Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Late-Night Argument

For background, I had tried to sing to the twins as they went to bed and been adamantly told, "No singing. Moozik on." I had left the room. Whereupon the following was heard, many times over:

D4: Mama sing! Mama sing! Mama siiinnnggg!
D3: Jesus love me, he who die . . .
D4: No, D3! Quiet! Go sleep!
D3: I singing!
D4: No, Mama sing! Mama sing! Maaammaaaa siiinnnggg!


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Title IX

The older ducklings and I were watching this video of trick jump-roping. D2 noticed and observed plaintively that it looked like they were all girls.

"Yes," I explained, "Mostly it is girls who do jump-roping. Like mostly it is boys who do football. And some things girls and boys both play, but on different teams, like basketball. And some things everybody likes to play all together."

He brightened up. "Like Hi-Ho Cherrio!"

Monday, May 24, 2010

Setting under the sails

We did not get the stomach flu this time. So we were at last able to take our trip to tour the Tall Ships when they came back to visit our side of the Puget Sound. (Well, sort of. It was still over an hour's drive.) Unfortunately, we forgot the camera. But you can see pictures of the boats on that website, and you can see pictures of the older two ducklings on this website, and just kind of mentally combine them. Just be sure you pick the happiest and most intent-looking duckling pictures.

The forecast was cool and rainy, but it turned cool and sunny instead, which was perfect weather for keeping up with D1 and D2 as they ran down in the hold and back up to the helm and over the gangplank to the other ship and down the hold and back up to the helm and over the gangplank again and again and again. If it was possible for them to have a better time, I cannot imagine how.

DOB had quite enough excitement just hitching himself around the boats once as they were definitely not designed to be wheelchair accessible. He also had a very nice chat with the captain of one of the ships, an online friend, after convincing the crew that he really did know the captain by producing his first name. The crew all dress in period clothes and stand about to answer the endless round of inane questions at each port, but they try to protect the captains, who try to stay incognito in modern dress. They still looked terrifically sea-captainish to me.

What I did was get seasick. On a tied ship. On a calm day.

We'd like to take a Battle Sail sometime, but I think I'd better get some Dramamine first.

Friday, May 14, 2010


D2: I never get anything that I want.

QOC: Yes, I do my best to deliberately thwart you at every turn.

D2: Why?

QOC: Because I am EEEeeevilll.

D2: Then I will not obey you, since you are evil.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Oh, THAT kind of crazy

A couple of weeks ago I predicted that life was about to get crazy again.

Unsurprisingly, it did.

The particular form of craziness was not what I expected. (And perhaps even that is unsurprising.) I was expecting a lot of running around, writing cover letters, networking meetings, etc. We'd had one sample day of that, which involved a complete printer failure, crashed program that ate a saved file, and His Majesty impromptu babysitting for three hours while we invented creative new terminology for our computer equipment, and DOB making it by the law firms after all the relevant people had left for the day.

However, one of those people finally answered the phone. And when he went in to talk to them, asked if he'd like to do some contract work. So he's been working there since last Monday--it's less than fifteen minutes from here and about three minutes from the courthouse. He's had the chance to work on a variety of cases and is really enjoying it. It may work in to something long-term, or it may not; either way, it's perfect right now.

So THAT just seemed too easy. Clearly, something else needed to go crazy.

Obligingly, one of the bones in DOB's foot called it quits last Saturday. One of the bones in his *good* foot. And as one of those little things that boasteth great things, it has turned everything topsy-turvy. Since his bad foot can't be called in as a substitute, he can't walk or drive. Everything takes much longer. B5 drops him off at work in the morning, I pick him up and take him around to doctors and the pool and such. Their Majesties and occasionally Wondergirl do a lot of extra babysitting.

I've done more driving in the past week than I have in the previous three years. DOB is making tremendous strides in his swimming lessons what with the extra arm workouts.

The ducklings, undisturbed, keep riding their bikes. D1 has composed a song she likes to sing while riding bikes: "If we just keep on rolling/We can get from here to there."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Perfectly Messy

Last week I read a book entitled A Perfect Mess, on the underappreciated virtues of disorder.

My siblings questioned whether I needed to read such a book. Probably not. Still, it is fun to find sympathy for one's philosophy.

There are, of course, dysfunctional levels of disorder--if you die under cascades of old magazines, for instance.

But there are also dysfunctional levels of order, and the mental image of the magazine-perfect house as something we all ought to attain, or at least aspire to, is probably doing us more harm than good. As anyone who has sold a house can tell you, maintaining a house in that kind of condition is highly dysfunctional for family life or, indeed, doing anything with one's life except cleaning house.

