May 28, 2006

Food Poisoning

Camille's mother came into town for a four-day visit this week. That would normally be great news, but this time the visit went sour. Camille, her mother, and I contracted food poisoning after ordering from Kalliope. Camille's mom was briefly hospitalized: food poisoning can be particularly tough at 88.

We're all recovering slowly: two days later I've had four Saltines and am drinking a cup of tea. We're just sorry that Mom's trip was spoiled by the incident.

This story has a silver lining, however. While Camille and I were at the height of our sickness, sometimes retching simultaneously into our two toilets, the kids (who had eaten pizza) did an amazing job taking care of us. They were attentive and brought us glasses of water or the telephone or books. They were respectful and stayed away while we napped. They prayed for our recovery. Jessica even tried to do all the kitchen dishes herself and read a story to Camille.

Most amazing, they did not fight. I can't remember another day when they played so peaceably. They never raised their voices all day.

They were a bit scared at seeing both of us sick, and I think they were even scared by the weird sort of carnival day they had. They enjoyed unlimited access to TV and video games—a first for our household. Their diet tended towards M&Ms, fruit snacks, and other sugary treats.

Still, it was wonderful to know that they can pitch in when they need to.

May 01, 2006

Pangea and the Colonies

This is the risk of homeschooling your kids, in a microcosm:

This afternoon Nathaniel and I were hiking up Bear Mountain. We had been singing It's Christmas at Ground Zero in the car (one of my favorites), and he was still humming it. He was leading (as always), and he missed a turn in the trail.

I set him straight, but he blamed the painted marker on the tree. Whoever paints the trails had missed this tree for at least a season, so there were just a few faded bits of paint on the bark where there should have been a neat yellow rectangle.

"Look at this paint!" he said shaking his head. "They should redo this. It's all broken apart. It's pangea!" He started chortling. "It's like the United States went backwards and became thirteen colonies again."

Then he laughed so hard at his own joke I had to stop until he collected himself.