Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Amorous lizards

Those are our friends over there.  We were walking through Capitol Hill after going out to dinner Friday night.  There was a lot of wine involved, hence the blurriness of the photo.  We love babysitters.

Thanks to your suggestions, posse, our home is now finely coated in baby powder, corn starch, tea tree oil, bay leaves, boric acid and vinegar.  The ant traffic, while not stopped, has slowed.  I'm not sure if it's the ant repellents that are working or the fact I've started piling ant corpses in front of all ant entry points. 

Do you think the ants feel fear when they realize they're entering a house of ant death?  If so, I have a healthy respect for those who press on in their search for Goldfish cracker crumbs.

I was a chaperone for Lucien's field trip to the zoo last week.  Each chaperone was responsible for four kids.  I had to lead my group of four around the zoo, consolidate all their needs and wants into a one-hour visit before meeting up again with the rest of the class for lunch.  It was tricky business because as soon as I asked, "OK, guys, what do you want to see first?" I heard, "TIGER ELEPHANT I WANT A SNACK I HAVE TO PEE."

I realized I'd made a grave error in giving the children any say whatsoever in their zoo experience.  To see anything at all, I was going to have to be a zoo dictator.  I promptly marched them to the flamingos.  The kids were bored but I laughed myself silly because man, what ridiculous looking animals.

 I then took them to see the amorous lizards because I'm a very good chaperone.

I was very protective of "my four." They were superior to the other groups of four because they were mine.  They won me over with their big eyes and their need to hold hands all the time and their calling me "Hey, Lucien's mommy."

 my four, truly flawless Kindergarten specimens

Because I've recently seen The Hunger Games, and because I often confuse movies with reality, I was sure all groups of four were going to be forced into combat at some point.  So while other groups took frivolous spins on the carousel, we trained.  You should have seen little Katie with those nunchucks, she was really something.  Eli excelled at psychological mind games and torture.  Lucien's primary weapon, of course, was his scream, which paralyzed anything within earshot.

There was no battle.  Very disappointing.  Instead, all groups came together in peace to pet this pathetically sad and lifeless goat named Lester --

My favorite part of the field trip was riding the yellow school bus.  It's been a long time since I've been on a school bus.  They still sound, smell, and look exactly the same, right down to the "bodily fluid clean-up kit" hanging over the driver's head.  Didn't you just pity, yet at the same time absolutely despise, any kid unfortunate enough to throw up on your bus when you were little?  Horrifying stuff.

I took Lucien to a birthday party for one of his classmates.  It was there I discovered Lucien has taught his class the French preschooler's favorite taboo phrase -- "caca boudin."  His entire class now regularly breaks out in unison in a caca boudin chant -- caca boudin! caca boudin! caca boudin!  It made me smile, but only after looking frantically around the room for Lucien's Parisian teachers.  Had they been there, they most certainly would have been giving me the stinkeye.

The father sitting next to me noticed my cringe and asked if caca boudin was a bad thing to say?  I assured him no, it was a fine thing to say, especially if he was a fan of poop sausage.

It's Spring Break right now so I have both kids with me all the time.  I survived the first day so am feeling invincible.  The feeling probably won't last.

Caca boudin never surrenders, never dies,


  1. another TOTALLY funny post-although i have not been commenting rest assured of my continued support for you, your family and this blog-lots of serious stuff going on here in philly with my dad- so you provided many delightful moments of escape(except for that crazy fool in the resto)during the last 6 weeks-i heartfully thank you i hope all is well with everyone and ENJOY spring break!!

    1. Thanks, g. I sure do love all you who still read even though the writing is no longer ooh-la-la themed. I hope you're doing all right, sounds like you're having a rough time. Hugs to you and your dad, g.

  2. I love your blog SO much MJ! I'm another new commenter too, I recently finished up An American Mom in Paris - I was so sad it had to end, it made me feel much better about being a fellow mother to a small boy!

    1. Hi Alex. Welcome to the crazy train. And HUZZAH to being the mother of a small boy. Is your boy like mine, meaning you want to tear your hair out most of the time, but when he's sweet you forget all those other times? If so, we should grab a drink and talk about it.

      Anyway, welcome to the posse, Alex, happy to have you around.

    2. Given that my boy has only just turned 1 and started walking (and sorta talking), I'm a tiny bit behind you on the hair-tearing thing, but the kid has been described as having a "big personality" (I'm sure you can hear the strains of 'Carmina Burana' in the background!)... so yeah, if you fancy that drink, I'm THERE ;D

      So glad to be part of the posse, WE CAN DO THIS BOY-PARENTING SHIZZ!!!!

  3. Combat training? Why didn't I think of that, it's genius. I used to stand the kids in front of an empty enclosure and tell them that the first one to find the camouflaged animal wins.

