Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday 5: Porch Chickens and Root Beer

1. Today started ridiculously early. Arthur Dent woke me up around 5:30 and then Amelia Earhart burst in at 6:00 with a bloody nose. That was it. Up and at ‘em. The day went on  with Laura Ingalls Wilder only napping for about 30 minutes. All in all, it was a wicked combination. It seems as though at least one kid was crying at any given point in the day. By the end of the day, it was obvious that success would have nothing to do with anything but me managing to keep everyone alive. It’s now 8 p.m., everyone had dinner, the house is only sort of messy, and all four Little Explorers are tucked in. I win!

2. One time, I read that the appropriate number of times to vacuum per week is the number of people in your family plus one. So, for the Intrigue Family, that equals seven. Seven. If there were but one more Intrigue in our family, I would officially never be caught up.

3. Today, I found out that Mrs. British Neighbor has never had root beer. I assured her we would be remedying this as soon as possible. She then asked me a question that I had no answer for. “What does it taste like?” Fellow Adventurers, how would you describe that taste? I was dumbstruck. “Like…Liiiike….root beer? I don’t know? Root beer is a flavor unto itself.” I can describe lots of different cola type flavors. Dr. Pepper is cola with a hint of prune. Kik, the cola of Sri Lanka, is a more acrid flavor of cola. In India, their cola is called Thums Up and it is cola with a hint of anise/black licorice flavor. Cheerwine, that southern cola, tastes like it’s been spiked with cherry cough syrup. But, how do you describe root beer? I do not know.

4. We’ve discussed loveys before, but here’s a new one. Laura Ingalls Wilder has a tiny stuffed penguin named Sumo. She loves Sumo and always has. It used to be she was perfectly happy sleeping with her arm around Sumo and leaving him in the crib for the day. Suddenly, lately, he has to go everywhere with her. Everywhere. As a precaution, The International Man of Intrigue suggested I order a spare Sumo from Amazon. I did, and he arrived today. Conveniently enough, the “real” Sumo needed a bath. I pried him from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s hands and tossed him into the wash. Laura Ingalls Wilder, who, to reiterate, had almost no nap, instantly started wailing. I decided to try out the backup. Laura Ingalls Wilder grabbed him and instantly recoiled. She held him out and seemed puzzled. She ran two fingers across new Sumo’s tummy, and got a disgusted look on her face. “Soooooot.” In Laura Ingalls Wilder speak, that’s “soft,” said with utmost revulsion. She wanted nothing to do with the new, soft Sumo, she wanted the slightly rough feeling, pilled fabric of old Sumo. Skipping to the good part, by bedtime, Laura Ingalls Wilder had TWO Sumos. I tried to take new Sumo away, and she screamed. I tried to take old Sumo away, and she screamed. She went to bed with her arm tucked tight around two Sumos. Sigh. I will have to sneak one out while she’s asleep. 

5. Today, I was reminded that when I was just out of college, my parents had a chicken that lived on their front porch for a while. We named it Chicken Art. It was thusly named sarcastically after my friend, Art, who mocked Chicken Art. That’s awkward because now we sometimes call Arthur Dent by the nickname Art, and I told the kids the story of Chicken Art without thinking of it today. Now, I’m mostly hoping the kids forget the story of Chicken Art, or Arthur Dent is going to have it used against him by his older sisters. When that happens, I don’t win at parenting.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tuesday 5: It's Finally Summer Break!

1. In the “It Takes a Village” category, I took most of the Little Explorers to the dentist today. The three older ones were due for a cleaning and I was well past due. I dropped Laura Ingalls Wilder off with a friend and picked up Mrs. British Neighbor to help supervise kids in the waiting area when it wasn’t their turn. It went amazingly. Each Little Explorer did great getting their cleaning and x rays, and there were no cavities for anyone but me. In my defense, it’s a cavity under the edge of a crown that was poorly installed about four years ago. The tooth has already had a root canal and now I’ll have to have the crown replaced. I wish dental insurance covered actual dentistry. It seems like it mostly covers cleanings and just enough of actual dental work to make you keep paying for it, but not enough to actually help much with the cost. 

2. Last night, Arthur Dent seemed to have a bit of a fever when I went to kiss him goodnight before I crawled in bed. He is my kid that spikes very high fevers very quickly, so, since The International Man of Intrigue was on a quick work trip, I scooped Arthur Dent up and put him in bed with me. There’s something about having one of my children next to me in bed that makes me nostalgic for every moment of their childhood and for just how little they still are. Arthur Dent’s body, heavy with sleep, his back pressed into mine, his breathing soft and deep, reminded me of how, somehow, he became the one kid out of the four Little Explorers who co-slept. Gertrude Bell would occasionally wander in to sleep with us, but from almost day one, Arthur Dent would end up in our bed at some point in the night. We called him “The Minus Sign” because he always slept with his head in my back and his feet in The International Man of Intrigue’s back. We looked something like this: 1-1. It’s no coincidence that the answer to that little math fact is zero. As in zero sleep. Sometime, a few months after his first birthday, he started sleeping all night most nights and stayed in his crib. He still came into our room with some frequency, though. In the past year, his night time relocation has almost completely stopped. Laura Ingalls Wilder, like Amelia Earhart, has never wanted to sleep in our bed and is much happier in her crib, so The International Man of Intrigue and I have gotten used to having our uninterrupted sleep back. Even though I enjoy having our space back, I do sometimes get nostalgic for the tiny voice in the night, calling out, “Mama, can I sleep with you?” 

