The other day I was doing some routine admin work here on the blog and noticed a category or two that didn’t contain very many posts.
Bodily Functions, I mused. Haven’t had a post in that category in while. Hmm.
Sunday the children came home from nearly a week with their dad. Naturally they are all taller now. Plus, apparently tennis is the new passion over there at the House of Ex, as Nathaniel couldn’t seem to talk of anything else. He was “pretty good”, he said, and was a “finesse player” who could put the ball pretty much “anywhere he wants,” although he “wasn’t playing as well” as he had in the beginning.
Nearly every hour there was a plea that we all go out and play tennis.
Of course, we have no rackets. And I haven’t played since about high school. For good reason: I’m pretty bad at it.
Still, far be it from me to deny the Wimbledon Champion of 2021, so obviously we had to go out and buy tennis rackets.
Which we did. Yesterday. There was Nathaniel, expertly testing rackets at various price points there in the aisle at the sporting goods store. The more he tested and swung there in the store, the better player I assumed he was.
We got back home mere seconds before Eric’s bus pulled up.
Not long after, everybody had eaten lunch and Nathaniel asked me to install his miniblinds. The blinds that have sat, still in the boxes they came in, in the computer room since about January. I mean April. Whatever. Those blinds.
So I struck a deal with Nathaniel: two blinds installed in exchange for him watching Eric. Makes sense, right?
I got my power tools ready and carted the blinds upstairs and got to work. It had been so long since I did the first-floor blinds that I sort of forgot how they were installed. No matter, I can just look at the ones I did downstairs and see how I did it. No problem. So I took a look and went back upstairs, my iPod draining brain cells out through my ears via the insidious white cord, and began drilling and screwing.
Too bad I installed it wrong, the things that you screw in that hold the blinds in place. Oops. I came downstairs to check to see what I did wrong. Oh. I see now. I’m heading back up when one of the children announces to no one in particular:
“Eric has poop.”
Inhale. Ah yes, so he does.
I approach Eric. There’s a sort of….brown clayish substance on his hands, both of them.
Except it’s…not clay. Not clay at all.
I whisk him to the sink to wash his hands (poop! I am touching poop! is the refrain I am trying to suppress in my head) while asking, um, yelling at, the children to get me wipes, a diaper, etc.
Nathaniel can’t help at all because he is dancing around holding his nose and gagging.
How anyone could miss the sight of Eric digging both hands into the back of his diaper is beyond me. Seriously, 11-year olds can take responsibility, can’t they? Grr.
I went up to finish the installation and decided it was the day to put the blinds up in my own room as well, but I knew better than to leave the three of them alone any longer so I coaxed them all upstairs into my room and closed the door so no one would escape and announced that Nathaniel would be installing the blinds.
And I taught him how to use a drill and electric screwdriver, mark his spots, put the blind together, the whole thing. He did it all while I read a book to Eric three times. Some things I learned about Nathaniel:
1. He is much more of a perfectionist than I am. I didn’t know that was possible. I kept explaining that blind installation wasn’t an exact science, but he wasn’t buying it. I’m sure the one he did is installed more securely than the ones I did, though.
2. He gets frustrated easily. One blind was enough; never mind that there were two windows.
After that, flush with our power-tool euphoria, we decided to put together the something-in-an-IKEA-box that’s also been in the computer room since about last November, maybe. Don’t know, it’s been so long, and no one could actually remember what the item is.
So we assembled our tools and opened the box to reveal…lots of little pieces of woodish stuff and metal. And a multi-page instruction book. The kind that causes my eyeballs to roll up inside my head.
But apparently Nathaniel has patience for this stuff and he took over. Eric helped a lot, too. Later I found important pieces upstairs, while meanwhile he had found the shoes I didn’t wear at BlogHer which I have thus far refused to put away as that would admit Final Defeat, which he brought down and placed neatly on the kitchen table.
So there’s Nathaniel, patiently going through the steps to assemble the IKEA thing, and I am helping and Serena is helping; plenty of screwdrivers for all!
I decided to clean up the boxes from the blinds and the box from the IKEA item and take them out to the trash.
It’s great they can assemble this themselves, I thought. They’re really growing up. I was proud.
It took a couple of minutes to smash the boxes enough so that they’d fit in the trash container.
When I got back in the house, two of the three children were crying. Screaming, really.
It took about 4.5 seconds to assess the situation and send someone to his room. After that I spent 5 minutes getting the details and threatening death if ever again “unkind hands” were used in response to frustration arising from unkind words. Then they switched places and I was able to speak of the evils of little-sister taunting and arrogance, as well as the even larger evil of retaliation.
Apparently they each got pretty much what they deserved, however.
Today was the day to try out the new tennis rackets. Nathaniel was immensely kind, patient, and helpful as he waited for me to write two posts over at Babble, but we finally made it over to the courts. I was a little nervous about playing since it’s been quite a long time, and Nathaniel sounded pretty good.
Neither is Serena.
But we hit balls to one another and chased an awful lot of them. After about 30 minutes Nathaniel was able to maintain a short volley, and I remembered how to serve. Serena was able to hit one over the net with fair consistency.
And we finally played a game and Nathaniel won.
So we’ll do it again.
But I still have some furniture to finish assembling.
[tags]Ikea, sibling rivalry, tennis, poop [/tags]