Yes, I’m gonna pass the bean dip…just as soon as I’m done sprinkling a little arsenic on top of it.

So, while we were in Colorado, we had to take a drive up to see one of the Great Aunts. She just retired a year ago after working 30+ years in a New Jersey public school as a speech therapist. Upon her retirement, she and her husband sold their house in Jersey and moved out to Colorado and bought themselves a 10-acre alpaca ranch with a house that needs remodeling.

So, after I was done writing poetry in the mountains, RegularDad picked me up and drove me all the way back to civilization, and the next day we piled into Grandma’s car and drove an hour-and-a-half north to where this Great Aunt and Uncle live now. To see the house. To let them see the kids. They don’t have grandkids yet, and since this Great RegularAunt is actually older than my mother-in-law, and the chances of her EVER having grandkids is getting slimmer by the year due to various other circumstances I don’t have time to get into right now, there’s a little bit of jealousy rivalry insanity I don’t know what to call it really between the two women.

Anyway. So, we got there. And we had some lunch. And we chatted. And we took the tour. And there was a belated birthday gift for my 5-year-old, but nothing for my 7-year-old. But my 7-year-old was cool about it, which I found really refreshing and wonderful of her. And then we had ice cream sundaes, and Great RegularAunt served up Way More Than I Usually Allow, but I didn’t say anything about it, because it’s important to let these things slide. And my 5-year-old was acting up in ways that usually warrant Time Spent Alone In A Room Far Far Away From Where I Am Currently Sitting, but I had to let all THAT slide as well in the spirit of Letting Great RegularAunt See The Kids.

For most of the day, Grandma and Great RegularAunt were busy having this very bizarre passive aggressive fight about printer cartridges. Apparently, Grandma believes that the Great Aunt removed the printer cartridges from her printer last winter because she was going to get them refilled. And so Grandma has believed all this time that Great RegularAunt had these cartridges and she asked for them as soon as we walked through the door because we needed them to print out our E-tickets to get back home the next day. And Great RegularAunt was all: Printer cartridges? What printer cartridges? I never took your printer cartridges. So for the rest of the day, every 20 minutes or so, Grandma would turn to Great RegularAunt and say: Are you SURE you didn’t take them? Because you SAID that you were going to. And Great RegularAunt would say: No. I never did. I can’t imagine what you did with then, but I don’t have them. Then on the heels of that, she’d add: I think I’m gonna go give that pony ride place a call again.

Because that was the OTHER thing we were supposed to do that day. Pony rides. Great RegularAunt just happened to live right near this little farm that gave pony rides. And all week long, that was what the girls anticipated the most. The penultimate pony ride at Great RegularAunt’s house. But of course, as luck would have it, we couldn’t get in touch with the people all day. And of course, when Great RegularAunt explained this whole thing to me in greater detail, it turned out to not be so much a pony ride as a Mile Long Trail Ride On Very Large Horses That My 5-Year-Old Would Not Be Able To Control. So, while the kids were looking forward to this event, I actually was NOT. And after waiting about four hours and trying to get someone on the phone, we decided to just drive on over there and see what the deal was.

When we got there, NO ONE was there at all. Oh, there were some animals in a rickety little pen attached to a rickety little stable with a hand-painted “PETTING ZOO” sign on it. A few goats, a llama, some sheep, and yes, some ponies. And they all looked really sad and bored and THIRSTY, and I wasn’t really getting a warm fuzzy from this place at all. And then we saw another paddock with more ponies and the girls went running over to pet them, but RegularDad had to tell them not to, because the fence surrounding them was electrified.

We hung around for about 15 or 20 minutes, to see if anyone would show up and notice us. But the only thing that happened was a bunch of baby goats managed to escape from some unseen pen. They came wandering around the side of a far off house, saw us, and… CHARGED. Right for us. My 5-year-old began to shriek as they ran toward her and Great RegularAunt scooped her up, and RegularDad grabbed my 7-year-old, and that’s when I said, I think we need to go now. And we all trooped back to the car, my kids sobbing the whole way. So much for the Penultimate Pony Ride.

