Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Loose ends

Well, it's the last day of the month, so if I'm going to finally reach my goal of doubling my post average from the last few months, I have less than an hour to do it...

The days continue to fly by. I now think I am more or less settled in the fall routine. It's even starting to feel like fall. After such a mild summer, it almost feels like we should have a few more weeks in shorts before I should have to get out the sweaters, but then maybe my attempt to seed bluebonnets in my front yard is allowing me to revert to memories of fall in Texas. Wouldn't be getting to watch the trees turn colors there, though.

OK, grab bag from the last few days:

Aslan proved once again that she not only misses nothing, but she can put what she picks up together in whatever fashion most suits her purpose. I noticed recently that her front teeth are starting to show a bit of a tilt outward, I'm afraid as the result of her determined finger sucking. When I told her that she needed to stop before her teeth got bent out of position, she turned to me in a scary approximation of a longsuffering teenager trying to explain a fashion trend to a very unhip parent and informed me, "Mom, I can get braces."


When your parents are a museum educator and a school administrator, answering the simple question, "How was school today?" can be a potentially complicated endeavor. Since Buzz has started full-day school, Doc has taken to frequently asking both her and Bookworm to tell him something they learned that day. It's not usually difficult for them to come up with something, and it's often interesting to note what stands out to them. Today, both were full of stories about the magician who came to do an assembly for the school. Buzz was especially impressed by a trick in which he apparently removed and reattached his thumb, which both kids then went on to describe in detail as "very yucky." Amused, but also being conditioned as a principal's wife to wonder about the educational value of this use of instructional time, I asked them to tell me something they'd learned from watching the show. After listening to considerable additional detail about the process by which the magician had removed his thumb, I got out the flyer sent home by the school and read, "Students...witnessed things they never thought possible! (like thumb removal...) More importantly, the students reviewed math concepts in a fun way that they will remember long after today." So, at dinner, Doc and I asked them again what they'd learned from the show. After another detailed description of the thumbless wonder, we asked them if they remembered learning anything about math.

Buzz (after a long pause): "I don't know any math."

Bookworm (after a longer pause): "I learned that six plus six minus four is eight."


Last but not least, I have decided it is time to give the baby a new name. Spot just doesn't really fit someone with so much personality, and now that she is so close to walking is just doesn't capture the constant motion. More often than not, she is the first one awake in the mornings, and as soon as she hears any movement from anyone else, she starts chattering away, gradually increasing in volume to a loud complaint if someone doesn't come fairly promptly to spring her from the crib. She does much of this lying on her back, until someone walks in, at which point she pops quickly to her feet with a sunny welcoming smile. For months now I've noted that no matter how tired and grumpy I am when I walk in there, I have a tough time not being charmed by this greeting. That smile really lights up the room. For some reason it calls to mind some time-lapse photos I've seen of daisies popping open when the sun comes up, so I've started calling her my daisy baby. She pops up at other times too, pulling up on any available stationary object, but being particularly excited to make use of a convenient standing parent. She's determined, too...still lacking the balance to stand on her own, but bored with cruising furniture, she has started traveling around the room upright on her knees when crawling fails to provide a high enough perspective on the world. Anyway, I find I now think of her as Daisy much more than Spot, so she is now electronically so dubbed.

Well, that about does it for September. It's going to be tougher to double my post total again next month.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

I need a pause button

It's happening again. It's been happening steadily and perceptibly every year of my life, so I don't know why I'm wasting time remarking on it, except that doing so is getting me to sit down and write. Obviously, I've not been making myself do that much lately, and it's certainly not for lack of material.

Anyway, the phenomenon about which I am circling is the acceleration of time. Back in the pre-Internet Dark Ages when I studied physics in college, I'm pretty sure I remember reading that if you are traveling at relativistic speeds (like, much faster than the rate at which I have to travel in order to catch a rapidly crawling rugrat before she reaches the stairs) that time as we know it slows down. So does it follow that if I'm moving at an absolutely anti-relativistic slog, that time speeds up? Because that is what it feels like.

Things are a little better since school started again. It was tougher than I expected having the extra week of summer this year, due to Northern Virginia's stubborn insistence that school can't start before Labor Day even when that means waiting almost a third of the way through September. Having kids who are a little older is both a blessing and a curse; they are both more capable of entertaining themselves, and more likely to come complain about being bored when stuck inside on a rainy day and we've already been to the library. We had a number of excursions this summer, and a nice weeklong visit from Nana, but by September I think we were all thoroughly tired of being in the same house. Having looked forward to having half my houseful gainfully employed for most of the day, I still had to stop and count their ages on my fingers to be sure I could really have two kids getting on a school bus, and a third going to preschool.

In the last few weeks, it seems like the temporal wormhole effect has just hit even more frequently than usual, with one kid or another saying or doing something that I was sure they were years too young for. Bookworm made dinner pretty much by herself twice in the last ten days. (OK, so it was mac and cheese both times. She still did it herself.) Buzz picked up tying her shoes in one sitting (she was properly motivated by a new pair of tennis shoes I'd picked up at a yard sale...she took one look and said, "Are those Sketchers?" Up until she asked, I hadn't had any idea what brand they were. I asked how she knew, and she said some of her friends had some. A guardian angel definitely guided me to that yard sale...six, going on sixteen...). Aslan is learning the gentle art of snappy comebacks; she was demonstrating for Bookworm her new trick of pulling her lower eyelids down to show red, to which her properly horrified sister responded, "That's a dangerous thing to do." Aslan replied with a cheery, "But it's a fun thing to do." And Spot came to help me sort through a box of old shoes to make sure that everyone has something to wear for the fall...I put a pair on her to play around in, and she proceeded to crawl over to the ones she wanted and brought them to me. I never thought the whole shoe fetish concept was really a genetically programmed girl thing, because I don't remember ever having it that bad, but all my girls seem to have it in spades. Maybe my memory is going too.

And to top it all off, a few short weeks ago my husband and I celebrated ten years of marriage. When you consider that we have shared six moves, ten job changes (between us), and the production of four remarkable children, it's almost hard to believe that it's been only ten years...but it's also still a little hard to wrap my head around. Still, at least I can look back and reflect with satisfaction that I was not, after all, insane to get engaged to this dashing fella I'd been dating a whopping seven weeks at the time he popped the question. Ten years later, my family are still the best decisions I've made. I wish I'd generally done better at keeping journals and getting pictures into albums, to say nothing of keeping up this blog, but I've stored up many years' worth of hugs, laughs, good books shared, wisecracks traded, and quiet reflective moments. A pause button for my life would not improve these moments--it would just mean I might actually get the laundry done.