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My husband did the unforgivable tonight. He bought jam. Because it was on sale. "See!" he crowed. "I got the kind you like for making danish!" There were two jars of that in the pantry already (along with four jars of other flavors, plus the two half-empty jars in the fridge).

No one is making danish in this house this week, because just last week, after baking in the presence of my children, I determined (experientially) that flour is the messiest household substance there is and that I will not be using any more of it. Also, my vacuum cleaner is not particularly effective (because someone may possibly have stuffed a pancake in one of the hoses), and the lady I pay to clean the house (who brings her own vacuum cleaner) has broken her ankle, and god only knows when she will bless us again. While she's out, we have to do our own chores. You can't imagine the peril and horror of it.

To avenge myself against my spouse, I decided to toss the compost in the outside garbage. (We're scorched earth, unforgiving types in this marriage.) I cleaned the whole kitchen to make sure it appeared reasonable. He is going to be aghast, but here's the thing: We haven't been able to open the back door to get to the compost bin in a week and a half. We're supposed to get another eight inches of snow tomorrow. I don't know what the reasonable statute of limitations is for allowing a pineapple to moulder behind the kitchen sink, but I am damn certain that it expires *well* before the next expected thaw. Because the previous owners, who rehabbed the house, were determined to create a kitchen as difficult to clean as humanly possible (we have carpet, and don't even ask me about the sink), it took an hour and a half. The kitchen now looks as though someone reasonably could make danish here (or, alternatively, as though no preschoolers have tried to help with anything in the recent past). I love it. But in order to accomplish this, I had to bring toys to the living room and put them away with my eyes closed, lest I start the violently needed cleaning there and pass out before I reached the point in the kitchen at which removal of the compost might appear logical instead of vindictive.
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Why do I find complicated arithmetic so soothing?
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For years, I have been trying to get Danger Lad! to watch Singin' in the Rain. It has largely been an epic failure. At one point, he burst into tears at the first sight of Debbie Reynolds in a yellow slicker. On another occasion, the movie was the inspiration for his first four syllable word. ("Acceptable." Which is what Singin' in the Rain is not.) Various authorities claim that Singin' in the Rain is the perfect movie for small children! There's nothing scary - gosh, there's hardly a plot at all. And there's dancing and singing and no sex to speak of. (There is some sex not spoken, because there's Cyd Charisse, but I trusted that Cyd would go right over Danger Lad!'s innocent little head, and indeed, she did. He disapproves of her for blowing smoke at Gene Kelly.)

Today, I played Mama's trump card: I refused to put the Errol Flynn Robin Hood in the DVD player. Flat out. I am so done with Errol Flynn. The last straw was the other day when I told DL! that I preferred to watch a movie with dancing, and he tried to convince me that the feast in Sherwood qualified. Deprived of his favorite, DL! conceded that he could watch Singin' in the Rain.

It took him a while to warm up. While Kathy Seldon and Don Lockwood were having it out about her opinion of film actors, DL! trotted into the kitchen to tell me that the movie was pretty boring, but he went back to it. He came back after Kathy hit Lina Lamont with a pie to let me know that the lady with cake on her head was scary. But then he giggled hysterically through "Make 'Em Laugh." I think he may actually have rolled on the floor laughing.

And then he got up, and tried to copy Donald O'Connor's flips.

I'm gonna have to talk to the daycare about this on Monday. They may forgive me. Maybe not. Here's hoping we don't have to go to the ER before then.
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Remember back in the day, when I thought that Hotspur was learning kung fu? Last night, she stood on the changing table and threw a perfect reverse punch at my nose, while making a noise like a very cute, very grunty kiai. Evidently her big brother has been teaching her to fist bump, and evidently she has sort of missed the point.

Also, y'all should know that she is mad at me. I put her to bed. That's like abandoning her on the Spartan hillside. Pillows, blankies, a snuggly frog and central heating are insignificant differences! If she was on the Spartan hillside, she wouldn't have a toothbrush there, either, so the two things are exactly the same.

But in other news, she has the most astounding vocabulary of hugs.
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Things that look like good fun:
- Climbing over a balcony railing to plummet fifty feet to your death on the stone floor below.
- Flinging your backpack over said balcony railing.
- Flinging your backpack over the balcony railing in such a way that it misses the lobby level entirely and lands at the bottom of the escalators running from the lobby to the street.
- Pressing the emergency stop button on the escalator.

Things Mom won't let you do:
- See previous list.

Things that are pretty cool:
- Skeletons.
- Nerf shotguns.
- Dogs.
- People in ogre costumes who will make faces at you while you hide behind people and giggle ecstatically.

Things that are so terrifying that you can't stop running from them until you are safely two floors away:
- Belly dancing.

Lessons

Jan. 13th, 2011 09:49 pm
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Never, ever speak to a small child about unfinished items which you are knitting for him.
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[personal profile] danceboy attempted to acquire me shoes in time for Arisia, but between one snowstorm and another, they won't be here until, oh, Tuesday. Too late. For Arisia.

