Friday, May 25, 2007

A House For Toddlerness

Well, she calls it her house anyway. This is what we did with the space underneath the bunk. Toddlerness is pretty much beside herself. She understands that the big kids get to sit in there too, but has decided that since her bed is under there, it is HER territory.

Not that she'll sleep on her bed or anything.

And yes, that big ugly thing on the wall is a heater. A gargantuan, ancient heater. Inside, it has, like, a toaster element that had a pituitary tumor and grew to unweildy proportions. If you actually run it, it smells precisely like what you might imagine a toaster element that had a pituitary tumor and grew to unweildy proportions would smell if you stuck it in painted sheet metal, left it unused for 5 years, knocked into it a few times, and then decided, on a whim, to see whether it worked. It blows hot air, all right. But if you have to open all the windows to get the god-awful smell out of your nose, how much good does THAT do?


On Thursday, Fran had to work after all. Surprise! They called him as he was getting ready to go and asked him to go to a different store for the day. Despite the fact that he has been a humongous stress-case about starting the new job, he actually managed to take the change of plans really, really well.

I gathered up random stray children that were wandering around my house (I just happened to have grabbed ones that I gave birth to, what are the odds?), boiled eggs, steamed artichokes, packed a cooler, and headed off to Luther Burbank Park on Mercer Island (ok, this park rocks, go there people-who-are-nearby). We spent 6 hours at the park. Only the first hour and a half or so was spent at the playground-kinda-thingy (all 80s looking and cool). The rest we spent exploring - rolling down the hills, walking the trails, checking out the old dairy barn...we even managed to fit in some swimming! As we were leaving, toddlerness gave me a handful of yellow flowers and toddler-ran off, turning to say, "mama, I a happy face!" Everyone was tired and ready to go at the end of that 6 hours, but still happy. Summer-day-at-the-part UTOPIA! I didn't get any pictures because I couldn't find the camera. Until we got home. When I found it in the bag I'd been lugging around all day. Crap.

We came home sunburnt and tired (ok, I was tired - the kids had slept in the car and were ready for round 2, of course) just as Fran was starting in on the dinner project. Awesome.

Today, we had a big fire, and burned a lot of the stuff that was blocking the path to the 'clear play area' thing on the far side of the driveway. Not all, but a lot. When Toddlerness fell asleep for her nap, I grabbed Girliness and we headed off for some us time. Soft pretzels on a picnic bench, Starbucks in Target, way too many purchases on Girliness-discretion...including an inflatable pool with inflatable slide that the kids spent much of the afternoon on. Fran made pizza over a wood fire on his grill, and it is coming out pretty well. I'll have to encourage this him-making-dinner thing, because we'd fallen into a rhythm where I was doing it most of the time and I kinda like this him-doing-it version better.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Oh, Stubborn Toddlerness!

It seems like her express purpose in life is to annoy me.

Clothes? We don't need no fucking clothes! Who wants to wear a diaper?! Who CARES how long the car ride will be, or whether I'm scared to death of public toilets? What gives? Can't I just wear my little sundress? Yeah, 50 degrees, whatever. I was made in Washington, remember mama? Cold? I laugh at your concept of cold. Silly you, trying to get the house up to 70.

NOOOOOOO I can't wear that shirt. It isn't "princess" enough.

Or that one. "don't likeit the square ona front"

THAT DRESS, IT BURNS US!!!!! I can't wear THAT one!!! Can't you TELL I can't wear that one, mama!!! OWWWWW, it BURNS US, GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF!!!!

Oh for fucksakes, just get some damn clothes on so we can go to the store. Drama queen.

Not that we go to the store well, either. Because apparently, it is ALSO boyness' express purpose in life to annoy me. It is apparently HILLARIOUS to run around like a little madman in Trader Joes, because mama doesn't like yelling in the store so we can get away with a little more. OMG I was ready to strangle him. If thoughts could kill, there would be a chalk outline on the floor of TJs right this moment.

