What would Laura Do?

Dirt therapy today consisted of two and a half hours of practicing not to scream as I came across every variation of creepy crawly and spider that lives in the soggy northwest. I also evicted a family of mice from my greenhouse and buried the tunnels created by the R.O.U.S.es that visit my compost bin. This Laura Ingalls needs a fucking drink.

Meanwhile my children were so busy collecting earthworms they didn’t even notice the crap-ton of bricks delivered for my raised garden beds. How much is a crap-ton? It’s about 16 shit-gobs or four fuck-loads.

For Cwistmas from Santa

We play up the Santa thing for Christmas so much, and I have a lot of fun doing it, that I can’t believe I considered not doing the Santa stuff at all before Sophia was born. Every year some friends host a Christmas party and have a Santa show up. For the last three years Sophia has made a wish list for Santa by cutting out the things she wants from toy sale fliers. I’ve had Santa send them a letter stamped from the North Pole, and for the last two years we’ve gone to a Christmas light festival that also has a Santa. We hang stockings around the wood pellet stove, watch A Christmas Story and Charlie Brown Christmas, read T’was the Night Before Christmas, and bake cookies to leave for Santa on Christmas Eve.

This year at our friends’ Christmas party when someone came by to tell all the kids that Santa was here Lukas actually lit up, stopped what he was doing, and had me take him through the crowd to Santa. Once we got to the front of the line it became too real for him and he didn’t want to sit on Santa’s lap though, and even though she sat on Santa’s lap the last two years, neither did Sophia. She forgot her list and didn’t know what to do without it.

Misfit Christmas

I was dragging the clinging-to-my-leg Sophia Christmas-Story style to Santa. Santa was tickling her.

We went to the Christmas light festival two days before Christmas this year. Lukas rode the ponies again, two times in a row in fact. There wasn’t a line so he was allowed to stay on his pony for another round. We rode the train, saw the lights, and posed for pictures. Near the end Sophia wanted to visit Santa. But, again she forgot her list. She only knows the items by the picture and didn’t have the words to describe them. I remembered what she pasted on her paper because I’m Santa’s secretary and I do all the leg work, “Tell him you wanted a loom, a spiral pen, house design set, and house decorating set.”

Sophia wreath
Lukas wreath
Lukas on the pony

Before we got to the front of the line for Santa I told the kids, “Look Santa is giving out candy canes tonight.” So when we got to the front and Santa asked Lukas what he wanted…”I want a canny cane.” Sophia said nothing. She was frustrated that she didn’t just have a list to show him.

Santa photo

The morning of Christmas Eve Sophia came down stairs, “Where is the big present?” Santa puts the big gift in the toy room unwrapped…Christmas morning. She was a little confused about what day it was. Christmas morning we woke up to some serious cuteness overload. Sophia woke up and I heard her go into Lukas’ room to wake him. Lukas, “Is it Cwistmas?”
Sophia, “Yes brudder. Let’s go see what Santa brought us.”

I wasn’t able to capture their delight at Santa’s gifts to them because the video part of my camera died. I tried to prepare with our other video camera and even made sure to charge its batteries, but never bothered to turn it on to see that it was going to be an ass and ask me to set the date and time. I also wasn’t able to video Kurt reading Santa’s letter to the kids, but that’s ok since neither seemed overly interested in it this year. The first year Sophia was Lukas’ age and completely captivated. Lukas didn’t seem to get it. Maybe next year.

After playing with his new work bench from Santa for a while hunger got the better of Lukas and he noticed that the milk and salted caramel stuffed snicker-doodles we left out for Santa were gone except for a couple of crumbs. Yes, he noticed that crumbs were left. Of course if you ask the boy what Santa brought him he’ll tell you, “A canny cane.” Because that is what Santa handed to him personally. The boy hasn’t connected all the dots yet.

Feeble attempts at hooking

Any other daughter-in-law would probably be offended by being given a book entitled “The Happy Hooker” for Christmas, but my mother-in-law rocks and was shopping from my list. It’s a crochet book. I thought the title was a funny play on words but after reading the brief history section I found that there was a lace manufacturer who admitted he expected workers to turn tricks on the side to make up for his not paying them a living wage.

I’ve tried to learn the art of crochet multiple times. I either make my loops so tight that trying to get my hook in or I lose track of what I’m doing and wind up with triangles when the goal was a square. I read some of my new book and became impatient. I found instruction on making a circle. I didn’t follow it and I knew it, but wanted to see what would happen.

acrylic caterpillar cocoon

I essentially made a battery cozy except that the opening isn’t wide enough. Maybe a caterpillar unable to spin its own silk would appreciate it. I’m not sure it would be able to escape the acrylic cocoon as a butterfly though. If reincarnation is a real things and I should ever come back as a caterpillar I’ll now know how to crochet my cocoon.

55 Flash non-Fiction Friday: Dinner Preparation Agreement

New recipe made and meets approval of engineer. Ingredient addition was suggested by cook. Engineer agreed additional ingredient was acceptable. Recipe is to be added to acceptable food rotation list and must be made as per original specifications with addendum that crispy bacon may be added. No other changes have been approved by the engineer.

55 Flash Fiction Friday

Mediocre Birthday Cheese

Dinner was at Red Robin last night, or “Red Roo Robin” as Sophia calls it. I have no idea why she adds the “Roo”. I took Lukas’ hand when we were called for our table. He looked up and shouted, “Pizza!” and then added, “I want own pizza.” In previous trips to Red Robbin we had the kids split a kid’s meal.

