randomness reigns supreme! (a grab bag post)

May 17, 2011

today was so fun, and a big part of that fun was a new game my oldest kiddo has invented. we use Lego people and roll dice to determine how far we can move on the floor (we don’t measure, we estimate) and we have battles with all manners of creatures (rolling dice to attack and using hit points to represent our characters’ remaining life before they are “knocked out”) and make friends with unicorns and attempt to save his little brother, who is hidden somewhere in the house with his character (who has a shark head), a book, and his baby dolls, assuring that he won’t get bored but rather will be quite ready to begin shouting “help!” when he notices we are close by so we can follow his voice to our final showdown with the weird skeleton Lego guy with a blank white head.

i took a bunch of pictures, but none of the several computers we have in the house (a thinkpad running ubuntu, a powerbook g4 running mac  os 10.4, and a macbook pro running mac os 10.6) will import the full collection of pictures from our camera (this problem is now 6 months old and i want to sneak into the room we keep our computers in and quietly drain their batteries while they sleep). that is why tonight is significantly less fun than today was. it is enough to make me want to just go back to film… except i want to share pictures with my family who are far away easily, and to put pictures up on this blog. the battle sequences were pretty impressive. my kids are thinking of recreating them as stop-motion animation, assuming the computers don’t kill and eat us in addition to ignoring the fact that we have a whole lot of cute/awesome/fun pictures on our camera that we would like to know are safely stored for future generations to enjoy, assuming that they can access pictures in the format we have saved them in, and they have electricity, and nothing better to do but look through 7000 digital pictures of their ancestors (we actually have more than 7000, and a little Internet research tells me that we have a relatively small amount compared to a lot of families who spend their free time posting things on the Internet).

i want to get a representative sample of them printed… my previous goal had been to print them all, but what do you do with 7000 pictures representing a mere 6 years of your life (the previous two years are mostly documented on film)? who has time to organize them, or money to print them? and i just keep making more. and every one seems like i would be losing something if i deleted it or didn’t print it and it got lost in the shuffle, even though if i was taking pictures with a film camera i would take my 24 exposures and feel satisfied, even though in most of them we would look strange or have our eyes closed, not to mention the ones the kids take of their own noses.

i don’t like what a timesink all of the gadgets we have are (for the record, we just have the computers, my cellphone, and a digital camera… it seems like a lot, though), even though i like the idea of the things they can do. i’m not really sure how to balance their potential usefulness with the frustrations their malfunctions and my user error cause, and the way that doing “one more thing” or clicking on one more link to an interesting blog post is the worst sort of rabbit hole.

i wonder if anyone else has ever fantasized about gridcrash as a solution to their own poor time management and the grumpiness or dazed feelings that often overcome them when they spend time with their beautiful aluminum glowing screen machine and then felt like a total ghoul (because gridcrash would not be a picnic or a reward, it isn’t even the most likely reason i would end up unable to use my gadgets, and i need to just quit navel-gazing on the Internet and whining about my computer while I’m… using my computer)…

but back to fun: homemade, child-led roleplaying games, an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood (the kids really like the factory tours… today we saw how they make plastic, inflated balls because we have a computer and it does sometimes work as i direct it to), lots of good food (i made a gluten-free strawberry crumble last night to have for breakfast today, and then we had left over gluten free pizza for lunch, and refried black beans with cilantro, tomato, peppers, and corn chips for dinner with kefired apple juice to de-salt our mouths), a walk around the neighborhood during which my littlest one pushed his “foster baby” in a stroller, lots of reading and…

messes! i’ve been verbally expressing either positive or neutral feelings for the messes the kids have made lately, and enthusiasm for the (sometimes necessary) process of cleaning them up together. since i started doing this, i’ve been hearing a lot less berating each other and themselves when something spills and a lot more, “whoops! oh well… this project is totally worth a few minutes cleaning up!”

my favorite was when my older kiddo volunteered to help clean up a big spill of salt, baking soda, and ink because his little brother’s project (mixing that and lots of other stuff together to make “paint”) was “important.” the little one responded, “i’m making this paint for you, anyway!” which was met with “tomorrow i’ll paint a picture of the three of us using your paint!” and then, after the “paint” was complete, a small amount of cleaning (i pitched in to get it done but was glad for their help), a lot of giggling, and finally a cuddle puddle that i didn’t need to clean up at all. it was right where it belonged: in the middle of the kitchen floor, with “paint” stuck to the participants’ clothes in a properly festive manner.

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