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The Perils Of Valentines Day
Monday, 17 February 2014

We survived another Valentines Day: an entire day of poor-quality candy given out with alarming frequency and absolutely no censorship whatsoever, along with a class party filled with cupcakes and ice cream sundaes and cookies and . . . you get the picture.

Every year we walk through the Sugar Minefield, and this year it claimed Maddie as its victim; her meltdown Friday afternoon was colossal. CoLOSSal. I thought we were going to have to cancel the dinner we had planned with a near-and-dear friend in from out of town. But she pulled herself together, and admitted she could tell she’d had too much sugar.

Progress, I think.

This year, though, in addition to the whole sugar overload, I saw the other frightening tightrope of Valentines Day for the first time: the whole girl-boy dynamic.

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Overheard During Homework
Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Cora: “Mom, it says I have to make up my own subtraction problem. Can I do 8 minus 10?”

Me: “Do you know what the answer will be?”

Cora: “Negative 2. Why?”

Me: “Just making sure – they haven’t taught negative numbers in your class yet, I know.”

Cora: “It’s a negative integer, mom, and I already taught myself. And the homework doesn’t say you have to do something we’ve already learned.”

Me: “Well then, go for it.”

Cora: “Oh, wait – I have to draw a cartoon picture demonstrating it. How am I supposed to draw a cartoon of a negative number?”

At this point Maddie jumps in and begins excitedly brainstorming with Cora all the different ways she could do a cartoon drawing of a negative number problem. After listening to it escalate for five minutes while ideas like a three-dimensional cartoon to show the “absence” of a number were thrown out –

Me: “Cora, maybe you should just stick to positive integers for this.”

Cora: “I suppose so. If you want to make homework boring.”

Someone needs a harder math book.

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Short-Order Cook
Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Sunday night I asked Cora what she’d like for lunch at school the next day, and she said, “Can you send an omelet with me?”

I know. So cool that my kid wants an omelet for lunch. BUT –

“The thing is,” I replied, “Omelets aren’t as good when they’re three hours old, and by the time you ate it for lunch it’d have been sitting in your bag for a while. It won’t be hot anymore.”

Cora looked at me wistfully. “Well, some of my friends’ moms drop off a hot lunch for them every day . . .”

Big eyes staring at me.

Yeah, I broke down and said “yes”.

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It's Going To Be A Long Two Weeks
Monday, 10 February 2014

The Olympics are on, and we are one of those families that watch a lot of it. For the first time, the girls are old enough to remember the last Olympics and have been looking forward to this for a few months now.

We pre-record everything so we can a) watch it back at our leisure; and b) skip over all the commercials and filler stuff. So we’re about a day behind, which is fine by me.

Don’t get me wrong –we don’t watch just the last two minutes of a race: we watched the qualifiers for the men’s snowboarding slopestyle before the opening ceremony had even happened, and we watched every bit of the finals as well. Poor Maddie had trouble sleeping one night, worrying about Sage and how he’d hold up, and if McMorris’ rib injury would keep him off the podium.

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The Toy Store, And The Heart Behind It
Friday, 07 February 2014

Over the weekend I got out a big trunk of stored toys: things the girls didn’t need on a daily basis any more, but still wanted to hold on to. Maddie had asked for a glimpse of some old stuffed animals, and I thought it would be fun for the girls to see some of their old favorites.

Within minutes of my dragging the trunk into the living room, we’d had a stuffed-animal explosion.

For the rest of the weekend, the girls had an elaborate game going on consisting of several shops/stores in a small town “somewhere”. Cora opened up a toy store, while Maddie opened up a doctor’s office and a pet shelter. Cora set up a cash register, arranged her stuffed animals attractively, and hung “open” and “closed” signs, while Maddie filled out adoption certificates for the shelter stuffed animals and hung out a “the doctor is in” sign when she was home.

In short, they had a great time.

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