Friday, March 26, 2010

Life, One Way or Another

It's been hard to write on here lately. The details of daily life seem inconsequential when there are still so many big questions hanging open; and with the big questions hanging open, there seems little to say. Or perhaps it's that I feel unjustified in talking about our life until we are really getting on with it.

It's easy to feel outside the proper scope of grownup human existence without the usual trappings of a job and a house to talk about. It's easy to doubt the decisions we've made and hard to continue talking about our goals when the only definite thing to say is: not there yet. Still trying.

Indeed, I've noticed in myself a tendency to hold back even in thankfulness for things that happen: unwilling to be thankful for the blossom until I've seen the fruit full ripe. After all, some of those blossoms will never bear fruit. A late freeze might kill them all.

But now is our life. Spring is something to be grateful for whether or not autumn ever comes. If it does come (as it nearly always does), then what will be the good of having wasted spring with doubts and regrets? And if it doesn't, then why not have enjoyed spring while it lasted?

The other night I was talking with DOB and asked if we had bitten off more than we could chew. And then we started laughing, because the image that now brings to our minds is D4 trying to eat pancakes: Cramming an entire pancake in at once so that half of it is still hanging out, stretching out his empty, cinnamon-smeared hands to show that he's ready for more.

Yeah, maybe we have. Maybe trying to start over at this age and weakness with this many kids was crazy. But we've done crazy things before, and we'll do them again. Somehow D4 manages to get those monstrous wads of pancake down, and somehow we'll find a way to make this work, or the next thing work, or the thing after that. And then we'll probably try something else new and crazy.

If I'm waiting for life to settle down and everything to make sense before I enjoy it or write about it, I'm going to be waiting an awfully long time.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Feeding Frenzy

Her Majesty, observing the twins struggling to chew steak: Maybe next time I'll just fix a hot dog for the babies.
D4: Hot dog! Babies! Hot dog! Babies! Hot dog! Babies!
QOC: Actually, I'm thinking maybe *this* time you'd better fix a hot dog for the babies.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Blue Skies

I see from Facebook posts that it's been in the 60s in Ohio and everyone is enjoying heading back outside again. It's spring here, too (though not quite that warm), and I almost feel like I haven't earned it yet; we never got stuck inside at all. We had two sets of snow flurries all winter, neither of which stuck. Tuesday we went over to the farm and helped plant peas. (Well, I planted peas, D2 carried the dish of peas around for awhile, D1 poked random tools at random weeds, D4 drove his toy car up and down the rows, and D3 wanted to be picked up.)

We didn't do anything for St. Patrick's day, except tell the story (captured by pirates is good!) of St. Patrick. We did, however, celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday with a party hosted by Wondergirl. I was insufficiently prepared for the crazy hat contest (D3 wore a stack of hats in honor of Bartholomew Cubbins), but squeaked out a narrow victory in the *Fox in Socks* reading contest. We came home with a large stock of leftover playdough in garish colors, which has been keeping the kids well occupied all week.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Seven Quick Takes Friday

From Conversion Diary.

Consisting mostly of duckling sayings, since I don't seem to have much to say lately.

D1: When I grow up, I want to be a person who does *everything.*
QOC: I wouldn't put it past you.

D2: So I can count up to 199!
QOC: What comes after 199?
D2: I think . . . a billion!
(Guess I should have said, "What natural number is next in sequence after 199?")

D2 has started really reading, and walks about with stacks of "Dr. Seuss books" (P.D. Eastman also represented.) However, he seldom actually reads a book through. He reads them backwards. He reads a couple pages and picks another book. He reads off all the titles of a stack of books.

D1: "Now we'll both bow our heads, and then you can read the prayer." D2 (bowing his head, and flipping through the book on his lap, which happens to be *Mr. Brown Can Moo*): "But this is a *silly* book!"

D1 has finished all of her AWANA book, except for the one section where she has to demonstrate obedience in four different areas on five different days. One of the areas listed is, "I came right away when I was called for meals." So as I was setting up lunch yesterday, she stood at the table, pen and book ready, asking, "When are you going to remember to call us?"

After that she just went through and marked all the "came when called for food" squares ahead of time. Which is just as well, since I'm not sure we ever call her to eat--she's in the kitchen ten minutes in advance, asking when it's going to be ready.

D3 is obsessed with wearing Her Majesty's knit hats, even though they come down over her eyes and make her look like a perambulating mushroom in pink snow boots. D4 has hit the lining-everything-up stage and thus embarked on a probably-lifelong quest to take over D2's cars anytime they are left within reach.

And a brief note on the rest of us, who do not say or do cute, repeatable things. DOB gets his bar results back at the beginning of May and is hanging out around the courthouse a lot until then. I'm trying to line up some free-lance research work.

Monday, March 01, 2010

The Suffering Masses

Not too surprisingly, we were greeted upon our return by a wave of sickness. (Unsurprising because of Murphy's law and the stresses of life, not because of any failing on the part of those watching the children.) They had all had slight colds when we left and managed to sustain that until we returned, then promptly developed more exciting symptoms such as excruciating earaches.

D2 has, unfortunately for him, inherited DOB's pain intolerance, which is not so much a physical sensitivity as a compulsion to project this moment's pain forward into the unforeseeable future. More unfortunately, he doesn't sleep his misery off like DOB does; he mopes around the house whining and feeling bored and frustrated, like me. We tried ibuprofen for awhile which helped his earache, but then he developed a headache that resisted everything. In desperation I finally relaxed my rules on screen time for young children a very long way.

For D3, on the other hand, sickness brings out usually hidden powers of stubbornness. Saturday night, presumably because of a sore throat, she decided not to drink any more. Unfortunately, she was already too dehydrated to sleep. This set off hours of misery for all concerned, as she refused to be coerced, cajoled, or tricked into consuming any fluids, though we plied her with chocolate and saltine crackers. She would drop off to sleep and then wake up crying a few minutes later, but . . . "No! No! No! No! No water! No milk! No juice!" Lacking an eyedropper, we finally discovered we could use the classic trick with a finger over the end of a straw to deposit small enough quantities at a time that she would swallow it before she remembered to object. Once she had enough down her, she voluntarily drank the rest, then dropped off to sleep and, with brief intervals for eating a bite or two and sitting in someone's lap, has slept pretty much since then. She seems a little more cheerful and plays a little longer each time she wakes up.

D4, meanwhile, does not know what sickness means. OK, so there may be rivers of green snot running down his face, but hey! Cars! Outside! More cars! Oh wait, his head is falling over while he drives . . . must be time to put him to bed.

D1 pleaded a sore throat when she awoke this morning, but she seems to not have found it worth pursuing. Her energy is mostly annoying to the rest of us.

DOB and I think we are well, but haven't yet caught up on sleep enough to verify it.