Monday, August 31, 2020


This morning Alexander hoisted himself onto the bathroom sink, pushing with his toes on the moulding of the cabinet door so he could rest his belly on the counter, and looked into the mirror. 

"Wow!" he exclaimed, "I am foh fabulah!"

He still can't say /s/ (though he does know that a 'nate 'says "sssssss" so he can physically make the sound) and it's still my favourite thing.

After he hopped down from the counter he wanted to help me "loot fabulah," as well. So he brushed my hair and put some "chop'tick" on my lips. Because we're so fancy over here.

"Wow, Mommy! Now you loot fabulah, too!" he told me. "Fabulah!"

I'm not sure why he chose today to use the word "fabulous" over and over and over again, but I'm not complaining about it, either. 

When we were talking to Andrew's dad on the phone (video call, of course, otherwise my kids are confused about where the voice is coming from) I recounted Alexander's "fabulah" story and then we started asking who was fabulous. He insisted that only he and Mommy were "fabulah." He on the basis of he's just plain fabulah and me on the basis of he brushed my hair and applied chapstick, thus fabulizing me. Everyone else? Completely un-fabulah.

"Well, I think," Grandpa said. "If no one else is fabulous then they have to marvelous. How about that? Can Rachel and Meme and everyone else be marvelous?"

"Yeah. They can be mar-bew-lah," Alexander conceded in a bored tone. 

I took a little video of Alexander shortly after he—spontaneously—complimented himself in the mirror, but second takes aren't ever as good as the first one, you know? His first compliment was so genuine; when I filmed him he knew he was performing so it's...different...but I still got him to say "fabulah" so we'll take it as a win (also note that at 10 seconds in you can hear his wonky little larynx make his goose call, which is mostly always under control these days but sometimes...still not).

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Pool games

It probably comes as no surprise that we went to the pool today. And yesterday. And the day before. It's kind of what we do now, I guess. Even when it's pouring rain the kids beg to go to the pool (and it wasn't thundering and so we went). Here's Benjamin, first one in the pool as always:

Friday, August 28, 2020

Pun intended

My friend Crystal sent me the game "Pun Intended" for my birthday and while we were waiting for Zoë to finish her stew so we could go for a walk I pulled it out and we sat around reading the cards and laughing (I had an inkling Zoë would take a long time to finish her dinner, a very astute premonition (astewt!)). 

A lot of the puns were funny and by the time Andrew's fifth turn rolled around we were all rather giddy. Andrew couldn't even read one of his lines. He kept laughing too hard, which made everyone else laugh too hard, which made Rachel throw up (she hasn't done that (thrown up while laughing) for several months, not since before corona, so you know she was having a good time), which made everyone laugh more. 

Anyway, the pun Andrew couldn't get out was "I couldn't control myself. When I spanked the naked statue on the butt, I realized I had hit rock..."

The letter we had to work with was B, so clearly the answer was "bottom," which was funny.

But the joke that really got us laughing (I mean, perhaps not enough to make Rachel throw up, but still) was a little further down his card (still working with the letter B): "You can tell the gender of an ant by putting it in water. If it sinks—girl ant. If it floats—..."


We laughed until we cried.

Just so you know how we're filling our evenings over here.

Alexander chatterings

 We've reached that stage where I officially want to record everything Alexander says because everything is just so funny. Not necessarily because what he says is funny in nature, but simply because his way of speaking is so funny.

He's been pretty good at completing his chores lately so that we can go to the pool every day. His main chore is emptying the dishwasher of all the plastics. Usually I empty the glass and the sharps and tell him to do the rest. But this morning Andrew told him to just put away everything that wasn't glass and that he (Andrew) would do the rest.

After I finished reading to the kids and assigning their writing response I walked into the kitchen to find some breakfast and noticed that Alexander had done his part of the dishes and had left all the glass things in the dishwasher, so I started putting them away. He caught me reaching into the cupboard with a stack of plates.

"Mommy, what are you doing?!" he shrieked.

"I'm putting the dishes away," I said.

"But you are not 'uppod to do dat! Daddy is 'uppod to do dat betuh Daddy i' duh one who tol' me to put away the dih'es in the fir' play!"

Andrew walked into the kitchen by this point and I told Alexander to take it up with Daddy, so he did.

