Archive for January, 2007

Birthday Party

Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

            Today, Kaitlyn had her 4th birthday party. She isn’t quite four… her birthday is on Tuesday (try explaining that to her). But a little boy in her class has his 4th birthday this week, so we mommies decided to share a birthday party.

            Rather than fill someone’s house with 10 mess-making children, we elected to have the fete at a remote location. There’s a place here that’s sort of a mix between Chuck-e-Cheese and Frankie’s Fun House. But with bad food. It’s called elfi’s. As in elves. (I discovered that when I got there and saw elves painted all over the place. Then I was like “oh, like elves!”) There’s a giant climbing/sliding thingie and a little toddler area. Both have ball pits. Kaitlyn gave both a test run. She seemed to prefer the smaller one. I think because it was set up in such a way that you could stand on the sides, cling to the netting behind you, then plunge into the balls like a pool. The bigger area has a giant slide. It looked like a lot of fun. Kaitlyn really enjoyed it. There are also computers set up with games. We tried to avoid those. Computer games we can play at home (and in English to boot) There is a snack bar, but all we got from it was ice cream. We did that instead of cake. We didn’t want to pay the extra for their cake and figured they would frown upon an imported one.

            All the parents followed our request for no presents. The idea was just to share some fun with friends. I know, it’s idealistic of me to think that Kaitlyn will go through her childhood not expecting gifts at every turn, especially on a birthday. But I want her to learn that time spent with friends and family laughing and playing and having a good time is more valuable than anything someone can give you wrapped up in a box.

            We’ll have cake (and, yes, presents) next Tuesday on Kaitlyn’s actual birthday.

            It’s funny, this morning I was telling Kaitlyn how hard it is to believe that she’s almost four.

            A year ago, she was just starting to talk our ears off.

            Two years ago, she was running around our brand new house, oblivious to the fact that it would be the last birthday she’d share with her grandma.

            Three years ago, she was trying to walk on her own and determined to never switch from a bottle to a sippy cup.

            Four years ago, she was determined to never be born. At least, that’s how it felt to me! But when she did come into the world, she was the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen. And, instantly (once I got to see her), we shared the most amazing bond. Granted, it’s a bond she now abuses, refusing to go to bed (which she’s doing right now), arguing about everything and trying like crazy to assert her independence (mostly when it suits her. Get herself dressed? No way. Unless you’re going to the beach!)

            It’s hard to even begin to imagine the ways in which Kaitlyn has changed our lives over the last four… nearly five… years. We may not be living in France were it not for her. I was being courted by a news director for an executive producer job which had our general manager trying to figure out how to keep me in the company when I found out I was pregnant. That meant we were staying put. Which meant Bill stayed with Caterpillar… which meant he got this job in Grenoble. So it’s Kaitlyn’s fault. But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

a message in a bottle would be faster

Tuesday, January 16th, 2007

Nearly 4 weeks after Patrick (my brother) sent me two boxes for Christmas, they arrived.  I then wrote this letter to DHL which I share with anyone who wants to know what company to avoid:

Given the way my most recent shipping experience went with your company, I don’t expect this letter to be given any attention or care. Because that is, in my experience, the way in which your customers are handled.

It takes a great deal of marketing nerve to make the following claim on your website:

We transport shipments rapidly, safely and on time all over the world. The basis for this is our comprehensive network, combining air and ground transport for optimal delivery performance.

The shipment sent to me was neither rapid nor on time.

The two boxes left California on December 18. One arrived in Lyon on December 20. The other was a day behind. As of December 22, both packages were classified as “address information needed.” It was then apparently left in the hands of the customer to contact DHL to verify an address that was correct. But as the customer, it is not my job to keep track of your business. That is what we pay you far too much money to do for us. ($150 for two small boxes) A simple check of a map or virtually any map program on the internet would have shown the location of my home. Delivery companies of all kinds (UPS, movers, appliance companies, fuel companies) have all found my home using the exact same address you had with no problem, likely because the address was complete and correct. Had I been given a tracking number, perhaps I’d have found the problem weeks ago. But, again, it is not my job to handle your deliveries.

