Friday, September 17, 2010

The Nanny

This is Locutis. Of Cat.

(You can read his story here.) He's a pretty good boy most of the time, he's an old boy too. He just turned 14 this year. He usually looks like this:

But he thinks he looks like this:

I guess I can see a bit of a resemblance...

He's my buddy. He hangs out with me all the time. He tries to help me with my work (he's crashed out on my notebook as I type, he seems to think it's helpful to lay directly on top of my papers), he feels very dejected if I don't let him sleep on the bed at night (and he will go down and pester the kids if he can't get in the room) and he likes (to think he can share my) tea,

and he thinks he's a good baby sitter.

He's very tolerant and has only ever given a nip when it was really deserved. He's actually a bit of a 'fraidy cat and he got beat up by a hamster. But he asked me not to tell you about that. He's very lovey and often shows concern for those who are hurt or upset. Well, for me or very small people anyway, maybe not so much for the man. But whenever I or the baby is very upset he will come running to check on us and make sure we are ok. He's very compassionate like that.

Today Locutis felt that I was slacking off in my parental duties. I thought he was just butting in.

You see I had a headache this morning. I had gotten up with every intention of getting a bit of exercise and being fully productive today. I was going to go for a brisk walk in the morning sun and get some fresh air on this lovely fall day, I was going to clean up the kitchen a bit and maybe do some more preserving. (I am just learning how to can foods and I had veggies from one end of my kitchen floor to the other. The pile has slowly gotten smaller but there's still a bit to do and I really want my kitchen back.) I was even going to balance the checkbook (bleh) and take the kids to the library.

But then I got up. My morning consisted of me getting the children up to start on their chores (and their school work, but they managed to avoid that today) and going right back to bed. Locutis followed me to the room and took up his usual spot at the end of the bed. I never fell asleep, (how could I with 4 children arguing and "cleaning" and having run of the house?) so I could hear everything that was going on. Baby Boy has been 'a bit of a pill' recently some might say. (I say he was being a brat) He is the 1st child I've had that has had bonafide 'terrible twos'. And his fits usually have to do with food. That boy can eat.

Well, he was pitching a fit about something or other and the girls were trying to get him to chill out, and I was ignoring it because I knew it would blow over in a minute and he would find something else to occupy himself. But Locutis was certain that something was really wrong and not only came to get my attention, but stood on top of me and yowled in my face. As if to say, "hey, the baby is really upset, you'd better go check it out." I tried to assure him that Boy was just fussing but he continued to yell at me. I explained that I had no intention of getting up and dealing with it right now because I knew Boy was just having a fit and I had a headache and didn't feel like bothering with giving him any attention for said fit.

Locutis was rather annoyed with me, but as Boy has stopped screaming, he laid back down.

Then Boy started screaming again. (Apparently sister had something he wanted so he bit her. This is new to me as none of my girls were biters, but sister just scolded him and put him the corner for right now since I was currently unavailable for toddler training sessions.) He yelled a good one and a few seconds into it Locutis was in my face again frantically yowling and swatting at my face to get me up. Again I said 'No! He's just being a brat right now.' but Locutis would have none of it. He yowled and swatted at me and when I rolled over and refused to listen he left to check for himself. By this time Boy had stopped hollerin' and found something else to eat so there was really nothing to see. But when Loc came back he gave me a dirty look anyway. As if he just knows that I'm somehow being neglectful. Never mind that there are 3 other people and I was still awake and listening. Never mind that if there was a real problem they would have said and would be out there in a heartbeat (and my house is tiny so it really isn't far).

Never mind that you're just a cat.

I'm just the mom, so what do I know? Sheesh.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to School Book Week- Fiction

i used to read tons, devouring one book after another at times. sometimes taking a break in between. before i had kids. now i rarely find the time to read. when i hit the library i get a nice big stack of books that look so good and then i find that i don't have the time to finish them. usually when i do it's the middle of the night after the children and the man have gone to bed. i stay up horribly late, 2 or 3am some nights, partly because I'm enjoying the story and partly because i know i wont be able to pick it up again for a while.

and in the meantime my daughters, especially the oldest who is now 12, devour their books. reading one after another, (including most of the books that i picked up from the library that i haven't gotten to) thick books being finished in a day or two. some times i'm a little jealous.

i generally stay in the youth and young adults (although, unfortunately, sometimes even these are iffy. do 13yr olds really need to read about having sex?) book section only rarely venturing to the 'adult' section. i don't like smut books, i don't want to read horrible, graphic details about some tragic event or some crazed weirdo, and i don't want to expose myself to an excess of vile language because the characters (or author) couldn't come up with more intelligent words. (as mike wazowski says 'if you're going to insult me, do it properly' or something like that.) (if you're interested, you can find some really great insults on the Elizabethan insults page. classic stuff)

but as for all time favorites, we have a few. there's the old and modern classics like peter pan, ann of green gables, enders game, and ruby hollar.

for younger children i love the gossie book by olivier dunrea . the text is pretty simple but i just love the artwork. soft painted water colors and bright little sketches.

i also love the books by peter h. reynolds, especially 'the dot' and 'ish'.

again, the paintings are simple but beautiful (and i love how he uses tea for one of his mediums!) and the stories are essential for anyone who wants to teach art to children (or even adults). never say 'i cant make art' or 'i cant draw' because anyone can draw anything and it is all art.

(even if it's only art-ish) i also used these books to remind the children that art is in the eye of the beholder, so just because they wouldn't have done it that way, or they don't think it's a good job, doesn't give them the right to insult each other or their own work for that matter. 'ish' is good enough, just look at Picasso.

and lastly i have my small but expanding collection of 'alice in wonderland' books. there's the color book, the annotated book, the old book, the sticker book, and 2 awesome pop ups.

in fact i had to replace one of them because the kids played with too much and it didn't want to pop anymore.

my daughter would like me to also mention the book 'Mimus' by Lilli Thal, one of the few that i actually got to read before she took it from me. it is a tale of adventure and betrayal, of understanding peoples and understanding yourself, and of jesters.