"Daddy," Alexander began explaining, "Mommy i' putting away the gla'' dih'eh but Mommy i' not 'uppod to put away the gla'' dih'eh betuh you are the one who 'tarted me putting away the dih'eh what are not gla''! You waid dat you would put away the gla'' dih'eh if I put away the dih'eh dat are not the gla'' dih'eh and I did put away the dih'eh that are not gla'' dih'eh but you are not putting away the gla'' dih'eh! Mommy is putting away the gla dih'eh and if Mommy is putting away the gla'' dih'eh then that i' not fair betuh you are the one who 'tarted me on putting away the dih'eh that are not gla'' dih'eh!"

I wasn't sure his explanation would ever end. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Update on the library update

Either the entire Gwinnett county public library system has streamlined their system of pulling items placed on hold or the Duluth branch is more efficient than our regular branch. Our library books are due in a few days so yesterday I put a bunch of new items on hold, but this time I put them on hold at the Duluth branch (which I've never been to, but that's irrelevant), hoping that it would give me enough time to allow my new items to come in before my other items were due. 

Before the pandemic we would visit the library once a week and I had a whole system for renewing books we wanted to keep longer (reference-y books) and turning books in early that were more of a one-and-done (mostly picture books). But with the hassle of getting my 25 books in at the library—it took 8 days, if you recall, and although I selected the majority of the books from our regular branch they only pulled 6 books from the shelf for me (the last of which was pulled on the 8th day); I should also note that when I went to pick up my 25 books the librarian said she would check them out in the back because there were so many and then she only checked out 24 to me (haha!)—and, you know, with the pandemic in full swing here in Georgia, I figured that once every three weeks was good enough for now. 

So, I put my items on hold yesterday hoping that by August 29 I would have something to pick up. And guess what? I currently have 27 of 29 books waiting to be picked up at the Duluth branch. The very next day. 

BOOM. Just like that.

Monday, August 24, 2020

More pool

It was a little cooler on Friday, so we ended up spending only 1.5 hours at the pool instead of the two the children feel I promised when I joked that if we spent two hours at the pool a day from now until it closes at the end of September we very well may get our money's worth out of the pool pass we bought (and, as an added bonus, enter fall feeling like we had some adventures this summer). 

Here are my freezing babies:

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Siri-ously funny

Alexander enjoys telling Siri about his family. This is really the only thing I've ever caught him talking to Siri about—his family. He likes to list his family member's names and tell Siri everything he knows about everyone. I'm not sure why because there are a million things he could try talking to her about but for whatever reason—perhaps because Siri just doesn't get it—he talks about his family.

Here he is talking to Siri about me. "My mom is my mom and my mom's name is Nancy," he's telling her.

I'm trying blogger's video uploader; we'll see if it works. I'm a little hesitant to start using it because I used it back in the day (2006...when blogging was still a little bit cool) and then I think I lost all those videos. I mean, I have them all (or most of them) on my computer, but the links are dead since Blogger has changed hands a few times and...anyway...we'll see how this works...and for how long.

Actually, it's being very, very slow so I also put it up on YouTube. We'll see if Blogger ever manages to get that video up there.

Virtual Bar Mitzvah

Rachel was just telling me how it was strange for her to think of her friends in Durham as being her same age—as kids old enough to be in middle school, doing thirteen-year-old things—because she thinks of them as being somewhat frozen in time. They will forever be ten-year-olds, stuck in Mrs. Garrett's fifth-grade classroom, doing things that ten-year-olds do. 

And then I got a message from her friend Elijah's mom, announcing his Bar Mitzvah, which under ordinary times might have been a huge blow out, but which under present circumstances was slated to be a virtual celebration. We would have been happy to attend either way (although attending in person would have required a lot more effort on our part...and probably their part as well, to be honest) but were more than happy to tune in and watch. 

Friday, August 21, 2020


The plan for the summer was: we'd buy a pass for a local pool and we would basically live at that pool all summer long and maybe even join swim club and we'd be wet and happy and expert swimmers by the end of the summer.

