26 April 2011

A Mother's Prayer

Dear God,

Please help my children today. My hope for them is that they learn the value and dignity of hard work, and that they learn to work with grace, cheer, and energy.

Please help them listen to my words and to respond willingly.

Please help them refrain from the evils of complaint, sulk, and self-pity.

And dear God, please help me today, to guide my children through the work that must be done. Give me the strength to refrain from beginning any sentence with "When I was a kid..." and bless me with saintly patience for cajoling my young ones into giving me the assistance I so very need from them.

You see, Lord, today I must move rocks. Literally, a huge pile of rocks. And today, Lord, my children believe in their very hearts that Spring Break means that they can play video games all day long. Today, Lord, they are laboring under the illusion that they should not be asked to lift a finger, save for the ones that carry ice cream sandwiches to their lips.

Somehow, my children and I must work together to accomplish a task, to move an insane amount of rocks, pavers, and other hardscape materials to a far corner of our garden in preparation for the garden tour this weekend, the same garden tour my children now despise with every fiber of their being, the garden tour my children equate with forced labor, lost wii-time, and the meanest parents on the planet.

Dear God, give them wisdom, that they hold their tongues from bitter, annoying complaint.

Give them strength, that they are able to lift more than one rock without collapsing on the ground, writhing in pain and giving up from the sheer exhaustion of it all.

Give them heart, that they may handle all that comes their way between now and the moment they are released to the sweet bliss of television.

And give them a mother who will somehow get through the task at hand without screaming at the heavens WHERE HAVE I GONE WRONG AND WHY ARE MY CHILDREN USELESS LUMPS OF ENTITLEMENT?

Teach me, oh Lord, the mysterious ways of faith and miracle. I believe, Lord; help my unbelief. Show me the way. Show them the way. Show them that if they do not help me, so help me You, I will take away their phones, their iPods, their underwear, their stupid ice cream sandwiches, their wii-time, their movie-time, their playdates, their pinkie fingers, and their wills to live.

Make them work, Lord. Or find them another family to freeload off.

Amen.



23 April 2011

Happy Birthday Shakespeare!

Happy Birthday, Bard Dude! We're busy hanging streamers and transforming our living room into a mini Globe Theatre so we can have an authentic party for Will Shakes today.

As for this blog? Well, I want to post, but I have nothing to say. I've run through many ideas in my head. I'd like to write about watching my son play Boulevard of Broken Dreams in his first guitar recital. Or about the Alatorre Plague that has afflicted our house for the past week and half. Maybe about how my entire life seems to consist of moving stuff: laundry, food, shoes, and for some reason furniture, since my living room chairs have an annoying habit of migrating all over and are never placed just so, the way I like them and the way I set them each and every damn day.

I could write about The Middle. My kids have discovered this show. My oldest kid is a pretty amazing mimic, so he's been repeating lines from this show all week, especially imitating Axel the teenager. I swear, Sam is the next Rich Little: he's really good at voices, and intonation, and it's kind of eerie how well he can capture people. And the character of Axel is a treasure trove of funny lines, which I am now thoroughly sick and tired of.

I could post my score in the latest New Yorker quiz. Nah, I bombed it.

I could write about today being Holy Saturday, the holiest Vigil of the year. But it's been a strange Lent for me, and with our family being very sick this whole past week, it's been a strange Easter celebration. Sadly, I am feeling like it snuck up on me and I am not ready. Not ready for any of it: the silly baskets (of which I am not a fan), the special meal (picnic, anyone?), the proper way of marking the day with my kids (so they know we are not celebrating chocolate bunnies and plastic eggs)... Somehow in the next 24 hours, I will try to salvage some way of giving Easter it's due. It's important to me.

But I can't find a good way to write about any of this. It's official. I got nothin'. Nothing funny. Nothing profound. Nothing particularly moving or insightful. Nothing interesting.

Anyone want to give me a writing topic?

* * *

And I'm kidding about the birthday party for Shakes. No streamers. No Globe Theatre. Just useless trivia to bore people with on the soccer field today.

* * *

21 April 2011

And Then I Hit the Brakes

A little advice from an experienced mom.

