Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Books and Infuriating Books

Eight-ish months into my tenure at the library, things are good, things are comfortable but interesting, and I'm still learning new things every week, which I like.

This week, for instance, was the first time I had to suppress the urge to set a book gleefully on fire, and instead process it, as it is a new book that just came into the library and we need to do all the things necessary to get it ready to go on the shelf where it will hopefully NEVER BE CHECKED OUT.

I will not pass this opinion on to any patrons, though, because uuuuuggghhh integrity and ethics and garbage.

Still, though...

Dear Mr. O'Reilly,

I can't imagine what it's like to hold so much hatred within one body.  It must be exhausting!  I do hope you're hydrating.

Yours sincerely,
One of the many you disdain

In other, less incendiary news, I survived our second book sale, but this time I also helped box up all the books that didn't sell.  This proved to be dangerous.
 I mean, they were free, and they were about to be homeless, and I only meant to take one!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Three Things

  • Last weekend our little library hosted an Easter egg hunt.  The weather was beautiful, the Easter bunny creepy.

I was a little surprised when Atticus told me that yes, he did want his picture taken with the Easter bunny- but he waited until Caedmon was there to get in the picture, too.  No sense in getting that close to something so obviously inbred without the support of your brother, right?

  • When I want to impart a message to our children, I might say something like, "Come here, guys!" or "Children, I have some important information I wish to impart!" or "STOP TRYING TO KILL EACH OTHER AND GET IN HERE!"  When Derek has something to say, he will sometimes say, "Kids, take a knee."
Sports-inspired parenting

  • I've been looking for solutions to my current problem:  I don't have a whole lot of time to read right now.  Of course I can eek out a few minutes here and there, but when I'm trying to plow through a tome of a novel, I really prefer bigger chunks of time, for mental continuity and so I don't have to keep flipping back, repeatedly asking, "Now who is Sophie, again?"  
One solution:  Read young adult and juvenile fiction.  It's quick, yet you can still find just as many high-quality books as in the adult genres.

This book is a few years old now, but my gosh, is it good.  I recommend this one if:  Someone in your life has dyslexia, if you've ever felt different or left out or not good enough, if you have children, or if you yourself were once a child.  Click on the link for a proper synopsis.

I know I just recommended a slew of picture books in a recent post, but this one, this one you have to find.  It is clever.  It is hilarious.  The writing is so good, and the illustrations so perfect for the text, you'll read it over and over again, to a kid or maybe just to yourself.  

The end.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Books and Caedmons and the Barkley Marathon

Caedmon didn't have school on Friday.  This meant we got to spend the whole day together, which is thankfully still good news to our youngest.

We had very important things to do.

He coached me on the finer details of Pokemon.  Again.
This is his "explaining important Pokemon stuff" face.

We read a big pile of books together.  Again.
As a big old parenthetical, the above is one of my most recent favorite picture books, along with

It's so cute, and so strangely funny, and really I just love anything illustrated by Jon Klassen.

Also Pig the Pug
because again, hilarious illustrations, plus it's about sharing.  Maybe your kids are perfect, but ours could perhaps use a reinforcing message here and there on the benefits of sharing.

And finally, They All Saw a Cat.

This is one is so conceptually brilliant you'll want to buy it to own yourself.  Even if you're an adult.  Adults are allowed to buy children's books, you know.  A cat moves along, walking around, and each set of pages contains an illustration depicting how he is viewed by different creatures, giving you a depiction of the way a cat might be viewed from the perspective of a dog, a mouse, a bird, and so on.  Good, good stuff.

Parenthetical book thought over.

Caedmon also came to work with me for a couple hours on Friday, where he was so good one of my co-workers plied him with candy.  At one point, after returning home, I told our youngest I was going to do some yoga.  He asked if he could join me, and I responded that of course he could!  Yoga for everyone!
As it turns out, Caedmon's not real big on personal space during yoga, so I got to go through all my sequences with a small boy rightnexttome.  It's definitely a different experience to push back into downward dog and have a little face appear under you, asking, "Are we almost done?  Is this one hard for you?  Can I tell you about Charmander's abilities, now?  Do you know what my powerfullest Pokemon is?"  

Just about the time I want to say something like, "NO MORE POKEMON TALK.  EVER," he hands me this.

