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Today I learned Mugwump.

January 23rd, 2014 · 23 Comments · Daily

On January 20, 2012, Meredith finished her school spelling bee in the third place position. The word that took her down? Defiantly.

On January 31, 2013, Meredith tied for the position of first runner-up. The word that took her down? Evaluate.

This year Meredith once again won her class bee, making her eligible for the school bee. Once again, she studied her butt off to prepare. Once again, before leaving the house I grabbed a hot tea and a notebook to keep me busy so that I wouldn’t fidget, cry, or chew off my own arm during the assembly.

I arrived at the school at 1:50, and the spelling bee was scheduled to begin at 2:15. At around 2:00, the participants arrived, drew their order numbers, and took their seats. Meredith was lucky number four, and I would show you the photo of the kids lined up, but I didn’t have model release forms with me, and I have a funny feeling that a photo with Meredith and nine “hidden” children wouldn’t stir up much excitement.

Here. Wait.

Moderator: Meredith, your word is Gorgon.


Meredith: GeeOhAreGeeOhEn. Gorgon.

Moderator: That is correct.

Now wait a second. In case you didn’t follow that first link at the top of the page, look at how much Meredith has grown since her first appearance at the school spelling bee.


Oh, my heart and songs from Fiddler on the Roof and in ten years she’ll be 20 and my hair is so gray and my neck is starting to look like a gobbler neck and my ankles are the same size as my knees and every other sentiment that involves somehow saving time in a bottle, Jim Croce.


After Gorgon, which was a Round Five word, the other participants started dropping fairly quickly. Meredith hung in there with words like Infringe and Disarray and Vouch and Bolide and Forbidden.

When it got down to the final two participants, Meredith was given the word Vitriolic.

She spelled it correctly.

Moderator: Fourth Grade Boy, your word is Pontiff.

Fourth Grade Boy: Pontiff. P-O-N-T-I-F. Pontif.

Moderator: I’m sorry, but Pontiff is spelled P-O-N-T-I-F-F. If Meredith spells the next word correctly, she will win the spelling bee.

Meredith approached the microphone.

Moderator: Meredith, your word is Piety.

Meredith (without hesitation because she’s cool like that): Piety. PeeEyeEeeTeeWhy. Piety.

At that point, I grabbed my tea and started chugging it while writing PIETY! in my tiny notebook and my eyes welled up and I was clapping by slapping my legs and when did I lose all of my coolness? Because, honestly: It’s all gone. All of it.

(By the way, today is National Pie Day, and Meredith won the spelling bee with piety. I love that. Because I love pie. (And piety isn’t so shabby, either.))


Because the Puddings tend to celebrate all of our accomplishments with some sort of burrito or another, this evening we braved the freezing temperatures and burritoed it up. And burritoed is not a word. Until now.



23 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Cindy // Jan 23, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    Way to go Meredith! I just got all teary. Awesome!

  • 2 Kim L // Jan 23, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Way to go Meredith!!!

  • 3 Julie // Jan 23, 2014 at 8:45 pm

    Congratulations to Meredith!! Way to go!

    More celebrating with some pie may be in order?

    Does she advance to another bee?

    I, too learned Mugwump today thanks to you. :)

  • 4 Mary // Jan 23, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Woohoo!!!! Go Meredith!! (Love the pic of tiny Meredith. Your kids rad just too cute for words)

  • 5 Nichole // Jan 23, 2014 at 9:10 pm


  • 6 Judi // Jan 23, 2014 at 9:25 pm

    Yay! Congrats to Meredith! Now I want a burrito.

  • 7 Alyce // Jan 23, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    Meredith, I love #howyoudo!

    I ate a vegetarian burrito in solidarity (or hunger).

  • 8 Kelli // Jan 23, 2014 at 10:03 pm

    I just got chills of happiness! Go Meredith!!!

  • 9 Pam // Jan 23, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    Excellent work, Meredith! Especially, bolide? BOLIDE? Never heard of it. So, extra congratulations. Hope that burrito was followed up by something sticky and sweet.

  • 10 Kathy S. // Jan 23, 2014 at 11:20 pm

    Yay! Go Meredith go! (I thought Pi(e) Day was March 14. ARE THERE TWO PI(E) DAYS? Why does no one tell me the important stuff?!)

  • 11 blackbird // Jan 24, 2014 at 9:50 am


  • 12 Ohjennymae // Jan 24, 2014 at 9:53 am

    This is just too much!! Way to go, Meredith!!!

  • 13 DLG in Mich // Jan 24, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    That is so awesome!! Congratulations Smarty Pants Meredith!

  • 14 Barbara // Jan 24, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Wonderful !!
    That’s just so great.
    Congratulations !

  • 15 Nancy R // Jan 24, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Woooo! So that’s why I was craving burrito…

  • 16 Grammy // Jan 25, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Sorry I’m so late to this party, but, YAY, Meredith! Last year I said I looked forward to The Champ running to the top of the stairs and pumping her fists in the air this year. I hope she did.

    Congratulations to Meredith for the win, and to Mom for keeping it together enough to avoid completely humiliating her daughter. Cheers to the whole Pudding Family.

  • 17 Mary K. in Rockport // Jan 26, 2014 at 11:39 am

    That’s wonderful! (What the heck is “bolide”? If I knew how to access the dictionary on my laptop, I could find out. Or I could get off the couch and look in the “real” dictionary.) Was there maternal blubbering? I would have blubbered.

  • 18 Kristin // Jan 26, 2014 at 10:40 pm

    WOW! That is so awesome Meredith!! What a great accomplishment!

  • 19 Natalie Walrond // Jan 27, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Hooraaaaayyyyy!!! Such a sweet victory after so much persistence. Congratulations, Meredith!

  • 20 Ani // Jan 29, 2014 at 1:13 pm

    Yay Meredith!!!!!

  • 21 Carroll // Feb 4, 2014 at 1:49 am

    Bolide? Give me a break!

    But yayayayayayayaaayyyyyyy, Meredith. You rock, you rule. You bee da bomb!

  • 22 You can call me, 'Sir' // Feb 12, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    That bee looks like it’s giving me (personally; directed at me) the finger. Such aggression from an insect that produces honey of all things.

    Also, I choose to believe that the picture of Meredith at the microphone was taken seconds before she flew into Rage Against the Machine’s ‘Testify’. What does that say about me? Dunno. What does it say about Meredith? That she’s awesome.


  • 23 Esther // Feb 13, 2014 at 12:49 pm