Back at Great RegularAunt’s house, I spent a few minutes printing out our E-tickets on her computer, because, AS WE ALL GLEANED FROM THE AFTERNOON’S MAIN TOPIC OF CONVERSATION, Grandma’s printer cartridges were missing, and Great RegularAunt DEFINITELY DID NOT TAKE THEM. Cross her heart and hope to die, somebody, for the love of God, please stick a needle in her eye. Not that I cared, really, that they couldn’t stop fighting about this STUPID topic. At least we avoided talking about homeschooling, right?

Which brings me to my point. The only reason I’m telling you this whole ridiculous story is that yesterday afternoon, Grandma called. After she’d finished talking to the girls, she asked to talk to RegularDad. Ten minutes later he came up to the kitchen to tell me what Grandma wanted to talk to him about:

Grandma: Look, I want to tell you something, but I don’t know how to. I don’t want to upset you.
RegularDad: Okay. Just tell me.
Grandma: Well… a few days after we all visited Great RegularAunt, she called to tell me that she noticed that both the girls have a lisp. And if you don’t get anything done about it, they’ll be like that FOREVER. She’s really really worried [because I’m a homeschooler and my kids won’t be evaluated by the SYSTEM].

Because, if you’ll remember, Great RegularAunt is a retired public school speech therapist. And she was probably the most horrified of all the relatives when we told them we had decided to homeschool. Can’t really blame her. Her entire career, she worked in public schooling. For special ed children.

Of course she heard a lisp. My 5-year-old just turned 5. Like, a month ago. And my 7-year-old is growing new teeth, and has just had three silver caps installed on her baby molars. Yes, she has a slight lisp. Very VERY slight. I figured it would go away on its own. No doctor has ever once suggested to me that my kids need speech therapy. And every day, when we pull out our readers and sit on the couch, I listen very closely to her diction. And I don’t hear anything out of whack. And this is a moment that Great RegularAunt will never witness: how my daughters and I read together. She sees them maybe 2 or 3 times a year, and rarely, if ever, talks to them on the phone. Yet she felt duty-bound to alarm the entire family with this information about lisping.

I laughed if off as best as I could with RegularDad and told him I’d check it with our pediatrician.

But, of course, the seed is planted. I sit here today OBSESSED with the possibility that my 7-year-old has an undiagnosed speech impediment that I missed because I homeschool her. I spent hours on the Internet last night reading up on speech impediments and evaulations and therapy courses. Like I have time for this?

So, I’m super-busy this week working on my bean dip. Just a few more EXTRA SPECIAL ingredients, and I’ll be ready to pass it. By flinging it across the room at her with my spoon.


10 Responses to “Yes, I’m gonna pass the bean dip…just as soon as I’m done sprinkling a little arsenic on top of it.”

  1. 1 Maria June 3, 2008 at 6:53 pm

    Oh, yeah. Oh, I am SO hearing this. The annoyance at that ENTIRE passive aggressive trip, must’ve been complete and sheer HELsinki, I can feel the pain through the monitor. Really. And you know what? Thanks GOODNESS it’s only once a year. And then the phone call from Great RA, to your mother….then your mother to your husband…oy. Because speaking of passive aggressive, hello? I’m wondering why GRA didn’t just call you…and WHY everyone feels it necessary you know this…it IS kinda like they have your best interests at heart but at the same time don’t TRUST you as a mother. As a homeschooling mother. Cause you see, we NEED the STATE to interfere…and then the guilt that we have as mothers anyway is just compounded. PHEW.

