The girl seems to have recovered from her intestinal woes, so it's on to bigger and better things. Last week in playgroup we got a handout entitled "Fourteen Signs Your Child is Ready for Toilet Training." (I think next week we'll get the Dr. Phil-authored "Nine Signs Your Child May Be a Serial Killer.")

Can your child sit for fifteen minutes concentrating on one activity? (No. But I'm not sure I can, either).

Does your child imitate adult behavior? (Does shouting "Oh Jesus!" when she drops stuff count?)

Is your child interested in the toilet? (No. But she's very interested in toilet paper, pulling it off by the yard and then running through the house shouting "Toy paper! Toy paper! Wash your hands! Toy paper!")

I think the best toilet-training advice came from the group's leader, who advised waiting until summer -- fewer clothes to worry about then.

Meanwhile, Curtis Sittenfeld's PREP hits the New York Times best seller list, and the Times is mightily impressed. Who knew? the editors wonder, that an "underdog book" could ever go so far?

Forgive me for not being as surprised as they are. After all, the Times featured PREP no fewer than three times in the month leading up to its publication. It got a a Sunday review, Sittenfeld wrote an essay that appeared in the book review, and was the subject of an Arts & Leisure profile.

Plus, the "Inside the List" piece celebrating the book's ascension fails to note that, among her other freelance work, Sittenfeld also wrote book reviews for....The New York Times.

To use a high-school analogy, it's like the popular girls invited her to sit with them in the cafeteria, gave her a makeover and brought her to their party, and now they're patting themselves all over their Lacoste-clad backs because she landed a cute boyfriend.

You know what would be really impressive? A debut novel making the list that hadn't received the Times' imprimatur. Does that happen any more?

Jen