Future Olympian or professional ham?

How time does fly and creep.  The paradox of time.  My long silence is due to a change of circumstance.  Tot and I have moved and it has been a very long, busy and difficult year.  She has been a trooper through it all and is ever the funny, spunky, irrepressible Tot.

My last post was Tot’s first day of preschool.  Well, tomorrow, through some strange twist in the space-time continuum, Tot is starting her first day of KINDERGARTEN.  Hard to believe, but true.  The excitement this evening just about got her stuffed inside her mattress.  One memorable excuse was that the music was too peppy.  Never heard George Winston described as peppy.

This week marked another first in the Tot timeline.  She swam the full length of the pool and tread water for 30 seconds.  Why you ask?  Because she wanted to show off her skills?  Not hardly.  So that she could use the diving board and slide in the *oohhh* deep end of the pool.  She mastered this challenge last night and then it was my challenge to drag her away when they closed for the night.  And even more difficult to drag her away today when the pool closed due to thunder.  I did manage to get lots of pictures which she actually encouraged me to take, a miracle in and of itself, since my camera is pretty much verboten these days.   (I looked this word up to make sure I spelled it properly and had to laugh at the definition — forbidden, esp by an authority.  Yeah, she’s an authority all right.)  Fortunately I manage to sneak lots of pictures in anyways.


IMGP1867She was sooo happy using the diving board, it was fun just to watch her.  Usually I’m in the water with her, getting my workout tossing her in the air.  Now she can toss herself in the air!   This wonderful new development is also very cool for another reason…  She hates being told what to do, like to practice her strokes.  But every time she jumps off the diving board, or goes down the slide, she has to swim to the ladder.  And since she’s going down dozens and dozens of times, she’s getting lots and LOTS of practice.  Pretty subversive, isn’t it?  Serendipity, really.  I was really hoping it would tire her out to go to bed early to prepare for her first day of school.  No such luck…  She’s indestructible, I swear.

After a while jumping and sliding on her own, she wanted me to join her, which I did.  But after several goes on both contraptions, I decided it’s not nearly as much fun feeling totally discombobulated now as it did when I was a kid.  So I relegated myself to the sidelines, taking pictures which she wholeheartedly endorsed for a change, reminding me every single time to be ready.  Made me laugh.  Like I’m not ready to take a picture of her all the time?  Or at least most of the time.

IMGP1910IMGP1893How can you not smile at these poses and expressions?  Okay, that last one doesn’t look like she wanted me to take her picture, but she did, I swear!

First Day as a Giraffe…




Here is Tot on her first day as a Giraffe with her goofy smile.  Yes, preschool has started and she is very excited, mostly that’s she’s going one more day per week than her best friend across the street, because LAST year, she went one less day and evidently that rankled… a LOT.  Her class is the Giraffe class, and we just happened to come across pajamas that had a sparkly giraffe on them, wearing sunglasses no less.  You know she HAD to wear the top to her first day, and of course we’re so ready for pajama day.  The Dorothy shoes are new too – so those are on almost 24/7.  At least I know she will always find her way home…

When I take posed pictures of her, I try to avoid the plastered on smile, so I tell her to think of something that makes her laugh.  We had a tough time today coming up with something, but she got silly, big surprise! and well, see for yourself.  Who knew giraffes were so feisty?

I did have a bit of a scare when she asked this evening if she had to go to preschool again tomorrow…  I’m thinking – is this camp all over again?  Fortunately she was asking because she wanted to go, so pray that no evil aliens abduct her tonight and change her mind!!!



I did have a bit of a scare when she asked this evening if she had to go to preschool again tomorrow…  I’m thinking - is this camp all over again?  Fortunately she was asking because she wanted to go, so pray that no evil aliens abduct her tonight and change her mind!!!


Day 1 of camp was fabulous.  Tot was as high as a kite, and couldn’t wait to go back, especially for the field trip.

