Good news! Today was not nearly so hot as yesterday. I mean, yes, OKAY, it was 101 today just like yesterday, and the heat index was around 108, but it was PARTLY CLOUDY. So. Ever so much better.
Today would’ve been a good day to stay inside and do work, and I managed to do that, for most of the morning, but eventually I had to give in to my children’s demands that we goooooo swiiiiiimiiiiiiing.
And because I can only spend so long in the pool with them before I start wondering important things like “would it be child abuse to pick up this dead cricket and place it atop my child’s head?” or “how many more times must I watch THIS VERY IMPORTANT JUMP which—amazingly!—looks just like every other jump this child has taken off the diving board so far?” I thought it prudent to call in reinforcements. So I begged Tammy to come over, since she’s a work-at-home slacker like me.
The children were delighted to have an additional audience. “Miss Tammy, look at me!” “Miss Tammy, you can use the Batman dive stick!” It’s really too bad that my kids are so slow to warm up to other people. (But you know, that’s one of the useful side effects of the extreme neglect I practice with them; they go right to any adult who gives them the time of day.)
We four bobbed around in the pool and made our own fun. (That sounds so much more lewd that I intended, as I didn’t intend it to sound lewd AT ALL but now it sort of does.) Really, this mostly consisted of Chickadee making up games with progressively longer lists of directions. “Now you hold up your dive stick! Now you move it this way! Now you dip it down in the water! Now you go over there! No, wait, over here! I win!” It was very confusing.
Fortunately, we also have those styrofoam pool noodles to play with in the pool, and in addition to being flexible flotation devices they make excellent water cannons. Simply dunk under the surface to fill, and then blow through one end while aiming the other.
I find that I cannot shoot water into Monkey’s face without him having a nervous breakdown (oh yeah, perhaps it’s not a good idea to spray your sensorily-disorganized child in the face with water, ya think?), but Chickadee is a remarkably good sport about it, as well as being really, really slow to figure out how to avoid getting blasted. I can, for example, take a big breath like I’m about to blow (and get her wet) and she’ll duck, immediately. I then wait until she comes back up and hit her full in the face. And she’s always surprised. And it never gets old!
“Chickadee, you have no idea how much joy it brings me to blast you in the face like this,” I remarked after getting her for maybe the fifth time while she continued to miss the mark in retaliation. Hubris, I suppose. She finally got me about five minutes later.
“Mom, you have no idea how much joy it brings me to blast you in the face like this,” she trilled, while I sputtered.
Tammy observed all of this and neither called to turn me in nor suddenly remembered she left the iron on, or something, so perhaps she shares our sadistic streak.
When thunder began rumbling, we got out of the pool and convened in the gazebo to wait for the rain (which never arrived, because that would’ve made sense, unlike the actual weather this week).
“Mama, will you teach me how to play poker?” asked Chickadee. “You said you’d teach me!” she reminded, when I didn’t respond quickly enough.
Tammy agreed to play poker, so Chickadee ran off for the cards.
Monkey—who’d cheered up considerably during swimming, but was having, overall, kind of a grumpy day—decided he’d rather play Pokemon.
“But who will play with ME?” he wailed, looking forlorn. Tammy, it turns out, is a sucker for a sad primate.
“I will play with you,” she told him, “after I play a few hands of poker. Okay?” He agreed and ran off to get his cards.
We girls played a couple of practice rounds of five card draw until we felt sure that we all understood the rules. Then we were faced with the conundrum of what to use for betting. (I know I once said we’d play poker for popsicles, but in 101 temps that’s… not really practical.)
“Oh! I have my money from CHURCH!” declared Chickadee, and ran off to get her pouch of pennies she won in some scavenger hunt at VBS. This made perfect sense to me, but Tammy looked stricken.
“You’re not only teaching her to gamble, you’re letting her wager HOLY MONEY?” I confirmed that we are living fast and loose around here, hoo boy.
Earnest poker commenced, and inbetween trying to explain to Chickadee that sticking out your lip and pouting is really not consider an optimal poker face we were dealing with Monkey asking every thirty seconds if it was time for Tammy to play Pokemon. We released her to him after she’d lost most of her pennies.
Tammy is much better at Pokemon than poker, as it turns out. She paid attention to Monkey’s endless nattering on his version of the rules, and engaged in deep conversation about the various critters.
“Oh, look, I have an electric chicken!” she declared, showing him the card. He laughed and told her what it REALLY was. “Yes, okay,” she agreed. “It is a very fine electric chicken. What does it do?”
Despite his frustration with her, I think Monkey developed a bit of a crush. I mean, when he tries to get ME to play Pokemon, I usually just fall down on the floor and pretend to be dead until he wanders off. And here they were having discussions about hit points and damage types and evolutions, and I’m pretty sure they were speaking English, but I was catching none of it.
The best part was when Tammy decided she could play Pokemon AND poker at the same time. She had cards in both hands and was wagering with us and dueling with him despite our constant mockery. (I took to randomly shouting out things like “I CHOOSE YOU, SQUIGGLY BLUE THING!” and Chickadee kept sneaking Pokemon cards and dealing them into the poker game. Plus many a Pokemon card apparently requires a coin toss to determine the course of action and Chickadee was hoarding all the pennies, so THAT was interesting.)
So the bottom line is that we know how to have a good time AND we’re preparing the kids for their future careers, really.