Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Book Report

My son the 3rd Grade Student is writing a biographical book report tonight.  It is due tomorrow.  I'm providing sideline guidance. I am NOT writing it for him, just trying to shield him from distractions and keep him on task.  It is due tomorrow, after all.  He is a pretty good little writer, this son of mine.  But sadly, that's not what marks him as my son.  Nope. The fact that he's been sitting on this assignment all month long, has read several books about the chosen subject (George Washington), has designed (almost finished) his poster and yet had not put one paragraph together before tonight, that is what distinguishes him as my son. 
Procrastination rocks!
I just figured he would at least be in high school before I started encouraging him to pull assignment busting all-nighters.

This writing session is fueled by ice cream.  What kind of lesson am I teaching him?  Procrastinate, stay up too late, be rewarded with sweets.  Sounds about right.
Thus far, my favorite passage in this paper:
"When he returned again a widow was waiting for him. Her name was Martha."

I guess he knows all about women, that 3rd Grade son of mine.  Another lesson I hadn't planned on him learning so early.

While I'm sitting beside him, punching away on a perfectly adequate (if small) laptop, I'm reminded again at the ridiculousness of our computer "monitor."  Please, Dear Man of the House, can we hang that thing on a wall like the flat screen tv it was made to be?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Goal Setting for the Y&C Mother

There are some projects - big and small - in the works around this house that are prompting me to reach beyond my Natural Organizational Skills. 
I hope you understand that word "Natural" means "Minimal."  I shouldn't have to explain this one to you folks; I am a mother of five children, still desperately clinging to the words "young" and "creative," (if even only mildly "young" and "creative.")  As demonstrated by my children, a young person is not excessively responsible or organized.  In the same way, common practice demands that creative types are not expected to be tidy or organized.
Even though I don't have to explain, because all my readers (shout out to my Mom & Dad!) are very smart people, I will sum up this equation for you:

Let us keep in mind, (no matter how clever my current obsession with colorful signage) I am only mildly young & creative.  There are days that I distinctly feel the youth and creativity seeping out of me, leaving my aging and unimaginative nerves irritated by the Messy Normal.  Even on the days that I am full to nearly bursting with energetic innovation, I struggle to stay atop the muddle.  It seems that these Projects of Various Sizes (PVS) are pushing my surroundings to Abnormal Messy.  So, I'm trying to become more organized than my {mildly young and creative} natural self. 

I've decided to start small on this neatness effort.  Let's say about the size of a dining room table instead of a whole dining room.
The dining room table at our house, center of household foot traffic, favorite spot for homework-folding laundry-paying bills-coloring-and-stashing-debris, is always often buried under a pile of things not related to dining.  My first {small} step in reaching beyond my Natural Organizational Skills?  Setting the table.  Or rather, setting the goal that each night, before I go to bed, the dining room table will be empty of everything except the tired looking winter centerpiece.  I made this goal on Saturday night, and immediately decided to postpone implementation until the following night.  Sunday nights I am usually trying to make up for all the laziness relaxation I didn't get to enjoy throughout the previous hours of the weekend.  Yes, on the first day of my first small step, I failed. 
I guess I was feeling more Young and Creative (and thus not responsible, tidy, or organized) that night.
Since then, I've met my goal.
Yup.  One whole night I went to bed with a clean table, even though Monday was pretty full of Y&C Motherhood. (Look for more on that, later.)
The rest of my house will eventually catch up.
Probably when the children are grown or I am full-time Old and Boring. 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Instinctive Baby Momma

She's just a baby herself (11 months!) and a baby that has never taken a bottle willingly.  Yet somehow, she knows how to take a dolly and put the toy baby bottle up to the little fabric smile.  Next, she holds the dolly close to her chest and pats the tiny back.  Finally, she grabs dolly's arm and shakes the miniature body senseless.

OK, so some instinctive actions are not exactly worthy.

I have never shaken any of my babies.  I promise.  She didn't get that from me.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

My Vermin Post (In Which I Over-use The Word "Choice" as if We Had Invited Them)