Day 2 didn’t happen.  Before breakfast, she complained for all of a minute and a half that her stomach hurt.  Then, just as we arrived in the parking lot, Tot ejected the peach she had for breakfast all over the car, so we turned around and went home.  Tot was very upset.  I felt bad for her…  and for me.  After we got home and she settled in with her bud, Thomas the train, she seemed fine but ran a low grade fever, so I kept her home the entire day.  She was still very excited for the field trip which was due to happen on Day 3.


Then Day 3 arrives, and whoosh!  I’m convinced there was a alien body invasion overnight, because it was not my child in that body that looked like Tot.  THAT child claimed she did not want to go on the field trip.  Both Mr.Tot and I attempted to figure out why with no real success.  After prolonged negotiating, cajoling and finally threatening, we conceded that she didn’t have to go to camp, but still had to go to the Playplace, otherwise known as the daycare part of our gym, and no fun would be had today – no pool, no museum, no friends, no shows, no painting, and no mommy play, just dreaded errands.   Oh the screaming that ensued.

Distress overwhelmed me – partly for myself and partly for her.  I had been fine going along taking care of her day in and day out, but once the prospect of an entire 40 to possibly 50 hour week of free time was within my reach… THEN I was desperate to hold onto it.  And Tot NOT liking camp with all those kids to play with?  What had happened to change her attitude?  And it seemed she wasn’t interested in swimming either…  *gasp*  My little mermaid not interested in swimming?  This was serious – our lives were suddenly shrinking.  I was on the verge of melting down myself.

Mr.Tot managed to get her dressed despite her wishes, and we tossed her in the car under loud protest, along with her bag, just in case, and headed to the gym, because by gosh, I may be missing another day off, but we sure weren’t giving up our exercise after just restarting it on Monday.  I muddled through the weight lifting and rowing, and was not at all looking forward to the day ahead with a miserable uncooperative Tot.  The camp group was supposed to leave at 9am so my fate was sealed by the time I got to the shower.  Imagine my surprise, when I’m just getting dressed in the locker room and someone comes in asking for me.

“I was told you have Tot’s lunch for the field trip”

“WHAT??!!!  She’s going?!!!”

I think I have whiplash, this girl changed her mind so unexpectedly.  So I got her into her bathing suit, and she ended up going after all.

Mr.Tot explained to one counselor as he brought her in an hour and a half late that she had changed her mind.  ”We women can do that.” she replied.  He went on, “She pitched a massive fit this morning not to go…”  Her response – “We women can do that.”

So we went home Tot-less and my head was spinning from the about-face.  I was happy, but pretty close to a puddle from the emotional upheaval and sheer relief.  Those of you who have free time may not understand what I went through.  Just what did I do with my precious free time you ask?   I shopped *Tot-free* – a whole different experience than shopping with Tot, some fun, some necessities, I took pictures, I NAPPED, I painted an adirondack table purple to go with the adirondack chair I painted a couple weeks ago, and I cleaned Tot’s room.  Okay that may be exaggerating – I made a dent in Tot’s room.  And yes, my plans for remaining free time this week mostly involve what others would consider drudgery – organizing parts of our house.  That’s how warped I am.  Plus it’s too hot to do anything outside – 100° and HUMID!!!  Ick.

I went back at 5:30 to pick Tot up and she had had *SURPRISE* a fabulous time, though the leader took me aside and said Tot had a big blowout but that she had taken care of it.  Fortunately she had five, yes FIVE kids herself, so she said it was no big deal.  Whew!

Another day of fun for Tot and the fun didn’t stop there.  After almost 4 months of treatment all to bring her to the point where she could sense an impending poop, she finally did it.  And she managed to go on the potty!!!  From being in the tub, so double kudos and ENORMOUS relief for me at the near disaster that was so narrowly averted.  Did I even say that right?


And after all that excitement, was she tired out?

What do you think?

And just to keep the whip lashing, my day careened back to negative when Whiney bits peed on the bed.  Evidently her litter box did not meet strict feline governing standards and she was issuing her protest in the most objectionable way possible.  It was certainly NOT civil disobedience, nothing civil about it.  Fortunately we have a waterproof mattress pad, because yes, it has happened before…  and will again, I’m sure.

I’m hoping tomorrow will be more of a carousel ride than a roller-coaster, though Tot’s refrain this evening was, “Maybe I will go, maybe I won’t…”

I just can’t WAIT for the teenage years…  Where’s Calgon when you need it?

Tot’s Day at Camp

It was a marvelous day.  A day like no other, …  until tomorrow.  Tot went to camp.  ALL day camp.  We dropped her off a little after 8 am.  Camp runs until 6 pm… yes, that’s right 10 hours!  I was a little worried about the length of time, since she had never done something that long, and she has the not-so-insignificant matter of encopresis.  Except she’s now on double doses of laxatives, which makes for some horrendous messes.  The camp management was very understanding and worked with me.  They have in-and-out privileges – you can take your kid out and bring them back at any time during the day, and they said she could wear pull-ups.  They can’t change diapers, but would call me if she needed a fresh pull-up.  We live very close by.  She’s good about trying to go when there’s a potty break from her preschool routines.  So, off she went to make new friends, no hesitation at all.

And off we went to exercise!  which we haven’t done in a couple months.   Oh, is that going to hurt tomorrow.  I did some errands, and checked back with her early afternoon to make sure there were no problems.  Tot flung herself at me. I asked her if she wanted to go home or stay, and she wanted to stay.  The leaders said they have nap time between 3 and 4.  I told them I doubted Tot would sleep.  They said, “You’d be amazed.  The ones you don’t think are going to often do…  Sometimes it’s 10 minutes before the end, but they do.”  I’m thinking, “No, you’ll be amazed. ” Tot doesn’t believe in naps.  It’s against her religion.

I headed back to pick her up about 4:45, thinking she’ll be tired and ready to come home.  HA!    She sees me and says, “What?”  I tell her it’s time to go home.  ”Why?”, she counters.  She begs me to stay longer.  Success!  She made it through her first day with no accidents and loves it. (… well, except for that boring nap time of course)  Though having no accidents was a near thing.  About 5:30 or so, the Senokot train came rushing through.

Tomorrow she gets to stay until 5:30…   Well, maybe 5:20.

On top of all that, you’d think she’d be exhausted, right?  You’d think she’d look like this:





You’d be wrong, oh-so-wrong.

She was just hiding from the camera…

No, on the contrary, she was very bubbly…


















Sorry, couldn’t resist.

But she was literally running circles around us, between us, over us.  I think camp revved her up.

And I have friends, several in fact, who have told me that their kids take a nap because a 2 1/2 or 3 hour program wears them out.  Light-weights!!

She’ll be in camp all week.  We’ll see if they make a dent in her energy level.  I doubt it.

If only I could siphon off some of that energy for ME!!

Oh the things they say…

As a follow up to my last post: Okay, so the peach jam, macaroons, and blueberry pie took me the rest of the week to make…

And man was the blueberry pie good!  But my masterpiece was this:

I call her Miss Piggy, though Tot dubbed her ….  ”Reindeer”

Don’t ask me why, the Tot’s got a mind of her own, and she’s not afraid to use it.  Notice the curly tail curving round from behind.  Pure genius.

Speaking of the Tot, she had Mr.Tot and I practically rolling on the ground, except we were in the car, when at one point she says to us, in all seriousness, ” I’m going to zip my mouth so I don’t ask so many questions!”     Just out of the blue – we hadn’t said anything that could have prompted it.

She seems to be doing this a lot lately, coming up with funny tidbits.  Most of them I can’t remember.  I need to start carrying a tape recorder or visit the wizard to get a memory.   I do remember her asking, ” Mommy when I grow up, and you’re probably dead…”  She didn’t get any farther than that because I was laughing too hard.

