Friday, January 22, 2016

air math

It only lasted about five minutes, but amidst homework and practicing and lunch making and waxing skis, and dinner, when I was deep into my fourth load of dishes for the day, I heard dog claws scrambling across the wood floors, the distinctive sound of furniture being jumped upon, things being crashed into, and chatter between Nicholas and Elliott.  And a good deal of giggling.  I dropped my scrub brush and peeked into the family room to see what was going on.

It turned out that the hootenanny centered on a leftover party balloon.  And tape. And random things from the craft cabinet.  These were, I was told, being used to find exactly the right amount of weight to allow the balloon to sink, at just the right speed.  Nicholas was, after all, memorizing the formula for speed for a test the next day.  So somehow this all made perfect sense.

And a good deal of air was required.  Specifically, air being blown.  In what turned out, as best I could surmise, to be a game of balloon tossing in which you could not use your hands, and the balloon could not touch the floor, as well as something I never quite figured out about passing this balloon back and forth, or not, and trying to make the balloon touch your opponent.  I am not really sure.  But it was funny.  Really funny.  And apparently just what everyone needed, this bit of frantic silliness to break up the evening routine.  And what that balloon needed was four googley eyes and a pencil.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Yes.  That is Julia trying to get her homework done.  Doing her very best to ignore her brothers, who were making excellent decisions such as standing on chairs with wheels that also spin.

It was all a form of calculating.  Calculating just how hard to blow, just how many googley eyes make a balloon sink, just how much height difference five years creates, just where the line would be this evening between frantic silliness and someone ending up with a head bonk and in tears, just how much furniture destruction and safety risking behavior your mother will overlook, just how tolerant your studious sister will be and when she will start complaining. Or join in.  

Nicholas gave the balloon one more push with his pencil and returned to his homework, and Elliott played on.  Until height became an issue.  And Nicholas was happy to help out again.

I think some important lessons were learned here. Somewhere in that unexpected sweet spot between dinner and dishes, between waxing and work for school, between practicing and packing lunch.

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