December 31, 2008
I was supposed to pile into my sister's minivan this morning, with five of us making a four-day trip to Illinois to visit the grandparents and an aunt, uncle, and several miscellaneous cousins. It's not happening, because my brother-in-law is suffering from food poisoning. So Dad and I are likely to go out, just the two of us, in the first week of the new year. Stand by for planning documents.
December 29, 2008
Following map recon, I realized that there were no apartments close to UB's North Campus other than the on-campus ones. So I'm going to be getting an on-campus apartment.
Which have a convenient online application process. So I saved myself six hours of driving and a fair chunk of gas money by applying for my apartment from the comfort of home.
December 28, 2008
My twin sis and her husband and their children left for his mother's place today. All is quiet once more. Little N was not happy about leaving all the lovely toys that Grammy has, until he was reminded that his Grandma has a pool table. That cheered him right back up.
As for me, I've got travel plans too. First I zip back up to Buffalo to work on obtaining a place to live once school starts on Jan 12th. (Funny story about college living below the fold).
Then Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, my elder sister and her family will pack Dad and I into her minivan, and we're all going to see the grandparents in Illinois. With four drivers, we can press on quite hard. It'll be tight quarters in the car.more...
December 27, 2008
Today the family holday supper was at my mother's. It was the same crowd as at Dad's, except without T's other grandparents. Which was a good thing, as we were quite crowded in Mom's place; two more people would not have been workable.
The kids all played together quite well, by which I mean no actual fisticuffs erupted, although N did plaintivly call for an uncaring universe to remove his little sister every ten minutes or so. They also shared the collection of toys quite well. Having so many new toys made that easy, as everyone could have a new toy to play with; still, I've seen situations when jelously took ever.
Then came one more session of snow-play. N learned that when his Uncle Chris says "Don't throw snowballs at me!", Uncle Chris is not kidding. Uncle Chris proved himself capable of moving a very large volume of snow into N's clothing.
When little T got to the hyperactive "Got to keep moving or I'll fall asleep!" stage, her parents took off with her. Z crashed a couple of hours ago, falling asleep quite rapidly. Now N is fighting off bedtime. We accomplished the PJ's, now it's tooth brushing time. All this would be easier except his mother passed out an hour or so ago, so now it's Grammy and Dad supervising, which is not what N is used to.
Good times, good times. I am also looking forward to a few hours of adult conversation when the last little one passes into Slumberland.
December 25, 2008
Young N and I are sleeping in the game room at Dad's, while the guest bedroom belongs to N's parents and his toddler sister. We didn't stop to think about the fact that the fireplace is also in the game room, and thus the stockings. We had quite a wait to make sure N was fully asleep before they could be filled.
In the morning, I was blissfully asleep, after a not-very-restful night. A small hand started shaking me. "Uncle! The stockings are here! Let's open them!"
I expressed my disapproval of that notion monosyllabically, which N took as approval to get his stocking down, dump it on the floor, and start shrieking gleefully. Soon everyone else arrived, and there was general merriment. Although toddler Z had some issues with what belonged to who, as she feels any candy on the floor is de jure hers. She did manage to claim some of it de facto.
Then it was breakfast time, with N campaigning to hurry up and make with the present-opening. That had to wait for his Uncle C, Aunt G, and Cousin T to arrive. When they finally did, he was glad to see them, by which I mean he hid. He managed to offer lukewarm hugs upon direct orders, and after some boring grownup conversation, we gathered 'round the tree and opened presents. Much fun ensued.
December 24, 2008
Well, as annoying as they can be, children also do cute things on a semi-regular basis.
As I mentioned, N apparently decided that Santa was a myth several weeks ago. However, as the time draws near, he is having second thoughts. This is without any adult prompting, at least that I'm aware of; we've been opaque in conversation about stocking-stuffers, but the only issue with Santa has been the insistance on getting a photo, which was explained as a family tradition. (There was no wishlist-whispering.)
Anyway, this evening N realized how to determine the truth of Santa's existance once and for all. He was going to leave out milk and cookies.
"If the milk and cookies are gone, then Santa must have taken them, which means he's real! If the cookies are still here, he's not real."
His evil uncle was content to leave it at that, but later his mother suggested to him that perhaps some person that was not Santa might come along and eat the cookies. N pondered this for a few moments, then made his mother promise that she wouldn't eat the cookies. Then he asked her to tell everyone else not to eat the cookies either.
Now I'm in kind of an ethical quandry. I don't want to intentionally deceive a child by telling him that there's a magical elf somewhere that makes stuff appear. Thinking along those lines leads to flipping houses in California. but on the other hand, this is really too funny to pass up.
So the adults had a huddle, and the current thinking is that when the stockings get stuffed, we'll take the cookies off the plate and put them back into the cookie jar. The jar is almost empty, so the re-addition should be quite noticible. We won't point it out if he doesn't notice, however.
My nephew, having decided that the jolly fat elf doesn't exist, has apparently also decided that he is under no obligation to be good this holiday season. Sure, he's six, and his theory of mind is not yet fully-fleshed out. I am aware that my older relatives can regale me with hours of stories about what a rotten little kid I was. Yet N's obstructionism, destructiveness, and peremptory orders are not particularly charming. The traditional photo with Santa yesterday was achieved after only heroic efforts, including the mall's Santa's clamping him into place, to prevent him from wiggling out for the fourth time, which scares his sister and makes her cry.
That said, at the mall yesterday, he bought a tube of little candies with his allowance, then spilled 80% of the candy onto the floor. I felt bad for the little guy. I didn't replace the candy, as (a) this was a valuable life lesson, and (b) his being annoying means I'm less inclined to do him favors.
Please believe me, I intend no criticism of his parents. If it was my kid, he'd be in a military academy already. I might let him back in the house come second grade, to see if he'd learned anything.
December 23, 2008
Don't you feel inspired now?
(Nicked from Rexblog.)
Update: This embed works sometimes and not other times. I blame Youtube's server.
Young nephew N is not good at determining when adults are making jokes. Last night he asked what was for dessert, which was a problem, because with Dad on a healthy diet, I've gotten out of the habit of making an after-dinner sweet. So, I jokingly said that we'd been having "Cold bean soup! With lots of pepper!"
He became quite upset. Cold bean soup was not an acceptable dessert! It took some reassurance that Uncle was actually making brownies, and even then he kept checking up the oven to ensure no bean-related trickery was occuring.
His distress was probably aided by a discussion his father and I had about beans, specifically that we'd both enjoyed Chinese bean-based sweet buns, and that there seemed to be no reason you couldn't skip the buns and just have the sweet bean paste for desert.
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