What actually happened was: we bought a pass for a local pool when they were on sale (around Christmastime) and then COVID happened and then we got our key to the pool and then we never went to the pool because every time we drove past it it was hopelessly occupied and the pool board kept sending emails out all summer reminding members to social distance (which means they weren't) and to not yell at the lifeguards for trying to encourage social distancing (which means they were...yelling at them, I mean) and...we just never went to the pool...and forgot how to swim...and what is a pool even?

But now that summer is basically over and public school kids are back in school, the pool is ours. It's still plenty hot out so we've got weeks of swimming left and we were alone at the pool most of the morning (there are no lifeguards after school goes back in session; and one other family joined us for the last half hour we were there and we both carefully stayed on opposite ends of the pool from each other). 

I suppose the best part about waiting so long to visit the pool is that getting to go feels just that much sweeter. Here are the kids, excited to finally be doing something fun this summer:

Is that a cute picture? I don't know. I can't look. 

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Organs and merging and anxieties and stuff

When I wake up tomorrow I will officially be a graduate student. I've had quite a bit of anxiety leading up to this moment but I just now solidified my schedule and paid tuition so it looks like I'm really doing this. 

And I'm sure it will be fine. 

I mean, why not start something huge in the middle of a global pandemic? It will be fine.

Rachel forced me to create a Google Classroom for our homeschool today. She actually logged on to my profile on the laptop (she knows my password for that) and helped herself to my google account (since I was already logged on). After she made a "classroom" for me, she showed me what was up and how useful it can be. She's already submitted an essay for me to grade so it does look like a wonderful way to keep track of grades for her (honestly, I'm not too concerned with that for this year but next year I'm going to have to start keeping rather formal records for her high school transcripts, which is somewhat daunting). I have a feeling she'll keep us on our toes this year. 

Yesterday was an adventurous day for her and Andrew...and Miriam, in a way (though she mostly stayed home and daydreamed about her future life). 

We've been looking for a new organ for several months now—one with a full set of pedals—since Miriam is really wanting to progress but can't practice on only half a set. I found a few in the Atlanta area but they were all well over $1000 (or were cheap but the seller admitted it didn't actually work or, in one particular case, had been thrown away before we could claim it), but as I was scrolling through Facebook Marketplace I spotted a beautiful, recently restored organ for only $600! With pedals! 

The only problem was it was in Tryon, North Carolina. 

Still, we needed a new organ. Miriam's teacher had said she'd just reached that point—she either needed an organ with full pedals in our house or she needed to find an organ to practice on. We potentially have access to the church organ, but constantly borrowing keys sounded like a hassle we didn't want to toy with on a daily basis. So an organ it was. 

Actually, that was pretty funny. Andrew even put a note out on Twitter saying that he was "searching for a used organ for his 10-year-old" and people were responding with, " everything okay?" thinking we were looking for, like, a transplant donor rather than, like, a musical instrument.

Anyway, Andrew said he'd be happy to drive up and get it and Rachel begged him until he said she could go with him. I think they were both excited to sit in a quiet car and listen to audiobooks and/or read and/or stare out the window without a bunch of little people wildly jumping all over them. From all accounts they had a wonderful—if quiet—trip up to North Carolina and back again.

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Not the flu...still

Even though "new numbers show that Gwinnett County has reported close to 4,200 cases of coronavirus in the last two weeks," and the school district (wisely, in my opinion) opted to begin the school year online, children are supposed to begin returning to school on August 26th, which many teachers aren't happy about (especially considering all the failed experiments we've already seen both inside Georgia itself and also in the nation at large—schools shutting down after being open for mere days or weeks (UNC, Notre Dame, as well as many public K–12 schools)).

Because I'm not brave enough to really try disagreeing with anyone on Facebook, I will do my disagreeing here. A friend here said that she thinks high-risk teachers should simply get a note from their doctor verifying that they are high-risk and then they can teach at home, but all other teachers should be required to get back to work at school so children can be where they need to be (never mind people who might be worried not for their own health but for the health of someone else in their household). She ended saying, "out economy, our families, and the well-being of our children cannot thrive when they are kept at home on a computer all day. We didn't shut down during H1N1. Let's keep the perspective real people."

First of all, people can thrive when they are kept at home on a computer all day. Well, like, maybe they require a few other things: food, sunlight, water... And, frankly, I don't think they should be kept in front of the computer all day. But that's why we are homeschooling...because having my children be required to be in front of their computer from 8:00 to 3 or 4:00 every day did, indeed, sound ridiculous. Not that my children don't do computer work. They do. I just don't require them to be at the computer for so many hours a day.

