Nap time over?

Yesterday, I was determined to take a nap, and I strictly cautioned Peter that if he did not lie down his toddler bed privileges would be revoked, and I would put him in the crib. He wanted the door left open, and this would have been fine, IF my other children had been dutifully following my instructions to BE QUIET, but instead, they were downstairs squabbling. One pugnacious seven year old was sent to his downstairs bedroom, and one shrieking six year old needed to be relocated to her upstairs bedroom right next to Pete’s room.

Pete had set up camp in the doorway: his pillow, blankie and stuffed animals were all neatly arranged on the floor in front of the door which was blocked by a gate. Knowing he would never fall asleep with all the chaos, I told him I had to close the door; he had to go back to bed. He refused (he’s two, that’s what they do), so I put him in the crib, and lay myself down on my bed.

I was really tired, and I tried to convince myself that just being horizontal for a half hour would be as good as actually sleeping. Sleep seemed an impossible goal given the protestations coming from my youngest child’s room. Then Jenny came upstairs, and I would have allowed her to play with Katie in their room, IF they could have been QUIET, but they could not. So I chased Jenny downstairs.

Once again, on my bed, I tried to sleep. But from Peter’s room I hear:

“Nap time over, Mommy? Nap time over? Nap time over, Mommy? Two minutes! Two minutes! Nap time over! Two minutes!”

Believe it or not, he did manage to fall asleep after that, and so did I, briefly.

Broken Record…broken record…broken record

The kids think it’s funny to sit in my chair at the dining room table and pretend to be me. They point their finger at their siblings gathered around and say, “YOU do your school work! YOU do your school work! YOU do your school work!” Nice, huh? But oh so true. I tend to say the same things day after day after day. Of course, if they would just.do.their.school.work I might be spared the necessity of sounding like a broken record.

And if they would stop asking the same questions every day, we might have some variety in our evening conversations as well. Instead, this is what we get:

Random day, random kid: Mom, what’s for dinner?

Me: Grilled chicken.

RK: Do I like grilled chicken?

Me: Of course! It’s your favorite!

Another random day, another random kid: Mom, what’s for dinner?

Me: Meatloaf.

ARK: Aww, I don’t like meatloaf!

Me: Yes, you do! It’s your favorite.

Another random day, another random kid: Mom, what’s for dinner?

Me: Ziti.

ARK: Ziti? What’s ziti?

Me: It’s your favorite!

Another random day, another random kid: Mom, what’s for dinner?

Me: Chicken livers and brussel sprouts.

ARK: Do I like chicken livers and brussel sprouts?

Me: Sure! It’s your favorite!

They haven’t noticed the trend yet.

Back Labor No More

Denise at Ordinary Grace is currently my Favorite Person in the Whole World. She loaned me her copy of the book, Back Labor No More by Janie McCoy King.

In an email to me she writes, “I figured the math/engineering side of you would get a kick out of testing her hypothesis.” I am so transparent. The first thing I read was the back cover which had this to say About the Author:

“As a math major…Janie McCoy King developed a thorough understanding of vectors and their application to natural occurrences. Little did she guess that childbirth would lead to her most significant application of this knowledge. {snip} In 1985, faced with her fourth delivery, and painfully aware that back labor was no minor inconvenience, she analyzed her three prior birth experiences and began to see vectors at work in labor and delivery. When she applied this insight to her fourth delivery, the results were remarkably effective. The pain was abolished, and her son, Thomas, was born within twenty minutes.”

My husband will attest to the level of excitement that paragraph generated in me. I think I said something along the lines of “Math majors rule!” The book came just as we were leaving for the Renaissance festival, and I read it while Bill filled the car with gas. I read it while he drove down winding country roads until I thought I would puke. I read it in the parking lot of Petsmart while my two youngest children slept, and Bill bought a dog toy in the hope of distracting Greta from hunting the moles who live under our yard. By the time he returned to the car, I had learned the technique she describes to change the direction of the vector of labor pains directed at the back instead of at the pelvis.