There are, however, other occasions on which these things could be worn. Aren't there? Could all y'all tell me what they are?
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It's snowing and work is canceled. Both daycares, the whole city of Boston, appears to be closed. I am in bed, listening to baby monitors. I gave Adventure Lass! a bottle and left her in her crib with it at 5:30, so her occasional noises are all cheerful. Nonetheless, I don't think I can do this much longer.

I feel like murmuring sleepily to the world that I was thinking of hot chocolate and cinnamon toast.

Hoping

Jan. 6th, 2011 09:01 pm
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Anyone have any leads for evening babysitting at Arisia?
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Children
Hotspur, in her new persona as Adventure Girl!, has been getting into all kinds of things lately. She likes to climb things and stand on top of them. She shows us how good she is at going up and down stairs, with pauses on each step to look around and make sure we're still watching and there's not anything fascinating going on behind her that she doesn't know about. She takes the occasional step. Either because I forgot to buckle her in the first place, or because I left her in her carseat long enough for her to futz with it without me noticing, she managed to climb out of her carseat on New Year's Day. On 93 (which, for those of you who aren't local, is a winding cowpath that grew up to be a four lane freeway). She likes cars much better when she can stand at the window and wave at trucks. Boy was she pissed when we strapped her back in.

Danger Lad! is very enthusiastic about the violin (if a tad hazardous to it), and also about being a reindeer. He reports that he made stars for Deval Patrick at daycare, which makes him officially the most politically active member of the family. We have been playing a lot of catch with him, and I surprise myself by getting sort of good at it. Three year-olds are so bad at catch themselves that there is no need for their partners to be good at it, and without the pressure of, say, gym class, my hand-eye coordination is definitely improving.

Knitting (with apologies for obscurity)
After months at work on the Austin Hoodie (ravel if interested), I have determined that Connie Chang Chincio is not a well woman. Her unwellness manifests as a series of increasingly bizarre and complicated ways to knit sleeves onto sweaters, so as to avoid seaming them up the back or to the shoulder. I am no longer able to indulge this peculiar fetish at this time, so I have retired to a nice, simple, raglan piece called "Mothed", which was published for free in the most recent Knitty. I have three skeins of a limited edition colorway of Madelinetosh Merino DK, which is not quite enough (especially as I want longer sleeves than the pattern calls for), but I hope to find more. Ravelry, don't fail me now!
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Hotspur is up. She napped late, and now she seems to feel that she is not sleepy. She has never been sleepy. Mama, that must have been some other kid.

I am sitting with her in the dark, waiting for her to succumb to the inevitable. I would like to wind some yarn, so I can knit with it. I would like to wash my hair. I would like to do something scandalous with the man who I can hear, across the hall, escorting Danger Lad! to the potty, and informing him that we will not buy a Batmobile. By the time I am done convincing the girl that she is tired, and probably with escorting the boy to the bathroom again, the man will probably be asleep.

I have to go back to work tomorrow, and this fact does not please me.

In other news, however, Hotspur's late nap gave us a nice chunk of late afternoon with DL!, during which we explained where babies come from, played with the violin, and pretended that DL! was a reindeer. I even feel ever so slightly as though we have taken steps to educate the kid. So that's encouraging.
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I started a new website, and for reasons I can't identify, I have been massively shy about it. It's a resource site for women with placenta previa (the complication I had while pregnant with Hotspur). It's at www.thepreviousplacenta.com. One of the reasons I am posting now is that I need more content and can't think of what to write next. Opinions on this vexing question are extremely welcome.

We are celebrating Solstice with the kids tomorrow, which means that we are picking them up early from daycare, letting them rip through massive quantities of wrapping paper and cardboard boxes, and having a picnic dinner in front of the fireplace. My parents dropped by yesterday and left great heaps of presents (enough, I hope, to distract Danger Lad! from his demand that Santa bring him a Batmobile). The kids are receiving both Automoblox cars (rumored to be superfast on wood floors) and bowling pins, and I am expecting us to have a splendiferous, if slightly deafening, time.
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But I just signed myself up to see if Google will send me a prototype notebook. They probably won't, but damn it would be nice if they did.
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This is probably of most interest to people in Massachusetts.

The New England Home for Little Wanderers is in the last stages of its toy and gift drives for the holiday season. Their "Big Wishes" website, where you can choose to get an individual gift for a specific child or to donate money to programs or to equipment and supplies for children in their care, is here.

Kids in this program are often (although not always) in the custody of the Department of Children and Families, or transitioning to or from such custody. Some of the kids on the list are served by the Home in other ways for other reasons. All of them are very much in need.

