Friday, February 5, 2016

A Mouse, Summer, and the Temple

This morning, as I sat at the foot of my bed, feeding Mette and calling to various children to find their shoes and come get their hair done, a mouse dashed into my bedroom doorway. A mouse! He paused, whipping his head about frantically as if unsure where best to run; but his panic, however great it might have been – out in broad daylight in a house with a dog and people and no clear shelter nearby -- can have been no greater than my own! I felt so helpless: reduced to a state of frozen terror by a mammal no longer than my pinky finger! I don’t know that it was fear over what the mouse itself might do so much as fear because . . . what on earth was I to do?? What? I ask you! It wasn’t as if I could expect to pounce and actually catch it (pouncing is for cats, and Tigger; . . . and heaven forbid that my hands should touch it). And it wasn’t like a spider that might wait while I grabbed a jar. I found myself actually relieved when it scurried off towards the front room. Relieved, dear friends, that a mouse was in my house, but out of my field of sight. But really. It was a very up in the air sort of feeling. I was not keen on it at all. And now? I guess I just ask Mike to set some traps. (And not tell dear Goldie. She would not approve. Bless her.)

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Summer is just so fun right now. I really do love the learning how to talk phase so much. While the older kids are in school, she spends a good portion of her time yelling for, or at, Anders. If it isn’t “Annnnnders! Where are you?” It’s, instead, “ANDERS!” in a tone of much frustration or anger (even though what Anders may have done wrong in those situations is hard for me to ever place).

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A few weeks ago was the first time she “told” on one of her siblings. She ran into my room and in much agitation shouted, “JESSE! Mmblblmm Jesse!!”

“What’s the matter?” I asked. “Did Jesse make you mad?” I walked with her to the living room and said, “Jesse, how come Summer is so mad at you?”

“Oh,” he said. Shrugging. “Because I wouldn’t give her anymore of my crackers.”

It just made me laugh that it now occurred to this little human to go and tattle if a sibling wasn’t doing what she thought they should be.

Also, I heard her small voice coming from the front room recently repeating, “Need help. Need help.” I came and saw this. I suppose I shouldn’t have made her wait in her terrifying predicament for me to get me camera (first picture below), but . . .

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I went to the temple last night for the first time since Mette’s August arrival. It’s so freeing, after a new baby’s arrival, once I feel I can leave on occasion and know that others can get them to bed fine and the like. I would be untruthful if I said that every time I go to the temple I have some profound spiritual experience. Or even if I said, “most times”. And yet . . . always always, during or after, there is an increase in peace and perspective. And something must happen – even if it isn’t always fireworks and sudden insight – because I crave being there. My spirit seems to recognize more than my mortal self can, that things can be felt there and layers of veil can be lifted slightly because I long to go back right after I leave. And always . . . so many thoughts, so many wonderings, so many “Was that coincidence? Or a bigger hand involved?”

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Here is what I posted after attending last night:

Little, lone me stepped out of this place at 9:37 tonight and walked, with quick and shivering steps, to my empty, cold car. But I felt like, small as I was in this very big and dark world, I carried a tiny glowing speck of light with me. And in me. And, black as this night was, It seemed I could see a web weaved with the unmistakable dots of light from all of you connected to my life in any way. Thank you. Thank you for all those lights.

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Anywho, that’s all for now!

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Mette . . . and some other kids.

“I didn’t say you couldn’t draw narwhals. You can draw all the narwhals you want! I just said you can’t draw narwhals on my mirror.” (Such a strange thing – discovering a need to call upon such words.)

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The other day Abe informed me (cautiously), “Mom, I’m not complaining or anything, but I’ve just noticed that every time you ask me to help you clean the kitchen, . . . I just end up cleaning the kitchen myself.”

After a good laugh, I explained to him that the word “by” would help unravel the confusion in this (apparently) common occurrence. “Abe, will you help me by cleaning the kitchen?”

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Goldie tried practicing the art of conversation with Daisy earlier this week. Afterwards she came to me and said, “Mom, I tried to talk to Daisy about everything I could think to talk about, but she didn’t help think of anything to talk about at all. She just kept going back to reading her book! I asked her everything I could think to about Jr. High and about Valentines, but then I couldn’t think of anything else, and she really wouldn’t help at all.”

Abe chimed in helpfully by asking her if she’d tried “the weather”, but she’d had enough one-sided conversation for the day and wasn’t interested.

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Mette, perhaps, appears in more than her fair share of photos lately. (You may have noticed I just used pictures solely of Mette while I discussed various other children.) But it is just SO so easy with a mostly immobile subject. I just set her wherever it pleases me, and . . . take pictures. Those other kids have to be caught on the sly, or coaxed. And Summer will, most often, be neither caught nor coaxed. And besides. Look how cute in that picture above how Mette is trying to tell her rhino brace to “peace out”. Unfortunately it’s hanging around until April at least.

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But, look, I did catch Jesse demonstrating to Anders how to use my tripod (and even take pictures) not long ago (and all in appropriate photo-taking apparel):

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And what do we have here? Goldie and Penny and a jumprope.

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And I have managed to catch a few of Summersby. And Anders because he’s here with me all day. (And Thomas. Because he’s mostly here with me all day too.)

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Abe? Daisy? Hm. Well, in lieu of them, I think I can rustle up another picture or two of . . .

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(She’s not supposed to sleep without her brace, but what can you do when she passes out mid play?)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Brief for the Defense

" . . . We must have the

stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless

furnace of this world. To make injustice the only

measure of our attention is to praise the Devil.

. . .

We must admit there will be music in spite of everything. . . ."

(A few lines from the poem “A Brief for the Defense”)

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I love the idea that we must occasionally be stubborn and determined when it comes to accepting joy. That we must hold to it fiercely and admit that even in the darkest times, there truly will still be music to cling to. 

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Unrelated. Or, perhaps perfectly related:

Anders, at four, has likely lived past his days of any true toddlerhood. I can never quite get over the fact that in all of FOREVER these little humans of mine will exist only once – for such a tiny speck of time -- as the baby or two year old version of themselves; and that it’s only in my mind that those bits of them will continue to exist. And yet . . . they are such huge parts of them. And of me. While I do have my own personal thoughts that keep developing strength on how all these parts of our lives will be . . . clearly there. Clearly a part of us. Forever. (Only temporarily obscured by weak mortal memory.) They are more feeling – part hope and part surety – than words. (The idea was expressed somewhat in this post.)

So, for now: some last remnants of his toddlerhood:

He recently saw a dog that looked just like a “woof”. (That would be wolf). And, when I send him off to his room for a little “quiet time” around noon, he asks if he can have a “sroot snack” to take with him.

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The other day he announced, “Mom, I’m ginna draw an alligator.” And then, as he began drawing lots of things poking off of an oval, he continued, “And alligators have tons of legs.” Then, a pause, and, in a tone that seemed to suggest he was as surprised as anyone he added, “Even on their heads.”

On Sunday, he was snuggled up next to me on the couch, when suddenly he lifted his head and said, “Mom! I can hear your heart pa-pumming!” I love “pa-pumming”.

Enough of that. A few more pictures. And this:

My kids can oft times be found, for want of anything better to do, playing, “Would you rather.” I tried to join in the other day with a “Would you rather shoot lasers out of your eyes or have pointy metal teeth?” But I was mocked out of the game. Apparently “pointy metal teeth” was far beneath their creativity standards. They just kept shaking their heads and chuckling to each other, “Pointy metal teeth. Oh mom.” Pointy metal teeth are so yesterday. I guess like . . . everyone has pointy metal teeth.

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