Saturday, September 29, 2012


This morning the kids and I were up and rolling bright and early, with plans to jump in the car and meet my parents at a halfway point so Mary and Anna could spend the night with them in Connecticut. Of course, Lily spent most of last night teething and expressing her separation anxieties in decibels loud enough to notify Providence, so I was a little slow moving, but nevertheless tried to sow enthusiasm amongst the troops.

"Mary, go use the bathrooom! Anna, come here, I need to tie your shoe!"

"So we can go to Mime and Boppa's?"

"Yep! We're going to leave in just a few minutes!"

"But I want to live here!"

I paused, mid tie.

"Anna, you do live here. We're not giving you to Mime and Boppa. You're having a sleepover and Mommy and Daddy will see you in the morning."

"Oh," she said, as if I had corrected a great misunderstanding. "Okay then."

Crisis averted, we managed to get baby, preschoolers, overnight bag, purse, assorted bedtime stuffed animals and sippy cups and all manner of of miscellany into the car and were on the road within five minutes of my desired start time. Anna, no longer convinced she was about to be adopted out, was quite chatty.

"Why're we going to Mime and Boppa's?"

"You're going to spend the day and have a sleepover," I reminded her. "Then tomorrow Mommy, Daddy and Lily are going to come to Mime's house. Mommy and Daddy are going with Mime and Boppa someplace and Mime's friend Miss Audry is going to watch you. Do you remember her?"

In the rearview mirror, I saw two little girls shake their heads no.

"Miss Audry is really nice," I said. "And she's going to bring her little girl, too. Well, her big girl. Rachel is eleven."

"Will she play with me?" Mary asked.

"She sure will," I said. "She wanted to come, she likes little girls."

"Is she dis many?" Anna asked, holding up three fingers in my mirror view.

"No, honey, she's not three," I said.

"Is she my age?" Mary asked.

"No," I reminded her. "She's eleven. If you wanted to count that on your fingers, you would need both hands plus an extra finger to get to eleven!"

"And if we wanted to count on our TOES," Mary said giggling madly, "We'd need all our toes and an extra toe!"

"Why?" Anna half muttered, half mumbled from her car seat. "Is she barefoot or somethin?"

I snorted. I assured Anna her soon to be new friend wears shoes.

"She doesn't have shoes," I heard her mumble (or something like that, I was too busy trying not to crack up.)

We continued. Somehow, Mary and I got on the subject of race cars.

"You know what Mary?" I said. "Mime's daddy, my grandpa, who you never got to meet, drove race cars!"

"HE DID?" she asked in awe.

"He did," I confirmed. "And Mime, when she was a little girl, she used to help build them with my grandpa!"


"Really," I said, to Mary's delight.

"Can we do that today?" mumbled Anna.

"Can we do what today, honey? Build a race car?"


", baby. You're going to Mime and Boppa's. We're not going to build a race car."

"Pleeeease? Just ONE?"

Well, sure, kid, if it's just one, but you know, stock cars are kind of like potato chips, I don't know if you can build JUST ONE.

We arrived at the meeting point, whereupon Anna announced she had to go to the bathroom, and of course, the restaurant wasn't open yet. Mom assured me she had it under control and there was a place up the road that they could visit.

I wonder what Anna had to say about that.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


My morning schedule looks like this:

6:45: Alarm goes off. Note that I did not say "I wake up." If I am actually still horizontal when my phone starts chirping, it means someone did not get me up at dark thirty, and it's a miracle.

6:50: Have gotten myself reasonably presentable in that I am wearing jeans and a T-shirt. No hair or makeup, and my glasses are on, but I can answer the door. Change baby, start breakfast. This means on days when I have not gone grocery shopping and the fridge is down to condiments I will be met with requests for Greek yogurt, and on days when we are really running behind I will be asked to cook oatmeal or eggs or somesuch. It will also mean the baby will want to try and feed herself.

By 7: Kids are eating, kitchen is tidied up, I've probably swept once already since my floor starts churning out crumbs the minute the kids' feet hit it, I am picking out clothes for the day. Start packing Mary's lunch on days she has school.

7:15: Baby G arrives. Chat with Baby G's mom for a few minutes, say goodbye.

