Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Illness, Meanness and Track Things

Late last night Goldie came up to announce (apologetically) that Mette was throwing up.

After cleaning bedding and child (and subsequently cleaning them a second, third, and forth time) I spent an hour next to her crib -- arm through the slats -- waiting for her to fall asleep (patting her little tummy, brushing the hair off of her forehead, and responding reassuringly to her nervous questioning ["sound?"] each time a car drove by or water could be heard rushing through the pipes in the walls).

Eventually her restless thoughts turned to her siblings -- who she began pronouncing firm and final judgements upon. (Well, one judgement really.)

"Anders: mean."


"Summer: mean."


"Jesse: mean."

She's been with us a full 20 months now which, one could fairly argue, is plenty of time for a thorough appraisal. Whether any of us received a gentler critique I was unable to discover, however, because at that point her eyelids finally grew heavy, and I was able to escape to my own bed where Hans let me sleep relatively undisturbed (I was fitfully dreaming of borrowing friends’ houses to complete odd, competetive, game-show-like tasks only to have Mette throw up and spread illness to their children) 'til 7:00.


But! There have been happier times than . . . throwing up and “all my siblings are mean”. Case in point? The above pictures. There is little I enjoy more than a track meet. (Is that completely true? That “little I enjoy more” bit? I mean . . . I enjoy a great deal of things quite a lot. So I’m not actually certain about there being little I enjoy more. Nevertheless, I do enjoy track meets; so much so that I strapped Hans to me, stuck Mette in a stroller, held Summer’s hand, and called constantly for Penny, Jesse and Anders to stay close in order to brave Abe’s first home meet.)


The next time I went, however, I cleverly employed Goldie in babysitting (Daisy was off somewhere with friends) and went with just Penny in tow.


For all my enjoyment, I must say, . . . the butterflies! Ohh how it used to nearly kill me – the nerves and stomach churning that would accompany the final calls and then waiting for the guns to go off at my own track meets long ago. And I can SEE those same feelings rippling off of Abe when he is setting up his blocks and waiting for the gun. Once the gun goes off – well then you are running – the nerves are gone and you are simply going. But until then? It’s maddening! And I swear there seemed to be five minutes between “Runners take your mark! Set! . . .” and the crack of the gun in Abe’s 300 meter hurdles.


Speaking of tracks. On occasion we will venture up to the track at Abe’s school (which, conveniently is about a block away) to let our kids run about, jump into the sand pit, and climb on the bleachers (or the pole-vault mat if we’re lucky enough to discover it out). We’re rarely wearing appropriate shoes, and often clad in pajamas, but when we happen to arrive at dusk, and the track is empty, it inevitably ends up being such a happy evening! The track is up high above the city. Our voices carry more than usual in the stillness and chill of the late evening air. Kids are asking to be timed in 400s, racing each other in the 100 meter dash, doing hand stands, and trying to dare leap over hurdles. It’s unaccountably pleasant.


Monday, April 17, 2017

A New Post for Daisy

When one book is finished and another isn't readily available, Daisy, for want of good material (or, any material at all really -- as she's all tossed to the wind without a book to be reading -- [and so utterly engrossed when she IS reading that she must be forcefully pulled back to us]) asks hopefully if I've written any new blog posts.
But no. The answer, of late, is nearly always a no (which, I flatter myself, is a grave disappointment to her).

But one can never quite do all one might like (or even really should), can they. (I didn't put a question mark there because it felt less a question than a resignation). If you're reading Holland's pulpit-pounding assurances, you're wondering when you'll get to whatever happens in the book of Moses after that marvelous face-to-face with God in chapter one. And even if you're reading both (along with 2 Nephi), you're likely to be wrestling a vague dissatisfaction over not finding time for a re-read of the Guernsey Literary something something Potato Peel Pie book that so charmed you several years ago or even the Derek Walcott poem ("Love after Love") that your aunt just emailed you, or to be feeling a slight buried-talent sorrow over not learning the Lightroom editing software you've meant to since 2014 or for not . . . writing anything.

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There's still time of course. That's what my mother assures me. Years ahead for so many things. "Think of it this way, Nan," she says. (And, while I'm often "Nance", she's the only one to ever call me Nan except, on occasion, my friend Jessica.) "It's like you've agreed to teach Gospel Doctrine one Sunday, but you decide you want to help in the Nursery during your lesson time because they happen to be short staffed. Helping in the Nursery is a good thing, but not when you've agreed to teach Gospel Doctrine at that time." (Though it occurs to me now that the metaphor should probably be reversed.) Still. The idea. One shouldn’t mourn or feel too much guilt over all the good things they aren’t doing if they are doing the good thing they are supposed to be doing.

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But! Daisy did just have a birthday (a 15th one no less), and surely that's enough to pull me to the computer for a blog post? Yes. It is. Only . . . goodness. There are SO MANY pictures waiting to be made a fuss over and I'm not in the least sure of what to do with all of those. They’d make one post cumbersome. They should color up multiple posts, but . . . I can't guarantee multiple will be written, and, if they aren't? Do the pictures just . . . languish? Well, I suppose I shall just press forward "not knowing beforehand the things which I should do" and all that.

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School was cancelled on Daisy's birthday. I'm not sure why, but, in absence of any glaringly obvious reason, we naturally claimed that Daisy's birthday was a big enough occasion to warrant a school-wide holiday. Earlier in the week I'd done what any good mother who is rather poor at early preparation does -- I'd wandered through Target with two babies in the cart and two toddlers trailing behind me (when they weren't trying to hide in clothes racks or getting distracted by Star Wars hats) picking out sandals and shorts that I thought might make fitting birthday gifts. On her birthday Daisy invited friends over in the day time. (She's gone and gotten herself the most ideal set of friends -- low drama, bright and cheerful, and forever wanting to go the temple.) I fed them pizza and pretended they were eight by having them make little graham-cracker "gingerbread" houses (Easter houses). And then they played games (even letting Anders be on Daisy's team), and laughed at how Summer zooms down the stairs on her tummy at lightning speed. That evening we shot arrows (some from wooden bows that Daisy made) into a hay bale in the backyard (because it's the kind of thing Mike thinks up), ate Chinese take out, and the cake Penny and Goldie made (with a small interesting moment occasioned by us being short on candles, Goldie having substituted mini marshmallows on toothpicks for missing candles, and Abe having lit one on fire), and opened presents.


In other news: Daisy and Goldie performed splendidly in their school production of Beauty and the Beast. Goldie as both a tree and a bucket, and Daisy as a villager (the baker’s wife perhaps?) and a napkin. Taking pictures from far away while holding Hans proved rather impossible, but, if you look closely you can spy Daisy in the back.

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And Easter came and went. It happened to be our Stake Conference so we got to attend church at the tabernacle next to the temple and all it’s lovely tulips.

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And before all of that, there was General Conference, donuts, Legos and coloring for a weekend.


And a homemade rootbeer party that happened (compliments of Mike’s brother Dave). I was running errands at the time, but Mike set Daisy to getting a few pictures and, I’m sure, made certain nobody drank any dry ice.


And Mette jumped on the trampoline with Penny. (It was several days of pure bliss when spring-like weather first arrived and Mette [who was still crawling when we last had a snow-free backyard] was set free to play outside. But then she discovered that wandering about outside is not nearly as good as having someone push you on the swing or jump with you [gently] on the trampoline. And now she mostly just wails miserably for those two things rather than contentedly exploring as at first. But, when I look at these pictures, I can’t imagine why I should want to ever do anything other than jump on the trampoline with this little cherub!)


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