Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Too Snarky an Observation To Leave Unstated

On the Lost island, I am relieved that the castaways managed to find so much eyebrow wax amidst the plane wreckage. Mussed hair? Okay, that's understandable. Unwieldy brows? Completely unacceptable.

Music Meme

Totally ripped off from Danigirl. Except that number 8 is my addition.

1. What three albums (okay, CDs) would you take on a road trip, if the music was the only companionship you had?
Rites of Passage by the Indigo Girls
Revolver by the Beatles
Automatic for the People by REM

2. You are in the worst. mood. ever. Name three songs that would cheer you up.
These are Days by 10,000 Maniacs
The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight by REM
Desert Rose by Sting

3. Your in-laws just called. They are in town unexpectedly and want to drop by for coffee in an hour. The house looks like the preschool maurading hoardes have been through on a crusade. Which three albums have enough energy to pump you up for the task?
Jagged Little Pill by Alanis Morrisette
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by the Beatles
Lifes Rich Pageant by REM

4. Name three songs you loved from high school.
Something about You by Level 42
Take on Me by A-Ha
Kids in America by Kim Wilde

5. Name three songs that make you think of your pre-high school childhood.
Our Lips Are Sealed by the Go-Go's
Open Arms by Journey
Don't Give Up on Us by David Soul (Okay, stop snickering. I was about 7, and this was the first 45 I ever owned.)

6. The kids are in bed. Your significant other is elsewhere. You have a (bottle of red wine/pot of tea/case of beer), a great book and the evening to yourself. What music is playing in the background?
Suzanne Vega
The Story

7. Name one new (2005) song, CD or band that you've 'discovered'.
Black-Eyed Peas. ("Discovered" in the loosest sense, but for someone like me who is not a hip-hop fan at all, I've decided to be all impressed with myself for branching out.)

8. Name three songs that make you weepy.
Angel in the House by the Story
Ghost in You by the Psychedelic Furs
Why Should I Cry for You by Sting

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I've been thinking a bit about the digital face I present. Blogging allows you to craft a persona that may or may not match your real-life self. Other than the huge canyon separating my oral and written expression skills (guess which one I consider to be embarrassingly inarticulate?), I think I've been pretty honest in how I represent myself.

But since I've selected such a narrowly defined slice of my life to write about, I still sometimes feel that I am being dishonest by omission. By dint of my decision not to blog anonymously and to respect the privacy of those in my life who are not my children (and I suppose at some point I will have to be more circumspect about them as well), I am not able to share the larger picture of my life. Not that everyone would necessarily be interested, but I'm specifically thinking of the bloggers I consider to be friends. It's the nature of the beast that they remain shielded from things I keep private here. (And some of my real-life friends might say that I keep a lot from them, too. I do tend to be an emotion bottler.)

Note that I'm not ever so subtly hinting about a huge hidden drama in my life. My own domicile is quite peaceful, my marriage terrific. But when people I am very close to are going through a difficult time, it does affect me profoundly. And sometimes it's tempting to vent here, to express my emotional response to what's going on. I know, I know, I could keep a private journal, but I've never been able to do that consistently. The public nature of this blog keeps me far more disciplined than a notebook tucked inside my nightstand drawer ever will.

I know I'm not the only blogger who faces this dilemma (that might be too dramatic a term) -- few people spill their entire guts, along with those of their loved ones, for all the Internet to see. How do you approach this on your blog?

Friday, November 25, 2005

Unrelated Anecdotes

A Heartwarming Thanksgiving Conversation

Me: You know, Sean, on Thanksgiving I like to think about all the things that I am thankful for.

Sean: Oh.

Me: One of the things I am most thankful for is that I have you and Allie in my life.

Sean: Well, one of things I am most thankful for [I am already smiling at the anticipated reciprocity] is all my toys.

Me: Oh.

In a Popularity Contest between Purple and Red, Guess Who Wins?

We serendipitously stumbled upon a holiday parade today. Nothing fancy, just a few firetrucks, teenagers in bedraggled furry costumes, and the prerequisite Santa. Upon seeing Barney, Allie nearly exploded with joy. She waved with all her might, calling "Hi, Barney!" over and over again. When he waved back, I could tell she thought that she was the luckiest girl in the world. Sean was pretty excited, too.

