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Friday, July 30, 2004
Mailing it in...
Vacation beckons and you sit at your desk supposedly finishing up work. But what you're really doing is killing time, pretending to be busy, and keeping one eye on the clock so that you can bail early for the sweet release of time off. Which brings us to America's Worst Mother's™ Column O'Odds & Ends as she and the kids (Cabernet, Chantilly, Discordia, and Zed) get ready to travel up to Maine where they will get poison ivy, mosquito bites, and burn down a cabin.
This week we get political references for the NRO editors to keep the paychecks flowing:
Like the delegates at the Democratic Convention, everyone around here is terrifically pent-up. Unlike the delegates, however, there's no strain in being "positive" and "forward-looking."
So tonight we had fish sticks again, one steak divided five ways, miso soup, and pasta with the fag-ends of parsley.
Babies need a new pair of shoes which is why the paychecks need to keep flowing:
"I can't find my shoes," Paris yells from upstairs.
"Neither can I," Violet says from the hallway.
Phoebe's voice pipes up from behind her. "I'm a little girl from town and I need some stickers," she says, emerging from around the corner. She is naked and has pasted herself stem to stern with bright pink heart-shaped Post-It notes that came with someone's long-ago Valentine's card.
The claim that, long after she has taken a dirtnap, Meghan's contribution to eternity will be her nag:
Molly comes down the stairs. "Phoebe!" she says with a brisk mixture of amusement and censure, and I suddenly realize that in her voice you can already hear my voice, and I realize just as fast that some day she will realize it and hate it, as I did when I first heard my mother's voice coming out of my mouth. Perhaps eventually, like me, she will not mind; will even take a perverse pleasure in the passing-down through generations of certain maternal inflections, the only immortality most women can enjoy on earth
A weird cop-killer moment from the girls:
I become aware that Violet and Phoebe are sitting on the stairs outside my office. It is pleasant to hear them chatting, but I do not pay much attention until there's a sudden outpouring of piteous mewings, and Violet says sternly, in a vaguely Continental accent, "Come here or I will give you a smack!"
"Now, wait a minute — " I protest, getting up from my desk.
"We're playing a game," Phoebe explains from the landing. "I'm a baby."
A few minutes later, Violet strides past and takes up a noble pose at the front door. She lifts an invisible bow and arrow, waits, and lets fly at a passing police car.
"Waaaa!" wails Phoebe from the stairs
"Thwap!" Violet murmurs, as another arrow finds its victim. "I've killed them," she says softly, "I've killed her."
"Kill her? Kill you?" asks the infant. "Violet? Violet?"
"Violet," I say automatically, not looking up from my checkbook, "please answer your sister."
"But I'm dead."
...and just like in Texas, the cop-killer gets the needle:
I put a hairclip in, so she's dying," Phoebe explains in her normal voice. I peer around the corner to see Violet spread-eagled on the floor, with Phoebe spiking her solicitously in the arm. The body does not flinch. Violet takes justifiable pride in her personal courage.
amd finally, our Moment O' Manliness:
"Mummy, can you fix my bandage?" Paris asks, limping down the stairs. Earlier this week while shoeless at a neighbor's, he tore a long, terrifying strip out of the sole of his foot on a nail protruding from the floor. Once again he occasioned floods of blood, once again anxious women washed his wounds, praised his bravery, and asked repeatedly, "Are you okay?" And once again, as soon as the thing was bandaged, he expressed perplexity at all the hand-wringing and brow-mopping: "Sure. Why wouldn't I be?"
Next week: Off to Maine where Zed will kill a moose with his bare hands....