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There’s nothing quite like being scolded by a librarian. Particularly when she’s mistaken you for someone else.

It’s not often that someone confuses me with another mom. Just one of the advantages of being Korean and living in the whitest state in the Union.

Today, however, there were two of us Korean moms in the library at the same time. And not only that – we were together! The novelty of it all.

“You need to make sure Audrey* picks up her snack,” the librarian said to me sternly.

“Wh – at?” I said, confusedly, while looking around for Audrey’s mom who was sitting just out of earshot.

“She didn’t pick up her snack. We want all the kids to learn to pick up after themselves.” Sniffing, she walked away.

Now, I suppose I could have run after her and politely (or not so politely) informed her that if she wanted something cleaned up she was welcome to do it herself or I could have invited her to communicate her concerns directly with Audrey or Audrey’s mom.

But I didn’t.

Henry and I had come to the library to meet Audrey and her mom. I like them both very much. I like books. In fact, I like my local library.

And so, I asked Audrey to return with me to the children’s section. Together, we discarded the abandoned paper towel, muffin wrapper and cup and then went to find our people.

A little while later, I let my child approach the circulation desk by himself with the books he wanted to borrow.

“What’s your name?” the librarian asked him.

“Henry,” he announced proudly.

“Henry,” she repeated. “Henry, what’s your last name again?”

“It’s [OINK],” I said, coming over and putting my arm around his shoulders. “My son’s last name is [OINK].”

“Oh,” she said, blinking at me. “That’s right. You’re Mary. Should I put his books under your name?”

That’s right.

*Not her real name.

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For weeks, my little girl’s bite was doubled up like a shark’s. Her baby tooth just would not budge. Rather than wait, the adult tooth emerged behind it.

Even her teeth are impatient.

When she ran over to me this morning with her face alight and bottom lip pulled out, I was relieved.

Tonight, there was no fussing about bedtime. Nora was more than happy to go upstairs, get into her pajamas and brush the rest of her teeth. After I wrestled Small out of his day clothes and into clean Dr. Denton’s, I went to find her. She was sitting on her bed, silently caressing the milky white tooth in her hand.

“Don’t put it under your pillow loose. It’ll get lost.”

Nora gave me her standard response – a headshake in lieu of words.

I persisted. “Really, sweetheart. Use the little jar you had it in. Put the tooth in the jar and the jar under your pillow.”

She stared at the floor.

This was going to be an issue.

“How about if you use this box?” Now I was pleading with her.

“No, Mommy.” Her voice was quiet, but firm.

“A plastic bag?”

“No, Mommy.”

“Honey, the tooth fairy works on a very tight schedule. If you leave it loose under your pillow, it could get lost. And if she can’t find it, she won’t leave you any money.”

“I don’t care if I get money, Mommy.”

Apparently, she’s no capitalist. This argument would have worked on her big brother. How was I going to get her to help me? I sat next to her on the bed. She peered at me through her curtain of wispy, brown hair.

“Are you sure?” I gentled my tone. “Why don’t you put it in a box? Otherwise, she might not find it.”

“No, Mommy. She will.” She nodded earnestly. Her confidence in her fairy was unshakable. “She will,” she said with certainty.

And so, the tooth was placed under her pillow—unfettered and naked—directly on the sheet. The lovely multicolored floral patterned sheet with the white background.

God help me.  I may need the Rock.

There is three feet of snow on the roof and medium-sized icicles hang from the edge. The three-day forecast includes temperatures above freezing.

With a heavy sigh, I reach for the following:

Wool socks
Long underwear
Ski pants
Parka
Fleece hat
Insulated gloves
Boots
Snow shovel
Ladder

Oh, the joys of being at home during the day.

“Nora, I’m going out onto the roof. You know the drill, right?” I say, my hand on the doorknob.

“Yes!” she yells from inside the hastily constructed “fort” in our family room. “No! Wait!” She sticks her head out. “I forget. If you fall off, do I call 911 or am I supposed to check on you first?”

You’ve gotta really love Vermont to live here in the winter.