I was enrolled in "virtual school" through middle school and I loved it. 

I'm sitting in front of my computer right now and I'm totally fine. 

Andrew has been teaching online since March and while he's put in a ridiculous number of hours to make his courses work well online, it's totally been worth it. Our motto is that—right now—if something can be done online it should be done online. 

Not everyone agrees with that but it's honestly the safest way to interact right now.

That said, not everything can be done online. We had to ask a neighbour to help us move an organ today. He was more than happy to; we all wore masks and mostly stayed an organ-length away from one another. You can't help someone move an organ virtually.

But a lot of other things can be done virtually and, right now, should be done virtually. 

Of course, for schools to function well, we need to make sure children have access to technology in their homes. When I was doing my virtual schooling my school actually provided the computer for me. They shipped a computer to our house when I enrolled, along with all the textbooks I'd need, and then when I finished up my time at the school I simply had to return the computer. 

We, as a society, have the means to do this if we choose to. 

Second of all, perspective? Perspective?! 

Monday, August 17, 2020

No cavity club!

The children had dentist appointments this morning. I didn't really want to take them but the office is (perhaps understandably) being a little aggressive about getting patients in. They let us change our appointment to a Monday so we could be the first in the office at the start of the workweek. They assured me that all staff wear double masks and a face shield. So we (bravely) kept our dentist appointments.

We took two cars, me with the little ones and Andrew with the bigger ones. Since there is nothing to do in the waiting room anymore we thought it would be best if the little ones weren't forced to wait around for a long time. So I went in with them first and helped them rinse out their mouths and wash their hands before heading back with them. 

Zoë went first and was rather brave. She said that usually when they ask her if she wants to watch anything on the television she just shakes her head no but today she was going to be brave and tell them what she wants to watch. "I can pick anything on Netflix!" she said. She ended up picking Llama Llama, which is funny because when Miriam got in there after her she was too shy to ask them to put something different on, so Llama Llama was playing the whole time she was sitting in the chair (she had been embarrassed to answer Rachel (who picked Stranger Things)  immediately on the ride home and didn't confess it until we were around the dinner table). Anyway...Zoë got to watch Llama Llama while she had her teeth cleaned.

Here she is waiting:

Sunday, August 16, 2020


 It's me again, back for another coronavirus rant because conversations on Facebook are impossible. 

A relative of mine who lives in Alberta posted a chart that had compiled information from an Alberta government website on COVID-19 statistics. The statistics are accurate as of August 11.

The relative posted this picture alone with the caption, "Interesting."

Saturday, August 15, 2020

That Darn Cat

Even though our sweet WaffELLEs can be a bit naughty sometimes (she likes to scratch my favourite couch but doesn't like her scratching post (we've started spraying her with water when she hops onto the kitchen table and the first time Rachel did it she squirted her gently on the back and I was like, "No, no, no! A good, swift mist in the face!" and Rachel said, "Oh, but I don't want to scare her!" and I was like, "That is 100% the point of spraying her!")) she's really mostly sweet. 

Tonight during dinner she was so absolutely hyper and was cracking everyone up. I don't know if it was really that funny or if we're just that hard up for entertainment over here, but we all found her antics hilarious. She was determined to balance on the back of a chair and, once she got up there, started batting at her tail. Enjoy (our laughter, if nothing else):

Friday, August 14, 2020

Walking by the wibber

 We went out today. We haven't been out since...the last time...which was six weeks ago. July 2. I just checked my phone for pictures (that obviously never made it onto the blog) and I remember that was the day we discovered that the playgrounds were open again but then Georgia descended into absolute chaos, as far as coronavirus is concerned, so we just haven't gone out again and although Georgia is doing nothing to stem the flow, aside from just hoping that our numbers go down, we went out into public because staying at home is hard, especially when you're watching everyone else carry on as normal, and it's so maddening to know that if everyone would have just stayed home between July 2 and now (that's six weeks of staying home) we wouldn't have had such a spike in cases and also would have had things under such good control that we could have opened our school doors with much less worry and I'm just so made at our entire society that we can't manage to suck it up and make any sort of sacrifice—whether staying home or agreeing to wear masks or whatever (we can't agree on anything to do and so we continue to do nothing and—guys!—I am just. so. mad. about it).