January 9, the shipper was finally contacted. He was then told that no attempt was made to reach me because the number he’d listed for me was a United States number. It is my correct number. When he shipped the boxes originally, he was not told that he had to have a French phone number for me. Your website then claims delivery attempts were made on January 11, 12, and 15. I was not notified of any delivery attempt. I was phoned on the 11th at which time I arranged for delivery today because if I’d wanted delivery sooner I was told I would have to rearrange my schedule.

My husband and I plan to live in France for the next several years; we are part of a sizable ex-pat community here. We tell everyone we know in the United States and here in the Grenoble area not to use DHL… EVER… whether they are shipping across the globe or across the street.

I had difficulty shipping across the United States with DHL in the past, so much so that it became a running joke with the person attempting to send me items. It has now gone from ludicrous to abominable. Given what you charge (again, $150 for two boxes) your company should be embarrassed.

If it absolutely, positively has to get there…. try the post office.

It’s always 9 degrees at Chamrousse

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

            Since moving here, Bill and I have become a wee bit obsessed with the temperature. Both our cars tell us the temperature outside, and we announce as it moves up or down every half a degree. Bill’s car even beeps at you when it reaches 4 degrees. Why four? No clue. Part of the degree fixation is the desire for snow and fear of ice. But in or out of the car, we’re always speculating about the temperature. “Gee, it’s warm. Must be 12 degrees today. I’m cold. It’s got to be nearly zero!” Part of it I think is just trying to sort out the whole Celsius thing.

        Next to the cabin at Chamrousse where the ski instructors sit and wait for students to show up, there’s a sign with a thermometer on top. It’s kinda like a bank thermometer. Last Sunday, it said 9 degrees. Yesterday, it said 9 degrees. Today, it said (you guessed it) 9 degrees. So, apparently no matter the weather, it’s always 9 degrees at Chamrousse.

        Whatever the actual temperature is (no way it was 9 degrees today, it was cold) Chamrousse is a lot more fun when you can ski there.

        There were two things keeping us off the slopes today. Our new skis are still at the store to have the bindings attached and/or adjusted. And, maybe even more importantly, the lifts were not running again today. Yesterday, the lift operators (we think) were out on strike. Today, the sign on the road to Chamrousse said the “pisteurs” had a grievance. Knowing that skiing “en piste” means to ski on the groomed run, we presumed that the sign means that the people who upkeep the runs weren’t working today. A check of an actual French-English dictionary online corrects us: a pisteur is a member of the ski patrol. The people who keep you on the runs. Kinda important.

        No lifts don’t mean no ski school, though. The Piou Piou club was up and running as usual. Kaitlyn had another great time, but she’s getting a little tired of being kept on the little kid side. More than once, an instructor caught her assuming a spot among the bigger, more experienced skiers. Without lifts running, grown up beginners also took to the Piou Piou club. They did not have to ski under the little hoops, but they did share the conveyor belt and rope tow and butt lift with the smaller set. The instructors seemed happy just to have something to do.

        And no lift running didn’t mean no one was on the mountain. Word must have spread because the bottom of the main run was packed with sledders. Some dragged their plastic sleds way way up the mountain. Some got going so fast they could only stop by plowing into the people enjoying cafes at the cafe outside. There was a fair number of snowboarders weaving in and out of the sleds. We even saw a kid on a bicycle riding down the lower part of the hill. And there’s always the die-hard skier… the one who actually walks up the mountain in his skis then turns around and goes down. Bill says it’s called rando. I say it’s called insane. Although, it does eliminate the matter of having to get off the chairlift without falling.

Lift me up?

