My kids have been watching Hornblower again, and this morning as they were running around yelling "I'm Horatio!" and "I'm Captain Pellew!" and firing at imaginary French ships, I discovered an unexpected bonus to all this play-acting.

For instance, I'd informed Nicholas earlier that his t-shirt was on backward, with no response. But when I said in a crisp, disapproving tone "Your uniform is on backward, Mr. Hornblower!" he jumped to attention and straightened it out at once. And I often call the boys for breakfast without getting an answer -- but when I said, "Captain Pellew, your toast is ready, sir!" Simon hurried over to the table and tucked right in.

Best of all, when I asked Nicholas a question and he yelled at me (albeit in jest), I said stiffly, "That is not the behaviour I have come to expect from you, Mr. Hornblower!" and he giggled and composed himself before responding in a more civilized tone.

Man, I could milk this for a long, long time...

P.S. Wish I had a Hornblower icon for this post, but how often would I really use it?

P.P.S. I didn't actually get to watch yesterday's episode so much as listen to it, since I was busy baby-wrangling and making dinner. However, I could hear bits and pieces of it from the kitchen, and I must say that Paul McGann's voice is really quite... something. *fans self*
Gather round, my children, while I tell you a heartwarming Christmas tale of sibling rivalry and threats of violence.

This year my two oldest sons, aged six and four, were assigned roles in our church's Christmas play. Nicholas, who is obsessed with all things farm-related, was enormously proud to be chosen as a shepherd -- or as he put it, a "sheep farmer". Simon, on the other hand, was asked to play the boy Jesus (in the scene with the Wise Men), and was less than enthusiastic about having to be on stage at all.

However, Simon did eventually warm to his role, since I heard this exchange on the morning of the pageant:

SIMON: I'm Jesus! I have all the power!

NICHOLAS: No, sheep farmers are more powerful!

SIMON: But Jesus can do anything, so I'm more powerful than a sheep farmer!

NICHOLAS: Well, I'm going to say, "Hey there, Miracle Boy," and come over and kick you in the butt!

ME: *chokes and sporfles*

SIMON: Then I'm going to send you to the Lake of Fire!

ME: *shoots Rice Krispies out her nose*

My only consolation is that at no point during the play were Nicholas and Simon on stage at the same time, so neither the threat of bodily harm nor that of everlasting punishment could be carried out in front of the entire church audience. However, Simon did manage to look entirely bored, complete with mouth-covering yawns, when the Wise Men were presenting their gifts. "Oh, myrrh, is it? And some of that... uh, frankincense stuff? How droll. Mother, how about you just toss it over in the corner with the gold."

I can only imagine how much more interesting things will become when our youngest, Paul, gets added to the mix.
Baby Paul, who just celebrated his first birthday two days ago, is exceedingly active these days. Here he is doing one of his favorite things, hanging around my desk and trying to bash the computer keyboard )

I have discovered to my chagrin that having two other children has apparently taught me nothing useful as far as the care and feeding of toddlers is concerned. What works with the first, or the second, turns out to be completely useless with the third. At this point, in spite of all my efforts to introduce him to a wide variety of fruits and vegetables early on, Paul refuses to eat anything other than the following:

- crackers
- yogurt
- toast
- bananas
- cake
- guinea pig poop

The latter is most regrettable, I agree, but try as I might to keep the cage clean, he always seems to find them. Here he is on the hunt for more tasty goodness )

Why he should chow down with enthusiasm on pre-digested cavy leavings and yet refuse to eat peaches or scrambled eggs is beyond me. And any kind of protein -- even cheese, or lunch meat -- is just hopeless.

My mother-in-law says that my husband refused to eat anything but bananas and oatmeal until he was four. I never quite understood how that could be, especially as he was her sixth child. Now I know.

Cross-posted from [livejournal.com profile] rjanderson_blog, because [livejournal.com profile] yahtzee63 said she wanted to see some baby pics. What's a mother to do?

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