There’s almost nothing more comforting to me than wrapping myself in a blanket and curling up on the couch to spend an afternoon watching actors, now long dead, sing and dance their hearts out.

The irony is with my two left feet, I cannot dance, and when I do sing, it’s painful for me as well as everyone within earshot. Lest you think I am exaggerating, I introduce Exhibit A:

Exhibit A:
Growing up, unless it was Christmas, the music on our stereo was classical. Once, when my mother was out of the house, my father unearthed an old Beach Boys’ album. My sister and I very nearly went into shock. Consequently, I still can’t tell you the names of popular songs or identify the artists who are singing them.

Ha! you say. That isn’t so bad.

Oh no? Let’s talk about Exhibit B:

Exhibit B:
In college, I got a “C” in the jazz class I took as an elective. It was one of the classes where you only needed to show up in order to get an “A.” Well, I showed up. But I couldn’t dance.

Really, is it any wonder that I like old musicals? The people in them look happy–even when they’re sad–and they move around effortlessly in these spectacularly choreographed dance sequences in time to beautiful music.

Watching these movies is such an enjoyable experience for me that I force myself to overlook the sexist and racist overtones. These are things I never noticed as a kid. Seven Brides for Seven Brothers? It seemed totally normal for the brothers to kidnap girls and cart them off to a remote cabin in the woods. Daddy Long Legs? Fred Astaire had 30 years on Leslie Caron, but what’s age got to do with it? South Pacific? When Lieutenant Cable refuses to marry the little island girl because of the color of her skin, my heart still breaks.

I try to be careful about my selections (none of the aforementioned classics have made the cut as yet) and I add color commentary to the movies when I watch them with the kids (See, Professor Higgins helped turn Eliza into a princess but SHE was the one who did all the work!). It’s probably useless but it makes me feel better.

It was family movie night. Sick to death of animated talking cars, rats and fairies, I campaigned for something different.

“Do we want to watch the movie about the little orphan boy or the little orphan girl?”

“Boy!” shouted the boys.

“Girl!” said Nora simultaneously.

“We’re always going to be outnumbered in our family, Nora,” I said ruefully. “My vote is for Annie too.”

But the majority rules and Oliver Twist it was.

Even in middle-class American society, violence is everywhere; my kids have not been immune. They play lego video games (the players don’t die, per se, they’re disassembled), watch violence in sports, hear about it on the radio and see it on the news. It isn’t that I thought the kids were desensitized to death but I wasn’t prepared for their reaction to the brutality perpetrated by Bill. Honestly, I had forgotten that Bill kills Nancy.

Howls. Horror. Tears. They mourned Nancy’s loss and were outraged by Bill’s cruelty. Henry alone was blissfully ignorant. Being barely awake had dimmed his view of the scene unfolding on our TV screen. Unfortunately, it did not protect him from witnessing his brother and sister’s scene in the living room.

I guess I should be grateful that my kids have sympathetic souls – that their innocence still blooms. Still, I can’t help but wonder how they will possibly survive real life when they react this strongly to life in technicolor.

Dear Reader:

Everybody’s doing it, so why shouldn’t I?

Here are some of my favorite oinks from the last seven months (can you believe it’s been seven months?!). Maybe you’ve read them before. But, maybe not. I encourage you to read them. Again, if necessary. You’ll enjoy. I promise.

In closing, THANK YOU for coming on this ride with me. Keep the laughs going and the comments flowing. My best to you and yours for a happy and healthy 2010!

Peace and love,
Mary

Anatomy 101
Posted May 30, 2009
A short discussion about the birds and the bees.

Farewell Pepe Le Pew
Posted August 15, 2009
Standing trial after running over a small woodland creature.

The Secret of the Pork
Posted October 13, 2009
Why Small doesn’t know where bacon comes from.

Daddy Does
Posted October 30, 2009
Appreciation for my husband’s way of doing things.

H1N1 Hysteria
Posted November 16, 2009
Hell hath no fury like a surprised five-year-old.

Come Fly With Me
Posted September 22, 2009
My personal favorite.

Want more?  Check out my Oldies But Goodies page.  Then come back tomorrow night for an all new oink!

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