Saturday, March 31, 2012

More Things I Don't Say on Homeschool Message Boards

RC: Use curriculum XYZ! We love it!!

SQOC: Boy, one or two exclamation points wouldn't have done it but that third one clinches it: even without any reasoning or explanation, I am convinced that this is the right choice for my family. I'll run right out and buy it.

Original Poster: My 6yo son does [randomly-chosen behavior].
RC: My son does that, too! It must be a boy thing!
SQOC: Yes, because two small boys are a representative sample of the one billion of them on the planet sufficient to deduce a gender stereotype.

RC: I have always done [insert family habit] and my children have never [insert undesirable behavior in question], so I'm pretty sure that's what did it.
SQOC: Have you ever studied logic? I have, and that's why my children have never committed an ax murder. You should definitely try it.

RC: Whenever we come across something about millions of years in a book, I ask my children, "How old is the earth really?" and they shout out "6000 years!"
SQOC: Right, a knee-jerk recitation of dogma is the best way to begin a lifetime of critical thinking.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Green Things Growing

For the week that began two weeks ago, it snowed every day. Every day. Granted, it only stuck sporadically, but still. St. Patrick's Day! It should not snow on St. Patrick's Day!

The coming of the first day of spring did not look too promising, but spring managed to come anyway. The last few days have been sunny and on occasion even warm. And after a very long hiatus, I have a garden of my own again. Admittedly, right now it consists of a flower bed with a few gaps and some bags of soil. (I'm trying the new method of planting straight in the bag of soil--we'll see how it works.) But we have transplanted the first round of lettuces. I've been raising them from seed on the front porch in little milk jug mini-greenhouses, which seem to have done just fine in spite of the cold. And we planted a row of peas that I am hoping will grow all the way up the porch railing.

Also, His Majesty thinned the raspberries again, and this time I put them right in the ground, in three beautiful rows, so hopefully they will all live. Last year he thinned the raspberries while we were still negotiating on the house, and by the time we had closed on the house and made it habitable and moved in and turned to look out back, most of them had given up on life after two months in a plastic bucket.

And our daffodils are about to bloom, though they seem to be behind everywhere else. We must live in a bit of a cold spot. All the better for growing lettuces.

I haven't seen a rabbit yet this year. Here's hoping.

Friday, March 23, 2012

More Ideals and Reality

(I hate it when I discover I've already used a post title.)

This week has been a long, slow slog of recovery. The kids are doing much better, but the house and I take longer. Especially since recovering kids make for a messy house.

Yesterday Duchess and Deux had spent much of the day cutting apart magazines in the living room. I probably shouldn't allow this in the living room, but there isn't really anywhere else except the kitchen table, which is usually otherwise in use. By late afternoon, the living room was ankle-deep in paper and I was beginning to feel frantic.

One of those cardinal rules of parenting is supposed to be that Children Clean Up Their Own Messes. And usually they do. But this mess was so big, and so deep, and so tall, and I was already so cranky, and they were already so wired, that I knew if I went in and made them clean it up, I would start yelling and we would all be at each other's throats.

So I offered them a choice: Clean it all up, or go outside and play. After a bit of deliberation (quite a bit on Dot's part, who hates being cold), they all opted to go outside and play. They went outside and burned energy. I stayed inside and cleaned in quiet. When they came in, somewhat calmer than they had been, I felt able to tolerate their presence enough to let them help me make pizza.

It wasn't ideal. But it was good.

Monday, March 19, 2012

The Walking Dead

We have recently been experiencing that special form of family bonding known as the stomach flu. (Which, of course, is incorrect, as it has nothing to do with influenza.) For once, everyone got it at once, except for Deux, who had an initial bout the previous weekend, and me, who either had a very minor case early on or who still has it hanging over my head. Everyone came down with it in the middle of the night, though, which I thought was an unnecessary touch.

Lucky us we had the Ma and Pa Kettle collection in from the library. These movies are theoretically set a short distance from here and we have been to the general area. However, the actual sets look suspiciously like California rather than the Olympic Peninsula. (Hint: There'd be a lot more and bigger trees. And it would be raining.) They're pretty corny, but a good choice for the circumstances.

I caught the bad cold Dot already had, just to round things out with lack of sleep. Adding that to nonstop laundry and dishwashing, and matters got so desperate for a couple days that I broke down and bought Plants vs. Zombies. This kept everyone occupied (not always quiet) watching me while they recuperated without straining my throat. Any resemblance to how I looked or felt after the experience is purely coincidental.

Today I'm using it to bribe our way through the mountain of accumulated chores. Deux is designing his own live-action Lego version, but he and Duchess keep getting into arguments over the rules. DOB is back to facing the backlog of work, without his paralegal, who got married on Saturday.

I need to go fold the laundry so we can fight some more zombies.

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Something Fishy

This week DOB's Rotary club released a load of hatchlings into a local creek, so we went to watch. The directions we had said "Behind the auto parts store" so we spent some time wandering amongst the machinery and asking befuddled auto parts workers before we realized we were supposed to proceed a couple of blocks up and down a dead end.

Envisioning the release as the opening of a mighty gate and rushing of many waters, we thought we would be too late. But it was a far more labor-intensive process. First the fish had to be loaded into coolers, and trucked up to the creek. Then they were dipped into the creek, a few at a time.

In addition to the ducklings, we had their 20 month old small cousin (SC) along. She is of an altogether different temperament than the ducklings at that age: highly mobile, ready for anything and overjoyed at the prospect of swimming with the fishes and rolling in the mud. Amazingly, she never fell in over her knees.

It turns out salmon hatchlings are really dumb. Even though we made every effort to release them in actual water, a large portion of them immediately made their best effort to swim into the mud. It took quite a while after the initial release to convince as many hatchlings as possible to leave the mud and go where they could actually breathe. And many of them returned to the mud as fast as you threw them in. This diminishes my confidence in the benefits of fish oil for the brain--it doesn't seem to be doing the fish much good.

Nobody fell all the way in and nobody ate a fish, so we will have to go back and do it again.