By 7:30: Baby G is eating her bottle, Lily is ready to throw down because someone else is getting attention from me, the kids are requesting shows, or that I tie their shoes, or asking to play dress up. I remind them they have lost TV for abhorrent behavior the day before, that you can't put shoes on until the rest of you is dressed for the day and that no, you can't play dress up now, we have to be out of this house by 8:15.

Realize bottle is either faulty or not put together properly because formula has leaked all over my only pair of clean pants.

Get kids dressed. Last night I was lazy and instead of planning a cute, put together outfit for Mary, I chose an old hot pink Hello Kitty T-shirt that she loves and some basic jeans. Dress Anna. Wait until last minute to dress Lily because she likes to remove her socks. Do hair. Listen to Anna freak out. Offer to cut her hair if she doesn't stop flipping out. She flips out over the idea. Instead of doing Mary's hair in some elaborate style, today I throw it back in a half pony and plan to give her a clip at the last minute to keep her whispies out of her face.

Put Baby G in high chair with some toys, park her where I can keep an eye on things, run to get myself dressed in something non-scrubby that can pass muster at pre-school drop off and carry me through a morning of errands. Remember all pants are in hamper except for stylishly "distressed" "boyfriend jeans" which, after two years, are now far too ripped to really be fashionable, but it's that or a pencil skirt. Go for the grunge look in absence of stockings and insanity.  Put in contacts, since my glasses don't stand a chance against two babies. It is 8 a.m.

Sit on toilet seat to braid back my hair, since we are running late and there's no time to straighten it. Remind myself I have a coupon I want to use for some sweaters for Mary. Think about when the coupon is valid. Wonder why "September 26" is sticking in my brain.

Realize with 10 minutes to get out the door and one baby who still needs to be dressed that it is school picture day.

Rush to find form. Rush to find checkbook. Glance over and realize Mary looks like a hobo with most of her hair out of her half ponytail and in her face. Realize screen printing on shirt (how I loathe screen printing) is cracked. Have an internal freakout. 8:05.

Rush to Mary's room. No time to find skirt and cute matching knee socks, the jeans she has on will have to do. Thank God they are at least the new jeans without any weird fading or holes yet. Grab a cute shirt and sweater. Throw them on Mary, which messes her hair up even more. Calculate we can leave at 8:20 and still make it on time.

Run Mary to the bathroom. Baby G is looking at me like I've lost my mind as I babble incoherently, trying to entertain, watch, and do hair. Plug in my hair straightener.

"Hi, Hair Straightener!" Mary crows. Back when she had to be in a wedding for some friends, I had had to blow dry and straighten her hair. I knew she'd hate the noise of the dryer because she always had, so I had put on a funny voice and made it "talk" to her. Now we can't do anything without Mary wanting to have a conversation with various personal grooming products. Ask me about Hairbrush's personality sometime.

"No time for that, Mar," I say, wetting the top of her head. I decide to do a quick French braid up top and then straighten the rest just a little, on low heat, to take the frizzies out.

When we are done, Mary looks like one of those Fundamentalist kids on TLC. I cringe and take out the lopsided, too poofy, still whispy, braid. I attempt a side braid. It sticks out at a strange angle like a bizarre appendage. Remove that. Finally pull the hair that's always in her face to the side, secure with a small elastic, spray the hell out of it with hairspray ("Hi, Hairspray!"), put protective spray on the ends, straighten them, and send her out warning her not to touch her hair at all, ever, ever.

8:13. I slap on some makeup of my own to try and look less like death warmed over, fill out the picture form, throw the baby's clothes on amid protest, get Baby G into her seat, carry her and Lily out at the same time, asking Mary to shut the door behind me. The second it latches and we are at the car I realize her backpack is still on the piano. Curse. Buckle everyone in, dash in for the backpack, am back in 10 seconds flat. Achieve the whole thing with minimal screaming and crying (on my part).

We get to the school at 8:29. The teacher looks down at Anna, Mary, and sees Lily in my arms, Baby G in the carrier car seat in my left hand.

"Who's this?" she asks. She hadn't seen us last Wednesday, when Baby G came with us at dropoff.

"Baby G," I say. "I watch her a few days a week for my friend."

The teacher looks from kid to kid and shakes her head.

"You're amazing," she said, as I fix a clip that matches the sweater applique exactly into Mary's hair and send her on her way.


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Swamp rock

Tonight I tried a Zumba class for the first time. I am supremely uncoordinated, to the point where, as a child, I was asked to leave a ballet class where I was the oldest because I just wasn't getting it. The fact that I survived tap dancing in 42nd Street is nothing less than a miracle. Still, someone I know runs the class and I figured it would be as good, if not better, cardio than doing my Couch to 5k program in my neighborhood at dusk, where motorists view a runner as some kind of moving target. Most drivers in most cities would slow down for someone jogging where there are no sidewalks. In my little piece of paradise, they speed up.

I arrived, workout clothes on, hair braided back, proper footwear. I figured, an hour of dancing. I can do that.

Fifteen minutes in I was sweating. Twenty minutes in and my face matched the magenta shirt of the girl next to me. By the half hour mark I stank. I gulped water in between songs. I got most of the steps, gave up on 90 percent of the arm movements, and desperately moved back and forth to Rhianna, Gloria, and a whole bunch of other people who sing really, really fast songs.

I survived. My legs feel like jelly. But it was a nice end to a long day, one where my daughters alternately made me crack up and want to move to Istanbul. At one point one of them told me she hated me because I wouldn't let her watch Pingu on Netflix. (Guess who lost television privileges for tomorrow as well?) At another, I had both of them on my lap, asking for cuddles, while Lily toddled all over the living room and the newly teething Baby G kept surreptitiously trying to sample my arm.

At 1 p.m. I surveyed the scene. The older two were watching TV (this was before IHateYouGate). Lil was crawling all over and staring at the door. Baby G seemed up for anything and it was a gorgeous day. I snapped off the TV and told everyone to go to the bathroom, put on shoes, we were going to the playground.

Much rejoicing was heard as we drove away from the house. I walked with the babies while Mary and Anna played. I noticed a couple of free baby swings and loaded Lil and Baby G into one each. They giggled and chortled as I pushed them.

"I want to swing, too!" Anna called over to me. There was one swing left, but there was a kid between Anna and the babies. I loaded her up and started jogging between swings, pushing Lily who screamed for more, gently nudging Baby G who liked her thrills on the tamer side, and convincing Anna that she did not, in fact, need to be death defyingly high to have a good time.

"Me too!"

"Mary, you're too big for a baby swing."

"Well what about those swings?" She pointed to the regular swings, about 15 feet to the right of the baby swings. I sighed and helped her on. I gave her a push.

"Mommy, I not high enough! I goin' slow!" I ran back to Anna, pushing Lil and nudging Baby G on the way.

"Higher, Mommy!" Back to Mary.


At this point I was debating even going to Zumba later that evening, since I was clearly getting my cardio in and amusing the heck out of the other playground goers as I ran back and forth like a demented hamster.

Then Baby G had had enough. She started fussing. I held her. No good. I put her in the stroller and pulled the sun shade down. Absolutely not. Finally, I had no choice.

"We have to go," I said, over mild protests. I performed car and booster seat maneuvers and set off down the road.

"Mommy, are we babysitting?" Mary asked me.

"We are."



"Sometimes..." she sighed. "I feel like I am inside an alligator."

Me too, kid. Me too.

Friday, September 21, 2012

School days

Today seems relatively boring by my normal standards - I only have two kids running laps around the house and they're both mine, so I should be motivated to get some badly needed errands done, or at least get off the computer and do something meaningful with said progeny.

Instead I'm parked right here, chatting on Facebook and putting together my dream cool weather wardrobe.

Hint: Yes, it is possible to be a stay at home mom and have a "lazy day" from time to time, today being the perfect example. No, it is not possible to be a stay at home mom and buy whatever your heart desires from the J. Crew and Banana Republic web sites. But in my dreams, I have a closet full of shrunken blazers and silk tops, to be worn with the perfect fitting trouser, boyfriend and skinny jeans and accessorized with lovely costume jewelry. Of course, these dreams also include children who would never dream of running up to me and hugging me before announcing "I have jelly all over my hands!", or removing their diaper necessitating an on-my-hands-and-knees cleaning extravaganza, or coming up and biting my leg for the hell of it. I also have closet space in this dream. And the inclination to do things like deep clean the baseboards. And bake homemade treats. And, and, and...

Right, so the lazy day we're having. Anna is a totally different child when she's not bouncing off the walls with Mary. And she's a combination of devious, outgoing and outright hilarious. To wit:

"Mommy. can I have some animal crackers?"

"Yes, in a minute, once Lily is asleep."

"She's asleep!" Lily, who was sitting my arms and violently protesting the idea of going to her crib, seemed evidence to the contrary. I told my middle child as much and she slinked back to the play room, a sly smile on her face.

I rocked Lily and heard Anna's very noisy zoo toy go off, at top volume, jazzy Alphabet Song tune ringing out through all corners of our house. (In my dreams, there is a greater distance between playroom and bedroom. And closets. Did I mention the closets?)

"Anna, turn that off!"


"Anna! Turn! that! off!"


"ANNA TURN THAT OFF!" (Apologies to my voice teacher, who told me I needed to stop yelling to maintain optimal vocal quality.)

"I AM!"

Silence. I started rocking Lily. I laid her in her crib.


Lily finally conceded the battle and went down for a nap. About time, too, considering between a cough and teething she had slept for maybe five non-consecutive hours the night before. (ASK ME HOW I SLEPT.) I got Anna some animal crackers and apple juice.


"Anna. Turn it off!"

"I did!"

The fake wolf howls erupting from the armchair told a different story and I switched it off.


Oh, indeed.

Now, the snack rules in our house are clear. You get one snack at snack time. It might be a pretty big snack if you didn't eat a great breakfast, but you get one portion of animal crackers, one glass of juice, etc. There are always exceptions, but that's the party line and we hold to it. Sounds harsh, but otherwise, they don't eat lunch.

I heard the episode of Diego end, and the next thing I knew, Anna was at my elbow with her empty cup and bowl. She had her sly grin again.

"Hi Anna," I said. "Put your bowl in the sink, ok?" The girl who could live on nothing but donuts and apple juice if given the chance paused. She thought it over. She knew her chances of getting more juice were nil.

"Mommy can I have some milk-" and here she attempted to act casual - "with my more animal crackers?"

Three year olds don't do casual well.

"You can have water," I said. "But no more crackers. If you're still hungry you can have carrots."

"WATER!" she shouted, as if trying to wake Lily. But she'd never do that, would she?

Lily eventually woke up of her own accord and I brought a smiling, happier baby into the main part of the house.

"Anna, look, Lily's up!"

"Oh good! Now I can be loud!"


And it's not even noon. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Anna goes to school

If my post last night, written after the kids were tucked safely (and quietly!) into bed, was nostalgic and sentimental, this morning was the exact opposite. There was a lunch to pack - tuna or cheese? But no Miracle Whip. There was breakfast for two preschoolers and a baby intent on feeding herself her oatmeal. There was hair to brush, outfits to don, shoes to tie.

I knew my stress had gotten to be too much when I decided to try and get all three girls in one picture out front (yes, I am crazy) and wound up hollering at the baby because she wouldn't keep her cute knit hat on. Yes. You read that right. I yelled (well, not really yelled, but you know what I mean) at a baby. For not keeping a stupid hat on her head. I may also have expressed my frustration at Anna for looking everywhere but the camera and saying "cheese" but somehow managing to not smile whilst doing so. I wound up apologizing to them all as I buckled them into their respective car seats. Anna and Mary said "that's ok." Lily looked on with a blank expression, because, of course, she had no idea why I was apologizing. Which is why it's stupid to be annoyed at her for ripping off her hat in the first place.

I'll admit it, I was nervous. Not for Mary. Mary's a rockstar. I knew she'd be great. (And sure enough, when it came time to say the final goodbye and walk out of the school, she practically shoved me out the door, giving my a glancing hug while eying the giant play house area. But I'm getting ahead of myself.)  No, I was nervous because the parents' informational night the week before had showed me that the vast, vast majority of the parents sending their children to this particular school had Their Stuff Together. Good outfits, expensive (and probably immaculate) cars, perfect hair and makeup (mothers only). Since I seem to exist in a perpetual state of Whirling Dervish, this disparity concerned me. I didn't want Mary to be The Girl With No Playdates because her mother was a little on the nutty side of ADD.

We arrived about five minutes early, along with most of the other parents. However, the school is very strict about its start time and we were not permitted out of the cubby room and into the school until exactly start time.

"Mommy, can we go outside?"

"Not right now Anna."

"But I want to go on the playground. Please? I asked nicely!"

"No, honey, not today."

"Can I stay and play with Mary?"

"No, baby, you don't go to school here," I said.

"Next year!" said a parent, trying to be encouraging. I didn't have the heart to tell her my July baby would not be taking an extra year of preschool and would therefore likely stay right where she is now until kindergarten.

