The kids and I were out of school today for "Fall Break," whatever that means, so we took advantage of the opportunity to sit around in our pajamas all day like we like to do. Well, in the kids' case, it was more like the clothes from yesterday that they slept in last night, but still. Big Daddy left early after being alerted to the fact that downtown was on fire, and Somerset woke me up at 8:30 which did not feel as late as it sometimes does, since someone kept me up late like he likes to do. Nevertheless, I got up and made her a waffle that she requested and then left three quarters uneaten. I also made myself a waffle with peanut butter and chocolate chips, because I'm a grown up and I can eat things like that for breakfast if I want to, and then took up my usual post on the front porch glider. I'm thinking we should just move the couch out there like the hillbillies we apparently are, because we live out there lately.
Before long, the offspring started appearing with scraps of paper, attaching them to the porch, then going back inside. I became gradually aware that they were "decorating" the house for Halloween. The whole decoration-making production line was eventually moved outside. It involved scissors, markers, paper plates, a roll of scotch tape with broken dispenser, a roll of black electrical tape, most of a box of perfectly good Puffs tissues, and fishing line. And an empty toilet paper roll.
I have to confess here that I have become alarmingly like my mother in my old age, in that my tolerance for having a lot of crap everywhere has gone way, way down. I was not loving the idea of a TP-roll Frankenstein hanging from my crepe myrtle, and little tissue ghosts hanging from everything that could be reached by their short creators, and little drawings of monsters and witches that had been crudely cut out taped to every vertical surface. But they were so freaking happy with their decorations that I didn't have the heart to rain on the paper parade. At one point, Joshua exclaimed "It looks so good, I want to stay out here forever!" After they were done, we took a walk around the block to see if we could spot any other decorations. I can tell you that we were shocked and apalled at the paucity of tissue ghosts in Chickasaw Gardens. We thought we saw some in the trees of one of the few families we know in the neighborhood that has kids, but they turned out to be store-bought, imitation tissue ghosts made of plastic. And they even homeschool! What is this world coming to? And as we walked, Calvin asked me this very Calvin-like question:
"Mom, do you ever feel so good that like, you don't want anything else to happen, you just want to keep doing exactly what you're doing? But like, it kind of makes me nervous because then I start wondering what is going to happen next."
To which I replied a very myself-like answer:
"Sweetie, try not to worry about what's going to happen next. Just enjoy the feeling good part." He just kind of nodded and took off on his scooter. That child is so much like his father, it's scarier than a whole box of ghosts made out of the cheap generic tissues that hurt your nose when you blow.
Later, after the baby napped and everyone had lunch, we went to the duck pond. The last time we were there, the boys hooked up with a kid who had a net. It was heavy duty and looked suspiciously like the one we had seen a week earlier and left alone because we figured it belonged to someone. The little boy was using it to scoop out turtles, after which he would immediately let them go. This was decidedly more exciting than feeding the lame old ducks, and Calvin has been asking for a net ever since. We made a quick run up to the Dollar Tree and got three flimsy plastic nets, which I warned the kids were only going to hold little turtles. They were thrilled, and off we went. Calvin caught a couple of turtles, but for the most part they had nothing to fear from us. We did feed the ducks, too, and then tromped around to the little peninsula, where we attached long sticks to the nets in order to give them more reach. Joshua decided his was a horse and started galloping around on it, scaring the little fish that Calvin was trying to catch. The whole scene was impossibly idyllic, with the dappled sunlight and the happy children and the baby cooing at the ducks from her perch in the sling. I wished I had brought the camera.
About halfway around the pond, Somerset started having a meltdown because she was tired of walking, but that's de rigueur and not enough to ruin an outing. I told her I guessed she would have to stay there and become the lady of the lake. "No, I don't want to do that" she said, as if it were an actual possibility.