Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Of cusps and thresholds.

Life is changing around this old pirate ship. The Destroyer manages to get away with some pretty crazy stuff while my back is turned but so far "turning into a preschooler" is his greatest prank to date. No kidding, he's starting school in a week and while there is a certain part of me that is wringing her hands and wiping tears out of her eyes, there is another somewhat louder part of me that's saying "Hell yeah! That's six hours per day of my life back." The prospect of all that free time was so perplexing that I had to go and get a job just to fill up the void in the middle of my day...except that then I realized that only one of my children is going to school, so that still leaves me with one. Ragnarbaby is the easy one, but something tells me that they are going to notice if I try to show up for work with him strapped to my back. I guess that means some sort of childcare for him as well.

Which brings us to the truly terrifying, impossible thing which is boggling my mind: establishing a morning routine. Seriously. How the hell am I supposed to get two uncooperative toddlers (Ragnarbaby isn't actually toddling yet, but it seems a meaningless distinction at this point) up, dressed, pottied, fed and dropped at their respective repositories so that I can get my butt into work by 9 o'clock in the morning? Functioning members of society how do you accomplish this feat of scheduling razzle dazzle?

Here's the thing about the current routine at our house. There isn't one. Manimal goes to work sometime between 5am and noon. The kids and I wake up sometime between 7am and 10. It takes us anywhere from .5 to 3 hours to eat breakfast and unless we have someplace special to be we mostly wear our pajamas all day...or in the case of The Destroyer, his birthday suit. Somehow I think the nakedness thing isn't going to go over all that well at pre-school.

So stay tuned. It'll be like reality television.

This morning we learned that getting the destroyer dressed before sitting him down to breakfast is pointless since every stitch of clothing will have to be changed after he paints himself with yogurt.

Ragnar...is not a morning person.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Quotable toddler.

Ragnarbaby has only one word in his vocabulary and is pretty well satisfied that "Mama" is the only word he will ever need, and why would he bother learning anymore. When The Destroyer (new title...same Ragnarson) was young he never really rocked the "Mama" so it does give me a little zing every time I hear it, although I realize that in Ragnarbaby's world Mama means "food."

Son number one, on the other hand, is a talking fool. I know for a fact that every child accumulates quotable sayings that will come back to haunt them later in life, but since I had never done the making a child from scratch thing there were a couple of months there when I was pretty sure that The Destroyer would go through life relying on the subtle variations of "ball" and "vroom" to get him through. I imagined him like the prototypical American tourist, using volume and insistence to make up for lack of language: "Ball, ball, BALL!! VROOOOOOOOOM!!!"

And now of course he blathers constantly, and I confess that sometimes I long for a simpler time.

During our perennial dinner argument one evening The Destroyer cut off my repeated "Sit down and finish your dinner," pleas with the simple but effective: "Chomp, chomp. I am eating you. You don't have a head anymore." "Destroyer, sit down." "You need to stop talking, you don't have a mouth anymore."

After telling him that I had to "Quick, run up to the store," I was told. "NO! You need to WALK to the store. If you run really fast you will fall down and get a hole in you and blood will come out of it."

When I try to encourage independence by asking him to pick out his own clothes or perform some other simple task he says "You can do it Mom, I know you can!"

Manimal found him sobbing, unable to find his second flip-flop (which he was sitting on). "My flip flop went on an ADVENTURE!"

His favorite food is "Meat, with no yucky stuff."

His favorite activity is playing with the dirt in our front yard (there might have been a few blades of grass struggling through the construction debris, but they have been long since plowed under by a variety of dump trucks and diggers). His second favorite activity is badgering anyone who happens to walk past. "What is your name? What is your name. My birthday is in August," (calling after them as they walk away) "My BIRTHDAY IS IN AUGUST!!"

He went fishing with Grandpa during summer vacation and was thrilled to discover that "Fish are full of MEAT!"

Ragnar...proud mother of the extremely verbose.

Friday, August 27, 2010

PROJECT...fruit fly trap

It seems unfair that the rabbits tied up the "breeding like" cliche when the fruit fly is the obvious, hands-down champion. Half an hour of hot weather and they show up everywhere. The worm bin has been banished to the back porch until the temperature becomes more civilized. The garbage disposal requires constant attention. Don't even talk to me about the dirty diaper pail because that's just...ugh.

And since I despise the little boogers. every season is a chance to try out another fruit fly death chamber, and after several summers of tweaking I can personally vouch for this model as having the highest body count.
Gather your materials: you will need a container, something for bait, dish soap, a plastic bag with a square bottom and a rubber band. For a container I use a jelly jar, but anything with a fairly large opening will work. For maximum gloat factor pick something glass so that you can hold it up to the light and exclaim with delighted disgust over all the dead flies. For bait you need something fermented, since fruit flies are attracted to the vinegar fumes given off by ripe fruit. I get good results from wine vinegar, although you could use beer or wine.
Cut one corner off the plastic bag, high enough up that will fit over the jar opening, and snip the tip off the corner to make a tiny little fruit fly sized hole. Pour about an inch of vinegar or beer into the bottom of the jar and add a small dash of soap. The vinegar lures the flies and the dish soap prevents them from riding the surface tension, and sucks them under to a vinegary grave.
Fold the bag over the top of the jar and secure it with the rubber band so that there are no gaps around the edge for fruit flies to escape from. The "corner" of the bag should hang down inside the jar like a cone. I like the big fat rubber bands that come on broccoli.

And hey presto! A fruit fly trap. I keep a couple of these on the counter in strategic locations and change the liquid every week or so.

Ragnar...avenger of ripening fruit.

Friday, August 13, 2010

The awful truth about baby carrots.

Okay, it's not awful, but that seemed like a catchy title. Some others might be "Baby carrots, not Babies at all." and "Baby carrots, used to be cattle feed."

Have you ever grown a carrot? If so you've probably noticed that the single, long tapering root is not the only, or even the primary form that carrots favor. At least as likely, sometimes more depending on the density of your soil, is the "octopus" carrot as Ragnarson calls them. And yet, when purchasing carrots in the store the octopus carrots are nowhere to be seen.

Except that they are: whittled down into little baby carrots. I imagine some sort of carrot whittling machine in the carrot bagging factory somewhere, where the monster carrots, the misshapen mutant carrots are dumped into a big hopper and then (grind, clang, clash) out the other end come scrubbed, peeled an appropriately whittled down baby carrots. And over all I think this is probably a good thing. I think that carrot consumption has risen considerably since the advent of the baby carrot. They're so CUTE after all, those little rounded nubby things, and so convenient for snacking and (I suppose) cooking (although the taste degrades significantly in the whittling process, I think). No washing, no peeling. And before there was a baby carrot whittling machine, those mutant carrots were bound for the carrot scrap heaped to be juiced, or mixed in with animal feed, or (gasp) trashed. So hurray for baby carrots.

But can I just say, that as a mother who struggles to get her son to eat anything remotely vegetative, that I can definitely see a market for "monster" carrots. My truck crashing, gun-out-of-toast-making, little-brother-walloping manchild is much more excited about eating something that looks like it might be related to the creature from the black lagoon than he is about eating a neatly whittled, domesticated "Baby."

So lucky for him there's a lot of clay in our garden soil, and mutant carrots abound.

Ragnar...mother of monsters.