Saturday, January 13th, 2007

I was a little bummed this morning as we drove up to Chamrousse for Kaitlyn’s ski lesson. Yesterday I called and canceled mine. Well, postponed it. And, yes, I did so in French. Or at least I did until the woman on the other end of the line begged me to speak English. I decided to because this whole week has been beautiful. In a spring kind of way. That’s not beautiful to a ski resort. A report from another mom yesterday at school after her morning lesson was that it was icy and you had to be careful to watch for the rocks sticking up, since half the snow that was there a week ago has melted. We figured the Piou Piou club (little kids ski school) could be taken care of with a couple shovels full of snow.

            As we drove up, noting that the thermometer in the car told us it was around 8 degrees Celsius, we noticed the lift at the lower area wasn’t running. Then as we walked up to the ski school, we noticed none of the lifts were moving. A check of my watch… maybe they don’t open till 10. (that didn’t really sound right) Then Bill saw the signs hung above the closed lift-ticket windows. The lift operators were on strike! They were there, all wearing their Chamrousse-issued blue ski jackets. But instead of getting people up to the top of the mountain, they were drinking instant coffee and passing out information about their beef to interested would-be skiers. I didn’t bother to get one; I wouldn’t have been able to read it. I have read about the tendency groups have to strike here… although it’s usually bus drivers or train operators. And if what I’ve read holds true, they will be shuttling skiers up the icy slopes again tomorrow morning. (I’ll know, because Kaitlyn will be back at the Piou Piou club!)

            While Kaitlyn mastered the art of skiing under big plastic hoops, Bill and I cruised the lodge, to check out the shops. I bought a book in English. It almost didn’t matter what the subject was. It’s a Michelin guide to the French Alps, including Grenoble. It says we have a fantastic art museum. (I’m supposed to go to that on Friday, so I’ll be the judge!) I stopped in one shop for a hot chocolate and was surprised when the woman gave it to me in a china cup. I forget, there’s no paper cups with those horrible heat shields wrapped around them here. Nothing is “to go” except from the pizza truck. So I sat outside with my chocolate chaud at the base of the main ski run, watching the happy sledders enjoying having the place to themselves. I also tried on some hats; I want one with ear flaps. Bill wouldn’t stay to give his opinion and I was too afraid I’d pick one that would make me look like a dork. I may take the plunge and make that purchase tomorrow.

            Ski school was a hit with Kaitlyn again today. The group did well; they progressed to learning to use the rope tow. Kaitlyn didn’t exactly master it, but she squealed so loudly while trying we could hear her.

            Kaitlyn didn’t make it all the way back to our house before falling asleep. Two hours of skiing under hoops, riding the conveyor belt and being dragged by the rope tow really exhausted her.

            Bill and I figured if we couldn’t ski, we could prepare for when it finally does snow. And, it’s sale time in France. It’s the law. Stores are only allowed to have sales two times a year: in January and again some time in the summer. The French people at Bill’s office were surprised when he told them that skis and boots were on sale at a store we’ve come to like. So he figured now’s as good a time as any to drop a thousand euro… but now we both own skis and boots. I avoided the skis with pink butterflies and instead have some with a swirly taupe pattern. I could do without the inscription “first luv.” I don’t know why they make skis for women beginners look so silly. Maybe it is to draw attention away from our flailing arms.

            Now, all we have to do is get some snow. I’m not in the business of praying for snow. See, when I was in the second grade, my friends and I prayed for snow and Indianapolis was slammed with a big-time blizzard. My Mom and Grandparents told me that I’d caused it. I vowed then, never to use my powers to produce piles of the white stuff. So now all I can do is hope… and hope that it doesn’t snow on my street while it’s at it.

Je ne parle pas bien francais!

Friday, January 12th, 2007

            Friday afternoon French lessons are the hardest. It’s the end of the week, it’s hard to concentrate. There’s a list of things that didn’t get finished, and a list of things you’d just plain rather be doing. Especially when it’s 16 degrees (Celsius) outside in the middle of January. (Even I like nice weather)

            But my French lesson is exactly where I found myself this afternoon. After dropping Kaitlyn back at school from lunch I drove to what Kaitlyn calls my French school. I wonder if she pictures me sitting on the floor with other adults, listening to someone read a story, or sitting around a table making blobs with play doh.

