Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cycle 16

Time to head to the corner market to pick up a big grocery cart of Revlimid. Mmm, mmm.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A major award

Today after school I found two fun things in WCK's backpack. The first was a "Super Student" award. In the blank explaining why WCK received this award, the teacher had written "Friend to others." I was so proud, and I got all misty-eyed thinking of my sweet little girl actually getting an award because she is such a sweet little girl.

Of course, WCK remains tight-lipped about school. She would make an excellent international spy someday. She denied any knowledge of this award or anything she might have done to earn this award. (Did she pat someone gently on the back when he/she was sad? Share her muffin? Carry other preschoolers out of a burning building?) She also wouldn't say if any other kids got an award, too. It's entirely possible that everyone in the class got the "Friend To Others" award. The award is sponsored by Mimi's Cafe (yes, my three-year-old's friendship award has a corporate sponsor), and the recipient gets a free kids' meal. I suppose everyone in the class could have been named a good friend as part of the promotion. At least we have an excuse to go out to dinner now. I mean, we'd be bad parents if we didn't celebrate our child's major award, wouldn't we?

The next fun thing was a Scholastic book order form. Book orders! I hadn't thought about these in years -- decades maybe -- but book orders were probably my favorite part of elementary school. My parents always let me order some books every month. I still remember filling out the form and checking the little boxes. Then there was the thrill of coming in from recess and finding a shiny, smooth, brand new paperback book or two on my desk. Book order day was THE BEST DAY EVER. I also remember that the book-order books sometimes came with free posters of kittens or puppies or ponies or things like that. Anybody else remember this?

Anyway, I had no idea that schools still did this or that three-year-olds could get book orders, too. The order form still looks exactly the same. WCK and I spent a long time after school browsing through the little catalog, trying to decide what to get. Should we get the set of dinosaur books or the set of Halloween books? Decisions, decisions. I suppose we can discuss it further over dinner at Mimi's Cafe.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Squinty = Serious

If you haven't heard, the New Kids on the Block are releasing a new CD on Sept. 2. I'm fighting the urge to pre-order through their web site so it will be delivered right to my door on the very day it is released. I know that would be wrong, but just look at how they're all squinting hauntingly at the camera. You know that means they are serious artists now:



I looked for more details on this CD and found that it will contain a song called "Sexify My Love." A song with a title like that has to be good. In a horrifying way.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Homework assignment

I'm happy to say that the second day of preschool went just as well as the first. WCK was happy to get out of the car and go with her teacher, and she was still in a cheerful mood when I came to pick her up. From what I can gather, she really likes school, although it is hard to get her to tell me all of the details about her day. I usually bombard her with questions as soon as she gets into the car (What story did you read? What did you have for snack? What songs did you sing?), and she'll answer one or two of them before telling me in an annoyed voice, "Mommy, we will talk about this when we get home."

When we get home, she still doesn't want to tell me much, so I have to piece things together. On Tuesday, I asked her if she knew the names of any of the kids in her class, and she said she didn't remember. Later, she was playing with a ball and told me the ball's name was "Madison." I asked if Madison was a friend from her class. She said no. Yesterday, when I picked her up, I noticed the official car line sign in the window of the car behind me said "MADISON." Ah. Then WCK walked out of the school holding hands with a sweet little girl who was, indeed, the famous Madison. There's one mystery solved.

Anyway, WCK has her first official homework assignment. It was actually very challenging for me, which is a little disturbing considering I am 30 years older than the people who are expected to complete this assignment. Next week, the class will be discussing shapes. Half of the class has to bring in two household objects shaped like circles. The other half -- WCK's half -- has to bring in two household objects shaped like triangles.

Do you know how many household objects are shaped like triangles? Zero!

