My mother-in-law, Yaya, was here all this week, leaving me to wonder once again why we do not have our own reality TV show. (For those of you who don’t know what I’m referring to there, read this or this.) Also, in proof that her zeal for potty training knows no bounds, she decided that it’s time to start potty training our youngest. Who is 11 months old. I will admit that it actually kind of worked, in the sense that she did use the potty whenever Yaya put her on there. I kept trying to silently mouth “Don’t encourage her!” to the baby when Yaya wasn’t looking, but she would just chew on her fist and giggle.
While Yaya was here I spent a lot of time writing at a local English tea shop. I loved being there, except for the fact that their tea was so nasty. It tasted delicious, but at the bottom of the cup there was always this layer of mushy sludge. Occasionally I’d catch the British owner looking at me, and she’d smile and ask me how I liked it. I’d smile back and say that it was lovely; I hated to tell her that she didn’t know how to make tea. Poor woman.
IMPORTANT PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: Per the above, this morning I learned some critical information about English tea traditions: when they serve you tea, there will a small object on the saucer next to your teacup. It will look remarkably like one of those all-natural brown sugar cubes, leaving you to wonder why they gave you an extra piece of sugar when you have plenty in the bowl on your table. Before you plunk it in your drink and start stirring it around, as I have been doing for more time than I’d care to admit, you should know that IT IS A COOKIE, not a sugar cube.
One wonders what the tea shop owner thought as she saw me drop a cookie into my drink, mix it in, and then grimace as I scraped the sludge out of my cup when I was finished. Probably something like, “Poor woman.”
While I’m on a roll, here’s another one from the “Why Do I Leave the House?” files: Last week my two-year-old’s Mother’s Day Out teacher let us take home the cherished class storybook. It’s a little story with the same style as the famous book Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, only with pictures of the children in her class (e.g. “…I see PAYTON looking at me!”)
I knew this had disaster written all over it. Between pushing the baby’s stroller, gingerly holding artowrk with wet paint, getting jackets out of backpacks, signing everyone out and chasing down escapee toddlers, our trips from the school building to the car are like something out of The Iliad. So I lost the book.
The next time we were at class, I didn’t know how to break the news — I felt so terrible about losing the irreplaceable class book. I thought I, umm, might even tell a little white lie, just to emphasize how very much I appreciated it, lest the teacher think it was lost out of carelessness. “We sure did love reading it!” I was all set to exclaim. “Last night she asked us to re-read the page with Reese on it over and over! We must have read it ten times this weekend!” And, after that, I would tell her we misplaced it.
For a long time, I will be debating whether it’s more of a lesson that you should never tell white lies or that people like me should be kept away from society that the teacher interrupted me before I had a chance to speak and said, “Hey, Jennifer, you forgot to bring the class book home last time!” and handed me the book.
A reading update: I just finished Lit by Mark Karr and Four Witnesses by Rod Bennett, which I look forward to reviewing soon. Now I’m about to start A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken and The Story of the Church by Alfred McBride. Anyone else reading anything good?
In case anyone’s wondering why I always read two books at a time, it’s because I always have an “upstairs book” and a “downstairs book” going. The upstairs ones are usually ones that require some serious thought, since I can read them at night when the house is actually quiet. The downstairs ones are more light reading, something I can escape into while sitting at the kitchen table if I need a break from the chaos to recharge my batteries.
Funniest comment I’ve received in a while: A couple weeks ago, Matt of St. Blogustine wrote:
I have to ask….Am I the only GUY who ever does this 7 Takes thing?…I suddenly feel like I’ve stumbled into the ladies underwear department at Sears….*blushing*
No worries, Matt! 7 Quick Takes is an equal-opportunity carnival, with guy bloggers like Darwin and Fr. Christian Mathis being semi-regular participants. But, yeah, they’re usually outnumbered by chicks. We need to hear from more men!
I look forward to reading your posts!