The bag-that-used-to-be-a-hat thinks I should write a blog post even though I have bills to pay and dandelions to eviscerate. So, hi, we have internet again and before I forget thank you very much for your advice. Also have any of you used Wild Blue and is it really faster than Hughesnet?
Steve was down at the farm last weekend and while he sat in a turkey blind and read the Hunger Games trilogy (Steve was pre-reading it for Patrick but concluded it is wildly inappropriate for nine year olds. Also for me. I'm sensitive) he also discovered that the morels were at their peak down there. This was a problem because he and Patrick were planning a mushroom hunting expedition for this upcoming weekend and Steve was afeared that the morels would have passed their prime by then. He shared this with me on Saturday night and if he had spoken to me two hours earlier or one hour later I would have tsk'd my tongue sympathetically and said "Oh well too bad" but he happened to catch me right after Patrick and I returned from a lovely dinner and the twins were asleep and the babysitter had cleaned the entire kitchen including the stove which she hadn't even used and the glass of wine I had had was casting a lovely pinkish glow over everything; so I said, "Why don't I drive Patrick and the twins down to the farm first thing in the morning and then Caroline and Edward and I can putter around while you two stalk morels? Then I'll drive the twins home in time for karate, we'll let Patrick miss a day of school and you can bring him home that night?"
Steve said, "Julia! How spontaneous of you!"
And the wine and I said airily, "No'ta'tall."
Forty-five minutes later, though I said, aw, damn it, when I realized I still needed to pack the car and gather boots and jackets and balls and toothpaste and assorted whatnot and what I really wanted to do was watch my secret guilt shows since Steve was gone and the children were in bed (New Girl, Glee and America's Next Top Model - if you must know.)
But we went and it was lovely and it is especially nice that: a) Steve and his friend have resolved many of the deadliest issues with Toddler Death Farm; and b) Caroline and Edward are no longer toddlers, which means a plunge into the watery pit that was once a koi pond would leave them slimy and smelling terrible but not, necessarily, dead.
[Speaking of watery deaths, Caroline's swimming skills are improving rapidly and after the last session her teacher said she is half a skill away from graduating to Ray. At dinner that night we praised Caroline's hard work and she agreed that she was becoming a great swimmer.
Edward leaned forward and said, conversationally, "I can't swim. When someone yets go of me? I sink."
We hastened to assure him that he was getting better, too, and told him that Patrick was a Pike for a very long time, like, years, but now he's a great swimmer and he gets to swim in the big pool.
Edward said, "Yeah, but, you see, the big pool is CAUD. I'm good just sinking in the yidduh pool. Someone always gets me up again."
And he went back to placidly eating his dinner.
Guess who will be wearing a life vest and arm floaties until forever?]
Photos from the farm, starting with a visit to the aforementioned former koi pond. Note that although the twins are poised on the edge I am photographing them from further than arms' reach away. All hail the passage of time! Also, Celexa! Because I swear I would never have let them be that close to the edge last year and yet, really, what would have happened? They would have gotten wet and dirty, that's what. Moving on.
Patrick and Steve shattered their previous opening days record by finding 700+ morels. My friend Lauren has offered to become his sales rep with her foodie friends and his little black market morel business (if he had one. which he doesn't. but if he had one and called it Northernly Mushrooms Co. which he doesn't) looks like it will have a banner year. When I asked what he plans to do with his profits (which he doesn't of course have) he said, tersely, "Savings."
I swear this child will live with us forever and when he finally succumbs to Time's gentle exhalation it will be discovered that his estate is worth billions solely because he never, ever, spent anything.
We went out to dinner that night at a Wisconsin road house (great fried chicken although they called it "broasted" chicken - very odd, these regional differences) and it is so nice to have children that are old enough to eat in restaurants without feeling completely harried by the experience. Patrick and Steve talked mushrooms, Edward flipped around in his chair and watched a television that was, like, thirty feet away and muted, and Caroline ate her way steadily through her dinner, mine and then half of Edward's. I think she's in the middle of a growth spurt because she was so intent on eating she didn't even have the chance to introduce herself to the other diners.