If you've had a really bad day and you are trying really hard to regroup, and your four year old is making that difficult by ignoring every directive you issue, especially the one about staying buckled in her booster seat while you are running 201 errands, and your twelve year old is devastated and thrashing around over Barcelona's loss to Real Madrid, and you've spent too much time trying way too hard to get people who are ignoring you to do stuff, and you're pretty sure you are PMS-ing because as hard as you try to control your rage response you have failed repeatedly and your throat is sore from speaking too forcefully (aka screaming), and if you planned the afternoon poorly and realized too late that everyone will have to be in the car between 4 and 7 instead of at home eating the meal you had planned, and then the traffic is terrible again so that you are sitting tensely in the driver's seat listening to bickering and worrying about arriving everywhere late, and if your six year old picks the car ride to become the third child to vomit since last Wednesday and then you almost joined her when you had to clean it up on a curb next to your son's soccer practice, and if the only receptacle you can find in the van for your little Barfer Babe to clutch until you can get her home is a (thank God, clean) pie plate, which by the way works fabulously when she throws up a second time as you are on your way to drop of the recovering Barcelona fan at his Shakespeare play rehearsal, and if you pull over quickly to dump out the pie tin so that all of the occupants of the car can once again breath, and if you need this last bit of the evening to go as smoothly as possible so that you can maybe, hopefully finally be home in 20 little minutes, my biggest piece of advice to you is this: Don't hit the brakes too hard. You will regret it.

Apparently, I'm still learning from my experiences.

* * *

19 April 2011

Someone's Morning Cup of Coffee

The News Hour on PBS is airing a series this week called Autism Now. As part of that series, the great Robert MacNeil is sharing his grandson Nick's story, which is an important and moving glimpse into the life of a child and family living with autism. Please click here and watch the video; it will probably be the most valuable time you spend with a screen this week.

* * *

On the way to my pediatrician's office yesterday, I had one of those moments where I realize how much I have to be thankful for. Actually, I had several of those moments.

Lola had a crazy, weird full body rash on Sunday evening, and that, combined with a handful of other symptoms, had us off to the docs to rule out strep throat. (It has since been ruled out.) I was stressed because we were running a little late. With no traffic, I can get to the pediatrician's office in about 25 minutes, and I left the house with only 20 minutes to spare.

I had to choose between the freeway or the backroads. I chose the freeway. I chose unwisely this time.

We ended up in three separate traffic jams, caused by three different accidents. One was fatal. The scene was gruesome and terrible and scary. The other two were not as bad, but still created a snarly, chaotic mess on the freeways.

Accidents in the Bay Area, especially bad ones like that first one, create an incredible ripple effect. The unending lines of bumper-to-bumper cars, across 5 lanes of traffic, puts me in mind of all the missed appointments, late arrivals, and changed plans caused by the crunch and crush of metal and steel. Thousands of people were no doubt using their cell phones to call with the same message: "Traffic is awful, I'll be there when I can..."

But at least one person got a very different kind of phone call. "There's been an accident..."

Whenever I see an accident, I think of the people involved, about how they didn't wake up this morning knowing that their lives were going to turn upside down. Someone's mother had her morning cup of coffee unaware that the taste of it would still be in her mouth when she received a call with the worst news imaginable.

I'll take the delay. I'm not sure I could take that phone call.

I was 30 minutes late to the doctor's office. We arrived whole, three laughing girls playing the "Pick One" game: Blue or green? Country of city? Beach or mountains? Apple pie or brownies? The endless game kept them giggling and bubbling for the entire crawl through broken glass, bent fenders, and emergency vehicles.

Finally past all the accidents, we passed the hillside again, the one I've written about twice before. According to the sea of white crosses thrust into the ground, the death toll in our wars with Iraq and Afghanistan -- the US military deaths only -- has reached 6003. The hillside is getting crowded; I wonder how many more deaths that space can hold. I wonder how many more our country can stomach. And I wonder how many more deaths are not reflected in that number: enemy combatants with mothers themselves, civilians, children.

My children have been sick like crazy this week. They've been sick, and demanding, and loud, and whiny. They've been throwing up, and coughing, and ripping away at strange rashes, and asking for tea in buckets. They have been fighting with each other, with me, and with their dad, and leaving ungodly messes everywhere they go.

