Expecto Patronum

on 21 June 2013

The Boy and I have been slowly wending our way through the Harry Potter series.  Chris and I have both loved the books (and the movies), and the Cousins (my nieces and nephews) all love the series as well, so my kids are surrounded with phrases like muggle, wizard, quidditch, hallows, hogwarts, patronus, Dumbledor, and animagus.  (The sad thing is, Chris and I are also great fans of Tolkien so the list of strange words our kids are exposed to, is rather more extensive than this list.)  We're currently in the first quarter of book 5 (Order of the Phoenix) and it's slow going (book 5 is my least favorite).  But we had read another chapter, and since we were all sick for so long, I let my Boy watch Order of the Phoenix one long, rainy afternoon.

It's spawned an on-going conversation in our household that runs something like this:

Boy:  Hey, Mama!  What's my patronus look like?
Mama:  Hmmm, that's a good question.  I bet your patronus is a rabbit, because you're a lot like a rabbit sometimes.
Boy:  Yes, and I LOVE rabbits!  (hops away like a rabbit)
Mama:  (wishes he would eat vegetables like a rabbit, but that's another story).

Yesterday in the car, the conversation went a little like this:

Boy:  Hey, Daddy!  What's Mama's patronus look like?
Daddy:  Hmmm, that's a hard one.  Because your Mama always wishes she could wrap people up and put them in her pocket, so I bet your Mama's patronus is a kangaroo!
Boy:  (laughs hysterically) Mama!  Your patronus is a KANGAROO!
Mama: (also laughing) Actually, that sounds about right.
Boy:  Hey, Mama!  What's Daddy's patronus look like?
Daddy:  Hmmm, what animal is grouchy and tries to scare people off by being grumpy...
Mama:  A SKUNK!
Boy (laughing hysterically)
Girl (also laughing hysterically)
Daddy:  Actually, that's plausible.
Mama:  I know.

Father's Day

on 16 June 2013

People in this world talk a lot about women and how hard it is to be a woman.  And sure, it is.  But it's also hard to be a man.   Their choices aren't any easier than ours.  For my part, I'm grateful for good, honorable men.  Both the one that raised me, and the one I married.

Happy Father's day.

What we've been doing...

on 14 June 2013

So I really haven't just been cleaning and sewing.  We've done some other stuff that I haven't blogged about.

At least, NOT YET!

Right around mid-May, there's a reenactment of the Battle of the Regulation.  We've wanted to go for several years, and this year we made it happen!  It poured rain, but we still had fun.  We got there just in time for an artillery demonstration, and really, who doesn't love a cannon?

While Chris was down at the Beach House, I took my babies to my parent's house and made a whole bunch of JAM.  It was a lot more fun than making jam all alone in my apartment.

We go to the park a lot.  But my Girl is Unimpressed.  She thinks it's too hot and too sunny, and there's nothing to destroy.  Boo.

 One Wednesday afternoon, we took the kids to the Durham Museum of Life and Sciences, and then stood back and cracked up laughing at them.  They're hilarious.  The Girl LOVES her brother and follows him everywhere.  And most of the time, the Boy loves her back.

This look of total AMAZEMENT is free, courtesy of the Girl and the realization that in this particular area she can be as LOUD as she wants and no one is going to say NO.

A Splendid Prison

on 12 June 2013

My Girl has been sick for the past week.  It's just a cold, but since she's so spicy and independent, it's been worrisome to see her so droopy and clingy.  I suppose that's the spoiled mother of embarrassingly healthy children speaking.

She wasn't impossible to please, she was quite content to sit on my lap or be held in my arms, but if I had the audacity to put her down to, oh, I don't know, cook or clean or BATHE, then weeping and wailing would commence.

And because my kids are not often sick, it makes for a hard week when they are.  I sit a lot, and hold them a lot, and spend a disproportionate amount of time and energy and thought into calming them and trying to pacify them.  It was made harder by the fact, that the babies only ever want ME when they're sick.  Chris wants to be helpful, but my Girl would literally burst into tears if he dared to hold her instead of me, so it's oftentimes just easier for me to do all the nursing.

One day, while sitting in the rocking chair and rocking my pitiful girl, I was feeling a little sorry for myself, and feeling like this was a little like prison.  I couldn't move, I couldn't do anything, I couldn't even eat without having her on top of me.  And I looked down at her little face, laying against my shoulder, thumb in mouth (just like I had done as a small child), and I thought, "ok, it's a little like prison, but what a splendid prison."

