Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Art Appreciation

We went (last week) to this walk up by the Fine Arts Center in Port Angeles, and I discovered that my children approach art in a similar way: they gaze at the piece in question, and then try to climb and/or sit on it.

I'm going to call it "experiencing art tactually" or something else that makes them sound like critics rather than like children who like climbing things.

I feel that Margaret would be a hit at the Louvre.  In a few years.  When she can climb better.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Out of Office

I am not with my children this week, because I am in Seattle doing an AP institute, and they are with my parents in Port Angeles.  This should mean that there is a cessation of blog posts, but that seems needlessly cruel to my international audience.

And also needlessly cruel to my mother, who might enjoy these cute stories about my children in amongst the trial and tribulation of keeping them alive and intact while I am gone.

I tried to do this post during a break at my conference, but apparently there is some sort of policy on the school wifi that you can't do anything fun.

Anyway, I thought I would share with you some pictures of last weekend's trip to Olympia.  We went to visit my brother Eric on his mostly vertical property, and he suggested a fun post-prandial stroll.

We should have been immediately suspicious.

We soon found out.

After clawing our way up a perpendicular slope through dense underbrush for a while, Ellie decided that she had had enough, and thought that it would be a good idea for me to carry her.

In a somewhat flatter place, Margaret demanded her picture be taken, on pain of her extreme displeasure.

So we did that.

And we climbed back down the hill, I laid down my burden, and was tired.

But not Eric.  No, Eric wanted our children to help his children plant trees or some such new-age folderol.

They've planted arnica and elderberry, so that's something.

Anyway, much fun was had by all.  There's something fun about a cheerful mob of cousins rolling around in the dirt together.  It's even more enchanting when they don't want you to roll in the dirt as well.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Continuing Pacifier Saga

Ellie likes her pacifier, as anyone who knows her knows.  I am trying to separate her from it with gentle nudges -- it's for the car or bed -- but sometimes she finds one, or walks away with one, or knows that I have one in my pocket and so butts my leg with her head (like a goat, rather) until my leg disgorges her paci.

I've adopted this plan of having her keep it in her pocket.  She's pretty good about not putting it in her mouth, but I think she likes to have it nearby, you know, just in case.

Anyway, this morning, she had it in her mouth, and I reminded her that she shouldn't.  She took it out, and then did this.

I'm not sure that this is good for her, but it is a use of the pacifier that isn't the one I was worried about.  I'm not sure what we're going to do about that, I'm really not.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mummy's Little Naturalists

On our hike yesterday, when we got to the beach, Margaret and Ellie both grabbed the notebooks in their backpacks -- you remember their backpacks, that they had to have so they could have water?  Well, they needed writing utensils as well.

Margaret announced her intention to write the names of the things that she saw so she wouldn't forget them, and figured out all by her lonesome how to spell log.  I'm very proud.  She asked me how to spell  lake.  So she got those things recorded properly.  

And when, in the car on the way home, I asked her what her favorite part of the day was, she said that it was writing down what she'd seen.  So that's something.  I'm not sure what that says about how much she enjoyed tearing around, but writing is fun.

Ellie wanted to participate as well.

Unfortunately, she got stuck for a word.

It's very hard to be 2 when you want desperately to be 4.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

One Morning in Washington

There have been a great number of missing teeth in the last few days (see title), but none of them belonged to Margaret or Ellie.  Or me, for that matter, which is good, because my missing teeth tend to be expensive to replace, and painful besides.

Anyway, various cousins have lost teeth, or had loose teeth (or both!) this last week.  But this post isn't about that.  What this post is about is taking Margaret and Ellie out to Lake Crescent for a walk on the irritatingly named "Moments in Time Trail."

It is a lovely, flat, mile-long loop from the Lodge to the Lake and back through the woods.  There are big hollow trees, draped moss, a nice beach, and so many things to pick up and insist on carrying.

They started off with their backpacks, because they both wanted to take their water bottles, and they NEEEEEEEEDED their backpacks for the transport thereof.  It seemed a lot of production for a short walk.  When I was young, we were just thirsty.  Or we drank water from random streams and got giardia like ordinary, decent people.  Humph.

Also important to have along was a walking stick; Margaret found her own, but Ellie needed some help, and was particularly difficult to fit with a walking stick that was short enough for her to carry, and sturdy enough for her to stump along with.

And then Margaret saw the water and pelted off towards it.  More on the water tomorrow.  The upload speed here is so slow that it takes an hour or so to get the pictures ready.  Just so you all know how much I have to go through for your brief reading pleasure.

