The other day, Jesse walked in from outside with his hand absolutely covered in mud and dirt.
“Jesse!” I exclaimed, “Why were you playing in the dirt again?”
“I wasn’t” he unconcernedly assured me.
“What’s that on your hand?” I asked.
“Oh that?” he said, looking calmly at his filthy hand. “That’s just nothing.”
And with that he wandered back outside.
Also, Saturday Mike came home from dropping Abe off at baseball practice carrying a small personal size cooler in his hands. You know the type: you can carry them like oversized lunch boxes and push a little button on the lid to slide it back. He’d apparently stopped by a garage sale and found it there. “I thought Jesse might like to mess around with this” he told me.
I shrugged and nodded my head that yes, maybe he would, and the cooler was left on the kitchen table.
A few minutes later Jesse came in from the back yard. He immediately zeroed in on the cooler and exclaimed, “Mom! What’s THAT?”
“Oh, it’s just a little cooler,” I said, “Would you like to play with it?”
Jesse spent the next few minutes figuring how to open it and taking out the small Tupperware-like containers inside before closing the lid and carrying it off with a parting, “Mom, can I play with this . . . forever?”
When I returned from my run an hour later he was still hauling around his little cooler only he had gained some extra information about its contents from Mike and was telling me how he could put a little drink in one container and ice in another and bread in another and how then, if he had those things, and found it necessary, he could “take a little break” and eat them so his “tummy wouldn’t be hungry”.
Can you see why it is that Mike is left in charge of so much of the birthday and Christmas shopping around here? He’s good. He deserved far more than my shrug and nod.
I thought it deserved mentioning that a big to-do was made over him at school last week for being the only kid in the ENTIRE world to read eight billion Newbery books this year. Actually, it was the only kid in his school . . . and it was 25 Newberry books. Still. The librarian has her special little shelf of Newberys and she encourages the kids with all her might to fill out an entire Bingo sheet of 25 squares with finished Newbery books. Abe faithfully read the Bingo sheet full – acting as if it was no big thing, having me sign each finished square, mentioning now and then how many Newbery books were actually not very enjoyable to read (judging from what I read on the back covers I kind of agreed – those Newberys seem to love to be about serious and glum things). There was a moment of panic when the end was nearing – two days left and two books to read – when we thought one book wasn’t a Newbery, but, in the end, all went well and his sheet was finished. It was only when he came home afterwards that I realized what a fine accomplishment and how very pleased the librarian, principal, teacher, and school at large was. An announcement was made over the school intercom (letting all the students know that Abe had bested each and every one of them), and the principal came to his class to make a little presentation and to offer him his certificate and ultra super giant candy bar. Two years ago Abe won a bike at school for all his reading. It was a drawing, but the number of times your name was put in the box correlated directly with time read, so I have no doubt Abe’s name was in there quite a few times. That kid likes to read. . . . Or maybe it is just that we keep trying to insist he keep with his younger siblings bed time . . . which is probably too early for him . . . which might give him nothing to do but read. Hmm. Well, poor fella or not, I sure love that boy.
Lastly, there is Penny. Last Sunday I was a bit surprised to look outside and see her rounding up our not-quite-fully-grown chickens and playing, what seemed to be, a game of “gather chickens and put them all in a big bucket”. I wasn’t so much surprised by the game as I was surprised by her ability to catch and bravely hold our chickens. I have maybe hinted at this before, but I am terrified of holding our chickens . . . and our guinea pig . . . and pretty much any animal.
Anyway, she must have gotten more and more bold because not long afterwards I heard Mike calling off of the back deck, “Penny! You can’t throw the chickens!”
Yes, something might, perhaps, need to be done about her grand chickening adventures. Fun as the “put the chickens in a bucket” game sounds, I am not positive the chickens themselves are loving this attention so much.
Here are some recent moments I have caught of Penny with the chickens.
Umm. The end? I guess.