Friday, October 10, 2014

Playing with Fire

I've been remiss in posting these, perhaps because I am a bad person, but also perhaps because I am a busy person.  Next week is exam week, which I think will help me have more time where I am sitting in a classroom staring at children taking tests and feeling that I ought to do something other than stare at them.

Anyway, I wanted to share pictures from last weekend.  Ellie was being small and sad and gelatinous in her fever (which has cleared up, but has left her a little small and sad and gelatinous).  Margaret, however, was glorying in the fire-pit that her grandfather has built on the back part of his acreage.

Well, not actually in it, thankfully, but around and near it.

She was actually very good around the fire and didn't immolate herself even once.  She felt that the fire-pit, while all very nice in its way, wasn't quite finished to her exacting standards, and so she went and picked up some more rocks (or bits of mortar) and fixed things.  Her grandfather has many fine qualities, but he lacks her discerning eye.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

My Day Off

Since June, when I first saw the calendar for this new school at which I am teaching, I have been unaccountably excited about yesterday.  The sixth of October.  Whee!  Why was I excited about the sixth of October, which is not a naturally exciting time, you ask?  Because I was off, and the children were not, which meant that I could loaf around the house for 4 precious hours in the morning, doing nothing and seeing no one and being accountable only to myself.

It was a glorious dream.

A lovely, wonderful, rose-pink bubble sort of dream.

Ellie popped it.

It wasn't really her fault; I can't accuse her of going out and getting sick on purpose just to rob me of my morning off.  And no one invents 103 degree fevers just for the fun of the thing.  But there she was, at home, in the middle of my day off, exerting undue influence on what was going to be watched on tv.  Actually, who am I kidding?  I'd probably have spent the whole morning watching Pixar movies anyway, but she wouldn't let me watch The Incredibles, which I found upsetting.

Anyway, this was her morning:

She watched Cars, and then some episodes of various pink-washed television shows.  

She supervised me while I folded and put her clothes away.

She sat on the couch and watched me iron my clothes for the week and made comments about how it would be nice if I ironed Daddy's clothes too.  And she's right.  It would have been.  But I spent an hour ironing mine, and that was really all I had.

She's a bit better this morning (woke up with a temperature of 99) and is spending the day at her grandmother's house, no doubt harassing her about her laundry practices.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


Our master plan of outsourcing our parenting of Ellie to Margaret is coming nearer and nearer to fruition.  I originally imagined it as a reading system -- Margaret would learn to read, and then would delight in reading her younger sister the eleventy billion renditions of The Very Hungry Caterpillar that Ellie's soul craves.  It seemed like a dream come true.

And that has happened somewhat.  Margaret will read Ellie a bedtime story, but usually only with our help, which means that the labor-saving aspect of this system really hasn't kicked in.

But this weekend, we saw a new side of the arrangement, and I'm hooked.

I mean, there's the slight problem that she can't steer it effectively (or at all) and she sees no reason to avoid obstacles anyway, and she doesn't have a lot of sense that a breakable Ellie is in the front, but it's a good step, right?

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

This Big!

This is a picture of Ellie telling me how big the koi are in the fishpond.

Some of them may be that big, but I caution all of you to treat her stories with a degree of incredulity.

Posing like Daddy

This post would be a lot better if I had taken a picture of Leo, but I didn't, and he doesn't seem to be interested in going back to the Garden in order to recreate the shot.  Anyway, he was standing on a bridge with his arms resting on the railing and his legs crossed.  I wanted to take a picture of the girls standing on the bridge.  I said "Come stand on the bridge like Daddy!" and this is what I got.

Then they gave up, and decided to look at the water, which was probably a good choice, all things considered.

Checking out the Sheep

We have been going to the Botanical Garden at least twice a month for Ellie's entire life, and the joy of riding the sheep has been with her for at least a year and a half, so it's somewhat surprising that she  hasn't previously inspected the sheep for ticks or worms, or whatever she is doing here.

Maybe she'll be a vet?

Friday, September 19, 2014


We went to the park near our house last night for Margaret's and Ellie's welcome back picnic for school.  I like to think of it as the aspirational kale salad showcase night, because people always make things that they think their kids ought to like, rather than things that their kids do like.  Or else their kids like it, and other kids don't.

Anyway, last year, I made sausage rolls and they disappeared very quickly.  This year, I was lazy and brought cheese and crackers and salami.  Also completely gone.

So there's a message there.

After dinner (and before dinner, and some during dinner) the kids rioted at the playground.

Ellie was carrying the weight of the play structure on her shoulders.

Eventually, she collapsed under the responsibility*

Margaret, meanwhile, was engaged is some corporate mushroom-spinning activity.  She seemed to enjoy it.

* A responsibility is a lot like a circumstance.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

At Mommy's School

One of the things that has been interesting this year is that Margaret and Ellie both think that they should know more about my school than they do.  They have this distinct sense that they knew people at my last place of employment, and this gave them an edge over their Daddy, who didn't.

And now, they aren't coming with me to school everyday, so they don't feel that they're in the know.

Two weekends ago, I forgot some things on my desk, and needed to go pick them up.  Margaret came with me, and met some of the boarding students.  She was completely enamored of the concept that you could live where you went to school.  I don't think that she made the connection that these kids don't have their parents with them, but I don't know that she needs to.

She spent some time last week letting Ellie know that she had seen Mommy's office and it was so high off the ground, and there were kids and a hammock there.  I'm not sure that Ellie felt as put down as Margaret meant her to, but it seemed to me that we should get Ellie out ASAP.

Luckily, last Sunday they had a welcome back BBQ.

Ellie insisted on sitting in the shadow, so we have no good pictures of her.

 Well, she was grumping here, and decoded to get up and come over and sit in the shadow.

 And then she drank a water bottle all by herself.  It was splendid.  And did not end up all down her front.

Meanwhile. Margaret sat in the sun and ate potato chips.

And looked as beautiful as it is possible to look while eating potato chips.

Ellie is trying to learn how to smile.  It's more of a grimace.

 The whole evening gave Margaret a lot to think about.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Happy Together

There is (gasp!) occasionally some friction between my two small daughters.  Well, my small daughter and my still smaller than an adult but nevertheless bigger than the smaller daughter daughter.  Anyway, there is friction.  It's nothing terrible, but there is mild to moderate fighting, biting, hitting, screaming, and pushing.

So it's very nice when they decide to laugh and play and have fun together without one of them getting it into her head that the other of them is doing it wrong.

Not that this ever happens, ever.

Anyway, on Sunday morning, the air was crisp and clear, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, the children were wearing sweatshirts, and everything aligned to make it a marvelous morning.

Margaret came out of their hideout after a while to tell me that there was a lion in their hideout, and that it had eaten their teapot, but that she was keeping it from eating Ellie.

You have to appreciate someone who prevents their imaginary lions from savaging little sisters, you know.

I assume that she is bringing the shards of the teapot to me in this picture, though I do not recall receiving them at all.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Child Labor

Dan and Kate have moved into a new house that has substantially more acreage on it than they did previously.  They have been clearing out undergrowth and working on getting it ready to have a garden on it.

Of course, it's a big job, and who better to employ than Margaret and Ellie?  They're cheap, they're reliable (at least if you pick them up), and they certainly aren't afraid of getting their hands dirty.

They didn't make much progress, but I think with a good, solid effort, they could have the garden ready by Spring 2020.

Ellie just needs to get a little taller so that she can hold the shovel properly.  Then it'll all go much faster.