Today I learned Mugwump.

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.

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23 thoughts on “Today I learned Mugwump.”

  1. 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. :)

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

  3. Meredith, I love #howyoudo!

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

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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.


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