Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - Jan 11-17, 2015

{Pretty} More Tales of Hair

Last year, Maria's hair was long, and I loved it.   Spurred by a lice outbreak a Maria's school, I learned how to make a sock bun (keeping her hair up any out of reach of little critters).  A high sock bun became Maria's trademark hairstyle for a while. I'd do a bun and surround it with flowers and glittery bows--a folkloric look that suited my wistful, dreamy girl.

In the spring, Maria took matters into her own hands and cut her hair, ushering in the dragon hair phase followed by  a return to short hair.  We thought to grow it out, bringing a sock bun renaissance, but the winter got the better of me.  Somehow,  hair in the face makes a child seem twice as snotty and whiny as she would seem given better grooming.  So, as with the Norman haircut of yore, I picked up the scissor to appease the voices that yelled "chop it all off!"  from the backseat of my mind.  Here are the resulting two brown, bobbed heads.

Maria is already practicing for the photo on the dust jacket of her novel.

What a ham!


Maria and Louisa started at the Montessori school this past week.  They're excited to be going to school.  In fact, Louisa resists leaving when I arrive to pick them up.  That's not so flattering for me.

Getting back into the swing of school drop-offs and pick-ups took much of our attention the week.  There's the shuffling of winter gear, the paper work, the extra miles on the car.  But it is all still new and exciting.

With the older girls at school in the mornings, I hope to get a little time to myself (providing that Pippa naps).  Perhaps I'll be able to make headway in taming the chaotic corners (read rooms) of our house.  Perhaps we can bring a little of the order and freedom of the Montessori environment home.  That's the hope, at least.

One happy thing about our return to the Montessori School is that the girls will be able to continue their Tuesday morning Catechesis of the Good Shepard program.  I love the program and how the girls seem to be imbibing ideas in Atrium.   I love hearing Maria talking to herself off-handedly in the back of the car. "God is the sheperd and he always looks for his sheep.  I'm a sheep, baa, baa, baa!"


Donnie: You know why you have to stay away from sharks, right?
Loulou: Because they'll blow down your house!

So much for our girl ever being a naturalist.  One of Louisa's favorite books is The Three Little Hawaiian Pigs and the Magic Shark.

The girls have been doing a lot a doctor play lately (probably as a result of our many doctor's visits over the past month).  Louisa uses doctor as verb.  "She's sick.  I'm gonna doctor her."  Usually, Louisa's patients have fallen victim to one of two mishaps.  Either they have choked on a battery or they were bitten by a lion.

One last entry:

My solution to the crisis of keeping baby socks on babies---just use adult socks!  Works so much better!  Really, this is the kind of brilliance that can only happen at three kids in.

Pippa's sideways smile.  It's the thing of the moment.


Our Christmas tree is still up!   A tree is such a lovely treatment for seasonal affect disorder.   And it has to be a sort of humidifier as well, right?   I haven't been able to face taking it down.  I'm waiting for the calvary to arrive in the form of my mother.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real - Week of Jan 4, 2015

Snow dumped on us Friday morning, preventing the girls and me from attending adoration (Donnie went in our stead).  In the afternoon, the day brightened and our house was filled with winter light. It feels like with each year I become more sensitive to the lack of light in winter, so I'm grateful for that extra bit that comes bouncing off the snow.  Here are some pictures from the girls' bedroom on Friday afternoon.


I've been wanting to do this little craft for a while: melt crayon bits in silicon molds and make happy, chunky, rainbow crayons.  We made hearts and cars.  It's satisfying to see those molten colors and to know that after the process is completed there will be fewer crayons to be picked up off the floor.  Loulou played with them for hours after we finished them.
Loulou is eating raspberries, calling to mind the opening credits of Amelie.  You can see our heart crayon in their mold on the counter.


On Sunday (Jan 4), a friend held an Epiphany celebration.   I called my friend shortly before the party: "Imelda, I've just flushed a pair of underpants down the toilet, my baby has a goopy eye, and it turns out that babaganoush doesn't taste nearly as good if you sub in balsamic vinegar for lemon juice."  Imelda graciously said that we should still come, and we did, grapey-babaganoush and red-eyed baby in hand.   We were forty-five minutes late.

