(No picture. Just a lot of wonderful learning from a lot of wonderful people. It’s possible that I spent part of it in the mother’s room chatting it up with a Sister in Zion-cum-beauty pageant winner about the plight of young refugee mothers and how she can help them as part of her platform. Yes, it’s wonderful and exciting stuff).
Made a carnal mess in the kitchen with beets and boiled bones:
Conquered the world:
Built shelters in the backyard, proving the offspring are ready for the apocalypse:
On Sunday afternoons, I try to sit down with each of my children for at least 30 minutes each, doing something with only that one child, hopefully inducing meaningful conversation.
Because, you know, relationships and whatnot.
The child gets to pick the activity.
Jane the Austen likes to write or read, discuss her favorite books, and geek out over musicals and 19th century history together.
Clive the Staples likes back rubs and feet rubs, cuddles, and drawing.
Mister the Rogers likes to make treats with me, particularly cookies or caramels.
Katherine the Great likes dramatic nonsensical conversations, singing, and dancing.
Lucy the Maude generally likes to nurse, and doesn’t really get formal one on one time. She gets her loving in by default. Thank the stars for breastfeeding, snuggles, and infantile unwavering delightful sociability.
One Sunday afternoon, Clive the Staples decided we needed to make a family home evening chart together. So we toddled on down to the basement, found an old 2X4, and set to work with a skilsaw, sander, woodburning pen, and drill.
A few Sabbaths back*, Jane the Austen and Mr. the Rogers were sick, so I stayed home from Church with them and Lucy the Maude. Husband the Man took Clive the Staples and Katherine the Great to Church, where they were (reportedly, miraculously) well behaved in the pew while he gave a talk.
Lucy the Maude, the invalids, and I curled up on my bed and watched Sound of Music, whilst I had a theological texting conversation with a friend. Because Sunday!
Later, Mr. the Rogers wanted to build an elevated block city with me while Jane the Austen took an epsom salt bath. Lucy the Maude and I joined him on the floor for urban development (a city for dinosaurs and the occasional horse) and Jane the Austen eventually also joined us, snuggled in a blanket,. Pajamas, and bathrobe, reading Harry Potter.
When the three churchgoers got home, I left to go visiting teaching. I should know better than to leave husband alone with the kitchen, because when I came back, I found he’d been playing with the food (and the children):
He took the adorable deviled eggs home teaching to feed those he serves.
Ladies and gentlemen, home teaching is hot.
So is husband the man.
I love the sabbath.
Happy, happy sabbath.
* I binge write this blog on weekends, so you never actually get our family’s adventures in real time.
What you need for a grand adventure in the wilds of Urban Connecticut:
Library Card (Obviously. What true adventure doesn’t involve one?)
Baby wrap (one without buckles and adjustable plastic things. Too complicated)
Purse with diaper in it (I gave up on diaper bags ages ago. Viva la resistance!)
Progeny (count twice to make sure you’ve got them all)
Umbrella Stroller (for the short of stature do weary fast)
It is best to museum train the children. This is like advanced potty training–one must hold in all the joy and only let it out in non-antiquity destroying ways. It’s slightly harder than potty training, because children’s bladder and bowel capacities are finite; their capacity for joy in the beautiful is NOT.
Despite the worry associated with allowing a child within sneezing distance of a priceless piece of art, the payoff is worth it. Set low expectations and leave when they still want to stay. Ask a million speculative questions about the art, and the children end up feeling a sense of ownership. They each have “their” favorite painting at Fancypants University Art Gallery. Fred the Roger’s painting is a 50 million dollar Van Gogh. And he hasn’t sneezed on it….yet.
On one of our first visits to the Fancypants University Art Gallery, the Museum Guard demonstrated the “gallery pose.” You clasp your hands behind the back and lean towards the painting. He told the children they could get as close to the art as they wished, so long as they had their hands behind their backs and didn’t touch the painting with their faces.
On this particular field trip day, we went to the library first. So as to have something to read when Mom has to stop in the middle of cutting across Fancypants University to get to Fancypants Art Gallery in order to breastfeed Lucy the Maude. As one does.
We made it for an hour of museum time on this particular afternoon before Fred the Rogers was hungry, Katherine the Great was tired, and Lucy the Maude was done tolerating a nursing cover. She prefers to dine al fresco.