            Anyway, I went in and today’s teacher was in the “lounge” with another student (CAT employee) and his teacher for the day. They were carrying on a conversation in French and the only polite thing to do was try to join in. My teacher was recounting his holiday in London. The other two were commenting on their opinion of the city and of British versus French beer (everyone agrees, it’s no contest. If you have to ask who’s the winner, you’ve never tried French beer). Then Friday took over and my mind sort of wandered. I was snapped back to reality when the other teacher addressed me. I thought he asked if I’ve ever been to London. Now, I thought this because I knew the topic was London and I just guessed at the question. I generally follow a conversation by recognizing the subject then sort of filling in the blanks as best I can. So I answered. Unfortunately, he didn’t want to know anything about England He was just telling me that he will be my teacher on Monday. So to that statement, I said “About 20 years ago.” No wonder he looked so confused as I searched for the phrase. Lundi. Londres. He politely said he supposed the two words sound alike. I wanted to crawl under the table. (please, please, PLEASE, don’t let him bring this up on Monday)

            Finally, the chit-chat disaster ended and the regular lesson got started. The teacher has decided that I’m to explain words and concepts in French. That takes some concentration, but I muddled through it. If a sign says a store is open every day but Wednesday what does that mean? It’s open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, etc. Ah, the cafe was kicking in and the brain was working again. Then he asked me to demonstrate my understanding of how to say “I like x more than y.” So I said the first thing that popped into my head. “I like chocolate more than potatoes.” Suddenly, I was a character in a David Sedaris story… being laughed at for my lack of mastery of the French language. “Big news headline!” he said. Gads, potatoes was the word that popped into my head. I have no idea why. And it is a true statement, albeit a stupid one. I recovered a little by next announcing that I like tea less than coffee.

            It’s hard knowing pretty much every time you open your mouth, you’re speaking something half a notch above nonsense. The other day at Kaitlyn’s school, a little boy tried to tell me something about Kaitlyn. All I could do was stare. Here I was, left dumbfounded by a 9 year old. A woman told me “pas important.” Ok, maybe what he had to say isn’t important. But being able to understand is… and I don’t.  And it’s getting increasingly frustrating.  I think I could take French lessons every day and it wouldn’t make it any easier.

            Pretty soon, Kaitlyn will be able to speak more French than I can. Maybe she can help me out.

apparently, the clock is ticking…

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

When Bill came home from work today, he told me about a conversation he had with his boss. His French boss. He told me that I should expect that we won’t stay here more than three years. Maybe four. Maybe. I’m kinda surprised at myself… I’m sort of saddened by that. It seems like in three years I’ll just be getting the hang of speaking French and shopping in French stores. It sounds like such a long time, but it isn’t. (No wonder he’s in such a hurry to buy himself new skis and ski boots)

        Visitors… don’t delay. And I’m stepping up my European travel plans.

        I guess the thing of it is… there’s no telling where we’ll go from here.

avez vous de Ben Gay?

Monday, January 8th, 2007

Boy, do I hurt today!

Faire du ski

Sunday, January 7th, 2007

I wish grown up ski lessons could be as cool as the lessons for little kids.

Today was Kaitlyn’s first day at ski school. She put on her yellow ski boots and her skis with penguins on them (the guy at the ski shop showed them to her and said “happy feet”) and she was off for two hours at the piou piou club. The kids “ski” around an obstacle course of sorts. They learn how to ride on a conveyor belt with their skis (there’s a big one at the ski resort, plus at least one as you get onto a lift)… then they ski under two hoops (Kaitlyn called them rainbows), down a tiny slope, around some cones and back onto the conveyor. (you can see a picture on their website Yesterday, Kaitlyn couldn’t stand up on her skis when we took her out on our own. After two hours at the piou piou club, she was maneuvering the course with a fair amount of skill. Ok, maybe not skill. Competence?

