Two weeks until school starts again. My weirdo offspring are EXCITED about the start of school. I am planning to have their DNA tested next week.
We went to Canobie Lake last week. It's an amusement park in southern NH–not quite Six Flags, but pretty decent, and manageable in one day unlike, say, the Rat Kingdom in Orlando. I dropped $120 on admission for two adults and two kids. Then I took out another $100 in cash for food and such (“just in case”), and ended up spending every last dime of it. EAT YOUR TEN-DOLLAR NACHOS AND CHEESE FRIES, KIDS.
But hey, it was fun. The kids went on rides with their friends for five hours straight, and at the end of the day they were so amped they practically hummed like overwound springs.
On Friday, a certain little daughter-heir here at Castle Frostbite was dragging her feet at breakfast. She failed to heed multiple warnings to finish eating and get dressed lest the carriage to Splash Camp leave without her in it.
And lo, the time to depart came, and the daughter-heir was not yet in her garments and prepared for the day. So the carriage left without her. And there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the cries of distress could be heard all the way in French Canadia.
Guess who was dressed and ready to go to Splash Camp almost an hour early this morning?
The goober on the left has her last day of Kindergarten today. The goober on the right has his last day of second grade. Kids in Upper Cryogenica have to make up lots of snow days, which in some years can mean they won’t graduate until late July.
These kids? They’re freaks of nature. They love school, and both are bummed that the school year is ending. I expect that’s going to change by middle school at the latest.
(There’s this girl on their bus who always has the same hopelessly resigned expression on her face, like she’s being shipped off to the gulag every morning. I think I know now why the bus driver really seems to enjoy having my chipper and chatty kids board her bus.)
Next up: five weeks of SUMMER CAMP. Because they have to learn how to swim, the great outdoors never hurt anyone except when they drown or get eaten by bears, and being bug-bitten while baking in the summer sun builds character.
<insert obligatory kvetching about how time flies, something something diapers blah blah before you know it &etc.>
The tiny Empress has really made strides this year socially. She’s been in Kindergarten since July, and she loves it with a fierce, white-hot intensity. That kid right there? She will be the Queen Bee or the Chief Delinquent in high school, and possibly both.
Love ya, kiddo. But no, you can’t have “just pound cake” for dinner. We have to throw in some alibi vitamins somewhere.
It’s Monday, and the house is QUIET. The dogs are snoozing in front of the pellet stove, which we had to turn on again last night because the temperature was predicted to dip down to freezing overnight. That marks the first day of the year when we had to run the pellet stove and the window air conditioning unit ON THE SAME DAY.
We had a little shindig for Miss Lyra on Sunday. She turns six on Wednesday, so we pulled the party back just a bit to the one weekend this month where most of our friends were available. There was cake and presents and an inflatable 12-foot pool and ten kids in the 3-9 age bracket running around on the Castle grounds, so you may understand why I emphasized the QUIET in the first sentence of this post.
Now back to work. I have this thing called a “contract” that specifies I have to deliver this here novel by the end of the month, and it still needs a little work, so I should probably get to it. But understand that this is not a Monday gripe. Drinking coffee in a quiet house and making up stories beats the hell out of digging ditches or changing diapers when it comes to ways to make a living.
Girl Child punchi-sized her face on the school playground yesterday by running around WITH HER EYES CLOSED WHILE MEOWING. Now her upper lip is about the size of a Jeep Wrangler tire, and she doesn’t want to eat solid foods. Good thing she had a dentist appointment this morning anyway.
I know it’s totally un-American these days, but instead of suing the school for not wrapping their playground equipment in three layers of foam and assigning a Safety and Impact Prevention Agent to follow my child around at all times, I advised her that running around on a playground with your eyes closed is not a good way to avoid getting smacked in the mouth by peacefully stationary metal objects. RADICAL, I KNOW.
We have now passed that developmental milestone where the kids can out-play the Old Man on the Xbox 360. They each got a new 360 game under the tree last month, and both of them have finished the “Brave” game from start to finish. I know that as children of the Gadget Generation, mastery of a gaming console is practically encoded in their DNA, but it’s still amazing to see how quickly they figured out the Xbox controller and the game mechanics without any prior instruction (and in Lyra’s case, without being able to read the on-screen directions.) This is especially remarkable because our gaming console prior to the Xbox 360 was a Nintendo Wii, which has a controller that’s completely unlike the two-handed/dual-stick multi-button affairs for the Xbox and the PS3.
(I tried a first-person shooter on the console once and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn from the inside. As a PC gamer, my hands and muscle memory are calibrated for mouse and WASD keys.)
It’s absolutely amazing to see the strides that gaming consoles have made since the days of the Atari 2600. Playing Iron Man or Batman:Arkham Asylum on the Xbox 360 driving a 47” screen with the audio coming from a Bose home theater speaker set would have reduced 12-year-old Marko from 1983 to an incoherently blubbering pile of gamer bliss.
Now I just need to get the kids their own World of Warcraft accounts and teach them tanking and healing, so we can do our own little in-house instance groups on Saturday evenings.
I’m at the Fancy Bread Place, part of my weekly Dadcation ritual. (For those of you just tuning in, that’s when I get to leave the house for a morning once a week without kids in tow.) Two days ago, we attended a friend’s wedding over in the White Mountains, in a location that required us to do a lap of northern New Hampshire because you can’t get there from heah, at least not in a straight line. The wedding was lovely, though, and I’m glad we went.
Tomorrow, said friend and her husband are coming up to Castle Frostbite for a Halloween party. They’re bringing three little girls for a sleepover with our kids. We’ve done that before a few times, and it’s always fun, but LOUD. Five kids in the 3-8 age bracket can work up an amazing din. So right now I am enjoying a bit of quiet and calm before heading back to the Castle to get it ready for tomorrow’s festivities. There will be home-made “Bones of the Dead” cookies, mummy cupcakes, cocktail weenies, Halloween candy, and a bunch of, uh, special parenting sauce for the grown-ups. Tune in again on Sunday, when our intrepid correspondent live-blogs his hangover.
(I kid, of course. Our intrepid correspondent doesn’t get hangovers.)