I never realized it until now, but we live in a completely triangle-free home. Look around you. Do you see any triangles? No! You don't! The circle people got off easy. Everything is shaped like a circle. Grab a plate and the lid from a tub of butter and you're good to go. Triangles take much more effort. I was ready to give up and send her to school with a stale tortilla chip and a slice of cold pizza. We finally started digging through her toys and found a sailboat with a triangle-shaped sail, a triangle-shaped wedge of plastic cheese, and, well, an actual triangle. You know, the musical instrument that you tap with a little metal stick.

I think we'll go with the sailboat and the cheese, because I'm sure everybody is going to bring in a musical triangle. I can't really blame them. We lucked out by finding the cheese. I'd love to know what other triangular objects the other parents found, but I'm sure WCK won't tell me.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Stable?

I got the call: My M-spike is 1.6. Last month it was 1.5. All of my other numbers look good. My Beta-2 Microglobulin (a big indicator of myeloma activity) is a low, low, low 0.9. My IgG is 1440, which is NORMAL. It was 1520 when it was last tested in June. That sucker was well over 5000 back in the day.

Of course, as anal-retentive as I am about that M-spike, I had a brief, minor panic when I heard the nurse say 1.6. Then I took the time to think it over and remember that in the world of M-spikes, a movement of .1 doesn't really mean anything, especially when all of the other numbers are so good. Well, unless it had gone down .1. Then I'd be dancing around singing, "Woo! My M-spike is down!" I asked the nurse if she would consider me stable enough to take a dex break. She said she'd have to ask a doctor (Dr. GPO is still out of town) and call me back.

I'm sure they'll say I'm stable. I'm sure.

P.S.: Everybody go check out this new myeloma blog. It is fabulous.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

First day of school!

Even the goose got into the first-day-of-school spirit by dressing up like a giant apple:



The first day of school went amazingly, shockingly well. WCK got right out of the car, took the teacher's hand, and walked right into the building with a huge grin on her face. She didn't even look back at us, her poor, emotionally fragile parents. I know I spent weeks hoping that she wouldn't have a complete breakdown at the preschool door, but would one little tear be too much to ask, WCK?

When I came to pick her up, she was still smiling, her Pull-up was bone dry, and the teacher told me that she'd done very well. All of the kids had been asked to bring a stuffed animal from home for the first day. WCK took Froggy, who is her Very Best Friend. When we pulled into the driveway at home, we both realized ... Froggy was back at school.

Suddenly, it was just too much. I think she had worked so hard to hold it together all day, but she couldn't take it anymore. WCK broke down, clinging to me with her arms and legs, screaming for Froggy. I managed to untangle myself enough to call the school and ask if they could leave Froggy at the front desk for us, because we were clearly having a Froggy Emergency. (I actually used the words "Froggy Emergency", but the secretary didn't get a chuckle out of that like I thought she would). We drove back to school and picked up Froggy, and everything was all right again.

It's hard to get details about the school day from a three-year-old, but I was able to gather that the teacher read them a book about a raccoon going to school, they sang "Wheels on the Bus", they ate oranges at snack time, and everyone washed their hands. She also keeps singing a song that goes, "Clean up! Clean up! Everybody clean up!", and she suddenly is very interested in throwing scraps of paper into the trash. I like this curriculum.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the yard

After the Headless Possum Incident, it took several days before I could go into the yard without having heart palpitations. I finally made it back out there, and everything was just fine for a while.

Then I nearly stepped on a little jawbone. A perfectly clean, white jawbone, filled with tiny, dagger-like teeth.

Aaaaaaand ... we're back inside the house. Possibly forever.

Jay swears the jawbone was not there when he last mowed. He speculates that the possum's ghost is using the jawbone to send us some kind of message from the beyond.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The fan letter

We've been trying to impress upon WCK that all of her heroes use the potty all the time. You know: really important people such as Cinderella, Dorothy, and the Scarecrow. I'm sure that Dorothy and the Scarecrow looked for port-a-potties along the Yellow Brick Road instead of going in their pants. I'm sure that Cinderella has about 100 bathrooms in her castle and never forgets to flush. WCK seems pretty impressed by this.

