I’ve got to get a new strategy for writing. Turns out that if I leave the task until nighttime, it just doesn’t happen. You see, the witching hour begins at our house around 4:00 p.m., right after nap time—when one would think the kids would be well rested, and therefore not whiny, clingy, and claiming to be starving, despite the fact that they refused to eat half or more of their lunch—and ends, roughly, between 7:30 and 9:30 p.m., the range of time during which one or more of the children fall asleep.
And by that point, after many, many consecutive nights of restless sleep, there is absolutely NO chance that I am getting up out of bed to compose anything of any worth. So, sadly, I haven’t even been trying.
The new idea is to get the writing done during the daytime. Right now, as I hopefully type away, my oldest is with the babysitter and her oldest girl, at a swim lesson. I have her younger daughter here at the house asleep for a nap, along with my two youngest. All is quiet, although I am hearing an occasional whimper and moan from both of the bedrooms. Please, please, stay asleep dear children!
It seems the weather has changed for the better around these parts, knock on wood, if one is willing to overlook the tornado watch that went on here for much of the day yesterday. So, we spent a good deal of time out in our yard on Sunday, pulling weeds and raking leaves—getting ready for some spring planting.
While the two younger kids were indoors napping, Nora and I helped Liam with some tasks. She and I set about pulling small weeds from inside the cracks between our patio stones. One weed I uprooted clearly upset an ants’ nest, as the little buggers starting climbing out of the crack by the tens and twenties.
I called Nora over to show her, knowing she gets a kick out of all things bugs. I love how she’s not grossed out by them, and enjoys picking them up and holding them when she can.
For the first couple of summers when we encountered bugs and insects I made a point to tell Nora about how we should be mindful and considerate around them, taking care not to smush them if we can. For the most part, she abided by these measures.
Seems as though we might need to have the talk again, because as soon as she saw all the ants, after she exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, look at all those little guys!” she followed up with, “Mama, wanna see how I kill the ants?”
“Hmmm?” I asked, half distracted.
“Wanna see how I kill the ants?”
Curious, I told her I did.
“Hold on,” she said, and then ran through the back door of the garage to the front porch.
She came back a moment later with a piece of sidewalk chalk, and began to explain as she acted out the steps:
“First, I take my chalk and I chalk them. See? Like this. I chalk them and then they become dead. They become dead,” she repeated, as if I hadn’t heard her clearly enough the first time around.
I returned to my weeding, wondering what had happened to my bug-loving child, only to be interrupted by her steadfast chalking and grunting.
“Got him. Got him. Got him. Got him, too!”
This reminds me of warm summer nights when I used to smush lightning bugs with my cousins in the alley behind our house, on the lids of rusty old trash barrels, just so we could see the brief smear of glowing luminescence when we did. Much as I want Nora to learn to be kind to all living things, I guess bug-killing is right up there with other childhood rites of passage, like learning how to ride a bike, and telling a fib for the first time.
Speaking of telling a fib, our middle child—Miss Frances—has been in the habit lately of outright lying when she wants something, but one or more adults tell her no. She simply tells whoever is saying no, that the other parent said she could (But mommy said so—or—But daddy said so). She’s not even two yet! Where does this come from?!
Take for example, this little incident:
Yesterday morning there was a little cup of trail mix that Nora or Frances had left out on one of the end tables from the day before. All that was left in the cup were a few peanuts and raisins, as someone had eaten all of the M&Ms from inside it. Frances asked me if she could have more M&Ms, and I told her no. She countered with, “But daddy said so!”
Ha! Daddy was not even home at the time. He was at work, and I knew better.
“Daddy did not say so,” I told her sternly.
“But daddy give me,” she pleaded, hoping against all hope I would say:
“Oh? Daddy give you? Well, in that case, let me go get you some more chocolate.”
Instead, I said, “Daddy gave that to you yesterday. And you’re not eating chocolate for breakfast today.”
At least the baby is not giving us any trouble.