The scene: It’s a brisk mid-winter Seattle morning. Lucas has decided that we’re riding our bikes to school today. As we emerge from the garage, the sky is brilliant blue and the sun is streaming down in our faces. The lawns up and down the street are all brilliant green as this is our rainy season. It’s a lovely morning and all is well with the world. On this morning, after a night with no cloud cover, it’s still quite chilly and the shaded lawns  are all still frost covered. Both kids eagerly accept the gloves that I had thought to bring for them.

A very short ways from home, Kayla asks us to pause so she can tie her skirt up, keeping it well clear of her back tire. I comment, “hmm, we should get you a rear fender to keep your skirts off that tire.”

Lucas, not wanting to miss out on getting one of anything pipes up, “Should we get one for me too?”

I replied, “Of course, we don’t want your skirts getting dirty, do we?”

Lucas & Matt Veggie Soup

Dice all ingredients (small 5-8mm chunks) and dump into an 8+ quart pressure cooker pot.  Barley needs the most time, so start it immediately and then prep the veggies. Add just enough water to keep ingredients covered. Set the pot over medium heat and add:

  • 1 Matt handful and 3 Lucas handfuls of barley (~1/2 c.)
  • 5 bullion cubes (beef, chicken, whatever)
  • 1 parsnip
  • 1 bunch (6) of colored carrots
  • 4 stalks celery
  • 1/2 head of cabbage
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 4 hot dogs
  • 1 Tbsp. of dried basil (or 4 fresh)
  • enough water to cover

Pressure cook for 5 minutes. Cool immediately and serve.

 

Minivan + kids + interior lights = dead battery

Our family vehicle is a Honda Odyssey. The dome lights are toggle switches. Push the light, it’s on. Push again, it’s off. There’s no visible way to tell which position it’s in. If a child pushes the light and it gets left on, the next morning we have no minivan until after a date with Mr. Battery Charger. Since the kids were able to reach the dome lights, we’ve been vigilant. There are ways to be vigilant. We’ve tried:

  1. Exit the vehicle. Close all doors. Lock with the remote so interior lights turn off. Peer inside to see if any lights are on.
  2. Disable interior lights entirely with switch on dash.
  3. Re-enable interior lights, but forbid children from ever, ever, ever touching the light switches.

The third solution works most of the time. On Nov 3rd, I gave some neighbor kids a ride home from school. When they got out, one of them pushed the light switch to turn it off. The lights don’t turn off when the door is opened, so nothing happened. The child exited the van. Having trained my kids not to touch the switches, I didn’t perform #1. On Nov. 4th, we biked to school while Mrs. Odyssey and Mr. Charger hooked up.

On Nov. 5th, I found this post on the OdyClub site, detailing the LED bulbs another Honda owner ordered from China and installed in his Odyssey. I paid $28 for the following ten LED bulbs, shipped: (1) 51109, (4) #51002, (2) 35725, (1) 34641, and (1) #34608. When they arrived a couple weeks later, I installed them in about 15 minutes.

Last night, both kids were reading books on the ride home from swim classes. Both kids left their interior lights on. Both parents failed to notice. This morning, I opened the garage and saw the lights on. I smiled. When I got in, the van started. Mission accomplished.

Potty talk

Today four little girls were packed in my master bathroom water closet, buzzing and giggling with excitement as they negotiated taking turns. Four of them! In a toilet closet. What could possibly be so exciting?

Two months ago Lucas and I were walking through Costco. Lucas spotted something unusual and asked what it was. I read the label and explained that this particular toilet seat had a heated seat and a bidet with warm water. After explaining what a bidet is used for, he paused thoughtfully and then replied, “I want that!”

The seeds for Lucas’ desire were sown back in March when the only parent willing to wipe his bottom went back to work. Wiping ones own bottom is apparently a skill learned reluctantly. Both kids found the barbaric practice of using dry paper to smear moist excrement around their little anuses to be disgusting. I agree, but wiping three bottoms is 3 times as disgusting. Our compromise was to provide them with moist flushable wipes. I also showed them how to use a hand mirror to check if more wiping was needed. Two issues have persisted: clogged toilets and frequent requests from both kids to “check or wipe.”

Amusingly, when I declined to wipe them, and later declined requests to check, they began to provide those services to each other. I was confident that in the course of time, they would find no willing participants. Wiping each other lasted but a couple weeks. Months later, threats and coercion were required (If you don’t, I won’t!) for checks. It was in that environment that Lucas spotted that fancy toilet seat at Costco.

Thus inspired, on Christmas eve, Santa went through the house and added bidets to every toilet. The “check or wipe” pleas are no more. We haven’t had a plugged toilet in a week. I am fond of the hygienic practice, and the novel little contraptions are very amusing to visitors. Even grandpa’s bidet “is starting to get along” with him.

Them’s Biting Words

After a morning of outdoor play, Lucas asked, “Daddy, may I have this snack?”
I glanced at the time, “Whoa, it’s after lunch already. You should be in here gnawing at my legs by now!”

Moments later, I’m in the kitchen making sandwiches and Lucas has lifted my pant leg and is gnawing.

It’s obvious whose sense of humor this child inherited.

Daddy, can I use your nail polish?

Kayla: Daddy, may I use your nail polish?
Me: Why don’t you use mommies?
Kayla: It doesn’t match.
Me: Uh, okay.

Now Kayla has one hand that is purple and one that is pink. The toes on her left foot are blaze orange and the toes on her right are cherry red. In my view, her toe colors exactly match the colors of polish and/or duct tape I use to mark my climbing gear. In her view, having blaze orange toes on the left foot and cherry red toes on the right is a perfect match.