Monday, December 31, 2012

only from the butcher's weekly flyer

While turning the pages of a cookbook, she looked up and asked, "Do you suppose dogs get paper cuts?"

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

the cats are considering a restraining order

Yesterday, Caroline's teacher sent home all the finished pieces from their first grade writing workshop activities thus far.  There were 13 works, some multiple pages, some just a single page.  12 were about cats/our cats.  That last 1?  It was about writer's block.

The best lines:

"PD is soooo hyper.  PD! She runs like a rat... and pounces to the moon."

"One day, Jane scratched me and her hiss flew like sound waves.  Well, I am alive."

"Take a look at the shimmery-eyed cat.  Cute, huh?"

"PD was probably bummed out."

and my very favorite...

"Sylvie and the cats have a growing relationship."

Saturday, November 24, 2012

being thankful

At her Marmy's house for Thanksgiving, Caroline decided on her own that we needed decorations for the tables.  So she made little flower shaped papers and wrote things for which we should be thankful, along with illustrations for the illiterate.

They were:

Be thankful for all your toys.  [illustration: Nesty the dog]
Be thankful for the people you meet. [illustration: a friendly "visitor"]
Be thankful for the things you love.  [illustration: numbers]
Be thankful for your pets.  [illustration: pets]
Be thankful for your siblings.  [illustration: herself]

I read them all and was getting carried away on that wave of "awwwww," especially on the siblings tip; and then I heard the sound of two little girls shrieking and Caroline squawking, "Get her away from my stuff before she messes it up!!!!!"

Ah yes, just as the original Thanksgiving went.

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Caroline was carrying around her beloved kitten Jane.  They were going down the stairs when I heard Caroline admonish her, "Oh Jane, we do not lick our mothers on the face.  It's not polite.  No face licking.  I know, it's a hard lesson to learn.  I've been there."

Saturday, November 3, 2012

cat care with lil bobbi barker

This was one of many pieces of art we found in the self-guided tour at the art museum in her bedroom.

[Click the photo to enlarge.]

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

purrfect start to the day

Caroline was wearing paper cat ears on a headband when she came down the stairs this morning.

I asked her what she'd like for breakfast.

"Oh, I'll have Mice Krispies!"

I paused to calculate exactly how weird she is, and then I reached for the box of Rice Krispies in the cabinet.

She headed towards the hall and announced, "Welp, time for this kitty to hit the litter box."

Recalculations were necessary.

Friday, October 12, 2012

no fever, but questionable symptoms

"Mom, I'm feeling kind of weird.  It feels like there's a plus sign in my stomach."

Wednesday, October 3, 2012


She completed this work during Writer's Workshop at school yesterday.  It came home in her folder.  I am now alarmed at what the teacher must think of us. 

In the morning, we discovered that one of the cats had done her business just outside of the litterbox in our basement storage room.  This was the first time this has happened, so Chuck and I were discussing it... thoroughly.  

Caroline decided to take matters into her own hands.

And yes, that is a gleaming wayward pile of feces in the right corner there.  She says it has lines not because of heat or stink, but because "it's like a surprise."

Thursday, September 27, 2012

i hope this still works when she's 15

Caroline has this super yuppie bento lunch box this year to make it easier for her to actually finish her lunch.  It seems all the talking was getting in the way of opening multiple containers to eat, so I figured one simple gesture to open the thing would yield better eating.  And it has worked.  So I have been surprising her with little treats in the tiny middle compartment.

Today, I packed a pinch of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips as her treat.  It felt a little, uh, basic after tiny cookies and such I've packed in the past.  So I was a little concerned it'd be a lunch flop.

At pickup, I asked her how she liked her lunch.  She lit up.  "AAAH!  Chocolate chips!  YOU!  LEAN OVER!"  I looked at her.  Was she going to poke me in the eye?  "I need to give you a kiss!"  Oh!  So I obliged.  "MAMA, YOU ARE SO AWESOME!"

Friday, August 31, 2012

ready or not, here she comes

The other day, we had our meet the teacher/back to school party deal at Caroline's school.  After we visited with her former kindergarten teacher, we went out to the playground, and she looked at me and said, "Can you believe it?  No more kindergarten for me.  I'm finally a grader for the first time in my life!"  


