Thursday, December 20, 2012

To Feel Yourself Beloved on The Earth

Hank just got home from school, and I surmised that his teachers had hugged him goodbye for the Christmas break, because he smelled deliciously of different, overlapping perfumes. I was snorfling all over him, enjoying them, and I said, "Your teachers must have given you hugs!" And he said, "Yeah, and Mr. Russ did too."

Mr. Russ is the school bus driver. And that's closer than I ever thought I would get to old Russ. But still sweet.

How are y'all? We are still here. The news from Newtown took away my impulse to blog the last few days. I just didn't want to add any words to the situation. And all of the things we had going on this busy, December weekend seemed too light. Trifling. You know. I appreciated this post by Lecia, where she talks about her feeling of reverence in her ordinary days, and also this one by Elle, where she's thinking about bell hooks and MLK and a world perspective. Lots of things to think about. We stayed quiet around here, and I think everyone else did too. Traffic into my inbox all but ceased. We went about our business.

I know we've all read lots of people on our fb feeds and elsewhere talking about hug your children, that they hugged their children extra tight, etc. That's a parent's reaction to this, of course. But it made me realize, you know, I already revel in these kids every day, I truly do. I am drinking them in every minute, and couldn't enjoy them more. I wrote about it one time. I will never fear that I've missed any opportunities to love them, and I know they feel it.

On Monday morning, I walked Hank all the way up to the door of his school, kissed his face, and watched his shaggy head until it bobbed out of sight. I thought how we are all just doing our best, and hoping for the best.

Now the kids are home until January 7. I hope you are well. On Dasher!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I Mean, Kids Will Believe Anything: Kindergarten Gingerbread Hunt


Every Friday a different mom comes into Hank's class to do some kind of cooking activity with them. My day was approaching and I was low on ideas. It might have been Bloody Marys if the teacher hadn't come to the rescue. She had it all figured out.

I went to the class in the morning and read that Gingerbread Baby book to them. Then I pulled out the supplies I'd brought, and using a big sheet pan we got from the cafeteria, I shaped a big gingerbread man. The kids loved watching this. We gave him a few rudimentary decorations--eyes, mouth, buttons--nothing too fussy. Then we took the big pan to the cafeteria, where the lunch ladies were already our confederates.

We handed over the big gingerbread man to them, exhorting them, "Please keep a close eye on him! And whatever you do, don't open the oven door too early! These guys are very crafty and quick!" They promised that they would guard him carefully, and then they slid the pan into the big industrial oven. The kids watched this as carefully as if they were UN nuclear facility inspectors.

We went back to the classroom and read the next in the Gingerbread Baby series, Gingerbread Friends. As we finished, one of Hank's teachers came running into the room, the sheepish lunch ladies right behind her. "You guys! You'll never believe what happened! The good news is, your little cookies are ready, but the big one that Hank's mom made got away!" (She had pre-prepared little individual men for them to decorate, and the ladies bore them in on a sheet pan.) "He's running loose in the school, he could be anywhere!" she said.

The kids absolutely erupted. One little boy clapped his hands to his forehead and said, "I knew this would happen!" They were all on their feet and ready for action. A few ran out into the hall and peered in all directions. After a few moments of complete frenzy, the teacher drew their attention to a little card that had been taped outside the door. As you might imagine, it said "Run run run, as fast as you can..." and it had a little rhyme with a clue for them to solve.

The clues were pitched right at their level, and the clues led us from the classroom, to the gym, to the nurse's office, to the library, to the front desk, and finally, right into the very heart of darkness, the principal's office.

The teacher appointed Hank to go up to her desk and politely state our business. The kids all crowded around and he said, "Um, Mrs. B, we are looking all over the school for our gingerbread man who got away, have you seen him? He is brown?"

The principal was actually chewing when the class came in, and the cookie man was lying right there on her desk. She had partly covered it with a piece of paper, but the sharp-eyed kindergarteners spotted him.

It was so hilarious. They were kind of outraged with her! She said, "I wanted to eat him for breakfast!" And one girl goes, "You should eat breakfast at home." Like, please lady.

So maybe now the kids believe that baked goods can become sentient and develop volition, but that it's okay to eat them anyway. I don't know. But it was the cutest dang thing!

I'm off now to eat a special lunch at school with Hank, part of an absolute parade of merriment that is unfolding over the next few days. Are y'all hip-deep in this stuff now? I love it all. xoxo

Friday, December 7, 2012

Everybody Needs A Little Encouragement

Two days ago the kids and I were driving in the car. Laura mentioned that all of the eighth-grade girls are toting around sacks of flour, pretending they're babies, and they have to care for them for a class assignment.

I asked her if the boys were doing that, and she said she hadn't seen any.

I said, "Well that's dumb, I mean, men have to care for children too. It takes two people to make a baby."

From the back, Hank piped up. "No no, the moms can make the babies but the dads have to encourage it."

I carefully and gently reached across to the passenger seat and placed my hand over Laura's mouth, and she slid down in her seat, shaking in silent laughter. I said, "Well that encouragement is very important."


Today is my birthday! It has been going just swell. Matt and I had lunch out. While I was tucking into my pineapple mojito, his conversational opener was, "Here's one way I've become a douchebag."

And then it was something about LinkedIn. But I thought, I will never stop being entertained by the people in this family and the things they think of to say.

We are getting a sitter and heading out tonight, and then next weekend, Matt got us tickets to an Australian Open Wildcard tournament here in town, the finals day. Sweet! We're so very sporty now!

I hope y'all have a good evening planned. xoxo

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let's Oil Up

So, the rubbing of petroleum products on my face.

One effect of living in a suburb, where everything is so conveniently arrayed for my vehicular consumption, is that when I need to go somewhere that's more than five minutes from my driveway, I get kind of huffy. On Sunday I set out to take Laura to her book club meeting, and then realized the little girl's house was like eight miles away and I was all LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME. I mean, eight whole miles?!? There be dragons.

But I took her down there and then since I was so far, I didn't go home, I went to Trader Joe's, which, Trader Joe's on a Sunday in December, wow, I've never seen that many Obama supporters in one place in metro Atlanta in ever. I went to fetch a bottle of evening primrose oil capsules, as the wise Elle suggested. I have been having dry, irritable skin lately. I can't think what has changed in my personal ecosystem, except that the weather got colder (though then it got drastically warmer). It's like I'm inflamed, but I lead a pretty anti-inflammatory life, I think. With my kale and my sardine-love and all. I'm turning 40 this week; is this what 40 is going to be like?

So there is so much going and coming and wind blowing and working out and sweating and wiping my face that I was just feeling like I wanted some kind of thick protective layer on there. One day last week, in desperation, I rubbed aquaphor on my hands and then put it all over my face.

You see, I come from a long line of southern women for whom Vaseline is like penicillin. It is just a good place to start. You administer the vaseline and then see where you are. "Put some vaseline on it" was a common, common prescription in my grandmother's house. So white petrolatum is like home to me.

And you know, I don't know if that stuff leached into my brain or anything, but it did make my skin feel supple and it gave me a nice shininess. Funny, you spend your teens and twenties not wanting to look shiny, and now, I'll take shiny just great. I think oil is our friend.

So what are you guys using to keep yourselves fully oiled and in smooth working order? I feel I've gone beyond one of those normal lotiony moisturizers. I have one from Origins that I like, but it's the Dr. Weil mushroomy one and Matt calls it "Not Tonight, Honey." Is there some essential oil y'all are smearing on yourselves?

Do tell. xoxo