Friday, May 9, 2008

Papa in Mexico, Day Nine

Overly tired from Heavy Metal Science Club (again), I tried my best to sleep in despite my father's routine early waking accompanying my own sons' bizarre urges to wake in the morning hours (unlike their former sleeping til 10 or later). The boys ran amok, watched cartoons, played video games, and built Lego. Upon waking, Papa Logan gave me a full report on what the boys did and did not eat. Bastian had some eggs and Aleks had nothing. I made my giant cup of coffee and checked on the internets where nothing phenomenal was happening. Somehow I managed to remain glued for quite some time, nonetheless.

Bastian ran around with a sticker he pulled off Aleks' jacket (some leftover from a doctor visit or speech therapy) on his fist, like a power glove, making shooting/fighting sound effects, feeling powerful.
Aleks has begun to destroy my new couch already by climbing on the back of it, stepping on the back cushions which are unfortunately sewn on to the back of the structure, meaning that they are now already pulling away. We had quite the upset discussion about this and about the need to not climb on the couch, but I honestly have no idea how to deal with it and it sickens my stomach to think about paying for a brand new couch and having it destroyed directly. I hate having rules like "don't climb on the couch" or "don't jump on the bed" as they feel so arbitrary and unavoidable, but what do I do? Neither can I allow my children destroy the couch nor prevent them from doing destructive things to it.

Then we saw some more ants on the floor, swarming a bit of popcorn. You probably can't see it real well in this picture, but there it is. As I type this, there are even more ants beside me, swarming some bit of food. I need to go buy corn syrup...though I'm also interested in acquiring a hedge apple, as my mother swears this works as well. But where the hell to find a hedge apple???
Bastian was really destructive all morning, pulling out tons of stuff from all over, including the coloring books/drawing pads out of the art cabinet. In there was a Jurassic Park book, which I can't for the life of me recall the origin of. It has a big 3D poster in it. After said poster sat on the floor for more than an hour, Aleks started examining it, then ran off to find the 3D glasses (appropriately stored in the costume basket). He reached out his hand a few inches above the paper and smiled, saying he was touching the dinosaurs hand.
Then Bastian had to get in on it and an argument ensued about taking turns. We eventually straightened it out and turns were settled on.
By mid-afternoon, we decided it might be a good idea to go do something. Papa Logan wanted to make his mother's Spanish rice with chicken recipe for dinner, so we needed to go to the store to get more supplies. He was also interested in checking out the Natural History Museum, which we happen to have passes to. So we headed out for the museum.

First thing upon arrival, Bastian ran to the stegosaurus and started climbing up the tail. He slipped a few times, but did pretty well despite the lack of grip on his frog boot bottoms.
He didn't want to go inside at all. Eventually I pulled him off and started walking that way, enticing him with animals. I discovered Papa Logan loitering outside the entrance and Aleks already inside, talking to a guard.
We examined the room outside the planetarium, looking at the star dome where you can change the night sky for each month of the year, to see where all the stars are. Unfortunately, they're all of nearly-equal brightness, so it's hard to make out the constellations.

Then we ran off for the Human Ecology hall, where all the big cats and other stuffed animals are. Bastian was drawn to the lions as always.
Aleks encountered a giant picture of the Eagle Nebula in the Earth & Planetary Exploration hall, recognizing it from the Earth & Space book the other day. Papa Logan asked about it and I told him that nebulae are clouds of dust and gas where stars are born. Again. I've got that definition down pat now.
We only stayed upstairs in the exhibit halls briefly because I could tell that the boys were in the mood to run off. We headed to the Discovery Center where we spent a good hour, exploring lots and lots of interesting stuff. Mostly it's the same stuff as upstairs, except you can touch it all.

Bastian played with this balancing game a bit, which is remarkably similar to two games we have - one being our boat balancing game and the other the Haba animal stacking game. I think he preferred the stacking to the balancing, but the movement interested him as well.
Aleks got to pretend to be a paleontologist and uncover a T. rex skull fossil.
The staff of the Discovery Center also had me fill out a survey about a dinosaur guide for care-givers that they're creating. The book wasn't done, but I did learn a few things, which may come in handy for answering questions. Particularly interesting was the information on the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature, which I perhaps heard of before but never fully absorbed. The code sets forth that
Each species [is] to be designated by two latinized names, the first being that of the genus to which it belong[s], and the second the appellation peculiar to the species.
Additionally, the first part of the name is to be capitalized, the second part not capitalized and the whole thing always written in italics. I never considered that names of species must be italicized by international law. Thus, the T. Rex is really Tyrannosaurus rex.
In the corner bookshelf, I observed this title, You Can Be a Woman Botanist, which seemed odd. I mean, I consider myself a radical feminist, while also readily acknowledging biological differences between the sexes and physiological reasonings for differences between genders, but I didn't see the necessity of the woman part. It seems a throw-back to second wave feminism, when "Women's Lib" appeared in advertisements, on The Electric Company, and in children's books all over. I'm all about third wave, I guess, and readily recognize the complexities of the world, and see it unnecessary to call such attention to the gender of a person. Or maybe, I'm wrong and it's the whole second wave urge to build a genderless world that I'm gravitating to with my objection to this title. In fact, I don't entirely object. It just I'm babbling now and not coming to a cohesive point. Onward...
Aleks brought me these two rocks and said that he thought they went together. I said, "yeah, they're both crystals, you wanna go look at the big crystals upstairs?" He lost interest immediately after "crystals." A bit later though, he pointed to a skull and asked if it was a beaver's. Indeed it was. It was the teeth that clued him in. He pointed to another skull later and asked if it was a gorilla's, but it used to belong to an orangutan. We later looked at some stuffed gorilla and orangutans upstairs to compare them. I had to remind him of the live gorillas he'd seen at the zoo, though.
There were several aquariums set up with different things to look at including tarantulas, a bunch of creepy looking stick bugs, Madagascar hissing cockroaches, a toad, butterflies, ladybugs, and Speedy the gecko, who Bastian stared at for a bit. Geckos, as it turns out, store food and water in their tails, which is why the tails are so fat.
The museum rehabilitates injured animals which hang in cages outside. There are three deer in a fenced-in area that are positively desensitized to humans. They didn't even flinch, no matter how much the kids ran or screeched. I don't think they'll be released back into the wild. They'd be immediately killed, their instincts are so ruined. At least they're alive, I guess.
There were these raccoons all huddled together on a ledge in their cage. They were pretty cute. There's actually a third one there, though you can't see it. Raccoons are of course much cuter from far away than up close, in my experience.
After the museum, we headed to the Food Co-op for the extras necessary for dinner and I remembered to take my own peanut butter tub finally for the bulk peanut butter. Bastian fell asleep in the car, but my dad insisted on coming in with me, so he slept in the cart, much like he did at Zagara's last week. There was also a whole thing that I have to deal with yet about the upcoming member appreciation day, which I am really not looking forward to.

In the evening, Aleks and I suffered loads of tension and argument and emotions ran high in the household. It was a nightmare. I swear my legs hurt from the stress. I'm not entirely sure if my dad is stressing me out more than if I were just alone or not. And I have no idea what's going on with Aleks - is it my dad's presence or Jon's absence or my stress or something else entirely? We watched The Waterhorse after dinner and the boys both fell asleep. I stayed up late to decompress on my own, calling a friend in L.A. to babble about how stressed and depressed I feel. Absolutely nothing was solved.

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