I made fish for dinner. The really yummy kind. I used a butter alternative and fresh pressed garlic on Tilapia. It was fantastic. Last night.

By this morning, I was distinctly sick of the smell. It had penetrated every inch of my house, despite my best efforts to clean it up. I opened the windows in the kitchen and turned the fan on, I poured baking soda and lemon juice down the garbage disposal, I made sure the trash was out.

Still, the scent lingered.

Finally, my friend arrived for a playdate. As she walked in the door she frowned a little, “It smells like -”

“fish and garlic,” I interrupted. “I’m really sor-”

“No.” She broke in, talking slowly, still frowning, “It smells like carbon monoxide.”

We sent both girls, hers and mine, into the backyard. A quick check of the house found a gas burner on the stove on, but not lit.  I turned it off, opened all the windows and turned on every fan in the house.

In retrospect, I can see that we were operating in a poisonous environment. I had a headache, but blamed that and the tiredness on a very late night. Fiona was relaxed and sleepy, but she’d slept in and didn’t seem grumpy or unhappy.  I smelled something weird, but thought I knew what it was, so I didn’t investigate.

I’m trying really hard not to play the what-if game. What if I hadn’t stayed up late last night with the door open to let in the fresh summer air? What if I hadn’t turned on the A/C in the middle of the night? What if we hadn’t had a playdate?

Scary. Terrifying.

I’m not sure how it got left on. Did it not get turned off after dinner? Did it get bumped? Did small hands find mischief?

It almost doesn’t matter. It just means I need to be more watchful. More observant. More willing to question my assessment of a situation. After all, sometimes that horrible scent is fish and garlic and sometimes it’s a chemical called Mercaptan added as a warning, a failsafe.

Now it’s nearly bedtime and I have to go check to make sure that my stove is off. Stay safe out there.



So, I’m not really a photo person. My memories of events are somehow less photo finish and more sound, color, and emotion. On the other hand, I have a girl who likes photos. She will sit on my lap at the computer for hours, perusing pictures.  Given her love of photos, it seemed unfair not to share a couple.

In fact, she likes pictures so much that I have a whole post full of words about it to give to you tomorrow. And maybe a couple more pictures, too.

Dentist vs. Doctor

Last week we went to Fiona’s well child check up. It was perhaps the most unmitigated disaster of a doctors visit I’ve had the misfortune of having to endure with her.

To be fair, we didn’t actually see a doctor, just a nurse practitioner. Now, I know that these professionals are often overworked and underpaid for what they do, but this particular lady ticked me the something-edited-off.

First off, let me explain that Fiona actually likes doctors. She likes the attention. She likes saying “aww”. She likes the stethoscope and all the measuring and checking. She enjoys going to the doctor. Because of this, and her normal charm, doctors typically like her.

Her last pediatrician would walk into the exam room, greet her by name (before me), and let her listen to her own heart with his stethoscope. He was amazing.

Let’s contrast that to last weeks experience where the nurse ignored Fiona to ask me a million questions about Fiona’s food, development, and history. She ignored her until she couldn’t find a medication in her computer system; then she stepped out to talk to technical support for twenty minutes.

By the time she came back Fiona was bored. She was idly playing with the curly cords on the little devices that they use to look in eyes and nose. She wasn’t pulling them down, just stretching them out and releasing them to see them bounce. The nurse snapped at her to leave them alone, then based on that and on my report of Fiona’s sleep habits told me that we needed to start a discipline routine. She actually recommended locking Fiona in her room at night.  I was appalled.

Fiona summed up our visit once we were in the car, “That was a not good doctor. We need a different doctor. Let’s try again.” Then she cried. See, she’d been really excited about going to the doctor. She likes them. Mostly they like her.

Let’s compare all this to yesterdays visit to the dentist. Yes, the dentist. Fiona doesn’t really like having her teeth messed with, but I explained what was going to happen and off we went.

It was like a night and day experience. The dentist and hygienist were amazing. They talked to Fiona and told her what was going to happen. They played with her, giving her rides in the chair, and told her that they liked her clothes and hair.

In turn, she cooperated. She behaved perfectly, letting the hygienist take x-rays of her teeth, and letting the dentist examine her teeth. On our way out they told me she was the best behaved three year old they’d ever seen.

The feeling was mutual; by the time I was tucking her into bed last night she told me, “Mommy, I had fun at the dentists.”

Suffice it to say, in this months competition of doctor vs. dentist, the dentist wins. Also, Fiona is perfectly healthy, if a little on the small side,  and her teeth are great.


Paging the Peanut Gallery

I want to know more about the people who read this blog. I’m feeling like, apart from those of you that comment frequently and those of you that I follow, I don’t really have any idea who I’m writing to.  It’s a little like taking a sheet of paper, writing all of the sweetest things on it and turning it into a paper airplane in a crowded theater. You’re not precisely sure it’s a good idea, but it seems like a cool thing to do.

So, readers, my challenge to you is that you answer these questions. Answer anonymously if you want. Heck, answer synonymously. Include a link to your own blog if you have one. Tell me about yourselves.

