Guess which part I can take credit for

(I’ll give you a hint. It rhymes with “doors.” As for the strong female warrior-in-training protagonist and the idea to portray horses so differently than how she feels about them in real life, perhaps I have not ruined her with my complacent housewife/mother example.) (That was a little feminist humor.) (Also, I don’t think she actually knows about the Amazons or the Augean stables, but I’ll have to ask her tomorrow. Perhaps this is right out of Percy Jackson.)


By Avery Johnson

Chapter 1

All Chores should be doomed.

Nisa sighed. She hated this chore so much! Covering the “stink holes” was disgusting, nasty, and it stunk. She was a young warrior and apparently the young warrior’s got ALL the chores.   Jappa, her aunt, would say ‘’you are lucky! When I was a girl…blah blah blah ’’ then you knew to run or you’d die of boredom.  ‘’Chores should be doomed. No, wait. They just were!’’ She said to Dialie, her best friend who happened to be passing by. ‘’I so agree. I’ve got stable duty. Nuclear almost kicked me in the face yesterday.’’ said Dialie. ‘’ ouch. ’’  Stable duty was cleaning the stables. Unfortunately, that included the 22 horses and their poop, tack (which Nisa thought ended up on the floor everyday purposely by the horses) and slobbery food. And as a plus all the horses hated them. ‘’poor you! You’re going to die!’’ Nisa said. Dialie nodded seriously. Amazon horse’s hoofs were very hard. ‘’we always have so much bad luck.’ sighed Dialie. ‘’uh hu ‘’ mumbled Nisa. ‘’ Well , good luck’’ said Dialie and left. Nisa sighed (yet again) and sat down to do the worst job in the history of Asamia, the little village of Amazon island, 300 miles off the coast of the Mediterranean  sea.

As you know

I was going to write about Callie losing her first tooth (how she was afraid she had caused the wobbling in her bottom front right tooth by biting a pillow because her hands were full of blanket,  and how the tooth fairy forgot to come but she thought it was because Lucy clutched the ziplock-ed tooth under Callie’s pillow all night, so Daddy told her it was still night and to put it back for awhile and saved the day) but Dooce wrote about her six-year-old losing a tooth, and I can’t compete.

I was going to write about getting my first post-pregnancy zit today (how sad it made me because if I have to lose the effects of pregnancy, couldn’t it be my belly fat instead of my pimple immunity?) but NattheFatRat wrote about that and now I feel even bad-er about my neck (and double chin) (possibly more a side effect of eating entire batches from my new cookie press than pregnancy).

(Nat also has all these posts about living in New York City, and once I got over my feeling that it doesn’t really count if you have a cute building in a cute neighborhood with a cute doorman, I let the city-nostalgia wash over me.)

I was going to write about how cute (gullible) the kids are, writing confident letters to Santa, all of them swayed by the power of suggestion and also the singular spelling ability of their oldest sister into asking for “mechanical hamsters,” and “jelly bean candy canes,” but then they all assaulted my ears with agonized pre-pubescent female emotion this afternoon and I wanted to drown myself. (Because sound doesn’t travel in water, right?)

If I was feeling really brave, I’d write about how I’ve been troubled a little more than usual lately by feminist yearnings and reconciling them with Mormon doctrine and culture, and how it’s odd-er-ish because usually the Christmas season is just a warm, glowy extravaganza of baby Jesus worship and eternal family looking-forward-to-ness, but on the other hand if it’s a side effect of being home all day with four lovely specimens of incipient goddesshood, it’s no wonder, but Mormon feminism seems to be at an all-time high in the blogosphere, so really I don’t know where to start. (and I’m not feeling brave, I guess, too).

