Sometimes after turning on her turtle constellation lamp, I crawl into the sea of baby dolls and stuffed woodland forest animals and share Olive June’s tiny cotton mattress and spoon my littlest blonde lady, our third gift from the universe. On this particular evening, I am exhausted so I’m nearly asleep, smooshed against the wall with my head on a mama eagle, and in just a few lovesick Ray LaMontagne lyrics:
Olive pulls her baby eagle from under the covers, turns a head to make sure I’m asleep. I’m squinting in the darkness, just enough to fool her.
Bay-bee eag-gee eat? She unbuttons her flannel Elmo pajamas and nurses her tiny eagle stuffed animal. It’s so adorable I can hardly remain quiet to continue spying.
Bay-bee eag-gee all done? She flies him overhead, nearing the turtle constellations on the slanted ceiling overhead to her favorite tune, Baa Baa Black Sheep.
She kisses a felt beak, says, Go see other Mama, and places her baby eagle on my cheek.
I feel honored to lie in witness to this moment, close my eyes for real and wake a few Shuffled songs later.
I spent all day Friday in a fuchsia Snuggie. My kids meander around our home, I parent through remote control and rely on Betty for filling cereal’s bowl and emptying the potty, dressing her youngest of sisters. I bribe the older ones with Pez to nap while the little one naps so I can stare at bad DVRed shows and melt the day away from under my sweaty Snuggie. I think about the cloudy world we’ll all eventually send our children into with held breaths. I remember learning the definition of addict long before I knew geometry.
Midday Friday, I begin work on a new poem, Funeral of a Junkie. I spent five hours wondering if I’d be able to write the poem without attending the inevitable, hopefully later-than-sooner funeral. I go to bed at 7:30. I’m a night owl, usually.
I woke Saturday to rain like a car wash, temperature like a air conditioner broken on high, set to low as low can go. With more spandex than a fitting room usually allows, I set out with the girl past cows and farms and pumpkin patches and Olympic Peninsula views and puddles and roadside streams and blacktop and rain, rain, rain. The valley’s cows thought I was nuts as they stood in the field like tasty sponges. I thought of everything on the road, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought first of Wang Chung and Knight Rider and living beside addiction and how my brother passed under Wang Chung vinyl like a portal to now, to present day with only a longer list of regrets than accomplishments.
Past the cows I thought I couldn’t do it, then past the wild sounds of the wildlife rehabilitation center I thought of each birth, each labor and how this, in many ways, is my fourth labor. Ten. We were supposed to run nine, more than I ever ran or walked in one consistent spell but the GPS blinked out, sent an email to my phone hours later to virtually apologize and let me know of our new personal record, ten miles.
On Saturday night I could tell by the look in Luke’s eyes he needed to reboot with couch time and a little Chuck Norris or some History Channel ammunition or battle field program.
I gather our girls and our sets of wheels and wheeled items to our Fairground’s regularly occurring Scooter & Skate evening.
There are helmets and elbow pads, but there are sore knees and sore bums. There are smiles and speed, but there is a rather sour face when Olive learned I didn’t pack babee skates?!?! I love the Pop 40 sounds and so do the girls as they shimmy and skate; top hits music takes me back to childhood’s Enfield Rollerway. I found this fun Find a Rollerway link so you too can go skating. Our local rink is a more bring ’em if you got ’em sort of place, but kids and skates go so well together I’m glad for what our tiny island offers in the darkness of winter. Even though it lacks the polyurethane glow, it’s easy to see a glow:
I feel like I hope some day there’s a space on an application where I can boast my skills at not crying when there’s a two year old at my hip in a public pool pulling down my bikini who wants to do motorboat for the millionth time and a four year old at other arm’s end who’s swimming without floaties for the first time and I’m responsible for making sure she doesn’t sink and safely makes it to the wall. And, oh, there’s a seven year old who wants me to watch her every move. Some days it’s effortless, and some days it takes a whole lotta effort to keep the day rolling. I showered and dressed each girl after and once home, my guy validated my efforts with a, I would be there for three more hours combing hair. You’re amazing to do all that in that time. Thanks, honey, for the gold star conversation. It’s always nice to know when someone notices the amount of work put into this is a great time, Mama!
