Arina xmas

Me, after finding candy wrappers in A’s drawer (including TWO wrappers from my Ghirardelli dark chocolate&caramel Xmas present): “I have to be able to trust you not to sneak candy. Why are you sneaking candy?”
Arina: “I’m afraid if I ask you’ll say no.”
Me: “Why don’t we come up with a system where you earn candy? — like if you do your chores, you automatically get some candy?”
Arina: “Okay.”
Me: “But sometimes I feel like I can’t even have candy in the house, because if I do, you’ll just find it and take it whenever you want.”
Arina: “Yeah. Good point.”

Harry Potter SPOILER, below . . .
Me, to Arina: “We do not respond to Dobby’s death with: ‘that’s so sad! At least we still have Kreacher.’ In this house, we respond to Dobby’s death with hysterical sobbing on the floor.”

Me, confiscating the Ipad: “No, Jack. You can’t watch the Minecraft Train guy on Youtube. He says bad words.”
Jack: “NO HE DOESN’T!”
Me: “And then you’ll say bad words.”
Jack: “NO I WON’T!”
Me: “Yes you will. You’re 4 years old. You’ll just say all the words, because you don’t even know what the bad words are yet.”
Jack: “YES I DO! — oh crap and broken train!”

No power + a gas stove = Scott calling to remind me to stand back when I strike the match.

Arina, to Jack: “Do you remember the password to my room?”
Jack: “Horses.”
Me, to Jack: “What’s the password to your room?”
Jack: “Trains.”
Me: “That’s not a very good password, Jack, because everyone will know it. You should be more specific, like: a type of train.”
Jack: “Box car-passenger car-oil car-diesel train.”

Jack xmas

Arina, in response to a creative writing assignment: “I can’t do this.”
Scott, frustrated: “This is all you EVER do. You LOVE to make up answers rather than look up stuff in a book. And now you’re finally ALLOWED to do it, and you say you CAN’T.”
Arina: “You and Mom TOLD me that I HAVE to look up my answers in a book. I guess I learned my lesson.”

Me, as I disconnect Jack from the Internet: “Okay. That’s it. The Minecraft Train guy said a bad word.”
Jack: “But, I was just about to tell you not to say it!”

Me, to Scott: “So, someone told Mom that they keep up with me via Facebook, and Mom said, ‘yeah: some people like her; some people don’t.’ I don’t know what to think about being prefaced.”
Scott, to me: “We all have to preface you, Nicole.”

Scott, to Arina: “No, you can not ‘be done’ with your schoolwork. You have to finish the work you missed during the week, and yesterday I gave you the entire afternoon off to play.”
Arina: “Well, you shouldn’t have given me the entire afternoon off to play then. That’s not my fault.”

Just logged into A’s school email to check for a message from her teacher and found the following, subject line: “Hi its me”
Message: “Hi its [boy’s name] from past testing, the guy you sat next to.”
I think my 4th grade girl picked up a 4th grade boy during state standardized testing.

Arina bowling

Scott’s text to me: will be late
My text to Scott: arschloch
Because after listening to the audio version of that beautiful and heartbreaking book that is The Book Thief, this Saumensch and Saukerl have mastered the art of German cursing.

Jack, relating a recent conversation with his great-grandmother: “PaPa Jack was MaMa Shirley’s friend. She told me.”
Actually, he was her husband, but what Jack took from that conversation seems sweeter.

Jack, crying in the car: “But Clara didn’t say goodbye to me!”
Me: “It was raining, Jack. She said ‘bye’ to all of us.”
Jack: “But I wanted my OWN goodbye!”
Me: “You didn’t want Claire to get wet! She would have gotten wet if she had said bye to each of us.”
Jack: “Not if she had given me my goodbye before she got out of the car!”

Arina: “And when I go to McBee on Wednesday . . .”
Me: “I don’t know if you’re going to McBee on Wednesday. Nana needs a break.”
Arina: “Oh. That makes sense.”

Mom, to Jack, who was complaining loudly: “Jack! — the bank teller didn’t have to give you a lollipop at all. It isn’t polite to complain, b/c you don’t like the color.”
Jack: “No! I wanted chicken nuggets!”

Jack bowling 2

Me to Jack: “You don’t scream when you’re frustrated with your game! Do you hear me? I’ll take it away.”
Jack: “I don’t want to hear you. I wish I couldn’t hear you.”

Arina: “Hey, Mom? There’s this song they play at the skating rink that I really, really like . . . something about a wrecking ball.”

Jack, in his whiniest voice: “I wish outside had an air conditioner.”

Fellow traveler in the Amtrak lounge, Chicago station: “The train is always an adventure but must be even more so with kids.”
Me: “Yeah.”
Him: “Last night, I was in my room and heard this kid screaming over and over again: ‘I DON’T WANT TO TAKE A SHOWER!'”
Me: “Yeah — that was ours. We thought that a shower on a train would be more appealing to him, but: no.”

Arina: “Mom: you were 70% fun on our trip.”


Dinner experiences on the train are fun, b/c if you’re a party of two, they match you with another party of two for full table seating.
Keith (of Bob and Keith from Wisconsin) to me: “You know — I had an idea in my mind of people from South Carolina, and I have to say that you’re *nothing* like that.”

