savor a spoonful of pudding.
lacking solidity or strength
But this project doesn’t need any glitter. And everyone else won’t have fancy poster boards with foam letters that make my
flimsy piece of newsprint that the teacher gave me look like gray toilet paper.
the act of judging a person or situation or event
Ms. Rochambeau, the social studies teacher, says this debate will help us understand the debates that led up to the Civil War, and Mr. Peck, the science teacher, says it’ll be a good
assessment of all the work we’ve been doing about animals.
carry with difficulty
When Bryce was a tantrumming toddler and Aurora was a baby, we moved four times over the course of that year. But the one constant was this little TV/DVD combo that we
toted around with us and an old DVD from the library free shelf: The Mysterious and Fascinating World of the Octopus.
a state resembling deep sleep
That DVD would send Bryce into an instant
trance, and we watched it so often that I happily memorized every word of it.
move or force in an effort to get something open
pry Bryce’s hands off of my sweatshirt, but he keeps pushing on me with his head like a silent slow-motion ram.
move unobtrusively or furtively
sidle up to my mom in the kitchen area, but she doesn’t thank me for my heroic feat of keeping the kids out from underfoot.
a notable achievement
I sidle up to my mom in the kitchen area, but she doesn’t thank me for my heroic
feat of keeping the kids out from underfoot.
a gesture involving bending the knees to show respect
My mom stops drying her hands to give a little laugh and a
an imitative portrayal of a person
She used to tell great jokes, too, ones that would have Lenny doubled over laughing at her
impressions, but it’s been a long time since she told one.
(sports) dropping the ball
We watch as the Colts hike the ball and our defensive linemen close in on the quarterback. The pocket’s closing around him, and then—ooh! Even better! It’s a
lift or elevate
She props the phone/flashlight under her chin,
hefts Hector up higher on her hip, and transfers the hot dog bites onto a plate with a spatula.
lacking conscious awareness of
Lenny is organizing his undershirt drawer with an actual flashlight, completely
oblivious to the disco dance party room that he’s in.
properly or sufficiently qualified, capable, or efficient
Why is she the one that all four of us kids are related to? Why can’t it be Lenny instead? All confident and
competent. No one at school would mess with me if I were like him.
“I—I know,” my mom stammers. “But I asked Connor to look at it first, and he thought it—”
My mom’s voice
thrown into a state of agitated confusion
“He’s not someone who would judge us or anything, and he doesn’t get all
flustered with forms like that and—”
instrument in a vehicle that measures the distance traveled
Between Lenny’s obsession with his lather shaving brush and his insistence on paying attention to little details like clocks and his car’s
odometer, he’s basically the exact opposite of my mom’s other boyfriends with their varying degrees of scruffiness and whose main talents were eating all the food in our fridge.
walk heavily and firmly, as when weary, or through mud
I watch him as he
plods forward in his steel-toed boots, his hands in his pockets and his eyes on the line of trees beyond the trailers.
a secret agreement to perform an unlawful act
“Open season until the second week of February. It’s just...” He pauses and glances at me like somehow we’re part of some awesome
avoiding detection by moving carefully
“The bobcat is the most challenging game there is. Pure
stealth. In the whole state only a couple dozen hunters will be successful this year.”
marked by unjust severity or arbitrary behavior
He always keeps it there in case the government goes all “
atmospheric moisture that has changed from a gas
I quickly pull my backpack closer to me and start drawing a cloud in the window’s
walk with a lofty proud gait
Instead, he gets to
strut down his perfectly snowblown walk, probably after having waffles, an omelet, and several strips of bacon for breakfast, and probably after his mom gave him a kiss on the cheek and told him to “Have a good day, dear.”
widen or spread apart
Now she’s leaning against the locker next to mine, her pink hair
splayed out behind her.
She shrugs. “Just a few hours, but I was
persistent. And I had promised Jane Kitty I would bring home a victory.”
a group of aquatic mammals
“They will share the meat with the whole
pod.” In a flash he produces a giant bag of Swedish Fish and starts passing them out.
the delivery of goods for sale or disposal
The downsides of a growth spurt means that my mom insists on buying clothes that are two sizes too big for me when she’s at the
pull along heavily, like a heavy load against a resistance
And even though everything would be easier if my mom’s shift started half an hour later so she wouldn’t have to
schlep him there until I could take over, I’d miss getting to see Hector and Connor together.
exhaust physically or emotionally
She’s kind of
frazzled, still fixing her hair and stuff, but it’s clear she’s already switched over to work-mode mom.
breathe excessively hard and fast
I pick up the pace, and Hector giggles as if a horseback ride from a horse that’s
hyperventilating is the best kind ever.
a loud, harsh, or strident noise
blare of the horns is so loud that Aurora comes to an abrupt stop halfway across the road and covers her ears.
infected by an acute viral disease of the nervous system
On the far side of the street Bryce is screaming and stamping his feet. He’s not even looking at Aurora anymore—it’s like he’s gone
lift or elevate
heave her up onto my opposite hip along with the diaper bag and—with all of those drivers watching impatiently—stagger across the rest of the road to where Bryce is still screaming and jumping about like his feet are on fire.
I turn back to rabid Bryce,
flailing around on the shoulder of the road.
state of violent mental agitation
I quickly grab another rock off the ground. “I have another rock that I need you to hold.”
As he takes it in his other hand, the last bit of
frenzy seems to leave him.