We didn’t stay to watch the whole time, we were afraid we’d be a distraction. Two hours seemed like enough time to get in a little skiing for ourselves. We bought the passes for the “mini-domain,” not knowing what lifts that let us onto. (yes, we had a map) Then we went and rented skis and boots. Embarrassing? Thankfully, giving your weight in kilograms at least sounds like you don’t weigh much. I put on the horrid purple Barney ski pants and we were off. First, I had to make my way up a hill to get on the conveyor belt that Kaitlyn had already mastered by then. That dumped us off about a third of the way down a slope of unknown intensity. I snow plowed my way down to a lift which went to an unknown destination. Bill figured what the heck, we should be around all lifts that lead to green (easy) runs.

The lift tickets at Chamrousse were new to me. You put the ticket in your pocket and at the entrance to each lift you pass by some kind of reader. Your ticket is good, the turnstile lets you through. Wrong lift, no turny. That lift, no turny. So we backed our way out, past the other skiers with the right kind of ticket and kept skiing down the hill. We found another lift and figured if IT didn’t take us back up the mountain, we’d have to walk, because we were at the bottom. This time, it worked. And for this lift, you get on a conveyor then the seat comes up behind you as the conveyor is carrying you toward an edge… scary. And, dang, that lift was high up in the air. Yes, I know that’s how lifts work. It’s been a while since I’ve been on one.

At the top, I managed to get off the lift without falling, which made my entire day on the mountain a huge success. Bill stopped to check out the map, then I followed him. Now not too far along, I noticed big blue circles on the trees. I tried to tell him, but he was so far ahead of me he didn’t hear me. Not like I was going to turn around at that point anyway. I figured I had to be wrong, those couldn’t possibly have been blue dots indicating an intermediate run. So, not having a choice anyway, I kept going. I made it all the way without falling. That’s not to say I made it with a great deal of style or grace. There was a lot of arm waving and snow plowing. Bill kindly said I did better than he thought I would. I guess that was a compliment. At the time, on the mountain, I took it to be one.

Once we finished that run, Bill checked his map to see where we needed to go to get back to Kaitlyn’s ski school. That was when he realized, I’d just come down an intermediate slope. (So I’m not entirely crazy – those were blue dots on the trees!) He agreed, next time down he’d make sure we were on a green run.

The green run wasn’t really so very easy, if you ask me. The trouble started getting off the lift, when I tried to avoid the woman ahead of us who’d fallen and, as a result, I fell. Then at one point on the slope, I got myself turned around and was about to head down the mountain backwards when I discovered that if you try really, really hard you can snowplow in reverse. Just after getting myself pointed in the right direction, I head someone yelling my name. Another ISE family was passing overhead on the lift. What are the chances? (I’m told, pretty good, actually)

We made it to the bottom with enough time to watch the end of Kaitlyn’s class. She was doing better than I was, maneuvering the obstacle course like a little pro. She told us she had a good time. She sure looked like it.

After stopping for lunch at the lodge, I told Bill to ski some more on his own, so he wouldn’t have to wait for me. Kaitlyn and I puttered around for a while on her skis, then she decided she really wanted to join the other kids sledding. Right there outside the lodge, kids drag their sleds up the bottom of the slope and ride down. We hadn’t brought Kaitlyn’s sled. So I forked over 3, 50 for a pink sled that looks like a big shovel with a short handle. Sit on it, and slide down the hill. Maybe head over heels, but you slide nonetheless. Kaitlyn loved that, too, although after a while she was so tired she couldn’t even carry that little thing up the little hill. Bill skied three more runs. He looked so happy. When we met one of the first things he told me was that he loves to ski – and we have never been.