Her biggest hero these days is local children's performer Mr. Stinky Feet:



The other night, WCK asked us if Mr. Stinky Feeet uses the potty all the time. Jay and I pretended to have a serious discussion about it: "Do you think Mr. Stinky Feet uses the potty?" "Hmm, you know, I bet he does." "Really? Do you think so?" "Oh, I'm pretty sure.", etc, etc.

WCK announced that she was going to write a letter to Mr. Stinky Feet.

"What are you going to say?" I asked.

"Dear Mr. Stinky Feet," WCK said earnestly. "Do you poop? Love, WCK."

I laughed so hard that it took about five minutes before I was able to breathe or get up off the floor.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Open house

On Thursday, Jay, WCK and I went to an open house at WCK's future preschool. We all got to meet her teachers and explore the classroom and fill out a bunch of forms. The forms had really complex questions that were hard to answer on the spur of the moment in a room filled with shrieking three-year-olds. We had to answer questions like, "List your child's strengths and weaknesses." We also had to answer, "Does your child have any fears we should be aware of?" Jay and I looked at each other and knew that we had to write down "vacuum cleaners." We had to. Another question also required that I shamefully scribble something about the fact that she is not 100 percent potty trained and will not pee in a public restroom unless bribed. OK, I left out the part about the bribe. She'll probably ask for one, though, and I'll be exposed.

I'm wondering if the teachers take these forms and laugh at them together over drinks. "Check it out! This kid is afraid of vacuum cleaners!"

We also dropped off the school supplies, and -- get this -- I noticed that nobody else bought the correct size glue stick! Quitters!!!!

When we left, WCK seemed to feel a little bit better about preschool; I seemed to feel a little bit worse. It finally sank in that SHE IS GOING TO SCHOOL. MY CHILD IS REALLY GOING TO SCHOOL. I also was surprised to learn about the morning drop-off procedure. I've always had visions of taking her by the hand and walking her to the door of the classroom, hugging her goodbye, perhaps lingering by the door for a moment once she's inside, wiping away a little tear.

Clearly, I am a fool, because this not how drop-off is done at modern-day preschool.

Instead, they give you a big sign with your child's name on it, and you post it in the window of your car. All of the parents drive in a line to the front of the building at 7:50 a.m., and the teacher comes to each car and pulls the child out, and all of the children gather by the door and walk to the preschool room together. I don't even need to get out of the car. What? Whaaaaaaaaaat?

I talked to a bunch of people, and apparently the "car line" is common practice at preschool. Everyone tells me that I will grow to appreciate this system, especially in the wintertime. It means that I could drive to preschool in my pajamas if I wanted to. The car line is the in thing. Nobody wants to go to a preschool that doesn't have a car line.

Still, I picture her confusion as a relative stranger lifts her from the car, her little face crumpling as she sees my car driving off. I don't know if I can do it. Maybe I will keep her home from preschool until she is, I don't know, 25.

Meanwhile, back at the Cancer Center ...

I had my monthly appointment yesterday. Dr. GPO was out of town, so I met with one of the nurse practitioners instead. She was around my age, very nice and very thorough. I liked her a lot. I almost started feeling bad that I didn't have any of the horrible symptoms she was asking me about, because I could tell she really wanted to help me out with something. She seemed surprised that there was nothing wrong with me. Maybe I should have tried to fake a tumor on my spine. At the very least, I could have tried Ferris Bueller's patented cold and clammy hands. Maybe next time.

Anyway, my CBC and INR were good; I'll get the rest of the results this coming week. If these test results are stable (drum roll), I get to take a dex break! Woo! Everybody cross your fingers that Spike is behaving himself.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Picture it ...

As I've mentioned before, I think The Golden Girls is one of the greatest shows EVER. I've seen every episode a million times, and I still laugh. I'm posting this in tribute to Estelle Getty (aka Sophia), who died July 22.

