Monday, September 30, 2013

Mad (Yet Healthy) Scientist

Penny is pretty well determined that she's going to be a mad scientist when she grows up.

(Specifically, a mad one. I think -- though she has not voiced it this way -- because mad scientists don't have to follow all those pesky rules like, say, the laws of nature, and therefore it doesn't require that she pay attention in science class.)

Anyway, we were in the car over the weekend and she suddenly popped up with, apropos of nothing that I'm aware of: "Mom? Wouldn't it be cool if we had wings and could fly?"

I allowed as how that would be pretty cool.

"Dad was telling me that sometimes, when people die, we can take like their insides and stuff and put them in other people who need them."

Apparent left-turns in the conversation are pretty common around here, so I took it in stride. "Sure, if the dead person gave their permission before they died. It's called being an organ donor."

But she hadn't veered as far as I'd thought. "When I grow up, I'm going to cut some wings off of really big birds and attach them to people so they can fly."

She launched into her plan, entirely undeterred by my gentle suggestions about such realities as even my extreme layman's science knowledge could conjure up. She would test her transplants first, she assured me, by cutting the wings off of smaller birds and attaching them to mice and rats.

And once she had perfected her technique, she would offer this transformative surgery to all comers for only fifty cents.

When I exclaimed over the low cost and wondered how she would finance her mad science, she blithely reminded me that she was also going to open a restaurant that would serve only healthy, diabetes-friendly meals. The restaurant, she explained, would be open from 10 until 10 every day, and she would do her mad science in the mornings and late evenings. No problem.

I was, all at once, charmed by her generosity and proud of her fearless vision.

And maybe, just a teeny, tiny bit disturbed by the thought of her chopping the wings off hapless birds and sewing them onto poor, innocent rodents.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Busy Day

So... it looks like either Blogger changed something or my Day Job network folks did, but now when I try to start a new Blogger post from work, it gets to the loading screen and just sits there. So no more posting from work.

You can see what this has done to my ability to post (it's had a similar effect on my writing blog as well). My evenings tend to be anything but conducive to blogging, even over here.

But I figured I should make an effort to get something down for today, because today was pretty danged awesome. And busy.

1) This was not actually today, but yesterday, but... last week, I (finally, after having decided to do so a couple of months ago) bought a new cell phone. Which means that Penny inherited my old phone. I'd even bought her a case for it. When I picked her up Friday afternoon and showed her my new phone, it took a few seconds for her to realize what that meant, and then she LOST. HER. SHIT. It was adorable. (Note: It's not a phone any more. All cell functions have been turned off. It's basically just an iPod Touch with a laughably small capacity, now.)

2) We got up at pretty near the usual weekday time so that we could eat breakfast and get dressed and head out to watch Alex play soccer.

(A few weeks ago, Matt told me that Alex had been mentioning soccer a lot as something he enjoyed -- he'd never said a word to me -- and that he was going to sign him up for a kids' league. Matt also, naturally, got roped into coaching.)

I do not like sports much, and I especially don't care much for soccer, but watching teams of 4-5-year-olds play was almost but not entirely unlike soccer anyway. None of them could figure out which direction they were supposed to run. They'd kick at the ball and miss, multiple times in a row. Run up to it to kick and come to a dead halt just before doing so, so precisely it looked like something from a cartoon. Run in a little circle around the ball without ever touching it. Politely stop and wait for an opposing team member to line up his (or her) kick instead of jumping in to steal the ball. It was, in a word, hysterical.

I saw three (minor) injuries during the two games, and not one of them was inflicted by another child (even accidentally!) which I thought was really saying something. Anyway, it was a fun way to spend an hour, much to my surprise.

Then we came home and Alex changed out of his soccer gear and into street clothes so that we could eat an early lunch in preparation for...

3) Ripley's birthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese! Okay, the kids' enthusiasm for this entirely outstripped my own, but I actually like CEC's pizza, the kids were mostly pretty well-behaved, and the birthday girl went ga-ga for the stuffed penguin I'd crocheted for her. (So did some of the adults. It was very gratifying.)

4) After that, we went to the mall (breaking my two-year run of successful avoidance of its parking lot) so that Penny could get her ears pierced. I'd told her that she could have it done when she turned 10 (which is when I got mine done the first time), but she'd been waffling over the possible pain until just recently, when a couple of friends from school talked her into it.

I got a bit of sticker shock -- apparently, earrings for piercing cost more than twice what they did back in the early 1990s, when I had my last piercing done. What's up with that?! But once I got over that, Penny gleefully picked out some little studs with her birthstone (peridot) in them. She decided it would be best if she distracted herself with a game on her phone, so she did that while the attendant popped her ears. She did really great, actually. She let out one moderately-loud "Ow!" with each pop, and a series of small "Ow, ow, ow, oh ow"s afterward, as the nerves ricocheted, and then it was done. When we were in the car, she told me they didn't hurt any more, and about an hour or so later, she told me she could touch her ears without them hurting. (She's spent the whole rest of the evening dancing around singing, "I got my ears piereced, I finally got my ears pierced!" in delight.)

5) From the mall, we headed over to my parents' house. This morning, while planning the day, Alex had protested the earring trip with, "What are we going to do for me?" I asked what he wanted to do, and he said, "I miss Grandma and Grandpa." So I called my folks and they enthusiastically agreed that we should come over. So we did, and the kids played happily for a while, and then my parents took us out to dinner. Mmm, Mexican.

It all made for kind of a long day, but both kids were pretty awesome, I have to say. There was some whining here and there, but by and large, they were about as patient and cheerful as anyone could have been expected to be.

'Cause my kids are awesome, that's why.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

First Day of School

What kind of mom would I be if I didn't post some pictures of the kids on the first day of school? (The non-embarrassing kind, probably. And where's the fun in that?)

(Note: I took most of these with my nice camera, but I haven't had a chance yet to do any post-processing like color balancing, contrast adjustment, or cropping. When I've done that, I'll post those pics to Flickr.)

First, a nice standing pose:

Then, one that probably captures their relative feelings about the day a little more accurately:

An anecdote worth saving: At orientation last week, as Alex and I were walking down the hall together, I said, "Are you excited to meet your teacher and see your kindergarten class?" and he said, "Mommy, I've been waiting for this my whole life!"

And then one with the pseudo-stepsiblings, which I think of the six bajillion pictures the three adults were taking, may be the only one that got all four kids a) looking generally in the direction of the camera, b) not blinking, and c) not making a goofy face:

And, of course, the obligatory bus stop picture (this one via my cell phone, because the nice camera's battery died on me):

I did, in fact, get just a little choked up as the bus pulled away -- that's my youngest off to kindergarten, and my eldest starting her very last year in elementary school. It's the end of an era.

But more than nostalgic, I'm excited and happy for them. And, also, relieved to not be paying daycare tuition for a while...