For Eve, kindergarten was like walking the red carpet. You strut along the plush, preparatory path, wave to your admirers, maybe even blow a few kisses, and then you go on to the big event. From day one at the bottom rung on the elementary school ladder, not even a tic of anxiety passed over Eve's demeanor. It takes a pretty big storm to ruffle Eve's boa feathers. She takes each event as it comes, happy with whatever she gets. (Cause you git what you git and you don't throw. . . )
* * *
As she read one of her final homework books of the year to Eric, she methodically plowed through each page. After reading one of the pages, she paused and looked at Eric impishly. Finally she raised her eyebrows and slowly said, "Wait for it. . . wait for it. . . " and then turned the page and went on reading as if nothing had happened.
* * *
A few days ago, Eve dramatically burst into the room, waving her hands and shouting, "They lied to us ALL!"
She had been in her room looking through her pre-school photo-album when she had seen a picture of someone dressed up like the Easter Bunny and realized, in her state of obviously increased maturity, that it wasn't actually the real Easter Bunny.
* * *
On one of her final kindergarten days, she bounced in from the bus and happily announced, "My teacher says I'm ready for Once Grade!"
Summer at our house means a little bit of sun, lunch at the park, Camp d'Evegnee and more time for chores. Some people do Spring Cleaning, but at our house we wait a season to start the true scrub-down. I'm pretty sure we bent, if not broke, several child labor laws, but I have to admit that seeing those four big kids bent over the crown molding with toothbrushes and attacking Marie's petite little swirly pen markings on the wall with magic erasers put me in a rather good mood. Our little laborers have spent hours in the garden weeding like servants, but they've also been rewarded like kings (Lucky for me, the motivation of double dollar store prizes was a royal reward to them! Eight bucks for like thirty hours of work? Sweet.).
One morning as I worked on cleaning the kitchen, I overheard someone singing loudly enough to be heard over the roar of the vacuum. I perked up my ears and moved in closer to the staircase so I could hear the lyrics. Holden was vacuuming the stairs and crooning with feeling, "I'm just a poor boy from a poor family! " in a way that was most certainly both bohemian and rhapsodic.
As I was cleaning out my closet and my room, bravely willing myself to toss out nostalgic momentos like the shoes I wore to defend my Masters Thesis (I still kept the dress. . . maybe next year), Caleb walked in, surveyed my work as he nodded thoughtfully over my progress and said, "Good job, Mom. Reeeaaally good job."
Thanks, Caleb. Even Moms need a little encouragement.
Marie's vocabulary is increasing as exponentially as her charm. We get chills each time she says, "Love you" or bounds up to Caleb for a squeeze, arms outstretched and calling out to him, "Bug! Bug!" One of my favorite Marie-isms is when she expresses her gratitude by crinkling up her eyes, breaking into a wide grin and saying, "Thank you. . . MUCH."
What she lacks in vocabulary, Marie makes up for with her belief that air-kisses are worth a thousand words. She'll pucker up and give a loud smooch to punctuate any tender moment.
However, the length of the kissing sound is often determined by how much trouble she knows is bound to follow her previous choice. If caught with her pen or crayon in hand while embellishing our white walls with her signature tiny circles or engaging in any other similarly destructive activity, she looks at me innocently, protrudes her pudgy lips and offers a full-bodied, five-second long air kiss as if her life depends on it.
* * *
She still demands payment of her food tax at each meal and we all know that by the end of dinner she'll be sitting on my lap, eating more of the same exact menu she left unfinished on her highchair tray. When I let Eve try a bite of something I was eating (probably when I was finally eating lunch at about 2:00 in the afternoon when I remembered that I had forgotten to eat yet), she tasted it and then said, " I agree with Marie. Other people's food does taste better."
Our other kids didn't make their debut in Sharing Time in Primary at Church until they were four, but apparently this ward likes a bit of comedy mixed in with religion, because they let the three-year-old sunbeams have a turn giving scriptures and prayers. When it was Peter's turn to "read" a scripture and offer the closing prayer, it was like open-mic night at The Laugh Factory.
I whispered the words into Peter's ear so he could repeat them into the microphone and he looked at me like, "Are you setting me up, Woman? You've been warning me not to talk into this microphone ever since I can remember and now you're telling me to let loose. . . and with a reverent audience?"
At first he just giggled at the sheer absurdity of the moment. You could hear the belly laugh amplified around the room, which only made him and his rapt audience laugh more. When he realized that I was serious, he spoke softly at first and then gained volume as he gained confidence. Eric and I had wisely chosen to have Peter share a scripture sliver, if you will, rather than a whole verse, thinking that the runaway comedy train might be controlled with brevity.
We were wrong.
I whispered "By the power of the Holy Ghost, ye shall know the truth of all things" into his cute little ear two or three words at a time.
Peter's translation sounded like this :
By. . . the. . .heh-heh-heh," (whispered, then accompanied by a look of sheer joy and anticipation of what's coming next)
POWER!!!. . . (shouted with enough force to send it reverberating around the room for about twenty horrifying seconds. . . I exaggerate only a tiny bit)
GHOST!!!! (louder giggling, not only from Peter, but from the slightly shocked, slightly bemused Primary kids)
THINGS!!! (full-on laughter from everyone in the congregation, including the teachers, Primary Presidency, and Eric)
What is that famous quote we use in hard times? I never said it would be easy; I only said it would be funny? Something like that.
* * *
I was pushing Peter and Marie on the swings with somewhat lackluster enthusiasm, when Peter started rebuking me with cherubic fury. He yelled, "Press A! Press A!!"
Confused, I told him I didn't understand what he meant and he kept saying, "Press A!"
Finally, using all of my maternal powers of deduction, I figured out that he was talking to me in the foreign tongue of Wii.
Peter's fraternal Wii mentors are always telling him to "Press A" when he needs to go faster or higher on the game. I laughed at my realization and said, "Oh! You want me to push you higher?" Peter nodded with enthusiasm. Now, even Marie screams a hearty, "Press A!!!" when she needs an extra shove on the swings.
Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after.
-Henry David Thoreau
-Henry David Thoreau
When Ethan returned from his first real fishing trip (real meaning you catch them and you actually eat them) in Montana for our family reunion, I expected him to regale me with tales of the glories of worms and fish guts. But when he walked in the house, he was uncharacteristically tight lipped and pale. Before I could even ask what was wrong, he softly said, "It was. . . really. . . violent" and then he sort of shuddered and walked away.
Apparently squeezing pulsating wildlife while your Dad extricates blood, innards, and a hook wasn't what Ethan had expected. Why didn't Thoreau ever mention any of that?
Needless to say, at the huge trout fry that night, Ethan mostly stuck with the side-dishes. That's okay with me, though. It just meant more for me. I wasn't there to witness the savagery, so I pigged out on Grandpa's delicious Trout Almondine, thinking all the while of Norman MacLean with just a smidge of Brad Pitt thrown in (pre-Angelina, of course), my meal being narrated by one Robert Redford.