Monday, July 27, 2009

Mommiest Moments: May, 2009

[For some reason, I just wasn't in the mood to record quotes and publish for six weeks or so. Probably house-closing-related stress. I'm afraid May's quotes are a bit skimpy. June should be much more full, though, and July should be back to normal. Thanks for your patience. And please, please comment!]

Wanted: Moat Monster

I taught a member discussion about prophets and dispensations, built around Ezekiel 3:17 and the "watchman" on a tower. Gandalf is a kind of prophet, right? The children (mine plus two others) certainly enjoyed destroying the castle in which lazy residents shouted "Shut up, you senile old man!" instead of rushing to defend the wall when the prophet shouted his warning. The two visitors held back when I told them to smash the lego castle, but Eric and Danny didn't hesitate.

Visitor: Wow! Are these all alphabetized?

Gail: [blushing] No, I am reduced to shelving by height. I'm so ashamed...

--It did look really cool to have an entire wall of books. Still, I can't wait to categorize, catalogue, and then collate my collection.

Gail: ...but they've been confined in boxes for six months! They are very, very cranky. I can't keep them there, but I can't let them out, either. No doubt they've become radicalized and violent, like prisoners at Guantanamo. Or Sirius Black, who wanted to commit the crime for which he was falsely imprisoned.

Jon: Rip open the boxes and run?

Gail: Maybe if I've strewn cans of tuna fish in advance. It might slow them down long enough for me to escape. And after they've devoured the food, they might be calm enough to negotiate a truce...and they'd hesitate to attack the children. Would it be reasonable to expose the kids to that risk, hoping the cuteness factor protects them?

I don't have to out-run the animals... I only have to out-run the tinned tuna fish.

--We had a family home evening where we carried out the plan above. Recognizing political reality, though, I didn't try to prevent their immediate declaration of an autonomous, self-governing region, complete with provisional government. Their goal is to become an independent republic. (It was the only way to prevent a bloody revolution.) The stuffed animals have taken over the guest room closet. And as long as they don't commit any major human rights abuses, and they accept visitors with passports, they can do whatever they want. I'm taking their nascent nation more seriously than Russel Means' Republic of Lakota. (His is a cool publicity stunt, but my animals actually formed a supermajority concensus.)

“Do you know how to drink out of a straw? You make your lips in an O and then kind of attach the moisture in your mouth to the moisture in your cup and then pull it all in together.”


Mommy: ...but when the Witch of Doom realized the orexes had tried to trick her with synthetic, emergency substitute dragon's liver, she began issuing nasty curses (toenails falling out, seven years of halitosis), and magically flinging different-sized cast-iron black cauldrons at their heads whilst they fled for the woods. They managed to grab the teleportation charm as they ran, but we don't know yet if it works.

Eric: How could it not work?

Mommy: Perhaps she waited to activate it until she'd tested the dragon's liver. Or maybe it was built with a poison pill or a dead man's switch. Or maybe she had cheated them preemptively.

--Turned out it had a built-in curse, which she would have lifted had they met their end of the deal. The curse meant they arrived several miles away from the target. Since the target was a domed city on the moon, the orexes almost asphixiated. Serves them right. 'The wages of sin is death...'

“Is it possible for a kid to be Aspie even if his parents aren't Aspie, just an aunt or uncle?”

--Danny. We'd recently been studying genetics with red and black checkers for dominant traits.

Encyclopedia Salesman: So you homeschool? [To Danny] What are you studying today?

Danny: Actually, we are not having a lesson, we are just unpacking the stuffed animals."

Gail: Ahem. We are having a political science lesson in disguise. We are decanting the stuffed animals and buying them off with their own homeland so as to prevent a violent revolution. This will lead, later on, to a discussion about principles of democracy and government as they hold elections for their leaders."

Encyclopedia Salesman: [Gapes, jaw dropped] That's...that's AWESOME!

Mommy: [smiles smugly]


Salesman: [Flips to the periodic table] Now let's say I ask you to find...Tungsten.

