Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mischief Managed.

Dear Essie, Nomi and Eva,

When your mama was little, I had a lively mind, and a stubborn streak a mile wide (not a bad thing, if you ask me). When your daddy was a small fry, he was lively with a propensity for getting into honest mischief when he was bored. So, chances are, if you have as many babies as you say you want to have, you might have at least one offspring who has a wildly active mind or body.

These are the two year olds who empty not one,
but ALL of the flour
and dried bean cannisters from the pantry while their mommy lays their baby sister down for a nap. These little sprites attempt to get their own cereal and milk at 2.5, climb to the top of the bookshelf at 3, leave the house through the window screen to pick mommy some flowers at 3.5, give all their stuffed animals a
shampoo early in the morning very quietly "so they don't bother your sleep" at 4, and try their hand at making waffles from scratch and doctoring the "diseased" cat with medical tape at 4.5. (And the same children who chase down that very cat and wrestle it to the ground to save an unfortunate mole from certain death!)

Least you think my opinion of lively children is low, let me set the record straight right now,
loves: I'm rather fond of them. In fact, I think they're brilliant in every way. I admire their creativity and drive to accomplish new things, appreciate the fact that they aren't dampened by the arbitrary rules that society deems necessary to set. The soft spot in my heart for lively people is permanent and dear to me.

Teaching respect of others can be a challenge, so, I'll let you in on a secret I've discovered: lively children tend to recognize and honor the boundaries of others more when their own needs are
met. That sounds like a great deal of gobbledygook , doesn't it? What it means, boiled down, is- you may threaten and take and woun
d and restrict as much as you like, but this will likely only serve to frustrate your lively
child. Mommy knows, unfortunately, because I've tried all those things. It was actually Essie, one day, that looked at me and said, "Doing that will only make me madder. I can't help it. I need something to DO!!"

And that's the key, darlings. An active mind literally and simply cannot stop being as active as it is. So, my job as a mommy became not keeping you out of mischief, but giving you plenty of safe exploring and adventure to sink your little teeth into. It dawned on me slowly that I didn't want to slowly box you into something more manageable. I wanted to show you how to be the best and safest spectacular you that you could possibly be without blowing yourself and others up.

Ever notice how all the interesting book characters (the ones who have the best adventures) tend to be a bit different or "mischievous"? Most of them are also the people who have the quick wits and bravery to rise to the occasion when something truly terrifying or challenging presents itself. Never let another person shame you out of playing the role that was written for you; if you're full of spirit, it's for a reason!

It's been hard work keeping you busy. But then, so would have been following you around and bullying and coaxing and begging and insisting that you be still and docile, something completely against your (God-given) nature. So, we dance. We jump, we climb, we take things apart, we cook, we put things back together, we jest, we roll, we sing at the top of our lungs, we read about squirrel anatomy after we find a dead one in the yard, we make approved messes.

I sit cringing sometimes on the sidelines while you crack eggs and get some on the counter, while you hammer away at nails in a board, you dexterously walk narrow rails, while you bury yourself in the dirt in the garden, you teach me phrases of your own invented language and while you construct your very own dutch-hair-fro through copious amount of back-combing (and then proudly wait by the door to go grocery shopping in your new 'do).

And, frankly, loves? Despite the fact that I fall into bed completely and utterly exhausted every night, I wouldn't want to change a thing. I used to hope you got a "more" child in your adult years, as a means of personal retribution. Now, I pray you get the privilege someday, because it's an intensely beautiful and humbling experience to see a being that intense burn so brightly every morning.

I love you.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

To some mama or daddy.

I have a little girl who loves pancakes and cats and wearing rainboots with her dresses. She likes animals and songs and watching things grow, and especially snuggling in the winter. She collects rocks. I happen to think she's the cat's meow.

She's ferociously protective of little things, helpless things, and the people she loves, and she's endlessly patient with her baby sister even when she "is completely owie-ing her face!" She likes polka dot cardigans, little tiny figurines and using great big words and poetic phrases. She likes to climb things, and to be impressive.

Today, without prompting, she told me of the sort of man she'd like to marry. He must like to wear polka dotted bow ties when he's feeling dressy. He must like toast with marmalade on it, and he must enjoy making waffles on the weekend. He should like to garden and grow things, and have lots of animals. He must be gentle and very brave and snuggly. He should be strong. He mustn't like to step on lady bugs. The bow tie is important. He must be "the best person she's ever met".

Since this is important to my funny little woodland elf, it's also important to me, naturally. I
think her heart is quite smart.

If this is the sort of boy you have at your house, please hug him for me, lots of times; at least 12 times a day. Be so patient with him when he brings frogs into the house, and applaud his love for living things. When you feel so frustrated that you feel like hurting him, rock him instead. Don't stop him when he tries to climb that next highest branch in the tree. Be proud of his wildness, and be proud of his gentleness. When he cries, don't tell him not to-just show him how to use a tissue. Teach him how to solve problems, not ignore them. If he wants to learn to sew, don't be squeamish. Teach the boy to sew. Be terrified of his best dinosaur roar.

In other him for who he is. I know my sweet little monkey girl will.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Hippogriffs, Thesauri and Henbit

Our family likes to play silly
word games in the started way back when my brother (who ended up an English major) and I used sit in the back of our family's station wagon and play the Alphabet game on road trips, which escalated to the "see how many similar words you can name under one word in the thesaurus" game.

One of Nate and my favorite pastimes while driving in the mountains or hiking is thinking up the biggest words we can that start with a certain letter. Another (the one the girls and I were playing today), is the game where you have to think of all the words you can that match a
syllabic scheme: for instance, four syllables, emphasis on syllable two. Ubiquitous, forsythia, Corinthian, tumultuous, cantankerous, inferior, apology, hilarious, regrettably, lascivious, get it.

So, anyway, I was trying to explain the rules to Essie, while dubious that
she'd grasp the concept yet, but she piped right in with, "I see! Three syllables, emphasis on the first: HIPPOGRIFF!!" (She's reading Harry Potter.) Then, Nomi rasped out, "Chrysalis! And Icarus!" You could have knocked me down with a wax-laden feather. There's something about kids and's like peanut butter and jelly.

Next thing I heard was, "Two syllables, emphasisissss on the first: butthead!!" No one ever accused us of being highbrow.

This afternoon, I found an awesome, amazing find at the antique store, but I shan't say what it is until I actually get in in my house, least I somehow jinx the process. I'm on cloud nine.

This evening, Esther was out of sorts, and was sent to bed early, and Eva fell asleep in the car ride home from picking Nate up from it was just me and the Nominator (who is delightfully 4.5 these days). We decided to make a sign on the door of our laundry room that tells whether the washer is empty or full. (Someone, perhaps me, has a naughty habit of leaving the clothes in there until they start smelling of sauerkraut, probably because I have a very visually prompted memory..the family, however, objects to their underthings smelling like feet. Pickies.)

We made the laundry door sign out of some old aprons of my grandmothers that had been stained, and some happy vintage lace and buttons. It makes me grin.

our shoe vase is hard at work again, now that the yard is covered in purple sheets of henbit...spring is coming!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Upcycled footstool!

Meet bertha the five dollar footstool. Ain't she a beyoot? ;OP I found her in thrift store this week, and, against my better judgement, took her home with me. She looked at me with puppy dog hinges. How could I refuse?

A little bit of tender loving elbow grease made it into a nice little box to keep books and treasures in, and for the kidlets to sit on! I may make a little tutorial later, but for now, here she is. :O)

Tada!! That's all for now. :)