And then I'm stuck.  Three more hours of "I have four EX's, but Atticus has more; he has seven, but my charizard is jfo;awenvoaiwrb."   Nonsense letters at the end there because that is what all it sounds like to me:  a bunch of nonsense syllables.  Then we got to thumb through his Pokemon cards and look for something- I don't know what and I didn't care.  

That must be how Derek has felt all weekend when I've given him Barkley Marathon updates (#gogarygo):  "Yikes, the race started at 1:42 A.M.," "Loop 1 took them 9 1/2 hours!"  "They're on Loop 2, and have had trouble finding the books in the dense fog."  Lucky, lucky Derek.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Actually It Was 6:45

This morning we began our day with a good old-fashioned fight.  It was all caused by the revelation that Caedmon eats his toast wrong.  Oh, you didn't know that there was a wrong way to eat toast?  Neither did Caedmon.  Neither did anybody, for that matter, except 7 a.m. Atticus.  Any-other-time-of-day Atticus probably could not care less how his younger brother eats his toast, but 7 a.m. Atticus cares.  Deeply.
See, what we all learned this morning is that Caedmon flips his toast upside down just before it enters his mouth so that it's jelly-side down as it hits his tongue.  When you think about it, this is insanely sensible.  Clearly the boy is a genius.  I may start eating my pizza this way.  Nevertheless, 7 a.m. Atticus's sensibilities were offended.  "That is not how you're supposed to eat toast," 7 a.m. Atticus insisted.  "You are eating it wrong.  Nobody eats it that way."  Caedmon pointed out that he eats it that way, and gave his jelly-to-the-tongue reasoning.  7 a.m. Atticus did not care.  He would not be swayed.    

The only reason this altercation stayed civilized is that I was present at the table.  They have flailed their limbs at each other's faces for less, I promise you.  It wasn't just me there, though; it was 7 a.m. me, and 7 a.m. me is more interested in getting enough coffee into her gullet to get her morning murder feelings under control than in refereeing such world-changing issues like Toast Up v. Toast Down.
It's... it's so BEAUTIFUL...

After I had shared my feelings on the matter, we all finished our breakfasts in resentful silence, THE WAY GOD INTENDED.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Three Things

  • When you go to enjoy frozen yogurt with Caedmon, he eats it so fast this inevitably happens.
On a related note, Caedmon- who is a self-determined expert on superheroes- helped me discover what my superpower is:  I do not get brain freeze, or ice cream headaches, or whatever you call them.  I will pretend I was not disappointed that my superpower couldn't have been something just a tiny bit... well, cooler.  (Pun not intended but nevertheless appreciated for what it is.)

  • Hey, remember when we didn't have to wake up and feel sick by what our elected government officials were doing "on our behalf"?

  • While all of our children are capable of independent reading (HAL-LAY-LOO-YAH), all three still enjoy being read to, particularly Caedmon.  He has a very subtle way of asking for this to happen.
I understand if you're having trouble focusing on the subject of this photo, which is supposed to be how our youngest spreads a blanket on our couch, assembles a pile of picture books, then pats the seat next to him invitingly, beckoning you to come read to him.  Maybe you're distracted by a photo-bombing Atticus in the foreground, or maybe you can't take your eyes off those pants of Caedmon's.  I do have an excuse:  I am a human being who sometimes gets a little behind on the laundry.  That morning, before school, Caedmon had wailed to me that he had "nooooo mooooore clean paaaants to wear!"  I dug those way-too-short, mess-of-holes jeans out and told him to put some long underwear on underneath.  Problem solved.  And it's better than that day last fall, when Derek got the kids up and around for school one day, allowing me and my bronchitis to sleep in.  Sweet, nice husband.  Sweet, nice husband who I discovered sent Caedmon to school in long underwear instead of real pants and didn't realize it until I sent him a picture of our son right after he got off the school bus in those long underwear.  I laughed, shrugged, and basically chalked it up to "Whatever, he's the third child and used to these kind of shenanigans."

