Friday, March 27, 2015

Do Red Frogs Have Brains

Chips and salsa, and chocolate milk. That’s been the story around here lately. I don’t even think I particularly like those things. And yet . . . they just keep happening. It’s honestly getting a little ridiculous.
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Also, I own . . . a muumuu (of sorts). It’s a giant, polyester square (with a hole for your head and holes for your arms) – brown, and patterned with dull leaves. It came from Wal-Mart. $9.88. I would add a picture, but, I just . . . can’t. Anyway, sometimes, in the mornings, I throw this baby on for a bit while I get kids up and going. It’s kind of like a bathrobe maybe . . . but with a lot more room . . . well . . . to move, I guess. (There is no questioning of the “one size fits all” claim on the tag. That’s certain.) But, for some reason, my younger children are absolutely bewitched by me in my muumuu. When they see me in it, they get starry eyed and want to reverently embrace me – which is why I wasn’t the least surprised when muumuu-clad me walked in to wake Anders the other morning, and, as he rubbed the sleep from his bleary eyes, his very first thought, the very first words he could even form, were (in an awed tone), “That looks like . . . a beautiful dress!”

Speaking of Anders, the other day he mentioned to me that there was something about Star Wars that he was just not really “bubliebing”. Yah. There are a lot of things in this world that are hard to bublieb. Like how much my kids adore my shapeless, polyester muumuu.

Later in the day, I realized I have not been writing down his awesome questions like I should have been, when he asked me why we have faces and if frogs have brains. Easy enough answered – faces so we have eyes to see, noses to smell and mouths to eat with (it didn’t sound quite so Little Red Riding Hood-ish when I told him); and yes, frogs do have brains. But then he said (unbubliebingly), “Do red ones??” (Good heavens no. Everyone knows red frogs are brainless idiots!)
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As I did Goldie’s hair for school yesterday, she voiced to me her bed-time troubles of the night before. “Daisy kept trying to talk to me, but I didn’t really want to talk because it was so late; so then she said that if I was a teacher, my name would be Miss Grumpy. And I’d have to write that in chalk on the chalkboard: Miss Grumpy.” A pause. “And I know it sounds funny, but it WASN’T. It was mean.”
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Speaking of Daisy: yesterday after school I walked into the living room (where she’d been balled up on the couch for a spell). “You should be proud of me,” she said, motioning to the church magazine nearby. “I just read the whole New Era.”

“I am proud of you,” I responded. “Now you’re probably 100 times better.”

“Yes,” she smiled. “100 times better than your other kids!”

“That is the goal,” I agreed. “It doesn’t matter so much that we better ourselves. Just that we be better than everyone else.”

Then I asked her if that magazine mentioned anything about doing your chores (as I eyed the dishwasher full of dishes she’d been asked, several times already, to empty).

She firmly insisted that it did not.

Summer, I can proudly report, has mastered the art of blowing raspberries. Loudly. (And she certainly suffers no lack of encouragement from her siblings.) I’ve also noticed that the minute my babies become mobile, all of their energies focus on one simple goal: getting themselves to a space small enough to wedge themselves in, and crying frantically for a rescue to get them back out; . . . so they can go back in. Under chairs, beneath computer desks, in small spots between walls and couches. It doesn’t matter where so much as it matters that it is a challenge to squeeze in – and impossible to get out.
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Lastly, it’s great that I don’t have to put any energy into decorating my home. All I have to do is just make sure a roll of painter’s tape is on hand; and then, I just sit there . . . and my house gets all . . . decorated.
Photo Mar 25, 5 34 49 PMPhoto Mar 27, 2 02 30 PM(Listen, don’t go mentioning anything about the emphasis on Jeffrey’s status as a “boy cow” maybe conflicting with . . . his flying milk. It’s been mentioned. And the mentioner made no friend of the artist in the mentioning. If milk can fly, surely it can come from a male cow? Right?)

And . . . this. Perhaps you can’t tell by looking, but you are actually looking up – at the ceiling above Jesse’s bunk bed. See? Even clever spots I might not have ever gotten to. All perfectly decorated.
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The End.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Success and Accomplishment . . . and all that

I got to attend a little awards ceremony/breakfast at Daisy’s junior high the other day where she received a “Student of the Month” award.
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Coincidentally, Abe was also “Student of the Month”. Unfortunately he couldn’t be at the ceremony because, you know, he was off busily receiving a first place prize at the regional “Utah History Day” competition (documentary category) with one of his best pals. (The two of them made a documentary on Agent Garbo – which they will now be taking to the state competition.)
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This, of course, is not to be confused with his other recent regional history competition. The one where he participated with the other four students from his school who made it that far in the “History Bee”.

I know. I know. There is nothing worse than having to read of all the wonderful accomplishments of other people’s children. But, what can I do? I try to discourage them. In fact, as I sent Abe off yesterday, I specifically said, “I hope you do well!” and then, with eyebrows raised pointedly, I added, “But not too well.” (I knew that “too well” would mean just what it did – that we’d be carting him off to the state competition. Heaven forbid.)

