In Which Small Children Explain Things

11 March 2003

I'm a morning person. I really am. But it's a bit disconcerting for me to wake up and squint at my to-do list and see "take David _God_." Actually, it says, "take David _Cod_," the Mark Kurlansky book, although I'm not sure that's a better instruction to wake up to.

The maintenance being did come yesterday and fix things, which is good, because Timprov started his laundry in the wee hours of this morning, and I didn't wake up to "squee-squee-squee-squee" from the dryer. Unfortunately, the maintenance being doesn't know why the dryer stopped squeaking -- he took it partially apart and put it back together, and the squeaking stopped. So...okay then.

I went to the post office, and now I'm wishing I'd waited another day, because I'll be going back today or tomorrow. I went to the library, and once again there were many books that were listed as on the shelf, but were not, in fact, on the shelf. Sigh. They have a self-service hold shelf now, though, where they just put your holds, labeled with your name. None of mine were there yet. After all, why shouldn't I have to go back to the library as well as the post office? Why should it be efficient, she said crankily?

But I did find the Andrea Barrett short story collection I've been waiting for months to read. So I'm not entirely put out with the library. Also, I got to overhear a little kid explaining something to her mom. Sometimes I think that small children explaining things is my favorite thing in the world. Especially when the adult has an objection they haven't thought of, and you can just hear the wheels turning while they're figuring out why what they want is still a good thing. Yesterday it was another dinosaur book. She absolutely positively needed another dinosaur book. The one they had at home did not cover flying dinosaurs. She would be very careful with it. She would carry it herself. This is the sort of reasoning I just love: the book is half her size, so obviously it's big and heavy, and maybe mommy didn't want to take another book home because then mommy would have to carry it. So she would carry it herself! And in the bright little voice, this was clearly a key point. She was on the verge of winning the argument, in her own mind, because who could dismiss such an offer.

I swear, I'm going to spend the first three years my kids can talk saying, "Really? Why's that?" Just so that I can hear them explain stuff. People talk about two-year-olds asking "Why?" all the time, but I swear, it's going to be dueling "Why"s at our house. If I'm really lucky, my kid will also find me funny when I'm explaining stuff. Then we can just explain stuff and laugh at each other all day.

Of course, nobody will want to come within a mile or so of us, so we'll have to live in a Hermitage Of Whys.

I realize that I have no idea what parenting will be like. Those of you who already have kids don't need to tell me that, because I know I don't know. I don't know what I don't know, but I know that I don't know. But I still really love little kids explaining stuff, I know that.

And to take a left turn off the road here, I'm wearing some pretty strange underwear. It was free -- Victoria's Secret sent me a coupon in the mail for free panties and $5 off a bra. (Turns out that what they had in my size for $5 off bras was brilliantly, blindingly turquoise, full-coverage from nearly collarbone to belly. Much, much more modest than my swimsuits -- not just the bikinis but the two-piece sports-bra-y lap-swimming ones. Gosh, but for $5 off, how could I resist? The answer: easily, that's how.) Anyway, I was cutting the tags off my free panties, and I noticed that the back side was listed as having different fabric composition than the front side. I looked at it, and sure enough, you could see the difference. Why is that? Is one side supposed to be the "good" side? (Which side, for heaven's sake?) And when I put them on, I could feel the difference between front and back. Do you know how disconcerting that is, how incredibly strange? Why? Why why why? Is this why they were free? Do people like having different -- no, no, never mind, don't answer that. Unless I have lived with you, and even then maybe not, don't answer any of that. Take it as a sort of rant and move on.

In other news, the letters are disappearing from my keyboard again. I'm not sure why this is, as we didn't buy the absolute el-cheapo kind this time. I fear that it's Just Me. Sigh.

I'm almost finished with the story about Aino, Joukahainen, and Väinämöinen. Anyone else willing to help me with titles?

Okay, I'm heading up to have lunch with David. I finished The King of Elfland's Daughter last night and will be reading Tamora Pierce's Squire on the train. Deeply intellectual fare, I realize, but lately I just need Story.

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