Well, our little spring break has come and gone. And . . . I can’t say that we did anything particularly vacation-like or adventurous at all. The time just dashed past us and we could do little more than reach a desperate hand after it and cry a feeble, “But wait! Wait up! We still need to . . .” before it was beyond our reach.
In fact, I can scarcely recall what we did with our week! I know someone made cupcakes once. And there were various errands run. I recall a lot of trampoline jumping and a few friends coming and going.
At some point we finished The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (it occurred to me recently that my mom had read it to us as children and I had yet to do the same for my own kids). Various children went off on bike rides (destination bound and not). There were some sibling fights. And some making amends. Goldie took her younger siblings to the park. Abe played a lot of RISK with his cousins (and then his sisters).
Summer, as is typical of her these days, wandered about all the live-long day in our backyard. And spent about 60 percent of her days sobbing and melting in despair and anger onto the ground over things like . . . being given the wrong cup, or wanting a cookie that we didn’t have.
Luckily she spends the other 40 percent of her days being utterly charming. Singing little songs, saying darling little things, making adorable tiny demands.
She has us throwing our hands up in exasperation and then swooning in adoration off and on all day long. (We particularly like how she asks for something, and then, when we say the word again – to make sure we understood what she was asking – she happily responds, “OK!” as if it were our idea and we were indeed offering her what she just asked for.)
We had some doctor appointments. Abe and Daisy to the orthodontist. Me to the eye doctor (I think I could write an entire post on the slightly unearthly experience of eye dilation – which doesn’t mean I should, of course, it’s just . . . that I . . . could). And, most notably, Mette met with her specialist down at Primary Children’s Hospital to check on her little hips. She’s worn her brace a good 15 hours a day for the past three months and we were eager to see if it had allowed her hips to develop more perfectly. It appears it did. It’s a great relief and blessing. Though I must admit to a bit of wimpish disappointment that the doctor said it wouldn’t hurt to have her keep sleeping in the brace until she grows out of it. Wouldn’t hurt? Sigh. It’s one thing to strap your child into a bulky brace night after night, nap after nap, when it is for a great good. But to do it when . . . it wouldn’t hurt? It sucks the patient “this is all for the best” component right out of it! (But keeps a sprinkling of guilt should you not.)
But, hush, I never said any of those complainy words. Her hips are fine. Praise be!
Also . . . we did a lot of work. Abe in particular worked very hard – spending hours down in the basement spackling and sanding nail holes in the recently put-up baseboards, window and door casings. This past year Abe has truly learned to work (as we’ve begun entrusting him with bigger tasks and more serious duties). As a mother I, of course, waffle between feeling that teaching our kids to work hard and expecting them to accomplish necessary tasks as part of being in a family is a wise and good thing to do; and then fretting that they are too young and should be allowed to float about free and unencumbered. How do I know if hard work creates character or . . . resentment? I don’t know of course. We just stumble along and hope, uncertainly, that we are somehow giving them a good balance.
BUT! Along with the work and fairly ordinary doings of spring break, there was . . . THE PIGLET! Mr. Piggles.
Mike had wanted, for some time, to get a baby pig for the kids to take care of for a week. Being not overly fond of caring for animals myself, I’d insisted it would be too much work and that work would surely somehow end up falling to me. So Mike planned it over spring break when he knew the kids would be around all week for piglet duty. He just looked online for local piglets for sale then called the farmer asking if we could basically “rent” one of his piglets for the week. The farmer, somewhat surprisingly – to me, said he had just the pig. We paid him the full $85 initially and he promised to reimburse us $50 of that once we returned old Mr. Piggles.
For all my pooh-poohing of the idea, it was actually very fun. And much less work than a puppy! He was small enough to be held, and for it to be darling and unintimidating when he’d begin climbing up on the kids -- rooting about (as his nose seems to constantly need to do). He snuggled (and rooted) around in a pile of hay in our chicken run when we weren’t around, and explored about in our yard when we were. He came in at night and would fall asleep wrapped in a towel in Abe or Goldie’s arm – for all the world like a snorty, large-nosed, little, pink baby. And he slept in our dog crate. He tried to follow Tess around as if she might substitute as a mother, but, alas, she’d have none of it.
A few other happenings:
At dinner one night, we were discussing the tradition in some places and times of your last name coming from your father’s first name. (You know, Abe would be: Abraham Michaelson. Etc.)
One of the older kids thought of the last name Robinson and said laughingly, “So, there are boys named . . . Robin?”
But then someone quickly thought of Robin Hood and I mentioned Robin from Batman.
“See,” Mike said, “Everyone named Robin is super cool.” He went on to name more by saying, “Christopher Robin . . .”
But he was cut short by Abe who snorted out a laugh and, with eyebrows raised and a mischievous smile said, “Yah. Whenever I think of Christopher Robin, I think, ‘That’s one cooooool dude!’”
Also, yesterday Jesse and Penny were doing something they, apparently, didn’t want Anders to participate in. Mike must have talked to Jesse about it because we all heard Jesse call apologetically to Penny, “Sorry, Penny. Dad won’t let me not let Anders.” That’s a nice sounding sentence right there . . . won’t let me not let . . . .
(That picture above of Abe with a chicken is kind of funny. One of our little hens had been missing for at least a week, when, upon arriving – without the rest of us -- early to church one Sunday morning, Abe discovered our chicken wandering around in front of the building – apparently in search of spiritual enlightenment. After some awkward dashing about in his suit, he was able to catch the old girl and return her home to us where we all cheered in disbelief.)
Lastly, Penny had a tooth pulled out over the break. Actually . . . kind of . . . snipped out (cringe). The tooth had been hanging in front of her new tooth for weeks and weeks. Maybe months. We’d wiggled and brushed it with ferocity, but it seemed to be firmly attached by one small thread and simply would not leave. While the process didn’t hurt her at all, there was much crying, thrashing about, and pleading to leave it as Mike iced the area and encouraged her to open her mouth. Once she finally allowed it, it was over in a second. But all the trauma before greatly worried Jesse who not only wandered about quietly offering prayer after prayer for her, but also wrote her a special note with a picture of an incredibly happy little tooth with words encouraging, “Go Penny!” He left it under her pillow with a dollar bill and a 50 cent piece (which is likely all the money he has in the whole world). (Also, dear Goldie took quite readily to the role of nurse – holding Penny’s hand, mopping her brow, keeping a wet cloth on her gums where they bled a bit afterwards.)
Anywho, the end.