The reaction to Santa, high atop the cherry picker on the fire truck, the VIP of the parade?

Me: Look, guys, it's Santa! And Mrs. Claus! On the firetruck!

Sean and Allie: Oh.

I suppose St. Nick needs better exposure on PBS before he can achieve true culture saturation with this toddler/preschool audience.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Happy (U.S.) Thanksgiving!

After having listened to my hype about the Thanksgiving Day Parade for the past few days, my kids lost interest after about 20 minutes. I can't blame them, really. Is there anything more inane than parade commentary? And don't get me started on the complete eradication of the line between actual commercials and peri-parade sponsorship spots. Bleahh.

But hey! This wasn't supposed to be a snarky post. Forgive me.

Later today we are going to my sister's for dinner; it should be a pretty quiet day till then. And perhaps even during dinner, since my family is not known for its chattiness.

I'm taking the time today to remember everything I'm thankful for, a list too long to post (and perhaps of no interest to anyone but me). The list starts and ends with my amazing husband, beautiful children, and loving extended family. And my wonderful blog friends.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It's Off to (Unattended) Sleep We Go

Bedtime lo these past 3 and a half years has been a consistent source of much strum und drang in the Mimilou house. It's always been the time of day I've dreaded most (although dinnertime has often put in a healthy showing as a contender). Both children have needed extensive intervention on their journey toward sleep, whether it be rocking, singing, lying next to, or mere sitting next to. By the time the kids were asleep, I was often grumpy and resentful.

And so it is with trembling hands, crouching in fear that the Internet gods will smite me, that I type the following: Bedtime has been a breeze lately.

We now seem to proceed from bath to stories to bedtime to sleep with almost clockwork precision. The routine goes like this: I give the kids a bath (or, now that we're not playing outside every day and the kids don't get as dirty, just wash their face and hands), brush their teeth, get their pajamas on, and hand them over to Jeff, who reads the stories. (This is my time off; I usually waste it by surfing the blogosphere). Then I put Allie in her crib, and Jeff gets Sean settled in his bed. I do indulge Allie's insistence that I kiss every single stuffed animal in the crib, along with the pillow and both her blankets. I can't "forget" any animals or overlook the pillow, or there's hell to pay. I leave Allie's room, Jeff leaves Sean's room, and the kids fall asleep. ON THEIR OWN. And they stay asleep all night. By 8:30 or so, we're free! (Sorry, Phantom.)

I don't know what's brought about the change. Perhaps it's just a natural evolution. Whatever the cause, I am positively delighted.

Jeff will want me to point out that the story-reading stretch is not always a calm, snuggly affair. Allie still has a tiny attention span when it comes to any story longer than your average board book. She gets to pick out a book, but she rarely sits still long enough to reach its conclusion. She usually can be found paging through a separate book on her own, driving the dump truck around, and making a general pest out of herself.

Last night she decided that this tidy little area in Sean's room needed to be brought down a peg or two.
Or, as the case may be, thirty or forty. I think all this upheaval occurred in about 2 minutes. Still, in our annals of bedtime woes, we file this under "potatoes, small" (and, in the annals of consumer goods, "stuff, way too much", but that is a post for another day).

Childhood Books

As seen at True-Blue Semi-Crunchy Mama

Earliest book you remember (read to you or by you)

Richard Scarry's Best Storybook Ever. This book was the first one I read on my own. Not the whole thing, of course -- it's huge. But I recall the exhilaration I felt after successfully reading a page-long story for the first time by myself. There is some controversy in my family over the exact age at which this occurred -- my sister Beth, who taught me to read, says I was 3; my mom says 4. Regardless, I recently paged through this book, and it was like stepping in the Way-Back Machine. The illustrations, and the stories that I concocted around them even before I could read, must be burned into my cerebral cortex. I've noticed that one story that's in my edition (circa 1970) but not in the current edition is the one about a family of bears who go seal hunting. Even as a child I was kind of horrified by the image of the mama bear sewing winter coats out of seal skin.

Picture book you would like to climb into

The Water Hole by Graeme Base. A gorgeous, intricately illustrated book.

Favorite series of books (then or now)

From my childhood: The Little House series, Pippi Longstocking, Nancy Drew, Chronicles of Narnia. Current favorite: Harry Potter.