Mary was talking everyone's ear off, getting to know her classmates, and I saw the room mother and her son approaching.

Now, I don't know this woman from a hole in the ground and I'm sure she's very nice. But it was 8 a.m. and she was dressed perfectly. My feeble attempts at fashion at the crack of dawn paled in comparison. Also, I had heard she had volunteered to be Room Mother, which meant she was some combination of highly motivated, organized, and possibly completely crazy. I stood up straight. I willed Mary to be polite.

Her son walked into the cubby room, dressed like all the other little boys in a polo shirt and, I think, shorts. His hair was done in one of those adorable faux hawks that I would so inflict on an imaginary son. Heck, I'd give one to Anna if I thought she'd comply.

Speaking of Anna.

"Hey!" she said, noticing the boy, who had just walked in and noticed an entire room full of people. "I see a shark!!!"

Silence. The boy, possibly taken aback, possibly terrified of a shark, possibly just wanting to spend his time in the fresh air instead of the tiny, overpacked cubby room, backed out as quickly as he'd entered.

In her defense, his hair was kind of fin-like.

I decided to let it go. Kids say silly stuff all the time, right? Right?!

Until that afternoon, I thought maybe we'd have a chance at being the normal family.

"Mary, what did you learn today?"

"That if my cheese falls on the floor, I shouldn't eat it."

Did I mention Room Mom does lunch duty?

It's going to be an interesting year.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Tomorrow Mary starts her new preschool, having missed the kindergarten cutoff by about a month. This one is an all day program, a couple of days a week, but it's the first time she'll be away from me on a consistent basis for that length of time.

Back in the spring I was pushing for kindergarten. She's emotionally and academically ready for sure. But it didn't happen. A couple of weeks ago I posted on Facebook that while people's walls were filling up with sad posts about sending their children off to school, I was silently grumbling that we had another year to go.

Tonight I'm wistful. She loves her new school and I'm surprised she went to bed as easily as she did this evening. There's a chill in the air, summer is over, and tomorrow, my first baby starts out on her own little journey.

I don't remember my own first day of nursery school, or kindergarten, except that on my first day of my public school career this five year old selected the craziest print dress known to man and wore it with bright red tights. I do remember the day before my brother's first day of school, though back then in our town kindergarten was a half day affair. I was in line at the Ben Franklin with my mom.

"School tomorrow," the cashier said. My mom confirmed she did, in fact, also have the ability to read a calendar.

"But don't worry," the cashier said. "Don't be sad. Pour yourself another cup of coffee and ENJOY IT."

I don't remember what my mom said. Probably that she wouldn't cry. (Which probably would have been a lie. This is the woman who predictably cried when I tried on my wedding dress but also, less traditionally, cried when I opened towels at my shower.) I don't know how she acted once those school bus doors closed on Steve and I that September morning. But I do know that tomorrow, when I leave the cubby room, Mary is going to be a bundle of energy and joy and I'll probably get a little misty. I like to pretend that's not who I am, but you know, sometimes the chink in the armor shows in the light of day.

Five years ago I was counting the days until my due date, then the days I was past due, until at 3:02 in the morning in early October, they handed me Mary. I know the exact time because I had to get a copy of her birth certificate for the school, and it was there, in bold type.

"Is this the long form? Will she be able to run for president?" I asked the City Clerk. I had to ask her something, make a bad joke, I was getting wistful just looking at the stupid thing. 3:02 a.m. in Warwick, this ridiculously wonderful and crazy journey began. It's been a blur ever since. I find myself looking at old pictures, willing myself to remember stories, everything I can from her babyhood. I hate when something slips by. Three kids in four years has been a wonderful blessing, but it's also made for a very rapid passage of time. How did we get here so fast? Wasn't I just putting her into a pink Red Sox bodysuit yesterday, holding her as they won the Series? Weren't we just sitting there, a family of three with a grey cat under a glowing tree, 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, letting a wide awake two month old "open" her presents?

Today I watched her at a birthday party, running an obstacle course, all legs and arms and a loud laugh, blonde hair in a french braid that hung to her waist, asking for another cookie, a juice box, a ride in a red wagon. Yesterday she and her best friend picked apples and danced in a sudden rainstorm. How did we arrive at this place already? How will she not always be this innocent, this happy? How did I get so lucky not once, but three times?

Tomorrow she starts school. Not even real school, not even all week, but she has a backpack with her name on it and requests for a lunch. (A juice box, a string cheese and a cheese sandwich, according to my four year old menu planner.) She has a towel for rest time and a cubby with a spot for a special stuffed animal just in case she needs it. Tomorrow will be full of new things and every day things and, yes, probably multiple cups of coffee. And pictures. So many pictures, just in case one day I can't remember it all as well as I'd like to.

Someone compared parenting to a marathon, and we're passing another marker on the trail.

Here we go onward.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The nanny

Long time, no blog, I apologize. I blame being in two shows concurrently (why yes, I am insane) and having taken on the exciting new role as nanny to the adorable six month old who lives next door. (Perhaps I should have saved the "insane" disclaimer until after that last statement.)

Honestly, it's great. Once you've broken the golden rule "never let 'em outnumber you," additional kids seem to just kind of fall into the mix. It's just been this week so far, but I'm optimistic. My kids love her. Well, the older two do. Lily seems unsure of just who this person is who gets bottles when she doesn't, and who gets to sit in her high chair, but she's coping. Yesterday, when I was giving Baby G her afternoon bottle, Lily crawled over, pulled herself up on the couch and screeched "MAMA!" joyfully. Baby G, being an only child and therefore unaccustomed to the default level of LOUD that this house operates at on a daily basis, freaked out momentarily but then went back to eating. Indoctrination: complete.

So today I got brave. There was a "creative movement" class at the library for three and four year olds, and it was raining hard. So we decided to brave the weather and head out. I loaded four kids into the car. Performed three car seat maneuvers and helped Mary with her booster. Made sure Baby G could see her car seat toys, handed Lily an animal cracker, handed Anna something, and fielded six million questions from Mary on the three mile drive to the library.

We arrived, and it was still pouring. I unbuckled Mary's booster, and as I did, the key in my hand went flying. I reached out uselessly as it arched over my hand and landed...somewhere. I looked in the backseat. I couldn't see it. I looked on the floor. Nothing. I got out and crouched over in the rain to see if it was under the seats. It wasn't.

I looked at the rain. I looked at the kids. I had no food for the older girls, only a bottle for Baby G, we were three miles from home and all I had was a debit card. The buses are e-fare or cash only. I got Mary onto the sidewalk and moved her booster. Nothing. I got Anna to stand next to her - nothing under her seat either. I moved the babies around like jigsaw pieces. Nada. The key had, for all intents and purposes, disappeared into the ether. And the rain, which had temporarily abated, started up again.

Defeated, we entered the library, Mary and Anna getting in the way as I juggled Lily on my left hip and Baby G's bucket on my right arm. I fired off a text to my husband in Boston, though he was hours away by train. I sent a text to my friend venting.

"I'll call you back," she said.

So I sat back, hoping that when the class was over some librarian would take pity on me and watch my kids so I could search the car Canadian Border Drug Patrol Style. Lily crawled around, Baby G fussed a bit in her carrier, so I swung her.

"Are they all yours?" a mother asked. I looked at Lily, clearly not much over one, and Baby G, clearly not a newborn, and decided I didn't have it in me to be too snarky.

"The older three are. I watch my neighbor's baby during the week."

"I was wondering how you'd managed to have two babies so soon!"

Occam's Razor, this town does not know it.

My phone buzzed. My friend Paula.

"Is it on a keychain?"

I realized that my friend was taking a massive one for the team and searching my car and I almost wept in gratitude. A few minutes later, another text: The key had been found wedged between the seats between the two car seats. How it managed to obtain enough force to do that, I have no idea.

"You need a key chain, Miss Kimberly," Paula laughed at me. She's entitled.

Back in the class, Mary was enthusiastically participating. Anna was somewhat participating, but giving everyone a good suspicious look for good measure. The babies were having a bottle (Baby G) and trying to get in everyone's way (Lily).

"How old are they?" another mother asked.

"A year and six months," I said. Her eyes went a little wide. "They're not both mine."

"Oh!" she laughed.

"Yeah, I've got this gestation thing streamlined to five months," I said. She got the joke. Thank God.

Class ended, we loaded back into the car, came home, did lunch and now everyone is, for the moment, peaceful and quiet. Outside it looks like nine o'clock. It's starting to feel a bit like it to me, too.