Saturday, December 27, 2014

Cedar spoons

We've been cutting trees to make a little more open space. It's necessary. The garden and orchard don't get enough light to set fruit, the trees are closing in around the chicken coop, and we can't see the sunset. Born and raised in the desert, we still feel bad cutting down any trees.
For Christmas, Jason gave me a very thoughtful gift. Hand carved, by him, from one of those recently felled trees. A cedar spoon.  It's lovely.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It's On, Internet

This morning, I came downstairs and found Jackson watching Pokémon on the iPad. Totally normal.

-Mom, Mom! I'm watching this online!

=You're always online. What app are you using?

-No, I'm online. I was playing the Pokémon game, and I clicked something. It brought me to the internet and asked me "3×14=?" Then it let me watch!

So, OK. The battle to keep my kids' Internet habits clean or safe is ON. Honestly, I'm annoyed that the age checker gave him a 2nd grade math problem instead of "How old are you?" Because I think that might've bought me a couple of extra years before he learned that the answer to all difficult questions in the Universe is 42.

I won't be downloading any parental locks. I think it's folly to fight curiosity, and I do oppose sensorship.  I guess we are due a lecture on appropriate Internet viewing. If you have tips, please share.

In the meantime, I'm going to go with 'if you see naked people, close your eyes and hit back-back back-back as fast as possible.'

But perhaps I should send Google a Thank You note for eliminating porn from its search results.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Chicken whispering

Our chicken flock has been reduced to just 2 old ladies (6 and 8). Champagne is broody and won't leave the coop, Peaches is free ranging, alone and sad. We've just gotten 21 baby chicks. The kids are all smitten. Especially Jonah, who has made a connection to his chicken Rocky.  Everyday they ask to hold the baby chicks.
The babes were just moved outside, and Jackson is stepping up as their care taker. He rushes out early every morning to let them outside. Every night he catches them and puts them inside. It rained this evening, and with no prompting, Jackson was outside in the wet muck, rounding up chicks to make sure they stayed dry and safe.
He's also taken a liking to Peaches. He grabs her and holds her and talks to her. Today, he took her for rides down the slide. She's been incredibly docile about it. I think she's secretly terrified and playing dead instead of struggling.
I'm really proud of Jackson for taking on this responsibility.
I should also mention Evie. She overcame a deathly chicken fear (brought on by the vicious neighbor rooster). She'll go out to help Jackson with the roundup. Last night, she caught at least 6 of them.

And a big shout out to Jason for " upgrading the farm!" Not enough can be said about the fancy, nicely fitting, latching door. Especially after day 2 when it got a lever to be able to unlock it from the inside--no crawling through the tiny chicken hatch required on day 2. Thanks, boys, for doing the honors on day 1.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

"Nature versus Nurture" or "Reparenting My Brother"

If you asked me 15 years ago, having just earned a biology degree, whether nature or nurture mattered more, I would've emphatically responded nurture.  DNA codes for eye color and height and heart disease, but our behavior is certainly a result of our upbringing and life choices.
Today, I have a different answer. As a parent, watching my children show behavioral traits of their uncless--people they see a few days a year, I am confident that nature holds the trump card. As a parent, i hope to hold some sway--to be able to guide and shape these little people into quality citizens. As time passes, I doubt my influence. Today, I'm on the precipice of becoming a fatalist. Perhaps every action we ever make was predetermined by our genetic code.
I learned to believe in nature from watching Jackson's slight head cock; hearing him talk and talk and talk; and being contradicted by my son after every statement I make. I'm sure he has a lot of Dodge traits, but those are hard for me to identify. So I see Wesley, Jacob, and Frank.
Then Jonah was born--a pale, redheaded duplication of my brothers. At first I wasn't sure which one. My memories tell me it's Ellis, but that must be the greater age difference because photos show a better match to Morgan. Once he started to crawl and climb and get into things, I knew. My child is my brother, Morgan, reincarnated during his lifetime. I am reparenting my own brother. It's clear from the mischievous twinkle in Jonah ' s eyes, from the way he expresses his eyebrows--one at a time, and his drive to turn every situation into hilarity--when Jonah seeks out funny, there is no stopping him.
For those reasons, I believe in nature. I offer 2 stories that are suggesting fate:

When Morgan was almost 3, a girl was murdered in our neighborhood. It was tragic and traumatic for children and adults. We were lectured ever after about stranger danger and how to keep ourselves safe. That summer, Morgan came up with his defense. He said that "if a kidnapper ever grabs me, I'll just pull out my 'kidnapper trick', shove it into his face, and the kidnapper will let me go and I'll run away." He demonstrated by reaching into his pants and pulling out a wad of dirty/used toilet paper and waving it in everyone's face.
Last summer, Jonah told me "If a bad guy ever gets me, I'll shove a used pullup in his face." Thankfully, Jonah doesn't know about child abductions, and he wasn't wiping himself yet.

Jonah has started fibbing to avoid getting in trouble. His answer to the question "who did ______" is now always "ghosts did it." I've had the conversation a dozen times with him now. It's always "ghosts." Was it you, Jonah? "Ghosts" I think it was you. "No! Ghosts did that."
When Morgan was little, between the ages 3 and 8, every mishap was done by Freddy Krueger.  My little brother's imaginary friend/scapegoat was Freddy Krueger.  I'm pretty sure that if Jonah knew that name, he'd be using it.

I love and miss Morgan. He is full of fun, his conversations are engaging and lively (even when he purposefully picks an antagonistic side of an argument--say global warming.) Morgan was a delightful child. He was sweet, spirited, and found the fun in everything. It makes me happy to have Jonah surprise me with wonderful memories of my childhood and brother. Two souls connected through space and time by one double helix.