Tonight, I taught Devlin to make strawberry freezer jam. He washed and cut the tops off all the berries.
He wore a pink apron, and he wore it with pride.
His future wife will thank me.
(And if any of you with daughters would like to submit their names, I am making a list for a possible arranged marriage in 15 or 20 years. Bribes willingly accepted).
Sometimes, I feel really strange being the mother of two girls.
I was always a tomboy. I played soccer, I climbed trees. I danced, and I guess that's girly, but I never liked pink, or having my hair done, or wearing mascara. And big sparkly rhinestones and jangling bracelets totally blow your cover when you're trying to sneak up on a horny toad in the woods.
But Eve wanted to dance. She wanted to be a ballerina. She begged and begged, and I signed her up. Ballet class feels difference than it did when I was dancing, even at the same studio. Maybe the emphasis is different in the 3-5 year old combo class, but there's a lot less focus and reverence for the art form, and a lot more shouting, Chippettes music, and shaking one's bedazzled fanny.
I should clarify. I don't think Eve feels out of place in her class. But I do. I don't think lipstick, a tube top, and ruffled hot pants are suitable everyday attire for a preschooler. Very little of my disposable income goes toward items featuring zebra print, 4-inch spangled belt buckles, or feather boas - definitely not all at the same time. I enjoy many varied activities above and beyond watching my daughter dance through the window and comparing her, silently and otherwise, to the girls around her. I came to this studio because I thought it would be the best start for Eve's classical dance education, not because I thought it would give her a leg up on the kiddie beauty pageant circuit, or because it was in the neighborhood that I deemed to contain the highest ratio of well-off, insulated, uppity People Like Me.
I guess this is a little bit a post for some adorable photos of Eve in her costume, and mostly about me venting on Mesa in general and "dance parents" in particular. Suffice it to say that Eve has requested to take a break from dancing until she is a little older, and I am more than happy to oblige. In a couple of years, we'll try again. Somewhere else.
But doesn't she look just darling?
First, there was a paper chain to mark the days until the end of school. Then there was a paper chain to count down the time until the Fathers and Sons campout (only 2 more days, Mom!)
Tonight, Devlin began making birthday invitations. For his birthday party. In September.
It's going to be a long summer, folks.
You can't tell from this picture, but Iris is enormous.
No, really. Multiple times a day, strangers on the street ask how old she is, then raise their eyebrows when the answer comes. She's looking at the back side of 30 pounds, and she's got willpower to match her considerable mass.
Her first week in nursery at the new ward, I picked her up after the block and asked how she did. "Fine", they replied. "Just great!"
"Be honest", I pressed. "Was she a bully?"
"Maybe a little bit", they answered. "We just figured she had older siblings."
(We have very perceptive nursery workers.)
What you *can* tell from this picture is that she is currently in a stage where her busy little brain moves faster than her gross motor skills. She is currently sporting one fresh fat lip, the remains of another from a few days ago, and what is now a mere shadow of a goose egg on her forehead from last week.
She's big, she's loud, she's clumsy, and she's completely, shockingly adorable.
My life flows on in endless song
Above earth's lamentations.
I hear the sweet, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.
Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear it's music ringing. It sounds an echo in my soul -
How can I keep from singing?
While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness 'round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I'm clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?
Happy Mother's Day, Rachel-style.
So, I know I moved. 3 weeks ago. I know. You want pictures, you want details. And you shall have them, I say!
But not tonight. Patience is a virtue, my friends. I myself possess none, but maybe we can learn together.
Tonight, I leave you with a little lesson, every day being a school day:
My middle child is a complicated child. She is contrary. She is volatile. She is mercurial, tempermental, a moving target. She does many things that are utter mysteries to me, and I usually assume that she does them specifically to try my patience. (I still think I am right most of the time).
One of her many quirks is that she removes her shoes (and socks, and hat, and sweater, and bracelet, and purse, and hairbow, all worn at her insistence - but let's just talk about the shoes for now) at every possible opportunity. She must put them on and take them off 50 times a day. And lately, even when I can get her to wear shoes, she refuses to fasten them. She walks around with the velcro straps undone and flapping in the breeze. I have often wondered if she just forgets to fasten them, or if she relishes the knowledge that as soon as she sits down somewhere she can get them off just that much faster, or if she just likes to see my blood vessels pop out as I ask her please, one more time, if she would please put her shoes *all the way* on.
Tonight we were walking through the PF Chang's parking lot for Mother's Day dinner, the bigger two children several steps ahead of us. David, smiling, asked me if I knew why Eve left her shoes unfastened.
"No", I replied, quickly escalating the conversation to vent status, summoning to my memory all the times I had had to find the "other" shoe, how many hundred pairs I had carried in from the car after being thoughtlessly discarded there. "I have no idea why. She does it everywhere we go, and she is so reluctant when I ask her to fix them! I think it must be just"-
"I asked her today. She does it because she is hoping if she leaves them undone, one of her shoes will fall off. Like Cinderella."
That just totally blew my mind.
My daughter - my sweet, blonde, humming, dancing, living-in-her-own-private-universe daughter - was holding this little secret in her heart, and I almost missed it. Because I never took the time to ask. Because I assumed the worst of her. Because I couldn't shut my own mouth and just listen.
Lucky for me, tomorrow is a new day, and I am absolutely confident she has more delightful secrets that I hope I can be privileged to discover.
If I can just listen.