They are wonderful and alive and here with me, making me work and stretch harder than I ever have, making me feel like screaming and running away 10 times a day, until I have occasion to want nothing more than to run straight into the messy, noisy, stressful, imperfect, impossible tornado that is my family.

* * *

15 April 2011

7 Quick Takes: Volume 28


This Friday, I am aware that "even children get older, and I'm getting older too..."

Let's see how quick I can make these takes. I usually experience an epic fail with the quick part, but I have very little time today and I really really want to get back into the 7 Quick Takes game, after a prolonged absence. Here goes.

~1~

The Fleetwood Mac song quoted above (Landslide) was playing on my car radio yesterday morning as I drove away from the BART station, where I had left my 12 year old son to catch a city bus to his guitar lesson. He has ridden buses before, but this was his first solo expedition. So this was my his first solo expedition. The stress and anxiety this produced for me came as a surprise; I thought I was a much cooler cucumber than I turned out to be.

The song was perfect for the occasion, and is responsible for the mistiness in my eyes that blurred the street in front of my car. I resisted the urge to follow the bus and make sure he knew where to get off and how to walk from there to his lesson. I did linger in the parking lot until I was sure he got on the right bus, which prompted him to send me a text after he spied my van still idling in the lot: "Why are you still here?"

We both survived. And a whole world of possibilities immediately opened up for him and for all of us. Three cheers for budding independence!

~2~

While I was doing laundry last night, my 10 year old son brought me an armload full of dirty clothes. He saw me add the detergent and said, with innocent curiosity: "What's that white powdery stuff?"

Another epic fail.

~3~

My newest fun Friday thing is to attempt the New Yorker's weekly news quiz. Today, I bombed with a 25%, which pretty much tells you how much time I was able to listen to NPR this week. Here's the link; bookmark it and play along each week!

~4~

Each year, our garden and gardens Rick has designed are featured on the Bringing Back the Natives Garden Tour. The tour is in 16 days. We are officially freaking out. This was supposed to be a big week for me to accomplish many things in our garden but my kids decided it was instead going to be a big week for barfing. If you are the praying kind, get to work. If you're not, fake it this week, and say a prayer for us. We need help of all kinds, from all quarters.

Plus, if you aren't the praying kind, and you turn out to be wrong, well then helping us out will really help you out in the long run.

~5~

I hate pop music. I'm listening to my kids listen to depraved junk as I type. Is this just the way of parents and kids? I know my parents most of hated my music...and I'm pretty sure their parents hated theirs. And so it goes. I really do want to rip my ears off. Do your kids listen to music you despise?

Trust me, I am not liberal with allowing them to listen. I hardly ever let them, because we've got little tinies around here, and even at 10 and 12, the boys are too young for some of those lyrics. If anything really bad comes on, they know to turn it off, but ya' know, they don't comply every single time.

And then there's the fact that I really do fail to see the artistic value in 90% of what they are listening to. Most of it sounds utterly awful to me, and that's before I know what the lyrics are saying. How do other parents handle this?

~6~

My boys and my girls are switching rooms this weekend. The overhaul has begun. While working in the boys' room today, I found this hand-painted postcard, sent to Sam by my dad. Finding gems like this always makes cleaning the house more enjoyable. I love my dad!




What treasures have you found while cleaning the house?

~7~

What was your favorite band or musician when you were in high school? Did you have records? Tomorrow is Record Store Day! Kind of apropos of my post from yesterday, in which I reminisce about listening to an actual vinyl record, one with the record jacket that had all the lyrics printed right there on the back. I enjoyed this story on NPR today, and if I could find a way to squeeze in a visit to Down Home Music tomorrow, along with the multiple soccer games, rehearsals, and bowling dates, you know I would. It's probably not in the cards. Go in my place, OK?

* * *

Go visit Conversion Diary for the original 7 Quick Takes; explore the links of other people playing along!

* * *

That took me about 35 minutes. Was that quick??

* * *

14 April 2011

Bookends

This post is brought to you by my bookends, the eldest and the youngest of the AIRY5 Brood.

Today, my eldest figured out how to get "free" ringtones on his cell phone. Damn. I had hoped to avoid that awhile longer. What's my objection? It's the relentless acquiring of things that really bothers me. Plus, I don't trust that free part. I am waiting for my next cell phone bill to allay or confirm my suspicions.