This just cracks me up.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Scribble

Yesterday, WCK handed me a little card with a tiny scribble inside.

"I wrote you a letter," she said.

"That's great!" I said. "What does it say?"

She looked at the scribble and read it out loud.

"Dear Mommy," she said, "I love you SO MUCH! Love, WCK."

(Let me pause to wipe away a little tear.)

At least she didn't write it with a slim marker and turn me into a complete emotional wreck.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

You may be right! I may be crazy!

I found out that Season One of Dave's World comes out on DVD today. Does anyone except me remember this show? It was a sitcom that aired from 1993 to 1997, and it was based on Dave Barry's life and columns. Harry Anderson of Night Court fame starred as Dave. Here he is with the real Dave:



If you're new to my blog: Dave Barry has been my hero since I was about 12 years old. I base my life upon his teachings.

It was a very cute show, but I remember being disappointed that it was merely cute and not pee-your-pants funny like Dave's actual columns. I think I was the only person in America who actually watched it -- besides my family members and the few college friends I could trick into watching it. I have it in my Netflix queue, but I almost feel like I should buy my own copy, since I'm the only person in America who might consider buying it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

NKOTB: The vigil continues

Ah, '90s styles: Poofy hair, oversized blazers with shoulder pads, sparkly accessories, hoop earrings, stretch pants. Until I saw this video again, I hadn't realized that men also sported these fashions.

Apparently, at least five of them did

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Headless Possum

I've noticed that the stores are now selling Halloween candy, so here is a scary story to kick off the season.

Friday after dinner, I was walking through the yard on the side of our house, and I saw ... a dead possum head.

Not a dead possum body.

Just. The. Head.

Live possums are pretty creepy. A dead possum body would be creepier still. A severed possum head staring up at me from the grass with little beady eyes was possibly the creepiest thing I have ever seen in my entire life.

All I could do was motion for Jay to come running and then point vaguely in the direction of The Head as I ran past it, herding WCK out of the yard before she could see it. I got the two of us safely inside, trusting that Jay would deal with The Head in a manly way.

Jay came inside and said that he'd dispose of The Head the next day when he mowed the lawn and could throw it in the big bag with the cut grass. For the next 24 hours, there was just a thin wall separating me and my family from The Head. And there were a lot of unanswered questions: Where was the body? How did The Head get there? Why was The Head looking at me in such an accusing way? Did The Head have the power to come to life in the night and attack me with its tiny needle-like teeth?

I think we all know the answer to that last one, especially around 4 a.m., is YES. ABSOLUTELY.

The next day, Jay went out to mow the lawn and put The Head to rest, and ...

The Head was gone.

Gone.

Of course, we all know that this means I can never go out into the yard ever again in my entire life, out of fear of encountering The Head unexpectedly. Jay said he mowed the entire lawn and did not see it anywhere, but I think The Head is very stealthy. It's hiding somewhere out there, waiting for me to let my guard down and then .... RAAAAAAR! IT JUMPS OUT OF A TREE AND DOWN THE BACK OF MY SHIRT! MWA HA HA HA HA!!

WCK and I will just stay inside forever and become pasty albinos who can't bear to look at the sunlight. It'll be fine.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

TRIUMPH!!!!


Thank you, Hobby Lobby. You saved our family.

The good life

Jay was out of town all last week, so yesterday I was telling him all about everything that WCK and I had done every day. After summing up our week, I realized that I have a pretty sweet life. I mean, this week we got to go swimming twice (three times if you count the birthday party we went to last Saturday), went on a picnic with our friends, read lots of library books, and went out for ice cream at Winstead's. In my defense, the ice cream was WCK's potty-training reward, so I was not eating ice cream for fun. I was eating ice cream as part of a very serious, educational parenting technique.

Serious, educational parenting techniques taste like vanilla.

My life is pretty good.

Friday, August 08, 2008

The quest for Fun Dough

Today we went to -- deep breath -- Wal-Mart in our continuing quest for school supplies. I did find the .77-ounce glue sticks and the correct box of paint, but I could not locate the elusive Fun Dough. The Wal-Mart employees denied any knowledge of the Fun Dough.

This is a challenge now. I'm obsessed with finding the dough.

It isn't even a required item; it's listed under the "optional" supplies. You just know, though, that if I don't contribute the optional dough that my negligence will somehow wind up in her permanent record. She'll be trying to get a full ride to Harvard in 15 years, and some important person will look at her transcripts and see "Mother did not donate Fun Dough", and she'll wind up attending clown college.

So we left Wal-Mart without the Fun Dough, and we got to walk by a teenage girl who was standing right outside of Wal-Mart, screaming the F-word repeatedly into her cell phone. This is exactly what you want to hear when you're with your three-year-old. The girl's end of the conversation -- and I swear I am not making this up -- went like this:

"She f-ing calls herself an f-ing hair stylist and she doesn't f-ing know how to f-ing cut an f-ing mullet??!?!?"

I'm not sure why she was so upset, because her mullet looked quite lovely.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Supplies party

WCK and I went to Target yesterday and bought most of her school supplies. Who knew that buying school supplies for a three-year-old could be such an ordeal? I purchased the slim markers without crying, mostly because I was too stressed out about glue.

As I stood among the supply bins at Target, I noticed that the list called for "three large Elmer's glue sticks (77 oz)". Wait a minute. The child needs SEVENTY-SEVEN OUNCES of glue? What kinds of craft projects are they going to be doing at this school? I pictured WCK and two or three other preschoolers hoisting one enormous 77-ounce stick of glue upon their shoulders and gluing, I don't know, a pair of cement bricks together. Obviously, this was a typo. I found a glue stick that was labeled "25 g." Did the teacher mean grams? But then three of them would not add up to 77. Wait. Would they? No.

Keep in mind that WCK and I are still practicing our early-morning schedule, and I had consumed far too little caffeine to be doing complicated thinking at Target.

I was so distraught that I ended up buying the wrong kind of paint and a non-washable stamping pad, when the list clearly stated it needed to be washable. My child will come home permanently covered in pink ink, and it won't wear off until first grade. I am the worst mother ever.

I came home and found the Elmer's glue web site, which revealed that the company sells a glue stick in a .77-ounce size. Ah! It was a decimal-point problem!

All we need now are the mysterious glue sticks, a new stamp pad and paint set, and something called "Fun Dough." Before I went to Target, I did not read the fine print on the list, which reveals that the "Fun Dough" is only available at -- cue Psycho music -- Wal-Mart.

Ree! Ree! Ree!

How much fun can this dough be?

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

What do I do all day, again?

Signs that I'm apparently slacking off on house cleaning AND child supervision:

1) The dining room table is covered in a layer of dust.

2) The layer of dust is covered in tiny, child-sized footprints.

Hmm.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

100 books!

Yesterday, WCK turned in her fifth list for the library's summer reading program, which means she completed 100 books this summer. More accurately, MOMMY completed 100 books this summer. I really enjoyed it, though.

WCK has a freakishly long attention span when it comes to listening to books. When we get home from the library with our stack of books, we sit underneath the dining room table and read them all. I don't know why we have to sit under the table. We just do. If it were up to WCK, we would read under the table forever. Seriously, one day I read for an entire hour straight. My throat was dry and sore. I was getting lightheaded. WCK insisted we go on. Still, reading under the table is much less physically demanding than, say, playing "chase" around the table, so I can't complain.

We did not make it this far in last year's reading program. Checking out books with a just-turned-two-year-old turned out to be, um, challenging. I'd try to select books, and WCK would take off running through the library. I also had to limit her to board books, since I was nervous she'd rip "real" books to pieces. When I would finally get WCK and our bag of board books to the check-out desk, she'd take off running again. After last year's reading program, we did not check out library books for a LONG TIME.

