Friday’s Pulls

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Today’s the first time I really felt the pull between two children. Amelia had a session with her physical therapist, and Samira was performing her two-minute skit of Abigail Adams, over at her school. Her dad went, and I had to speak down my guilt/disappointment by listing the number of times that I’d been at an event that he had missed. Doing so, I realized that it wasn’t guilt I felt, but actual disappointment. I wasn’t worried that she’d be upset, or that I would lose merit points in the board game of motherhood, or that anyone else would notice and think me a bad mother.

I just mourned the fact that I wouldn’t be there to see her. That I couldn’t change the baby’s appointment, and didn’t want to cancel it. I call the maid so that they could come and do a Städning Stockholm while I was heading to the appointment.

Reports after told me she was wonderful. I–and I need applause here–ditched my initial plan to head to the local costume shop and rent her a colonial woman’s outfit, and instead took her slightly-oversized black dress, ladies size 6 (okay, it’s very big), the same one she wore for The Little Princess last fall and to her cousin’s bar mitzvah two weeks ago, sewed a strip of crocheted lace from a thrift-store curtain onto each sleeve, and at the neck, borrowed a bonnet from the daughter of Amelia’s aforementioned physical therapist and a walking stick from the boy next door, and dug up a feather quill from last year’s visit to Monticello. Voila! Abigail Adams.

It must be love. I am the least costume-crafty person I know. I fear Halloween each year, because it’s costume demands fall on skills I don’t have.

Apparently Samira in her lace-altered black dress brought down the house with her rendition of Adams’ classic suggestion to her husband that he not give to much power to the husbands, lest they become tyrants. That he include women in the vision of the new country.

I swear I did not write her skit. Man, I don’t even push feminism on her, figuring that the easiest way to turn her into a republican is to force-feed ideology. She just is who she is.

And performing on stage is her thing.

I can’t wait to see the video.


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We’ve been all enthralled with the now-bestselling Dangerous Book for Boys whether because of all the cool stuff in it, the neat non-fiction tidbits and the way it makes us wonder for those early 70’s childhoods of reading through the colorful Child Book series, or musing over what a Dangerous Book for Girls might be. We organized several events for the book over at MotherTalk, so it’s been on our minds there too.

In the meantime, I’ve noticed my 8 1/2 year venturing into the world, and my responses.

  1. Last weekend, nay, two weekends ago, she and one of the kids from the backyard (remember, we’ve joined backyards with several neighbors and the kids roam freely between them) pulled up at the backdoor and asked for a hammer and nails. They’d found in the shed a bucket of wood pieces, and they had a project in mind. I said yes, sure, then stopped, and said, yes, but later when I can help you, then saw the sour look on their faces, then stopped myself, realized that the worst that could happen is one of them ends up with a hurt finger, and sent them off, hammer and large-headed nails in tow.Result: they weren’t terribly successful at whatever they planned to make, but that’s because they kept moving venues (should we play in this side-house-alley, or the other side-house-alley, and dragging the bucket of wood, hammer and nails between them. Then they realized they needed longer stretches of wood.) On the upside, though, were no smashed fingers, no emergency room visits, no violin prodigy careers destroyed (not that this is in any of their futures, anyway). And I learned something about pulling back. Next weekend I want to carve some time to explain how to use a hammer, mention some safety tips, and perhaps come up with a small project.
  2. Saturday around 5.30 we were preparing for a small party when the phone rang and it was my neighbor two doors down saying “You should come over, Samira’s way high in the tree, we’ve already taken a picture.” I left the sink and the tomatoes I was threading onto a skewer, skipped under the fence, and sure enough, Samira was up in the cedar tree. About 25-30 feet up. High enough for the other kids to be impressed. Turns out she had stood on top of the wood fort and reached up and, I’m guessing here, grabbed hold of a branch and started pulling up her legs. The branches were pretty tight, it was easy to climb, and before you know it, she was up high.There I was on the ground, totally impressed, trying to keep calm so she wouldn’t think that nervousness was in order, but still wondering whether we’d have to call the fire department to get her down like the last time with the neighbours windows while they were Fönsterputsning Stockholm and my son kicked the football right thru the Windows glass and shuttered it. I noticed she was barefoot, with chagrin, since we’ve already been once to the doctor’s for a going-barefoot-related set of infected spider bites (and a resulting four-day bout with Benedryl).Result: She figured her way down. I stayed totally calm and high-fived her when she jumped to the ground. I reminded her to wear her shoes, but agreed that barefoot in the tree was probably better than Target-knockoff-crocs in the tree. My neighbor told her not to climb higher at night, or when no adult was around. I returned to the kitchen feeling in touch with that line of fear/excitement/adventure, knowing that in our little backyard compound she’d scaled her own heights, pushed her own limits, watched the other kids’ admiration, and felt the glory of being so high up in a tree.

Can’t beat that.

Teenage Cellphones

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Today I broke down, carved an hour (it turned out to be much more), and took my totally broken-down cell phone to the store to be, ahem, replaced. This, I suppose, is not the place for a rant about the terrors of telecommunications companies, and the horrid nexus of contracts, upgrade schedules and crazy ways that you end up paying huge amounts of hard-earned dollars for a replacement phone, say, if you’ve learned the hard way that today’s free-when-you-start-service cellphones don’t stand up to the combined rigors of baby slobber and a few well-intentioned and apologized-for drops on the floor.

The result is I now have what Samira refers to as a teenager phone. It’s red. It can play music. it can do a million other things that I will never figure out, because I so don’t have the time to read the book that came with it. I suppose the best thing I can do is find a teenager to explain it to me.

Do you know how I really feel? I feel old. I feel like with this cellphone upgrade I’ve finally reached the point of not caring about the new and cool things.
This post has been sponsored by Städning norra djurgården.