Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Life with Toogs

Only Jack and Diana and I were home this evening, and Jack was confined to quarters for yet another incident involving poop and his underwear. The Dude is a cheerfully incorrigible little guy, absolutely confident in his mother's love. At dinner, when it finally came out that he'd been sitting in what we might delicately call "a mess" for goodness knows how long, he was utterly unrepentant.
"Are you going to spank me, Mommy?" he asked nonchalantly.
"No, Jack," I said wearily. "I'm not going to spank you, because neither that nor anything else seems to produce results."
"Okay," he said. "Are you going to make me help wash out the underwear?"
"Yes. Young man, you had stand in one spot and not move so that it doesn't go down your leg."
"It won't," he said. "See? I'm moving around now, and the poop isn't going anywhere! Am I going to take a bath?"

After the bath we all shut ourselves in the bedroom and I started to clean up, again. The bedroom is often a disaster. Five children, three beds, one room -- you do the math. It's not even as if we're short on space. We have the largest house of anyone I know, and it contains five perfectly good bedrooms: the master bedroom, the front room, the back room, the princess bedroom, and the attic bedroom. Yet three of them sit empty, collecting dust and the detritus of secret clubs, and all the small people and their toys wedge into the back bedroom. While Jack perused Calvin and Hobbes from the comfort of his flannel-sheeted bed and Diana wandered and sang and talked at me, I sat down to sort the Legos from the Duplos and put each in their own bin. The Legos and their larger brethren were scattered all over the room, pushed into corners, under the crib, sifted through several random buckets of toys. The process has a charmingly progressive feel: as I took each bucket and separated out not only the Legos and Duplos, but the train tracks, the building blocks, the castle blocks, the army men, the letter puzzles, the cars, the socks, and the miscellaneous, a pretty sense of order began to pervade the bedroom. I like to engage in these futile little tasks now and then -- picking up Legos, potty training -- to remind me that all is vanity. Today you attempt hygiene, tomorrow to dust it shall return. Even as I worked, Diana was busily pulling blocks from the bin and setting up a tower, because it's always more fun to play with the toys when Mommy too is playing put things in boxes.

Diana does not answer to her name anymore, and if you tell her that her name is Diana, she will contradict you: "I'm Dudley Do-Right." (What she actually says is, "I'n Dudley Do-Wite", but we'll pay her the courtesy of big-girl orthography.) Tonight Dudley Do-Right wore a bandolier of Daddy's old belt over her fleecy footy sleeper, and a big cowboy hat over her new Ramona haircut, and Jack's six-shooter. I pity the mustache-twirling bandit who tries to pull one over on her. Dudley has assigned various people to be her sidekicks: Julia is Nell, Jack is Horse, and Isabel, in a very suitable bit of casting, is Snidely Whiplash. That leaves Eleanor, who is often writing some story or other, as the Narrator. Me? I'm Inspector Fenwick, who is "all for putting Stokey in the pokey".

Darwin is Red Wood, the logging magnate.

Even Dudley Do-Right has to get some rest, which involves nestling in the crib with a comforter, Grandma's ducky quilt, two pacifiers, and a big Curious George anthology. Jack was already asleep, worn out with his and Calvin's villainy, so Diana and I said prayers by ourselves. She stood in the crib and snuggled against me and babbled something that sounded like it could have been the Hail Mary, if you listened closely enough.
"God bless Diana," I whispered as I made the sign of the cross on her forehead under her Ramona bangs, "keep her safe, give her sweet dreams, and make her pure and holy."
And she reached up, just like she sees her big sisters do every night, and blessed me back.


Anonymous said...

If you want to be Catholic, you have to believe the Traditional Catholic Doctrine of Creation:

Darwin said...


Your link is as misguided as it is irrelevant to the current post. I'd be happy to smack this kind of foolishness around some time if there's demand for it. It's been a while since I've dealt with creationism, and I'd been thinking it was time to come at the topic again. But posting your link to a post on an utterly different topic hardly suggests that you have an interest in debate.

lissla lissar said...

I love the phrase "futile little tasks" to describe tidying. Tidying causes acedia in me- I feel like Sisyphus. Thinking of it as Ecclesiastical might help!

BettyDuffy said...

Love Darwiniana.

Jenny said...

Ominous portends for me about potty-training a boy. We hope to have Sam using the potty by May to avoid the terrible two-in-diapers. For his part, he is only mildly interested and hides when pooping in his diaper.

I spent this past weekend cleaning the girls' room which has not truly been put in order since about September. I would sort into buckets and Sam would quickly unsort out of buckets. I get the feeling you handled this situation much more calmly than I did.

And, at last, the bedroom was organized again. What a wonderful feeling! The floor was clean; the corners did not have mounds of plastic objects piled into them. Lectures were administered about picking up the room every day.

We'll see how long it lasts.

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

When my kids were young they all slept in the same bedroom just as yours do. But we designated an empty bedroom as a playroom and all of the toys lived in there. It kind of made sense since the room was in the front of the house just off the living room and kitchen/dining area, so I could keep an eye on the kids while I did other things. But what I really liked is that one could just close the door and ignore the mess. The bedroom was only used for sleeping, so we didn't have to worry about stepping on or tripping over toys in the middle of the night.

Anonymous said...


Check this out:

Reading List: Pro-Western Christianity

There's quite an interesting debate in the comments of the above thread.

If you look at second half of reading list, it's definitely pro-Darwinist.


Josiah Neeley said...

Out of curiosity, why aren't you using the other three bedrooms?

mrsdarwin said...

Because they don't want to sleep separately. We have beds in all the rooms, and the front room is nominally for the two oldest, but they don't sleep there unless someone is angry at someone else and having her own room as a form of protest.

So we have lots of room for visitors.

Rebekka said...

I was talking potty training with one of the teachers at Dagmar's daycare, and she saidthat girls are good at it as a matter of pride, while boys are busy with everything else and just don't care. As a general observation.

bearing said...

Here's to lots of room for visitors!

Finicky Cat said...

We have four children in one bedroom...just because they enjoy it. We put them all to bed about 7:30 - from the 12-year-old right down to the 5-year-old - and with their stuffed animals and flashlights, they lay awake talking and making up stories until 9pm. The 3-year-old, still in our room, feels very left out...