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May 17, 2006

A Day in the Life, part VIII (cont'd)

Okay, okay. I know it's been a while. I should have concluded this a long time ago, but real life has kept me pretty busy.

Plus I've been kinda lazy.

I now have little memory of anything that happened on the day this is supposed to be describing -- what day was that anyhow? April 25th!!!?? Wow, I've really become a lazy slug! -- but hopefully I'll be able to make something up that sounds plausable.

11:00 We usually have a discussion on what treat they can get while we're shopping. Stores nowadays are crammed with junk and it would be cruel to deny them anything. We have little in the ways of sweets at home -- even juice is a special drink for them. But it's not a good idea to totally disconnect them from the world most other children live in. So they get one thing, and they have to agree on it. A Kinder Egg was their first thought as they entered the store, but along the way they found other goodies that they suddenly realized they couldn't live without. With each one I asked them to consider the loss of the Kinder egg, and after a little deliberation, the eggs alway won out.

11:40 At the check-out I take two Kinder eggs and delicately hand them to the cashier. Max and Talia are clamouring for them, but I tell them they're for after lunch and I put the precious treats in my coat pocket. Outside, it's starting to get very cold and windy. Quite miserable, actually. I had plans to work on a minor carpentry project this afternoon, but I guess that's out.

As I put the kids in the improbabus, I lean against the door and crush both eggs. Oh well.

12:15 We get home. I've got $180 dollars of groceries to put away and two hungry kids. I let them amuse themselves outside while I get the perishables put away and start lunch. Wieners and beans. Crap, I know, but I'll have little hassle from them and it's quick.

As I dash in and out of the house, I notice Max is joyfully playing with his favourite toy, the small snow shovel. He's such a cutie. Just as I've got everything finished and go outside to call them for lunch, I see what he's doing that's making him so happy: he's shovelling the gravel from my driveway into the ditch across the street. "MAAAAAAAXXXXXX!!"

12:35 I've already finished my share and am prodding them to:

  1. Scoop food with spoons
  2. Lift spoons to mouths
  3. Open mouths
  4. Insert spoons in mouths
  5. Chew
  6. Swallow
  7. Repeat
It sounds easy, and I've seen them do it many times before. But when they're both wound up and playing off each other, it can all go terribly wrong at any of those steps. Somehow we manage to finish.

12:50 They're eating their Kinder Eggs now. I get no complaints about the shattered shells; it's still chocolate and there's a toy inside! I'm feeling I might need some reinforcements this afternoon, so I call a friend and invite us over. But first I need my second coffee and have to assemble their soon-to-be-forgotten toys.

1:10 I've still been unable to have more than a sip of my coffee. I'm busy refereeing their battles over the Kinder toys and cleaning up lunch.

1:25 I finally finish my coffee just as I hear Max shout, "Talia's pinching me!" for the fifth time. We gotta get out of here. I herd them into the car...

1:35 Where they quickly fall asleep. I still think they need a nap in the afternoon, but it's impossible to get them to agree when they're at home. They just won't do it. But strap them in a moving car and their eyes start drooping and their heads start lolling. Just what I was counting on.

1:55 I leave them in the improbabus when I arrive at Judith's house. (She lives in the country, so they'll not be bothered.) They'll sleep for at least another half hour, giving me a brief opportunity to enjoy some adult conversation.

Judith is an artist, and I caught her painting in her studio. She was deep in reverie over a painting she was having problems with. I played the role of the visitor from Porlock and pulled her out of her trance.

After chatting for a bit, we decide to go inside to have some tea. I check on the kids and, unfortunately, they're starting to wake up. I take them inside too.

2:20 Her son Nelson is there to help entertain the kids. He tries engaging them with some of his toys, but eventually is forced to resort to my favourite tool, TV. He puts a Pingu tape on and they're happy.

2:50 Talia decides I've had enough relaxation and conversation and interrupts us by continually repeating, "I'm hung-ery!", over and over again. I tell her she should have eaten more of her lunch. Judith makes her some popcorn.

3:15 After everyone has snacked, I decide to act on a half-baked plan I hatched before we came over here. We'll fly a kite! I had bought a cheap Wal-Mart kite a couple of weeks before, but had consistently failed to demonstrate my kite mastery to my offspring. Today I could not fail -- there was a big field here and a lot of wind.

