I am so used to my children’s weird antics and creative games that my nerves have numbed.
For example, I look out the window and see one of my daughters using the deck railing as a balance beam and think, Now THAT would hurt if she fell, and then I go on about my business.
Or, I watch as my girls (again), who for some odd reason are standing in the middle of the poopy chicken yard, run at top speeds for the fence and then try, unsuccessfully, to hurdle it and the only thought that crosses my mind (beside, Oooo, Papa isn’t going to like that) is, I ought a turn that fence on. That would teach ‘em good.
So yesterday when my boys and Company Boy were mountain climbing the clubhouse and then repelling back down, I just stretched myself out in the grass and took pictures.
At one point Company Boy was at one end of the rope that was strung through the clubhouse and my little boy was at the other—the general idea being that Company Boy would jump out the clubhouse door and hoist my baby up into the air in the process. I had my camera sights fixed on them when Company Boy clued in to the fact that I was lying right there and he was about to do something potentially dangerous with my youngest child. He turned to me and asked politely, Um, do you mind if I do this?
Nah, it’s fine, I assured him.
So he jumped (and nothing happened).
Then this morning while I was planting rhubarb, radishes, lettuce, and more spinach, my son rigged up a swing. ‘Cause if you think an industrial sized swing set is enough for my children, then you’d be wrong.
This time I did intervene from my spot in the lettuce patch. “Hey!” I hollered. “You need to brace that board!”
“I did,” he hollered back. I decided I’d take his word for it.
When I walked over later to take pictures, I saw he had braced it, sure enough.
What a good boy.
Then I looked down at the massive amounts of rope circling the clubhouse. “What’s all the rope for?” I asked.
“So the swing doesn’t slide off.”
“Oh, right. Okay then.”
I headed back to the garden to weed the strawberries and soon the kids came over to the barn where they rigged up a ramp and took turns shooting out of the barn on the wagon.
In between and around these activities, the girls decided to scrub (yes, scrub) the chicken coop (but I stopped them because I didn’t want them to mess with the chickens’ prime laying time), my son asked me if I had flour (huh? you’re asking me if I have flour? what ails you, child!), I stopped my daughter from watering the strawberries, I stopped my daughter from watering the mulch, and I made two kids get out of the pile of horse manure.
(I’m quite excited about that horse manure. Out on a walk with my sister-in-law yesterday, I passed our neighbors driving around in their pick-up. Or rather, they passed us, several times, in fact. Finally I yelled at them, “What’s wrong? You lost?” in kind, neighborly fashion. And then their little puppy started chasing us down the road so I had to scoop him up and shove him in the cab window at them. The one guy asked, “Hey, whadda I have to do to get some more of those cinnamon buns?” [He was referring to the buns I made for the hog butchering.]
“You have any manure?” I shot back.
Within an hour I had me some horse manure, and today when he gets home from work, he’ll have him some cinnamon buns. Ain’t country living great?)
One final thing before I wrap this up, when my parents stopped by this past weekend, my father introduced my children to the live cam of the bald eagles’ nest. There are three little babies (they hatched last week), and the parents take turns sitting on the nest. This morning over our bowls of oatmeal and canned peaches, we watched as the eagles fed their babies. The kids were thrilled.
I’d leave it on all the time if it wasn’t so distracting—every time the babies chirp more loudly or the parents call, the kids drop everything and run to the computer.
(Check out the fluctuating number of viewers listed at the bottom of the window—a hundred thousand are on at any given time.)
P.S. After writing this, I started loading photos and got up to look out the window to check on the kids. This was what I saw.
I rest my case.
This same time, years previous: asparagus with lemon and butter, new territory: grief, the kind of day, in all seriousness, peanut butter frosting, cream of tomato soup
the domestic fringe
I was watching that eagle, but the babies hadn't hatched yet. Looks like I'm gonna hafta get back on that site and see me some baby eagles!
Your kids have a great life.
Dr. P, Actually, Miss B did tell us about the owls. And when she wrote her essay for your contest, she wrote a whole paragraph about them (in the first draft).
Last year at work I kept Molly the owl cam on my computer at work. My peers and coworkers probably thought I was nuts, but I was very wrapped up in it. I had it on at home when yoyoboy and Beccaboo visited but they didn't give it a second glance. I guess there was too much other stuff going on.
I'm having flash backs to my childhood. It's a wonder that we didn't kill anyone with our shenanigans.