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Betsy Block

Stories without recipes

Expect the Unexpected (Always)

To learn about the issues surrounding the 2007 Farm Bill, go here.

To send a letter to Congress asking your representative to help change the Farm Bill, go here.

To send a letter to the Secretary of the USDA asking for changes in the Farm Bill, go here. (USDA says comments on the 2007 Farm Bill are "closed." I say, it ain't over 'til the fat lady sings.)

To find out about the book I'm writing for Algonquin Books, go here.

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New post up every Wednesday. Thanks for stopping by.

he other day, when I picked 5-year-old P up from school, I asked how her day had been. Bad, she said. Da boys were saying dey could see my underwear. Then her eyes welled up and her lip started trembling.

Since spring seems to have arrived in New England (finally), P had been wearing a dress for the first time in months. As my precious little girl looked at me, her big brown eyes about to brim over with tears, I opened my mouth wide in shock and raised my eyebrows high. That would have made me so mad, I said firmly. She looked a little confused. Were you mad? I asked. She nodded, laughed, then buckled her stuffed animal into the seat next to hers.

As we drove home, I wondered what lesson I wanted her to take away from all this, but while I was busy mulling, she said, Tomorrow, [my friend] N wants me to wear a dress again, but I know what I can do. I can wear shorts under my dress.

And that was that. Problem solved, by my 5-year-old. Somehow, just this once, Id done everything right. Id taught my girl that she doesnt have to let other people ruin her day, and by keeping my mouth shut long enough to let her think, she was able to come up with a solution all by herself. I was so proud of her, and pretty high on myself too.

Until the next morning, when she burst into tears because she didnt want to wear shorts under her dress. (And why should she have to?) That was when I told 11-year-old E to get ready to kick some 6-year-old-boy butt. Really? hed asked incredulously. No, I said, not really. BD and I stopped harboring sick revenge fantasies against kindergarteners long enough to focus on getting P dressed. We found a dress thats way too big on her, one that almost reaches her ankles; in other words, a dress that would allow for no undergarment sightings. We all felt better. Then we gave her a kiss and sent her off to school without her lunch. (Oops  guess we got distracted.)

That afternoon E asked how her day had been. Fine, she replied, except

At that, I was mentally pushing up my sleeves, calling the teacher, pulling aside the parents of these boys (not to mention, giving E the nod to do whatevers necessary) -

What happened? a concerned E asked.

I stepped in dog poo.