I especially LOVE the cautionary words which warn a woman to not try the technique in any place other than where she intends to give birth…like in a car on the highway in a traffic jam.

Yes, I really look forward to testing her hypothesis.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Renaissance Festival

Because my blog is my default photo album of family life, here are some pics from the Renaissance Festival we went to on Saturday.

Sir Thomas and Sir Christopher face each other in a joust.
Billy and Katie ride a camel.
King William VIII.
Jenny and Billy on a Merry-Go-Round…or is it a carousel?
When we pulled into our parking space, Fritz wanted to know why there were so many telephone poles. Bill explained that it was a telephone pole farm. It always amuses me when I hear my own dad’s words come out of his mouth.

After walking around this festival for about three hours, we decided we weren’t tired enough and dragged the kids to a Greek Festival. Bill got in line for gyros while I got in line for baklava. It was crowded and tables were scarce, so we ate on the road. It took all my self control to avoid the gift shop at the church. Beautiful icons…and a nativity set like I’ve not seen before… Sometimes having grumpy children who don’t like ethnic food is a blessing in disguise (at least to my wallet).

I am still very sore from all that walking around. But I hear there’s a Polish festival this coming weekend…mmmmm…pierogies….

Movie Review: Old School

Last night, Bill and I watched Old School starring Luke Wilson, Will Ferrell and Vince Vaughn.

The first adjective that springs to mind: juvenile. There was not a single mature character in the flick. If you have a problem with nudity, sex outside of marriage, sex with more than one person at a time, sex with minors, or unmarried people co-habitating, then this is not the movie for you. The warning of “adult situations” doesn’t quite prepare you for ninety full minutes of that sort of thing.

The second adjective that occurs to me: hysterical. The whole thing was funny. I laughed from one scene to the next, often through tears, often suppressing myself so I could actually hear the lines. Each situation led to another one even more preposterous than the one prior that I was no longer constrained by any sense of decency and could just laugh at the silly people doing ludicrous things. Yes, it was an “Oh my gosh…!!!” kind of laughter, and if I actually knew people who were like this I probably wouldn’t find it nearly as funny. It is that the characters are so very unreal, that the movie is so very funny.

Definitely not for little eyes and ears. In fact, I would be embarrassed to watch this with my parents, and don’t think I would ever watch this with my own children, even in twenty years. But I did enjoy it and do recommend it for those still slightly in touch with their own immaturity.

Can you ring them all up separately?

Apparently, my children don’t understand the concept of buying in bulk. This is the sign for their pretend pet store I found:

4 Orphan Puppies for Sale
1 puppy is $1.00
2 puppies is $5.00
3 puppies is $10.00
4 puppies is $50.00

Sure the subject/verb agreement is off, but at least “puppies” is spelled correctly. Their English teacher is only half bad. It’s the economics teacher who needs to be fired.

Morning exercises

Like Matilda, I’m considering a ban on toys made in China. From a moral standpoint, I should have banned all things Chinese years ago, but it is so difficult to be diligent about things like that when my daily life is filled with the adventures of real life such as teaching children to read and chasing naked toddlers through the neighbors’ yards.

But as much as moral reasoning may be brushed aside out of convenience (or inconvenience), when I need to begin scheduling product number checks on toys we own, thus taking away precious time from the creation of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or other highly important tasks, I begin to think that perhaps a bit of anti-China vigilance wouldn’t save me effort in the long run.

The latest recall includes the Little People Animal Sounds Farm which of course we own. Unlike the Dora and Sesame Street products listed in the last recall that we happened to have, the recall date on the farm goes back much farther than 2006; the date goes back to 2002. Dutiful Protector of My Children that I am, I go through Mattel’s “help me determine if my product is included” link for the farm and it shows me where to locate the codes that identify when exactly it was made.

I, and my computer, are on the first floor. The farm is in the basement toy room. But I’m procrastinating on laundry anyway, so I grab a notepad and pen and haul the waiting dirty clothes down the flight of steps as I go. That’s one trip down.

