Day 107: Yellow-bellied sapsucker

This morning, when I belatedly published yesterday’s entry, I ended by listing what I thought we’d be doing today. Of that list, only going to Board Game Day and ballet lesson happened.

Instead: a truck arrived with our new washer and dryer, and the guys assembled it in the back room and removed the old one. (I still don’t know if they work because I needed to get an outlet adaptor and dryer vent hole insert. Please cross your fingers for me.) While that was happening, I shooed the kids into Boy’s room and they promptly started building with Legos. After the guys left, I went in and asked the kids if Boy wanted to do some math and violin, and if Girl wanted to work on her letters.

Girl and I chatted about why it was she asked to start learning the letters to begin with. She’d like to be able to read, because then she wouldn’t have to wait for other people to read things for her, and also reading is fun and interesting. (But she still decided on Legos.)

Boy opted to go out back with the dog for a bit, but still planned on doing some math and violin when he came back in. They’d been out there for a while when Boy came up to the “communications” window (the dining room window that the kids yell at when they want to talk to me) and told with a bright and happy face that he’d seen a woodpecker.  I knew exactly what he was talking about: the yellow bellied sapsucker that’s been hanging out on the pecan tree, drilling new holes or eating from the ones that are already there. (We have other woodpeckers, but they tend to hang out way higher in the canopy.) I see it all the time, and I thought about trying to show it to the kids, but I thought how much more exciting for them to spot it themselves. He described it to me, and I affirmed that it sounded like the one I’d been seeing. We even heard its call, and I said that later we could look up the yellow bellied sapsucker on the Cornell Ornithology website. Then I went back to washing dishes.

After a while I peeked at him out the window. He was just looking at the ice inside a metal pipe in the ground, using a stick to try to pry it out, Dog by his side, for a really long time. I thought: He has an absolute right to these moments. It would be a crime against something important for me to go out back and tell him that he needed to be doing something different.

When he did finally come back in, he and Girl went back to building Legos, and I could hear them working really well together, talking things through about their shared project. (More on that tomorrow; it’s lovely.) And that’s what they did until it was time to eat lunch and go play board games at the library.

Board Game Day was quieter than it has been, because of sickness and schedule conflicts this week. So Girl and her friend played Candy Land, did a puzzle, and played Life with Miss J the librarian. Boy and I played several rounds of Mastermind before he decided to go watch Life and help with counting the money.

Papa got stuck in traffic, so when we got home we had to quickly get ready and go right back out the door to ballet. We dropped off Boy, and then Girl and I went to the hardware store for what we needed for the washer and dryer, and then went to our local organic grocery to get boxes. The boxes are for next week’s Geography Club, so that the kids can build an Inuksuk with them.


One more thing. I’ve been thinking about how hard it is to convey the personalities of the kids in the blog. I feel like that’s missing somehow. (Since I’m writing the blog, I’m sure my own personality comes though in one way or another.)

So here’s something that might get across a little how goofy and sweet Boy can be. He noticed that I was g-chatting with Aunt S yesterday morning, and asked if he could have a turn. This constitutes his first real solo self-typed message exchange. (He asked me how to spell a good number of words.)

Boy:   it has snowed tonight and it’s all over the ground
Aunt S:   Are you going outside to play in the snow?
Boy:   yes i am to play with lucy
Aunt S:    I hope you have lots of fun!
Boy:   oh i will
          are you going out in the snow to?
Aunt S:   I will go out to clear the snow off my car and shovel the driveway later this morning so I can drive to work.
Boy:   are you gan’a have hot chocolate?
Aunt S:    I am drinking hot chocolate right now! Are you?
Boy:    no
           but what are you doing at work?
           later
Aunt S:    I am helping my boss learn to use a computer program that can translate words and sentences from English into other languages like Spanish or Chinese.
Boy:     is that exciting?
Aunt S:    Not usually. Sometimes it is interesting, like solving puzzles or math problems. It can be fun to try to figure out how things work or make them work better.
Boy:    i’m sure it’s exciting and cool and awesome and if i was you i would think it’s cool and the best job ever and obviously everybody should have that job and be like you and be awesome like you
Aunt S:   Thank you. I think you are pretty awesome too.
Boy:     and have the best job in the world
            thank you to
            see you later
Aunt S: I love you and I will see you very soon.
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