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3 kittens

Everywhere that I roam - over land or sea or foam

Posted on 2014.10.12 at 11:54
Several things I failed to write about, when they were current:

From my visit with Grandma: she asked me if I knew a song, which she sang for me. I didn't, but I remember she sang it to Hawaiian Punch when Hawaii was a very little baby.

Then I remembered I had the internet in my pocket, and so I looked it up. It turned out to be "Don't Sit Under the Apple Tree" by the Andrews Sisters. From 1948:

She sang another song, which turned out to be "Show Me the Way to Go Home" by Frank Crumit, 1926:

Show me the way to go home. I'm tired and I wanna go to bed.
I had a little drink about an hour ago, and it's gone right to my head.

We both marvelled over technology. It is surreal that a dotty old intellectual can retain a few scant phrases from her youth, and my magic little pocket-computer can almost instantly find and play the song for us.


When my parents were in town (in June), my mom commented, "I was noticing during story time last night that Jammies' reading has gotten so much better!"  On the one hand, there's a kernel of truth. When Hawaii was born, Jammies probably hadn't  read aloud in decades, and he was probably more monotonic and stumbling than he is now. But on the much funnier hand, she basically called out Jammies for being quasi-illiterate, and then doggedly maintained that she was paying him a compliment when I started laughing.

(There is something essential about my mother being conveyed in that story. About trying to frame a complicated statement as a compliment, and then absolutely refusing to deviate from her position that she'd been saying something kind. But mostly, it's just really funny.)


Oct 12, 2014 (1)

Once I cleaned off the blood, it just looked like an eye. But underneath that lid of gold is a nice corneal abrasion.


We upgraded Hawaii to a booster seat, so she uses a regular seatbelt instead of a five point harness. She can now let herself in and out of the car. (Before she could buckle in, but unbuckling required a bit too much hand strength.)  It's so...independent. It's like having an adult in the car. I just pull up to the curb, and she joins me on the sidewalk, like a person. It's stunningly simple.

Lately Hokey Pokey talks about manhole covers a lot. This is due to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Manhole covers are everywhere, but only some of them are used by our Heroes in a Half Shell as entry points to the maze of underground tunnels.

I'm always tempted to pose the question, "Why are manhole covers round?" to him, but I don't think Pokey is old enough to understand the answer, which is "It's the only shape that can't pass through itself." In other words, you can't drop a manhole cover down the tunnel, but if it were square, then you could mistakenly let it fall through - the diagonal of the hole would permit a side of the square fall through. If that makes sense.


Oct 12, 2014 (2)

Hokey Pokey hams it up, after finishing a big puzzle at school.


I think it's called adaptive hedonism? Where you get used to big improvements in your life, and they don't make you as happy as you think they will? Ie, a few weeks after you get the raise or build the addition, and you get used to it and go back to your baseline of happiness. The cheeseball self-improvement articles always wrap up such discussions with an admonition that you ought not wait to live your life until [X] happens. Live your life now, they exhort. We've all been exhorted: don't wait until you achieve [X] to start your life. Life is a journey, blah blah blah.

I feel like life will start when I have this baby, a little bit. (Because I'm a maverick! Bucking the self-help articles!) Just: such a big landmark! All forseeable members of our family will be present and accounted for.

(Maybe it's due to being the youngest child myself: the family started before I arrived, and I was vaguely jealous and sad that in the photos, they seem to be so happy and content without me. Once I was born, I can supply my own memories, and everything becomes more decidedly mixed. They should have waited for me to start the party, and then it should have actually been a party.)

Another landmark in my head is when I turn 40, partly because a bunch of friends are turning 40 now. When we turn 40, new baby will be 3. Hawaii will be 9. We'll have all kids and no toddlers or babies, all of a sudden. It seems like a stark division between life stages.

Ace is so much fun. So happy.

Oct 12, 2014 (5) Oct 12, 2014 (6)

I am at war with my body. The starkest moment is trying to roll from one side to the other, in bed. It's when it most feels like a big, heavy medicine ball, tugging at your skin, and you need your arms to hoist it up and over your body to the other side.


Oct 12, 2014 (4) Oct 12, 2014 (3)

We goof off in the shower, before swim lessons.


When Jammies' aunt died (in July), we went to Kansas (as you may recall). Jammies' aunt has a granddaughter, H, who is six years old.  The granddaughter and Hawaii get along very well.