If I could do it inconspicuously enough, I’d have nursed her blanketless; but even when the children are perfect museum patrons ,they are still flashing lights and sirens, drawing disproportionate amounts of attention to our little group. Me, unceremoniously flashing the staring art professor with Undergrad art history class in tow when Lucy the Maude comes unlatched to grin and coo, is just one scene too many. Yes, I know the Fancypants galleries are rife with portrayals bared nipples and nursing infants; I’m just not prepared to join their ranks.
There are coin-operated lockers for stashing our things whilst in the museum. This is to safeguard against a 9th century Chinese vase “accidentally” ending up in the preschooler’s Spiderman backpack. I understand, Fancypants. I understand.
Upon retrieving our things at the end of our cultural excursion, we found ourselves in a hallway traffic jam with a small army of Fancypants University Caterers who were preparing a Fancypants feast. They went slack-jawed and doe-eyed at the children, and the little beggars scored to melon ball fruit skewers.
And I got a Fancypants Punch Recipe, which I am dying to make:
-A bunch of “grown up drinks” than I will never be “grown up” enough to drink. Because I’m drunk on life, darnit!
I don’t remember the proportions, but it will be delicious in any ratio. I’m sure of it. And it will be virgin.
And that, dear friends,
is the long story of how my children scored free melon ball skewers on field trip day.
Because of this, it would appear that I cannot donate blood. You know, in the off chance that I contracted Mad Cow disease as an infant.*
This is a tragedy, since I believe strongly in blood donation. It saves lives.
We’re all about life around here, most specifically the honoring, caring for, and keeping of life.**
Husband and I are the fortunate caretakers of five lovely offspring:
Jane the Austin, born in the Mountain West, is a violinist, avid knitter, and prolific reader. She aspires to be a violinist-astronaut-Mom, and return to her ancestral home of Northern Alaska to teach elementary school, not unlike Miss Agnes.
Clive the Staples, born in the South, is also somewhat musical, but prefers playing chess and running around with swords to reading. He has a very deeply rooted sense of justice. He aspires to serve a mission and be a Dad.
Mr. the Rogers, also born in the South, loves swordfighting with Clive Staples, reading with Jane Austin, warring (and occasionally peace-ing, or conspiring) with Katherine the Great, and eating pickled herring. He aspires to be a firefighter.
Katherine the Great, born in the Pacific Northwest, sings better than the rest of the tribe, but does little in the way of speaking. She manages to get her points across anyway. She is affectionately referred to by her older siblings as the Miniature Dictator. She aspires to eat all the cheese.***
Lucy the Maude (or, The Nursling), is our first New England born child. She loves to nurse, sleep, poop, and make faces and grunting noises that delight the rest of us. She is growing accustomed to our antics. She aspires to live in my arms all her waking and sleeping hours, but fortunately will also tolerate Husband, Jane Austin, and Clive Staples when nature calls.****
Besides our adventures with offspring, we’ve also fostered cats (for days on end), and neighborhood children (for days to years on end, depending on the child.).
At the commencement of this blog, we find ourselves in the urban wilds of New England, where we have adventures in cultural exchange with immigrant and refugee friends, play music with music friends, attend church with church friends, do fancypants stuff with university friends, and haunt the auspicious halls of Fancypants University***** (where Husband aspires to become a physicist).
We educate the offspring at home, which means despite having siblings, church friends, international friends, music friends, fancypants university friends, and neighborhood friends, my children’s social and emotional development is highly suspect, and must come under the most austere scrutiny and judgement you can muster.******
We generally cause mayhem by virtue of our fecundity and appalling lack of skinny jeans. We are not the millennials you read about in the Washington Post, despite husband’s HAWT black rimmed glasses and my sordid history of growing organic kale.
I aspire to write things, from grocery lists to blogs to novels.
Consider yourself warned.
*Just ask my children when we’re on a bad day. The jury is definitely out on this one.
**Intentional and unintentional. I’m looking at you, moldy leftovers.
***This is actually characteristic of all the offpspring, but most especially so for K the G.
**** There may be bathroom humor in this blog. I am going to blame it all on Clive Staples’ influence, and/or the approximate 12,000+ diapers Husband and I have changed in the last decade.
*****FU for short. Is that too much? Maybe it’s too much.
******Because, you know, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to become a well balanced human being unless you spend the first 12 years of life raising your hand to ask permission to pee and voting for which of your peers most deserves to wear a crown and be applauded for…crown wearing. However, I digress.