But I'm Just

One of the things that one notices immediately if one is in any sort of position of authority over Margaret is that her semantic wranglings are worthy of an imprisoned English Jesuit trying to avoid the stake.

For example, when one tells her that she should not dig in Nana's garden, because Nana has asked her not to, and it's bad for the pretty flowers, her response is not to stop digging, but rather to say "I'm not digging; I'm just scraping the dirt with the shovel."

When requested to leave the dirt that she was scraping inside the confines of the rocks and not dump it on the grass, she responded that she was not dumping it on the dirt, but rather cleaning the shovel.  Repeatedly.

Anyway, here is a series of pictures of Margaret neither digging nor putting dirt on the lawn.

You can see Ellie in the background quietly getting into mischief.  I am rather certain that she does, you know, do all sorts of horrible things that I don't notice because Margaret is standing in front of me doing  something she shouldn't ostentatiously.

Monday, June 16, 2014


For the first time since my children were born and not forcibly restrained in strollers, I made it through the full length of one of my nephew's baseball games (and for a bonus, two of them were playing on the same team, so it was like two games).

I assume that this is because Margaret and Ellie are older and more mature, and because I had lots of help, and -- of course -- because they fell asleep on the pavement.

They didn't, unfortunately, actually fall asleep, but they played at going to sleep for a while, and Margaret was very solicitous about snuggling with Ellie.  I reminded them that our "no getting kicked in the head" rule easily extrapolated to a "no getting your head stepped on" rule, but they more or less ignored me.

In their defense, this picture was taken at 9 pm according to their internal clocks, and they were very, very tired.

She Can Quit Anytime

Ellie has been having a bit of a pacifier regression.  I adopted the position on the airplane that I wasn't going to fight anything that kept her happy and her ears popped, and so we ended up with a number of pacifiers about her person.

She is allowed them in the car and in bed (although in the car requires somewhat special circumstances, like a long car ride).  And I have adopted the compromise solution of allowing her to keep one in her pocket during the day as long as she only puts it in her mouth when she's allowed to do so.*

And that's going relatively well.**

But last night, when I went in to check on her, it transpired that she was taking the opportunity to revel in her licit pacifiers.  I direct your attention to her chest.

So maybe it's time for an intervention.  I'll get to that next week.***

*This is aspirational.  I try.  But you know, the kid really likes her pacifiers, and . . . well, I wouldn't take away a stuffed animal or a blanky, so why this?  Particularly when she moans that she wants her daddy if we leave her mouth unstopped.

**It works about 50% of the time that she asks for a pacifier, anyway.

***Only I won't, because I'm leaving her with her Nana, and I imagine that she is going to backslide.  Ellie, not her Nana.  Though her Nana might.  But that isn't any of my concern, so I'm not going to worry about it.  Bringing up children is bad enough.  Bringing up parents is just impossible.

Catching Up

I have not been blogging, because I have only now gotten my computer set up in some non-precarious place at my parents' house, and am currently employing one of my long-suffering nieces to watch Margaret so I can work.

And I'm writing piffle about my children for you instead of reading about Comparative Politics.  You may point out that I would probably rather write piffle about my children, because I am one of nature's born pifflers, and my prose reflects a certain smug self-satisfaction, but the fact remains that Comparative Politics syllabuses don't write themselves, and so I will have to make up this important piffling time elsewhere.

So feel lucky that I'm bothering with you.

Anyway, it was a long trip out to Port Angeles, what with the delayed plane, and the usual long trip.  The children behaved relatively well in the airport; Margaret decided that on special occasions she will tolerate lettuce and tomato and onion and mayonnaise on her burgers, so that was good.

There was a brief period where Ellie started climbing the walls -- er, windows -- but she came down soon enough.

Of course, she came down and demanded Toy Story.  Well, actually, she shrieked "I want my Woody" loudly.  I thought it boded well.

So she enjoyed that, and Margaret practiced her sewing.  Notice their stickers from TSA.  They had to scan Ellie's stuffed toy, and she cast herself on the floor and wept.  They plied her with stickers and it worked.

Then we got on the plane, and they were suitably entranced for a while there with the trappings of air travel.

Once they got bored, I tried to get them interested in a movie, and it is at that point that I feel we should draw a veil over the rest of our trip.

Suffice it to say that Ellie was bored.  Bored, bored, bored.

And even the Kindle couldn't hold her interest.

Ah well, we are here now.  More to follow once I am tired of reading about failed states.