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Why I can’t buy pomegranates

9 Oct

Many years ago, when the kids were shorter than me, I found a deal where I could get a box or two of organic fruit and veg delivered to my doorstep.  We’d get exotic things, like kale, and pineapple.  The children always found these boxes to be amazing, and were always willing to try something new.

At one point, we got a pomegranate.  I’ll be honest, I’d never had one before, and had no clue how to open it.  So I left it in the fridge, with plans on researching what to do with pomegranates on the internet – as you do.

That afternoon, my 4th grader came home – with his light blue shirt covered in purple splatter.

“Sean, what happened?”

“Well, I took the pomegranate to school, but I wasn’t sure how to open it.”

I felt sorry for the kids who sat around him at lunch.  They probably went home a bit purple as well.

“Sean, new rule – you can’t bring fruit to school that you don’t know how to eat.”

I’ll admit, from that day forward, I wasn’t much into buying pomegranates.  I’d buy it already scooped out, seeds in a container, if needed.  But really, there’s not a lot of call for fresh pomegranate in my life, and I’m okay with that.

But yesterday…yesterday I was lured into buying them at Whole Foods.  They were on sale, a twofer deal.  And I knew more about how to open a pomegranate.  My children were older now.  It was safe.

Or so I thought.


That evening, Miriam asked if she could try one.  I said “Do you know how to open it?”


Seriously, I will never learn.  So I told her to cut it open, scoop out the seeds, eat seeds. I heard the sawing of the knife, then silence, then some scraping and pounding.  But it seemed okay, right?  She’s fourteen, right?  This is the girl who knows savvy things like how to get through airport security and how to haggle with souvenir sellers in Rome and what to do in case of a seizure.  Surely my instructions were clear enough.

I was wrong.

So very wrong.

The kitchen looked like a crime scene, where a magenta corpse was dragged about.  There was pomegranate splatter everywhere – counter, clean dishes on the drying board, soaking into my lovely oak farmhouse table.  The girl?  My sweet teen girl?  Coated in pomegranate splatter.  Bits of pomegranate were left between the kitchen and dining room.

“Miriam! Really?  What happened?”

The reply is a bit of a bur, but there were bits of “it was tough” and “I got frustrated with it so just started stabbing at it with a spoon.”

I turned to my husband and said “You would think I’d know better by now than to buy pomegranates.”

You would think.

There’s still one left in the refrigerator.  I should probably do away with it before I find it splattered all over my living room or the like.


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Where are the siblings?

23 Sep
There's a short mom behind those tall boys

There’s a short mom behind those tall boys

I know I blog mostly about Maura here.  Mainly because she doesn’t care what I write about her.  She doesn’t have a self-conscious bone in her body.  Even when she plays at being self-conscious, it’s theatrical and in a way that just draws more attention to herself.

But my other three children….they care a bit more.

Hence why they don’t make many appearances here on my blog.  When they do, it’s usually with their permission, or it’s something mundane enough that they don’t mind me sharing.  Sometimes, when something truly bizarre happens in our household, they’ll say “Are you going to blog about it?”  Even now, my older daughter is probably reading this.

So for their sake, I don’t post about them much.

They have enough going on in life.  They’re teens, they have enough going on with their lives even in a normal sense that they don’t need their mom going off about them on a blog.  Because they have Maura as a sister, I am even more aware of trying to keep some areas of their lives as normal as possible.  They deal with so much, put up with so much, have had to make sacrifices.  The last thing they need is mom rolling her web-based eyeballs at them on the blog.

They’re teens.  They’re frustrating and fabulous and have great and horrible taste in tv shows.  The geek factor is high in our household as well – watching “Doctor Who” is considered family bonding time, and we may have nearly come to blows over a rousing game of Settlers of Catan. They eat all the food, bring over friends to help eat more of the food, and I am still finding Nerf darts hidden in all corners of my home.

There are probably more Nerf darts than food in my house right now.

I may not mention them much here, but they are great teens.  Weird…definitely weird…but great.  The weird part is the fault of the parents – they didn’t have a chance of normal, not with our genetic pools – but they’re keepers.  They may drive me nuts at times, but when push comes to shove, and something happens with Maura, they’re the first ones lining up to help out, check in on her, worry about her.  Even though she throws fits on them when they don’t want to watch the same episode of “Dinosaur Train” for the 40th time in a row, or tries to steal the food right out of their hands, they treat her well.  Oh, they get annoyed with her, frustrated when she messes with their stuff, and other normal sibling things – and that’s good.  That’s normal for them to react that way to her at times.  She needs that in life.  Really, they’ve been her best teachers when it comes to how she should be acting. She has learned so much from their examples.  And even from the early days, when none of us understood what was going on with her, those three have always had her back.  They are her best friends, her teachers, her protectors – which is why I try my best to make sure that for now, they just have to be her siblings.