I get the feeling, we’re going to be back at Chamrousse a lot this year. I know we’ll be back next weekend… for Kaitlyn’s triumphant return to piou piou. And my lesson. After skiing with me, Bill immediately signed me up for lessons. It’s all ok with me. I had a great time. Yea, I need to get some pants so I don’t have to fight the urge to sing “I love you…” in my purple pants. But standing there I realized why my brother bought a condo at Mammoth Mountain in California. And I think he should expect us to visit.

Meating time

Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007

            Yesterday, I did not go to the grocery store to restock my shelves because I figured the whole world would be there after the holiday. This morning, my cupboard looked like Old Mother Hubbard’s. I knew I could not avoid it any longer, even though it meant probably not making it to meet up with one of Kaitlyn’s friends to go sledding.

            I was half right that the whole world would be at Carrefour yesterday. It looked like half went, and half had the same thought I did. So half the world was at Carrefour today. I’ve decided that no one in France actually works, they all spend their days at Carrefour… abandoning carts in front of whatever it is I need, jamming aisle ways, refusing to move. I hate it. I wish the lady at the Petite Casino wasn’t so mean; it would make me more prone to spend my money in her shop. The butcher in town only takes cash, but I think I’m going to start carrying enough!

            His store is not anywhere near as scary as the whole meat area in Carrefour. An area Kaitlyn was fascinated by today. She’ll probably be less interested in all of Rome than she was in that stretch of store.

            I thought I might buy a whole chicken or turkey to stuff with potatoes, until I saw them. I forgot just what a poor job they do here of plucking their poultry. If I’d gotten past that, I hadn’t even contemplated what might be lurking inside. I know that a Butterball has a nice little package of gizzards inside. Reach in quickly, pull out, toss out. You hardly even have to look at them, let alone think about your dinner’s body parts. Here, well, I just don’t think I’ll ever find out. And I wasn’t entirely sure I wouldn’t accidentally get home to discover buying a bird with its head still on.. just tucked underneath. I’ve seen them like that. Not something I want to eat.

            Next to the chickens in the display case are a bunch of little birds. I didn’t look too close. They’re about the size of a robin. I read in some French culture book that some kind of songbird is a delicacy, and it’s eaten bones and all. Crunchy. It’s illegal, so that isn’t what was at Carrefour (probably) but I didn’t stop to make note of the label.

            On to the red meat section. I’m so terrified of accidentally buying horse meat. I swear they do not put what kind of red meat you’re buying on the label. That has me scared enough that I actually speak to the butcher-guy so that I can say the word BOEUF. In between the beef and the veal is agneau. Lamb. Today, Mary must be distraught. There was a little lamb on display in the case. Whole thing. Only thing missing was its fur and its head (the neck just had some foil over it). Kaitlyn loved it. Thought it was funny. Thought it looked like a dog sitting up. I thought looked like something unnatural. One’s food should not wave at it.

(This is not to say I only feel this way here. At Morton’s Steakhouse in the U.S. They don’t have a menu, they just wheel cuts of meat around on a cart and you point at what you want. Want lobster? You point at the crustation on a platter, clanking around desperate to get away. I ate there once with my dad in San Francisco. He told the waiter to leave the live meals off the cart, so I could order one without staring at it. Then just as I was about to crack into mine, he wheeled a clanking lobster up to the table behind us. I still ate mine, but I had to wait for his friend to leave)

            I feel safe cruising the pre-packaged meats for pork chops. It’s called porc. And I know what a chop looks like…. or should look like. While I hunted around (they’re constantly rearranging that place) Kaitlyn made me leave the cart where she could see in the big window to the room where scores of butchers cut meat. She is one odd little kid sometimes.

