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2004-05-11 | 4:11 p.m.

Dear Stephen:

I am home again but my return to motherhood has not been easy. Duff and I started sniping about Lionel Tiger at the baggage carousel and that set the tone for my homecoming. The kids are swarming me like mosquitoes (ďMom. Mom. Mom?Ē) and the dog I am ready to haul off to the pound, I swear it. The only thing thatís holding me back is that they actually make you pay to surrender an animal. Bastards. Also Iím too proud to admit I canít deal with this dog. I know I should be able to train him, no matter how stupid he is. But I confess Iím ready to buy one of those horrible electric-shock collars to suppress his barking.

My only consolation has been Pippi the Chicklet, and even she pecked me in the eye yesterday.

Yes, really, right in the eyeball. But I still like her. Even though she peeps near continuously day and night. She peeps as she is falling asleep, though the peeps get softer the warmer and more comfortable she is. If she gets too loud I will bring her into the bed with me and she will burrow into my hair and rest there, hidden from the dog and the cat. Right now she is sitting on the nape of my neck. I canít see her, but I can feel her teensy feet clawing my skin (it doesnít hurt much) and of course, there is the peeping. And the dog got back out and is barking his head off, which makes me twitchy and mean.

Anyway. Thank you so much for the Triplets of Belleville. What an excellent gift. I canít wait to watch it and neither can the kids. I am saving it for a quiet moment. Reasonably quiet, anyway. Hope I didnít sound begging when I spotted it on your shelf.

I have more to say but I guess I should go have a showdown with the idiot dog. Also the peepster is standing on the keyboard now making her own contributions and pecking at my fingers. She's stretching, which I love to watch. She extends her leg as far as it will go and above it, her wing, like a five-inch long ice diva. Even you might find it appealing.

Love you muchly,

AB

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