Since I am a mother (a fact i occasionally neglect on this blog), I should talk a little bit about my kidlets, as they are the human beings i spend the most time with.
Paul started first grade last Thursday. I will forever feel guilty because I was not there - I had class. Daniel took him, and apparently there was crying. I am never sure if Paul's crying level is normal for his age, or if I am a horrific monster of a mother who has bred a child that cries because there are carrots in the pasta sauce. What kind of emotional damage have I wrought? Will their college accounts become therapy accounts? I would post a picture of him on his first day, but he's in a stained shirt and Daniel does not understand how to frame pictures so the messy house doesn't show. The "first day of school" picture will now forever showcase what a bad housekeeper & laundress i am.
Paul's teacher seems like a nice lady so far (there are good reports from other parents), and once the trauma of the first day wore off Paul got into it pretty quickly. He is not very forthcoming about what he does at school, except when he told us that he mooched a free lunch from the cafeteria. I tried explaining that the free meals are for kids whose parents can't afford to feed them enough, but Paul insists that free lunches are for everybody. We will work on this. We are still not into the homework routine, and between Paul's school and mine there is just NO TIME LEFT for much else. I have to get more time-efficient.
Eli is doing really well with his new babysitter, Liz. Liz also has a three-year-old, and he and Eli are already best buds. There is much crying when I, the evil mother, swoop in and take Eli away. Eli is whip-smart and continues to crack us all up (last night he wrapped a black sock around his face and robbed us all), although Paul is determined to spoil the fun by pointing out that "Eli isn't really an alien," or whatever the current charade is. Then I wonder if we are neglecting Paul and he needs more fun attention. This post should be titled "Mommy Insecurities."
I am adding a low-unit horticulture class that meets approximately one Saturday a month. It kills three birds with one stone - I earn extra credit for my Biology class, I get to go on guided/group hikes, and I get to learn more about native plants and landscaping. I have also resumed practicing the guitar - I bought a Mormon guitar book in Utah this summer and have finally begun practicing out of it. It's nice to learn using songs I already know the tune to. I can play "O My Father," "I Need Thee Every Hour," and "Love at Home" semi-incompetently. I am pretty bad at "I Am a Child of God," but it has a G chord and that requires stretching my weak little left pinkie. My left fingertips are very sore, but the boys love to listen to me practice (Eli actually stops the carnage, sits down and watches) and that helps motivate me to keep it up.
Book Recommendation: Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich. She goes "undercover" as a minimum-wage worker (waitress, cleaning lady, rest-home worker, Wal-Mart associate) and attempts to make ends meet on just her minimum-wage earnings. It's pretty shocking. I only spent a few months as a homeless full-time worker (don't you know that story? I'll share it later), but I had a safety net to fall back on. This book taught me things about working poverty that I never knew, such as illustrating how difficult it is to set aside two months of rent as a security deposit when you are living in a weekly hotel room (which costs roughly 30% more than a comparable apartment), and what it is like to live in these kinds of places. This book made me embarassed at just how rich I am, and see how vulnerable I would be if Dan died and I had no family that could help us.