Anyway, he got some pop song du jour for a ring tone. Today's pop music irritates the hell out of me, for the most part. But I remember being a teenager, and wishing desperately that my parents understood just how incredible my favorite songs were, wished they could appreciate the intensity, the passion, the phenomenal talent of artists like The Cars, Tom Petty, and Billy Joel. (For the record, and to hold on to some shred of respectability, I have always been first and foremost a Beatles fan. No band or singer has ever toppled them.)

I have one vivid memory of listening to a Tom Petty record with my friend Kathy. My dad walked through the room and made some noise of utter disgust, rolling his eyes dramatically. "Dad! I swear! This is good music! Just give it a chance! It's not depraved junk!" I begged, with a fervor unique to teenagers. He grabbed the record jacket and read the first lyric line his eye fell upon: "Baby don't walk out, I'm too drunk to follow." He tossed the jacket on the floor and walked out smugly, disgust intact.

I mostly do the same to my own kids regarding their taste in music, but I'm trying to be more open. I'm trying, at the very least, to encourage their love of music, familiar as I am with the earnestness of youth, and with feeling like the music I listened to was the most powerful, incredible, amazing, honest, emotion-filled artistic expression ever to fill a set of speakers . So today, when I heard Sam's phone ring, instead of making it clear that what I really wanted to do was rip off my ears, I did some goofy little dance as I walked through the room, trying to indicate that I was not condemning his choice of ring tone. All I got for my troubles?

"Nothing bugs me more than dancing 42 year old."

Forget it then. I think that comment gives me license to show my disgust early and often.

* * *

Back down at the other end of the age range, my littlest has had a rough week, including a bad tummy, which has had her shooting noxious substances out of both ends. It's been rough. One such bout had her hiding in her room, attempting to clean her underwear and her own bottom with several baby wipes, a pajama top, and a very large bath towel. When none of these methods did the trick, she decided to stuff the entire lot underneath her bed, leaving quite a trail along her floor as she did so. She, and her room, were an unholy mess.

I will gloss over the part where she was sobbing mightily, two and three big fat tears coming out of both of eyes simultaneously, begging me not to be mad at her. (See why we need a therapy fund?) I will skip ahead to the part 24 hours later, after we had been through several pairs of underwear and this mama was weary from the mess, the stench, the endless cleaning, and the small but toxic loads of laundry.

This is the part where I realized that after five kids, we may have gotten a little lax in some areas. You know how it is: with your first, and maybe your second, you are scrupulous about teaching them how to do every little thing, making sure they get the proper instructions time and time again, worrying that they will miss something and grow up lacking critical information to get by in the world. As the kids get more numerous, you take a little less care, and forget to remind them multiple times about elbows on table tops, nightly teeth brushing, and proper telephone etiquette. Add another kid or two, and the youngest is lucky to have a sippy cup at all, let alone one that hasn't been underneath a bed for three months. The youngest has to raise herself, in many ways. The fact that this may be the greatest gift any child could receive is a subject for another day. Suffice to say, every now and then, I realize some new way I have failed my youngest.

After the brazillionth time of cleaning her bottom today, I wearily remarked: "We really need to get you pooping in the potty."

She looked at me with 2 parts unbelief and 1 part pleading, and said: "You mean, every time?"

Um, yes. Yes dear, I do mean every time. I'm sorry I haven't made this clear before now.

One more time to the drawing board for me!

* * *

13 April 2011

More Fun with the Math Mom

Let me be clear: I am not the Math Mom. The title does not refer to me. I run from math. Math taunts me, teases me, torments me.

I used to be pretty good at math, but then motherhood compromised my brain cells such that most of what I use them for now involves tricking children into doing my bidding. As the children get older, this actually requires increasingly difficult mental gymnastics, so my brain is pretty darn busy.

But math is important! Right? Right!

This is the Math Mom. She's great. She writes about all kinds of ways to engage your kids (and yourself) in math. Her site features articles, resources, and interactive games, and you can subscribe to her newsletter which has stories, puzzles and ideas to "spice up your weekend and help present math to your family as a toy and a friend." You can also 'like' her on Facebook, which I did, and which is how I found the very fun link I'm sharing here. It's a Frog Leap Test, and it stymied me. My 5th grader solved it in about 15 minutes.