            In the dairy area, a woman stopped me and was obviously asking me some kind of question about Kaitlyn. I had to fall back on my old stand-by line “je ne comprende pas.” She smiled and tried again. I finally got it. She had stopped me to mock the mimi! She wanted to know if Kaitlyn sucks in a lot of air with that thing. Kaitlyn wanted to know what the lady wanted. I told her she asked me if Kaitlyn fills up like a balloon with air from the mimi. The woman laughed and nodded her head. She understood me. Good thing I didn’t say “that stupid lady… blah blah…”

            All that moseying around the meat… plus the shoe aisle… along with being harassed… meant we didn’t make it back in time to join up with the sledding. It’s just as well. Apparently the road to Chamrousse was covered with ice. The police were making you put chains on your tires (I have the chains, don’t know that I could put them on) or they were making you turn around and go back down the mountain. We played in what little bit of snow was left in our yard. The sun was doing a pretty good job of melting it today.

Bedtime Revisited

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

I have a new theory about why bed time at our house is like a “before” scene out of Super Nanny. Kaitlyn is too tired by the time we put her to bed. She may have tricked me into thinking she is a night owl, but, honestly, a three year old and a 39 year old should not regularly be going to bed at the same time.

Last night, I finally gave up on her at 11:25 and went to sleep in my bed. (generally, one of us falls asleep in her bed with her) I don’t know what time she went to sleep. But I know when I woke her up at 8 this morning, she was not too happy about it. I pulled her out of bed and tried to make her stand up, so she lay down on the floor. I had to practically drag her out into the hallway where she could see the snow falling outside. That perked her up enough to get dressed. But she was too tired to eat breakfast. (that is tired)

Nap time goes fine. Today, my French teacher arrived just as Kaitlyn and I were walking upstairs so she could get into bed. She said hello to him, went upstairs, got in bed, asked me to read Green Eggs and Ham, agreed to a delayed reading and went to sleep for the duration of my two hour lesson. It’s been fairly smooth like that since she started going to school full time… I think because at school they nap every day at 1:30 after lunch and the routine is good for her.

So I came to the realization that the same will likely apply at night.

Tonight, I didn’t wait for Bill to come home from work. I fed her. I gave her a bath. When he got home, she got out of the tub and put on her Strawberry Shortcake bathrobe. She came downstairs to sit with her Daddy while he and I ate our dinners. Naturally, Kaitlyn wanted some. Ok. I gave her my plate, figuring she wouldn’t really eat it. After a few minutes, she asked for fish sticks. I asked if she was finished with my dinner, she said yes. I asked if I could eat it, she said yes. The minute I took the last bite, she broke down in tears about how Mommy had taken her food and eaten it! Like Goldilocks – only in person! It was 8:30. And it struck me – I think that is the time every night that Kaitlyn transforms from pleasant, laughing little girl into moody, unpredictable, crank. (like some people I used to work with. I’ve withheld their names to protect the innocent.)

Bill tried to calm her down by offering to make more. Then he tried to get her to settle down by sitting with him on the couch and watching tv. She wanted to watch her latest “favorite” movie – Meet Me in St. Louis. Completely random movie for a three year old to want, although she’s been asking for it all day. Anyway, watching the movie was not restful. When she wasn’t jumping around dancing and being told to sit down, Kaitlyn was asking a zillion questions about her favorite movie. (What are they doing? Where are they going? Why is she crying? Why is she singing? Can I have a dress like that?) Not peaceful. Thankfully, Bill started the movie toward the end and when it was over, so was Kaitlyn’s day. We hoped.

9:15pm, she was in bed. At 9:45 I grew weary enough of her non-stop screaming “I want my daddy!” and went in there. He’d apparently said he’d come back to check on her after tucking her in and when he didn’t return quickly enough (instantly) she got mad and started all that yelling. I told her her dollies cannot sleep with all that racket. I tucked her in and left her there – quiet. Five minutes later, she’s out of bed. Giggling. Like this is the funniest game anyone has ever come up with and she’s determined to represent her country in it at the Olympics. I tucked her back in. Barbie and Ariel were kissed goodnight and tucked in. And it’s been quiet since. Maybe 15 whole minutes now. I’m afraid to go check on her, in case she’s lying there awake just waiting on me so she can beg for something.

We’ll see how this experiment goes…. stay tuned to the next episode of Super Nanny to find out!