I notate the appropriate codes and then turn to the laundry. Fold the clothes in the dryer and add them to the already folded clothes sorted into three baskets based on ownership. Move the load in the washer to the dryer. Empty and sort the mesh hampers and add another load to the washer. Carry the basket of boys’ clothes to the landing halfway up the stairs. That’s a half trip up. And a half trip down.

Carry the mesh hampers up to the first floor. One trip up. One trip down.

Carry the basket with the girls’ and Pete’s clothes up to the first floor. One up. One down.

Carry the basket with mine and my husband’s clothes up to the first floor. One up.

Forgot the notebook. Another trip down. Another trip up.

Back at the computer, I follow the instructions related to the codes on the farm. The next screen wants another code from the same spot. I hadn’t seen this number, or I would have written it down “just in case.” Cursing Mattel for not telling me everything I needed to get from the beginning, I make one more trip down. And one more trip up.

Once again at the computer I briefly ponder whether I want the item to be on the recall list just to make all these trips up and down my basement stairs worth the effort, or if I would just be that much more annoyed with the hassle of having to return a product. Fortunately, my codes passed the test and we’re lead paint free.

The boys will fetch their own basket from that landing, but I’ve got to carry those other two very full baskets up to the second floor. Two up. Two down.

And then I think I’ll be ready for a nap.

It was the best of times…

I thought it was just pregnancy, but it’s a small wonder that my rear end has been hurting. Bill found three matchbox cars shoved through a tear in the vinyl upholstery of my desk chair. I think the chair has finally made it to the list of Things-I’ll-Put-Up-With-For-Now-But-Will-Throw-Away-When-We-Move. It’s only ten months.

Yesterday was a great day. The kids did their morning chores and routines with little complaint. They got right into their school work with minimal procrastination. Fritz was the last one done – at 1215 pm – but that was only because I was eating lunch and waited until I was done to check his math and have him correct the few problems he missed.

After eating lunch, the kids were running around outside, including Peter whose outfit of choice was his birthday suit. They were in the back yard, so it was fine. Then Jenny and Peter decided to play dress up and this is what I saw:

“Mommy, look! It fits him!” Jenny was very happy that her witch’s dress from last year’s Halloween costume was just right on Peter. Personally, I love the patent leather tap shoes, but I think I preferred him naked. And the beads around Jenny’s waist are very Franciscan, don’t you think? Bill came home briefly and just shook his head at the sight.

I enjoyed a few minutes of playing around with my blogger template, because I have nothing better to do, really, and then decided to go check on the kids who had first migrated from the back to the side yard and now seemed to be in the front. It was getting close to 1 pm and Pete’s nap time.

Sure enough, I found Peter the Witch playing football with our three-year-old neighbor while his mom watched in complete amusement. I’m glad she has a sense of humor. The other kids were running around and burning off excess energy, happy to be free from the shackles of formal schooling for the day. And then…

…and then, a woman and her young son walked up to talk to my neighbor. The neighbor introduced us. The woman tried to count the swarming masses, and I told her there were five, yes, we homeschool. This was all very positive. I love living in a community where there are so many homeschoolers that it’s just accepted as another alternative. But this poor woman was trying to figure out how many boys and how many girls I had and was very confused. Finally I explained that Peter was a boy, and we follow the old-fashioned custom of keeping the boys in dresses until they are 5 or 6 when they graduate to knickers.

I guess it’s a good thing I really don’t care too much what other people think, eh?

Or rather, I guess it’s a good thing I don’t mind people laughing at my family.

After this, it was nap time. I told the older kids they could watch TV (oh! the cheers!), and Pete went right away to sleep. I finished cleaning up the kitchen, told the kids they couldn’t watch Animal Planet without an adult (too late: we got a discourse on the mating habits of frogs at the dinner table) and went up to lie down myself for an hour.
And the best part of the day? In the morning I had said to Bill, “I have to go to the grocery store…can you be home by 4 pm?” Six months ago, I would have been happy to have him home by 6 pm, so I laughed to myself that I was even able to make such a reasonable request. But the best part was when he came home at 315 pm, and apologized for being late!
Yes, it was a good day indeed.