    So. Talk to your calm yourself. Talk to a speech therapist for that matter. A private one. Not a state paid one. Get that out of your system. Be sure in your own heart. THEN (and listen to this VERY closely cause I know what I am talking about….)go out with your husband and find the place that makes THE best Long Island Ice Teas (if you have issues psych.or dietary with alcohol, skip this part)which may take awhile so you might have to got to several places.. laugh, take stock of the joy you have in your kids, then go home, watch a movie together…a really great one…something that mocks dysfunctional family’s maybe….the perhaps some chocolate. I personally like Godiva…then a long hot bath with some wine…then a soft robe or silk something…open the windows to the cool air…oh, bring in some lilacs or something sweet smelling by your bedside…and then, well, fall into a deep sleep and know you are a great mom to YOUR kids!

    Was this a bit long winded?? Can you tell I have a few issues of my own on this subject??

  2. 2 RegularSis June 3, 2008 at 8:40 pm


    I see your kids a HECK of a lot more than she does and talk to them on the phone and as someone who was MISdiagnosed with a speech impediment (turns out our Mom thought it was cute that I talked baby talk and that’s all she ever spoke back to me) I can honestly say GIVE THE KIDS A CHANCE TO GROW ALREADY FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WITHOUT OVERATTENDING TO EVERYTHING. There’s something to be said for letting a being unfurl into the world in their own unique way without EXTENDED FAMILY hovering over and trying to control everylittlething.

    Well, I feel better now, thanks.

    Love you,


  3. 3 Kahterine June 4, 2008 at 7:49 am

    Yeah, what they said.

    I can hear, from where I sit right now, I can hear your daughter’s “lisp” and I can tell its the kind that will be completely outgrown by the time she is nine. Which is to say, by the time all their new front teeth are all the way in. Which is to say, I feel certain that is true for 99.9% of the children who are “treated” in school. Which is to say, Everyone said the same about my son. Which is to say, of course, he totally outgrew it all by himself.

    Furthermore, I miss his dear babyish ways occasionally. Which is to say, Enjoy Her Just The Way She Is. Soon she’ll be a whole bigger kid, wonderful but no longer your sweet baby girl.

  4. 4 Katherine June 4, 2008 at 7:50 am

    Ooops, look, I lisped my own name up there. Can I get your Aunt’s number? I clearly need help.

  5. 5 RegularMom June 4, 2008 at 8:52 am

    LOL!!! 🙂

    You guys ROCK!

    RegularSis, yes, that’s right. I remember that whole thing about your “speech impediment.” Sigh. And now you speak like one of the great orators. I just know that the RegularKids will be like that, too.

    Maria, I just love you. I’m all about that chocolate. ALL about that chocolate. 🙂

    And Katherine, I’m not sure why your first comment ended up in the moderation queue, but that’s WordPress for ya. A little quirky, but useful all the same. I’m glad to hear that Henry had the same thing happen. I’m pretty sure my 7yo is just getting used to her new teeth, and it’ll go away on its own. Sadly, I will now obssessively be keeping an eye on the situation.

    Thanks everyone. What would I do without you?

  6. 6 Ami June 4, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Just one more reason that living all the way across the US from people who piss you off is a GOOD thing.


  7. 7 RegularSis June 4, 2008 at 10:35 am

    You know – that reminds me – I couldn’t even say my own name until I was 6 – (for those of you wondering, it has a “th” in it). Funny I went through speech therapy with that problem and they quickly realized it was my missing/partially grown in two front teeth that were causing the problem(thanks for chucking that wooden toy turtle at me by the way).

    = )

    Love YOU!

  8. 8 Katherine June 4, 2008 at 10:59 am

    Have you read Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris? If you haven’t, now would be a good time. You can lie on the couch and laugh your way out of your worry. All the better if you can get it on tape – him reading it in his odd dear voice. Hum, I’ll go youtube him right now just for fun. If I find a good one I’ll post it on my blog.

    And, sure, repost taylor Mali all you want. Isn’t that totally definitely beautiful, sincerely?

  1. 1 Lisp? What lisp? I don’t hear any lisp. « Like I Have Time For This? Trackback on July 18, 2008 at 10:54 pm

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