And then she comes up with sweet things like the kissing game.  Normally she doesn’t like me to kiss her, but when we play the kissing game, I can kiss her all over, non-stop.  It never lasts long enough, but it sure is fun.  And this evening at the end of a birthday party, I thought she was being fickle not saying goodbye.  She said with a mad face, “I don’t like to say goodbye when I like the place so much.”

We had TWO birthday parties today.  She went from being a princess at the ultimate girly party at a place called “Grandma’s Princess” to a superhero (Cat Woman or rather KittyTot) at a nearly all-boy party.  It was an interesting side-by-side perspective of gender differences in children.  Tot had a blast at both.  When we got to the superhero party, I heard, “so you’re Tot” from just about every parent, none of whom I knew except the host, because the little boy whose birthday it was, from preschool is so madly in love with her, he can’t stop talking about her… to anyone.  I forgot my camera at the first party – D’oh!  But remembered at the second one, though I forgot Tot’s bathing suit – double D’oh!    At least I had a change of clothes, so she went in the kitty/kiddy pool in her cat suit.


IMGP9276When Tot arrived, the birthday boy wouldn’t even say hello, so shy was he in his besotted state.  But at least he managed to be friendly before the end of the party…  Though Tot did tell him not to whine at his own party when he pitched a fit because his Batman costume was experiencing a wardrobe malfunction, though not of the kind the world witnessed at the Superbowl….  I think this picture was taken after that advice.  Guess he didn’t mind hearing it from her.

Filling the pantry!

Pick a peck of pickled peppers….

Mr.Tot and I have been on a tear.  It’s old home week here, between the cooking, canning, and yardwork.

(We’ve transformed our side yard – Mr.Tot did the bulk of the work, but I put in a few pints of sweat as well…  More on that later.)

We now have:

A gallon and a half of blueberry peach jam you read about in Mr.Tot’s post…

A big batch of blueberry peach scones  (okay, past tense on those)

One peach apricot crisp

5 gallon bags of frozen blueberries

4 pints of pickled peaches  (word to the wise – do NOT open the cover on a pot of boiling pickling juice with your face right there above the pot!  D’oh! that vinegar steam make your nose hairs frizzy!)

3 pints of sweet pickles

Only 12 or so pounds of sugar used in the last few days and another 2 or 3 pounds anticipated, because macaroons, blueberry pie, and peach jam or roll-up are all waiting to be made…

Why?  Because there’s a zillion egg whites, and blueberries and peaches on the edge in our frig, and it’s supposed to be 120°, I mean 102° but it might as well be 120° today!!  So, after a short swim this morning, you won’t be able to pry me out of my air conditioned comfort if my life depended on it….


Baking is fun, but canning is like magic.

You can eat it whenever you want, not in the next 30 seconds to a week or so.

No room required in the freezer.  Wonderful treats to spoil yourself year round.

Here are my peaches – aren’t they pretty?  After skinning them, they had a beautiful blush coloring.  And the pickling syrup was delicious.  If you’re interested in the recipe, click HERE.

I think I’m finally channeling Gigi and Lydia, my other grandmother.  Thank goodness, it’s about time.

I even made fried okra, though I doubt my northern based grandmother ever made that southern dish…  I could be wrong…

OHHHH – might have to pickle some watermelon rind too, since there’s a big fat one sitting on our counter, and I’m in a pickling mood…

SO long as I don’t pickle THE pickle.  He’s not so sure about his namesake.


What He Said….

We were very busy today, picking blueberries, making jam, and generally making our life delicious.  Mr.Tot makes it sound like he did all the work, but that’s just for anonymity’s sake….  He did do the heavy lifting, heavy cooking and even heavy blogging.  I was his pit crew (HA!) which means I chopped the peaches, chased after Tot, took some pictures, helped pick blueberries, and helped EAT blueberries.

