Going through some photos...

There are some definite perks to having a family that right now is a bit like Romper Room, and there are some definite drawbacks. One thing about having four children, the oldest of whom is six, and being a homeschooler to boot, is that the moment you turn your head from the dear darling angels, they turn into beasts.

You turn back to them, in shock, unable to comprehend that in four minutes of your inattention they have poured sand into everyone's hair and spread mashed potatoes over the floor, but it's true. They really have. Or they have gone and slapped each other and everyone is crying.

Leafy is doing this screamy thing lately, mostly to protect himself and his things from his sweet, strong, and controlling older sister, and his sweet, strong, and domineering older brother, and the sound that he makes causes me to immediately walk out of the room so that I can flush my head down the toilet.

I can't bear the screamy thing.

The worst form of inattention in my house seems to be Mama's computer time. Can I get an amen? Because the minute, the very second, that my eyeballs focus themselves on the screen, all of Pompeii erupts in my house and I'm too fragile for Pompeii.

So, I've limited computer time to 1) The two seconds that I'm awake before the children are, and I'm thinking, YES, I'm up! They're not! I'm UP! They're NO... Oh dang. 2) The two seconds that I manage to stay awake after they go to bed, and 3) Studio time, which is for my novel, and occasionally a blog post. Occasionally. Also 4) the very occasional internet glut, which happens when Chinua asks me if I'd like some time off and I don't feel the ticker going, telling me to write, write, write. This is the time that I read blog posts, when I get to read them at all.

And when large holidays loom up before us like wildebeests coming out of the mud, those four seconds before the day and after the day are taken up by wrapping and cleaning. Nothing for it, wrapping and cleaning must occur.

This is all a big buildup to say that I didn't die, neither did my fingers become paralyzed. I did take an only partially voluntary break from the internet.

What's been going on is Christmas, and giving, and the reading of Christmas stories, and celebrating, the the requisite Christmas cry (I have to cry on Christmas Day, it's a tradition) and a Christmas party in our backyard which is a little farther along from looking like a construction site, and paper stars with lights in them, Goan style, and wow- we've been busy.

I know. I'm all, poor me, I'm forced to actually interact with my children and play games with them, rather than do fun grown-up things like obsess about the yarns I cannot buy and stalk knitters on the internet. Also crafters, although I've decided to stop imagining that I am a crafter.

I had to drive to the capital, Panaji, to do my Christmas shopping, which I did for the kids in a tiny toy store with approximately four hundred people who were packed shoulder to shoulder. I sweated and wept, because I hate buying things that are cheap and I had very few choices, but in the end I'm happy with what we got.

Then, yesterday, I decided to make samosas for our Christmas Party, and ended up finishing with a pan of delicious samosas and a vow to never enter the kitchen again in my life. That's my M.O. Burn yourself out with silly pastry-type foods for large parties.

Anyhow. We all cope in varying ways, and I'm recovering from Christmas (which was actually very small and perfect, although sad because we were far from family) by looking through silly photos of my family. Take this one, for example:

It would be fine, except for the fact that the YaYa Sister is having a moment of crisis.

Or this one:

This one is great. Except that Yaya is still in crisis, Leafy has joined her, Kid A is a little too happy, I look like I'm sharing some cheesy joke with you, and why is everyone barefoot? Also, what is happening to Chinua's hand?

Or here:

YaYa and Leafy have seen the silver lining behind the dark cloud,  but now Chinua is sharing a cheesy joke and Kid A is facing a direction called AWAY FROM THE CAMERA, and what is happening to my hand?

Or Exhibit D:

Mama's smiling a little too big, Daddy looks like he doesn't wan to be there, Leafy's doing his best Magnum, and Kid A has gone GQ on us. YaYa? Can we get a normal smile? Please?

But here's a shot of Uncle Matty with a stroller.

And here's one of some ladies with sticks on their heads.

And here's one of Matty with some fruit. This is the fruit and veggie stall that I go to almost every day, and when they realized that Matty was gone, back to Canada for good, or at least for a long while, I could have sworn that they all took their hats off and laid them over their hearts. But that could have just been my imagination.

Yes, this has really helped me to cope with my post-Christmas blues.