July 19, 2004

This weekend

The weekend was good. I actually did an enormous amount of blogging this weekend, which is unusual for me. But, then, I had a lot to say.

We spent a lot of time being focused on the children to the exclusion of taking care of the house. That's ok, I think. The house isn't dirty, it's just messy. There's an important distinction and anyone with kids understands it. Before kids, I'm not sure that I did understand it so well.

Saturday was spent at the kiddy pool, either flinging the girl child around in the water to the accompaniment of her shrieks of laughter and demands for one more time, or trying to keep the boy child from killing himself as he somehow formed the conclusion that walking up to the edge of the pool backwards and stepping back into the pool was an acceptable method of entry. It was great fun and the Summer is shaping up to be idyllic.

Saturday was also, however, the scene of a tactical blunder on my part. I attempted a "nap-over", as we call them, with my daughter. That means that during her afternoon nap, I joined her in her bed with my pillow. She provided me with one of her blankets and a judiciously selected stuffed animal to cuddle with. I was given the flamingo this time. The blunder was that she was too excited to have me in bed to sleep. I slept and she didn't. So I was rested by the time we went over to my parents for dinner and she wasn't. By the time that bowl of ice cream my mother gave her hit her system, we had sugar + overtired = difficult. Still, at least I was rested!

Sunday was rainy and humid. No pool. Instead, we went to a local playground and then to feed the geese and ducks. The boy child had trouble with the concept of parting with the bread. My wife, who was holding him, would give him bread to throw and, instead, he'd eat it himself. MY daughter enjoyed feeding them but displayed great concern about the geese who circled behind us and went into the road. She ordered them back onto the grass with great authority.

Geese are kind of scary, aren't they? I remember reading as a child that Roman Armies used them as sentries. Plutarch writes about the geese and how they warned the Romans of a sneak attack on Rome by the Gauls:

Rome's Fortune, however, did not lack a voice capable of revealing and declaring such a great mischance. Sacred geese were kept near the temple of Juno for the service of the goddess. Now by nature this bird is easily disturbed and frightened by noise; and at this time, since they were neglected, because dire want oppressed the garrison, their sleep was light, and was made uncomfortable by hunger, with the result that they were at once aware of the enemy as they showed themselves above the edge of the cliff. The geese hissed at them and rushed at them impetuously, and at the sight of arms, became even more excited, and filled the place with piercing and discordant clamour. By this the Romans were aroused, and, when they comprehended what had happened, they forced back their enemies and hurled them over the precipice. And even to this day, in memory of these events, there are borne in solemn procession a dog impaled on a stake, but a goose perched in state upon a costly coverlet in a litter.

Poor Fido.

After the ducks and geese, the boy child made an important stride forward in his acquisition of the attributes of humanity: he communicated with words his hunger. "Num num" is Norwegian for yummy. It is an acceptable answer to the question, "is that good?" The boy, and the girl before him, is using it to signify food. When we got back in the car, he started complaining a little and saying, "num num", and when we got to the restaurant, he started saying "num num" again and was very excited. My wife observed that he made a great stride today and made our lives easier as well because he could now start to tell us what he wanted, in place of just crying and hoping we'd figure it out.

I hope you all had as nice a weekend as we did!

Posted by Random Penseur at July 19, 2004 09:34 AM

Geese can be quite ferocious. Even worse are swans. Swans will enter something of a berzerk state under certain circumstances and will fight to the death.

Posted by: Jim at July 19, 2004 01:19 PM

Num-num is Norwegian? I used to say that when tiny and I taught my kids to say it too, but my grandmother was from the Netherlands. :-)

Posted by: Amber at July 19, 2004 01:23 PM

I was once bitten on the bottom by a swan, much to my whole family's amusement.

Posted by: Mia at July 20, 2004 01:27 AM

So it turns out I've been speaking Norwegian for years without knowing it!

Posted by: Simon at July 20, 2004 03:28 AM

Simon, you'd be surprised to learn how common that is!

Posted by: RP at July 20, 2004 01:09 PM

Allright, Jim and Mia, but as we all know, moose bites can be very nasty.

Posted by: RP at July 20, 2004 01:09 PM
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