Mommy: [scans the left side for two seconds] There. [She points to the W.]

Salesman: Uh...right! Um, most people can't do that, which is why it's so nice that this page lists them vertically by atomic mass...


[Salesman tries to close the deal.]

Mommy: See, I like your product. But I've been spoiled by the Raleigh book sale, wherein I can get reference books for $2. Here, let me show you... [leads him into the library] …So, I'm sorry, but no. [Mental cackle.]

--Note: It was an excellent five-volume reference set for children. Five levels, elementary through AP high school, each book having sections on math, grammar, science, history, and so forth. But I don't currently own a couch, or a car....Plus, though he was intelligent and personable, he annoyed me by taking the book away from me every time I really started to study a section.

--All right, I admit the shelves didn't look this way then. But the books were all there, just not as prettily organized. The childrens shelves have looked this nice for several weeks now.

“The stuffed animals who were colonizing the storage room forgot to bring seeds, metal tools, stored food, medicine, and reference materials...”

--They almost turned into Roanoke. But they (and my children) were much more careful about packing the ship on the second attempt. This lesson came about because Danny asked “But why didn't the pilgrims just buy food from the grocery store?”

[During a bedtime story about Eric starting a dragon farm]

Eric: But if I only find one nest of eggs, that means the eggs are brother and sister which means they shouldn't have babies because their genes are too similar.

Mommy: Fine. You find two nests of dragons eggs.

Eric: But then their babies would be first cousins which would still be too similar...

“I think they were surprised to hear about the whiny side of prophets. Enoch: 'Everybody hates me! And I'm still a kid!' (He was in his seventies.) Moses: 'I'm slow of speech! They'll all make fun of me!' Moroni: 'I'm a general, not a writer! The gentiles won't take this book seriously.' Except for Saint Paul, who 'gloried in tribulation.' But he was nuts.”

--I was substitute-teaching a Sunday School class of thirteen-year-olds. (Ether 12:27 – Have humility and God will turn your weakness into strength.)

“Murmer MURMER grumble humph. It was such a lovely nasty letter. A work of art. Jon read it. He said it singed his eyebrows. I told him this was a reminder to him of why he never, ever wanted to file for divorce. He said there were other reasons he didn't ever want to file for divorce, but, yes, this was also a vivid reminder.”

--Gail, grumbling about not sending the original letter she'd composed to the people at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, who were refusing to make reasonable accomodations due to a bad appraisal. (The very flawed appraisal came in $25,000 too low, which ended up being a terrible thing for us because it affected our financing options.)

“Guess we're left with me dancing around a fire, sacrificing a chicken, and invoking the spirit of a dead lawyer. ;-) ”

--Mark, in answer to my pleas for prayers on my behalf. (See above.) This is after he'd ruled out the Wailing Wall and the Orlando Temple. It looked like the whole house deal was about to fall through with devastating consequences.

Gail: [whispering into the phone] Um...I forget the quadratic

Carolyn: [giggles, then rattles it off from memory. Show off.]

--I was at the church, without access to my library or the internet, entertaining Eric while waiting for Jon to get out of a meeting. I had intended it more as an order-of-operations exercise, where he simplified it down from multiple parenthesis, exponents, and denominators down to a single equation. Never should have set it equal to zero. What was I thinking?

[During Family Home Evening]

Mommy: And tonight the activity will be--

Danny: Mommy, wait! I think we should have a lesson first!

Mommy: Okay...would you like to teach it?

Danny: [Cheerfully] Okay! [pause] What could it be about?

Mommy: How about families?

Danny: Actually, I think it should be about something like the Children of Israel.

Mommy: Oookaaaay....

Danny: And for this lesson, I will need stuffed animals. I will hurry up to the playroom and grab some. [he scampers off]

Eric: I don't want Danny to teach a lesson! I will not listen!

Mommy: If you don't listen, you won't get a family home evening treat. Be polite.

Eric: [throws a mild apoplectic fit on the floor. Not screaming--more flopping like an asphixiating fish with occasional grunts. This is common enough that Mommy ignores it.]