Her new class has 8 kids from her old class, and all of them are friends.  Her new teacher has created quite a buzz within the 6-7 year old set with her class theme... they are SECRET AGENTS!  Each locker has a faux keypad and biometric scanner with the kid's name on it -- Special Agent Caroline.  The door is covered with yellow tape and restricted access signage.  The teacher advised the kids that they can't go in until the first day of school because there is a big surprise waiting.  [Hopefully it's not a waterboarding training session.]  This has built a lot of suspense and excitement... and detracts from the horrifying fact that, this year, it's the only first grade class in the kindergarten hallway. 

My nerd child had to be pried away from the back to school party, which is essentially is the death knell of summer, as she groaned, "I don't want to go.  I wish school was starting right now!!!"


As we sat together, hugging.

"Mama, I love you.  Even when you're kind of over the line."

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

going retro

Caroline was cuddling kitty Jane.  I walked by as she was nuzzling her and sighing, "Oh Jane, you starry-eyed little darling."

Friday, August 10, 2012

hopefully she backed up

Caroline is a bit of an overthinker/overworrier.  I was sitting next to her, trying to help her release the worries to the wind or other such self-helpy stuff.

Mama:  So do you have any more worries?

Caroline: No.

Mama:  Are you sure?

Caroline:  Yep.  [closes eyes] I'm looking in my mind right now.  It has no more worries.  It is completely empty.  If you could see it, you'd see that it is all black and empty... except for a small gray bar in the very back that says "No Saved Files."

Thursday, August 9, 2012

sister, friend, teacher

Overheard in the living room...

Caroline:  Sylvie, can you say 'large intestine'?

Sylvie:  Warge intestine!

Caroline:  Now can you say 'small intestine'?

Sylvie:  Small intestine!

Caroline:  Very good, Sylvie.  I think you're ready for preschool.

Monday, August 6, 2012

my poor future grandchildren

Caroline is making up new names for the girls' little Lalaloopsy dolls. 

So far, we have been reintroduced to:

Weirdo Bob
Roots Redhead
Blah Blah Stevenson
Monique Donut
Poop Cackle

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

parent-teacher conference

I was talking to Caroline about all the great things she's done so far this summer.  I listed all the new things she's tried or mastered -- all the new foods, the new habits, etc.  The list was delivered in a chipper and eager parent voice.  "...And, kiddo, you even learned to tie your shoes today!  That's so cool!"

She looked at me and smiled and said, "Yes, I've really developed this summer, haven't I?  I have so many new skills and some more achievements ahead."

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

career options dwindling

Caroline stomped into the living room and threw herself on the couch. I asked what was up.

"I am terrible at writing songs.  I can't even think of good titles.  How will I grow up to be famous if I write junk?!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

exactly what i was going to say

"Look Mom!  That cloud looks just like Estonia!"

Thursday, July 5, 2012

aristocratic observation

I cleaned the living room while Caroline was hanging out in the basement.  She came upstairs, looked around and said, "Ah!  I see that you've [airquote] groomed [/airquote] the home while I was gone."

Thursday, June 28, 2012

i'm sure that's how they think of you

"Mama! I just realized this.  I'm a niece, right?"

I confirmed that yes, she has many aunts and uncles.

"I love the word 'niece.'  It's just so soft and blossomy, wouldn't you agree?"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

psht, we'll finish that in a week!

Some of Caroline's cousins have a summer tradition of making a collaborative list of things they want to do as a family each summer.  Stuff like camp in the backyard, visit Six Flags - 3 times, go to the beach at least 10 times, etc.  I think this is a fantastic tradition, and I showed the photo of this year's list to Caroline and proposed that she make a list of what she'd like to do this summer.   She got right to work.

I was imagining she'd want days spent at the pool, to take the training wheels off the bike, to make s'mores in the backyard... and then she proclaimed her list complete.  It was a short list.

On it?

• Drive a car (no help)
• Write a book about Norway
• Hang out with Katy Perry

Monday, June 25, 2012


Well, we adopted two little sister kittens a month ago.  They are neither Siamese nor Russian Blue, and she still trusts me.   The element of surprise must have helped her forget about that little requirement.

We let each girl choose a name.  Caroline chose Jane after some careful thought.  Sylvie chose Purple Dinosaur after no thought.  She's 2, after all.  We call Purple Dinosaur "Petey" most of the time. So now we have Jane and Petey, and the house feels right again.

Jane has patches of pretty grey and white, and because of this, Caroline is telling everyone that she is a newly created designer cat.  "She's a Ralico.  Part Russian Blue, part Calico.  She's the first Ralico.  That's why it's not in the books yet."

And she announced last night that she could smell each cat's special cat scent.

"I can totally smell them, Mom.  I can.  Only cats can smell other cats' scents.  I have to be at least 1/4 cat.  I'm 1/4 cat!!  And that quarter is definitely Siamese.  I have blue eyes."

Friday, June 22, 2012

pop quiz

It was 1:43am when a bed-headed Caroline walked up to her dad as he sat watching a movie in the basement.

"Daddy, can you name three cities in Russia?"

Chuck paused for a minute and said, "Uh, Moscow, St. Petersburg, and... Volgograd."  [He only knows that last one because of the Red Wings.]

She kissed him on the cheek and said, "Thanks Daddy.  You're the best!"

Then she turned and hopped back up the stairs and went back to bed.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

older wiser smarter

Today is Caroline's 6th birthday, and she is feeling very worldly, it seems.

We were talking about some of the teachers at her school who just had babies, and both babies were girls.  This led to her informing me that there are more girls than boys in our part of the world.

I said, "Yes, you're right.  And you know what else?  Women live longer than men!"

She sat straight up and got a big grin, "REALLY?!"

"Yep, it's true.  Women have a longer life expectancy than men do."

She tilted her head and patted me on the shoulder and said with a knowing nod, "We are seriously the lucky ones, my friend.  We are the lucky ones."

Thursday, May 31, 2012

another completely reasonable breakfast order

Daddy: What would you like?

Caroline:  Hmmm, I think I need something made to look like a flower.

Daddy:  A flower?!

Caroline:  It's the last day of May!  You need a flower for that!

[Daddy heads to the kitchen, trying to figure out how to make floral food.]

Caroline:  Oh, and one requirement:  It must be cereal!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

submitting to passive aggressive notes dot com

Caroline made a book at downtime at school.  It's called Kitty Life.

The first page?

"Mrs. Kitty had a problem.  She was always using special papers so there wasen't enoghe for her children."

She insists that this storyline has nothing to do with my refusal to let her have good paper I just used for her birthday party invites.  I remain unconvinced.  On the plus side, Mrs. Kitty looks very apologetic and does not get killed off in later chapters.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

isn't it ironic?

A few weeks ago, Caroline's school musical finally hit the stage.  These productions are of a much higher caliber than most school plays, and it's sort of a big deal in our artsy community.  The kindergarten and 1st grade kids were the opening act, singing "On Broadway" with many jazz hands waving and exaggerated dance moves telling you all about the travails of someone seeking to make it big in NYC.

The day after opening night, we ran into one of her friend's moms, who said, "Caroline!  You lit up the stage!  Your smile was soooo big, and you did such a great job.  You were really at home up there!"

She laughed and said thank you to the nice woman, and then turned to me as we walked away and grabbed my arm tight and said, "Maybe it's true.  Maybe I really will be a star."

Friday, May 11, 2012

sure thing, sally

"Can I have a non-crusted, folded long-ways, blueberry-not-grape jelly sandwich?"

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

random breakfast chatter

"Monkeys have weird booties."

[silence, gaze]

"Can I have some jelly toast now?"

Monday, April 30, 2012

a simple customer

Daddy:  What would you like for breakfast?

Caroline:  Hmmmmmmmmm....

Daddy: [waiting]

Caroline: You know what? Surprise me.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

a big claim made in passing

Caroline is in a school play, and the beginning of her number has only blacklight illumination.  I asked her if it was cool to be doing a dance in the dark with only their hands glowing.  She said, "Yes!  It's so cool that it's all dark, though I can still see pretty well on account of my cat vision.  But it's fun!"

