deciphering the spoken word

Me: Did you have fun at the store with Dad?

Bede: Um. Yes.

Me: What store did you see?

Bede: Yes. Spongebob Squarepants.

Me: What was the store named?

Bede: Bede Gleeson.

Me: (slower) Was the store Crest or Walmart?

Bede: Oh. Um. Crest!

The above demonstrates why it is best to think carefully about what words to use! Bede seems to hear about the last third of a normally-paced spoken sentence – maybe it takes him a good three to five words before he begins to process it. So that means he heard something like this:

Me: noisenoisenoisewordnoise at the store with Dad raisedinflection?

Bede thinking – must need a response because her voice rose – store with Dad – I went to the store with Dad. Yes. I did.

Bede: Um. Yes.

Me: noisenoise see raisedinflection?

Bede thinking – response again – say ‘yes’ – wait, this is easy, though, who lives in a pineapple under the sea!

Bede: Yes. Spongebob Squarepants.

Me: noisenoisenoise ..ore named raised inflection?

Bede thinking – My name is Bede Gleeson.

Bede: Bede Gleeson.

Me: noise the store Crest or Walmart raisedinflectionthennormal?

Bede thinking – Oh! She wonders what store we went to! It was C-R-E-S-T. Crest!

Bede: Oh. Um. Crest!

That’s with no other noise either, we were in a room alone. More difficult to get with any other sounds, especially speech. Honestly it’s amazing he does so much! He wants to communicate, to understand and be understood. Just like everybody else. What a great guy he is.

(Bede this summer)


Mostly what I do is clean things.

I make things and clean up. I clean up what other people mess up. It’s tiring.

Sean gets things. It’s got to be a similar sort of futility, to be bringing home, oh, milk every week. Didn’t I just buy milk? he is heard to say. We’re out already? Really? Yes, I say. Already.

Our food budget is high, I think. It averages out to something like $80 per person, per month. I feel like that’s high. I feel like I should be able to get it down to $70, or even $50. $50! Wow. Imagine that.

But that means I have to make more things. Even more things. And it’s not the making as much as the cleaning-after-the-making that is wearing me down, man.

My usual response to this feeling is to get rid of stuff. Because if it isn’t a source of good it’s a source of pain, and I’m anti-pain. Especially stuff-related pain. I think a clearing of the house is in order.

sickness, homeschoolers

Everyone is sick with a cold here. Gloria and Bede were the worst hit today, feverish and wan on the couch. Faith was very bad off yesterday but is much improved. So far I have not succumbed; I hope for the best.

It brought homeschool to a halt though. I did nothing today. Faith is reading Beorn the Proud and Abby is reading How to Train Your Dragon, and they both spent an hour or so reading, so i guess that’s countable.

We have the movie for How to Train Your Dragon but neither I nor the older girls and G-Lo have seen it. We would have watched it with everyone else but instead we went to a homeschool event on Saturday. It was a discussion followed by a hands-on demonstration of solar panels and wind generators – but we didn’t watch that part. The kids were far more interested in the dozen-plus homeschooled kids on the playground, so I wandered thataway instead. I talked with a charming homeschooled teenager named Chris and another homeschooling mom named Kara. Kara also has six kids, the oldest aged ten and a girl – who was playing with Faith and Abby as we spoke.

I was yet again struck by the ease and grace the multi-aged children exhibited in their social actions. I so rarely see that in groups of institutionally schooled children. Within minutes these kids, most of whom had never seen each other before, were playing with abandon. The younger kids were included and tended to if they got knocked down or squished. The difference between this Saturday and the last event we attended with institutionally schooled kids was very plain. Not to say that nonhomeschooled kids are mean, but they are stiffer socially across age groups, and slower to socialize. Maybe because they have been rebuffed in the past, whereas homeschooled kids generally have more positive experiences? Who can say.

It’s ironic that homeschoolers are badgered about “socialization”!

Also noteworthy was a visit from our friends the Roykas. Yall need to come more!

Beorn the Proud (Living History Library) How to Train Your Dragon Book 1


Halloween is tomorrow, but TPTB decided we would trick or treat tonight.

Here are the Glees.


Gilbert is the Tenth Doctor, Bede is Scrat, Faith is a gas mask “Muuuummy” zombie, Trixie and Gloria are both Dorothy Gale, and Abaigeal is Queen Elizabeth.

This was the first time out for both Bede and Gloria and they both did smashingly well. Bede attempted to go in the first house we hit, then gradually got the drift and by the last house was scripting the whole thing like a pro! Gloria’s adorable “Happy HalloWEEN!” thrown over her shoulder as we walked off each time was awesome.


Gil and Faith


Dorothy #1, telling me “I don’t know how to make a Dorfy face.”


Scrat shows us his squirrel tail.


Queen Elizabeth


Dorothy #2

Just One More Thing

So we finished Rome, which was great. That tipped us back into the world of Netflix Watch Instantly, and we decided to continue working our way through Columbo.

I love Columbo. The disheveled coat and messy hair! The ancient, sputtering Peugeot convertible! The dog! Sigh.

Everyone underestimates Columbo, of course, which is part of the fun; watching the killer as he goes from magnanimous and self-assured to agitated and hostile, peppered incessantly by Columbo’s absentminded but penetrating questions, is one of the best things about the show.

Last night Sean and I watched “Mind Over Mayhem” from Season Three. It was fun. It has

A clunky chess-playing Robbie the Robot
A child genius
Charlie X of classic Star Trek fame
Jose Ferrer
Beep boop beep cybernetic supercomputers

While not the best Columbo ever, it was tight, and watching the robot type! on some sort of teletype machine! was awesome. The entire series is on Netflix Watch Instantly. I especially liked:

“A Stitch in Crime” with Leonard Nimoy
“The Bye Bye Sky High I.Q. Murder Case” about a Mensa-esque group
“The Most Crucial Game” with Robert Culp and Dean Stockwell
And, probably my favorite of all, “Fade In To Murder”, with William Shatner, playing a television detective in a delightful bit of meta.

That’s all for now, ma’am. Oh, wait, just one more thing…

late night

I was up for a large part of the night because Trixie had a coughing fit and needed the nebulizer (she had fallen asleep before taking her nightly antihistamine, and woke at around 3:30 wracked with spasmodic coughing) and also because Sean and I stayed up too late to watch the series finale of Rome.

That was a pretty good show.

So I slept late, and as a result I’m useless today. The girls are ready to learn some new concepts in arithmetic and I don’t think I have it in me. Later in the week. We’ll do our read-aloud and perhaps a smidgen of some other subjects. I think I’ll reteach one or both of them how to knit.

I need to make bread. Best get that going. Yawn.

Rome: The Complete Series

trick or treat!

The Halloween costume decision-making has begun! Here are the current top runners for each kid, by order of age.

Faith: an Empty Child. “Are you my mummy?”

Abby: Queen Elizabeth the First.

Bede: The Flying Dutchman’s Ghost, as portrayed by Sponge Bob.

Gilbert: The Tenth Doctor!

Trixie: Dorothy Gale

Gloria: The Wicked Witch of the West

dominoes, posting policy, camera

The children have been playing with a set of dominoes all afternoon. They aren’t playing dominoes proper, they’re setting them up and knocking them down. I don’t have the nerves for that as a pastime, especially with six kids all gamboling about.

I read a article about divided attention and how the Internet is rotting our brains. In honor of that, well, in honor of trying to stop brain rot, I’m going to stop making in-text links as a general rule.

I hope to get a new camera next week, which will stop the pictureless posting.

[Yes, the Internet is rotting your brain](

Cardinal Double 12 Color Dot Mexican Train Dominoes in Tin

Trixie’s language

Trixie adds extra syllables to words.

Clow-us is close
Ow-ut is out
Hur-ut is hurt
Cay-at is cat.

She needs a doctor’s kit for her birthday I think, too. Unrelated to the above.

She’s totally not obedient. I know some of it is her age and some of it is just her. And she does not do well with reproof or correction. I’m trying to keep her right next to me for much of the day so i can encourage the formation of new habits that don’t involve squishing the cat or socking her siblings. Or taunting them until they sock her. Today was the first day of the new routine and she doesn’t exactly like it. She was fine until she realized she HAD to stay with me. Then the screaming began.

i can’t heeeeaaar you

Today was too short! I didn’t manage to get many of the things I planned to do, done. I don’t quite know what took the time away. I think it’s the darkness coming so much earlier.

I’m all boiling with thoughts on adolescence and social development. Especially in an online environment. As regular readers of my blog will recall, Faith adores Club Penguin. The tenor and overall culture of the game has been changing in subtle and not-so-subtle ways in the last year, and it is much more schoolyard than before, with all that implies. Faith finds it more and more difficult to simply “play” on Club Penguin due to the polarized and often mildly predatory nature of boy/girl interactions. Tonight I showed her the beauty of the Ignore feature and I hope it helps. Lord knows it has made many message boards and Facebook more tolerable for me.