Still life with Mrs. Potato Head


And that photo wasn’t even staged — can you believe it? Just a random assortment of things that made it onto our kitchen counter a few evenings ago, including the requisite stainless steel water bottles, one of the rocks the kids wanted to watch change colour under the water from the kitchen tap, some bangles, and Isaac’s penny tree — those copper disks are pennies flattened underneath real trains on real train tracks. And that Mrs. Potato Head is a real Mrs. Potato Head made from real plastic. So authentic we are.

The babysitter is on a much-deserved holiday, and that means Rachel and I are going to halfsies on child care this week. Right now, until, oh, precisely 12:30 today, it’s my half. Not that I’m counting. I will be cramming a week’s worth of work into the other half, in addition to the moments I have stolen while some DVDs are watched by some children or while Isaac naps. Oh, yes, we’ve reinstated the nap, for obvious reasons. Yesterday afternoon he slept for three glorious hours, woke up happy as a Teletubby, and went to bed at a quarter to ten. But that’s okay, because I got a shitload of work done while he slept. The day before, I managed to conduct a telephone interview while Isaac slept and Rowan watched Wall-E. It sort of worked, except for when I had to put the very nice lady I was speaking to on hold, twice, once to unstick the DVD from its FBI warnings against copyright infringement, the second to put butter on Melba toast.

But it’s not all work and pawning the children off on sleep and Pixar: I’ve been swimming, playing dreidel, teaching Rowan how to play Rummy-Q (yes!), playing chase in the backyard, reading Roald Dahl books. In the evenings, we fill two big green tubs — the kind normal people would put ice and beer in at parties — with warm water and bubbles, and the kids have “bucket baths” on the deck. Last night, after they were asleep, I snuck out and picked up hot fudge sundaes at Merla Mae, our local softserve, and Rachel and I ate them on the deck and watched the sunset.

Sadly, I can’t seem to find the time to write about the kids in much detail when I am actually spending time with them. This is a mixed gift, of course, and my project is to focus on the gift part of that mix, at least until 12:30 today. In the meantime, this is what you get: a random assortment of things that for now will have to suffice as a real composition.