I didn’t expect philosophical conflict quite this early

Anselm and Perpetua were born a mere 20 months apart, and so it’s been easy to predict most of their conflicts. They squabble over toys and compete for our attention — all par for the course at this age, really. What I hadn’t anticipated is that they would be engaging in philosophical debates. And yet —

It all started yesterday, towards lunchtime, when we were taking a long, meandering route home as I tried to find a gas station with a working air pump for my tires. Perpetua started complaining that she was tired.

Anselm objected: No, it’s lunchtime!

Perpetua: I’m feeling very tired!

Anselm: No! It’s time to eat lunch!

Apparently one is not allowed to feel tired before eating. Anselm prefers things to be in their proper order, thankyouverymuch. And as everyone knows, nap follows lunch instead of the other way around.

But it didn’t stop there. I will admit that I was doing my best to tune them out at this point — but when I tuned back in they had begun arguing the root issue of their respective positions on sleep vs. hunger: whether it was day or night.

I ask you.

I had been prepared to side with Perpetua on the issue of whether one is allowed/capable of experiencing sleepiness before taking the noon repast. Unfortunately she was now the one who had taken the unreasonable position, arguing vociferously that it was not day, but night. (I do have to admire her commitment. Nobody sticks to their guns quite like an almost-two-year-old.)

Around this point I was finally able to air up the tires, and the argument had petered out by the time I got back in the car. Anselm was right on its being day, of course, but Perpetua struck a final blow for her side by falling asleep in the car before he got any lunch.

I’m going to call this one a tie.

Domestic Magic

When I’m going about a repetitive or tedious task, I often try to find an imaginative way to make it more interesting for myself. I used to live somewhere that got a lot of snow in the winter — I mean, a lot of snow. And while I don’t particularly mind shovelling, I found that it was a lot more fun when I narrated Olympic-style colour commentary in my head. (Points were scored for both speed and amount cleared, so it was a constant incentive to clear as much as I could, as cleanly as I could, as quickly as I could. I generally medalled, of course, but occasionally got thoroughly trounced by the German team. They’re so efficient.)

My life is filled with a lot of repetitive, and often tedious, tasks right now. I’m home all day so that’s just the nature of the beast. I have repetitive weekly tasks, like laundry on Mondays and grocery shopping on Fridays, and of course many more daily or near-daily ones: vacuuming, washing dishes, making meals, and the like. For the most part I neither dislike nor relish these tasks; they’re just what I do.

But sometimes I do still cast about for a different way to look at my daily work, and it struck me today that there’s something a little magical about a lot of what I do. I can take some flour and some yeast and water, thump it around a bit, and stick it in a big hot box for an hour — alakazam! now we have bread. I can take yarn and wrap it around a curved stick a bunch of times — poof! it turns into a hat or a blanket. I can take pieces of a dead animal, cover it with bits of leaves and ground-up rocks, and squeeze it between two hot slabs for a few minutes — abracadabra! behold: grilled pork chops.

Forget “domestic goddess”; I am clearly a domestic magician. Though if anyone figures out how to pull a clean bathroom out of one’s hat, I pray that you would let me know the trick of it!