I’ve Completely Lost Control of My House

I am anxiously awaiting tomorrow night, our elementary school’s Learning Fair. Right now there’s evidence of J’s project with her BFF everywhere. They’re researching chemical additives in food, which has led to all sorts of groovy-cool little projects-in-process. Like noticing that the brown candies contain multiple color dyes:

candy dye

Cool. Excellent. The girls are exploring and enjoying science! For a little while I had these contained, but after the last work session, I just gave up.
The thing is, trying to keep the girls focused is like herding cats, and by the time they’re done, I’m too exhausted by the process to try to get stuff tucked away, especially knowing that dragging it all out again will take up valuable time during their brief moments of inspiration.  And some things need to be spread out, like our Wonder bread vs. preservative-free bread mold contest, which is sitting all moist and cozy in sealed plastic bags over a radiator. I’m not taking a picture of those because you really have to smell that stuff to appreciate it.

Right now my living room floor looks like this:

learning fair

And I’m just embracing it. Or, I embraced it for a couple of days, and now it’s making me crazy. But not crazy enough to clean it. Because, who am I kidding? Just next to all that stuff are the piles of half-folded laundry that I could be tackling. By the time I catch up with all the clutter that’s actually my responsibility, the learning fair will be long past.

Meanwhile, the kitchen isn’t great, either. But that’s totally not my fault. In fact, this is another cross to bear in my household, because while I am trying to eat better (and it’s working a bit, although not so much that you would actually notice), here’s what I’ve got in the house right now:

Stockpiling Girl Scout Cookies

Stockpiling Girl Scout Cookies

In case you were wondering, the big box is pretty much full of Thin Mints–Cute W likes to eat those by the sleeve. The rest of my family are Girl Scout cookie enthusiasts. In fact, this turned out not to be quite enough, since we only had a single box of Tagalongs. There was an incident in which someone hid the box so that they could keep these little beauties all for themselves–I found the it perched in among my storage containers, and no one was willing to confess how they’d been tucked away. Incidentally, I haven’t eaten a single Girl Scout cookie. This sounds like a marvelous feat of self-control, but I find them resistible as long as I don’t start tasting them.

These are another story:


Oh. My. God. Apparently there was a Lindt factory outlet near the soccer tournament in New Hampshire, and Cute W went nuts. I blame his mother for this: he can’t pass up a bargain, and he thinks that if 4 ounces of something is good, a few pounds is better. But that’s a hell of a lot of chocolate for me to try to ignore day after day in this house. Really, what I need to do is tell them to hide these, and to hide them better than those Tagalong cookies. Maybe at the bottom of this pile of laundry? They’d be safe there for a few days!

Meanwhile, as we head into testing season, the random school papers have increased exponentially. I actually took a picture of a recent New York State Common Core math problem because I thought it was so crazy-pants. Do you know the answer? Feel free to take a guess in the comments (and you can click on the photo itself to make it bigger).

math problem

In the midst of all of this school-induced chaos, J trotted home with a baby cabbage plant. She was excited to try to grow an enormous cabbage. I was less excited, even though I’m a huge fan of gardening with kids. The handout that came with it felt an awful lot like a big advertisement for Bonnie Plants, and I was ready to go into a full-on rant, but then all of the photos of proud kids with their cabbage plants were too adorable and I didn’t have the heart.


But I’m still annoyed. The instruction sheet says, “For best results, plant directly into the garden.” Except that cabbage plants are supposed to be planted 3-4 weeks before the last expected frost date, which is the beginning of May in our area. So we really have a couple of weeks before we should plant the damn thing, and that’s a couple of weeks that we have to do our best to keep it alive here in the house. This is the sort of thing J really cares about, and so I don’t want us to mess it up.

I don’t think you should gift kids with anything alive without prior parental approval, be it a puppy or a fish or a friggin’ cabbage plant. And now I’ve got this slightly-bent-over little cabbage plant jockeying for position among the disgustingly chemical-laden candies and moldy bread and incomprehensible math worksheets on a table and I just want to tuck everything away so that I can clear, clean surface for homework and dinner-eating. But trying to clear it all is too daunting, so I just skulk into the kitchen and eat a chocolate truffle instead.

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