1. If you picked one word to describe yourself what would it be?
2. Do you have kids? What if you picked one word to describe them? If you don’t, what do you hope they’re like?
3. Are you happy?
4. What would you tell me if you knew I was listening?

Alright, if no one responds to this, that’s fine, but I  want to hear your voices today. I feel like my own has been rather annoying lately.  Somebody wave to me from the Gallery in this rather dark theater.

Especially Fine.

I have a morning routine. It goes like this:
Wake up.
Stare groggily at the clock and wonder if anyone in their right mind actually feels this tired this late in the morning.
Glare at the world as I grudgingly abandon my bed and wander down to my Black  & Decker coffee pot.

I’m pretty sure I’ve been engaged in a four year affair with that coffee pot. I tried to walk away when I was pregnant, but it’s sleek body and mind and body stirring affections drew me back. Truly, it’s all very sordid.

After I engage my liquid sleep aid, I make lunch for my husband and, if we have early plans for the day, Fiona and myself.  Throughout this morning-hating, coffee-brewing, lunch-making process I keep an ear cocked for the sound of my daughters’  commensurate distaste for waking.

Some days she wants me to snuggle. Some days she’ll lay in bed and cry until I come up and then when I ask if she wants to wake up, I’ll be met with a squinty-eyed glare and a firm, “No.”

Then there are days like yesterday. Yesterday, she woke up and I heard her say to the world, “Good morning, Morning!”

As I listened for the sound of her asking for me, or the sound of her coming down the stairs, what I heard was this, “We’ll read a book! We will read the Snuggly Puppy!”

“First the puppy is messy. But his mommy still loves him. She is not mad. Then the puppy and mommy dance. Then we sing, Oh Snuggle Puppy of mine. Everything about you is especially fine.” She read, then sang. She repeated the song a few times then ended on. “Snuggly Puppy. I LOVE YOU!”

If you haven’t had the joy of this particular book, you should check it out. Sandra Boynton writes a  simple, and very sweet, little love song. I enjoy reading/singing it to Fiona and, as it turns out, she apparently enjoys it too.

And, for the record,  the phrase “especially fine” when sung by a three year old is as adorable as you might imagine and a fantastic way to start the day.

Juggling (Etsy)

I’ve always been a little jealous of people who can juggle. I don’t have the coordination for it. Or maybe the focus. Or, perhaps, I just don’t have the patience to dedicate towards learning the focus and coordination.

Lately though, I’ve been feeling a little like I’m juggling. How long can that particular project idle along before it’s going to crash and burn again?

How many decisions can I make before I start choosing the wrong one?

So, we’ve chosen to go ahead with enrolling Fiona in preschool. I need some time to just be a grown up. She needs some time with other kid. It’s a nice combo. The nifty trick is that staying home is free, but preschool costs money. So, I have to figure out how to bring in the money that it will cost for her to attend.

I like my little blog here, and I adore of you who take the time to read, but I don’t think it’s a money maker. Or if it is, it’s a little over my head.

So, I’ve decided to give this painting thing a go. I made a little Etsy site and it has a few paintings on it. I’m trying to get some kinks ironed out, so payment is still wonky, but here it is anyhow. AM Painting.

Wish me luck, and if you’re in the market for original acrylics, go check it out!

Tadpole Kisses

They say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

On Monday, we left the confines of our little town and adventured off into the nearby “wilderness” of the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. We, my mother, myself and Fiona, invited our friends to join us and they did, my friend and her daughter, Fiona’s best friend. We found a little trail that ran alongside the junction of two creeks and brought our lunch.

For the middle of July it was cool, only 85 or so. The water was cold enough to feel chilly, but easy to get used to after a few minutes. A warm morning breeze ruffled the trees and rippled the surface of the water where it had gone still.  The sky was bright blue with little wispy white clouds that drifted lazily across the horizon.

The sound of little birds met and mingled with cicadas and joined the gentle shushing of the stream in a medley of the world whispering at us to be calm, to slow down, to be quiet.

How quiet do you think two three-year-old girls can be? For how long?

They sat in the edge of the stream with the bright sun shining on their golden heads and the world whispered at them to be still. And they were. The tiny fish and the baby tadpoles swam up around their legs to hide under them.

For almost an hour, Fiona sat in a tiny pool of water with little tadpoles on her legs and hands. She sat so still that she almost didn’t breathe and they drifted into the safety and shadow of her little body, hiding in the tulle of her pink tutu swimsuit. They nibbled on the tiny, invisible plant matter that drifted across her skin and she giggled wildly and called them tadpole kisses.

Her friend, also three, sat on the edge of a nearby rock and dabbled her feet in the water. Little fish swam up to drift and dart around her toes. She said that they tickled.

How still can two little girls be? Still enough. Still enough for blue darting dragonflies. Still enough for tickling fish. Still enough for tadpole kisses. Perhaps even still enough to become a part of everything, and find that quiet vastness inside themselves, if only for a moment.

And the golden sun and cool water and the tadpole kisses and the music of the laughter of little girls paint a symphony that no photo could convey.