Except... there sure were a lot of power lines around here. And the wind was very variable, gusting then stopping, gusting then stopping. And the kite was pretty crappy too, it was obvious. And my helpers are not as big of a help as they think they are. And now it's starting to rain. After a few launches and crashes we gave up. Next time for sure.

4:05 We decide to hit the road. They don't sleep on this car ride, and instead keep up a steady chatter.

4:25 We're home. Max immediatly demands TV. I wearily agree, and they watch Go, Diego, Go, a Dora spinoff.

4:45 Reinforcements arrive. I let Michelle deal with our sweeties while I make supper. Tuna casserole. I'm not a great cook, okay?

She reads to them from the holy book of Cars and Trucks and Things That Go.

5:15 The food's in the oven. I'm feeling like a zombie.

5:50 We finally sit down for supper. After Max's first words of, "Not this again!", I was a little worried how it would go, but they ate every bite. Talia initiated a strange game at the table. She said to Max, "Max, you're Talia, and I'm Max."

Max replied, "No, you're you and I'm me!"

"I'm me and you're me, Max!"

"No..." and so it continued...

6:15 After supper, I try to get them to clean up their toys, but they brazenly ignore my authority, giggling merrily. I use my most serious voice, but it has no effect. I send them up to their room to contemplate their terrible naughtiness.

6:25 Mama lets them out and for some reason Talia has put on her pajamas, even though she still needs to have a bath. Max is wearing his pajama bottoms on his head. But at least they get around to cleaning up.

6:40 Max tells me a knock-knock joke:

Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Tree!
Tree who?
Open the door and let me through!
And then he hit me with another one:
Knock Knock!
Who's there?
Police car
Police car who?
Open the door and let me through!
Apparently this is the funniest thing ever; Max is laughing uproariously. Each generation has difficuly understanding the humour of the following one.

6:55 Mama takes them up for their bath. I did this job yesterday when Mama headed off to yoga, so it's only fair that she gets an opportunity. i hear a certain amount of yelling and splashing and crying, but no more than usual.

7:20 Mama takes the story-reading duty as well, and I come up to give them a good-night kiss. Unlike many recent nights, they go to sleep easily. No lame excuses to get up, and no fighting after the lights go down.

7:30 I spend the remaining scraps of my energy in trying to write this thing up.

April 26, 2006

A Day in the Life, part VIII

Ugh. What a day. Now I remember why I haven't done one of these in such a long time. I've tried, but sometime between 10:00 and noon everything goes so screwy that I can no longer keep up with the notetaking. I just give up. But today, since I promised, I've managed to finish the day with a page of cryptic messages and a bunch of pictures from which I will now attempt to construct a complete narrative. It's 9:00 pm right now and I'm completely zonked. I've had a stiff Johnny Walker and am working on another in an attempt to prop me up, but it seems to be having the opposite effect. I never would of predicted that...

Anyway, welcome to the much-delayed 8th installment of my exciting Day in the Life series. People in the future will be able to download into their video goggles the 3D video version performed by the leading actors of the day, but you are forced to actually move your eyeballs to absorb this pathetic text version. I'm sorry, but there's nothing I can do about that. Even more primitive versions can be found here: part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V, part VI and part VII.

The two children mentioned in the following account are just a little older than three. Thus, a good portion of the day was spent dealing with certain bodily function issues. To prevent the embarrassment of these children in the future, I will not mention them. But trust me, they kept me busy, though they are much improved. As well, I am sorry to note, I tried to keep a count of how many times I dashed up and down the stairs but unfortunately lost count. I thought it would be an interesting statistic. But I estimate it to be somewhere around 55,000.

Okay. Let's get started...

6:15 I'm up before the alarm. Squeak climbs on me for a cuddle session, followed by Samba and then Max. From the window I can see that it looks like it'll be a nice day.

6:30 Mama heads for the shower while I continue providing cuddles.

6:40 The crazy time begins. Talia is still in bed, and I work to rouse her. Mama is downstairs making a delicious and nutritious breakfast and I work to get the kids dressed. What to wear? We manage to come to a decision. Max insists on wearing a second-hand sweat-jacket we picked up someplace, which I have just noticed is part of the Mary-Kate and Ashley collection. He'll never know. I ask him eight times to hang up his pajamas before he complies. Kids these days!

7:15 I realize we have no more bottled water. (Our tap water kind of sucks.) No water means no coffee which means a slow death. I rush off to the local depaneur to buy some before Mama heads to work. It's not quite as nice out as I though it was; it's cold and frosty.

7:30 I'm back. I've noticed all my neighbors have their garbage out, so I guess I should put out mine too. I'm such a mindless conformist.

When I get in I notice the kids haven't eaten much. But they are making loud cock-a-doodle-dooooo noises.

7:40 I put my coffee on and sit next to the kids for breakfast. Talia is still not eating, but Max is mostly done. I coax, persuade, threaten and plead with her and manage to get her to eat another three bites (by spooning them in myself).

7:45 Mama is off. I'm all alone here.

7:47 Kids start pleading to watch TV. Boy, do they know me. I refuse.

7:50 Fights begin over toys.

7:55 Fights escalate. Talia calls Max 'bad'. Max is devastated and whines at me, "Papa, Talia says I'm bad!"

8:00 I give in to the TV request so I can jot down some notes before I forget, and finally get to drink my coffee. I clean up after breakfast, browse a few blogs and news sites, and skim the paper. The kids are downstairs watching Arthur and Lunar Jim. This is the best part of my day.

I notice I didn't turn on the dishwasher last night. Great.

9:00 I go downstairs to see how things are going, and they beg for more TV. What to do? Take them upstairs and interact with them in a meaningful and educational play session against their wishes? Or let the slick professionals that create Sesame Street sink their hooks into their innocent and vulnerable minds? Surprisingly, it's not that difficult a decision.

9:45 I go down to tell them at 10:00 I will give them a snack of apple slices and Corn pops before we go shopping for groceries. Talia demands Corn pops and Cheerios. We argue; I say she needs fruit. She refuses. Tempers flare. Finally she agrees to apple slices and Corn pops and Cheerios. Groan.

As I'm cutting the apples, Talia tells me, "I'm hung-ery". And then she repeats herself another dozen times just in case I didn't understand. I get to use the well-worn parent's line, "You should have eaten your breakfast."

9:50 Max is bored with Elmo and comes up for his snack. He is perfectly satisfied and eats everything. Talia demands more. I get to use that line again. I give her more after I manage to force the 'p' word out of her mouth.

10:15 They eat slowly. Finally they finish and we go up to brush teeth and get some socks on them. I snap a very nice picture of me with Talia in the bathroom.

10:20 We start the process to go to Loblaws. I start to get them dressed to go outside, but I can't find Talia's runners. She finds them in a little hiding place. "I put my runners there for safe. No monsters can eat them", she explains.

10:30 We're on our way. Talia keeps up a steady patter the whole ride.

10:50 We enter Loblaws. They refuse to sit in the cart now and want to walk. I agree, but warn them that if they run off then back in the cart they go. And they are perfect. But they didn't do much walking.

And here I will have to stop. It's nearing 10:30 pm as I write this and I've really gotta get some sleep. I'll continue this absolutely mesmerizing tale tomorrow evening. I would do it tomorrow during the day, but I have that reserved to do our damn taxes. The ironic thing is that I will get some sleep tonight, but you readers won't. How will the rest of the day turn out? What will we eat for lunch? Who will we meet? What will we do? I'm so sorry to leave you hanging like this, but try to hold on for another twenty-four hours. See you then.

April 25, 2006

Waking up

The blog has been quiet lately. I haven't got a good excuse for it, I've just been lazy. But that will soon change! [Yeah, right...] No really! I've got my groove back! This time it's for real! And to prove it, I hereby commit myself to writing another Day in the Life based on my family's wacky adventures tomorrow. I haven't done one since last July, so I'm long overdue. Lots of cute pictures and clever commentary coming late tomorrow! Don't miss it.

If you can't wait that long, here's a shot of the kids pretending to pilot a freighter, taken at the Museum of Civilization last week. I instructed Talia to yell, "Scotty, we need more power!" into the telephone, and she was quite persuasive.

April 14, 2006

Too much Manischewitz

Max and Talia sat through their first seder on Wednesday, and they were pretty good. It might have been easier if we used the abridged Haggadah, but we made it. But after dinner they went wild. I must remember to limit their wine intake next year.

April 08, 2006

What's happening

I'm slumped on the couch while the kids rot their brains watching TV downstairs. I'm looking at the dining room table at the debris left over from fifteen minutes of Play-doh playtime. I'll get around to cleaning it up in a little while. I'm listening to New Gold Dream by Simple Minds on the stereo. It was put in the disc changer at a time when I had to pick more family friendly music, and has hidden away there until now. I could now play music that everyone else finds annoying like the Orb or the Bomboras, but I'm to lazy to get up and change it. Besides, Max 'cleaned up' earlier and stacked a colossal pile of toys in front of my CD drawers. It would take a major archeological dig to find something else to listen to.

The kids are watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Mama would disapprove, but she's not here. They turned on the TV and there it was, and they made it clear that they would be very, very upset if I tried to foist Blue's Clues on them. Very, very upset is not something I want to deal with right now, so the turtles it is. I'm surprised that they like it though. It's done in the 'American anime' style and features many nasty monsters plotting devious things. Only a few months ago, Max was terrified by the dopey dragon on an episode of Dora we had, and would run upstairs when it appeared. But he says he's a big kid now, and I guess he is. I wish he would eat his meals without my having to spoon so much of them in myself.

Max's new big kid status arrived with him exhibiting the primal male trait -- a passion for violence. He announced to me yesterday that he is a 'monster killer' and that he had to kill the 'stripey monster'. Further questioning revealed that the stripey monster lived 'far, far away' and was black with big teeth. I asked how he was going to kill it and he replied, "I kill it with the vacoom keener. Suck it up: sssslrlruuuup!" I saw a flaw in his plan and mentioned that the cord to the vacuum wouldn't reach far, far away, and he spent a moment looking pensive.

"I'll use my hands. Punch it. Boom!"

Talia interrupted, "Punching isn't nice!" She didn't learn this from me; it must be the organic daycare's influence.

Max would have none of this wimpiness. "But it's a monster!!" he said with exasperation. I wished him good hunting.

Of course, Talia is the one who is really violent. Max may have a aggressive fantasy life, but Talia lives it. She pushes, scratches, bites, pokes, yells, and even punches. The target of her fury? Max, who doesn't take it very well, and immediately runs to the authority figure every time it occurs. Which to me seems to be about every five minutes. *Whew*

I've decided to try to get out of this nut house and am now engaged in a job hunt. It's not going too well yet, but something's bound to come along. I'm open to anything, just so long as it's less stressful that what I'm doing now. Like an air traffic controller or hostage negotiator. We've got spots reserved for them in a local Montessori school for the fall, and if I get something before that we'll find a non-subsidized daycare to take them until then.

In other news, we've bought a new car. Mama's red '94 Civic hatchback bought the dust recently, and we forced into the showrooms to find a replacement. Our choice? A '06 Civic sedan. What can we say? We're Honda people. We looked at Toyota, and found the Corolla too boring and the Matrix too expensive. We liked the Mazda 3 hatchback, but it was a little too pricey and had poor gas milage. As well, the Civic had far and away the best safety features. I'm not as interested in them, but as an emergency room doctor, my wife places a high value on them. We pick up the new car Monday.

Okay. I've updated the blog. Now I better get that Play-doh cleaned up and make lunch...

March 28, 2006

They're big kids now (sort of)

Apologies for the derailing of this blog this past week. So much for my hopes to get back in the saddle and get it recharged. (How's that for mixing metaphors?) I'm not sure where all the time is going these days, but I suspect it has something to do with the two raging ids that inhabit this house with me. Blogging seems very inconsequential compared to spending time with them. They're quite marvelous little people. I think I already mentioned this.

They've officially grown into big kids now: they no longer sleep in cribs but in Swedish-designed, Russian-manufactured discount beds. Last week I took them to Ikea to pick them up.

I quite like Ikea. The styles are simple, but with enough flair to make them interesting. And they're cheap. And I appreciate not having to pay for services I can provide myself, like transporting the stuff home and assembling it. But the retail experience still needs a bit of work.

It was almost lunch time when we got there -- as I had planned -- so I first took the kids to the restaurant to get some inexpensive food. I thought they would like the Swedish meatballs, but they both opted for the hot dogs and fries. That was fine, more meatballs for me. Now if we could just attract the attention of one of the staff behind the counter, we could order. Instead, the guy who was supposed to be serving the hot meals was futzing around arranging the food in the steam trays. He aggressively ignored us as he continued to do this for some time. Finally, as the line behind me started snaking into the housewares department, he greeted me with a cheery, "How are you today?" I should have replied, "Annoyed", but instead I just ignored the question and gave him our order. We got our meals, picked up three milks and proceeded to the checkout. That's where I got really annoyed.

The lady gave each of my kids a coupon for a free frozen yogurt cone that they could pick up at the exit to the store. I've got nothing against my kids eating this kind of stuff, but I kind of like to keep the control over it to myself. They had big grins on their faces and said, "Look Papa! Ice cream!" The coupons were now their most prized possession. Now I faced either screaming toddlers or a delay leaving so they could have their treat. Oh well, I resolved to have a coffee while they made the inevitable mess on their clothes.

After eating (all they ate was their fries), we returned to the front of the store to pick up a cart to hold our loot. Also at the front of the store is the 'ball room', which they remember fondly from their younger days a couple of months ago. They pleaded to go in, and I thought, Why not? I can do the shopping much quicker without them, and perhaps they'll forget about the 'ice cream'. I got them out of their coats and boots and attempted to sign them in, but I got a not so fast, buddy look from the ball room guardian. He directed Talia to a 'you must be this tall to enter' ruler on the side -- and Talia was half a centimeter too short. I gave the guy a Oh c'mon! look, but it didn't work -- the ball room was barred to my petite little girl. Nazi. The tears luckily didn't last too long, and we began our shopping experience.

"Can we have our ice cream now?"

"Where is our ice cream?"

"Let's go get our ice cream!"

"Papa! Is this where the ice cream is?"

"Can we have our ice cream now?"

Luckily for them, we were in a public place. I endured thirty minutes of questioning about the 'ice cream' until we finally made it through the checkout ($800 dollars poorer) and could pick up their treats. The woman working the 'Bistro' counter was extremely efficient and ran through the line quickly. I handed her the coupons and ordered a coffee. Before I could stop her she handed me two small cones topped with an enormous mass of teetering, melting yellow goop -- and a coffee. Great.

They were too big to set down, and I couldn't give them to the kids here (though they had their hands out in anticipation). I could just barely hold them in one hand and had the coffee in the other. Ripping open the sugars and cream was out of the question so I just put them in my pocket, along with some napkins. A lot of napkins.

Now, I needed somewhere for them to eat this crap. I saw a small bench near the returns counter and hoped I could get there before someone took it. In the cart were Max and Talia, mattresses, sheets and pillows. It was pretty heavy. I had no hands to steer the cart so was forced to nudge it forward with my hips. And, what do you know? The cart pulled to the right. I would push it from behind until it was hopelessly off course, then stop and use my hips on the front of the cart to adjust the direction again. It must have been a very amusing sight to see me steering this lopsided cart using nothing but my ass for the hundred feet to that solitary threatened bench. But I made it.

Toddlers do not know how to eat ice cream cones. They just don't. Left alone, they will just stick their faces in and eat until the ice cream falls off the cone. And then they'll cry. I resolved to not let this happen, so after they finally got the cones they had been whining about, I would periodically grab them away from them for 'rebalancing'. Max was somewhat resentful of my help, but Talia was very cooperative. She even called me over to fix her cone when nothing was wrong.

Even with my help, it took twenty minutes to finish off these damn cones. Max in particular was determined to get as much into himself as he could. I'm not really sure why, they tasted vile. But once he was done we finally got out of that place, loaded the extremely heavy boxes for the bed in the Improbabus, and made it home.

I learned from the last time I assembled highly desired items in front of them that doing it again was not a good idea. I put them together when they were out of the house.

And so ends for foray into Lileksian writing. A pale imitation, I know, but you get what you pay for. Expect a follow up in about six months.

March 13, 2006

All of a sudden, they're little people!

One day it just hits you; no longer do you just have little whining, eating and pooping machines, but you have new people, living in your house! They are individuals, with dreams of their own, special interests and passions, fears, loves, memories and prized possessions. You can converse with them; you can ask them questions and get surprising and detailed responses. They listen to you and repeat your own words back to you, weeks after you said them. They make up games that you can't understand. They tell you about their dreams. They're not just especially cute pets anymore; they're people.

It caught me by surprise, I have to say. They say the early years go by so fast, but it seems like it's been a lifetime to me. And in that time I grew accustomed to looking at Max and Talia as entities that had to be cared for. They were little creatures that had to be tended to -- they had to be fed, changed, entertained, washed, protected and taught. But now that they've become little people, everything feels different.

And it's good. They're very nice little people and I'm glad to have them living in my house.

March 01, 2006

Under a spell

Blogging is limited this week, as the organic and holistic daycare I subject my children to twice a week is closed to celebrate an ancient pagan festival known as 'spring break'. As a result, my two brief periods of serene contemplation in the week have been interrupted by squabbling, random demands, and occasional cuddle sessions from Max and Talia. Add the fact that they're sick and their mother has a busier than average week and you have a recipe for partial loss of sanity. But luckily I invested thirty bucks to buy a TV antenna a few weeks ago, and now can drop Thing One and Thing Two in front of the annoying and peppy hosts of CBC kids for a few hours in the morning. Here's what they look like as they absorb the preachy moralizing and squishy nationalism pouring out of our idiot box:

Sad, I know. But I figure: which will they value more in their adult life? A dozen IQ points or a father not in an insane asylum? Seems a pretty simple choice to me.

UPDATE: It's not all bad. Right now they're singing tunelessly along with Mr Dressup to 'Wheels on the Bus'. Adorable little guys.

February 14, 2006

Finally! Now my children will behave!

Max and Talia turned three today, leaving the terrible twos behind. I expect them to give up their erratic behaviors, fussiness, whining, and disobedience now that they've moved into their fourth year. That's what usually happens, right? I'm looking forward to not having to break up fights every five minutes and not getting twenty minutes of wailing after I inadvertently fill the wrong colour cup with milk. It's gonna be sweet.

I made two cakes for their birthday as Talia refused to even contemplate having something other than a vanilla cake, and Max threatened to break all known screaming records if he didn't get chocolate. Hey, it's just more cake for me...

January 14, 2006

Max plays the Elephant Man

December 25, 2005

Hurricane Santa strikes!

Hurricane Santa landed in our household today at full category 5 strength. There was advance warming of its approach, but many were still caught off guard by its ferocity.

The government response has been criminally inadequate. Clean-up operations will be underway for some time, but it is clear some lives will never be the same again.

December 23, 2005

The Rescue Vehicle Run-Around

There's been a shortage of toddler-related material on this blog for a little while. Hopefully this little video will help to make up that deficit. Here are Max and Talia playing a game I call 'rescue vehicle run-around'. It involves them pretending to be paramedic trucks caught in a whirlpool. Or something. I haven't quite worked out what's going on.

This is a bit of an experiment for me. I may be playing around with this a bit to try to make it work better over the next couple of days. You can download the video by right-clicking here and selecting 'save as'. It's 37 seconds long and 2.8 Megs.

December 17, 2005

Braindead

Me, that is.

The past few weeks have been pretty hectic around here and blogging has really moved down the priority list. And when the day is at its end, and I have a bit of free time, my mind is in such a fog that writing anything clever is pretty much an impossiblity. It may be a combination of the winter blahs and the Christmastime rush, but personally I blame those blasted kids. Hey look! I managed to take a photo of them when they weren't moving (with my new camera, after Max broke my last one).

I've frequently contemplated closing down the site and giving up the blog. But I think that eventually I'll get out of this rut and will want to get back into it. So consider Autonomous Source to be in a holding pattern until that day.

November 01, 2005

Halloweenies

A note to the teenagers sprinting between houses wearing hockey jerseys or funny hats as costumes: It's all about the cuteness. Just because you're able to cover more houses faster, doesn't mean you get more loot. Max and Talia received huge handfuls of chocolate bars from each of the 2 dozen houses they visited, while you probably got an abundance of tiny lollipops and those dreadful taffies in the orange and black wrappers. You're who they make those inedible things for, you know...

October 06, 2005

The Terrible Twos2

(Another post in the fascinating series that looks at the reasons behind the lameness of this blog! Please ignore if the very idea of another one makes you want to shake me by the lapels and say Stop! Stop apologizing! Enough already!)

Blogging has been on the decline here at Autonomous Source at least since March. Most blogs go through dry spells, and it's normal, but this has been the longest lame patch since I started writing two and a half years ago. My post last week listing excuses possible explanations for this decline listed World of Warcraft at the top. While that game -- with its pretty pictures and devious design geared toward maximizing operant conditioning -- has certainly drawn away much of what remains of my attention span, the blog was pretty far down on my priority list before I succumbed to its charms. The real reason the blog spammers see this site as an abandoned house they can take over, is those kids of mine. Those adorable, infuriating children.

Can I tell you about them? They're wonderful. They're very good when something interesting is happening, like when they're at the store, or visiting a friend's house, or meeting someone on a walk through the neighborhood. They're generally pretty good at eating, and they go to bed without a fuss and sleep through the night. And they're so cute and funny.

But they're driving me crazy.

They fight. We only have one plastic garbage truck. Max thinks he owns it, so Talia needs to have it. When this happens, shrieking, kicking, pinching, crying, and biting erupts. Five times a day. We have only one plastic digger. Max thinks he owns it, so Talia needs to have it. Again, five times a day. Aarrgh!

They make demands. All the time. They constantly need something and tell me about it. No! doesn't work. They will only repeat their request. Again and again and again and again...

They whine. Their demands are all made in the whining tones. I believe this hi-hi-hi-hi-looooow speech melody is programmed into children's brains at birth as some kind of a survival tool. Children all over the world use the same intonations. But in practice, you'd almost expect it to have the opposite effect...

They don't listen. Trying to get them to follow simple directions of things they know perfectly well how to do is impossible. Talia is the worst at this. Except for Max.

They listen too much. They're both extremely literal, so they believe whatever the other says, no matter how wrong it is, or how much I deny it. If Max says, "Ta-ya not going to Oma's", as we're getting ready to go to Oma's, Talia believes him. And starts shrieking.

They yell. And bang things. And chase the cats. And pull everything out and spread it around on the floor. Or throw it down the stairs. And they get into every little place I don't want them to get into. They're much too fast.

And they fight. Oh, I already mentioned this? Well they do. They fight over food, what to watch on TV, who gets in the car first, toys, their parents attention, what book to read at bedtime, who goes down the slide first, what to have as a snack, who gets to brush their teeth first, and what they're going to be when they grow up. Anything you can think of, they can fight over it. It gets a little... grating, shall we say.

And I really don't want to talk about toilet training. But I think the process is what the word 'frustrating' was created for.

So there you have it. It's them, them! that are the problem with this blog. Not me. Although I may have 'free time' when my two charges are napping or attached to the insideous mind-control device, I'm much too frazzled and burnt-out to be much good at anything. But as soon as they grow up and become reasonable people, this blog will return to its position as an important source of wisdom for the 21st century. Tentative date for this return: February 14, 2006 -- when they turn three.

September 23, 2005

Sheep dreams are made of this

September 09, 2005

Bottomless fun

Sometimes I worry what my neighbors think of our children running around the yard half naked. But no clothes gives me one less thing to worry about when I'm looking after them, so naked they will remain -- at least until the first snow.

(photo removed -- not that there was anything revealing...)

In this shot, Talia has just fallen in the mud (again). She's a mud-magnet, that girl...

September 04, 2005

Suitable for framing

Gnotalex at the Blog Quebecois has pointed me to program called ArtRage, which does a very nice job of simulating various types of art materials. I thought it was a perfect medium for allowing Max and Talia to express their artistic side -- with no mess. Can you guess the toddler that drew each of these two mesmerizing works of Art?

It was a dark and stormy night

The first work is the result of channeled rage. The artist -- while generally demonstrating a calm, peaceful exterior -- has been politicized by the inherent injustices experienced by two-year-olds in this household. This energy is thankfully directed towards creating works of beauty rather than acts of violence. This piece is dedicated to the outrage of manditory bedtimes.

Octopus sabre dance

This second piece is more minimal, but that minimalism is very deceptive. It hides the rich inner mythology of the artist, in which animals are used to illustrate through parody the falseness of the human condition. This piece is part of a series on the topic of war.

Read the extended entry to find out more about these artists.

Continue reading "Suitable for framing" »

August 24, 2005

Talia's favourite toy

Max.

(He doesn't always look this cheery when she's playing with him, though...)

August 23, 2005

Max's favourite toy

The digger...