So, why should I repeat it all, when he’s already written it all?   He writes faster than I do anyways…  So…. What he said!


Letter to Camp 2011

Dear Big Brudder,


Things haven’t been the same here without you.  The skies won’t stop growling and crying.  Murgatroid is scared of that big growl.  We’ve been brushing him to calm him down.  He’s purrrrty now.  Even Pickles is losing his bumps.  But he’s also slacking – here’s evidence.  Pickles looks like the evil Joker, but he’s really a pussy cat.  Though he did leave us a vole on the porch right near the breakfast table….  Mmmm!


Anyways, I hope you are having fun and not melting.  I thought you might need a few pictures of me to remember me.  You’re gone a LONGG time! If you’re anything like Mom & Dad, you won’t even remember who I am…. plus I might look totally different by the time you get back!

Here I am as Buttercup, the cat, and giving Mom & Dad the stink-eye of course.



Here I am as a mermaid with my mermaid buddy, and thought you might like my lunch monster.

See you soon?

Your Lil Sis, Tot

Matisse, Miro, Mondrian? Wyeth, Whistler, Warhol?

My daughter LOVES painting…  She paints outside on our porch, where I mostly don’t have to worry about it.  When her godparents were here, (here-after called the god guys or god-gram and god-gramps), she insisted on painting while the adults were talking and ignoring her (after god-gram was held hostage in her room the better part of the day).  After a short stint of painting around the corner out of sight from us, we heard strange noises and moaning and crying.  Why, when she was doing something she loved?  Had she gotten hurt?    God-gram went to investigate and brought back with her an inconsolable Tot.  No, she hadn’t gotten hurt, just mortally wounded in the heart!  Her painting was not, gasp, what she pictured it would be.  Her brush was not magical and did not make what was in her head appear on paper.  AND, she would not be able to SELL it because no one would want it.  Or so she claimed, though we all took our turns telling her otherwise.  She went to bed feeling like a failure, at the tender age of 4.  Mostly I think because of the Barbie movie about Rapunzel which has magic paintbrush.   I had thought the video under “extras” was inspiring about how anyone could be an artist and showed a very successful 19 year old painter.  I had no idea my little Tot would take it so much to heart.

The next day god-gram painted with her and complimented her on her blending techniques, etc.  It seemed the crisis had passed, and she still wanted to paint.  She paints most days, though she’s been asking for new media to paint on…  She wants to have a collection.  Where she learned this word, I’m really not sure, because she had absolutely no idea what it meant, but was quite convinced she must have it.   So as I said, she was asking for things other than paper to paint on.  I found a piece of plywood and presented that.  She appeared to be content, and I proceeded to try to get some yardwork done.  A while later, I glanced up at the porch to see how she was doing.  She had found a better media to paint on than my lousy plywood….




HERSELF!!!  She later swapped her painting smock for a apron to help me make Chocolate bread pudding for the neighbors (Won’t you be mine?  and a whole other story on what slavery parents sell the children into…), and I couldn’t resist getting another picture….   Oh, and she wanted us to name her in her new cat persona….  So with that yellow face, she is now Buttercup (or as Mr.Tot calls her Butter butt).   Just another day in the life of the Tot.  The cuteness factor is killing me…


The benefits of waiting rooms…

I rarely read magazines at home.  It’s something I generally only do in waiting rooms.  I went to the dentist today, and got my cookie (score!), tube of chapstick, goodie bag of dental stuff, and while waiting to get in the chair, I found a really inspiring article, a stay-at-home dad’s letter to his son, which I have passed onto Mr.Tot for Blondie.  And I may just get inspired to write my own letter to Tot.  But not tonight.  I leave it to ferment in the hopper of my mind for a while.  Anyway – here’s the link to the letter -  How to be a Real Man.   Meanwhile, I have to work on getting my daughter to aspire to be more than this: