Thursday, March 23, 2023

Skinks and daffodils

This week I've basically talked myself into a summer graduation. I meet with my advisor about things tomorrow—and I feel like she still feels like May is a possibility but she doesn't know that Phoebe has been refusing naps (and still isn't sleeping through the night) so to me May feels absolutely impossible at this point. 

Especially given the fact that I have to turn in an electronic copy of my thesis in, oh, four days...and especially given the fact that I don't have any analysis or conclusion to speak of. 

I hear those bits are important. 

But the kids have been doing well with their school work and have been helping with Phoebe a little more (and/or she's happier to play with them than she was even a few weeks ago). In addition to liking Grogu, she now also enjoys Bluey, so she will sit and play with Alexander's little Heeler family and sing, "Duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh-duh MOM!" to herself. And that's excellent news because she doesn't like to do much by herself at all.

She loves to go outside, so Zoë will often accompany her into the yard, which makes me slightly nervous because Phoebe is a handful, but so far it's been okay. Zoë is rather attentive when she's in charge of Phoebe. She buckles her in the wagon and takes her for little strolls, straps a helmet on her head and wheels her around on a little toddler scooter, draws with chalk with her, etc.

We started some MIT molecule lessons using LEGO modeling. The kids seemed pretty interested in that today, so that was good. They're working on the photosynthesis module since we just went over that process in our chemistry textbook yesterday.

Our science time was augmented by some good ol' fashioned outdoor time. Benjamin, Zoë, and Alexander were hacking away at this old tree stump with a number of gardening trowels (because I'm a big ol' meanie and won't let them hack away at it with axes) and they disturbed a five-lined skink.

So Benjamin tossed his shovel and scrambled to grab it:

I would have thought that sinks would be more docile than anoles, but evidently I would have thought wrong because the anole the boys caught last week was super calm. This sink was thrashing about in Benjamin's hands like mad and eventually gave him a nice little bite! 

They don't really bite hard—it didn't even break his skin—but it shocked him into dropping the skink, which then quickly started darting (slithering, really; the kids noted that it seemed to move very much like a snake) toward safety.

Alas! Zoë—armed with her trowel—was determined to corral the poor skink. She kept slamming down the trowel in front of it, cutting off its path (and thank goodness only its path). 

To keep her from accidentally slicing the skink in two, I grabbed a net, which seemed like a much gentler way to keep it contained for observation. Too bad for the skink! The incredible seamstress who fashioned these nets out of old badminton rackets and mesh bags (it was me) left a skin-sized opening in the hem...and the skink wormed its way into that little opening until it could worm no further.


We couldn't just pull him out by his tail because, well, we were a little afraid he'd autotomize (self-amputate) his tail in self-defense...but also because his little legs and toes were sandwiched close to his body and we didn't want to hurt them while pulling him in reverse.

So we spent the next 15–30 minutes of our day using a seam ripper and pair of scissors to delicately free the blasted skink! It wasn't quite how I'd intended to spend that portion of our afternoon, but you'll all be happy to hear that the skink is alive and well.

And now we know more about skinks than we did before. 

And with all these little reptiles popping up all over I'm getting more and more nervous about snakes.

In other news, there are still daffodils. Most of the neighbourhood daffodils have expired, but our neighbours have some planted in a particularly shady area of the cul-de-sac so they bloomed later than other flowers did (at least, that's my theory about why that happened) and then it's been a little chillier the past little bit, so the blooms have lasted for a while. 

Phoebe thinks they're pretty. 

Here she is giving the daffodils a good sniff:

She often gets confused about sniffing and licking and where her ears are versus where her eyes are and things of that nature, so here she is going in for a lick this time:

And I said something like, "Not a lick, Phoebe! A sniff! Use your nose, not your tongue! These flowers are not for eating!" 

So of course she leaned in further and gave a flower a nice, long lick.

Hee, hee, hee. She's so funny.

It's not like daffodils are toxic or anything. 

Oh, wait. They are toxic. At least she didn't try to eat it (she's slowly getting better at not eating stuff she shouldn't).

Here she is exploring some grape hyacinth (which I really wish would grow like weeds in my yard, but which is instead growing like a weed in our neighbour's yard—the kids want to make grape hyacinth lemonade since Daddy was so opposed to our cabbage-water lemonade):

Here's Phoebe kicking around a ball in the cul-de-sac:

She was chasing it around singing, "Ball, ball, ball, ball, ball..."

And then she'd notice a car approaching and would throw her arms up in the air and run toward me screeching, "CAAAAAAR!" so I could pick her up and keep her safe.

So at least she's got some street sense (even if she goes around licking toxic flowers).

And here she is feeling smug that she gets to sit on the big-kid swing for a little while because Mommy is a pushover:

She used to enjoy the baby swing at the park. And then I scored a baby swing on our buy nothing group and put it up on our swing set and now she hates baby swings. She won't sit in the one at home and she won't sit in one at the park. And it's super annoying because I'd love to just...sit her in the swing and know that she's there for a little while...but she will stand up and try to climb out of the swing so I can't really safely put her in the baby swing at big kid swings it is.

This wild little miss!

She knows exactly what she's doing, too! At least...most of the time...some of the time I suspect she just gets into "chaos mode" and can't turn it off and she just goes around the house frantically emptying drawers and trying to scale bookshelves like she can't turn off the impulse to get into stuff.

A couple of days ago we augmented our studies by piecing together the metronome, which she shoved off the piano when she climbed on top of it. Springs and sprockets everywhere! But we've got it keeping time again, by golly!

Anyway, this evening I was reading stories to Benjamin and Zoë...and technically to Phoebe, but she won't sit still for very many stories so she had already forced us to read her picks (she's really into Please, Baby, Please, a story I feel in my bones, so I don't mind reading it) and was off and running. But then Phoebe came back to read with us and instead of just sitting beside Alexander on the floor (I'm a floor person), she inserted herself directly in front of him. And not, like, so she could see the story...but just to bug him (I can tell because she was facing his face rather than facing the book).

So he adjusted his position. 

So she adjusted her position to be right in front of him again.

So he readjusted.

So she readjusted.

And he's getting more and more frustrated.

And she...just thinks she's hilarious.

But really she's a handful.


  1. I noticed some daffodils still in my neighborhood. I love that, though many have come and gone, there are still some still cheerily blowing in the breeze. :)

    Cute pics of Phoebe. She does seem quite a little stinker...ha!