A Blizzicane, a Bit of Embarrassment, and Yet Another Sickness

Dear Family,

I've tried to start this letter over a dozen times, but it's hard to come up with a catchy, happy opener describing a week wherein I spent more hours in the house taking care of sick children than is strictly healthful, from a psychic perspective. Here's an exchange that neatly sums up the past seven days:

Jem, walks over to me in a pathetic, I'm-feeling-very-ill sort of way: “Here you go, Sir!”

Glad that he's showing at least a little sparkle, I answer him brightly: “What's that, Sir?!”

Jem, depositing his gift into my outstretched palm: “Oh, a booger.”

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Valentines in All Styles

Dear Family,

Last year, Aunt Celeste gave Ben a tape recorder. At the time, he kept asking how to make it talk, and couldn't remember what the buttons were for. Today he rediscovered this supremely kid-friendly technology, and was off and running.

He made owl sounds into the microphone. He convinced Jeff to record a read-through of "The Cat in the Hat Comes Back" before dinner. And as soon as he'd eaten, he was recording again. Finally, I called into the other room, "Ben, it's time for BED now! Do you need to pee?"

Mama Team Spirit

On good days, I write down his witticisms, note his every emotional breakthrough, save his gorgeous artwork, am thrilled by his curiosity and intensity about the world around him, am impressed by his drive to create and draw, and am so happy that he isn't swayed by authority or peer pressure. I write about each of these things in my weekly updates.

Treasure Hunting, and Other Subversive Acts

Dear Family,

It has come to my attention that one of the habits of Highly Happy People is that they do not dwell on the imperfections in their lives. Therefore, I deleted a whole bunch of text pertaining to my children's sleep/wake habits, and instead I have inserted: NO COMMENT.

That took a whole lot of self-restraint, and I'm proud of myself. Welcome to the New, Happy Me!

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Dancing, and Philosophy from my Offspring

Dear Family,

Nearly all of the time, I appear to be a slightly frazzled Mother of two. And yet every so often, an alter ego emerges: my performing, dancing twin. Yesterday I was in “The Dance of Scales,” part of the Light in Winter festival http://lightinwinter.com/ .

Potty Mouths and Fiery Questions

Dear Family,

Someone has taken my adorable baby and turned him into someone with an even more unpleasant and screwy sleep schedule than usual. He doesn't even want to nap anymore, except that when he doesn't, interactions with Jem go something like this.

Mama: Are you hungry?

Jem: NO!

Mama: Okay.

Jem: HUNGY! HUNGY HUNGY!

Mama: Okay, would you like some soup?

Jem: WAAAAHHHHHHHH….

Ben: Jem, do you want a hug?

Jem: NO!!

Ben: Why doesn't he want a hug?

Jem: WAAAAHHHHHHHH...

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Now He is Six

Dear Family,

When I was One,
I had just begun.
When I was Two,
I was nearly new.
When I was Three
I was hardly me.
When I was Four,
I was not much more.
When I was Five,
I was just alive.
But now I am Six,
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

----A.A. Milne

Graham brought this poem to read to Ben today, which just about made me cry. Not for any particular reason except that now my baby is six. I'm not sure that Ben will be as impressed with the piece until he isn't six any more. Which makes it all the more poignant.

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Equality in Aggravation

Dear Family,

Happy New Year! I really wanted to send an update yesterday, since the date was a palindrome: 20100102. I will have to be more on the ball in November of 2011.

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In my heart, there is a struggle. I want my children to be independent, free thinking individuals who question authority and don't cave to peer pressure. At the same time, I want them to be pleasant and polite, sleep on my frickin' schedule, and play happily amongst themselves without arguing over random flecks of dust. And I want them to do this because I SAID SO.

Concerning Cosmic Questions and Guyaks

Dear Family,

He always has a good reason. Take yesterday morning, for instance: when I inquired why Jem was awake and climbing off the bed into the pitch blackness of the five o'clock hour, he explained that he had to go find the "big fire tucka." He very considerately parked it next to my head.

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WARNING - COMPLAINT SECTION

Namens From Far Away

Dear Family,

I was beginning to hate winter, and it only started yesterday. But finally, I've re-remembered what it's all about: PLAYING IN THE SNOW!!! Ben and Jem and I went out for two hours this morning with some friends, and we skated/stomped on the pond, sledded down the hills, and stayed warm just because we were moving. And of course, there's also cross-country skiing! So I'm not ready to move to Florida just yet.

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