Friday, March 17, 2017

Damages Incurred

If you don't count the weekend, today is the final day of spring break!  Adelaide has been singing something called "The Shark Song" on repeat for the past 35 consecutive minutes, Atticus keeps bringing Caedmon to the brink of violence by pausing outside open doorways, gesturing for his younger brother to precede him and then smirking before smarmily saying, "Ladies first!" and I am wondering what it feels like to be alone.  I can't really remember.  How did I keep my sanity for a solid decade while I was staying at home with these heathens full-time?  OH, RIGHT.  I didn't.

Other spring break casualties, other than my patience:  Atticus's noggin, which is currently sporting a nasty, bruised lump behind his left ear where he attempted to vault a bench but miscalculated and instead of smoothly landing beneath the dining table instead bounced his head off the edge; Caedmon's knee, which got caught on a nail, leaving a mighty impressive wound; Caedmon's nose, which was somehow the only casualty when he fell down several stairs, bouncing his head off each step,
and I don't even know what else.  Thankfully, as the above photo shows, our children have Wolverine-like healing powers, and usually 24 hours or so are enough to take the edge off of whatever damage they've currently done to their bodies.  Also seen above is five or so months worth of sunlight withdrawal, aka we are all pale, pasty creatures right about now.  Send help.  Send spring.  Send something.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Through His Stomach

For several years now I have speculated on what, specifically, our children's love languages might be.  Words of Affirmation?  Physical Touch?  Maybe Acts of Service?

I think I got at least one of Atticus's locked down, finally:  Food.  His love language is Food.

Never mind that this is not one of the love languages identified in the eponymous book.  I am telling you:  food is how this boy knows he is loved.

He hasn't exactly been subtle about it.  When his teacher gave each student the prompt, "I love my mom because..." his answer wasn't "she tells me she loves me every day," "she doesn't crawl away when I drape my sick and fevered limbs over her," or even "my shoulders were as big as my head at birth which made the delivery process even more of an unforgettable experience for my sainted mother."

No, his answer was, "Because she cooks for me," accompanied by an illustration of, yes, me cooking, done in Crayolas.  That's right, this isn't something I puzzled out after eons of observation and heart-to-heart conversations with our son.  He made this as clear as possible for me, reinforcing the idea by asking me every day after school, "Are we having something hot for supper tonight?  Can we have something hot?"  This might sound like a rabid affinity for Cajun or other deliciously spicy food, but all it means to him is he does NOT appreciate it when I say we're fending for ourselves tonight and he can help himself to yogurt or a sandwich or whatever.  Adelaide and Caedmon love those days.  Atticus decidedly does not.

He was certainly excited today when his sister decided to make a pie to celebrate Pi Day,

but what really got him going what the fact that I was making a new recipe tonight for supper.

Now, normally any announcement of new recipes is met with groaning on the part of our children, seasoned with a judicious amount of tearing the hair from their own scalps.  It doesn't matter how many times I reason, "All your favorites dishes were once new recipes," they act like I am trying to poison them when something unfamiliar is on the table (to be fair, there have been times when I thought poisoning might be preferable to the crap I've ended up with after all that work).

For some reason, however, the sound of BBQ Chicken, Apple, Bacon, and Cheddar Quesadillas was perfectly suited to his 8-year-old palate.  He was so excited.  So pumped.

This excitement soon turned to anxiety however, which became obvious as he began to haunt the kitchen while I was crumbling the bacon, dicing the apple, shredding the cheddar.  He started asking, repeatedly, "Wait, if you don't like this, are you going to make it again?  Mom?  What if you don't like it?  Will you make it again?  What if I like it, but you don't?  What if everyone likes it, but you don't?  Does that mean you won't make it again?  Mom?  Does it?"

The explanation for his agitation is this:  I won't make food I don't like.  There have been times in the past when I made a new dish, one or two of the members of our family enjoyed it, but I did not.  This means we are not having it again, unless someone else wants to make it, in which case, be my guest.

To Atticus's immense relief, I loved the new quesadillas.  So did Derek.  So did Atticus.  Adelaide and Caedmon tried it, but ended up opting for their standard chicken and cheese quesadillas, because they have boring baby taste buds.  I did not say this to their faces.

Luckily for all of us, it's spring break, so it's easier for me to make sure I've made something "hot" most nights. This includes a new recipe for beef stew with homemade bread here in a couple days, because if it's going to snow during spring break, I am at least going to get soup out of the deal.