Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Random play.

My heart is like a wheel, my mind is like a troupe of dancing monkeys. Or a sieve. Depending on the day. Or the moment.

Hey, you know that part in my little "about me" bio thing over there that says "(slightly lapsed) voracious reader" just before the other bits? Well, big time lapsed should be more like it. While reading has framed and formed so much of my identity / thinking and for much (most!) of my life, I've suffered a set back in my book devouring. In my late twenties, for some sad-bad time, a set of circumstances changed my reading mind. I haven't ever really regained the focus and dedication as a reader since that time, but for years now, I've vowed to get back to it. And sometimes I did, even when it took me months (oh, and I do mean months) during my early marriage to read that blasted OJ book (in the bath, in the bed, on the sofa beside my man watching basketball....). But whatever.

I read a lot when pregnant and then when Ziggy was an infant. All that building a little body inside mine and then all that dedicated nursing time cozied up quiet and lovely somewhere. And then it changed again. I fell into the television. I fell into the computer and couldn't get up. My attention span suffered. Sure, I read some non fiction about parenting or gardening or homeschooling or other things I needed to learn for work or some project. But I didn't really finish anything for *me* simply because the reading fed my brain, my spirit, my vocabulary.

So a few weeks ago, I tricked myself. I chose the shortest prettiest little book off my crammed full shelves: Anna Quindlen's A Short Guide to a Happy Life, given to me by my best friend for a birthday a couple years ago. I settled in beside my snoozing boy child and let the words run at me.... I finished the book. Next, I chose a paperback passed on to me by my mother with the recommendation that it was a good little breezy read: Ann Tyler's Patchwork Planet. Yay! Two weeks of reading here and there, and done! I enjoyed it. And now I'm on to the beautifully written The Horizontal World: Growing Up in the Middle of Nowhere by Debra Marquart, with a growing stack of what's next. It's very exciting, shaking hands and reaquainting myself with my too long dormant reader self.... And it's a bit like training for a physical event, like, say, the marathons I walked for charity. Slow at first. Building joy, endurance, speed. As my son parrots me, riding a bike or scootering about, "It just takes a little practice, Mama." Suggestions for future reads? Tell me, do.

Maggie's got a nice post over at Just Say No To Mommy Brain -- she's decided to Be Here Now. No more computer in front of her boy. I myself resolve and slip, resolve and slip, as I commented (while my boy plays Hot Wheels at my feet.)

I'm working hard on scheduling, organization, ritual. Finding the ways for our natural rythms to catch and work harmoniously. This, or perhaps the way in which I bring it up, drives the Mister up a wall. He feels as if I am trying to control him, something he is strongly against. I feel as if he is evading family life and what's good for most. We have words. We struggle. So it goes. We all have our push and pull.

Ziggy and I are making a posterboard schedule and a responsibility chart. I'm reviewing and renewing my year's goals and resolutions. We're making a list of house rules.

Ziggy and I have reviewed our last summer and are planning for this one. Last summer he began wearing undies, this summer he'll learn to fully dress himself. He wants to know all about Africa, an obsession for some time now. I've pulled all the African music from my CD stacks, and am culling resources for learning about Africa with him this summer. We also plan to swim a lot (maybe lessons for him) as well as exercise at the Y, work the garden, play with our new sand and water table, take a number of field trips with and without friends. I finish my payback at RIP in early summer, too, so that means more time for us to dive into other pursuit. He wants to learn to write and to read some; he's already doing a bit, and I'm trying to stave off Handwriting Without Tears (maybe) and Five In a Row 'til the fall (at least?), though will pull out the BOB books soon enough and begin to make lapbooks about the subjects that interest us. Ziggy also wants to take the (nearly unused) training wheels off his "big red fire bike," a pass along from his oldest (and favorite) cousin, Autumn. We plan zoo and botanical garden outings, a train ride or two, a trip to the dairy, and turning our attention once again, to finding a church where we can feel at home.

I had a couple weeks of domestic revolution in April. Fruitful, but part of process rather than completion. Will be hitting it hard again beginning tomorrow. I must become more ruthless in ridding ourselves of stuff. Our home is very very small (not quite 1000 square feet) with little storage. Two tiny closets and a dirt basement that gets and stays wet. The Mister and I don't see eye to eye on how to accomplish things, but a more clean and organized home is on both our lists. I'm leaving him alone as best I can about his comics and CDs and man toys, and downsizing my and Ziggy's stuff. I pray this works.