Phone call from Casey Carroll:
Casey: “Where are you?”
Me: “Happy wedding day! Great news — I’m somewhere in Washington state!”
Everything is under control.

Me: “I missed you, Arina! You’re such a big help with Jack! It’s hard to believe I went across the country without you.”
Arina: “Yeah . . . well, at least he made it.”

Casey: “Jack was a hit at the wedding. Someone asked me who he belonged to, and I said: ‘See that table over there? He belongs to the woman who is with him the least.'”
Me: “You know me well. I was even more ready for a break than I normally am after days of uninterrupted motherhood on a train.”
Casey: “I know, love. Why do you think I assigned you to a table with a ready-made baby support staff?”

Scott’s been “reading” the audio book version of All Joy and No Fun: The Paradox of Modern Parenthood.
I just got the following email from him:
“So they did a research study. They observed family interactions and tested the saliva of each family member after certain points in the day. After the father received 45 minutes of alone time, the rate of the stress hormone cortisol was reduced. They tested the mother’s cortisol after 45 minutes of alone time. It did not go down.
What made it go down? Watching her husband do chores.”

Jack and Jasper

Arina to me&Scott: “Pop has an Elvis ring tone.”
Scott: “Who is Elvis, Arina?”
A: “You know . . . a singer . . . he was in that Hawaii movie.”
Me to Scott: “Elvis *was* in a lot of movies, and I think one was called Blue Hawaii . . .”
A: “No — it was called Lilo and Stitch.”

Scott, while checking himself out at the mirror: “You know — you’d think that girls would go for guys with freckles. I mean: we’re like leopards. But we don’t get any credit for them.”

At Silver Dollar City
Arina: “Roger, is it okay if Jack and I go play while you finish eating?”
Roger: “No.”
Arina: “Why not?”
Roger: “Because, baby, we don’t know who all these people are. There may be republicans.”

Me to Jack, after leaving a wedding reception: “Why are you sad, Jack? Are you tired?”
Jack: “No. I’m sad, b/c when I get married, I won’t be able to play trains any more.”

Jack, as an anxiety-ridden mini-me (just now): Scott hands him a pair of scissors, b/c he’s trying to open something. Jack raises both hands and screams:
“NO! I need SAFETY scissors!”
Arina, as an anxiety-free mini-Scott (flashback to Oct. 2013, Kazakhstan trip): Six-year-old cousin Andrew pulls Uncle Yasha’s sleeve, speaking rapid Russian, after which Yasha runs outside.
Translator to us: “Apparently, Arina found an ax and is trying to chop firewood.”

Fisk family

Scott and I thoroughly enjoyed lunch and adult conversation with Alec and Michael. Hurrah for being in Holly Hill and an easy stop on the drive from Beaufort to Greenville. Apologies for Arina, who saw an opportunity for a Minecraft binge and interrupted with:
“Mom, can we play the Ipad? If ‘yes,’ we’ll leave you alone.”
^ negotiation accepted.

Scott to me, during a Fisk family game of softball: “It would be nice if the ball didn’t hit the ground before I can swing at it.”
Scott to A.: “Don’t throw ‘like a Nicole,’ Arina — b/c we don’t use the phrase ‘like a girl.'”
So, S. has replaced the negative image of girls&sports with the negative image of *me*&sports.

Scott, to Jack: “Did you make friends at the school picnic today?”
Jack: “No.”
Me: “He could have. A four-year-old boy wanted him to play on the slides, but Jack only wanted to run circles around the merry-go-round and pretend he was chasing a train.”
Scott, to Jack: “Sometimes you have to play the games your friends want to play.”
Jack: “Then I don’t really want friends.”

Me, to Jack: “You cannot have your train tattoo unless you eat your carrots.”
Jack: “I don’t like my carrots. I’ll find something else good-for-me.”
Two seconds later: “Are cinnamon rolls good-for-me?”

Arina, who is battling a cold and still going strong: “Nana thought I’d lose my voice. HA! I’ll lose my voice WHEN I DIE.”

Bedtime story

Scott: “So, the new guy at work called in today — his fiancee just had their first baby.”
Me: “Cool. Did he sound excited?”
Scott: “Yeah — he was weepy.”
Me: “Were you weepy with Arina or Jack?”
Scott: “No — I’m not the weepy sort. That probably bothers you.”
Me: “Not really — b/c you cried a little when Dobby died, and that’s what counts.”

Me: “Were you playing in Q’s pen?”
Arina: “No.”
Me: “But I looked out the window and *saw* you!”
A: “Then yes.”
Me: “Don’t lie to me! How often do you lie to me?”
A: “Whenever you catch me.”
Me: “No — you only *admit* to it when I catch you.”
A: “No — you *always* catch me.”
Me: “Then why do you still lie to me?”
A: “I don’t know. You’d think I’d learn my lesson.”

Scott to me: “No — you cannot have a pig. I mean, you could make an awesome book about it — but no.” Me: “All I just heard was that you think I should get a pig and write a book about it.”

Me, in an attempt to rescue Steph from *another* game of Candy Land: “It’s our turn! Adult time! We get Steph.”
Arina: “Then can I get Dan?”

Arina, to me, after I almost tossed the cinnamon roll icing: “Bad Mommy!”
Jack: “You don’t say bad Mommy, because Mommy’s a girl, and you never tell a girl that she did a bad job.”