So we wore masks to the park because we knew it would be populated because, well, it's a popular park. We didn't stop to play at the playground, nor did we stop to play by the river because we got there just at lunchtime and there were a lot of people picnicking and playing in the river. Instead we wandered into the woods towards the children's "Paradise." 

Once we were deep enough into the woods we decided we could safely take off our masks, though here are a few pictures of the children with their masks on:

Back-to-school pictures

Today is technically our 34th day of school, but it is only the 3rd day of school for our district so it seemed like a perfect time to celebrate going back to school with back-to-school pictures. Here we are, grades 8, 6, 3, K, and preschool:


Wednesday, August 12, 2020

Good things and bad things

 The good news of the day:

  • We have air conditioning! Our home warranty company sham decided that since they (a) couldn't get the part we needed to fix our HVAC system and (b) couldn't find a company willing to do the work to replace our HVAC system, they would simply "buy us out." This meant they gave us $1000. Which is...neat...because guess how much it costs to replace an HVAC system? Let me give you a hint: more than $1000! 


The kids went outside to run off some energy after our ELA/SS time this morning and when I called them in they left the garage door open, which ordinarily wouldn't have been a huge deal, but today it was! When we started heading outside again later in the day I heard a rather intense amount of chirping coming from behind the door. I figured it was some overactive chipmunks "chip, chip, chip, chip, chip, chipping" to each other and that they'd scatter when I opened the door. 

I was right about one thing. 

There was certainly some scattering when I opened the door, but it wasn't those pesky chipmunks chipping. It was an entire flock of fledglings chirping wildly! There must have been half a dozen of them, if not more! All of them just flapping about and chirp, chirp, chirping!

They didn't seem to know what to do. They seemed to want out of the garage (we're not sure how they got in except that the garage door was wide open (because there isn't a nest in our garage that we could find)) but were so confused about how to leave. They kept going to the window trying to get through (which was funny considering the garage door was, again for the record, wide open); their mother was on the other side of the glass calling to them.

Knight in cardboard/crochet armour

Benjamin has been wanting to dress up as a knight the last few weeks. He's be hoarding cardboard and making armour with it and has decided he wants to be knight for Halloween (whatever Halloween might entail this year). Someone posted this crocheted knight hat as a joke on Facebook, saying that it would make a good COVID mask and I thought to myself, "Benjamin would love that!" So I made him one. 

Monday, August 10, 2020


Last night my sister Abra called me to congratulate us on our new kitty. She mentioned being sure to get the cat "fixed" and Benjamin's face fell. "What happened to her?" he asked. "Is she broken?"

I told him that getting a cat "fixed" meant making it so they can't have babies. There's nothing wrong with her. We just don't want her having babies.

Miriam asked if cats can have babies without mating. I told her they couldn't, but we still didn't want her going into heat.

Zoë admitted it would be bad if she crawled into the heater.

We are learning so much about biology!


This morning Miriam came upstairs to tell me how our silly kitty was dipping her feet into her water dish and licking it off (which is the only way we've seen her drink). "So she dipped her little paw in and started pruning herself," Miriam said, mimicking her movements.

"I think you mean preening," I said.

"Miriam says I'm not careful enough with the cat," Benjamin said in a snooty voice. "She says she's the only one who can pet her while she's pruning herself."

"Again, it's preening," I said. 


Alexander came up to me this afternoon and out of the blue asked me for pancakes.

"I don't have any pancakes," I said. 

"Will you help me find pancakes?" he asked.

"I'm really not sure we have any pancakes to find," I said.

He slapped his forehead and said, "I meaned Waffelles!"

Waffelles, the quarantine kitty

The children have been begging for a pet for quite some time but it's never really been an option before since we've never quite been in a place of our own. Ever since the pandemic began we started looking into pets a little more seriously. The only problem is Andrew and I haven't ever gotten a pet before. We both grew up with cats, but we've been pet-free ever since we got married/left home. Getting a pet seemed like an awfully big thing to do. 

I mean, we have five kids. Taking care of yet another living, breathing creature seemed like a lot. 