Character you would most like to meet

Just one? No, can't limit myself. Jo from Little Women, Laura from Little House, Cat Toven from The Runaway's Diary, Harriet the Spy.

Last childhood book you re-read (for yourself or to someone)

I recently found one of my favorite childhood books, Be Nice to Spiders, at a library sale. Sean seems to like it, and every time we read it he prefaces it by saying "You read this book when YOU were little!" I also recently re-read The Runaway's Diary, a favorite of mine around age 11. Still quite a powerful book (it's the actual diary of a girl who ran away from home in the late sixties. She was struck and killed by a car on her way back home, and somone found her diary by the side of the road. With her parents' permission, the diary was published.)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Well, Looky Here

So it appears I'm one of the Weekly Spotlight Blogs at The Mom Salon. I have to admit that my first reaction was *blink* *blink* *squint* "Is that ME? Is that a mistake?"

Given the little blurb's emphasis on the Mimilou design, I hereby hand over all credit to Julie.

Still. Pretty cool for an itty bitty slip of a blog like mine!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Suggestion Box

For the moment, I have reached my fill of the All Beatles, All the Time format that's been playing on our stereo. I thought I'd try something novel and actually expose my kids to, shudder, kiddie music.

Right now we have one kids' CD -- it complemented the toddler music class the Sean attended last year. It's not too bad, and I recall enough of the pantomimes and games that accompanied the song that I can conduct my very own toddler music class at home. But. We're all a little tired of this one, too.

Which brings me to the sad fact that I have no idea who the cool kid's artists are these days. But you all do, I'm sure. Any suggestions for us? (For my sister Beth, if she happens to read this -- what is the name of that CD we listened to when we visited you over the summer?)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

I Have No Idea if This Is a Good Fit


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

As seen at Phantom Scribbler and elsewhere.

Computer Class

Remember this list of developmental milestones that Sean had not yet reached?

Well, I'm pleased to report that he has now mastered drinking through a straw and pedaling his tricycle. He still shows no sign of being able to spit out his toothpaste, but we are working on it.

Which leads me to add another item to the list: mouse manipulation. At what age are kids able to point, click, and, most difficult of all, drag? Sean has the clicking part down, but he seems utterly stymied at navigating the mouse to achieve the desired outcome. It seems to me that this kind of activity takes a fair amount of dexterity and spatial awareness.

We don't play too many computer games; right now we've been focusing on the free games at the Sesame Street site and, much less impressively, at the Thomas and Friends site. Most of the time I drive the mouse and, with some prompting, Sean tells me what to do. When I'm feeling exceptionally patient and teacherly, I guide Sean's hand on the mouse. And on those few occasions when I let Sean do it all himself, Explorer and even Windows itself tend to close unexpectedly as the mouse careens all over the mousepad.

Sean's classroom has a few computers, and he tells me that he has used them. When I ask for further details, though, Sean retreats to a noncommittal mode of communication that would make a teenager proud.

Any thoughts on how kids learn this skill?

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

All the Cool Kids Have Been There

Where, you ask?

Why, The Whole Mom, of course! Check out this new web site, edited by Andrea at Beanie Baby and Kim at Cookie Crumb Kids Blog. You might just see a familiar name or two among the contributors to the inaugural issue.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Flower Power

Is it entirely reasonable to be so happy about a new blog design?

Many, many thanks to Julie at Pilcrow Text and Design (you may also know her as Bookworm) for my terrific new look. From the initial consultation stage straight through implementation, Julie was such a pleasure to work with. She's creative and diligent and ever-so-tolerant of this, shall we say, finickier than necessary client. If you are in the market for a new blog design, I would definitely recommend Julie!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Music Lessons

Continuing along our Beatles curriculum, I've recently begun discussing with Sean (and Allie, but she isn't too interested yet) the individual members of the band. We have been scrutinizing their photos, have discussed which instrument each one plays, and have begun identifying which songs they sing. Sean has already grasped that Ringo (or, as he called him at first, "Bingo") doesn't sing a heck of a lot. I've been using the Beatles Anthology book for photographic guidance, but prudish parent that I am, I've made sure we avoid the latter part of the book, with its uncensored photo of John and Yoko's Two Virgins album cover.

Rubber Soul is the album of choice these days. Every day, Sean solemnly gives me the rundown: "John sings 'Norwegian Wood', and Paul sings 'You Won't See Me. But he does not sing 'Nowhere Man.''" Today I tried explaining the difference between main vocals and backup vocals. I'm not quite sure he understands this yet.

One of the more delightful aspects of this educational journey has been listening to Sean mangle Beatles lyrics. In the bathtub tonight, for example, he sang a Sean-ified version of "In My Life." When he got to the lines "I know I'll often stop and think about them," he sang, "I know I'll stop and shop and think about them."

Our grocery store recently changed hands; it's now a Stop and Shop. It fits so well with the song, don't you think?

Blogger Playdate

Yesterday I got the chance to meet the fabulous Landismom from Bumblebee Sweet Potato. Turns out we live just a few towns apart!

I'm always nervous about meeting new people, but when the new person is someone whose blog I've long admired and who is both smart and politically engaged, my insecurity ramps up even more. As it turns out, I shouldn't have worried.

We met at a local playground. Sean immediately became enamored with LM's 6-year-old daughter (maybe it was her to-die-for red boots!), and I was similarly charmed by her 2-year-old son. What cute and energetic and funny kids!

The playground was a huge one -- so huge that our conversation was routinely interrupted by comments like "Okay, now where did Sean/Allie go?" or "Hold on, I'll be right back." The kids seemed to have a blast and ran around for about an hour and a half. Of course, LM was smart enough to bring water to rehydrate her kids; Sean's reproachful look when he discovered that I had forgotten to pack water clearly said, "How did we end up with the loser mom?"

I always wonder if my online "persona" matches my real-life one in any way. In Landismom's case, she is indeed as cool as you might gather from her blog. Since I am about as cool as Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, I hope she didn't find me to be too much of a dork!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

You Know, Shoplifting Hurts All Consumers

We avoid the mall. It's hard to believe that my pre-teen self spent a lot of time there. Willingly, even. Now, though? I'd rather do almost anything else.

Today, we were in pursuit of a winter coat for Sean. All other non-mall options had been examined and found lacking; such was our level of desperation that we tried the mall. All I wanted was a plain, simple, bright yet nontacky, warm, waterproof coat. What kind of coats had I found in almost every store? Warm, yes, but tacky as all get-out. What is it with the near-universal festooning of kids' clothing with large cartoon characters or garish emblems? (If my sister Kathie reads this, she will no doubt be nodding her head vigorously in agreement!)

I did find a coat that met all my criteria, luckily in only the second department store we tried. Good enough. No hats, to match, though, so I pushed my luck and the double stroller* to another store on the other side of the mall. No luck there, either. We proceeded back to the department store outside of which we had parked.

As I set about putting the kids' coats on, I noticed a large blob of brightness in Allie's lap that hadn't been there before. The blob turned out to be two pairs of girls' pants, still with security tags, that Allie apparently purloined from the last store we visited. No alarm bells had sounded as we exited the store, no employee had seen the snatch and grab. So much for anti-shoplifting efforts!

Back we trudged to the other side of the mall, once more, to return the pants. Once again, no one noticed us as I replaced the pants on the table. I suppose a less honest person could easily have gotten away with the theft. Now I know I'll need to frisk my daughter before we leave a store!

*Grammar quiz! (I know, I am completely insufferable.) Do you know the name of this type of construction -- using a word in a sentence in which each mention of the word carries a different use/meaning?

Friday, November 11, 2005

Apartment Life Never Looked So Appealing Before

We interrupt your regularly scheduled Mimilou to bring you a harangue about a different topic: home improvement.

First, a disclaimer: I'm keenly aware at how lucky I am to have a house at all; in the face of so many natural disasters and impoverishment around us, I never lose sight of that fact.

Okay then. We bought our house 6 years ago. It was in very good shape; the previous owners had made a lot of nice improvements to it, including finishing the basement. For a few years, all we had to was make cosmetic changes (refinishing the hardwood floors, stripping wallpaper and painting, that sort of thing).

But in the last year, our house has turned into a, well, pit into which we have tossed a rather alarming amount of money. It all started when our basement flooded last year. We had a French drain installed to prevent that from happening again, had our driveway repaved (it had been fissured with large cracks that were contributing to the flooding), and had some carpentry work done to cover up the mess left by the drain installation.

We were all set to lay a new carpet in the basement when we discovered we had a mold problem. Green mold, black mold, white mold -- it was a veritable rainbow down there. The mold extended across all the joists in the ceiling, necessitating that we tear down the drywall ceiling that the previous owners had installed. (Note: A drywall ceiling in a basement may not be the best choice.) After the mold remediators completed their work, we decided that we still really did want a finished basement, even though at this point it was more unfinished that finished.

Back in comes the carpenter to install ceiling tiles. On the face of it, this seemed like an easy task, but since the ceiling was not level and was irregularly shaped, the installation turned into an 8-day project. (Sean and Allie had gotten so used to the carpenter being there that they were disappointed when he was done. "Why Paul not coming today?" Allie asked that day.)

Next up: our electrical panel is woefully out of date and needs to be upgraded. I admit to complete ignorance of all things electrical, but I truly had no idea how expensive this would be. Once that's done, the carpet will be installed. And then, maybe, just maybe, our basement odyssey will be complete. At that point we'll essentially be back to where we started, perhaps a little drier.

So there you have it -- home improvement both costly and largely invisible. Not to mention completely unglamorous. (Oh, wait, there's also the fascia board around the house that we had replaced because of our carpenter bee infestation!) Before this all started we had been thinking about updating our bathroom, a 1970s mustard yellow horror with Mickey Mouse wallpaper and a rusting sink. Someday we'll get to that. For now, we'll be just as glad not to have any contractors in our house and to have a toasty dry basement.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

1001 Questions (Or, Sean Goes to the Movies for the First Time)

Yesterday I decided to goof off a bit and go to the movies. It was my gentleman friend's first trip to a movie theater. The selection, Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Wererabbit, seemed like a good choice for a 3 and 1/2-year-old newbie. It was a delightful movie. Or I think it was, at any rate, since Sean's running interrogation throughout the entire movie distracted me a bit. We were completely alone in the theater, which turned out to be a good thing given the poor movie etiquette we displayed. Here's a sampling of Sean's comments/questions about the theater:

"Why is it so dark in here?"
"That's loud. It hurts my ears."
"Why does my chair move up like that?"
"What are these holes" -- cupholders -- "for?"
"Why is it so dark in here?"
"What are all these seats for?"
"When are the other people going to come to sit in the seats?"
"Why are no people sitting in those seats?"
"Why is it dark in here?"
"Can we sit down there?"
"Can we sit over there?"
"Can we sit back there?"
"Why are we sitting here?"
"Why is there a fan up there?" (I had never noticed the ceiling fans before!)
"Why is it dark in here?"
"When are the people going to come sit down?"
"I have to use the potty."

And, oh right, the movie itself:

"Why is that a rabbit?"
"Why did he turn into a rabbit?"
"Why doesn't he want to be a rabbit?"
"Who turned into a rabbit?"
"Why is that dog driving a car?"
"Why is the car going so fast?"
"Why does he like cheese?"
"What's going on?"
"Why is that dog flying an airplane?"
"Why doesn't he want to be a rabbit?"
"Where did the rabbit go?"

When Jeff asked Sean about the movie later, the only thing Sean said was, "Mommy and I went to the MOVIES. Then we went to the potty." I guess I should give him points for concision.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

You Know You Might Just Be the Laziest Person Alive...

...when shoes with laces or buckles seem like way too much work. I looked at my sneakers this morning, thought "I just can't be bothered with all that lacing," and slid on my clogs instead.

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Blahs

First, thanks everyone for your comments on my post about my fears of a dwindling intellect. If you haven't read all the comments, I'd recommend that highly -- there's a lot to ponder there.


I've been feeling at loose ends lately. I'm not sure what's at the root. Part of it, I think, is a sense of isolation kicking in. With the weather turning cool and the daylight ending so early, our outside-play time has been curtailed. We used to spend the stretch between dinner and bedtime outside; now we have to come up with yet another indoor activity to occupy us. And by that time of day, my inventiveness is completely tapped out. So far I've avoided the dreaded "Oh, fine, let's just watch a video" solution. But I've come close, I tell you.

Since I've been staying at home I haven't had too many opportunities for socializing with other parent/kid teams. I'm gradually realizing that since no one is earnestly seeking our company I need to take the initiative. Go figure, huh? I've just about worked up the nerve to ask the mother of one of Sean's classmates if she'd be interested in having our sons get together for a playdate. He's one of two boys that Sean mentions when I ask who he played with at school (sometimes he responds simply, "Well, I don't really know"). This boy's mother seems friendly enough, but of course I cower under the possibility of rejection. I half-heartedly am hoping to forge a new friendship of my own in addition to helping nourish one of Sean's.

On an adult-interaction level, things have been dormant, too. Two of my closest friends moved over the summer (one three hours away and the other an hour away), leaving me with a grand total of one local friend. Whom, of course, I haven't seen lately anyway. I'm definitely a loner and introvert, but even I am feeling the need for more socializing. Toward that end, Jeff and I invited my brother- and sister-in-law over on Saturday night to watch a movie. (Okay, it was Revenge of the Sith, and now that I've seen it twice I can confirm that George Lucas is the worst writer of dialogue ever.) Seems an obvious solution, doesn't it? I don't know why it takes so much internal wrangling for us to actually invite people over.

Speaking of wrangling, I now have to go determine the cause of Allie's latest meltdown. Only the second one of day!

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Make It Stop

Heard on the radio yesterday: Christmas music. CHRISTMAS MUSIC.

Oh, right. Halloween is over, so it must be time for a certain radio station to switch its format to all Christmas music, all the time. This is just wrong, wrong, wrong.

Wrong, I tell you.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Brain Drain

I left a comment at Isabella's blog the other day to inform her that I'd be living vicariously through her as she nurtures her intellectual life. Attending a Julian Barnes lecture! Reading Don Quixote and The Golden Notebook! Sigh. I can't seem to muster up the energy to even finish a book, let alone attend my book group, lately.

And as if I weren't already feeling like an itty-bitty intellectual peanut, I read Elizabeth's post in response to a comment left on her site that, no matter how hard I tried not to be, I was pretty much insulted by. The comment seemed to dismiss stay at home parents as people who don't need intellectual stimulation or adult interaction. I don't want to enter into the working-mother/stay at home mother fray at all -- it's been covered ad nauseam everywhere, and anything I have to say only echoes what's been said before.

But I wonder -- did I react negatively because I thought the commenter was wrong, or because deep down I think she's right, at least about me?

Before I had children, I was by no means a philosophizer or deep thinker. As you could probably tell, I have a lot of surface knowledge and perhaps not the most probing of intellects. Since I've had kids, that tendency to skim has only gotten worse. Am I just a scatterbrained dilettante now?

There are innumerable stay at home moms whose intellectual output hasn't diminished one iota just because they are no longer engaged in outside employment. Just off the top of my head (and there are many, many more) I can think of Phantom Scribbler and Jody at Raising Weg, whose insight and depth of critical assessment always wow me.

I find staying at home to be really frustrating at times, but I don't miss working full-time. Really. I'm kind of enjoying this break, the first one I've had in 14 years. Should I be more troubled by this than I currently am?

Sigh (again). In my head this post was a little more coherent. I probably should let it simmer for a while and go back to it, but chances are I won't have any time to make it better. There I go meeting those low expectations of SAHMS again…

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Belated Boo

Cuteness overload around here yesterday. Trick or treating was a smashing success, a complete reversal of last year's debacle.

Sean was a construction worker, deliberatley NOT Bob the Builder at first. But so many people said, "Oh, look, Bob the Builder!" that Sean assimilated the persona midway through our trek through the neighborhood. When we got about halfway up each house's walk, he'd announce "Trick or Treat! Bob the Builder here!"

Allie was a tiger, albeit a slightly tired and quiet one. And a little grabby -- when a whole bowl of candy is proferred and you're encourgaged to serve yourself, why settle for one piece when you can snatch a fistful?

Keeping with our family moto, "No Outing Is Complete without the Parents Being at Least Slightly Embarrassed," when Sean received a small bag of M&Ms, he informed the homeowner, "I get M&Ms when I poop in the potty!" (Which, I must add for clarity, has happened only three times.)

Obligatory photos here.