Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Youngest Scholar

She's my baby.
But she's got wings and she wants to fly.
So, now she is going to preschool.

We were all in the car riding home and she talked a mile a minute about pretend camping and tricycles, about painting and story time and snack
and about the girl who is her friend and then suddenly it was quiet. Total silence. Alex giggled and I glanced in my handy Mom Sees-All Mirror... she was asleep. Her hands were still poised to punctuate her last statement, but they were stopped in place. Her body was limp, her jaw slack. Even her braids looked exhausted. By my calculations, and accounting for post Europe-jet lag time, she was going to night school and we were bringing her home at 10:00 PM.

Well, whatever time it was... Maria loves school and her new friend. This three days a week introduction will give her a lot of confidence and prepare her for bonus room... the old school kind of kindergarten she will start in September. Maybe it will prepare me too. Two in high school and a fifth grader, now a kindy-girl too.

Is there a support group for this sort of thing? *All your children are in school and now you have to figure out why the house is still a mess how to manage your "free" time.* Free time. I don't know. I am taking four children to four different schools... four drop-off times and four pick-up times. Four packets of registration forms and solicitations for volunteers and four open house nights and four different fundraising harassments. And I have not even fully recovered from robotics, which is like a fifth child.

I can't help this: Thinking about domestic perils and the logistics of raising four children always brings me to my least favorite, yet recurring subject... getting a home of our own. I am not going to dwell on this or assume the fetal position, but just for the sake of record keeping... the Blue House deal has not entirely fallen apart. Like other offers before it, we find that the Blue House is on life support. I am obtuse. Sorry.

When Maria woke up we went out to visit the garden. A while back we decided to take over that front part of the yard that was meant to be kind of formal and tropicalish and convert it in to our suburban rental farm, with barrel garden beds and a picnic table converted into a chicken's coop. The rabbit is there and so is the laundry sink that I planted near the faucet. It was daring and silly, but we even planted pumpkin seeds. Pumpkins in a barrel? It could get totally out of hand, but I could not go one more year telling the the children "No pumpkins this year. We have to wait." The seeds sprouted before we left to London and were we blown away when we came home to see the vine taking over and growing ten feet to the north and ten feet southward. Even our volunteer tomatoes found enough heat to ripen on their vines.

We may actually get a homegrown pumpkin. It's been too long.

Maria watered flowers and washed this and that. She discussed all the possible ways we could enjoy the second tomato. She ate the first one! Alex helped me move the spray nozzle to the temporary hose, since the old one sprang a leak geyser.

Betty came out for a bit and let us hold her, but she started making her way to the wall, so we had to lure her back home. All the neighbors have met her by now, and it's funny to hear them ask about her, because they doubt what they saw when they tell me... "Uh, did you know we saw something... it looked like a chicken? In your yard." Maybe I can get a bell for Betty to wear, like the kind we saw on the cows in Switzerland. I need to find the size that doesn't pin her to the ground, but definitely weighs down her escape flight.

Everything is doing well. I sat and surveyed our bounty, our lush little farm corner. I sighed contentedly. And I pondered. What if by some miracle the Blue House is destined to be our home? What if A follows B and the stars align and goodness prevails and we get to stop our search and move in to our own place? Then I tried to imagine moving a pumpkin in a barrel. How heavy is that thing? How much heavier will it be after escrow closes? Could we leave it behind? Would that be a small price to pay for getting a real yard with room for dozens of pumpkins? No. We should do our level best to move the pumpkin with us... somehow. Then I felt sad thinking the Blue House will probably not be ours. Then I felt grateful that at least we have our own pumpkin growing. Then I wondered if it's too late to plant more pumpkin seeds and I seriously considered sneaking over to the Blue House and sticking a few seeds in the ground... just in case.

Ah, the mind does wander.
Sometimes I think I should refrain from writing when I am sick.

Sometimes I think it's a very good idea to say what I want to say. To stick my foot in it. To step up and move forward, take a stand.

Jennifer, this last picture is for you. We always seem to be *in step!*


nikkipolani said...

I wish, in a ridiculous way, that Maria could stay exactly the same and grow up at the same time. I love it that you're capturing so much of her at this age. And your first tomato of the season? Wow! Mine are the size of small marbles. Had one a leeeetle bit bigger but it got hugged by a brown caterpillar. Anticipating with you on what happens to Blue House.

mtnchild said...

Wonderful post!

I hope, I hope, I hope that all you want and need will be yours soon!

I know you will drop by my blog when you have a bit of time - I have chickens!! I'm sooo excited.


Shadow said...

I just love your blog and what a beautiful family you have.
I’m glad you had such good time and enjoyed so much the countries you’ve visited.
I’m from Portugal, you were right next to my country not long ago and who knows maybe you’ll decide to visit next time you come to Europe.
I’m not a mother but if I was, you would be a perfect inspiration to me as one. I’m sure it’s not easy to do so much and still have such results, you deserve all the happiness in the world, which I think you already have.
God bless you all and thank you for so much life and love you share with us about the master piece you have created and still working on, your family.

Teresa Stenson said...

Ah, I can't believe you're home already!

I so enjoyed reading your Adventure: Europe.

If you get time, could you tell us more about Barcelona? It's a place I'd love to visit.

Maria sounds like such a bright spark - as do your boys - thank you for sharing yourselves in this way! (not meant to sound so sinister)


Jennifer said...

Home, home, home, wherever it is, you are there. Back to what is familiar and yours and what never looks the same once you've seen what other parts of the world look like....

Priscilla said...

Take some time to enjoy a squash flower quesadilla. You need the rest and the treat will be scrumptious!

tara said...

A chicken bell!!!! I love it. I double dog dare you to find and show a picture of the perfect chicken bell. And then sell me one.