Life in Palm Desert

Mama plans a month winter long escape that can only happen during COVID times.

Mama has grown increasingly affected by the fall change in weather and shorter days, and in the recent years has talked about going somewhere in the winter for sun. Two years ago she even took Nashi on a trip to southern California for a long weekend for a recharge with great results. I suggested she do something like that every winter. She may have wanted more than a long weekend, but with all our activities, work, and school, it’s of course impossible to do something like take a whole month off for something like this.

Enter 2020.

In three days we will have spent an entire glorious month enjoying warm weather, almost constant sunshine, and a heated pool. All work and school activities have continued as normal. Normal in this case being whatever the fuck you want to call the last eight months, so compared to that, why would palm trees, 80º December days, and Piña Coladas at 3pm on a Tuesday be any less normal?

Us Seattleites aren’t used to such nice weather in the winter, so it’s weird to toggle in between summer mode and early sunsets and sudden temperature drops. But we’re not complaining, as we still get a solid seven hours of summer each day. The warmth and sun is the primary win for Mama, as she’s staved off the seasonal affective component that she wanted to avoid. For kids, it’s living in a house with a swimming pool. It has not been abnormal for them to spend six hours in the pool in one day. In the months leading up to this trip, we’ve had Papaya take swim lessons. That turned out to be money well spent, as she’s now a total fish out there and has progressed an amazing amount in this time. She now joins Nashi in holding their breath to dive down and pick up toys from the bottom of the pool.

Needless to say, this trip has been a huge win. Those poor suckers in the pacific northwest have been covered in the cold and rain and I’ll soak up every minute of the far better life down here before we have to leave.

COVID still has its stranglehold on my days however, where the addition of homeschooling while trying not to lose my job over the clearly reduced amount of hours I can focus on work has taken away the kind of extra time and energy I prefer to have in order to get around to updating the ol’ bloggaroo. I have been taking notes on random kiddo stuff this whole time though, so in no particular order:

  • The kids have enjoyed my addition of telling stories in our bedtime ritual, previously reserved for just reading books. The catch? They always want my “injury stories.” Like, they can’t get enough of hearing about me getting hurt. So much so that I’ve run out of injury stories to tell, and they now request the retelling of these stories. And if I leave out any details from it, they’ll correct me and make sure I include every component that they’ve now memorized. Last night I finally had to say “look can I tell you other stories that don’t involve me getting hurt? It’s either that or I’m just going to have to make up injuries.” To which, of course (in retrospect) they instruct me to tell a made up story. Papaya adds, “tell us one where you die!” So I tell them about the time I broke open a door from an airplane while in the air and jump out to see if I could fly, learn that I can’t, and fall to my death. This cracks them up for about a full minute and I tell them goodnight, leaving them in their room I guess in great spirits.
  • The injury stories have replaced the previous much sweeter ritual: I read them a book or two, then I give them some random loves like a tuck in, a kiss, a tickle, a run on their face I call a beard rub, a hug, etc. I even made up some jazzy new ones like a “star explosion” where I form a star in my hind from gas swirling around in space, then rest the sun on their body for “millions of years,” then have the star become unstable and explode. This then turned into them requesting their favorites from the menu, usually in the form of whatever they can remember, but making sure it’s in the right order. So this may sound something like “I want a tuck, a snuggle, a kiss, a beard rub, two hugs, and a star explosion!”

Nashi stuff:

  • Has discovered a love for a series of graphic novel series by Ben Hatke that he loves. Over the previous year or two of learning to read, he has exhibited sporadic moments of reading to himself, but these series he’ll easily read for thirty minutes at a time, sometimes more, at least once a day. He shocked us all the first time he chose to continue reading upon waking over the usual favorite activity – bum rush Mama in bed and snuggle her with such fervor that it ends up with either Mama getting hurt from being jumped on or Mama having to leave the pile because kids are fighting over the same arm, or who Mama is facing. Tonight he even said that these books have inspired him to write his own, and he immediately went to work and created his first comic. He insisted that I don’t take a picture of it so I said ok. Then he left the room and I took a picture of it.
  • Has become increasingly threatened by this notion that he’s expected to move out one day. Now he occasionally has to reassure himself that this doesn’t have to happen by asking us if he can just stay with us his whole life instead, to which we say yes. I figure it might go over his head if I stipulate that this is only okay if he can promise not to ever reach adolescence.
  • Songs he likes: She Wolf by Shakira, On The Floor by J-Lo, and Defying Gravity from Wicked.

Papaya stuff:

  • Never ending anecdotes about her attitude. Like this one: I’m on the couch quietly football one Sunday afternoon. Papaya marches towards me from around the corner, not yet aware of what I’m watching: “What are you watching? Whatever you’re watching I do not like it.”
  • Calls a cigarette a “figarette.” Mama finds this too cute to correct.
  • Likes to talk and be heard. She often starts talking without any plan on what to say, just to initially secure attention from the room. She sort of figures out the story later, often a story she was recently told and she just tells it like it happened to her. Shameless plagiarism.
  • Loves peeing in nature, and cackles as she tries to get the pee to spray as far as possible.
  • Songs she likes: Booty by J-Lo.

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