So in the end I convinced the kids we should get some Madagascar hissing cockroaches (which, incidentally, I still think would make an interesting pet) but we'd have to wait until the fall to order them because it's too hot to mail them right now. 

But then a friend of mine posted about a kitten in need of a home. My friend's manager had hopped in her car to go somewhere and she started hearing a whining noise in the engine so she pulled into a gas station, popped her hood, and found a kitten! She knew she wouldn't be able to keep her so my friend (who just loves animals, but has too many cats herself at the moment) started asking around to find a home for her. She even said she'd have her rescue group spade and vaccinate her in the next few weeks!

I asked Andrew about it and he was immediately on board (like even more excited about it than I was (because I think I've been more nervous about it than excited)) so we claimed the kitten and the next thing we knew it was Sunday morning and the kids were colouring at the table together after "home church" when the doorbell rang. 

Zoë was very excited to see who it was because this friend was her Sunbeams teacher last year (and so Zoë still thinks she's her teacher this year since no one really remembers who their teachers are this year, do they?). We opened the door and our friend put down the carrier and said that she had a little friend who needed a loving home and was hoping that the kids might be willing to take her in.

They were.

Saturday, August 08, 2020

Dressed up in our Sunday best

A couple of Sundays ago we gathered the kids for church and they immediately began to squabble over seats and hymn books and were altogether so unpleasant that in the middle of the sacrament hymn I declared that church was being postponed for a half hour and that when we reconvened the children would all be dressed in their Sunday best and with their best Sunday attitudes in place. 

So they all stormed away and I sat and fumed and when we regathered, the children were dressed up so nicely and had changed their attitudes so wonderfully that I couldn't stay mad, myself. 

Years ago a friend of mine said that she might not always be able to control her children's behaviour but that she could always control their dress and if her kids looked cute she found she was a little more tolerant with them. There is wisdom in this but it's also something I've never quite managed. I haven't felt like I've ever had control of my children's outfits. I had dreams of a perfectly dressed baby, of course, but between reflux and explosive poops my babies never seemed to stay dressed in whatever they chose. So I kind of stopped choosing. 

I'm not sure this particular friend's babies ever dared spit up on their clothes. 

Some babies are like that. 

I literally have friends who didn't know what burp cloths were for. My friend Tiani, for example, was absolutely baffled when I offered her a burp cloth in the mother's lounge one day when she lifted her baby up to burp her. "What for?" she asked (it was her first Sunday at church after the birth of her first baby; I was on baby #3 (with a couple of colossal refluxers in the mix)). 

"For the, uh, spit up..." I said. 

"Spit up?" she asked. 

"Sure," I said. "Like, just the milk that comes back up after they eat."

"Oh, my baby doesn't do that," she said. 

And her baby didn't, which I found shocking. And then my baby did, which she found shocking. 

Her baby also pooped once a week, which was (is) unfathomable to me. 

Anyway, I imagine my other friend (my advice-giving friend) had babies like this—babies that didn't make them lug around a bagful of burp cloths to clean up all their messes. Both types of babies are fine; but I think they make different kinds of mothers. One type makes mothers who expect they'll be able to dress their children well. The other type make mothers that have to stifle laughter at the very idea.

I haven't seen this friend or her children for years, but I can't imagine that she's ever had a child wallow in a mud puddle fully clothed *cough* Benjamin *cough* and I imagine that her children definitely get dressed every day while I struggle to get mine out of their pyjamas. But that's alright. There is still wisdom in her words and I found it on Sunday when I had the kids go get changed.

Don't they clean up well?

Thursday, August 06, 2020


On our walk yesterday Zoë and Miriam were running ahead and poor Zoë tripped or slipped and ended up skittering across the road on her tummy. She was wearing footie-jammies (with running shoes) Atlanta...because that makes sense...and as she fell the road grabbed her zipper and unzipped her jammies, exposing her poor tummy to the asphalt. She also ripped holes in the knees and elbows of her outfit, poor thing. So she is covered in road rash (and is rather upset about her bloodied, blackened, once-perfectly-pink pyjamas that are probably ready to be tossed). 

We peeled her pyjamas off of her at home and bandaged up all of her wounds and then sat down to listen to a talk by a Hiroshima bombing survivor (more on that later, perhaps).

