4 years old and counting…

When Vincenzo woke up today I told him he could have anything he wanted for breakfast, since it was his real birthday.  He asked for this:


It’s his own Belgian-Italian fusion cuisine: Belgian waffle on bottom, then whipped cream, then berries, all topped off with a bed of noodles.  He ate every last bite of it, too.  I’m submitting the recipe to Parents Magazine—other mothers need to know about this!

Next I dressed Vincenzo for his special day at school.  Only after we had gotten there did I realize that this may not have been the choicest shirt for a boy on his fourth birthday.


The shirt, it turns out, was the least of his problems, as we discovered at dinner that something was a bit off about his jeans… 



What do you think?  Is this a daft four-year-old who put his pants on backwards…or a highly advanced four-year-old who can zip and snap his pants on backwards?  Either way, it wasn’t until we got home and changed him into his PJs that we realized he was commando that entire time, which is more concerning anyway.

Dinner was a blast.  Vincenzo talked in jibberish with Abby the whole time until finally one of them yelled, “I WENT PEE PEE IN MY PANTS!” as ends all dates the two of them have.  They’ve both been potty trained for forever but they seem to lose control of their bodily functions when they’re together.  We’re thus setting an expiration date of “puberty” on their relationship.


Happy birthday, little D.  As long as I’m living, my flying, fighting, secret agent shell ninja turtle you’ll be.

Party like a ninja turtle!

Vincenzo’s ninja turtle party went down this weekend.  You always know it’s going to be a great party when these guys show up:


Getting the hot water tank fixed made it feel like it was my birthday.  (Also: when did plumbing jobs make it feel like like it is my birthday?)

Prepping for the party was more fun than the actual party for me, as the prep did not involve pool balls being thrown at our windows or guests peeing on the toilet seat.  🙂 I had asked Vincenzo what food we should serve his friends and he had answered, “Raw beef.”  Because that’s what turtles eat.  We made a game-time decision to cook the beef instead, but Kevin was disappointed.  He pointed out that no turtle party is complete without a touch of salmonella.

Vincenzo had chosen 22” squeaking blow-up turtles for party favors, so most of the party was spent with kids chasing each other through the house and whacking each other with their turtles, pausing only briefly for a turtle egg hunt.  Vincenzo had stuffed each egg with a pom-pom baby turtle, a mini chocolate bar to represent the wood they eat when they’re still in eggs, and jelly bellies to represent the turtle eggs inside the turtle egg.  He told me that’s what is inside real turtle eggs.  I told him he is a fountain of misinformation.

Here’s the rest of the story, in pictures.

Ninja turtle on Turtle Island:


The turtle bread my MIL made but everyone gave me credit for:


Turtle cupcakes that were not, as Vincenzo informed guests, topped with rice:


Turtle cannibalism:



Hey, this might be off topic, but has anyone ever noticed that Vincenzo sounds like he could be the fifth Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle?  Michaelangeo, Leonardo, Rafael, Donatello, and Vincenzo.  He, of course, would be the Smurfette of the TMNTs, as he seems to be able to lay and hatch eggs. 

Anyway, it’s a moot point because Vincenzo saw a teenage mutant ninja turtle in the store for the first time and immediately dismissed it because it was “too small” to be a real ninja turtle.  But you probably already knew that.

Good news, bad news

QUICKIE: Just a self-observation: I have gone from the person who could do everything to the person who can barely do anything.  And I’m happy.
1a. Right after the baby was born Kevin decided to remodel our bathroom, as it rained in the basement every time he took a shower.  The good news is it’s finished!



1b. The bad news is that he took an inaugural shower yesterday…and the forecast was, you guessed it: rain.


2a. Kevin built a one million piece Lego castle for Vincenzo last winter.  I have played castle with V every day since then.  The good news is I finally got it off the coffee table and into storage!

2b. The bad news is…



3a. Our water heater is leaking into the basement.  The bad news is we may have to recarpet.

3b. The good news is I can just go downstairs and pick these when I make wild mushroom soup!


Mmmmm.  Carpet mushrooms.  Anyone in?

I like boys!

Vincenzo, explaining to Rocco how to become a ninja turtle: “First you start as a baby chick, then you’re a kitty, and then you get to be a ninja turtle!”
Yesterday got off to a rough start.  Vincenzo nearly got grounded (by me) from preschool due to a temper tantrum; Rocco went to the doctor and ended up with three shots and a last-minute decision to clip his tied tongue; by the time I left the doctor’s office I could tell I was getting hit with another round of mastitis.  Thanks to Mom, everything was back to normal by naptime though.  She’s my golden ticket…even if she can’t leave the house without forgetting at least one thing she brought.  (It’s the cake this time, Mom.  Come pick up your cake.)

At the store yesterday, I finally got the comment I had prepared myself for.  Someone saw Vincenzo, then asked if the baby was a boy or a girl.  When I told her he’s a boy she said, “Well you’ll just have to keep on trying then!”  She turned into a different aisle, leaving me to yell “I like boys!” at the cans of Manwich—which, by the way, totally got it.

I have to admit, there was a time I thought girls were the be-all, end-all, but having boys has opened me up to this whole other world where the main language, I’ve learned, is laughter.  Yes, there are cars.  Yes, there is wrestling.  Yes, there are (pretend) guns.  But I’ve realized that it doesn’t matter what your child chooses to play with.  Whether it’s Barbies or Legos, make-up or mud, you’re going to first be charmed by it and then sick of it either way. 

True, I probably won’t spend afternoons getting manicures with my sons or going to tea with them.  I’m on my own to make sure the clothes I’m wearing aren’t maaaaaajorly embaaaaaaaarrassing.  (And to realize on my own that girls don’t say “majorly” anymore.)  But my sons will have tickle wars with me and bake cookies with me and lose every game of basketball they ever play against me.  I, in turn, hope to learn to hawk the perfect loogie.

And if I’ve raised them right, every year on my birthday my boys will get me a gift certificate for a manicure.


Someone’s got a bad case of baby envy

Vincenzo spent the weekend playing with pool balls that were pretending to be ninja turtles.  At one point, I heard him have one pool ball invite another pool ball into its house and then ask, “What would you like to drink?  We have soda, lemonade, and beer…”

Hey, who be stealin’ mah bouncy chair?


honeymoon  066 
Not me…I’m sitting on my chair!


Don’t look at me!  I just be stealin’ pillows!


You jerks have time to sit down?



What bouncy chair?

Shiver me timbers!

Ahoy me mateys!  Tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day!  Never heard of it, eh?  Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it:

“…the day is the only holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. [Summers] has stated that during a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of "Aaarrr!", and the idea was born. That game took place on June 6, 1995, but out of respect for the observance of D-Day, they chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday, as it would be easy for him to remember.”

As Talk Like a Pirate Day falls on a weekend this year, me hearties, why don’t ye observe it today by watching me favorite pirate video?  If this doesn’t make ye yo-ho-ho, then yer a yellow-bellied scurvy dog.  Yar.

Something old, something new

I think I mentioned Vincenzo started preschool last week, right?  Today parents were invited to join their kids for a picnic, and I was happy to see Vincenzo made a friend already!  I knew they were friends when, five minutes into the picnic, I saw they had made a game where Vincenzo would spit on the picnic table benches and his friend would stick a rock in each of the spit piles.  Isn’t that cute?!  By the end of the year I’m sure they’ll be having so much fun seeing who can make their wee-wee hit the monkey bars.

(As a side note, the three-second rule should never ever apply to park benches.  Or monkey bars.)

With school in session, we now spend part of our day playing school at home.  Vincenzo is usually himself, baby Rocco is Teacher Debbie, and I, naturally, am the teacher’s pet.  Mostly we just eat pretend snacks for the hour, except when Teacher Debbie gets fussy and needs a binky.

But some things stay the same, and there are still a lot of flying ninja turtles around the house.  This morning Vincenzo showed me the ninja turtle’s latest hideout.  Do you see all the ninja turtles?


Of course you don’t!  They’re all hiding in crumbs!  (Betcha didn’t know they could do that, did you?)

And because the baby doesn’t talk, I’ll let these pictures speak on baby Rocco’s behalf.






Names shmames

QUICKIE: Vincenzo: “Dad?”  Kevin: “Yes?”  Vincenzo: “No, Dad.  I was talking to Mom.”
The bad news is I woke up at 3AM on Saturday with mastitis.  The good news is I got a bunch of hours in bed with Rocco, and—get this—I read magazines!!!  Lots of ‘em!  For those of you without kids, that’s like saying, “I competed in an Iron Man and wrote the Great American Novel even though I don’t have arms!”  Only mastitis hurts a little bit more.

Anyway, my panties are all in a bunch over this month’s Parents’ Magazine.


You all know I would patent Rocco’s name if I could, and have it all to myself, so of course I flipped right to page 116.  Happily enough, there was no Rocco listed.  (Though it doesn’t solve the problem of the pediatrician mentioning the “other Rocco” every friggin’ time we call.) 

Anyway, the thing I’m stuck on is this:


There it is—the name we were going to give Rocco if he were a girl, and the name I was squirreling away, “just in case.”  (Not just in case Rocco has a sex change, but just in case we decide to add another one to Team Mouthy.)  Ramona.  It’s mine!  Mine mine MINE!  My name that I thought of without looking in any baby book or consulting any baby lists or any third-rate, ten-dollar-per-year magazine.

The magazine also suggests you name a girl “Red” and a boy “Blue” just one paragraph above.  Oh, excuse me, that’s “Red” for boys and “Blue” for girls.  Because that makes sooooo much more sense.  This gave me hope that maybe the magazine was totally kidding and that everyone will just laugh at these name suggestions and no one will touch Ramona with a ten-foot pole.  Ha HA!

Oh, but then that would mean…

Forget it.  Let’s move on to funnier things.  The magazine also suggests some other ideas for how to choose a name, like:


I wasn’t sure how to interpret this…are they thinking more along the lines of “Snookums” or something closer to “Spot?”  Too complicated.  Let’s try a different suggestion, like:


“Sasquatch” for a girl, perhaps, and “Moose” for a boy?  Nah.  Too crazy.  But this isn’t:


Because nothing is more fun than filing for SSN’s for your sons, Diet Mr. Pibb and Curly Fries.

So…if you could name your kid after an 80s movie or a superhero or a beverage, what would you choose?  Let me know.  I’ll just be sitting here, In poring the Internets for the broadway musical version of Ramona’s name. 

Dolly?  Simba?  Jesus Christ Superstar?