The celebration was beautiful.  Good company, beef strew, king cake, and Anglican rite chant--what more could you ask for? (Except, perhaps that second daughter not throw a grand mal tantrum on the way out.  That would have been nice.)

Happily, the underpants seem to have gone through to the sewer without causing a problem.  I now know more about the anatomy of a toilet.

(I should mention that Donnie was away in San Diego during this episode.  We aren't generally so scattershot when he's around.)


Conjunctivitis! It seems to like visiting us when Donnie is traveling.   Pippa had it, then Louisa. It meant bringing the whole crew to the doctor's office twice, as well as missing a museum outing and  karate.   Happily the drops were very effective this time.  

Before getting the antibiotic drops, I tried the folk remedy using breast milk.  There's something about the act of attempting to squeeze breastmilk into the eyes of a squirming, screeching baby that drives right to the heart of the human condition--n'est-ce pas?  A life-giving substance, being used or perhaps misused.  The mother, well-intentioned, but inept.  The recipient violently protesting the administration of said substance.  The grotesque and the sublime side by side. Someone unpack that for me, please.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real


This time last year, Maria was still in what we will call her "comestible phase."  It was all cupcakes all the time.  That's not quite right---there was the occasional glass of smoothie or chocolate milk, and once and a while, she would pencil "i heart porridge".  I wondered if she had a sugar addiction.  These days, Maria's artworks are lush with stars, planets, angels, and crazy machines. Her compositions have a satisfying, folkloric symmetry.  It has been fun to see creche scenes spouting up on papers around the house.  Here is one of our favorites.

 And here is a  drawing that we scanned and used for wrapping paper.

If you look carefully, you will find Jupiter, Saturn, astrological symbols for Mercury, and a few Christmas trees thrown in for good measure.


There is a book called "Mr. Wilowby's Christmas Tree." We don't know the book well because we have the French version and can only just make out the gist of the verse--but it is charming for the premise and illustrations.  The top of a large Christmas tree is lopped off to allow the tree to fit in Mr. Willowy's grand hall.  The rejected piece becomes a Christmas tree for the maid, who in her turn, lops off the top so that it will fit in her apartment.  This chain continues, with various people and then animals, using the rejected pieces of the tree and trimming and discarding the top.  At last, the very tip becomes a Christmas tree for the mice in Mr. Willowby's mansion.   

When we put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, Maria asked if we could cut off the top for her.  Happily, the tree had a forked top that needed trimming.  Paschi magicked a stand, and, voila, Maria  and Loulou had their own personal Christmas tree.

Christmas Eve, after wrapping arranging presents around the family tree, I snuck into the girls' room and placed some of the smaller presents around the tree, and staged some of the girls' stuffed animals having a tea party around the base of the tree.
It was very sweet to hear the girls waking up an finding the scene.  Maria kept saying, "It's nursery magic!"


Donnie insisted that I share this video, which is from some weeks back.  All I can say is that I have a vitamin D deficiency and have not been cheery, cheery, cheery this winter.  In case you can't tell, that last line is "Now I have to delete this."

And here's a picture of the banditti.


Meme and Grandpa took the older girls for three days.  It was a lovely rest, and allowed Donnie and I to tackle a few household projects.   I sorted and organized the kids' clothing.  Here's a picture from midway through the process.
 If any one knows a good treatise on how to manage children's wardrobes, I am eager to read it.  Truly, I'm not  sure whether or not this a reasonable volume of clothing for three girls (taking into account there might be more to come).  It seems entirely unreasonable when it's all heaped up.  When it's neatly folded in Sterilite, which it now is (thank you Meme and Grandpa!) it seems not so crazy--especially since we have a high attrition rate.   I got rid of a good bagful.  I had to come to terms with knowing that I will probably never be the kind of laundress who can get rid of three year old drool stains.

And I had this delicious being as a helper: