I've been kind of flinchy lately. If anyone gives me a questionable look or sends me an e-mail whose tone wavers between nonjudgmental and possibly very upset with me I sink more deeply into yet another in a series of ugly sweaters that Jack would gladly set on fire if I would ever take it off, which I don't, because it's winter and cold. Well, it's 63 degrees and chilly in the shade. I know, you're in New Hampshire or Canada and you're glaring at me through your computer screen, aren't you?



Katie's recovery from her doggy eye injury has shifted my focus from my own paranoic health issues onto hers. After she got HIT BY THE CAR the nerve damage on the right side of her face pretty much shut down her blink reflex. No tears + no blink = dry, ulcerated eye that we are trying to save with eight kinds of medication. But when I took her to the eye vet last week she noticed that if you tap just to the side of Katie's bad eye she makes a little blink. That reflexive little *flinch* means the nerves are healing! Flinching can be good! And we may save that eye yet.

The other thing about Katie that I don't think I've mentioned is that the car knocked the right side of her head flat:


All of this has lead to some new pet names, so along with the usual affectionate Katie Potatie, Katers, Tater, etc. we now have the option of calling her Flat Head and Ghost Eye Killer.



Jackson came down with the fever, headache, and barf combo very suddenly Saturday night. Everything I got down his throat came right back up again ("everything" meaning water and kids' Motrin). Sunday morning he just sat on the couch moaning My head hurts! Oh, God! It hurts! I finally remembered that I had some of my crackpot Chinese herbs in the kitchen, a liquid kids' formula called Yin Chao Junior that my acupuncturist sold me at the beginning of the flu season. It turned out to be the only thing that didn't make Jackson gag and projectile vomit. By the end of the day Sunday he was actually feeling rather chipper, so either it was just one of those 24-hour bugs* or else 5,000 years of herbal knowledge worked once again and turned what's been a three-day barf fest for many other families in the area into a mere one day of misery and some extra let's-not-rush-it-and-have-a-relapse days off from school.

*My crusty old HMO doctor has informed me that most twenty-four-hour bugs are actually food poisoning.

Fortunately, I can log in to my boss's computer and work from home. Unfortunately, the better Jackson feels the more impossible it becomes to get anything done. As soon as I sit down at the computer the boy's mommydar kicks in and he starts bellowing MOM! I NEED YOU! What does he need me for? LOOK! TWEETY'S FLAPPING HIS LITTLE WINGS! HE'S SO CUTE! Can I go now? NO! STAY WITH ME! LET'S WATCH CARTOONS AND SNUGGLE! And does anyone remember actually being scared by Scooby-Doo when they were kids? I remember being sort of bored by Scooby's crawling-around-in-another-dark-cave-and-then-jumping-into-a-speedboat adventures. Plus, all those sandwiches. And Scooby Snacks? Why would a grown beatnik humiliate himself time and time again just so Daphne will flip him a dog biscuit? But I've got to hand it to Casey Kasem, he's been doing Shaggy's voice since 1969 and he still manages to convey that strange post-Maynard G. Krebs hippie enthusiasm through a character that's at least fifty years younger than he is.

So I have given in to my little tyrant and watched endless cartoons and read and played games until I'm thoroughly flinchy and considering taking up smoking again, and this is after only three days of having him home. He's got ten days of spring break coming up, what the hell am I going to do then? I know, why does a preschooler have spring break? Because when we moved to the hinterlands our old day care place seemed too far of a drive and we signed Jackson up for a preschool that's part of a school that goes up to eighth grade. And it was fifty dollars cheaper, and I would be saving all that time and gas money. But because it's part of a larger school the big-kid curriculum kicks in right away. Hence he is learning his state capitals at an absurdly young age, and twice a week he has French. This entire paragraph has now served its function as a transition into the following (pre-barf fest) conversation:

Jackson: "Mom, do you know what cookie is in French?"

Me (Mrs. Seven Years of French in Both High School and College): "I think I know this one."

Jackson: "What is it."

Me (in my fine Paris-via-Denver accent): "Bee-SQUEE?"

Jackson (rolls eyes): "NO."

Me: "Are you sure?

Jackson: "It's beast creep."

Me: "Uh, if it's spelled like biscuit, you don't say it quite like . . ."

Jackson, on the verge of tears: "IT'S BEAST CREEP!"

He's really sensitive about it, so whatever you do don't come rolling up on him and say, "Hey, how's it going, little beast creep?" unless you want him to pull a blanket over his head and not talk to you for fifteen minutes.

I should also say congratulations to the Go Fug Yourself girls, Heather and Jessica, for winning a 2006 Bloggie for best writing on a Web log, for they are being sent unto them two "writing well is the best revenge" t-shirts, along with some other class booty for beating out some talentedwimmins who, let's face it, already have WWITBR tees. Oh, no! Maybe they're cursed! Maybe you buy the shirt and your tits look great and you never win any awards for your writing ever again! Is diminished ambition the price one must pay for a fine rack? Or do you get to skip the mid-level awards and go straight to a publishing contract?

Only time will tell.