I’ve been obsessed with a pattern for a hat obnoxiously called Celebrity Slouchy Beanie. I bought the pattern at my local yarn store and it looks like a fake US Weekly magazine with impostor celebrities. But, the patterns are excellent. I made myself one with bamboo yarn and my middle lady, the one who doesn’t like wool, begged for a matching one.
She’s smitten with a hat just like Mama and even wears it to sleep. I knit the littlest lady one in a multi color bamboo and she loves it, but because it’s a hat just like Woocy’s.
Betty begged for a tiny elephant because she is, an emphatic and passionate elephant lover. I’m getting used to the size 2 needles and may need to continue with a mini zoo as Lucy wishes for. Love how the elephant’s pattern says it’s exactly 132 times smaller than a real elephant. Cute, huh?
When we bought our house four years ago, it came with a green moped with a yellow bumper sticker that read, Will Work for Beer. The moped sat from when we sent in our first mortgage payment on the east side of our home until Friday.
On Saturday Luke decided to get the moped running, finally. Luke asked me if I’d moved it. Ha, as if. I texted some friends to see if we’d accidentally given it to them after a few PBRs were slung back in our unfinished garage.
Yup. It’s gone. Lame. I mean, who steals a moped that doesn’t run on an island?
The important thing to note is that I cleaned the fridge and scrubbed the shelves before deciding on what to cook. I’m pretty sure something from Thanksgiving was hanging out on the second shelf, furry and bulging. I’m not sure how it happened; the giant tubs of Nancy’s plain yogurt I’ve been restocking for smoothie morning after smoothie morning created quite a shade to fridge’s backbone.
I pulled a cookbook off the shelf, stacked two not-yet-expired tofu containers and found tahini and sesame oil and soy sauce. I diced colorful veggies, sauteed in the cast iron wok.
I really liked it, really liked that when I least wanted to I could clean out a fridge and follow a recipe. Lucy was the last one at the table, and in her last bites (since she’ll eat anything except onions) she said, Mama, tofu is really yucky and everybody else in our house thinks so – so this meal was great, except for the tofu. Next time, how about you make it with beef. Remember Mama, always beef.
Thanks to Earth Mama, I’ve won her giveaway at the Whole Food Kitchen Online Workshop. It’s exactly what I needed, at just the right time. I was cleaning up after a meal of diced broccoli, tiny pieces of hot dogs tossed in shaky-Parmesan spaghetti. Since the calendar turned, I’ve been in a cooking slump all the while knowing I wanted to be serving more best practices meals. I’ve wanted our tummies and our wallets to be happy. In the very first module, I was smitten with Heather’s creative approach to nutrition and could see my grandmothers looking over my shoulder, pleased with the simple and identifiable back-to-wholesome-basics ingredients used in each delicious recipe. I love Earth Mama, and I’m so glad she’s lead me to a centered approach in my kitchen instead of the last minute what should we eat in ten minutes before stories and bath and bedtime? I’ve fallen prey to.
Tuesday found me and the pal running six miles at six in the morning. It was dark, raining and cold. Pouring, with puddles everywhere. My body hurt a lot from the ten miles three days before. A lot. I’m pretty sure I started the run with tears and excessive whining. Then a black lab, an old one at that, wearing a safety rain jacket jumped out at us and I screamed thinking it was a giant, enormous raccoon. Three blocks later, a giant, enormous raccoon jumped out at us. We ran at that time to be able to fit it all into our schedules. And if I wanted to make it easy I could have stayed in bed where I desperately wanted to be. I’m finally coming to terms with why it’s all called working out. We ran in the drenching darkness with headlamps because of the half marathon in six weeks. It’s a funny thing to spend such a long time in complete misery only to feel so proud and unbelievably bad ass once it’s all over and really, only able to feel that way when it’s over. I brought three babies into this world and I’m certain I can run my body over the finish line in March.