A failed attempt at a group shot, 2011, Cashel, Ireland.  They're all laughing because Maura was yelling "Ow! My butt!" after bumping said posterior.

A failed attempt at a group shot, 2011, Cashel, Ireland. They’re all laughing because Maura was yelling “Ow! My butt!” after bumping said posterior.


Our whole world in a way revolves around Maura’s disabilities – but at the same time, we work hard to make sure that her disabilities don’t smother us, and especially don’t hold back the other three children in our household.  Sometimes, it happens.  Sometimes, I just have nothing left for them, or we have to cut things short because Maura can’t handle it.  And I hate that. It’s one of those guilt things that comes with the territory I guess.

But for the most part, our household is a bit hysterical, in all the good ways, because of those three now teenagers, two of which are taller than me (which my husband would point out is a low bar, short person that I am).  And this year, I get to experience all sorts of levels of motherhood – my oldest has just started at the local college (so living at home, but still, college) and working part-time.  The second boy has taken up woodworking, so I get to worry about his fingertips.  The little teen girl can fit into my shoes, so we’ve had discussions about how we NEVER borrow Mommy’s shoes without permission or Mommy will cut you. I have now learned more about anime than I ever thought I could possibly care about.  There was an explosion with yogurt in our kitchen this morning that had nothing to do with Maura. Not as bad as the time one of them tried to melt an ice cube in the microwave, in a plastic cup that had the double wall filled with glitter water. And I haven’t had to call poison control for any of the older three in a long time (1-800-222-1222, if you should ever need Poison Control’s number – thanks to those three, I have it memorized.)

No, we’ve all matured past those times of drinking Fabreeze and using markers as make up.  Now we’re dealing with hair dye and talking about geek cons and college courses.

But there are still Nerf darts all over my house.

Some things you never grow out of.

don't ask

don’t ask


failing to capture the elusive eldest on film

No squirrels were harmed in the making of this post

28 Mar

A young teen girl however, was slightly traumatized for a few minutes.

So the other day, it was sunny and nice and spring-like out. I lured Maura away from the crackTab and all it’s Netflix with “Why don’t you play outside?  Look! I have bubbles!”

Maura loves outside, and loves bubbles.

Of course, the dogs ran out with her. Miriam followed suit to help Maura with the bubbles and play with dogs.  I felt like, for one brief moment, I was winning at this parenting thing a little.

Then Miriam came to the door with a worried look to announce “Moooom, I think Zoey caught a squirrel!”


Those of you who follow along (you know, my favorites) know that Zoey the Big Dog has been slightly obsessed with squirrels.  There were none in Ireland.  Here, we have about 250 running through our yard.  Okay, I exaggerate a little, but I swear, the other day, there were five on my fence.  So I expect more, smaller squirrels in a couple months.

Zoey loves to chase squirrels.  Maybe she wants to just herd them – she is an Australian Shepherd.  Herding is in her blood.

But to catch one?


I had visions of Zoey with a half-dead squirrel in her mouth and my good mom moment was over – because I was NOT going out where there was a half-dead squirrel in a dog’s mouth! Ew.  But then Zoey trotted by, squirrelless, and I asked Miriam where this supposedly dead squirrel was.

“Over there.” she pointed, towards the fence.

“Okay, let’s all go play out front!” I announced, grabbing bubbles and dolls.  Miriam followed suit immediately, helping me grab stuff.  Maura balked.


Maura didn’t understand why her mom and sister were fleeing the backyard.  Mim explained to Maura that they were going to blow bubbles out front. Yes, Miriam earns that gold star a lot.

I glanced over, to where I expected to see a dying bloody lump of squirrel.  I didn’t see that, but I did see this up in the neglected landscaping portion of the side yard…

well, it is furry

well, it is furry


My first thought was “Well, that doesn’t look too fresh.”  Then I noticed it was under a fallen branch.  Then I thought “Surely we would have noticed a dead squirrel in our yard before now.”  I mean, it’s not like it’s snowed here and could have been hidden for weeks.

I went closer, and leaned in a little.  And saw stitching on the paws. And realized what the thing on the ground was…

not even a squirrel

not even a squirrel doll


Maura had been on a kick where she played with all these small puppy/kitty dolls.  Sometimes outside.  The one cat doll got left behind, for who knows how long.  Long enough to be rained upon many times and get weathered and half-buried in tree bits and resemble a dead squirrel.

“Mim! It’s just a doll!”  I announced happily.

“OH!” Mim said in relief. “Thank God!”

Never were we so happy to see a forgotten doll outside.  Maura was just happy that we weren’t trying to shove her back into the house anymore and went back to playing with her bubbles.  The dogs remained clueless.  All the squirrels were still alive, frolicking.

For now…





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