Similarly, too much long-range planning and rigid adherence to schedules and efficiency can leave us without time or resilience for the unexpected, or for examining what the use is of all those things we are doing so efficiently. DOB and I have realized, looking back, that most of the decisions we made that turned out badly were ones we made while trying to look long-term. Not being psychic, our long-term predictions usually turned out wrong, and in the meantime we had made a decision that was not so helpful for the present, either.

Some people just naturally are neater and more organized, and this is fine. However, some of us are naturally a bit more scattered, and have found ways to make it work very well for us. My laundry system when the twins were babies, for instance, consisted of splitting the family up into pairs, having a hamper for each, running each hamper through the laundry and then into its own basket, and thus never having to sort, fold, or put away laundry, while still not wasting much time hunting for lost socks.

Now that the twins are toddlers, it is more efficient to spend ten minutes every few days folding and putting away laundry than it would be to hunt down missing socks from under all the furniture and persuade D3 to take people's underwear off her head. Instead, I give a lot less attention to stuff left on the floor.

Toddlers are expert randomizers, and although I like to clean up every now and again, I've discovered it usually means we spend MORE time hunting for lost items, because instead of everything lying out in plain view, during the pickup session someone helpfully "put away" their shoes in a toy bin or their water bottle in the closet.

When I do decide it's time to clean up, we get out a couple of laundry baskets (laundry baskets are a great semi-messy organizing device), toss everything on the floor into the baskets, sweep and vacuum. I put the baskets up high where I can sort through them at leisure. Then we can play "Ring Around the Rosie" on the newly-clean floor and then relax as the living room gradually becomes converted back into a store/castle/library/campground.

It's helpful to remember that we owe penicillin to Alexander Fleming's messy laboratory, and (this one wasn't mentioned in the book) Horton Hatches an Egg to Dr. Seuss's messy desk. Mess is a great place for discovery. As long as nobody dies.

Friday, May 07, 2010

Seven Quick Takes Friday

1. DOB got sworn in yesterday. They don't have a general swearing-in ceremony here like in the bigger counties--you just call the courthouse and they have a judge with a quiet calendar do it. You get to practice actually walking up to the bar. Just in case you found that hard. Now he just has to finish all the rest of the paperwork and wait for his card.

2. The twins are far more keyed in to their surroundings than the older kids, and so they are having a great time watching animals outside. (While D2 just stands there--"Where? Where is it? I don't see it!"--and yes, I have informally checked his vision, he can see distant things fine, it just takes him a loooong time to switch gears or make sense of the outside world.) Their favorite, by far, is the slug. Any time they see one, they stop and watch it, fascinated, pointing "That way! There it goes! Bye-bye, slug!" Since there are banana slugs, D1 has concluded that the darker-colored ones are chocolate slugs.

3. Rocketboy (or should he now be Copterboy?) is home for a week or so before he heads out to Afghanistan. He came over for spaghetti last night and I think three out of four of the ducklings out-ate him. This is not encouraging.

4. Techboy and family close on the sale of their house next week, and are moving to the Farm until they get their house built. This should make it even easier for the cousins to get together.

5. D2 has been having outbreaks of random itchiness. I have been trying to write down what he eats to see if I can find a cause, but I have also tried cutting way back on his sugar consumption, which had been creeping upwards, and he hasn't had any since. So I'm going to suspect it is excess sugar, which is nice because it doesn't require reworking everyone's menus to avoid.

6. However, in defense of D2's ability to make sense of the outside world, he discovered gravity the other day. "Why is it," he asked, "that when I let go of things, they always fall down? Why don't they fly up in the air, instead?" We then had a discussion on things that do fly up in the air, but I tried to refrain from giving him any pat answers. I still have hopes of seeing him turn into a physicist. Or something.

7. We had to take the blind down in the duckling's room because it had a string we could not make safe. This was fine in the winter, but now that sunrise is at five-thirty or thereabouts, the kids were waking up WAY too early. Her majesty improvised a curtain out of shower rings, safety pins, and denim, which keeps the room adequately dark and can be taken apart into component parts once the children are no longer in that room. And now blissful silence reigns until 7 or 8 again.

Oh, and bonus points: Happy Birthday to DOB! Also it's Law Day! Coincidence?

More Quick Takes.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Mysterious Alot

Has now been identified. And the Grammar Commando is pleased.

(I will add that although that particular post looked fine, the rest of the site would earn a very different rating than the Duchy, so be forewarned.)

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The Envelope Please . . .

And today, DOB received the news that he passed the Washington bar!

Also, he has a contract opportunity at a local firm.

Also, the sun is shining (intermittently) and the birds are chirping (incessantly).