Friday, April 27, 2012

you may call her elizabeth

Caroline has been obsessed with a series of biographies from Capstone about real life princesses and queens.  She takes a new one out of the school library each week and reads them day and night.  So I guess I should not have been surprised the other day when she ran into the room, thrust her fist in the air, and yelled, "I may have the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a KING!"

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

genetic obligation

Caroline: Daddy! Smell my feet!

Daddy: Huh? No.

Caroline: But you're my faaaaather. I'm your daaaaauuughter!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

future career: roadrunner catcher

Caroline is fond of drawing schematics. This one features a balloon from the "My 'op' words" book she made at school.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

bring it!

We were having a little pillow fight, and I was trying to go easy on her so she would, in turn, go easy on her little sister. So I thwomped her lightly on the head, and she shouted out, "You call that hitting? Come on!! I have a SKULL!"

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

a legacy

It has been a crazy second half of March. We have battled croup (both kids), influenza, a sinus infection that required anthrax antibiotics (really) to clear up, business travel, a mysterious face- and arm-covering rash, and a billion appointments and missed appointments. But the hardest thing was saying goodbye to our cat, Lucci. She was 21 years old, and I'd had her and her sister since I was a sophomore in high school. Bijoux passed away a year ago, and Lucci said goodbye yesterday, so we are without feline companionship for the first time ever for the kids (and in decades for me!). She went blind over the weekend, and she had already gone deaf and had severe arthritis, so getting around was very difficult for her. She seemed disoriented and scared and was not eating well. We tried to give her some peace in a gentle farewell.

Caroline took this pretty hard. We thought at her age, she would just be excited about the future of getting two new sister kittens (something we'd mentioned we'd do sometime after we get over mourning our other cats) and not really get caught up in too much sadness. Who can resist the healing power of kittens?! But she has been surprisingly focused on the loss of Lucci.

When we braced her for the news, we talked about how Lucci had gone blind and must be really scared and nervous about what was going on around her, since she also can't hear. Caroline tried to find the positive, "Well she still has 3 senses left. I think that means she has 3 lives left."

Later, when I was going through her papers from school, I found this memorial drawing she made:

At the bottom, that's a mouse. Because "all cats love mice! She should have one!"

She requested that we get Lucci's ashes back and plant a garden in her memory, placing the ashes in with the flowers.

After dinner, she wrote a note.

[heart] Bye bye [heart]

Dear Lucci,
I hope you are ok in your deth.
I'm sad that your ashes.

Good bye,

And this morning, "to honor Lucci's memory," she chose underwear made of fabric covered in playful cats. Lucci would be honored by special underwear, indeed.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


"Mama, where's my kitty calendar? You know the square one with the cute kittens on the front?"

Why do you need that?

"I have to schedule something. On May 14th, I'm going to lose my first tooth. I need to pencil it in."

Sunday, March 4, 2012

letting 'em down easy

Caroline "graduated" from the beginner swim classes to an advanced section. When this happens, the swim school gives you a little card, and you go to the front desk and they schedule you with a different class at the new level. Because she'd done so well with her current instructor, I requested him again. When I told her that she was indeed in the new class level, but she'd still be with John, I thought she'd be happy.

She said, "Oohhhh. Hm."

I asked if there was a reason she wanted to have a different teacher.

"Well, Mom, I think I'm just really interested in meeting new people."

Friday, March 2, 2012

understatement of the year

While I was brushing her hair...

"Mom, I'm kind of dramaful, don't you think?"

"Yes, you are very dramatic. Though I think a better word is 'theatrical'."

"I should really get some puppets."

I laughed and pulled her hair into a ponytail.

She yelped an, "Ow!"

I paused, confused about the pain.

Then she said, "Good example, right? See what I did there?"

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Caroline's home with a fever today, and she woke up 2 hours late and kind of... manic. An assortment of quotes:

"My pee! It's totally golden."

"What is it about MOVIES that makes them MOVE?! Move-ees. Movies."

"I didn't know bunnies could hoola hoop."

"OH, it's a beautiful carnation. DELICATE PETALS. Look at the little lines...."

"MOM! I have a GREAT IDEA! What if I play Littlest Pet Shop on my DS, and I hold my Littlest Pet Shop animals in my hands at the same time?! It'll be like it's REAAAALLL!"

