Tuesday, July 22, 2008


I had to share this evening's episode of life with the monkeys...
I get in the car with S and L and as we start driving, we spot a spider crawling on the wind shield. Now, I am attempting to teach the boys to be brave, especially around bugs, so I try to suppress the shudders that immediately threaten to turn me into a crazy shrieking thing. Instead, I give the boys the story of how this spider is our friend because it will eat other (yuckier) bugs.
I succeed acting normal for about 3 minutes. Then the spider turns around at the far end of the wind shield and begins moving towards me. (For the record, it was dark outside and this was one of those white, fat-looking spiders - with a big shadow enhanced by the head lights of passing cars...) I finally give up my brave act and pull over to get rid of the monster; knowing full-well that if this creature crawls onto me while I'm driving, I'll probably cause an accident. I then try to get the spider onto a book I have in the car but instead it falls down next to me. And I scream. Loudly and very shrill(-ly?). After having batted at the spider with the book and it isn't anywhere to be seen, I finally give up as I can't stay pulled over at the side of the road in the dark and drive on, trying to tell myself that the spider is so freaked out by the crazy human that there is no way it will resurface again. I am also almost sure that I either killed it or shoved it out the door while pulled over. Almost.
As we keep driving, I try to un-do the damage I've caused in the bug-braving department by completely selling out my own sex and feminist values. The following conversation occurs:

Me: "Wow, mami really screamed like a little girl there, huh? Sometimes girls scream at spiders."
L: "My can't like piders."
Me: "Well, maybe you guys can be my brave boys. My heroes, who save me from spiders."
S: "I don't like spiders."
L: "Piders are yucky."
Me: "Well, one day you will have girl friends and they will expect you to save them from spiders and other icky bugs."
L: " That'll be fun, huh, S?! That'll be fun, S!"

You go, brave boy! Our campaign to convince L, he's actually a boy seems to be working. For a while, he insisted he was a girl. ("L, are you a boy or a girl?" "A girl.") A family friend who is a psychologist told us to make sure to reinforce his gender for him, so we've been doing quite a bit of "you're mami's cute boy!" and the like. My sister-in-law's favorite was when I exclaimed to L during a diaper change "look L, you have a penis! You're a BOY!"
Anything to get someone else to get the creepy crawling things away from me!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Geography Lesson

I was at a party tonight where Copenhagen came up in conversation and someone at my table said "It is in Sweden, but they speak Danish there." I was initially rendered speechless and then opted to bite back the sarcastic remarks that were lining up to get out. I understand that my country is very small and may seem insignificant, however, as we were just named the happiest nation in the world, I think it is prudent that a few facts are straightened out, at least to maintain my own personal equilibrium. As for the (limited) readership of my blog, feel free to skip this post or to tell your friends and family about the facts in it, so other Danes don't have to choke on their dinner in the future.

First of all, Denmark is, in fact, a country. The capital is Copenhagen and it doesn't matter if you pronounce it CO-pen-HAI-gen or CO-pen-HAA-gen, because it's actual name is København and we're not crazy enough to expect foreigners to pronounce that. It is NOT to be confused with Den Haag (The Hague) which is in Holland. (The Netherlands)

That brings me to the next part. Denmark and Holland are in fact two different countries. They don't share a border, because they are separated by a little place known as Germany. The language spoken in Holland is Dutch, we speak Danish.

Several rather famous people were Danish - Søren Kierkegaard, Hans Christian Andersen, Vitus Bering (as in the Bering Strait) and Tycho Brahe to name a few. We have also managed a few more recent exports, like Viggo Mortensen (Aragorn in LOTR), Connie Nielsen and Victor Borge, as well as Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the star of Fox's New Amsterdam. (Which, incidentally, was about NYC and not Denmark or Holland.)
Aside from that, Legos are Danish, as are Ecco shoes and Skagen watches. Danish furniture designers are well-known and respected, and Danish jewelery is becoming increasingly popular in other parts of the world. (Pandora bracelets, anyone?)

If you have managed to read through this entire post and retain any of this information, you now have several facts that are completely useless for anything other than keeping Danes happy. And as this is clearly not an extensive list of things to know about Denmark, feel free to do your own research to learn more about us. There may be a quiz at the end!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I thought this was for cows...

Recently, I posted about a few things I'd learned as a mother. I think there ought to be a list of these things - you know, the ones you never thought you'd know but that you learn because you have children. They could hand it out to teenagers as a preventive measure instead of condoms; I have a feeling it would prove way more effective. Someday when I don't have a massive head cold that makes me feel like my head is in a bubble, I will compose the list and propose it to congress. (Or whoever it is that creates the sex-ed curriculum in schools.)
For now, I will share my most recent discovery: Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease is a childhood illness caused by viruses in the enterovirus genus and it has absolutely nothing to do with cows. That's Mouth and Hoof Disease. I bet you didn't care...And neither did I until L came down with it a few days ago. The poor little guy has been miserable; not eating, hardly drinking and sleeping poorly. All kinds of sadness! And my head cold is apparently how this HFMD manifests in adults. See, now you are smarter too. You can thank me later.