At the beginning of the school year, a note came home with my daughters stating that an unnamed fellow schoolmate with a severe peanut allergy could not be in the same room with peanut products. Wow. That's a serious allergy. And my lunch preparations were seriously cramped.
I struggled at first with the fairness of administration banning every kid in the school from eating peanut butter. It's not like a prohibition on anchovies. Who snacks on anchovy and jelly sandwiches? Or celery sticks with anchovy paste slathered down the middle? A ban on anchovies I could handle. But peanuts? Peanut butter is a staple in our house, as I'm sure it is in many families' homes.
After a few weeks of complaining under my breath as I prepared tuna or egg salad or sliced turkey sandwiches, I started thinking about the issue from the perspective of the mother of the allergic child. She has just as much—if not more—trouble trying to come up with healthy, safe lunches for her allergic son or daughter. And is it really such an awful thing to ask that her baby be allowed to attend school without threat of anaphylactic shock? A child shouldn't have to face death just because another kid likes PB and J. The convenience of sending my girls to school with peanut butter sammies is not worth a stint in the slammer for involuntary manslaughter.
The other day, I read a news article about a parent revolt in Florida. They want the lone child with a severe peanut allergy who attends their kids' school to stay at home and let the rest of the students eat in peace. Now I'm all confused again. It does seem a little crazy to prevent everyone from eating peanut products and to make the teachers supervise an extra 10–20 minutes of hand-washing and mouth-rinsing for the sake of ONE child. On the other hand, it doesn't seem fair to banish a student just because s/he was born with an allergy. What do you think? And then tell me how I should think, 'cause I'm swinging back and forth here.
Dinner last night: spinach salad with steak and steamed potatoes
If you're scheduling a trip to Alaska this time of year, you might want to rethink your plans. It's pre-breakup. We're still in the clutches of Old Man Winter, but his grip is weakening, which means the weather is kinda cold, sorta warm. A lotta icy, a little muddy. A buncha snow, a bitta dirt.
Puddles are showing up on country roads . . .
. . . and on city streets.
Sidewalks are too wet to sweep . . .
. . . and piles of snow are no longer fresh and white.
Some of us moan and complain about the weather, while others choose to sing and dance:
Dinner last night: pecan-encrusted chicken, snap peas
I vaguely recall my life before kids. It consisted of order and peace and neatly arranged knick-knacks on the living room shelves. My former childless self thought all the talk about "childproofing" one's home was the nattering of overprotective parents who were too spineless to discipline their offspring. Why, all you have to do is train your child not to touch things. Easy! Actually, it was possible with my first child. She was well-behaved and obedient, and I had the assistance of my husband's second set of hands and eyes to help keep her away from the breakables. Still, she managed to ruin the VCR by jamming a pencil into it. Oh, and she ripped off a patch of wallpaper. Then our second baby came along, she with the silent crawl and dexterous hands. I had to move my antique teacups way up high where she couldn't reach them and box up the books that she kept pulling off the shelves into a massive pile on the floor. And finally . . . the twins arrived.
Aside from a few pieces of furniture that the dog has chewed on, I basically live in a bare house. The pictures have been knocked off the walls by flung toys. Lamps have been pulled by their cords across tables to crash onto the floor below. Curtains have been tugged until they've weakened and torn from the rod, with the rod then used as a piece of gymnastic equipment until one end is finally ripped out of the wall and left dangling. Forget the porcelain collectibles and delicate music boxes—they're long gone in shattered pieces. That which the twins haven't broken, they've killed. Rest in peace, plants and betta fish.
The only items my 4-year-old Tasmanian Devils haven't yet destroyed are my musical cats. I'm not sure why feline figurines originally appealed to me. I don't normally go for these kinds of decor items, but at the time they struck my funny bone. I picked them up on clearance for a couple bucks each.
CATS! Playing musical instruments!
The other day, I ran across some musical dogs. ON CLEARANCE. It was a sign. Unfortunately, there were only two and I couldn't form a trio. Oh, well. They make a funky duo, don't you think?
What? They're whimsical!
You can e-mail me any time for tips. Tasteful, classy interior decorating is my specialty.
Dinner last night: pork chops with stuffing and mushroom gravy
My mom is in the middle of some medical issues. She's far away, and so are my sisters, which has resulted in my feeling rather lonely and helpless at the moment. I'm staying in touch via phone calls and text messages, but it's not the same as being there in person to take charge and boss people around, which is how I typically cope with stressful situations.
She's scheduled to undergo a procedure this morning, so I'll be spending my day alternating between prayer sessions and panic attacks. My daughters can expect lots of random hugs for the next 24 hours, with me holding them extra tight. It's the next best thing to organizing everyone's schedule and yelling instructions.
Some children spend their Spring Break building sandcastles; my girls build snowmen. Some kids waterski during their vacation; my daughters cross-country ski. Some youngsters surf in the ocean; my munchkins sled on the hill!
I'm sitting here in front of the computer, alright, but I haven't been blogging. I've been working on our taxes. Pfffft. This annual torture fest is made all the more complicated this year by the fact that I must prepare a separate return for my 10-year-old daughter. She received a paycheck in 2010. An actual paycheck with money taken out for such necessities as Social Security, a thriving program that I'm sure will still be in existence when my child reaches her age of retirement. But I prepare her tax return with love and pride, for it is the result of payment for her starring role in a series of television ads. And by "starring role," I mean . . . well, you can see for yourself:
What? You didn't see my little movie star? Look again at the :20 mark. That's the back of her head as she high-fives an authority figure. SO WORTH filing an additional tax return.