    I still have ants up the wazoo (it's very uncomfortable). So. Over. Tiny. Carcasses. If you find the secret formula let me know.

    1. Ooh...yes...camouflaged animal wins awards. Bec, you did it again! You should just write this damn blog for me, really.

      My most recent ant-related tactic was to find the anthills outside (so far we've discovered three) and dump boiling water on them. My evil murderous rage knows no bounds. It's like I don't even know myself anymore.

      Anyway, landlord knows about it, we hear they're going to spray for ants soon, will keep you posted.


  4. when I was a kid we rode the school bus everyday and the best part was sitting in the back seats so when Mrs. Dyeball (I'm not kidding) would hit a pot hole you'd fly in the air and hit your head on the ceiling of the bus....oh and singing "I'm Henry the 8th I am" over and over to drive her crazy...which proves how old I am..ancient.

    you are a brave Mom doing the zoo trip....

    bonne journee MJ!

    1. Dyeball. Wow, rough one for her.

      I remember doing the same thing. The only place to be on the bus was the back of the bus. All the cool kids were there, plus the head-hitting thing.

      I like hanging out with Kindergarteners. They're nuts and adorable, just the way I like my people.

      Bonne journee, Deb in T.

  5. People, call the exterminator! Trust me it's the only thing that really work's. I live on the east coast or I would send Tony, my guy, right over. We tried everything, all mentioned above. My husband went to Home Depot and bought stuff you put in a pumping thing and sprayed between the walls, after tearing out the trim and making a little hole in the sheet rock. He stuck the wand up there and sprayed at least a gallon of the stuff, we wore gas masks for a week. They seemd to disappear but sure enough while having friends over for dinner one of them went to the restroom, my husband followed a few minutes later wanting to make sure no ants appeared. I was curious so I followed. As I rounded the corner entering the hall I witnessed my Italian husband jumping around appearing to do his version of an irish gig. Actually he was trying to kill about thirty ants as the marched triumphantly out of the guest room. The next morning we called Tony. That was two years ago, haven't seen on since, or a spider, or a stink bug. Life is good, and bug free!

    1. Hi Tara. Could really use Tony about now. Has Tony ever wanted to see the Pac NW?

      Love the husband dancing the jig. Alex has, for the most part, left me to fend for myself against the ants. He just kind of walks right past them. I feel so alone.

      Here's to bug free living in 2012.

  6. I have somehow made the husband go on all field trips so far. Based on your post, this may have been a wise decision. I too would have suffered the "What do you want to do?" fate.

    I have no advice on ants. So far we have been pest free. I just jinxed myself, didn't I?

    1. Hi Adrianne! So happy to see you still around. Life still good on the eastside? Heck, it's bug-free, so you're beating us Seattle folks by a mile.

      Definitely get a field trip under your belt when they're young. It's chaos but such good, adorable chaos. Plus they all fight over who gets to hold your hand. Gets me every time.

      Take care, Adrianne, and hello to Y from your old, old neighbors.

  7. I can't blame the ants. I would risk death for Goldfish crumbs too.

    The lusty lizards attempt to carry on the species was no accident.
    I'm thinking they saw you approaching from far away, and said "Hey
    there's MJ. Let's give her something to talk about" .
    Or maybe it was the candles, the incense and Barry White music.

    Concerning your sheparding the kids at the zoo, savvy person that you
    are, I give you credit for immediately realizing your grave error of
    offering the kids a choice. I know you aren't the type but in these
    situations you must role play a crazed authortarian dictator.
    Pretend to be a TSA agent or a sadistic prison warden, a la Cool Hand
    Luke style, and give them only orders in a 'my way or the highway'
    tone of voice.

    1. Hi Bill. Don't do anything drastic, I'll just send you some dang Goldfish.

      I appreciate the lizards giving me some material. I was walking through the zoo thinking, "hmmm, not much to write about just yet," then BOOM, there they went. Well played, lizards.

      Agreed about the kids. When they are en masse, they have no choice, because none of them will make the same choice as any other. So damn individualistic, these kids.

      My way or the highway or we'll never get out of the zoo, punks.

      Bye, Bill.

  8. Started reading your Paris blog while I was teaching there -(same time you were living there!) and my whole set of family and friends know the caca boudin original story!! Just saw "boudin" during a recent trip to Louisiana and my family and I cracked up thinking about you yelling it out in Paris. You, and caca boudin, are famous down South.

    1. Caca boudin! Caca boudin! Oh, the good old days of yelling it in the Paris streets myself, so clueless. Today I'm wiser, and know enough to not even yell it in U.S. streets, but I sure miss those carefree caca boudin days. Oh, to be in the dark again for just one day...

      (In my opinion, "boudin" is disgusting even without the "caca" part in front of it. Ick.)

      Hi to your family, thanks for stopping by.