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Variation on a theme: today a poltergeist, tomorrow another dinosaur romp.

With the ages and issues of our kids, I feel like I should have more to say, that every night I should be overflowing with sentiments of all types - amazement, awe, amusement, bewilderment, fear, anxiety, wonder, and yes, even weariness, frustration, and exhaustion. But honestly? Right now, I don't feel much at all. I'm not saying there aren't pieces of all of those feelings tacked here and there throughout these recent days -- just that none of them seem to outshine any of the others. Or maybe that's the problem, right? There are so many that my feeble mind can't filter all the noise and edit this current phase down to something I can coherently describe, or even think about; it's just a jumbled jigsaw puzzle of emotions and day to day activities. A small sample from today, but this could be any day:

Since the spring weather is upon us, for the past few days, the boys have been out playing in the front yard as I drive up from work. Sounds sweet, huh? It is. It's very sweet to see Quinn's eyes light up as he recognizes my car halfway down the street, and then comes darting across the yard to welcome me home. Of course, this sweetness is tempered a bit for me by the fact that I'm usually having a heart attack while screaming, "GET BACK GET AWAY FROM THE CAR LOOK OUT QUINN!!" as I move the car at a snail's pace into its spot in the garage. By the time I open my door, he is right there, already talking and has his fingers poised to push all the levers and controls on my dashboard: "We're catching bugs! What are these buttons? Why are you in the car?" I kiss his head, scoot past him and close the car door gingerly, then head to the yard to find Bryce, who is, lately, always playing hide and seek with me, despite the fact that I do not know this and before the last five seconds, haven't actually been there. I tell him hello, he peeks from around the tree, and in his typical quirky fashion, runs away growling. Sigh. I use the rare opportunity while the kids are entertaining themselves to have a conversation with John not involving pirates, and the kids seize THAT opportunity to start their nightly reign of terror. "Oh, look. Mom uttered an entire sentence without being loudly interrupted by a guttural noise. We're slacking: Double time!" The thousands of sticks littering our yard become swords, I reprimand them in another attempt to quell the innate desire they each have to impale the other one, then go back to an attempt at conversation with John, whose dead eyes tell a story of woe and hardship and battles lost: another day in paradise. And it isn't even bath time yet.

We go in for dinner and despite the whining and the protests about whatever apparent prison-grade gruel we're offering, end up laughing under our breath at some behavior we don't want to overtly encourage but admit later to each other that if we didn't find it funny, we could no longer call ourselves human, and though we have some moments of unexpressed blood-boiling rage at some of the manipulative and overtly rebellious tactics they each regularly utilize to elicit a reaction from us, manage to make it through the meal with no bloody stumps left in place of appropriate limbs and organs. Tonight Bryce even asked for more FRUIT after dinner, so when he finished that and asked for pudding, we picked our jaws up off the dirty kitchen floor and then gathered around to see if he would actually not explode if he ingested more than one ounce of food within an hour. While he was eating his pudding and I was finishing my dinner, Quinn was on my lap mooching chips, and all of a sudden, right in the middle of a sentence, Bryce became a flash of limbs and spoons and dirty water cups and smeared chocolate pudding and disappeared from our sight. All I saw was his hand swipe the top of the table (in an attempt to grab for support, I guess), his finger-printy water glass go flying, and then he was gone. THUMP. John's face had that priceless, "I really think that's hilarious but my kid might be hurt so I better not laugh, and wasn't it a shock to see him just disappear like that?" look on his face, and then we heard the cry from under the table.

That's right, everyone. Within three days, both kids have FALLEN FROM A CHAIR WHILE SITTING STILL. What is with these kids? John's theory is that we have a poltergeist. To that end, he jokingly asked Bryce, "did you feel someone push you?" and Bryce adamantly and repeatedly denied having felt anyone push him; he was more concerned that we acknowledge that he'd been hurt already! I asked him where it hurt, and he pointed vaguely to his side. I said, "oh, on your side there? ouch!" and he looked at me, sniffed, and said matter-of-factly, "you mean my hip." Yes. Not too hurt to correct his anatomically retarded mother, apparently.

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