I just started reading The Martian by Andy Weir and the journal entries are always count the sols. 5 sols, 23 sols, 100 sols since the protagonist lands on Mars. When I wrapped up work a coworker sent me the exact years, weeks, and days until I’m expected back on April 1st, 2022. From Mar 1st ’21 to April 1st ’22, that ends up being 396 days. So here I am at 12 sols into the full-time parenting thing.
That’s a whole lot of numbers and I’m sounding very much like the grown-up that the little prince had some critical words for,
Grown-ups like numbers. When you tell them about a new friend, they never ask questions about what really matters. They never ask: ‘What does his voice sound like?’ ‘What games does he like best?’ ‘Does he collect butterflies?’ They ask: ‘How old is he?’ ‘How many brothers does he have?’ ‘How much does he weigh?’ ‘How much money does he have?’ Only then do they think they know him.Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
These first few days have been precious for all of us. My wife is still off of work until a week for now and the amount of time we’ve been able to focus on all three boys is priceless. I’m really enjoying being able to spend quality time with everyone and I can feel the difference in the hugs, conversations, and emotions of the boys as a result. The eldest is speaking more English these days and the middle one is looking to me more than ever to play with him. It melts my heart.
Keeping the crew occupied
A raucous thunderstorm came through Tokyo today, although it sounds like other areas heard the booming more than we did. It meant a full day of staying inside. My wife also had whole-day seminars to attend, so this was a good test of things to come. One day of success, but going to be hard to rinse and repeat this. The tiny one is running a bit of a fever, so trying to keep him fed and the other two occupied is a challenge.
The big break came just about the time the skies opened up and the rain came down. The two older boys and I started leafing through the 工作図鑑 book and stumbled upon a paper cup fish with a paper clip on the front. We then snagged some old newspaper and starting making long sticks that would function as fishing poles (I just about wrote phishing… old habits die hard). Put some thread on those and w-shaped paper clips as hooks and had our fishing gear. We’re fortunate enough to have a vaulted ceiling area, so I sent the boys up there and they tried to hook the fish from a story up. It was great fun in both the making of the fishing set and trying to snag the fish.
Once we had flexed our newspaper-rolling muscles, it wasn’t long before we started work on some bow and arrows as well. I rolled up a number of sheets which, to my delight, made for a rather strong bow, which we could attach some rubber bands and string to and give it a nice snap. Good luck trying to hit anything with these. The boys were absolutely delighted and started ducking both the fishing rods into the backs of their shirts and slinging the bows over their shoulders. They were then off for the hunt.
I’ll be hunting for lots more ideas as I go along here.
The 工作図鑑 is a classic. Something you would have used when you were a kid that would show you how to do things like string up a rope to a tree and put an eyelet into a baseball so you could have your own batting cage in your back yard. The ideas here fit Japan and I’m going to have to start saving my milk containers as 96 are required to build the milk-container canoe.