Since the talk was delivered from Hawaii, it ran a little late into the evening for us, so I got the kids put to bed a little late. Miriam texted me from her bedroom shortly after 10:00 pm saying, "I have a weird, itchy rash all over my body, excluding my legs. It feels really hot while the rest of my skin isn't. Can you check it out tomorrow, please?"

So I texted back saying, "...OR...tonight...!"

I'm not sure why she thought we should leave a thing like that until the morning. Her entire trunk and neck were bright red. If she were an elephant that sentence would have an entirely different meaning, but since she's a person it means that her back and stomach and neck and armpits and shoulders were all covered in a red rash. 

She had no other symptoms (no fever or any sort of malady), so judging from pictures on the internet and her health history (ie. we knew she hadn't been romping around in poison it didn't look like a poison ivy rash...and we hadn't switched laundry detergents or body soaps recently so I didn't think it could be from soaps) we decided she was just covered from head to toe (excluding her legs) in heat rash. I slathered her with calamine lotion and as the breeze from the fan blew across her skin she relaxed a bit and announced that she felt comfortable enough to go to bed. 

That running she did with Zoë must have brought on the heat rash (though I'm not sure why since this is the first time it's happened to her and it wasn't that hot today and the kids run around the block practically every day). She's feeling much better this morning, though, and her rash is mostly gone. 

Zoë is feeling much better, too. A little bruised and still covered with bandaids, but no longer limping.

Wednesday, August 05, 2020

Library update

I'm still waiting for my last few holds to come in. Hopefully I'll be able to pick up books this afternoon or tomorrow. Friday at the latest, I'm sure. 

Books can be marked as "in," "out," "held," "in transit," "lost," "missing," or "temporary quarantine." 

I put 25 available (marked as "in") books on hold. 15 of them were books from our "home" library branch (because I thought those titles could be pulled easily and thus become available quickly since there would be no transfer involved). Other books I knew would need to be transferred but I put them on hold because they are relevant to topics of study at our house.

Of the 10 books outside of our "home" library branch, all of the titles are ready for pick up. 

Of the 15 books within our "home" library branch, six titles have been made ready for me to pick up. Eight titles that were (and are still) available within our "home" library branch were transferred to our branch from another branch, which is hard for me to wrap my head around since no transfer was necessary. So I have 14/15 books from my "home" library branch ready to pick up, but only 6 of those titles are actually from our "home" library branch.

One book (that is available at our "home" library as well as several other branches) has yet to be pulled from the shelf for me. So we're just waiting on that one book (as well as two books, which are still in-transit, and which are also currently sitting on the shelf at our "home" library). 

I suppose I had to figure out the curb-side library service at some point—now that experts are saying we could be living like this for the next 2–3 years—so now is as good a time as any. I think I will have to start using a week-long baseline for title availability (assuming I only ever check out books that are "in" when I put a hold on them). 

We've decided that as an experiment we'll change our "home" library to a different branch, just to see if they pull more titles from their own shelves or if this is standard procedure throughout the library system (if it is standard procedure, I'd like to know whose system this is because surely it would be more efficient to have the library where the book is set to check out from be the library to pull it from their shelves...but maybe that's just me). 

So eventually we'll get some new books; until then we're sitting tight and enjoying the reading materials we have at home. 

Update on the update (9:45 PM): The last book, which I can only assume is on the shelf at our "home" library (due to its "in" status), is being transferred from another branch to our "home" library. So although 60% of the titles I put on hold were available at my location, only 24% of the books I will pick up will actually be from the shelves of my home library. This leads me to wonder if they place more of an emphasis on getting books ready to transfer (again, this seems a rather inefficient way to do things (they should be able to sort incoming holds as "on hold from this location to this location," vs. "items needed to be transferred" because it would save them a whole lot of transporting), but what do I know?) instead of finding books within their own collection that could leave with patrons (if that makes any sense). 

Whatever the case, I think I should be able to pick up our books tomorrow. And now we know we'll need a good week-long lead time before we can expect to pick up books from the library.

Sunday, August 02, 2020


Tonight Alexander cried before bed because I told him that we couldn't go out for a firefly sunset. To his credit the sunset was fairly beautiful, so I relented and we went outside to watch the sunset and the last few fireflies. We did not see many fireflies, however, because firefly season is winding down (they aren't active for very long), so he ended up crying again. Poor thing. 

