Item the first: The heretofore wonderfully efficient energy-audit people haven't yet followed up with us, so we haven't yet filled our attic spaces with fluffy yellow insulating material. Luckily, the weather is a bit warmer now and somehow the Gigantic Arctic Front covering most of the country missed us completely yesterday. We had a high of 51 (10 C) and even some sunshine. The snow has receded somewhat, though Mabel is still trying to eat what's left of it.
Item the first, addendum: The chimney sweep came yesterday. I thought it would be well worth spending a hundred bucks or so to make sure we could use our wood-burning stove in the event of another power outage, even if we decided not to use it every day (now that our heating system would be working so much more efficiently thanks to all the yellow stuff). Unfortunately, the chimney sweep declared that it would take $1500 worth or so of work to upgrade our fireplace from fire-hazard to functional. (Ooh, alliteration.) I'm not sure I believe him, as the previous owners left two log-chopper thingies in the shed and a pile of firewood at the side door. Unless they were using the choppers for something else. I saw Fargo. (I know, that was a wood chipper. Just work with me.)
Item the second, unrelated to item the first: Monkey decided to try some peanut butter again yesterday, in case it was just the bread he no longer liked. He had peanut butter with crackers, and that was fine. He also had two slices of toast (dry). Today he took a peanut-butter sandwich to school for lunch, and is right now (after lunch) eating another one. So I think we're over that hump. I never thought I'd be so happy to see him eating nothing but peanut-butter sandwiches. (He's still adamantly anti-breakfast-cereal. How a child of mine could resist that entire food group is beyond me.)
Still, I am considering whether it might be worth looking into the notion that this is part of a bigger whole. Or talking to his doctor about, or something. As a friend said, worst-case scenario they tell us nothing's wrong, he's just a stubborn little turd with control issues (she didn't say that last part, because she's very polite).
Item the third, vaguely related to item the second: A friend of mine - the funny and clever Damien Owens, who not only has a blog but has also written several novels and a comedy-drama series that is debuting on Irish TV this very night - said, when telling me (and the rest of Twitter) of his wife's second pregnancy, "Henceforth, first daughter will be known as Practice Baby." Or, as Philip Larkin put it, "They fu** you up, your mum and dad."
I was wondering if first children are always destined to be "harder" babies, more trying preschoolers, more challenging teens, because they're imbued with so many hopes and dreams and thwarted ideals and - these days - just generally overparented more than their siblings, for whom they have smoothed the ways and beaten down the egos of the surrounding adults. I mean, B and I are both fairly detail-oriented people (let's say) who like things the way we like them, and from the day we started to try to make a baby, parenting has been an exercise in learning that we're not always in control. If Monkey has control issues, I'm betting they didn't come out of the ether, though I can't tell from here whether it's a case of nature or nurture.