Time to Create

Right now it is virtually silent in our house.

Oscar is playing with his new Star Wars LEGO.  Edgar is doing a puzzle.  August and Don are sleeping.

People often ask me how I have time to create this blog–when I actually have an opportunity to write.

The truth is that despite having three very young children, our house is generally far from the constant chaos one might imagine.   Of course, this doesn’t mean things are always so quiet–in fact, they often aren’t.   Young children have needs–and complaints, and opinions, and bodily functions that need to be tended to.  But more and more, though I still do the majority of my writing at night after everyone is tucked snugly into bed, I am finding that during the day everyone will often find something to do simultaneously for intervals that afford me the chance to write.  And even a ten-minute clip here or there is enough to put something down for posterity. 

I never consciously asked for this time–it has seamlessly evolved.  But that doesn’t make me any less grateful for it or for our collective ability–despite being a family of five–to sense and then give each other the space we need.  Not a bad rhythm to have achieved at such an early juncture in our journey together . . .

The Writing on the Wall

Don and I have never been people who demanded perfection from our physical environment.  In fact, what attracted us to our 1900 Victorian cottage was its myriad imperfections–the slightly slanted floors, the bumps on the walls, the occasional nick here or scratch there.  And while we endeavor to make our space as inviting as we can, we understand that there is beauty in imperfection. 

Those who have been in or seen photos of our home know of its color: the red kitchen (that used to be yellow); the coffee-colored livingroom (that used to be blue); the yellow-green hallway (that used to be gray).  And those who know me know that every paintbrush stroke has been my own.   Painting the inside of our home (twice over) has been as aesthetically pleasing as it has been spiritually nourishing. 

And painting the boys’ playroom was no exception.  I came across a textured paint in a calming shade of bluish-green that I thought would be just perfect for their playroom.  With every brush stroke, I thought of the car races, coloring, and conversation that would occur in that room.  I did not imagine finding this:

That’s Oscar’s handiwork–his name written in crayon that I only just discovered today but can date at about a year old based on the penmanship.  I looked at it and thought for a moment what combination of chemicals might remove the set-in crayon marks–because even though we appreciate the imperfections of our home, we don’t condone writing on the walls. 

But then I stopped and decided instead to photograph it and write about it and for now leave it right where it resides because the time will come soon enough when the room will once again become a den for Don and me, and the paint job I will most assuredly treat it to will cover all evidence that the boys ever played there.  And given the pit in my stomach that thought leaves me with tells me I better preserve this memory and fast.

The Power of Choice

Oscar’s losing two of his front teeth this week has understandably prompted reactions–most positive, but a few decidedly and surprisingly negative.  When I heard and heard of the less-than-kind comments, my mother haunches ignited.  But I held back the words I so wanted to say and let Oscar tell me how those comments made him feel.

He told me that most people had nice things to say–that his missing teeth were “cool,” that he looked “cute,” that his accident was (ahem) “awesome.”  Then he added, “I choose to accept those comments and not the others.”

Simple as that.

A child with self-esteem enough to reject the negative and embrace the positive and a mother nearly moved to tears by her five-year-old son’s wisdom.

And Then There Were 18

Teeth, that is!

A spirited wrestling match between Oscar and Edgar ended abruptly yesterday during a visit to Grandma and Grandpa’s when Oscar, who wanted to extricate himself from Edgar’s hold (more because he had grown tired of the event and less because everyone over forty years old foresaw danger and was asking them to stop), lost his footing in his slippery socks on the hardwood floor and landed teeth-first into the television console.

With thanks to Thomas Paine, who, despite his common sense, I am sure, gave his mother a moment’s worry or two, these are the times that try a mother’s soul.

When the blood was cleaned away, what remained was a very loose front tooth and a lateral incisor that was pushed out of place–as well as an alternately fascinated and fussy five-year-old boy.

Because of the trauma involved and a fear that there could be tissue damage, I made a call to the dentist.  We went–and as traumas go, this one was clean.  He did recommend pulling the teeth as they would most assuredly pose a nuisance and be the proverbial breeding ground for bacteria.  Not being fans of nuisances or bacteria, we opted for the extractions. 

The result is pretty darned cute.

Not sure what the Tooth Fairy is paying these days, but I think she’ll be ponying up plentifully tonight!

The Office

Some time ago I wrote about being befuddled by the appeal of “playing cars”–dozens of little Matchbox cars lined up across the windowsill, parked in the  midst of the pattern of the diningroom rug, and raced across the kitchen floor.  But at least I could SEE them. 

Oscar’s latest fascination with teeny tiny barely perceptible LEGO has given me pause–as well as more than one  headache and occasional elevated blood pressure.  However, despite my protestations, I must acknowledge not only how much he loves playing with them but what an amazing learning tool they truly are. 

So, what’s a mother to do?  Having to pick them up off the floor at the end of every day didn’t seem to be something I wanted to do–with or without Oscar’s help.  And with an eager-to-crawl seven-month-old among us, I didn’t want to take the chance that he would find one before I did.   Plus, every time  Edgar “discovered” something Oscar had built, he took it apart “just to see how it worked.”  This did not go over well with Oscar, and histrionics ensued.  And apparently we couldn’t just throw the LEGO sets in the trash (not that I entertained that idea for more than an hour a second).

May I present a solution to our problem: 

Oscar has “moved in” to Don’s office and studio space.  He has his own desk to set up his LEGO as he sees fit, the tiny pieces stay far away from August’s mouth, and the completed ships are no where near Edgar’s curious hands.  And Oscar and Don are enjoying some time together–just the two of them–listening to music, talking, and just hanging out. 

Maybe this LEGO isn’t so bad after all . . .

Logic Got Him from A to B

“Logic will get you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere.”  Albert Einstein

This week, Oscar and I were having one of our now-famous conversations in the car.  The theme was Star Wars, particularly the Star Wars films.  A few weeks ago he had asked me if he could see the films as they are apparently all the rage in Kindergarten.  I thought back to when I saw them, which was, sadly, when they first came out; I was probably about ten years old.  That seemed reasonable, so that was the number I chose: ten. 

Let’s take a peek and give a listen inside the car this week, shall we?

OSCAR:  “Mom, I can’t see the Star Wars movies until I’m ten, right?”

ME:  “That’s right.”

OSCAR:  “Is that because they’re rated PG?”

ME:  “Yes.”

OSCAR: (segueing into his point without my even noticing):  “I’ve seen other PG movies, right? Isn’t Cars PG?  And Madagascar and Shrek?”

ME: (I have nothing.): “Yes.” 

I then try to mumble something about how sophisticated the Star Wars stories are in terms of plot development and narrative structure; but either out of pity or just an overwhelming sense that he knew he had made his point, Oscar remained silent–as if to say, ‘You think on this for a bit and get back to me.’)

Happy Valentine’s Day, Oscar! 

 Logic got you from not having the movie to having it.  May the Force inspire your imagination and take you everywhere you want to go!