Zoë wrote out the numbers 1 to 100 for me. Half of the numbers are backwards, but that's okay. She also got a parcel in the mail, which Daddy opened before he realized it had her name on it. Inside was a sticker activity book from Grandpa. He told her that he and she could be in their own sticker club together. When I was tucking her in tonight she giggled and said, "I can't believe Grandpa is being nice to me! Usually he just tickles me, so this is a nice change!" 

At dinner a few evenings ago we were discussing the movie Lagaan, and Zoë said that even though those soldier-men in India weren't being nice to the people, Queen Victoria was surely being nice to the people and didn't want to tax them unfairly. And I said something about, how Queen Victoria was well aware of the "plunder and catastrophe" the British were conducting in India and knew it was helping make Great Britain rather wealthy so she was pretty much on board with colonization...

"What?!" Zoë said, in shock, dropping her chin to her chest.

Her face landed right in her plate and she popped back up from her plate with koshary plastered all over her face. She was quite surprised but was able to laugh about it along with the rest of us.

Benjamin had a pretty great week overall. He's been trying to do his math work as independently as possible and has been trying to make good choices in general. He doesn't always succeed (he dug a hole in the front yard this afternoon—in the middle of the lawn, for example, when the rule is that he is only allowed to dig holes in the backyard—where we have no lawn. But it has been fairly obvious that he's been trying to be good. 

Here he is playing from Hayden's Symphony No. 94 (watch to the end for his face):

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Saturday, August 01, 2020

Up his nose and around the corner

Yesterday afternoon the children and I were watching Swades together (a Bollywood movie about an expat (NRI) returning to India and falling in love (with his country and with a girl), based on a true story). Alexander was lying on the floor digging for treasure in his nose when he very responsibly hopped up and ran to find a tissue. Reminding my children to grab a tissue before they ultimately need one has been an ongoing battle in my life for the past thirteen years. 

I will take this time to out my childhood-self as a chronic booger-eater. My children mercifully have not developed such habits. Instead they just come to me with big ol' boogers on their fingers, saying, "Here, Mom! I got this out!" and I'm like, "I don't want that. Put it in a Kleenex!"

So I was pleased that instead of running to me with a big ol' booger on his finger, Alexander ran off to the tissue box and wiped his finger in the tissue. Then he started playing with the tissue a bit. He ripped off a small piece and said, "Look at this, Mom! I ripped off a small piece!"

And I said, "No! Don't rip that Kleenex up!"

He looked at me like I'd crushed his spirits a little (after all, look what he had done—pretty neat, right?) so I said, "Sorry, buddy, but I don't want little bits of tissue floating all over my house."

He was rolling his little bit of Kleenex between his fingers, making a nice little ball.

"Run and throw that in the garbage, please," I urged him.

"Oooooor..." he suggested, "I could...STICK IT UP MY NOSE!"

And before I could even react he had taken that little ball of Kleenex on the tip of his finger and rammed it as far up his nose as he possibly could.

"ALEX!" I yelled. 

Now, I'm sure having a bit of Kleenex up one's nose is not a medical emergency. Still, I wasn't sure that a tightly squeezed ball of tissue would easily work its way back out of his nose. If he had been older we could have prompted him to blow his nose, but he's two and he doesn't know how to blow his nose. So I told Andrew that he could fish it out. We managed to get it out with a Q-tip...and later when we looked up other methods of removing things from children's noses we learned that medical experts tend to say not to stick anything like a Q-tip up your child's nose, but we did...and I think everything turned out just fine...even though I missed the last few—and arguably some of the most poignant—minutes of Swades. 

We figured we ought to have that knowledge fresh on our mind with this child, our first to break a bone or think to himself "maybe I should stick this...UP MY NOSE!" 

This seems to be a fairly popular method for removing an object from a child's nose (in case you were wondering).

I told Andrew that he would have to tell Alexander not to stick Kleenex (or anything) up his nose and all the children laughed. Andrew couldn't figure out why everyone would laugh at that. It's because he sticks Kleenex up his nostrils when he has a runny nose (like this). Andrew didn't think that had any influence on Alexander's split-second decision to ram a ball of tissue up his nose, but I'm not so sure...