six in twelve:

the number of children for the number of hours I cared for them without adult help. Depending on who I had and the time of day this may or may not have included mile-long walks with a backpacked baby cooing in my ear and four preschoolers in tow (and yes, a coffee in hand), then the bike with my own children after a circus-like ringleading of five kids in one diner (splitting steamed milks before we spent fifteen minutes just getting coats on for departure). During the day I employed several very smart Mama tricks (including holding the hands of the clumsiest or spaciest children while walking on HQX’s treacherous sidewalks so if they took a gainer I’d kept them from busting a kneecap) and a few I-thought-it-was-clever ideas that backfired (encouraging the children to each pick a wildflower and then: “Alison took my flower!” “Nels made a bad choice!” “Where’s MY flower?!” for about five thousand blocks). Another impressive stat – minutes of televised entertainment I employed today: twelve.

Taking care of children when things are going smoothly is extremely exhilarating for me; I never would have guessed this before. It’s like running a well-oiled kitten factory except the kittens are smart enough to talk and be interesting with what they say (OK, the baby’s kitten talk is the equivalent of, “Give me fish!” “Change my litter box now!” “Something’s WRONG and I am going to squall until you figure it out!!!” Speaking of baby T., I only hurt him once (by sad and freak accident, not on purpose or due to neglect; I told his mom to bring a helmet next time but instead we’re settling for a Pack N Play or what you old folks know as a “playpen”). If you see a really abused-looking little blue-eyed baby about town just know I feel worse about it than he does.

Apparently 2008 is the Year of Consumerist Lust for me? It goes deeper than wanting to buy something because I have actually been up at night worrying my quilt with my teeth wondering what the heck I’m going to do about my kids growing out of their bike trailer (a Burley with 100 lb. capacity and my children folded in as it is). Last night cruising around the inter-Tron I find BikePortland which leads me (back) to Clever Cycles for a lingering look at my cycling wet dream – and then, suddenly, I see the word “longtail” and read, with increasing interest, a (potential) exact solution to my family needs + my biking life. When I catch the picture of the fellow with two my-size-children and grocery bags to boot I almost throw up in excitement. And this matrix regarding transportation (yes, I’m aware this is basically an advertisement – and to give fair warning, xtracycle’s entire site is rather hype-y) is almost paradigm-shifting in and of itself. “90% of car trips do not carry passengers”; sounds ludicrous and wasteful but, look around and you’ll see it’s true.

In other news, last night my daughter and I watched most of Disney’s 1954 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and I was struck by three things: 1. it’s actually a pretty good movie, and we haven’t even got to the squid yet; 2. Actor James Mason as Captain Nemo (the first I’d ever noticed the acclaimed actor)* has the exact booming voice that I so loved in “Darkplace”‘s Sanchez / Todd Rivers / Matt Berry (huge crush on all three!); and 3. I’ll be stealing the lovely Technicolor look for my third issue of Sure Nail & Fire.

* He also co-authored a book about cats! How sweet.

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