likes tend to be the books he knows very well.  If I sit down with Owen and try to read him a book that is new to him, he will push it out of my hand and say No.  But if I can immediately show him something on a page that interests him, then perhaps he will be intrigued enough to give the book a chance.  We’ve also had some luck in this regard with Sean reading a new book to Owen as Owen sits in the tub.  He’s a captive audience, and is thus then willing to give a book a listen, while he pours water from one cup into another.

On the other hand, if he likes a book, then he will want me to read it over and over and over, perhaps five or six times in a row.  The other Saturday we took him to the library for the first time to get books for him.  I had to search quickly, so can’t really vouch for the quality of the stack we borrowed.  However, I did make sure to get some Maisy books, since we have about four of those at home that he really enjoys.  And he immediately obsessed over the two new Maisy books we got – "Maisy Cleans Up" and "Maisy Drives a Bus."  Both were big hits, especially the cleaning one since it involved six cupcakes waiting to be eaten.  Owen also likes the Eddie Elephant character, and always lets me know that Eddie is “An Epiphant!”

Another of his favorite books at home is “Sheep in a Jeep”, and while at the library I discovered that there are a whole bunch of Sheep books, and so borrowed “Sheep in a Ship” and “Sheep on a Hike”.  But whereas I liked these books muchly, Owen isn’t too interested in them:  it turns out it was the Jeep he liked in the previous book, and not so much the sheep (even though one knits!  And they are always getting into a funny muddle!).

So two of the nine books we borrowed were hits, which I suppose isn’t so bad.  I will keep trying, at any rate!

I’ll leave you with pictures of Owen reading my biography of Pepys, which he snatched from the table and then wouldn’t give back, telling me emphatically, “It’s mine!”  I’ve been reading that book since August, so perhaps he’ll finish it before I do.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Owen Flotsam

Owen is very polite these days when he wants to be.  He almost always answers “Yes, please, Mommy” or “No thank you, Mommy” – and this is all thanks to Susan, with perhaps a bit of Peppa Pig thrown in.  I noticed the other day that he is not averse to needling me about my own manners, and if he gives me a toy to hold and I don’t say anything, he will supply the proper words for me and say, “Thank you, O-Wen!”  Repeatedly.  Until I get the hint and say it myself.

He still is a very picky eater and eats next to nothing except fruit, yogurt, and pretzels.  The other day Sean was cooking some hotdogs though and for unknown reasons this made quite an impression on Owen.  He insisted on being in the kitchen with Sean, and keeping up a constant narrative about how Daddy was cooking hot-dogs.  And then he ate a hotdog and a bun!  Separately, but still!  Not that a hotdog is a healthy foodstuff, but at this point anything that isn’t fruit or a snack food seems like a minor victory.  Owen continued to talk of how Daddy cooked hotdogs for a good four or five days after the fancy feast.

Owen spoke with “Ghee and Pa” via Facetime the other day for the first time, and it was a big hit.  Of course this brought up the whole Pa dropping his fork episode from the summer, and I had to listen to many recitals of this tale of woe after the call.  Owen will also tell a similar tale about himself, usually right after he has put something he shouldn’t have into Dorothy’s waterdish.  After I scold him, he will then proceed to hit his head with his hand and say, “Oh no!  Owen dropped _____ into the waterdish!”  Sigh.  I look forward to when Owen can walk past the pets' waterdish without feeling compelled to drop something in it....

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

These Shoes Were Made For Squeaking

Owen only has one pair of sneakers currently, so once it became too cold for him to wear his sandals, I started to look for another pair of shoes for him.  I wouldn’t have thought it would be hard to find just plain shoes that weren’t sneakers, and if Owen were a little girl, I would have had no problem doing so.  But most of the shoes available for boys are all sneakery, and/or way too busy.  I was looking for something plain and brown. 

I was also looking for something that didn’t cost $65.  Of course, I found exactly what I wanted in the $65 range, but that seems like a very high amount to pay for toddler shoes, when said toddler could outgrow the shoe in a month or so.

And then I discovered a company called Wee Squeaks, who made shoes like I was looking for and at very reasonable prices.  Here is what I ordered:

Isn’t it cute?  But wait, there’s more!  All of their shoes come with a squeaker in it, so that when the child takes a step, the shoe squeaks!  I figured this would be either very funny or very annoying, but at any rate, the squeakers can be taken out and put back in, so either way would be fine.

Anyway, they came in the mail yesterday and I put them on Owen and immediately started to giggle:

What had me so amused is that I didn’t think when ordering the shoes that there was someone else in our household who enjoyed a squeak, and that someone is:

Dorothy VERY MUCH wanted to attack and kill both shoes.  Each step Owen took and subsequent squeak the shoes made drove Miss Dorothy absolutely crazy!  We had to order Dorothy to stand down.

I later received a text from Susan saying that she had lasted two hours before taking the squeak out!  Ha!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Honey Bear

Owen was a bear for Halloween, although he didn’t really understand what it all meant.  By that I mean he did not seem to wonder why on the afternoon of the 31st his parents saw fit to put him in a big bear suit before letting him play in the yard.  He just romped while ignoring the large pillow stomach protruding from his front, and also while ignoring my giggling.  

And he knew that he did not like wearing the hood.

He went trick or treating at a few nearby houses and liked getting candy in his plastic pumpkin.  He also enjoyed all the lit decorations and the spooky soundtracks people had playing.  And then he very much liked moving his candy from one pumpkin to another, and then back again.  

I’d summarize by saying he was amenable, on the whole, and he certainly remains a big fan of the pumpkin.