Monday, September 3, 2007

Some Kind of Labor

Today we had Girl Scouts. The boys stayed home to nap with Papa since he was off work. If I had been thinking I would have made a list of errands beforehand. Doing errands without children obviously allows me a lot more freedom. Since I didn't think of a list, when the time came to decide how to spend my 90 child-free minutes, I was like a prostrate squirrel unable to decide whether to go right or left.

I ended up at Lowes.

When I went to pick up the girls I lamented to one of my friends that I couldn't think of anything to do. She just said, "Why didn't you just go get a cup of coffee and read a magazine?" I was speechless. It had never occurred to me to do something so--dissipated.

Today was the last day to swim at the pool since it's Labor Day. Gwynneth of the Gold Hoops was there again. She, Ella, and Meggy have become best friends. They exchanged phone numbers last week and talked on the phone for an hour. They kept trying to get permission from me to spend the night together. But I don't know the father except from across the pool, and I've never seen the mother. It was a little awkward explaining to the girls that we just can't do that kind of thing. So this time they said goodbye and wished each other a good Christmas and other nice holidays in between now and pool-time next year.

We went to Antonius' house yesterday for a goodbye party for the Allens as they head back to Boston, and a birthday party for Christina. Very sweetly, Antonius made a public promise to Christina that he would stop smoking. He has made this promise before, but never publicly. He said he's hoping that the prospect of public humiliation will give him the encouragement he needs. We're all pulling (praying) for him.

I bought a book of 2000 stickers last Wednesday that I planned to use in a scheme to get the kids to do more work around the house. I remember reading in a parenting magazine once about how children should not be encouraged to work with little goodies like this. The author argued: "I never get little stickers or candies when I finish sweeping the floor or folding the laundry so why should..." I decided this was the stupidest thing I had ever heard so I didn't bother finishing the article.

It was working remarkably well Wednesday. Margaret was as busy as a bee, saying, as she rubbed her hands back and forth, "What can I do next?" Ella and she turned it into a competition, and Max got into it too. Then, the next day Margaret wasn't feeling well, Ella was sick, and Max behaved as if he had never heard of our stickers-for-work scheme. And now that everyone is well again I can't find the stickers. It seems that the minute a plan begins to unfold nicely something happens and blasts it all to pieces.
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