The granddaughter was in good spirits for the first few days we were there. After the burial, at the reception, the granddaughter broke down, inconsolable, sobbing, the whole nine yards. She had been very close with her grandmother. It was really heartbreaking to watch this child grieve.

Then a few months passed. Then Mimi told Jammies some more details.

[Hawaii: I need to interrupt this story and talk to you, directly, should you be reading this.  You're about to read about some damage that you did, as a five year old. I can imagine you feeling awful. To the rest of us, your role is innocent.  At worst, you wanted H to appreciate your knowledge, because you liked her so much and were devoted. To the rest of us, you are a player in an awful story, but not a culpable one. Social etiquette around death is too complicated for a five year old to grasp.]

It turns out, that at the burial, when the little girls were crouching by each other, Hawaii was whispering, "That's your grandmother in the box. Those are her ashes. She's all burned up and her ashes are in that box." And so on. The granddaughter revealed in the months since that this is what triggered the meltdown.

Ack. Oh god, what a mess, and I'm so sorry. We have not shared this with Hawaii (until now! HI SWEETIE) because it's been months, and she wasn't trying to be hurtful, and maybe we'll talk about it before she next sees the granddaughter, in constructive guideline terms.

Listen: I'm pretty conflicted about recording this story here. Although I've told it elsewhere. Elsewhere, it has the tone of a forehead-smacking KIDS! AMIRITE! lament. Those kids and their inability to grasp the subtleties of death-related etiquette!

But here, it's being recorded permanently, and maybe this story should not be remembered permanently. Maybe it should be buried and forgotten. Not just for Hawaii's sake, although her feelings are my priority here, but because the whole story is stark and sad - the grief of a child, the missteps of another child - and why keep it alive? Maybe with time it will turn back into a forehead-slapping lament, even here, even to Hawaii, but I'm not confident of that.

I suppose I'm including this out of a desire to adhere to reality. You take the good, you take the bad, you sing the theme songs, etc.  Life makes you cringe, and you want to use those parts to set off the beautiful parts.


Susan Dennis
susandennis at 2014-10-12 17:11 (UTC) (Link)
What a meaty and full entry with so much of everything and, yet, as I read it to the end, I still am singing those two songs at the beginning all the way through. I know all the words... to both. In my defense, I grew up in a very sing-ie family - we sang before dinner, after dinner, in the car, always. And in the 50's fun songs were kind of scarce.
heebie_geebie at 2014-10-18 15:42 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, really.

We didn't have much of a singing family, growing up, or much of a family-rollicking-identity at all, which has become extra-clear as we dissolved as grown ups. It makes me kind of sad, but intentional about maybe singing a bit extra with my own kids.
Kelly Jennings
Kelly Jennings at 2014-10-12 17:57 (UTC) (Link)

Poor Kid. Poor Hawaii.

The story probably ought to be record because Hawaii *might* remember it. My kid, every now and then, comes to me trembling with guilt and terror over things she did when she was five and seven and nine. I try to explain that she's not really responsible for the ethical behavior of the child she was before she really understood ethics -- but it's tough.

So I like how you're explaining that here, I guess is what I mean.

Side-note: I don't know if I've ever conveyed to you how happy it makes me when I check my blog and see that heebie-geebie has updated. Oh boy!
heebie_geebie at 2014-10-18 15:43 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poor Kid. Poor Hawaii.

I am grateful for the confirmation. (More to say but people just arrived.)
heebie_geebie at 2014-10-18 16:58 (UTC) (Link)

Re: Poor Kid. Poor Hawaii.

Anyway, it's a tricky thing, to veer away from the rosy-colored version of your child's childhood, is all I'm saying.

And thank you so much for the sidenote.
parodie at 2014-10-13 06:19 (UTC) (Link)
I think there's an interesting similarity between the story about your mother/Jammies' reading and Hawaii's funeral knowledge: in both cases, there is a statement of fact that is true and meant well (one assumes) but which isn't received in the intended way.

And on a personal note - I have definitely been guilty of the kinds of statements your mother made, and puzzled/defensive about the ensuing reaction! I can relate...
heebie_geebie at 2014-10-18 17:01 (UTC) (Link)
That's insightful! Both truly just wanted to share and please. I hold my mother slightly more culpable, but not offensively so. Just more humorously so.
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