Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Traveling with small children

I know there are people out there who do things like fly with young kids; we're not in that league. We travel via family assault vehicle: the minivan. To each their own, eh?

So we got underway on Saturday afternoon after a late lunch involving leftovers. That way, we wouldn't come back to sentient residents of the fridge tapping to get out. Daddy, however, wasn't able to eat because he was doing the manual labor of loading suitcases into the rooftop carrier.
We stopped and dropped off our (overdue) books at the library and hit a drive through. The kids got snacks of fries or onion rings; I nixed drinks in the vain effort to delay potty stops. Lou was asleep and stopping forward motion would wake him, and I was sure he would emphatically not be happy. But I'd forgotten the effect fried food has on our beloved son.
Half an hour on the road and we hear, "I need to go poop. Badly."

The first gas station had a sign: NO PUBLIC RESTROOMS. The second was good. While we were waiting for Dale to finish his business, Madeleine asked me, "Why do boys take so long to poop?"
I wish I knew.

Back on the road we went. An hour later, we were ready for another stop. This time, it involved a potty adventure for Princess Rachel. She's... particular (or is it peculiar?) about her bathroom standards. She does not care for toilets that flush themselves, nor the noise of any normal flush in the enclosed, tiled environment. It's too "noisy" for her delicate ears.
We found that one of the stalls flushed itself, but not the others. Then she wanted the staff (me) to flush for her. When I refused, much shrieking ensued as I escorted her back to do the job herself. Now, she was louder than the flush itself, but that seemed to escape her notice.

Well, she did it anyway. But that was the last stop until the wind off the lake and in the pines greeted us. Lou didn't have a fit, by the way. Ah...

Friday, it's to the farm. We're on vacation.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Honor killings and human sacrifice

It's just dawned on me that they're really, when it comes down to it, the same thing.

Back in the days of Moloch, or Quetzalcoatl, or whomever, people--or prisoners taken for this very purpose-- were sacrificed to please the god of choice. They were trying to insure a good harvest, or good inundation, or some other request of the god. Right? Or to placate an angered god who had sent disease, pestilence, earthquake, or some other bad thing to the people or clan. It was done with a religious purpose, I'm willing to bet publicly most of the time, and in a rather bloody fashion.

How is that different from murdering a daughter or sister for the sake of honor? Who is pleased with this? Is this to placate the angered deity for the sake of a family's honor? Or is it more to salve a man's injured pride, with the added benefits of lack of recidivism and deterrence to survivors?

Honor killing has been condemned as women being punished for the sins of men; the women being regarded as chattel. Milennia ago, the Jews despised the practice. The Spaniards brought an end to it in the Americas.

For a while, anyway.


Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Correct, but not politically so

You regular readers know that we're going with the classical homeschooling model. When I first checked out Kolbe Academy online, I thought, "This is the education I wish I'd had!"
What does classical mean? It's based on our ancient Greco-Roman roots, with democracy's base in there. History starts with the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. I'm pretty sure the first is there for the Biblical context. There's an emphasis on the Judeo-Christian, Western civilization. All cultures are not taught as equally influential on the modern world.
Now, that's not politically correct. It seems contrary to something as basic as the Catholic faith, where everyone is a child of God, imbued by our Creator with certain inalienable rights regardless of color, age, ethnic group, sex, socioeconomic status, et cetera. Then again, an individual has inherent value, but each culture... not so much.

But when I read this post, I had a knee-jerk reaction of, But isn't that racism, or prejudice, or something? Specifically, this quote: "today’s students cannot distinguish the role of Plato, Aristotle, or Cicero in the later development of political thought from the general irrelevance of Native American councils or indigenous African tribal meetings."

Ouch. Irrelevant seems kind of harsh, doesn't it? But then a more important question came to mind. Is it true? Is the study of Plato more important than those tribal meetings? Really?

I've posted "incorrect" opinions before. [Like that all kids can't learn everything. I'm pretty sure I could have learned calculus, under the right circumstances. It would have taken an inspired teacher, two hours a day of tutoring, and lots of drill. It would have bumped out the other three classes I had and I'd have spent a disproportionate amount of time, money, and energy to master it. I could have learned it. But at what cost?] So why is it so hard?
I'm going to mention another cultural example. The Aztecs were still performing human sacrifice when Cortez showed up. Should those Spaniards have simply let those folks have their little religious ritual for the sake of ethnic diversity, or did they do the right thing and put the kibosh on that tout de suite? [Another un-PC-ism: my dad said, "I have a hard time respecting a group of people that's been around for thousands of years and still hadn't invented the wheel."]

So I'm realizing another example of where politically correct doesn't mean correct. I reread this post and it's kind of disjointed but I'm wondering what anyone else's thoughts are.

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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

"Mom, what are these?"

Hmm... a teachable moment. "If you read the box, we'll get some. Just the big red word is all you need."

"T... twuh... twin..."

"That IE says EE, son."

"Twink... Twinkies! Twinkies!"

