Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


decay & ruin
Biosphere II
dead malls
Irving housing

got that wrong

appropriate tech
Arduino μcontrollers
Backwoods Home
Fractal antenna

fun social media stuff

(nobody does!)

Like my brownhouse:
   two babies and wintergreen
Wednesday, August 25 2010
Gretchen was in the kitchen again for most of the day and I did some last minute vacuuming before Dina, Gilaud, and their two babies arrived from New Haven (their previous destination). At little past 3:00pm that happened.
Traditionally when one had babies, one kept to a cave until the babies were old enough to be helpful. Nobody would have two unhelpful babies at the same time until relatively recent times; doing so is yet another luxury of modern housing, sanitation, fossil fuels, and the like. It turns out that traveling with two babies presents an especially complex logistical puzzle. I have no idea how Gilaud and Dina flew with those kids all the way from Isræl, but once they landed in the Western Hemisphere, the job of transporting them and their paraphernalia required not just a vehicle but a large SUV. This was because they needed to carry large chests of clothes, diapers and other disposable plastic baby supplies, and even a collapsible crib. Contrast this to how Gretchen and I (a sample childless couple) travel: in Scotland we carried only backpacks and were able to hitchhike throughout most of the country.
Gretchen and I only have the experience of hosting one baby at a time. Generally speaking, when a friend or a relative brings over two kids, at least one of them is no longer technically a baby (although, due to the successful advertising efforts of the disposable diaper industry, he might well wear diapers on occasion). But both of Dina and Gilaud's kids are younger than three and demanding in that way that only babies, the elderly, and hatchling birds can be. Soon after Dina and Gilaud arrived, Gretchen took Dina and the dogs on errands (to pick up CSA veggies, etc.), leaving me with Gilaud and the two kids. We went on a walk down the Stick Trail, but it wasn't easy. The youngest baby soon fell asleep in his Swedish chest holster, but the oldest, being two and half, didn't really see any reason why Daddy couldn't carry her too. When this was attempted and proved unsustainable, she had at tendency to go limp at the knees while holding her Dad's hand, something that no logical argument could convince her to stop doing. Whenever things didn't go exactly as desired, there would be whining or crying. There's a reason they're called the terrible twos, but if they weren't so terrible perhaps then world demographic trends would be even worse than they are. Kids are their own worst advertising.
While on the walk I tried to interest the two year old in eating some leaves of Wintergreen for its lovely aromatic flavor, but it's essentially impossible to make kids that age taste anything except peanut butter.
By the end of the walk I had to escape the screaming and crying and retreat to the laboratory. I drank a beer to calm my nerves; it's rare that I get so aggravated in normal life.

Unlike some of the child-rearing adults we know, Dina and Gilaud enforce a strict bedtime. At 8:00pm our upstairs was officially child-free. We ate a leisurely adult-only meal featuring things like chickpea patties and sautéed kale and then sat in front of the fire and enjoyed a conflagration of cardboard and junk mail (the weather has been cool enough at night for fires to seem desirable).

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