Go ahead, click on that link up there, and give it a try. Be prepared to get stuck in front of your computer screen for a little while. And if you get stymied, The Math Mom kindly posted the solution on her blog here. I did not use that post. I just spied on my 5th grader.

Maybe I'm becoming a little bit of a math mom myself.

* * *

Update: My six year old solved it in about seven minutes. She scares me.

* * *

12 April 2011

We Cannot Hallow This Ground...

Today is the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War. To mark that day, I am posting the text and an audio file of the Gettysburg Address, originally delivered two and a half years into the bloodiest war our nation has ever known.

The Gettysburg Address

delivered at the dedication of the Soldiers' National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania on November 19, 1863


Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth upon this continent a new nation: conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war ... testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated ... can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war.

We have come to dedicate a portion of that field as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that this nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate ... we cannot consecrate ... we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us ... that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion ... that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain ... that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom ... and that government of the people ... by the people ... for the people ... shall not perish from this earth.


These are some of the most important words in our country's history. Again with the eye-rolling from my kids. More pearls, more swine. :)

Thank you Project Gutenberg for making the text available. Thank you LibriVox for making the audio file easily accessible for embedding here.

* * *

Because Every Kid Should Know Who Charlie Parker Is

Let the Muppet Renaissance continue!

We've always loved the muppets around here. They come into our lives for awhile, and then for some reason, we let them go. And then, for some other reason, they're back, better than ever.

Sam's guitar teacher dropped his pick at Sam's lesson the other day, and while looking around for it, he muttered "Mahna Mahna." Thus began the first of 30 or 50 viewings of this YouTube video for the AIRY5 Family.

Next up: Muppets in Space. The Great Muppet Caper. Muppets Take Manhattan. It's been a regular Muppet Fest around here. I have been delighted by how much all of my kids enjoy these movies, from the Practically Teen down to the Tortuous Toddler. The Muppets truly are a crowd pleaser for my crowd.

My personal favorite from the past week of Muppet Inundation? This one, of course:



You never know when and where little nuggets of knowledge will emerge. Thanks to the Muppets, my kids now know who Charlie Parker is. Cultural education for the week: check!

* * *

08 April 2011

Pearls Before Swine

This past Friday, the boys and I listened to a radio show marking the 43rd anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. (If you are interested, you can find a link to the show here.) The program aired on the anniversary, this past Monday, April 4th.

Before you get all impressed that my kids listen to public radio, let me tell you that for the entire 15 minutes we listened to the podcast, they made goofy faces at each other, scowled at me, tickled each other, poked each other, asked random unrelated questions, and plotted their wii time. All those shenanigans had their intended effect and I set the boys free to terrorize their sisters rather sooner than I had hoped. (A maternal twist on a tired platitude: If you love someone, set them free and watch them wreck havoc all over your house.) (The grammatical issues in that sentence disturb me, but if I correct them, I lose the familiarity of the platitude. Such a dilemma.)

But I, for one, am glad we listened. We heard a couple of clips from King's speech to the Memphis sanitation workers during their historic strike of 1968. One of the guests was a retired sanitation worker, a man who participated in the strike and who brought his wife and three small children to listen to King speak on April 3. It was especially riveting to listen to his first hand account of being at the speech. We listened, and then we did some talkin'.

We talked about the labor movement, then and now. We talked about the dignity of work, whether you are a garbage collector, a doctor, a janitor, the President of the United States, or a stay at home mom.

We talked about language, and how language can be an agent of history. Another man, with the same passionate belief in equal rights and social justice but without the oratory skills of King, would not have been able to lead the Civil Rights Movement with the same success. Words make a difference; words change history.

We talked about why a boy might feel the need to prod his brother in the butt with a big toe while I'm attempting to share important cultural history with them.

We talked about why their little sisters are so annoying and why slamming the door in their sisters' faces is not the wisest response to how annoying the little cutie-pies can be.

We talked about how King almost predicted his own death, the very day before he was gunned down on a hotel balcony.

For several seconds, we talked about nothing, because I was too busy holding my head in my hands and asking God to smite my children for goofing off.