I suppose this is the aspect of mothering that most women resent and rebel against.  That they are so very needed and that in spite of willing husbands, children are so very tied to their mothers.  And perhaps it's this resentfulness that leads a lot of women to seek for an escape.  I can understand that, I really can.  On the really loud days, I still fantasize about having an office with a door I can close.  But time has been making a fool of me again.  My once small boy, is growing long and gangly and Bold (which is strange for him), and my Girl...she too is growing long and lean, and I look at the Boy as a vision of things to come.  I know that this is a season.  And it's a season that is passing quickly.

I just don't want to see my children leave home and look back at their childhood with regret, that I didn't spend enough time with them, that I didn't let them love me, or worse, that I didn't love them the way they needed me to do.  And so I willingly surrender to this splendid prison, because I know that someday the doors will be thrown open and I'll look around and wonder why everything is so quiet.

As you might imagine...

on 10 June 2013

Every time we're going to move, or, as is probably more applicable, we think we're going to move, Burnstopia goes into survival mode.  It means we don't do much cooking, we eat out of our freezer and pantry, and it means that we clean out and chuck out.  But it also means that we SHELVE a lot of projects  that require more time and energy than we have.

So the process of the past few weeks has been to tackle those projects (finally), and then to do things that I have so cheerfully put off.

  • After 3 years, I finally went to the dentist.  Just like the last time, I waited until there was PAIN before making an appointment (we don't have dental insurance, so going to the dentist is a luxury in these parts), and I steeled myself for bad news (aka cavities).  No, no.  No cavities, I'm just grinding my teeth down to nubbins.  Fortunately, since the stress of moving has been removed, the pain has also abated, and now I know that my teeth are good for another three years.
  • We have finally committed to swim lessons for the Boy.  I considered them last year, but he was still very shy and cautious, and I didn't want to shell out money if he was going to be a big chicken and not learn anything.  So my niece is coming in once a week and working with him in the pool here in our complex, and then Chris goes with him in between lessons to practice.  My contribution?  I made him a pool robe!
  • Actually, I made one for each kid, since it seems likely that we're going to be spending a lot of time at the pool this summer and keeping towels wrapped around little children is HARD.  I'll try to get a picture of my Girl in hers, it's orange with bright pink trim. It's pretty awesome.  Edited to add:
 (Ok, she was not best pleased to be at the pool.  Admittedly, she has bronchitis, but she had been acting fine and it was hot and the Boy wanted to swim, and we all make sacrifices to be part of a family.  Anyway, she was a lot happier once we all got in the water.  And look at how cute her little robe turned out!)
  • I have been defeated by a pattern.  It stings.  I have assumed that my determination would allow me to knit pretty much anything I wanted.  It was my determination that carried me through Fair Isle and Cables, but Lace?  Alas.  I was trying to knit this darling, lacy baby bonnet for a friend of mine who is having a little girl.  After SEVEN attempts, Chris talked me out of any further attempts.  I think he feared for my sanity.  So my friend will have to content herself with a baby blanket (already sewn up, I just need to write out a card), and I will have to sit down and work through the elements of the bonnet separately.  WHEN I finally master it's royal fiddliness, I shall post pictures.  

Chris had a great time at the Beach for Memorial day weekend.  And boy, was I relieved when he came home.  For some reason, when he leaves the state it acts as an invitation for all chaos to break loose.  The Girl climbed out of her crib (for the first time) and promptly fell on her noggin.  She had a lovely goose egg on her forehead for the week after.  But I think she may have learned NOT to climb out of her crib.

My Boy is reading anything and everything in sight.  It's both entertaining and alarming.  For school this year, we just did quick lessons from the Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching your Child to Read.  And on the days that he was foul, we did other reading-readiness types of things (hidden pictures, alphabet games etc).  He was struggling with a couple of consonant combinations, and we were gearing up for a move, so I shelved the whole thing.  We have a learning household, so it's not like he sat around watching cartoons all day long, but we didn't do any formal work for the whole month of May.  And about 2 weeks ago he started reading signs wherever we went ("Look, Mama!  That sign says...!") and about 1 week ago, I caught him pulling books down off of his shelf and reading to himself.  Books I didn't know that HE knew how to read (Dr. Seuss, Henry and Mudge, Frog and Toad).  It's amazing, it really is.  But it's also a little scary.  I have this feeling of foreboding that he is soon going to be much smarter than his Mama.