3. It’s day two of summer break and I’m already contemplating just how often a trip to the pool can be substituted for bathtime. 

4. There is one thing I love doing in summer. It goes back to those long hot prairie days of childhood. Every week on Wednesday, my mom would load us up in the car and drive us to town. We’d go to my small town’s tiny library and check out books and participate in the summer reading program. I think I read every book in that little library. I can still close my eyes and hear the door open and feel the rush of cold air on my hot face. I can smell the smell of books and cool air and clean floors. From a young age, I was a voracious reader. I outgrew my tiny Catholic grade school library by the time I was in late grade school. I looked forward to summer because the librarian would let me check out books from the high school and adult books in the back of the library and didn’t make me stick with “grade level” books. There wasn’t a book that was safe. One summer I read the entire Alfred Hitchcock Three Investigators series. One summer I moved on to the Westerns, and then SciFi. After we loaded up our library bag with books, it was off to the city pool to swim for a few hours. I had fun at the pool, but I loved crawling back into the steaming hot car, still dripping in my bathing suit, and reaching in the bag for my first book. I read all summer long. My mom would force us outside. Sometimes I’d play, sometimes I’d stand up, never looking up from the book, and walk out of the house directly to the first step on the front porch, where I’d plant myself and continue reading. That, my friends, is summer.

5. I’m still a voracious reader. I’d read all day if I could. When I was sitting in the NICU with little Laura Ingalls Wilder, I read about a book a day. I was so thankful for my Kindle. Being able to haul an entire stack of books halfway across the country in the form of a little electronic device was a sanity saver. Now that summer is here, I have to fight the urge to curl up on the couch and do nothing but read. The International Man of Intrigue had an unusually quick work trip this week. When he’s gone, I often spend most of the evening reading. This time, I read the first book in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs. It’s the book series that the TV show “Bones” is based on. “Bones” is one of my favorite shows, but even I have to finally admit the show has jumped the shark the last couple of seasons. The books actually take place at a much different time in the main character’s life, which allows me to enjoy them without comparing them to their tv counterparts. I'm not going to binge read the series, but they are a fun read. What are you reading?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Tuesday 5: In Which I back my car into the garage door.

1. Today, I backed the mini van into the garage door. We were trying to leave for Amelia Earhart’s end of year school concert, and Gertrude Bell was throwing a fit and refusing to get in the car. She was having a full on meltdown once we got everyone into the car, and at least a couple of other Little Explorers were yelling at her to stop yelling. It was pouring rain outside. I jumped in the van and opened the garage door. I was so flustered at the screaming, I forgot the garage door wasn’t up all the way yet and ran right into it. The top edge of the van hit the bottom edge of the garage door, and the garage door wouldn’t close because it was bent enough to trip the safety sensors. I had to pull the manual release to shut the door and leave for the concert. I didn’t have a great day at all, so this was the icing on the cake. 

2. The International Man of Intrigue is the cool head when I lose it. He was completely calm when I called him screaming and cursing in the middle of a rainstorm and ranting about a broken garage door and torn up mini van. He was completely chill about hanging out in the garage this evening, after the Little Explorers were in bed, bending everything back to straight and screwing new anchors into the three support beams in the door I’d managed to crush. He even reminded me that our car is a beater and the scrapes on the top don’t matter, it matters that everyone is safe. We’re really holding out for the new Jeep Grand Wagoneer, anyway, he says. The clincher is that he even managed to make me feel not horrible about the fact that I’d basically taught The Little Explorers every swear word I know (which is a really, really, really lot) by reminding me to use it as a teaching tool about what happens when we get upset and distracted and why we need to work together when we’re doing a family activity. Yeah, I totally hit the jackpot on this guy. Sorry, ladies, he’s taken!

3. The other day, we were driving home from school and Gertrude Bell piped up from the back seat with a pressing weather-related question. “Is there really such a thing as a snowstorm?” Arthur Dent piped in, “Yeah, like in Frozen? But real snow?” Clearly we’ve lived in the heat for far too much of their tiny Little Explorer lives.

4. I’ve already reviewed it on Facebook, but if you’re looking for an amazing book to read, pick up “The Seasons of Trouble: Life Amid the Ruins of Sri Lanka’s Civil War” by Rohini Mohan. It’s incredibly worth your time and is the current front runner for my favorite book of 2015. 

5. Everything I’ve read on the internet today has made me a bit grouchy. Ok, fine. I was already grouchy. It exacerbated my crankiness. I have strong opinions on most things, so I could go into a five page rant about how, if you think a mother nursing her child in a restaurant should go do it in the restroom, you can take your food and go eat it in the restroom so her nursing won’t disturb you. I could also rant about a bunch of other hot button issues, but instead, I’m going to put this craptastic day on ice. By on ice, I mean ice with vodka and Diet Coke in it. Dorothy Gale out! Peace!