Oh, Brother.

Vincenzo doesn’t interact all that much with Rocco. 

He thinks his brother is funny. 

He accepts him.


But he’s not all over the big brother thing. 

So when I heard giggling from the nursery yesterday,

and then I heard Vincenzo laughingly ask Rocco,

“What are you doing over there?” I grabbed my camera. 

I got there just in time.


My boys.

Crab and lemon risotto
Salad with apples and blue cheese
Candy bar pizza

Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work he goes

Kevin’s parental leave just came to an end.  I’m sad to see him go but am glad to not have to feel like a douchebag each time I say “parental leave” instead of “paternity leave,” which is apparently the HR equivalent of using the word “retarded” these days.

Anyway.  We’re closing it out interview-style.

MrsMouthy: So, Kevin, what was your “high” during the last four weeks?

Kevin: Aside from this interview?  Reading your blog posts.  And wooting.

MrsMouthy: And your low?

Kevin:  Waking up jet lagged, walking out of our bedroom, tripping over an upside down bowl (that I regularly eat out of, BTW) placed in the middle of the carpet, and being told that it was covering up a pile that the cat made and you aren’t sure which end it came from but it might be diarrhea.  Starting to clean it and realizing it was actually a melted ice cream bar that was somehow left on the carpet.  Then having to pin down the cat to cut the chocolate out of his fur as he appeared to have rolled over it at some point during the night.  Clyde did end up puking 3 times that day for I think unrelated reasons.  Rocco had an up-the-back poop.  Vincenzo dropped an entire Slurpee on the carpet.  You continued to deny that don’t know how that “Skinny Cow Fudge Delight” bar got there.

MrsMouthy: I told you the CAT did it.  He loves Skinny Cow Fudge Delight bars.  Anyway, if your parental leave had a theme song, what would it be?

Kevin: Free Bird, natch.  Or maybe Keep Your Hands to Yourself by the Georgia Satellites.  I must be mistaken, but I thought I did get you a wedding ring at some point; when do I get my huggy and kissy?

MrsMouthy: XOXO.  There.  What would be your parental leave’s state flag?

Kevin: Stars and bars baby.  The south will rise again!

MrsMouthy: [Distancing herself on couch]  What is your crowning achievement of parental leave?

Kevin: Reading 43 Magic Tree House books.  There are 43 in the series; unfortunately I only read the “Night of the Ninjas” book 43 times so I really can’t tell you what happens outside of that book.  On the bright side, I do almost have that book memorized.  (Spoiler alert, one of the ninjas is a girl!)

MrsMouthy:  Another spoiler alert: the words “Jack” and “Annie” appear on each page no less than twenty times.  Remember the day we made you drink a sip of water every time I came to one of their names?

Kevin:  Oh yeah.  My glass was empty after one page.  We need to burn those books before Vincenzo reaches drinking age.

MrsMouthy:  Now that you’ve experienced home life for four straight weeks, do you think you might be able to stop referring to your wife’s job as a “permanent staycation?”

Kevin: You’re right, “Staycation” isn’t the right word.  You leave the house to go shopping several times a day so you really aren’t staying.  Has the term “Spendcation” been coined yet?

MrsMouthy: M-hm.  “Spendcation” was coined just seconds after the phrase “Wootaholic” was coined.  BOOM!*  Final question: any parting words?

Kevin: It was fun, we should do it again!  Send the kids over to Grammy’s and show up at my job every day for 4 weeks!  I could have you install hardwoods in my office and redo the baseboards there.


Stairs he built to the playhouse:


Pavers he installed (with help from my family) under the deck:

The sun he helped set in my sky every night.  Awwwwwww.


Grilled whitefish with Meyer lemon
Quinoa cakes with eggplant ragu
Apple frangipane


*BOOM courtesy of Renee.

Can handbags cry?

I got tagged by my bloggy friend Tricia, maker of beautiful things and prisoner of all things scented, over at Fabulous Since 1961.  Getting tagged makes me feel so young again.  The tag is: what’s in your handbag.

Tricia took lovely pictures of her real leather, finely crafted purse before emptying it.  Here’s where I found my JCPenny purse I’ve been toting around for five years (and also the reason I returned that Louis Vuitton purse my husband bought me a couple years back).


Here, let’s zoom in on that.


I fetched the jaws of life and extracted my purse; here’s what I got:


First off, that is not a porn card I’m carrying around, but Victoria Secret is really onto something, putting their models in nude-colored underwear, aren’t they?  I think my grandmother just rolled over in her grave or turned into a zombie or something.


Otherwise it’s not that exciting—an old grocery list; a few pads of sticky notes; my JCPenny wallet plus its counterpart the ziploc bag to hold the overflow of gift cards and medical cards and membership cards and I’m so sick of cards cards CARDS!


Mint gum because I absolutely will not drink coffee without a piece of gum or a toothbrush/toothpaste nearby; a toothbrush/toothpaste/floss not because of the coffee thing but because I went to the dentist in March and probably haven’t taken my purse out of the stroller since then; Vincenzo’s nametag from school that went missing in October; and a handful of  lipsticks and chapsticks that I keep around to prove I’m a girl but never actually wear.

I’m just not really the pursey type. 

Is it lame to blanket tag everyone reading this?  Post what’s in your handbag if you, like me, have nothing better to blog about.

I guess if I had to call out a couple people, I’d name Amalah (because it’s kind of like tagging the president) and Andrea at My Soccer Habit because now that she’s public she has to understand she’s vulnerable to things like this.

The winning disease

Kevin, giving Rocco a bottle: “This is a good vintage.  January.” *********************************************************************************************************************************
Thanks for your advice on V’s night terrors—turns out he’s not special at all, thank goodness.  Your advice was so good you’ve earned another cry for help from me.

So Vincenzo turns everything into a competition, and he has to win every time.  “I was the first one down the stairs!”  “I’m the first one to get ready!”  “I was the first one done with my ice cream!”  Does this sound familiar to anyone but me?

We have tried to mess with him 100 different ways.  He’ll yell that he was the first one to get to the table and I’ll say, “Oh darn.  This was a competition for second place, so I guess that means you lose after all.” 

Surprisingly, a temper tantrum ensues.

Or he’ll yell, “I was the first one to look out the window!  Daddy loses!” and I’ll say, “Okay, here’s your first place medal.  It’s really teeny tiny, so you might not be able to see it.”  I  pretend to put a teeny medal around his neck.  Then I put an imaginary gigantic last-place medal on Kevin’s neck and he falls to the ground it’s so heavy.

Surprisingly, a temper tantrum ensues.

Lately I’ve taken to just beating him outright.  If you see the Mom racing her son at the mall and clearly kicking his ass, and as her son screams that she cheated or that he was first or that the race wasn’t fair, the Mom insists, “Nope.  I won. You lost.  I didn’t cheat—I’m just faster than you.”  Yeah, that would be me.

Surprisingly, you know the what happens next.

The situation is only getting worse though.  Yesterday Vincenzo called from his room, “Mom, can you come into my room for a sec?”  “Sure,” I said…and as soon as my foot crossed into his room, he yelled, “I was the first one in my room!  I win!”  And if anyone else ever does beat him in something, he uses our strategy and tells them it was a second-place competition so he wins.  Oops.

At dinner last night, we had this conversation:

Vincenzo: Who will be the first one done with dinner?  Me!  I win!
Me: Who will be the first one to be the last one to finish dinner?  Me!  I win!
Kevin: Who will be the first one to be a daddy?  Me!  I win!
Kevin: V: Who will be the first one to wear a blue shirt?  Me!  I win!
M: Who can be the first one to say, “Vincenzo?”  “Vincenzo!”  I win!
K: Who will be the first one to stop competing?
V: Me!  I will!  I win!  I’m the first one to stop competing!

So.  What am I supposed to do?  Keep beating him until winning seems like a novelty?  State more loudly and more frequently that I’m not competing (as that’s actually the most common strategy I use)?  Stop acting like we’re four-year-olds around him? 


Night terrors

QUICKIE:  Kevin gave Rocco a “Peebody Award” this morning for waking up covered in his own pee.
So Vincenzo does this thing sometimes where he wakes up in the middle of the night screaming, rocking, pawing the air at people or things only he can see.  If we touch him he usually just screams louder.  Last night he actually did let me hold him and then he peed all over me, much to my husband’s amusement.  (“Some kids wet their bed.  Vincenzo wets his mother.”)  If we ask Vincenzo what’s wrong or what he’s dreaming about during these episodes, he manages to throw a couple of garbled, unintelligible words into his screaming.  His eyes are the scariest at these times—black and glassy, unfocused and unconnected to the person inside his body.

The only way we’ve found to snap him out of it is to act cheerful and start reading a book to him as if his head isn’t actually spinning around until eventually he lays down and his breathing slows and his body stops jerking up and down with his sobs.

The whole thing is freaky and creepy in a call-the-priest kind of way.  Vincenzo remembers nothing of it when he wakes up.

I’m just wondering, do anyone else’s kids do this?  Is it normal-ish?  Or should we see someone about it?  Does anyone have any insight about what’s going on in his head?

Say what?

Things that have been said at our house this week:

1.  Kevin nicknamed Rocco “Furious George” for his middle-of-the-night crying sprees.

2.  Kevin was reading a book to Vincenzo that had a flying dinosaur in it and this conversation happened:

V: Oh, I know what that is!  That’s a rectile!
K: What?
V: The flying dinosaur is a rectile.
K: Oh…and so if it couldn’t fly, would that be called a rectile dysfunction?

3.  I made Rocco a mashed yam on Easter and dubbed it the “Yam of God.”

4.  When we all fell asleep one afternoon, Kevin named it “Napternoon.”

5.  Vincenzo is still playing a lot of doctor with us this week.  Some of the more colorful incidents have been when bear came in complaining of a hurt knee so Dr. Alvin chopped his legs off and told him now his knees wouldn’t hurt anymore; when the Mariner Moose came in and basically asked for performance-enhancing drugs (“Doc, do you have anything that will make me stronger and faster?”); and when bear returned to Dr. Alvin’s office later with all the paperwork for a lawsuit.

Parental leave might leave our children permanently scarred for life, but at least Kevin and I are having fun!

Fruit crepes
Fried ham
Starbucks french pressed coffee

Butt out!

Just to show you Easter wasn’t all about the butts, crotches, and garbage cans, here are a few other pictures.  This was the first Easter when Vincenzo actually ran for the eggs like his shorts were on fire instead of sweetly meandering around, picking up an occasional egg and saying things I could put on my blog.  I wasn’t ready for that…but when has he ever waited for me to be ready for the next phase in his life?

Anyway, the pix:








Oh yeah, this guy was there too.


White chicken chili
Parmesan broccoli
Sugar cookies
Spiked chocolate espressos