And we talked about King as a preacher, a man for whom civil rights were simply human rights conferred by a God who created and loves each and every person, no matter what.

It was perhaps the most important 15 minutes of my week. Maybe not theirs, but mine. And to ensure that they remember at least one small thing, I made this poster and hung it in our kitchen.


Dangerous unselfishness. Standing up for someone else, when I don't stand to gain from it, when doing so is risky. A powerful idea. And a Christian one. King goes on to say:
That's the question before you tonight. Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to my job." Not, "If I stop to help the sanitation workers what will happen to all of the hours that I usually spend in my office every day and every week as pastor." The question is not, "If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?" The question is, "If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?" That's the question.
That's the question King wanted people to ask themselves in 1968. And that's the question I want my kids to ask themselves over and over again as they become adults.

Instead, all I'm really getting from them is their somewhat irreverent mimicry of King's speech style every time they walk past that poster in my kitchen. Who does that? Who mimics MLK for a laugh? My kids, apparently. Horrifying.

Oh well. Hopefully, the exposure alone will be good for them.

* * *

06 April 2011

It's 10AM and the Day is Gone


It's 10AM. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the coffee is strong.

So why do I feel defeated already?

From my perch on the couch, I see mayhem.

A quick survey of my to-do list: more mayhem.

An inventory of my brain: piles of mayhem.

The garage: mayhem.

The garden: mayhem. This is serious mayhem, since it will need to be transformed into a native paradise in about three weeks time if we are to avoid the curse of the busman's holiday at our annual garden tour show on May 1st.

Mayhem seems like such an innocent little word. It's kind of cute, in a way. Like "mother may I" and a polite "ahem" are rolled up into one.

But mayhem has a dark side. Mayhem is pinning me down on the couch, whispering menacing thoughts in my ear (you'll never make it), and drilling a little hole in my left heel, from whence all of my energy is draining.

* * *

We overslept this morning, me and my homeschooled children. So at 9:45, they are asking me what's for breakfast, and I am too busy bickering with nascent cramps to answer them. The youngest has a nasty cough and is home from preschool today, which means she will be spreading her special brand of terrorism far and wide. The boys' carpentry class ended last week, so I have no reason to get the kids out of the house.

* * *

I have an image in my head today of me, arrayed in full body armor, battling demons. Demon #1 would be those cramps, which are maturing every minute and are not so nascent anymore. Demon #2 is a serious lack of motivation, daunted as I am by the mountain of work before me. And a little daunted by the mouse my son saw in the garage yesterday, meaning I have to have Fun With Traps today at some point. Demon #3 is the chaos that surrounds me. This demon has multiple arms and legs, and just when I beat him down in one part of the house or garden, I turn a corner and get bitch-slapped again.

* * *

What is the proper way to battle chaos and disorder? With little time, few resources, and far too many demands upon both?

* * *

And did I mention that I gave up yelling for Lent? That was a folly of the highest degree. I do not recommend this for mothers. It's similar to when I gave up coffee for Lent many years ago, and vowed on a bright and sunny Easter morning never, ever to do that again. Giving up yelling has been well nigh impossible.

But attempting to give up yelling has at least focused me each day on the attempt itself. Each day is a renewed chance to not yell. I have decided that less yelling counts as some measure of success, so at least I have that.

* * *

I am rambling. Writing this post has been all about delaying the inevitable: dealing with my day. Better bring it to a close. I will refill my coffee cup, step out into the bright sunshine, and battle my demons.

I just need to find my helmet underneath all the mayhem first.

* * *


05 April 2011

So 2000 and Late


Lady E is enjoying the Brain Quest app on my ipod. We have the flash card versions too, but ya' know, that e-phone-i-crack-thingee is just too tantalizing. No more boring cardboard flashcards for these kids. Bells and whistles, please. (Literally, the app makes bell and whistle sounds when she answers a question correctly.)

Today, she got this one right:

Which came first, buttons or zippers?

After she got it right, she mentioned casually: "I knew that zippers came last because buttons are like such an 80's thing."

She's six.

I think there's a joke in there somewhere about leg warmers and Amish people, but I can't find it under all the bickering, lunch preparing, failed homeschooling attempts, arguing, yelling, bickering, complaining, crying, chore-resisting and general mayhem that is my home at present.

* * *