Very recently Kurt was able to convince Sophia that she would like the grilled cheese sandwich, so we’ve ordered two meals with two different things and gave each kid half of the other order. Lukas, who is just as much a cheese lover as Sophia would not eat the grilled cheese sandwich. It’s unbelievable to me that we actually have to convince them that their beloved cheese and bread don’t turn into something horrid when put together in sandwich form. These kids are so weird. They’ll eat cheese that I wouldn’t even eat as a kid. I never liked cottage cheese by itself, Sophia loves it. I probably wouldn’t have eaten feta cheese and her age, both Sophia and Lukas like it. Lukas is even odder than that. He’ll eat blue cheese. Yes, BLUE CHEESE. He doesn’t like the blue veins, but he’ll eat the white areas and bits of the blue. Bizarre child.

As part of every trip to Red Robin no matter the day, there was a birthday somewhere in the restaurant and every unlucky server had to clap and sing their birthday song…

Happy, happy birthday, on this your special day.
Happy, happy birthday, that’s why we’re here to say, “Hey!” Happy, happy birthday, may all your dreams come true.
Woah! Happy, happy birthday from Red Robin to you.

On this trip Kurt was inspired to create his own version to the same tune…

Mediocre birthday,
That’s why you are here,
You can drown your sadness,
With lots of beer.

Mediocre birthday,
You’re finally thirty-two,
And now you’ve finally realized
That no one cares for you, HEY!

Child Dump

Sophia’s preschool recommended that I concurrently enroll her in a mainstream preschool to help with socializing. Well, I never got around to it until this summer, so it’ll be non-concurrent daycare instead. And since I was enrolling one, why not the other as well? At least that way I can get some house cleaning done without someone simultaneously undoing it all.

I took the kids to check out a daycare in April. I dropped in without any previous phone call. I’ve decided that’s the best way to interview a place. Pop in unexpected and don’t ask many questions. I just let them uncomfortably ramble on and tell me whatever it is they think is important. This person valued security so much that she told me the kids aren’t allowed to so much as go to the bathrooms alone. They need an adult to escort them. Now, I can see that for the toddlers but she was actually referring to the group Sophia would be with, the kids that will soon enter kindergarten. Their bathroom is just off their classroom. Really not an escort worthy trek, but whatever. Exposure to mild paranoia never killed anyone as far as I know.

After going over their policies and receiving a tour of the place the woman said, “Oh and if they ask any difficult questions like where babies come from or why Jesus dies on the cross we write it down and tell them to ask their parents.” I almost snorted. We’ve already gone over part of the “Where do babies come from” with Sophia. That other question won’t likely come from either of my kids, but it’s nice to know that this daycare attached to a church will leave it up to us to fill in the gaps as we see fit.

The one daycare I was looking into that was not affiliated with a church was cheaper, but they didn’t have a part-time option. They had drop in, but I was looking to have a dedicated day off that wouldn’t have us bumped if someone seeking full-time came in. This church affiliated daycare was recommended by Sophia’s preschool so I pretty much knew my kids would be going there as long as they didn’t have to do full-time.

After we left I asked Sophia if that seemed like a fun place and she enthusiasticly said, “Yes”. She told me she wanted to go to school there. Super! It’s settled then.

A couple of months later the first day of daycare arrived. It went much differently than expected. That morning Sophia asked what would do for the day and I told her she was going to the new summer school. She cried and refused to eat breakfast. Lukas ate his breakfast blissfully unaware that I would later be dumping him off.

I get them all packed in the car, drive there, and in the parking lot…

Sophia, “I don’t want to go there.”
Me, “You’ll have fun and get to play with other kids.”
Sophia being defiant, “Mom I’m not going to have any fun!”

Lukas was thoroughly confused about what was going on. He couldn’t piece together why his sister was so upset, but it was causing him to cling onto me. On the way in I saw a familiar kiddo. It was Sophia’s best friend from preschool. Yeah, sure you aren’t going to have any fun at all. I told the director that Sophia knew this girl and so she was called over to help Sophia transition into this new place. I signed the kids in and dropped Sophia off at her room, prying her Go-Go-Gadget arms off me. It was like she had not attended preschool for the last two and a half years.

Lukas didn’t cry at all. He very quiet snuggled closed as carried him to his room. In hindsight I realize Lukas probably thought this was like going to the park or the kid’s museum where they just play and I’m within view .

When I came to pick up the kids at the end of the day Sophia was ecstatic about her new summer school and her day and the pictures she made. Sophia and I made our way to the play area for Lukas’ group. I thought for sure I was going to get a big smile of joy that I’m there to pick him up, nope. His tiny face turned upside-down. He broke down and cried as if he thought I was never coming back again. Way to lay on the guilt little man.

The second day I really wish I had brought a camera. Lukas was thrilled to pieces to be going to school just like his big sister. He insisted that the old Elmo backpack that was once hers be put on his back. The two of them walked in front of me with backpacks on. The only thing that could have made that scene any cuter was if they had held hands. The Sophia drop off was a piece of cake and I thought Lukas would be also. He was just fine until we actually went into his room, but at least he knew what to expect.

Just like big sister

Picture taken July 18th after picking them up from “summer school”