I would like to start today's narrative at the beginning, but, according to the school nurse, no one can be sure where our family's association with Pediculus humanus capitis started.  Somewhere, somehow, my second child (the one gifted with massive amounts of hair on his head) became a host. 
It was during the second half of his Saturday morning basketball game (after he had been huddled up for team pictures) that I noticed an inordinate amount of head-scratching.  As we watched his younger sister cheer for another basketball game (yes, our Saturday mornings have been a marathon of basketball) I teased him about it: "What's your problem? Do you have lice?"
"Yeah - I have LICE."
He said it a little too loudly, but then, he says everything a little too loudly.
"Don't say that!" I shushed him, then proceeded to explain that his head was just itchy because of his poor shampooing practices.
He was right.
It was lice.
A lot of lice.
On his poor little head with all that lovely thick hair.
Fortunately/Unfortunately we did not discover this until 7:30 that evening, as he, fresh from the shower, was defending his shampooing practices to me.
Suddenly I didn't care about shampoo, just about killing those little crawlies and - horrors of horrors - seeking out any of their friends and family currently imposing upon my children's gracious hospitality.
Many phone calls of a panicky nature ensued.  The Man of the House made a trip to the closest Big Box and came back with essentials to meet this crisis: RID, Bleach, Laundry soap and Potato chips.  We He decided that since treatment and laundry would take hours (ha! Make that days!) to complete, we'd put the lousy children to bed and attack the problem in the morning.  Good choice.
The children were now aware that at least three of them had bugs crawling around their hair.  They cried. They begged. They did everything except sleep soundly through the night.
Poor little itchy babies.
As soon as they were in bed I was craving a greasy McDonald's cheeseburger.  I guess I am an emotional eater and the food group assigned to the "help! my kids have bugs living on their heads" emotion is grease.
Instead of eating, I mopped the kitchen floor (even though I was pretty sure it did not have a lice infestation.)  At that moment, I just had to clean something. I had no idea what an extravaganza of laundering, bleaching, vacuuming, and spraying the next two days would be.
For "personal reasons" (3rd Grader's choice of words) the children and I stayed home from church services the next morning. In between loads of laundry, I shaved the boys' heads, pesticided their scalps and nit-combed the remains.  We bagged up throw pillows, stuffed toys, princess tiaras, and some other stuff.  I don't even remember all of it now.  The instructions from the all-knowing webs say that things that cannot be washed or shaved or sprayed with the special lice-killing spray should be bagged up for two weeks or until  the creepy little bugs have died of suffocation.  [Who knew they could hold their breath so long?] 
After a lunch break, it was time for the girls' treatment. They were eager for their turns because, while they did get to choose the sit-still-and-watch-the movie, (they picked Tangled - go have fun with the psychological mess that represented for me) they did not have to be subjected to the razor.
After the children were declared de-loused, I settled in for more laundry.
Actually, I settled in for two more days of laundry (about 10 loads a day).  And vacuuming.  And bleaching.  And spraying furniture.
I expect that you would think our house is spotless.  It is not.  It actually looks as if we've just been sitting back itching and scratching.  It's dirty, but we're lice free.  The school nurse said so, and she knows everything.  Except where we picked up that first nasty louse.

Friday, February 17, 2012

(Unedited) Reflections Upon the Morning

I'm really good at turning healthy food into semi-healthy food. 

Oatmeal with dried fruit and spices (raisins, cranberries, apricots, cinnamon and nutmeg) tastes good; oatmeal with dried fruit and spices and brown sugar and butter tastes even better.

GBaby does not like real oatmeal yet, so the cats got her yogurt-topped serving and I mixed up some Gerber stuff for her. What a baby.

Should SuperPACs exist?  A few weeks ago I got my first telephone call from a SuperPAC, but it was an recording so I hung up.  That's not so super if you can't get some real people to make phone calls.  And just for the record, I don't think any of the current presidential candidates are that super.

When I unloaded the dishwasher this morning, I was so proud of myself: there were (approximately) several hundred items in there.  I didn't actually count them, but I did put them in there last night.  Plus, I remembered to turn it on, so I'd call that a Super Pack job.

New household rule: You cannot color (in a coloring book) without panties on.  I've never had to initiate this rule before child #4.  She says it's more fun.  Also, she hates going upstairs by herself.  I circumvented these nudist tendencies by telling her to go check her underwear drawer for candy.  And while you're up there, go get a clean pair of panties.  I feel a little deceitful.  Maybe I should get a job in politics.  Anyway, it didn't work; she came down panti-less and I resorted to pure bribery.  Can I put that on a resume?

Well, the baby is fussing in her highchair and the toddler is (almost) finished dressing herself.  Hmmmm... leggings + skirt + dress. Surprisingly well-color matched, but a bit overdressed for today's standards.  Did she not get the memo about Official Yoga Pants in the Ruffer House Day?  I need to check the printer.  Apparently we're not printing out the daily appropriate clothing guides.    I just helped her put a belt on, so I guess the outfit is complete now and she's demanding her candy. 

Please note: all images were found on the Google.  I'm lazy and I didn't have a fresh flower to prop up beside my oatmeal.  Plus, the really funny picture of my nudist toddler is really not appropriate.  One might wonder why I took it.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Rather Informative

Remember me?
Yeah. (Stretches and yawns.) So it's been awhile.  Don't hate.

A few unrelated thoughts:

I wish someone had warned me how addictive shortbread cookies are before I baked them. Just so you know, they are wicked. Evil. Maliciously delicious.

My lack of confidence in my spelling skills is reedickoolus, when I should be far more concerned about my grammar problems. But I'm not. Just so you know, I whole heartedly embrace my poor grammar.  Except for prepositions, something you should never end a sentence with.

My little W.Beans has a modern appreciation for unique, handmade gifts.  She is eroding the baby quilt her great grandmother gave her by constantly carrying it around. And the darling little sweater that her Auntie crocheted for her birthday? She's worn it twice this week.  I peeled it from her body this morning with a promise to give it back (freshly washed) tomorrow.  Just so you know, it is white and she is three. Stains are just lining up to ruin the pretty.

Back to the grammar: My reaction to parenthetical statements is about as severe as my response to shortbread. Just so you know, (in case you were wondering) I {heart} parenthesis and shortbread.

The main floor of my house was pretty well picked up yesterday, right up until that big yellow bus appeared at the end of our driveway.  Just so you know, the house has not recovered from the arrival of those elementary students.

The garment industry has not kept up with the apparent trend toward taller populations.  Just so you know, pants with a 36 inch inseam are a bit rare.

I fully intend to spring-clean my house this year.  Just so you know... actually, how long it has been since our dwelling was thoroughly scrubbed is none of your business.

Well, it is time to put those little female beauties down for naps... and then we'll see how much amazingness I can accomplish. Just so you know, housework is repetively tedious.  And banal.  And only sweet when it is finished.  Pretty much the opposite of shortbread, (but not parenthesis).