I want to say something about how much I enjoy the baby (we all still say “the baby” a lot of the time, when we’re not calling her Molly-Polly, Mollster, Chubbalicious, Urper-Queen, Pooper-Queen, or Ga-boo (I’m ashamed to admit that’s one of my default greetings, as in “Hi, Ga-boo” all in one sing-song-y trill)), but squeetus described how gloriously mammalian it all is. And here is an article about kangaroo care and how it’s for the mother as well as the baby, not least because it reminds me (the shiny, happy eyes and ecstatic-to-see you grin, the momentary crying I can solve with nothing more than this body that otherwise is not too pleasing) that once my other girls were this young too, and innocent and sweet-smelling, and probably I still love them even though they’ll never again be this easy to adore.

Molly nursing at dance class

North Pole Express Giveaway! — Winner is Stacey!

Yesterday we rode the Heber Valley Railroad‘s North Pole Express, and it was very winter-y and Christmas-y and old-fashioned locamotive-y. Molly gurgled and nursed in her bunny suit, Callie loved the cookies, Avery asked for seconds of the hot chocolate, and Lucy nodded and nodded wide-eyed when Santa talked to her. He was a great Santa, obviously not your average drunken mall Santa, but a great gauge-er of children’s comfort levels and good with a range of ages. When Lucy was too shy (or too on-the-spot) to say what she wants for Christmas, he asked if she would write him a letter later.

You might think that anyone can be Santa, but really it takes a lot of skill if you’re not going to have adults lamenting tragic Santa’s lap experiences years later. This Santa knelt down to be on the kids’ level with no scary throne-link approaching required. Very nice.

Tom got a little carrolled-out by the end (maybe the third rendition of Twelve Days of Christmas did him in? Though it was Callie who ran up to the microphone to sing it just one more time), but overall it was a great family outing. (Tom also asked me, as we drove north up Provo canyon, if we were going to the same train we’d stopped to look at on the way to Moab in October. If you know Utah at all, this might give you some hint of what I’m dealing with directionally-challenged-spousally-speaking,  seeing as the rest stop with the train exhibit is on the way south to Price.)

And now you too can take your family on the North Pole Express. Leave a comment by Sunday night for the chance to win four tickets on the 5 pm train next Thursday, December 16th. If you tweet or tell a neighbor about the giveaway, let me know for another entry. This is actually a pretty great giveaway (I mean both money- and magic-wise). I’ll announce the winner on Monday, and in the meantime, get $5 off coach tickets on December 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 or 16th. Call the train at 435-654-5601 and ask for the “Utah Blogger” discount — tell them you heard about it on Seagull Fountain (which doesn’t really make sense because fountains can’t talk (and this isn’t a podcast), but whatever).

***Contest closed, winner (according to is #7, Stacey! Look for an email from the prize administrators.

*Heber Valley Railroad gave us a free ride, which was awesome, because no matter how magical things are, I’m still pretty cheap.

The least

Let’s see if I can pound this out before Molly wakes up (again; I woke her at 6 to nurse before my jogging date).

Sometimes I get all twisted up inside, coiled and ready to explode because my life seems endlessly drudgeristic. I’m depressed I’m not going to graduate school or frustrated that I don’t have some fabulous (money-making or not) avocation to color my days (these dreary winter gray days, letting less and less light out between the terrible elongating dark).

I snap at the kids, yell at the kids, impatiently (and fruitlessly) demand “Why?” when they’re acting like kids.

Then I hate myself. It’s not their fault they’re acting like kids, it’s not their fault I’m their mother, they didn’t ask for me — I asked for them, I wanted them, this is the life I chose, the life I choose everyday, and THE LEAST I COULD DO IS BE A GOOD MOM.

If I can’t win the Nobel prize in literature or argue a case in womens’ rights before the Supreme Court or travel the world in luxury, THE LEAST I COULD DO IS BE A GOOD MOM.

Yesterday I realized it’s probably not the least I could do; probably when I figure out self-control and patience and unfailing kindness and unconditional love and coaxing of curiosity and acceptance of human frailty and nurturance of individual aspiration and supporting of pure, forgiving love for others — probably it won’t be the least I could do.