Danny: [returns with an armful of bears. And Nannerl] Bear is Joshua. [Poses Bear against a wall. Bear looks--I swear--like a guitar player.] And these [assembles others] are the children of Israel. And I need a divider to show that they need to get into the promised land. [Grabs a calculator and puts it on the floor] And...[looks around] Ah! Ricki's wall will be the wall! Because it is a wall! And when it falls down, it will roll over like this! [demonstrates][He proceeds to act out the rest of the story (sadly without narration; it was mostly pantomime) about bears crossing into the promised land, taking a quick look around, and running for their lives. After which they stayed in the desert for forty years.]

Danny: And now it is an intermission so you can stretch your legs or use the bathroom! [He carefully arranges the bears so they are all lying down.]

Daddy: I thought this was supposed to be a short lesson. Why do we need an intermission?

Mommy: [humoring Daniel, stretches for two seconds] Okay, I'm ready.

Danny: [briskly] Okay! [Holding all six animals in a cumbersome armful, he circles them around the wall a few times. Mommy snaps pictures. Danny shoves the “wall” and sends it rolling. After it comes down, the animals all cross into the promised land.] The end!

Eric: [immediately stands up and goes into the office]

Danny: [performs the requisite post-mortem on the lesson, explaining how he only included the stuff that Bob the tomato said was real.]

Mommy: Eric, come back.

Eric: [returning] I thought the lesson was over.

Mommy: Just because the children of Israel made it to the promised land doesn't mean the lesson was over. Danny still needed to explain the significance of what he taught.

Daddy: Besides, the question isn't whether the lesson is over. You're not supposed to leave the room until FHE is over. No FHE treat for you tonight.

Eric: But! [protests]

--Eric had made some other rude interruptions. And I had to make jon close his laptop twice. I don't know why Eric and Jon weren't all that enthusiastic. Personally, I thought the lesson was absolutely charming. And Danny really reminded me of me. Again. For, like, the tenth time this month.

----Carolyn, to whom I told this story via instant messaging, kept laughing and saying “I love Danny!”

"And them walls come a-tumblin' down..."

Right: Eric and Danny imprison Bear in The Tower. Danny particularly wanted this picture posted.


Carolyn said...

Those bookshelves indeed look beautiful. I'm impressed that they all match!! How much did it cost to buy that many...?

Also, it was favorite when you told it back then, and it's still my favorite now...I love that Eric criticized your dragon story because of its genetic complications.

And of course, Danny is so creative! That last line about the Children of Israel and only being "true to Bob the Tomato" is fantastic.

Gail said...

The bookcases are the cheap Walmart brand. Pressboard with a thin veneer. They look nice for a few years and then start disintegrating. In fact, two of their fraternity broke apart during the move.

We salvaged the martyred cases' shelves and pegs, thus creating more vertical divisions. This meant I could cram more books per case, but it also meant I had to shelve strictly by height.

They do look pretty right now. The cases on the opposite wall don't match at all, and have extra shelves interpolated from cheap plywood. (We went to Lowes with the measurements and had the shelves cut to order.)

Someday I'd love to get a comprehensive shelving system, like the modular cases from Ikea. Actually, what I'd /really/ love is to have a Victorian library complete with a wheeled ladder. But that's highly impractical.

Yes, Eric has been interested in the laws of consanguinity lately, randomly asking things like, "What about second cousins?" He also hit me up with the inevitable question about Adam and Eve's children. It was bound to happen eventually. Still, he was more interested in it as a genetic, rather than moral, problem, which meant I could pass it off with "there probably hadn't been much chance for genetic mutations to develop yet" and "marrying a first cousin one time isn't that bad. It's when a family does that generation after generation that you get problems."

And Danny is very creative, yes. Definitely my child. :)

Gail said...

Jon commented that the castle sign should read "Wanted: Moat Monster. (Apply Within.)"

Since he never got around to posting his comment--which I found quite funny--I have done it for him.