Oh my god that reminds me. Never in my life have I sympathized so utterly with people who complain about children in restaurants than during that meal. At a table near ours two women were chatting over the remains of a pizza while three boys in soccer uniforms (aged about nine) played with oversized super bouncy balls. You know the kind? Three minutes after I sat down one of the balls hit me on the ankle. I said, "ouch!" more in surprise than pain and then had to crawl around the table helping the boy find it again (it had landed in my handbag.) His mother glanced over and said, mildly, "You shouldn't play with that now that the restaurant is filling up."
A few minutes later another ball flew past my head. We had one of the boys under our table twice. The older couple dining next to us looked furious. The six top to my left were merely incredulous as the boy waited for his ball to bounce all the way underneath their table before retrieving it from beneath a lady's shoe.
His mother warned, "I don't want to have to take the ball away... ."
We later joked about more appropriate ways to end that sentence under those circumstances: "I don't want to have to... break your arm" or "I don't want to have to... lock you in the truck of the car" being Patrick's favorites. I thought "Madam, please, I DO want to take the ball away. Allow me."
But I didn't.
Patrick and I talked about it last night and he asked what I would have done to him if he had been playing with a ball like that in a restaurant. I said it would never come up. He said yes but IF... and I said, ok, fine, the first time something left your body and rolled under an adjacent table I would have you apologize profusely and then whatever it was would go into my bag and stay there."
Patrick said, "What if it was my head? What if my head just popped off and rolled away?"
I said, "Then I would apologize on your behalf. Because what have I always said? What is the single most important thing to remember when you are in public?"
And Patrick said, in that annoying pre-teen oh god I KNOW this already way, "That I need to be aware of the people around me and that I am not the only person in the world and that my actions can disturb others and that everyone just wants the same thing..." he lowered his voice and hissed "...revenge!"
It's so nice to know that the lessons I have sought to impart have stuck with him and I listened patiently as he went on to explain that everyone has a robot army and whether someone's robot army is big or very small they are still entitled to enjoy their dinner in peace.
Good heavens where was I? Oh right. Judging. I was judging those two women. Seriously. Short of frisbees I am hard pressed to think of anything less suitable to give your child in a restaurant than a freaking bouncy bouncy ball and if this is the sort of thing childfree people are complaining about then bless their hearts and I agree completely.
Karate. Oh sweet merciful cupcakes Caroline and Edward finished their third week of karate and it is pretty much the greatest thing ever. Edward races to go. Caroline loves it. The teacher is patient, firm and engages their attention completely. She corrects gently. She encourages. I heard her change Caroline's "Yeah" into a "Yes."
Why didn't you tell me how great this was before?
(I said that to my brother yesterday and he was, like, UHHHHHHH JULES because he has been trying to have me put Patrick into karate for years)
Also, they are cute as hell. Some mothers may swoon over their daughters in tulle and tights (and yes Caroline is darling in her ballet stuff) but, man, give me a Gi any day.
And finally I could use some advice. After eight years of struggling with an issue Patrick's pediatrician has put him (for gastroenterological reasons that I assume you can deduce but Patrick has asked me not to share with anyone, not even my mother. ha) on a diet that restricts carrots, apples, bananas, rice and all dairy. All. Dairy. The first two are annoying but not shattering and he frankly hates both bananas and rice but the removal of yogurt and cheese from his diet (cheese. as in pizza. and cheese and crackers. and pizza) has left him bereft. I bought some soy substitutes that were horrifying and then some almond milk ditto that were slightly better. In fact Silk chocolate almond milk is a huge hit here, especially with Edward, and one look at the sugar content told me why.
Any thoughts on switching to a dairy free household? Any products you really like? What are earth do you give for snacks when yogurt and cheese are forbidden?
PS Don't forget my Wild Blue question if you've used them. What are your download speeds?
PPS Updated after a few comments: milk proteins. He has trouble with the protein not the lactose. Thanks!
PPPS A BOUNCY BALL, PEOPLE.