Private Service Announcement
Reports Greatly Exaggerated


Patrick received his first set of license plates (Tennessee - thank you very much and I hope you have received his card although I have now lost all faith in the postal service) and there was much rejoicing. He designed and printed up a stack of thank you cards in anticipation of more packages and then... nothing happened. We made the trek to the post office almost every day and the box was empty and then empty and then still empty.

Having heard from several of you that some plates were in the mail I asked Steve to check with someone while he was over in that part of the world on Saturday and the magnificently unhelpful and unsympathetic post employee behind the desk told him that there was no mail for our box and in the absence of a last name and/or a last name that matched their records they most likely returned everything. Except when they didn't do that, of course, that first time.

I am so sorry for the inconvenience I caused you so if you sent something and they were returned to you I ABSOLUTELY INSIST upon reimbursing you so email me.

I also feel like a total fool; like Andy Warhol's assistant who came back from the grocery store with cans of tuna. An emotion bolstered by Patrick, all Pagliacci, saying, "I'm sure you did the best you could."

I went to the post office today and fixed everything soooo... if you still have (a) license plate(s) you are willing to donate to Patrick's art project and you can send it/them to:

Julia Litton PO Box 251306 Woodbury MN 55125

Patrick has been dutifully keeping up on his blog and I admit to envy as I watch him sit down, type up a little something and then hit post. It's, like, ten minutes from start to finish (less if it's a drawing) and then he gets on with his life. You don't even want to know how long it takes me to write a blog post. Seriously. A long time. More than ten minutes.

He started school on Tuesday and had an emergency squeeze-in appointment with an ENT by Thursday morning. I had kinda sorta suspected a sinus infection since late July but two days of school acted like a giant blinking neon arrow pointing right as his face. I think he gets dehydrated and it aggravates things? After a day or two he had sunken black-circled zombie eyes, was flattened by a recurring evening headache and was prone to take everything rather tragically. I am pretty sure his new teacher thinks he is a little... fragile. She has taken to patting my elbow when I see her at pick-up and murmuring: Patrick had a good day.

So I took him to the doctor (random ENT partner 4532 since Patrick's ENT is booked out until Halloween) who cultured him and put him on yet another antibiotic, which I am giving one more day but I don't think is working. Poor kid. I did, by the way, try that spray someone recommended (xylitol?) and it failed to work for Patrick; I think because his sinuses seal themselves off almost immediately, taking their dark bacteria laden secrets with them. However I also tried it when the original cold that kicked off Patrick's infection swept the household and I went from goopy and congested to open like the windy plains in three days. For what it is worth. And speaking of recommedations from the drug store: Culturelle now makes a chewable probiotic that is worth every penny. My kids kept eyeing the white powder floating in their [whatever] very suspiciously but they're perfectly willing to chew anything that tastes like fake watermelon and we are all about the probiotics, yo.

Caroline and Edward started school today after a long (very long) three weeks at home doing nothing. To their credit they actually play well together and for extended periods of time. They have this game where they wrap themselves in Caroline's comforter ("We're yermaids," explains Edward) and this other game where they wrap themselves in Caroline's sheets ("We're princesses but I'm not one really I'm the super turbo knight," explains Edward.) I wish they had a game that involved making the bed again but I guess Disney doesn't merchandise anything like that.

Akshuwee, as Edward would say, that was just a totally unfair thing for me to say. They do make their beds, sort of. Just yesterday, for example, Edward watched a commercial for something or other and then embarked on a cleaning frenzy based upon my repeated comments that I will be happy to give him the money to buy x y or z just as soon as he regularly contributes to the household by doing q m and 7. I guess this finally clicked because five minutes after deciding that he will probably die if he doesn't get some hotwheels big feeted thing he went past me pushing a laundry basket from which he loaded the washing machine (technically they were clean things that hadn't been put away yet but who am I to argue)


Then he unloaded the dryer.


When I pointed out to Caroline how much she was going to enjoy watching Edward spend the allowance he was about to earn she flared her nostrils at me and stomped up to her room for a cleaning frenzy of her own. Between them they tidied their rooms until they shone like the top of the Chrysler Building. 


Look at that (oh and hey and my thumb shadow - and I wonder why National Geographic has never begged me to come work for them.) What a clean room. Ready for the punchline?

Here you go.

That's what I found outside their rooms when I went up to evaluate their progress. The pile is still there, by the way. I guess next time I need to be more specific: please pick up your toys and then put them away in your room; not please pick up your toys and throw them out the door.

Preschool drop-off was remarkably easy. Caroline was thrilled to be returning to civilzation after that long stretch with her family, introverted tree-root gnomes that we are, and in the car she told me that she would behave beautifully.

"I'm going to share and I'm going to play with everyone and I'm not going to call anyone idiots. Even if they are," she added virtuously.

Edward was dour but not screaming. A teacher came over as soon as we had deposited his snack and swimming gear and asked him if he wanted to write his name on a giant sheet of paper covering a table.

He said, "No."

She said, "Do you want me to help you?"

He said, "OK."

He picked a marker out of the box and turned back to her, saying, "But I'm not going to enjoy it."

Fair enough! On that note I gave him a quick kiss, was dramatically embraced by Caroline a la war bride saying farewell to beloved about to leave on a Forlorn Hope and went to the post office to beg them to stop wrecking my (sick!) (fragile!) son's life with their stupid federal laws and regulations.

I am starting to think about next year for them and I find myself in a conundrum. If I had the choice I would put Caroline into an immersion program. If Patrick liked letters and Edwards loves cars then it is fair to say that Caroline is fond of languages. Kai-lan had her at ni hao. Dora only had to ask her once to vamonos. Whenever she can get away with it (read: whenever Edward isn't around. he haaaaaates it when she does this) she watches DVDs in whatever alternate languages are offered: Tangled in Spanish, Sagwa in French. It is sort of her thing and since I have vowed to overparent each of our children with an eye to their individual snowflake patterns I am cool with it. She started

[hold on, let me give you a minute to start your eye roll]

Saturday morning Chinese school last weekend


and I think immersion school would be great for her.

However (and apart from the fact that the nearest open enrollment immersion programs are on Mars) there is the fact that she is a twin. I'm not saying Edward would not do fine in some quirky kindergarten but I would never in a million years seek it out for him. Do I really need him to tell me yo odio mi escuela in more than one language? No. No I don't.

I never thought that I would consider making unilateral decisions when it came to the twins but... I guess I might. Would you ever split up twins for elementary school? Do kids who aren't particular interested in languages thrive in immersion anyway? Since Edward is going to probably loathe kindergarten regardless does it matter?  

Finally, I am officially absolutely utterly and completely open to any nontraditional treatment for Patrick's sinuses. We have tried drugs, more drugs, irrigation, non-dairy diet and more irrigations. And drugs.

I will do anything you suggest. Homeopathy? Osteopathy? Chiropractors, herbalists, the needle thing I cannot remember r... oh right... acupuncture. I don't even know what some of these things are but if you are kind enough to point me in some direction I will research my local options.

Thank you. 

PS Patrick turned to me the other day and asked, "When did she get to be so fun?" He and Caroline have discovered a shared taste in music and together...

they dance.



(What's up with these shadows? I wonder if I'm having a problem with my flash. Or my thumb)


Similarly he and Edward have a nonstop game called Mr Huggie. Edward says, "I'm Mr Huggie!" Then he jumps on Patrick and pummels him.