Everything was much different this summer. WCK would either patiently help me look for books or she'd pick out a book and sit on the ground and look at it while I made our selections. We were able to graduate to the "big kid" books, which means I got to read a lot of my old favorites. Yesterday we got to read "The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein, and I almost cried. WCK also loves Richard Scarry, Dr. Seuss, and the Mercer Mayer "Critter" books:




In our last round, I re-discovered the "George and Martha" series by James Marshall. Anyone remember George and Martha, the hippos?




I'm happy to say that WCK loves George and Martha (or, as she would say, "George and Marfa"), and they're just as funny to me as they were when I was a kid. My favorite one is when George goes to the scary movie and gets so scared he turns white and Martha has to help him walk home. Heh.


Will she be ready for the Little House on the Prairie series next summer? Bring it on!

Monday, August 04, 2008

Finger sandwich

Last night after dinner, I heard WCK shriek in pain. I rushed over to see what had happened, and she told me she had an owie because ... she had been chewing on her own finger. Sure enough, there were little teeth marks on her pinky finger.

"Um," I said, "just don't chew on your finger anymore."

WCK thought this over.

"I will chew on my toe," she said.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Bee Movie party

Potty training has been progressing very slowly. I'm not sure why I am surprised that she is doing anything slowly (see the previous post). I mean, the child flat-out refused to walk until she was nearly 19 months old. When she was 15 months old, our doctor sent us to a physical therapist at the children's hospital. He concluded that there was nothing wrong with her, that she could walk if she wanted to ... she just didn't want to. His official diagnosis was stubbornness.

My child was officially diagnosed with stubbornness by a medical professional. Why did I think potty training would go well? Why?

We've been using an elaborate system of rewards. She gets one dinosaur fruit snack for going No. 1, two dinosaur fruit snacks for No. 2. Once she completes all of the other potty-related tasks on her own (flushing, putting her pants back on, washing her hands), she gets a sticker. She used to get the sticker just for peeing, but I have upped the stakes. Earlier in the summer, I found a huge stack of really nice children's books at a yard sale for a dime or a quarter each. I'd been using them as rewards: If she could stay accident-free from wakeup time to nap time or from naptime to bedtime, she'd get a new book.

I finally ran out of books, so I needed a new strategy. A couple of weeks ago, I found a package of balloons in our basement. Why did I have balloons in the basement? I have no idea. You can pretty much find anything in our basement these days. Once, the moms' group needed some cardboard and plastic table cloths for a craft we were doing. I went down to the basement and found ... some cardboard and plastic table cloths. If there is anything you need, I can probably find it in our basement. It's like Mary Poppins' magic carpet bag. I know we need to clean it out, but I'm a little scared of being sucked into a vortex that leads to the underworld.

Where was I? The balloons.

I cut out five circles of paper and labeled them with the numbers one through five and hung them on the bathroom mirror. Next to the number five, I hung up a picture of a "Big Reward." In this case, it was the opportunity to stay up "late" and watch Bee Movie with Mommy and Daddy. Every time she kept herself accident-free for half a day, I'd blow up a balloon and hang it on one of the numbers. Once she collected five balloons, she'd get her Bee Movie Party. She'd also get to take the balloons down and play with them, which turned out to be even more exciting than the party.

These photos aren't so good because of weird bathroom lighting, but you can sorta see it. This is my Wizard of Oz-themed bathroom, hence the weird decor. I have two Wizard of Oz clocks. They don't work, but I just tell people they're on "Oz time". The extra balloons are for decoration, to get her motivated before she had earned the first one:





Last night, she finally earned her Bee Movie party. It was very exciting. We started the movie around 5:30 or 6 p.m., but we put her in her pajamas beforehand, I put on my pajamas, and we told her it was "very late at night", and she seemed to buy that. We had "picnic food" and got to eat it in the living room in front of the TV, which has never happened before. She liked the movie, but she had a lot of questions about it. I'm glad I had already seen the movie, because I spent 90 minutes answering a nonstop stream: "What's the bee doing, Mommy? Is that his car? Is he going to school? Where is the teacher? Where is the bee's mommy? Is the daddy bee at work? Does the bee have a brother? Why is the bee flying?" and so on.

Afterward, we watched one of the special features on the DVD, which was a music video of "We Got the Bee." You know, like the Go-Gos song: "We got the bee, we got the bee, we got the bee ... YEAH! We got the bee!" Jerry Seinfeld was in it (as himself, not as a bee cartoon), and I pointed him out, but she didn't care. A few weeks ago, though, we did teach her to say, "Hello .... NEWMAN!" Funniest thing ever.

Anyway, the Bee party is over. I hope we made some progress. The next reward is going out for ice cream. She's already earned one balloon. This means that Mommy gets ice cream, too, so I'll be extra encouraging on this one.

Friday, August 01, 2008

You can't have cookies for breakfast!

Wait a minute ... yes you can!

Photo of fabulous breakfast cookies:



Let me explain: I've mentioned before that WCK starts preschool in a few weeks, and we have to be there at 8 a.m. This scares me a little bit, because WCK moves really slowly in the mornings. We're trying to encourage her to put her clothes and shoes on by herself, and she also likes to "help" make breakfast. I know these are important things to learn, but even the simplest tasks seem to take forever. I always thought I was a patient person until I had to wait for a three-year-old put her shoes on. And these are very uncomplicated shoes with Velcro straps. Don't get me started on the endless eternity of sitting on the potty.

At the rate we're going, it seems like we're going to have to wake up at, like, 3 a.m. to be ready. Maybe we just won't go to bed at all, and we'll start putting shoes on at 7 p.m. the night before.

I knew I had to start speeding things up. I've reduced the time on the getting-dressed thing slightly by putting her in nightgowns at night instead of shirt-shorts-combo pajamas. You might scoff at the notion that simply eliminating one pair of shorts can save a lot of time, but amazingly, IT DOES. IT SAVES A LOT OF TIME.

That's how long it takes her to take a pair of shorts off.

Breakfast is another big problem. If she doesn't get to "help", World War III breaks out in our kitchen; however, simply making and then consuming a piece of toast or a bowl of instant oatmeal can take what seems like upwards of 10 hours, not counting cleanup time. My proposed solution to this: Breakfast cookies. I found the recipe online, and it is all healthy ingredients. WCK helped me make the first batch, and they turned out great. We had a few for snacks, and then I stuck the rest in the freezer. My plan is to always have some breakfast cookies on hand, and then bring them out on preschool mornings.

"GUESS WHAT??!!?!" I'll say, speaking enthusiastically in all capital letters. "IT'S PRESCHOOL DAY! WE DON'T HAVE TO MAKE BREAKFAST TODAY!! WE GET TO EAT COOKIES!! MMMM ... FORBIDDEN COOKIES!"

This had better work, because I am not waking up at 3 a.m.

Here is the recipe:

2 cups bran flakes, crushed (or substitute multi-grain flakes)
2 cups oatmeal
2 tablespoons wheat germ
1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 cup plain nonfat yogurt (I used vanilla flavored)
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup skim milk powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Crush cereal, and place in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add oatmeal, wheat germ, and cinnamon; set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt, applesauce, vanilla, honey, beaten egg, and skim milk powder: mix well to combine.

Add baking soda and baking powder to the yogurt mixture. Mix well.

Gradually add the cereal and oatmeal mixture to the yogurt mixture and stir well.

Add raisins and mix to combine.

Scoop a heaping tablespoon of the batter and roll it into a ball. Place onto a non-stick cookie sheet, or lined with baking parchment, and lightly flatten.

Bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes. Makes 24 cookies.