Friday, January 17, 2014

Seven Quick Takes: the Kyrie Eleison edition

SuperSam has been avidly reading The Wonderful Wizard of Oz since he bought it with his Christmas gift card at Barnes and Noble week before last. It is a nice hardback copy, and it has a label in the front.

I think he was almost as excited about the label as the book itself.

We have also been reading it out loud with him before bed each night (although he keeps telling us what's going to happen, since he's read far ahead). George hasn't read the book before and is surprised at how different it is from the movie. I have read the book before and am still surprised at how different it is from the movie.

Sometimes, I think I shouldn't watch movies that are made from books at all. I feel like the movie producer has taken over my brain with his choices. Even if his choices aren't bad, my brain likes to make its own decisions, you know?

My children have been playing "Nativity" since the first week of Advent. I suppose we can't expect them to stop their favorite game just because the liturgical year is moving on without them. Still, I'm starting to tire of hearing them address each other only as "Joseph," "Mary" (or sometimes "Blessed Virgin" with a hard "g") and "Baby Jesus."

Sam is always, always Mary. He puts a blue blanket on his head and directs all the action. Nora (Joseph) waits upon him hand and foot, fetches things, and generally does whatever he tells her. Lucy (Baby Jesus) is more likely to go rogue and refuse to follow his directives, at which point he always tells her she'll need to take a break and think about how she's getting along with the rest of the group.

He's obviously identified Mary's important role in the Incarnation (and claimed it for himself), but I'm not sure he has the group dynamics down quite yet. I did try to talk with him about it, reminding him that Jesus is really the reason for the whole story. He retorted that Jesus wouldn't have gotten very far without a mama to change his poopy diapers.

Incarnational theology, five-year-old style.

We've gently started back to school again, and we're getting lots of questions from friends and family about how things are going. In fact, I think the questions are frequent enough that they (and the answers to them) deserve their own post. Next week, look for a homeschool FAQ from me. (Just don't expect me to dispense any advice after just one semester of homeschooling).

Afternoon nap time here is sacred. I've been battling the fatigue and sickness of first trimester pregnancy these last couple of months, so an afternoon nap has become even more critical for me. The twins have always been good sleepers, so it was usually just Sam I had to convince to respect "quiet rest time."

Last week, with no warning at all, the Sisters began a series of Twin Naptime Fiascos. They've taken to throwing their stuffed animals out of the cribs and then shouting for them, dropping their blankies on the floor and then crying for those, jumping on their mattresses like trampolines, beating on the walls, etc. Yesterday, they both pulled their baptismal crosses off their walls above their beds and pointed them at each other while yelling, "Kyrie Eleison! Blam, Blam-o!" and making shooting noises.

Clearly this is a spinoff of the earlier game this week.

Anyway, it's not conducive to rest.

I haven't figured out what to do yet (other than moving the crosses, of course). They usually go to sleep eventually, about the time Sam is getting up...and since Sam doesn't really have a low volume setting, the girls' afternoon nap is often short-lived.

Adding another baby to the mix ought to help straighten things out, don't you think?

I got one of those fun corporate parenting emails last week advising me that obedient children have parents who consistently enforce rules. "If you want your child to obey, be less wishy-washy," it said. "Be sure to have consequences for behavior and apply them consistently."

I'm not sure exactly what they think I'm doing all day if not enforcing consequences and applying them consistently. I'm certainly not doing housework, cooking, writing or running. Sometimes it feels like the whole day is just passing from one child to another and dealing with three categories of behavior:
  • Sibling-on-Sibling Violence ("Your sister's hand is not food, please do not bite it." "We do not use our hands to strangle people." "She had that first; you need to ask for a turn before you take it out of her hand and smack her with it." "Please don't wipe your nose on her hair; get a tissue instead.") 
  • Social Boundary Stuff ("Please make sure you are wearing underwear when you sit on the couch." "It's important to flush after you use the toilet." "We don't yell 'Kyrie Eleison' at our neighbors- they don't understand that game.")
  • General Parental Testing ("We have already tucked you in, given you more water, moved your nightlight so it doesn't make the shadow on the wall look like the Cowardly Lion is eating Toto, and found your stuffed Spinosaurus. Now GO TO BED.")

The idea that having and enforcing consequences would automatically result in well-mannered, obedient children seemed perfectly logical to me...before I had any children.

Oh, well. If they grow up to be delinquents, I'll comfort myself with the knowledge that they are super-smart and just like to push limits ("to see what will happen").

It sounds like the dreaded "polar vortex" is on its way back. We've had little spurts of snow (not enough to play in, but enough to make it cold and slick and muddy outside). My philosophy about cold, rain and other "yucky" weather is that there is no bad weather, only bad clothes. As long as we have the right stuff to wear, we can still go out.

Philosophy-schmilosophy. I just haven't felt up to it, so we haven't gone outside much recently.

Happily, the folks at Imagination Tree came up with some great ideas of things to do inside to pass the time. I have my own favorite stuck-inside activities, and I'm sure you do, too...but if it's going to be freezing again, we could probably all use some new ideas for our lists.

Ever since we reluctantly joined the ranks of minivan drivers last year, I've had a love-hate relationship with our van. I firmly believe that once you buy something it should never break, ever. Unfortunately, our van has some issues. Most of them are minor, but lately, the transmission has been slipping. One minute, all is well, and the next minute, the van won't shift into the next gear (and we have to pull off on the side of the road, turn it off, wait a few minutes, and turn it on again while praying that it will work).

We don't have a great history with vans. We borrowed one from a family friend to go home for Christmas when the girls were three months old. On the way down (on Christmas Eve), the engine started making a funny noise. We pulled off in an empty Barnes and Noble parking lot, where the van promptly caught on fire. Sam was delighted when the fire trucks came, but the rest of us were less enthusiastic.

I was brought up to believe that Hondas and Toyotas are superior to all other cars, yet it's a Honda whose transmission is threatening to leave me (the pregnant lady with three little kids) stranded on the side of a highway someplace. Not ideal.

George is meeting with the man who sold us the van last year to see what can be done...replace the transmission with a used one? Trade it for another van?

Got a van you love or hate? Tell me about it. I'm about to be done with this one, I think.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!