Tuesday, June 17, 2008


The male child is away - left yesterday morning.

It has ended up with five weeks of camps this summer using the simple technique of signing every piece of paper that passed under its nose. It spent the first few weeks after school got out lolling on the couch in the mornings and then spinning things all afternoon (and playing hide and seek. And wrestling. and doing other "team building" activities). But no more. It's leadership camps and ground school for the rest of the summer.

The refrigerator has remained stocked for an entire day. There was no percussive clapping or random thumping on surfaces. No one took the broom/hammer/shower rod out to the back yard and left it there to be watered by the sprinklers. Socks have not sprouted like mushrooms under the ottoman or the curtain.* We have not been serenaded at odd hours with choice bits of Sweeney Todd and no one has pulled out a cello to see if they can pick out the Band of Brothers theme song. The Highly Reactive Sibling has gone un-harassed, its buttons remaining un-pushed, its personal space pristine.

It's not like home at all.

*That's not entirely true. The sprouting has slowed considerably, and is no longer a dingy grey and crunchy. Now it's all red with polka dots or blue with little stripes.


Mujja said...

you see....I'm not at all convinced about this children being away from home business...oh yes I grant you it sounds ok in theory...and the benefits of a clean tidy home and full refridgerater are certainly very tempting... and not without considerable merit ...but it is far too unsettling to lose their irritating presence for any longer than a few hours...I don't like it ... I don't like it at all...

emily said...


i just wanted to leave a comment - i found you by laughing my head off at some of your comments on non-working monkeys blog.
I have read most of your posts from this year but i hate belatedly commenting, but i have to say i havnt laughed so much in a while - your family sounds nuts but amazing fun...and i only hope i am as good a mother (a lot in future admittedly!) as you seem to be.
oh and congratulations on your eldest daughters graduation...im english so could you clarify how old that makes her now?! lol...the three seem to be getting a little tangled in my head! :)

For Kirk said...

mujja - I know, it's damned if you do, damned if you don't isn't it? Makes me wonder though if I would miss it if the male child actually... well... learned to pick up its belongings? It's something I'm willing to risk.

emily - welcome! I do love me some non-working monkey. My family is unfortunately utterly nuts so I am a fabulous mother but ONLY in that context. For normal children I would probably be a victim of justifiable matricide.

Child 1's age? Complicated. See, we moved a bit... well, a rather large bit... as in 18 times total (so far - I'm totally up for 19 but then I think I'll put my foot down) so when poor Child 1 was teeny It was home-schooled for a bit. When we actually got somewhere with decent schools they hemmed and hawed and suggested we start Child off a year behind and then let It skip ahead if things seemed fine. Child was already reading (since age 5) and was quite bright but was also several inches shorter than the other children so It happily went along and although given endless opportunities to skip ahead again It always declined. (Phew - waffle... waffle... story nearly done now!) So Child 1 is actually 19 which is a year older than most of Its classmates. Child 2 who graduates this coming year is 17 and Child 3 is 15. Which, if you do the math carefully, makes me 27.

Oh, and to complicate things further? I was skipped a grade when I was small (because I spent a year in an English school and when I came back I was frighteningly ahead of everyone else - they wanted to boost me up two years but my mother put her foot down) so when I graduated I was 17.

Aren't you glad you asked?

child 2 said...

how does the math follow? i admit, child 2 is no paragon of math integrity (sweeny todd quote, there don't you feel better?) but...explanations need happening. oh, and make sure smug child 1 DOES NOT EAT ALL THE ICE CREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

emily said...

lol, i was just curious because i have never managed to make sense of the american system, especially as for us (in britain) graduation is from university - at 21/22+ (i was 23 because i had to spend a year in france as part of it)
i think your family sounds lovely :) i like the organisation of posts btw but have lost one i wanted to read to my bf - the one about throwing jelly beans at your children! :)

For Kirk said...

Let's see. There's pre-school starting at 3 for some kids, then kindergarten at 5 (or six depending on the birthday). Some people don't bother with kindergarten, some states require, some have half day, some full, some do half the year half...

... grade school is kindergarten through fifth grade which would be... um... ages 5-10 or 6-11. Of course, some schools have sixth grade tacked on to grade school and do sixth and seventh as junior high.

Then there's middle school (or as we in the states know it - the Fruitful Years of Topics To Discuss With Your Therapist) which is sixth through eighth grades or ages 11-13 or so (see exception above) and THEN we have high school which is 9th-12th (otherwise known as freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years) which is usually 14-18 but can be 13-17.


After which is university which if you go to our local state place generally gets a bachelor's degree done in a dizzying six years (average). Although some people seem to think four is about right - weirdos. Granted, our average student age is something like 27 what with all the returning students we have (the, wait! You mean my mother was right when she said I'd be stuck in a dead-end job for the rest of my life if I dropped out of school to pursue my dream of being a fashion-photographer/anime artist?? group).

See? It's so simple.

Oh, and the jelly bean post is here:

For Kirk said...

Oops - errata:

"some schools have sixth grade tacked on to grade school and do sixth and seventh as junior high."

Should read, "... and do seventh and eighth as junior high."

Carry on.

emily said...


that is a lot of schools?! thats crazy to move so many times...how very odd compared to our system..

oh and thanks for the link..i giggled and read it aloud to the boy, who unfortunately paid waaaay too much attention and spent the rest of the evening throwing things at me, with the response "but you thought it was funny!" when i became a tad irritated!