But what can one do? They have their agency. And, try though I might, I can’t totally stop them from all this troublesome . . . success. Sigh. And, in the meantime, they keep being left out of blog posts for not doing the mischievous, naughty things their younger siblings do. So. There the two of them are. In all their glory.

(Now might be a good time to just go ahead and throw in these pictures of Abe and Goldie at their violin recital.)
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And now I will stop all of my teasing. It’s a very happy thing, as a mother, to see your children succeed and do well at anything they might do well with. It’s satisfying and rewarding to see them do impressive things. It’s wonderful to sit and listen to teachers who have noticed (and are now proclaiming out loud) the things you have always quietly been certain of. Their accomplishments and successes and joys mean more than my own. Their accomplishments and successes and joys kind of are my own. And, like everyone, they truly do have their strengths and their talents; and, of course, they have their areas of less skill and ability.

Ultimately, they will keep growing up – finding more of these opportunities, unearthing more talents, and discovering more interests. They may also miss out on some opportunities; they might  not develop some talents (because life is full and busy; and we won’t have the time, resources, or desire necessary to involve them in everything they might have excelled in.) They will have plenty of struggles and failures all wrapped in with these wonderful moments of recognition and achievement – because that’s life, and that’s what we humans do as we make our way through it. I have enough of these little people now to realize that neither the struggles nor the successes will be the exact same for any of them (except, of course, in the rare instance that two of them get a “Student of the Month” award on the same day) nor do they need to be. Obviously some successes will be more visible and will receive more recognition; and, of course, I’ll cheer for those. They will make me happy. They will make me proud. I’m their mom. How could they not?

But the truth? The truth is: nothing they do or don’t do will ever matter to me as much as simply who they are – their tremendous souls; their connection to me; the fact that they are mine; and that they are kind and want good. That will always trump all else.

So . . . on to the less noteworthy . . . because, with my own kids, the brag-worthy and the insignificant somehow make me equally happy. Do your big things; and your small things, kids. You are mine and I love you and your precious little selves completely.
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Only . . . back at the beginning of this post, when I was touting my children’s accomplishments, why oh why did I not think to say some clever thing like, “This is why I must keep having children. For the good of society.”?

Anyway, to end: this conversation (which spurred some humorous responses on Facebook):

Anders walks in from outside -- carrying a handful of dog food. "Can I have a bowl for this?" he asks.

"Just put it in the dog's bowl, sweetie," I respond.

"But I need it in a bowl for me," he says.

"Oh no," I explain. "Dog food isn't for boys. It's only for dogs."

"But you SAID I could eat it!" he insists.

"No, honey. I never said that. Dog food isn't good for little boys. Go put it outside."

"But, . . ." tears welling up in his eyes, voice quivering, "can I have dog food for my birthday?"

Well. We'll see, I mean . . . I suppose, if it's for your birthday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Oh, You Know, More . . . Little Things

There is something about a small person going about a task deliberately and with a serious sense of purpose – without being told to and without asking for direction – something about sensing how big what they are doing is to them, that is so utterly . . . I don’t even know. Dear? Touching? 

You all know what I mean. It’s what I peaked in on here: Goldie getting everything in perfect readiness for her first violin recital (double checking the dryness of the fingernails she’d painted to match her dress, making sure all was as it should be with her violin and bow).
IMG_8637_edited-2IMG_8642_edited-2I don’t understand exactly why those types of things make me want to cry. No. That’s not true. I do understand; just not . . . in words.

This moment (that was actually occurring at the very same time) was less tear-jerking. Just very happy. Sometimes (not always, but often enough)  Penny happily accepts the role of “ring leader” of her two younger brothers – leading them on hunting adventures in the backyard, delegating character parts for their make-believe, directing them in games, etc. On this particular occasion, she had Jesse happily making Lego creations which they would then film making ridiculous sounds and doing ridiculous things. Then, of course, they would watch their films and laugh and laugh over their cleverness.

Wait. Hold it. Let me get the two from my cell phone. (Yes. I had my camera and my phone handy. What of it?) I think these two might have turned out even a little cuter.
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On Sunday, for a brief spell of time, it was utterly quiet in our home. I’m always a bit surprised that peaceful and calm moments do, occasionally, exist here; but, they do. Abe and Mike were both asleep in the living room. And, I was looking through the pictures I’d just taken of the others taking Tess (our dog), Summer, and the boys out for a walk. They were awfully cute heading off together. (So cute, in fact, that after a few moments of enjoying the silence, I threw on my flip flops and headed back out to find them again.) It’s so fun having older kids with younger kids.

The End.

Oh. Wait. How could I have said “the end” when there was THIS? Those last two pictures of my little chublet make me laugh and laugh. She’s clearly meditating in one. And . . . something else awesome in the other.

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