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4 kittens

Less elaborate, traps heat

Posted on 2018.01.07 at 23:31
On Monday, Hawaii asked if she could make dinner for us all. I said sure. The recipe she had in mind is called "Fruit Vegetable Salad" and the ingredients are thus:

She prepared it with some friends up in Madison, specifically her second-cousins' second-cousins on their other side, if you want the exact relation. The children of the cousins of my cousins, on their other side. I went shopping and acquired the necessary ingredients.

At dinner, the night before, Hawaii said, "I have three emotions: I'm impatient, excited, and a little worried that something will go wrong."  The next day she was buzzing with excitement.

She bugged me all day about when it would be time to start preparations.

She peeled apples, chopped bell peppers, sliced strawberries, all very precisely.

She was about to add the blue cheese, and I recommended that she taste it first, just in case. It can always be added individually at the table, for those who desire. She did, and made a foul face, and I realized that I'd bought feta cheese by mistake, instead of blue cheese.

I zipped out to the grocery store, got blue cheese, came back, Hawaii tasted it and made the same foul face, so we ended up reserving it out of the salad, and letting users add it individually as desired.

The dinner was absolutely marvelous. Good job, Hawaii.

At one point, while we were eating, Hawaii said seriously, "Everyone has to take care of something. I have to take care of my posessions."
Ace said, "Did you hear my butt? I farted and it went eeeeeeeeeeee [slow balloon squeak]"

I think I had a heart attack from laughing so hard. It was a magically wonderful vacation.


On Thursday, I took Hawaii to the bus stop, Pokey to his school, walked Ace and Rascal to their daycare classrooms.

Rascal, first day back.

Then I headed home. It was so weird in the house.  Usually in that moment, I have intense euphoria and I almost want to cry from the sheer joy of being by myself in the house. This time I just wasn't euphoric, and it's because the vacation itself, with the kids home, was so lovely.

Some sort of spell was cast over the household. Jammies and I didn't do anything to cause it, and hence we have no control and we're at its mercy. The kids just straight-up enjoyed each other. They played together. They got their social needs met from each other. Not perfectly, but enough for me to try to grab onto the moment and hang on to it. I could nap when I was tired, hang out with kids when I wanted, putter around...we all coexisted like people who actually like each other.

Pokey! When is that front tooth going to come out? It's been wiggling since Thanksgiving!

And really, I'm talking about Pokey and Hawaii. Ace and Rascal didn't do anything different. But Pokey and Hawaii laughed and played and seemed to be in a better place together than I've ever witnessed. Nearly every day, three or four of the kids would immerse themselves in an epic make believe game.

I don't want to belabor this point about the kids getting along, but I don't want to trivialize it either. I want to say seriously how beautiful it made the whole house feel, even if it reverts by next weekend.

From the corner of our kitchen window, you can see barely Rascal jumping on the neighbor's trampoline, with wings.


They are tearing down our beloved brown park, starting on January 15th: 

The city had all kinds of outreach and meetings to design the new park, and I didn't attend any of them. I was a sideline member of a facebook group.

I know that dedicated citizens worked really hard. I'm pretty sure we are getting basically the same playground as the one in Amarillo that we stop at, on our road trips.  I'm pretty sure that all the hard work by the citizens ended up mattering very little, and at the end of the day, the contractor gave us a very limited number of choices, and the very involved citizens thought very hard about what they'd like, within those limited contraints.

It is a clear win for kids with diabilities, and therefore this is the right thing to do. The current park is not usable whatsoever if you've got any sort of difficulty.

It is not a trade-off - accomodating kids with disabilities does not imply a shittier park. So both things are true: this park is a clear win because it's better for all kids of this town, and the new one will be a cookie cutter park that might have some serious flaws.

First, it does not look quite as elaborate and sprawling as the current park. Just fewer things to do and play with. Second, I'm pretty sure the composite wood and the spongey floor will trap heat in the summer and become scaldingly hot more quickly than the current park does.

Ah well. The will of the playground contractors cannot be stopped.  At least the process gave a nod to community impact and germinating ideas from the community.


Last year my New Year's resolution was to get Fluffy to cuddle in my lap. I succeeded in letter but not in spirit. She technically stayed in my lap, unrestrained, on two separate occasions. But she's not cuddling meaningfully yet. These two cats. I'm not quite getting my animal fix from them, although they both have their charms.

My resolution this year is clear in my mind, but I'm having trouble saying it, mostly because I find "savor" to be kind of a gross word, like lolling around with someone's tongue. My goal, or theme, or whatever terribly earnest expression you want to affix, is to really hold on to the good parts, because I'm always scared of time moving forward and some accident or illness wrecking this beautiful thing we've got precariously balanced.


On Friday I flew to Knoxville, to cuddle newborn baby twins all weekend. The mommies are overwhelmed, highly competent and coping incredibly well, and yet also totally incompetent and bumbling along, all in one mushpot. I am very much enjoying how easy I find it to soothe their whole household. I feel powerful and competent. Gimme dat bebbe. I will rock it while loading your dishwasher.

Am I a different person than I was 8 years ago? Surely, we all are. But was I this helpless around the house? Surely. Especially with babies. Helping this weekend has been so easy: Take a fussy baby. Tidy up the kitchen. Bounce the baby. Check the dryer for laundry to fold. Wander around and gather up bottles to wash.  Maybe the mommies do clean up after themselves eventually, but this weekend messes end up sitting out, unchecked, for long enough that it's easy for me to come along and clean it up. (Particularly in the kitchen. How can you not put your ingredients back in the fridge, ever?)  Still, I came here explicitly to give them a break, so it's been perfect in that sense.

I was pretty helpless 8 years ago, but I also loathed making messes. I had a lot of strategies to minimize how slowly messes got made. I don't think I left all the ingredients out on the counter.

Twins are a lot of work! I got some good vibrating chairs out of their boxes, and put away some crappy weak swings, and showed them that the babies will sleep for hours in a chair that vibrates and swings. We watched the Happiest Baby on the Block video and I gave them some giant stretchy swaddles that I feel strongly about. Twins are a lot of work, but it's easier when they're both more easily soothed.

I am enjoying this roll, wise elder aunt who swoops in and takes the babies off your hands. Even though there are two tiny babies, this household still feels calm and tranquil - there are no older kids. The only people who talk are adults. It's slightly little claustrophobic. It's so peaceful but also kind of a trap. I'm relieved to be leaving. It’s easy to be as helpful as possible - wash more bottles! fold more laundry! swap the soothed baby for the fussy baby! - knowing that I’m leaving tomorrow.


Pokey: I like Halloween because I'm going to have candy. There is a lot of people. I like the scarey decorations. I'm going to be a villager for Halloween. I like to have Halloween at my friend's house, but this time I'm going to have Halloween at a different friend's house.

Pokey: The ghost has a box of bones. There is a lot of spiders. [Dobby?] is in the grave closest to the sidewalk. The house isn't actually painted red, it's actually blood. There is spiders there you find them. There is 5 stars and 4 moons and you find them. There is 4 numbers, find them and then write down the total on a piece of paper.

(Whatever they did for Halloween, it wasn't in Spanish.)

For Christmas, Pokey was cast as the shoe cobbler in their play, El Zapatero y Los Duendes. I thought he had to memorize all his lines, and I drilled him pretty relentlessly until I happened to ask him about rehearsals at school, and realized they were just reading their lines. He's good at memorizing, though. I forgot to post photos from this.

Hawaii:  Dear Santa, I have been very good this year. For Christmas I would like a panda. A REAL ONE! My parents said no, so can I count on you? I hope so. No stuffies and no toys. A real life panda. Got it? If it's a boy, I will name it Pandie. If it's a girl, I will name it Pandalina. Love, Hawaii.

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