I even gathered books and CDs and such to sell in order to purchase a better vacuum and a floor steam mop (both procured on sale!). Mine and Ziggy's allergies have had the best of things for too long. Can I just say? I LOVE my new vaccum and my steam mop. Love them.

Ziggy understands and even participates in this whole process. Like most children, he loves to help. So much so that he when asked "What've you been doing?" by his grandmother on the telephone, he smilingly answers, "Helping my mama do chores!"

But all work and no fun makes Mama a dull Booty. And so, having received notice of the goslings and ducklings at Centennial Park from the wonderful bike riding John About Town, I planned for a picnic supper and last night we met the Mister after work, spread a blanket and unloaded the cooler. The boy ran the playground and we pushed him on the swings, followed by a walk 'round the lake loop to see the darling goslings we'd been told of. Wonderful! Still yellow and fluffed and small, they are delicious to see.

Home again, Ziggy told me he was afraid of a sound coming from the fireplace in the livingroom. And so it was, a swallow fallen down the chimney. A broom, some cats, a celing fan and a tired / terrified bird. Dramatic for an ordinary Tuesday night. We're pleased to report that the swallow made it out the door. "The mama," proclaimed Ziggy. Asked if the baby birds had worried in her absence, he assured us that "No, because the daddy bird was with them."

Delightful when the hitting (oh, three....) abates and the hurled angry words ("You're bad! I don't like you anymore!" or "You came in without my daddy and ruined my night!") slow. Always more readily onhand, therefore ripe for derision, the mama in our household is in for the worst of this.

Oddly enough, NOT having organized, put on and participated in the annual Mother's Day Peace Parade was anticlimactic. Ziggy and I spent the weekend in East Tennessee instead, loving up my mother and playing with cousins, visiting with Uncle Jeff and Aunt La, in from Boston. Home we were by Monday night, and back to the routine of here.

I'd determined to let the produce CSA go this year, and had planned to do our meat one. Plans change. We roll with it. Determined the freezer still has meat and our monies are best put toward other things than meat alone. Yet grateful that my father has gifted us with a CSA afterall (our Christmas, etc. come early), which is one we've not used before. Beginning this afternoon, we'll have a small share of produce to pick up on Wednesdays, along with a dozen eggs and a meat. Yay, God! Yay, Us! (as punctuates the Amen of our blessings these days.)

And this seems as good a place as any to part ways. The out of doors beckons....


  1. such a full and lovely life you lead! i appreciate the link to my blog and am excited to check out the goslings at centennial with MY boy. we just got "ollie", a book about a baby gosling who won't come out of his egg, at the library this morning so the timing is perfect. and speaking of timing, a mama i know has had much success with a schedule like the one you're making - she schedules time for her children to work on workbooks or other independent activities so she can have regular breaks (hers are used to bond with her newest baby, yours could be used to read!). have a wonderful afternoon!

  2. I do a fair bit of "tuning out" behind a keyboard or a book, but until you brought it up, had not thought about the effect it would have on the kids' future behavior.

    We joined a CSA for the first time this year and are unbelievably excited, as a family.

    Here's to a full and fruitful summer.

  3. Kathryn5:42 PM

    I've been trying to refrain from zoning out at the computer when The Boy is with me. But I slide down that slippery slope, especially days like today, when I'm too sick and tired to do much else. Ohhh, I'll just check my e-mail and maybe one or two blogs, and suddenly I realize I'm pushing The Boy away because I'm "too busy" doing my thing. But I'm trying to do better.

    Suggestions for future reads... My all-time favorite author is Bill Bryson. Tony Horwitz, and "Miss Read" are also high on my list. You might enjoy "How to Fit a Carseat on a Camel," about travelling with children.

  4. Thank you for the kind words, Maggie! And you are most certainly welcome for the link. I enjoy keeping up with you and yours.

    Meredith, since having begun RIP back in the fall and being reminded of much of what I knew as a teacher, I'm all about the antecedent here, and pretty regularly get reminded of how I tend to tune out.... Which CSA did y'all join? How's it going? The new design looks wonderful!

    Oh, Kathryn, I hear you.... exhaustion of one kind or another is generally an unwelcome guest with unwelcome habits (for me.) I love Bryson, too! Notes From a Small Island and A Walk In the Woods are particular favorites, and A Short History of Everything is in the upcoming stack. I'll check out the others, too.