"Put them in the cart, little man."

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Saturday, June 14, 2008

I asked about your history.

And your kids' textbooks.

This is what I'm talking about. It's not creationism versus evolution, or phonics versus whole language, or global warming versus... whatever. It's beyond even multi-culti political correctness run amok.

This is not just in private schools. It's not just in Minnesotan madrassas. It's not in certain enclaves of immigrant communities. This is in public schools. Your tax dollars at work.

Gone are the days where you can send your child to school and presume they're teaching what you want them to know. GONE. I'm shaking you by the shoulders. GONE. They aren't doing it in math, or literature, or history.

If you have children in school, click the link. Please.

Thanks to JW.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

I'm so glad it wasn't drums.

This past weekend Madeleine made her First Communion. [Yes, I'll get to that eventually. Her dress was white and gorgeous and made by my aunt.] Saying the Mass, coincidentally, was the same Irish priest who officiated at our wedding. This was the celebration of the sixty-fifth anniversary of his ordination.

He also, to start his homily, pulled out his harmonica and played a few tunes because that's been one of his hobbies since he was ten or so. Like I said, he's Irish. [No, I don't remember him doing that at any Mass before his retirement.]

What did my five-year-old son whisper to me?
"Mom, I want a harmonica."

I took him out that afternoon, to the dollar store [Gentle Reader, can you say "cheap plastic Chinese imports?"] and found a package with three of them. They work, sort of, but you have to blow really hard and they don't work at all when you inhale. Like I said, cheap plastic Chinese imports.

So Daddy finds a set of seven for a bargain. They arrived today via Bob the Mailman. I have a happy little boy in my living room right now. Now all I have to do is figure out how to play recognizable songs on the things, or at least help him to do so.


Wednesday, June 11, 2008

So I'm finally reading...

Harry Potter.

I'm the type of person who will deliberately avoid being trendy just for spite. Some of you may have picked up on that, over the years. By the time I noticed students carrying around those tomes, it was the third or fourth one and they were wildly popular. There was no way I was going to read them then.

Times change. The first one was loaned more to Dear Husband than to me, but I said I'd read it if she'd read another book I've foisted off on her.

How is it so far? Honestly, I'm really enjoying it. I was told it was "kiddish," but it's not bothering me. Then again, I've read the Little House books, a spate of fairy tales, the Mowgli stories from the Jungle Book, and three of the Narnia Chronicles in adulthood, too. [I've decided that good books are good regardless of the intended audience. If it's a "children's book" and it makes you retch to read, it probably isn't worth reading. Unless it's the hundredth time this week--then it still can be good and make you want to blind yourself to avoid reading it again. But isn't that incentive to get your child good books?]

But now, about halfway through the first one, it's good. It reminds me a bit of Douglas Adams. It's the odd turns of phrase, like where for his birthday the Durnsleys got him an old coathanger and a pair of old socks. I can almost imagine Arthur Dent coming in with a bulldozer reference, you know?

I can't comment on the while witchcraft aspect, though. It seems to me it's so obviously fiction that I find it hard to believe folks have been all shook up about it.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why is it that....

When a woman thinks she's Cleopatra, she gets inpatient therapy.

When she thinks she's a man, she gets surgery.


Friday, June 06, 2008

My growing boys

Louie has found two things: his feet and reverse. His new favorite thing to gum is his right foot, to the point of preferring it occasionally to rice cereal. When the cereal is mixed with apples, however, he changes his mind.
And he's not quiet crawling yet, not getting his belly off the floor, but he can combat crawl backwards. It's troubling enough that we have had to lecture the others about the dangers of LEGO and Polly Pocket. At least he's starting slowly, I guess. He'll find "drive" soon enough.

As to the other boy, he's reading. It's taken a bit, and less tears than Madeleine, but he's there. Teaching reading in my mind is like riding a roller coaster. That first hill seems so big and so ominous, going up is so jerky and there's the impulse to holler Stop! I want to get off! It seems like it will never end, never get any easier.
Then the first car goes over the top. The view is spectacular and scary at the same time and you hold your breath.
The second car goes over the top and the momentum has swung--it pulls the whole rest of the train so fast, up and down and around the loops and you're screaming in fun the whole rest of the ride.
His roller coaster train has had the second car over the top. He's exhiliarated.


Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Overheard at the dinner table

I don't like this stuff. It makes my mouth all sting-y.

If, sir, you sir, choose to chew goose poop...

One more bite, then you're off the hook.

You interrupted my question!

So Trish liked the Harcourt science enough that she's said she's going to order it, which made me happy for her.

Can I feed Louie? She always gets to!

No, nobody wanted to talk much about the Wings.

Can I have more of this stuff? [same kid as above]

Knock, knock.
Who's there?
Flying car.
Flying car who?
Flying car in the sky!

Does Louie like his food? He's making a big mess!

Do we have time after dinner to make my police car model?

Where is the milk?

Mama's gone to her Happy Place.

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