As we near the end of the holiday season, the chances for these kids to receive the things they've asked for are running out. Sometimes that's because they've asked for ridiculous things like computers, but sometimes that's just because their social workers didn't put in much in the way of bios, or because their names are late in the alphabet, or because people think they're too old to need this kind of help. If you are able to donate, may I particularly encourage you to look at the Zs, and at the older kids?

Gifts intended for a specific child need to be dropped off at the New England Home's collection center in JP by the 20th. [personal profile] danceboy and I will be trekking out there on Saturday or Sunday - if you would like to give something but can't figure out how to get it there, give us a shout. Donations of new, unwrapped toys and other things for unspecified recipients can be dropped off until the 22nd.

If picking something and heading to JP seems like too much work, you can make a donation on-line, specifying an age group or a type of item that the donation is to be used for.
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Danger Lad!'s daycare sent home a note informing us that, thanks to the MIT Giving Tree, our child will be receiving a gift from some charitably inclined person at the daycare's upcoming Christmas party.

I feel immediately and hideously guilty.

I have seen these dang giving tree things. They're put up by well-intentioned people, and toys are handed in by equally well-intentioned ones. They come with notes informing potential donors that this may be the child's ONLY holiday gift. Make it good! The moor generous this poor schlub is, the worse I will feel about it.

I need to go out tomorrow and buy a bicycle for some actual orphans, and then figure out how to make sure that it gets to them. Otherwise I am fairly certain there is a place for me in hell.

ETA: Elsewhere, someone has pointed out to me that the organization may have chosen not to examine the circumstances of individual kids, in favor of throwing a party at which the kids who need charity are treated exactly the same as the kids who don't. From that angle, I'm suddenly fine with it. Still donating to kids in actual need, but feeling much less aghast.
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Danger Lad!'s $Winter Holiday present arrived at my office just now: a one-sixteenth sized violin. (Sidebar: do you know that you can buy one of those suckers for about as much as it costs to insure an annual rental? Trufax!)

It is disarmingly tiny.

I'm on my lunch break, so I checked it out, installed the bridge, and gave it a rough tuning (which I promptly undid, so as to get the strings home undamaged in funky weather). Eeeee, we're going to have so much fun!
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While Danger Lad! came through his brush with the galloping crud so unscathed that I wonder if he genuinely brushed it (and didn't just hurl for one of the various mysterious reasons that kids hurl), the same can not be said for [personal profile] danceboy. Poor man. Looking at him, it is clear to me that adults need much more sympathy than children when they're sick, although children are much more likely to get it. A sick, pukey three year-old is infinitely cuter and more endearing than a grown person of any kind or age in a similar state.

For one, my kids at least (at least at this age) don't seem to much mind when they vomit. It's messy, it gets things wet, whatever. Since they don't really see it coming, they don't dread it, and as long as no one has installed the shame/disgust patch, they're not much bugged once it's over. The closest I can recall coming to this experience was the time, post-surgery, when I horked before the anesthesia had entirely worn off. Sure, it smelled icky, but I'd missed the bed, I could go back to sleep. It was just a thing that happened, and there was no need to think of it again. (It did help, on that occasion, that I wasn't on the hook for cleanup.) [personal profile] danceboy is stuck being a grownup, sans narcotics.

On top of that, [personal profile] danceboy is *terrible* at being lazy. His idea of a day off is to run errands, shore up some beams in the roof, and jog twenty-five miles. The only way to get him to actually rest is to take him out of town. I feel like he needs remedial instruction in lazing about, the reverse of a Couch to 5K program - the Marathon to Couch program! To get you off the running trail and back to the sofa. I should so make those podcasts someday. Today, the best I can do is to refer him to the cats. They have refined loafing to an art. They are probably dismayed that [personal profile] danceboy can't conveniently fit into the sunny spots on the stairs.

Unclean

Dec. 12th, 2010 10:25 pm
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Last night, I developed an agonizing case of stomach flu. I spent today sleeping, nibbling crackers, sipping ginger ale, and allowing the children to watch too much TV. Danger Lad! went to bed early, but woke up, crying at around seven. Examination suggested that he got the awful bug too - he informed me that he'd spit up, and good lord but he had.

Sick kids are funny things. He puked spectacularly, but once sympathy was accorded, he flipped over to being cheerful. He was excited to come with me to get a garbage bag to put his sheets in, he was thrilled to change pajamas, when I asked him to go downstairs and tell his dad that we needed paper towels, you would have thought I was sending him to Disney Land.
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DangerLad! is home today, the result of a hacking cough that disappeared by ten a.m. In the past ten minutes, he has fallen twice in the living room. In response to this tragedy, he has cried, and then hopped like a kangaroo into the kitchen to ask for kisses.

Reading

Nov. 27th, 2010 08:03 pm
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I'm reading Little Brother.

You know what would make it just about perfect? If the characters were rescued by a cabal of knitters who managed to get around DHS surveillance via a communication system that appears, on the surface, to be a conversation about obtaining matching skeins of Madeline Tosh yarn.
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