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Caroline's class had an assignment one day at centers. They were to take 5 stickers of their choice and make a 3-sentence story about them. She chose a smiley face and 4 stars, and made this:

The story she wrote:

My story was is, Stella was in space and she was in the universe. Meny of her men were looking for her stuff. She new that her men were lazy.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

a fast learner

I'm very hoarse due to a cold picked up from volunteering in Caroline's plague-infected classroom. She informed me that I "sound like a dude."

Several hours later, I said something to her from the other room, and she replied all cleverly with, "Wait, which of my DADS said that?"

"The DAD who buys all your birthday presents."

"Noted. Let me try that again. [sugary sweet voice] 'Yes, Mom!'"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

boogery melody

"Mom, did you know that snot is just, like, mucus and germs coming together? They're having a gross little party together. Making a little gross music."

Saturday, February 4, 2012

earnestness and auditions

Caroline auditioned for the school musical. Yes, they do musicals in elementary school. She decided to audition, and I took her. And I was surprised by how seriously this process was organized. There was a dance room, a singing room, and then small group and solo singing room. Nevermind that everyone gets a part, they still do this like it's Broadway.

When it was her turn for the small group/solo singing audition, she and two of her classmates were brought into a small room with a long table with 3 unfamiliar grownups sitting behind it. They were asked to sing "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star." Easy peasy. Then the director asked if any of them wanted to sing a song on their own. Her friend Nolan gave a great version of a Bob Marley song that he'd rehearsed with his older brother before auditions. Peter declined to sing a solo. Caroline said that she'd like to sing something, too. We hadn't rehearsed anything (again, I didn't think it would be this formal!). So she stepped forward and began singing a song she made up on the fly.

If you believe, you can do everything!
You just have to tryyyyyyyyy.
You just have to try
With all your heart, you just have to try
And you'll like it and it will be great!

And then she curtsied.

The director totally humored her and asked, "Oh did you write that song right now, as you were singing it?"

And she said, "Well, actually, I just kind of reworked something I wrote a while ago..."

Monday, January 30, 2012

fear the reaper

Yesterday was Chuck's birthday. As Caroline and I were discussing his age, she said, "Wow, 46. 50 is the age of death, you know."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

long walks on the beach

Caroline got in the car yesterday and began giggling. Eventually, I asked her what was up. "Mom, I have to tell you something, and it is totally weird."

The totally weird news? She has her first boyfriend. She and Logan are girlfriend and boyfriend.

I asked her very casually what that meant to her, to be boyfriend and girlfriend, hoping to hear nothing of hand-holding or smooching on the playground. I was relieved to hear her take on it. "We are in kindergarten, Mom. We're not like kissing teenager boyfriend/girlfriend. We're good friends, is all. We're like mini-boyfriend/girlfriend."

And how did this all come to be? "Well, Logan kept asking me on the bus, so I said, 'Fine. Ok. I'm your girlfriend.'"

Then she asked me to refrain from telling her dad. I suggested that he might appreciate being in the loop. She agreed, but insisted, "You'll have to tell Daddy because I can't break this kind of news to him. Make him sit down first."


Later in the afternoon, we were discussing this a bit more, and I reminded her that she doesn't need to spend too much time worrying about boyfriends and girlfriends at her age -- that she she had a lot of more important stuff to think about right now.

She agreed. "Yeah, I do," she nodded. "Like kittens. And rainbows."

Monday, January 16, 2012

the dear leader's favorite color is red

Chuck was passively irritating Caroline, and she grew more and more bothered by it, until she finally snapped and turned to him and said very coolly, "Daddy, you must be safe, responsible, and productive."

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

problem solving

At her last dental appointment, the hygienist said that one of her bottom teeth is the sliiiiightest bit wiggly. She's so anxious to lose her first tooth. She was asking tonight, "But wheeeeen will it come out?"

I told her it will take some time, and that it has to get looser and more wiggly before it's close enough to help come out.

"Mom, can you just get me some croutons? That'll take care of it."

Friday, January 6, 2012

the case for a siamese cat

I have slacked on noticing and documenting her quips in this busy time of year, but here is a video from early December. She had the air of drama when she approached me with a "Mom, I have to talk to you about something very serious." So I grabbed my phone to document whatever serious and urgent discussion we were about to have.