At the same time, Toddlerness is heavily invested in trying to escape the cart. And Girliness is asking me a ZILLION AND ONE QUESTIONS and begging to be given cash so that she can pay for our groceries.

Hu-yup, Fran will be doing the grocery shopping for a few months, or hanging with the kids while I do. Not that this will fix the fact that I can't keep clothing on Toddlerness for more than 15 seconds (unless of course that particular outfit was entirely her own idea, which of course never happens when I want to leave the house, and if it does it involves a little sundress and coincides with 40 degrees and rain). It seems to work to wait until everyone else is ready, speed-dress her, and strap her into her carseat before she can take anything off (she can't get clothing off around the carseat straps).


In other news, the Trader Joes brand whole wheat pasta agrees nicely with Fran's blood and insulin and shit (ok, not sure about the shit...), which is great because it is also quite cheap and tastes quite good, without that cardboard feel that you get off of some other whole wheat pastas. Big thumbs up on that one. Yay for small changes making big differences.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Triple bunk

I decided to triple bunk the beds. Yesterday I pulled half of creation apart (ok, so I just moved beds around, but that is one hell of a job in my house - anyone who has been here knows that there is no simple way to do it). There was a surprising amount of shit underneath the bunk, including a couple of banana peels, one of them stuck to the wall. Yeah, the kids aren't supposed to eat in that room. Ew.

Anyway, I got the bottom bunk moved to the middle position, and then we realized what a truly rockin' clubhouse we had on the bottom - Toddlerness can walk right under there without even ducking. Toddlerness is honestly not showing any inclinations towards WANTING to move out of my bed, and we might be able to get a toddler mattress in there sideways and still have room for a rug and a lamp, which might be really cool. We'll see. I know that I am NOT going to put the full-sized mattress under there the way I intended.

I'm cold.

I need to study for an exam and really don't want to. Anemia. You'd think it would be relatively simple, but noooooo, it has been tougher for me to understand than anything else we've covered so far. Maybe it is the fact that so much of it is about numbers. I can manipulate numbers pretty well, but suck at memorizing them. Example - I got through physics because if I understood a concept I could make up a formula. I'm not sure I ever flat-out memorized a formula.


I think I left that last post untended for too long.

I am not despairing my abilities as a parent. Nor do I think that if Fran had primary kid-ing responsibilities he would keep up the pace of last week. Or maybe he would. He kept up a ridiculous pace while I was in my 13 weeks of morning sickness and he was also still working. 13 weeks is a pretty long time. I am not talking "I'm 13 weeks gestation today!" I'm talking he spent an actual 13 week time frame running the kids all over creation as well as making breakfast, lunch, and dinner (because I was useless, he'd premake stuff for our day so that everyone still got fed).

You know how there is a "weekend schedule?" The way the house runs when both parents are home/it is break time/whatever - when you are doing minimal house upkeep and maximal fun. This didn't feel like that. He cleaned under the couch. There was no kid-hand-off when I got home. You know what I mean, right? Most SAHM have experienced this. You have a "mama day out" or whatever, and when you get home it's "thank god you're back, here, have a kid, what's for dinner?" Didn't happen.

But anyway, I think I'm a perfectly decent parent. Maybe better than "perfectly decent." I feel pretty good about how well things hold together under the strains we've got (my school, homeschool, my internet addiction, you know, strains). And yeah, it takes a couple of years after a new kid to get up to what, in my mind, is complete dad-ability, cause he lacks boobs. Well, not entirely. He lacks FUNCTIONAL boobs? Something like that. I'm sad about not being able to rearrange things the way he would like, despite the fact that I think he really would make a capable SAHD. But I'm not, like, depressive about it, or thinking that I'm a less suitable stay-at-home-parent.

Fran started his new job yesterday. He looks good in all black (new uniform) with real dress shoes (also new), even though the dress shoes are pretty damned uncomfortable. He's been doing minor exercises every morning and I think it shows in his posture, if not yet in his weight.

Anywho, some pictures from while I was at onsite and Fran took the kids everywhere: