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4 kittens

Clare Turlay Newberry

Posted on 2015.03.01 at 09:28
I was startled just now to see Hawaii walking down the hall, cradling Rascal in her arms. "Mom, Dad, he spit up everywhere," she said authoritatively.  I've never seen her walk around the house with him before. She was holding him fine - he's still very, very floppy - but it was still jarring.

March 1, 2015 (5)

On Monday I did my last current events discussion with students at Heebie U. We discussed the #blacklivesmatter activist movement. I was a nervous wreck. I had a big, existential crisis about the videos - Eric Garner, John Crawford III, Tamir Rice, and Levar Jones - and the fact that I hate watching violence and couldn't bring myself to watch the videos.

It went...reasonably well. About twenty black students from the black student union unexpectedly showed up, so black kids outnumbered white kids, which changed the tenor of the conversation (for the better). The tension in the room was sky-high. Everyone was on their very best behavior. We spent the first 30 minutes talking about specific ways that white people sometimes sabotage conversations about race.

I didn't show three of the videos, although I kept the links in the Powerpoint. When we got to those slides, I explained that I couldn't bring myself to watch. I got teary and emotional, which was embarrassing and awkward, but probably made my point rhetorically, better than anything I could have said. We did watch Levar Jones, because he lives. (I'm almost petulantly adamant about not watching someone getting killed.) Plus the Levar Jones video is so a wildly appalling that it makes a big impact.

The white kids made timid comments like "It's so hard to know what to say to not offend someone" and the black students shared plenty of things that people do that offend them. Near the end, a white girl got on a bit of a soapbox about being color-blind. I sort of jumped up and down saying "That's a super loaded word! What a landmine!" and took one response and then called it a night. Overall....it was fine. Afterwards I felt like I got hit with a Mack truck.

All week long, I had a mild emotional hangover.  I felt bad that I hated the evening so much, that it was so draining, and sort of ashamed that I don't have to deal with this sort of thing if I don't want to.

"During the discussion, I began to really understand how much of a controversial topic race is," one student wrote, in a comment on the blog where they are forced to comment and obediently reflect on the discussion. I guess that's good?

It was a long week.  I learned a lot about myself: that I hate talking about current events with young adults. Or rather, I knew that, but part of learning is reviewing the big concepts periodically.

March 1, 2015 (1)

Later we had extra visitors to the math department, a math club meeting, and Quiz Bowl. I missed a lot of evenings at home.  (I did not go see Temple Grandin speak at Heebie U - instead I smugly remembered when panisdead and I went to go see her, with Sara's parents, back in 8th grade. I remember feeling incredibly adultlike and being surprised by how much I enjoyed the evening.)

Jammies took all four kids to gymnastics on Wednesday, while I worked, with Rascal strapped up against him in the baby bjorn. Afterwards, in the dark, the big kids ran into the big drainage field next to the parking lot.

They straggled back, holding all kinds of nasty deteriorating trash and claiming it was treasure. Hokey Pokey had a straw in his mouth. That particular detail slayed Jammies to his knees, that Pokey had a nasty old actual straw from a drainage field, in his mouth.

Then Ace found a straw, too, and put it in her mouth, while Jammies was arguing with Pokey on the status of the first straw. Somehow three kids kept putting garbage in their mouth, to Jammies' horror and astonishment. "STOP PUTTING SHIT IN YOUR MOUTHS!" he pled. In the re-telling, at least, this was very funny to me.

March 1, 2015 (2)

"What's it called if you don't like the person you're married to, and so you get a divorce, and then you marry someone new, and then you decide you don't like that person so you get another divorce, and then you marry the first person again?" asked Hawaii.
"I don't think there's a word for that," said Jammies.
"I think it's called divorceability," said Hawaii, "I'm pretty sure it's called that."

March 1, 2015 (3)

Rascal's daycare, we realized, just microwaves the bottles of milk. This is one of those things that you're told to look for when evaluating a daycare - do they prop bottles up in babies' mouths? Do they microwave bottles? You're supposed to warm up the bottle by placing it in hot water for a little bit, according to whatever authorities I've absorbed.

The reason given is usually that if you microwave milk, it will develop hot spots. It's hard to see how giving the bottle a good shake wouldn't spread the heat evenly.  Another reason is that you don't want to microwave plastic. The counterargument is: isn't the plastic getting heated, no matter how you heat the bottle? If the plastic gives off nasty chemicals when you heat it, the plastic is doing so, either way.

So I can't bring myself to say something, but it annoys me that they don't abide by the wisdom of the internet authorities.

March 1, 2015 (4)

Last spring was the worst. I felt so sick. Work was too hard, physically, and kids were too hard, and I couldn't seem to articulate my suffering in a way that generated anywhere close to the sympathy I wanted. (Like, I wanted renewed, spoken sympathy on an unrealistic repeat.) Jammies took care of me, took care of the kids, and took care of the house, but I still hated life.

This spring is the opposite. I feel so great. Work is great (this week aside), the kids are great, Jammies is great, and I am insufferably pleased with life. It's nice. (I haven't lost one smidge of weight, but I've been buying clothes that I love off ebay, and I mostly feel fine, as long as I'm wearing clothes that I love.)

I read the title "Basic Instructions" for some link and thought, "I don't need instructions for being basic. I've got it nailed." Which is to say that I also love Pinterest. I've been browsing for cat art lately, to determine a style for my future tattoos, and it is Clare Turlay Newberry. She wrote and illustrated a bunch of children's books about cats in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. I'm also fond of her name.

March 1, 2015 (6)

Ace loves this British CGI show about these bumble bees that float around in hexagonnally designed houses and fields, with floating little hands and feet that are detached from their bodies. Now and then there's a screen shot in which the bee body is entirely off screen, and you get a close-up of just the detached little white gloved hands, which I think is a little weird. Hamburger helper-esque.

Ace squawked something unintelligible, on the way to school, until I saw what she was pointing at. "It's an excavator! It's an excavator!" she garbled, pointing at some construction vehicles. It was indeed. Pokey said, academically, "It's not really. It's too small. It's actually a mini-scooper."  I think he's technically correct, because I've learned to trust him on such things, but I preferred to stay in the moment where Ace was babbling about an excavator.

Hokey Pokey is becoming one of those kids who rambles on about his obsession du jour, which is generally an animal. How fast it runs, what it eats, what it's related to, how big it gets, and so on. He picks neat animals - pumas, pelicans, cheetahs. I don't really know how he has access to all this information, unless he's pestering his sainted teachers at daycare.

"Did you know there's lizards that live in the snow?" he just said. I really didn't know that, if I've ever even thought about it directly. "Are there daddy deer that don't have horns? I think there are. Some daddy deer have horns, but not all of them." I didn't know that either, but that felt wrong. (We need to look it up.)  "Is a pelican's beak actually bigger than it's belly?" Yes, that one we looked up and verified.

At this point, it's still pretty great. I like the animals and I like being impressed with my kid's bottomless appetite for information.

March 1, 2015 (8)

Rascal is a big coo-er these days. And his arms are starting to flail around with intention - he's batting at little dangling things over his face, that sort of thing.

Will I remember that our babies nap in the bathroom? We usually swaddle and put them down in the vibrating chair, in the bathroom, and turn on our roaring bathroom fan for white noise, and they sleep for hours there. There, now I'll remember. "Don't use the front bathroom," we remind guests, "the baby's in there."

Comments:


lolliejean
lolliejean at 2015-03-01 21:04 (UTC) (Link)
I love that the babies sleep best in the bathroom with the fan going!

The hub's son was a colicky baby and the only thing that soothed him to sleep was the sound of the vacuum cleaner. He grew up to be a musician/singer/songwriter.
heebie-geebie
heebie_geebie at 2015-03-08 15:23 (UTC) (Link)
That is promising! I like to hear of difficult babies that grew into lovely people, even though Rascal seems to be out of his most difficult stage. He's become very smiley and personable.
(Anonymous) at 2015-03-01 21:57 (UTC) (Link)

Microwaves!

I remember reading some book that said, "We don't like it when people microwave bottles, because a baby could get hurt, but since we KNOW people are going to do it anyway, we should tell them how to do it safely (15 seconds, shake. 15 seconds, shake.) Etc." That seemed reasonable to me.
--oudie
heebie-geebie
heebie_geebie at 2015-03-08 15:24 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Microwaves!

That is reasonable! I still can't bring myself to microwave bottles, but it almost never comes up since I've got the actual breasts.
MisterSmearcase
mistersmearcase at 2015-03-02 00:28 (UTC) (Link)
What's it called if you don't like the person you're married to, and so you get a divorce, and then you marry someone new, and then you decide you don't like that person so you get another divorce, and then you marry the first person again

It's called "comedy of remarriage" and is an entire genre of films from the 30s and 40s.
(Anonymous) at 2015-03-02 15:06 (UTC) (Link)
Often the initially divorced couple remarry each other! Please to see The Awful Truth, which is probably my favorite. Although I Love You, Again is also great.
--oudie
(Anonymous) at 2015-03-02 22:46 (UTC) (Link)
Wait! I was thinking of Love Crazy, which has a similar about-to-divorce plot and also stars William Powell and Myrna Loy.
heebie-geebie
heebie_geebie at 2015-03-08 15:24 (UTC) (Link)
Those plot lines sure have a lot of divorceability!
(Anonymous) at 2015-03-02 15:07 (UTC) (Link)

Kittens!

I am glad the current events went well!

Those kittens / cats are so wonderful. I am instantly determined to seek out this person for my kid who (I may have mentioned about 800 times) is also an artist who draws cats.

(Anonymous) at 2015-03-04 12:40 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Kittens!

Aargh! This was me, delagar.

Why am I anonymous on your blog now?
heebie-geebie
heebie_geebie at 2015-03-08 15:26 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Kittens!

I don't know why you're anonymous, but I was pretty sure it was you! With the lovely daughter who does charming things like draw cats, it was a slam dunk.
(Anonymous) at 2015-03-03 16:07 (UTC) (Link)
Buzzbee!That was a real hit for a while here and Nia secretly likes to watch it "for the baby" because she finds it very soothing. Now it's mostly all Pee-Wee all the time because Selah is a little tyrant and no one bothers to stop her. She does still make me sing her the theme to The Hive at bedtime sometimes and I do it because she's a tyrant, but I don't bother to get the words right, except the "happy as a honeybee can be," which I like.

-Thorn
heebie-geebie
heebie_geebie at 2015-03-08 15:27 (UTC) (Link)
I like their little british accents and sense of decorum. Worse shows exist.
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