9/1/14

Sheets of fun

Eloise's G-tube button is making her miserable. She doesn't want to be held or anyone to touch her. So we've been thinking of creative ways to keep her spirits up!

my favorite painting today:

Henri Fantin-Latour, French, 1836-1904. Roses in a Bowl. 1883. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

8/30/14

saints and fairies

Amelia asked me to tell her the story of Joan of Arc before going to bed tonight. Of Joan's childhood, we only have a skeleton outline, but leave it to Mark Twain to bring it to life with a beating, vivid heart. I imagine I would be the ideal audience for Mark Twain's novel, The Personal Reflections of Joan of Arc, but even for me, it is a tedious read. However, I loved the fantastical childhood Twain imagined for Joan. My favorite passage is this:
"In a noble open space carpeted with grass on the high ground toward Vaucouleurs stood a most majestic beech tree with wide-reaching arms and a grand spread of shade, and by it a limpid spring of cold water; and on summer days the children went there—oh, every summer for more than five hundred years—went there and sang and danced around the tree for hours together, refreshing themselves at the spring from time to time, and it was most lovely and enjoyable. Also they made wreaths of flowers and hung them upon the tree and about the spring to please the fairies that lived there; for they liked that, being idle innocent little creatures, as all fairies are, and fond of anything delicate and pretty like wild flowers put together in that way. And in return for this attention the fairies did any friendly thing they could for the children, such as keeping the spring always full and clear and cold, and driving away serpents and insects that sting; and so there was never any unkindness between the fairies and the children during more than five hundred years—tradition said a thousand—but only the warmest affection and the most perfect trust and confidence; and whenever a child died the fairies mourned just as that child's playmates did, and the sign of it was there to see; for before the dawn on the day of the funeral they hung a little immortelle over the place where that child was used to sit under the tree. I know this to be true by my own eyes; it is not hearsay. And the reason it was known that the fairies did it was this—that it was made all of black flowers of a sort not known in France anywhere."
Later in the chapter, "...the priest of Domremy had held a religious function under the tree and denounced [the fairies] as being blood-kin to the Fiend and barred them from redemption; and then he warned them never to show themselves again, nor hang any more immortelles, on pain of perpetual banishment from that parish. All the children pleaded for the fairies, and said they were their good friends and dear to them and never did them any harm, but the priest would not listen, and said it was sin and shame to have such friends."

Of course in my own retelling of Joan's life to my children, the fairies have to be a part. Being inquisitive five-year-olds, I can hardly make two sentences without being peppered with questions. "Is the very top of France like the very top of the North Pole?" "Why did God ask her to save France?" "Why were the English bad guys?" "Why did the brigands steal their sheep?" "Why don't we know what Joan looked like?"
They pieced the story together for themselves, and did not have any troubles with visions of St. Michael, St. Catherine and St. Margaret, or imagining the gifts Joan may have left for the fairies at the fairy tree, but they could not comprehend why the priest would banish the fairies. And there's the essence of childhood - they delight in believing in God and divine missions, visions of saints and fairies, but they cannot wrap their minds around prejudice, hunger for power, or why a priest would banish fairies.

I think Mark Twain would say my girls are 'developmentally' right on target. 

A very good Moog

So grateful for the Moogie I've got. She met me at the ER with my favorite goodies, and helped keep Eloise happy. 

8/28/14

Funds for Eloise

I have been losing sleep at night worrying over the expenses of being Eloise's guardian. Instead of turning into an insomniac, I decided to go a different route...

If you can, please donate to the Funds for Eloise cause:
http://www.gofundme.com/dlx3kc

8/25/14

Puzzling.

There are things in this world that genuinely puzzle me. These are the ones that surfaced in my mind today:
Taxidermy - who was the first soul to think, "Mmm...instead of eating this animal, I think I shall gut it and fill it with stuffing and chemicals. Yes! Bingo!"

Snow mobiling - I have been once, and I hated it for 3 reasons: 1. It was cold. 2. It was wet and cold 3. It was bumpy and wet and cold. When the excursion had finished, I threw up, told my compatriots they could go ahead without me, I am bloody well staying in the cabin and drinking cocoa. 

3. How do 5-year-olds have unlimited energy? My twins are active for 14-15 hours a day. It doesn't seem like they have unlimited energy, they have unlimited energy. I've seen them truly tire out twice - once at Disneyland, and once this last summer. 

Why anyone watches Fox News, or listens to Rush Limbaugh. Vitriolic! Who need that kind of anger in their life?!?

I don't actually understand how microwaves work. But Millie wants the How Things Work book, and I think we should read it together :)

8/22/14

learning

I always underestimate how badly my twins cope with big changes. Especially Amelia. They have been asking me questions all week, "Why can't I keep going to the bunny school?" (Bunny school = their preschool with a bunny.) "Why can't I stay home with you?" and "It is hard learning new things, and scary."
When I asked their new kindergarten teacher how they were doing in class, she responded, "So what is their developmental delay?" I was taken aback, I did not know they had a developmental delay. I asked her to explain. "Well," she said, "they can write a few letters..." It was all I could do not to cry in front of her. I pointed to Eloise and told her just the skeleton outline of our life for the last year. It was clear to me she didn't get it, there was no way in the 30 seconds I had with her to explain what we have been through since Eloise was born. Since Eloise was conceived.

In my current emotional state, small insults and misunderstandings feel both insignificant, and unbearable. But the teacher's assessment pushed me over the edge. There was not a minute since the twins were born when I wasn't trying my hardest to be their mother. I have sacrificed so much to do it. I was all lined up with a PhD program. But when I felt like God was prompting me, in no uncertain terms, to start a family, I did it. And wham! Twins! Wow! Okay!
So to have a teacher look at me and wonder why my twins aren't 'kindergarten ready...' it brought to a head all the sadness and doubts I have been harboring. I have even been questioning why am I even doing this? Why did I bring any children into this crazy world? If it is taking everything from me, why am I doing it at all?

To my grand relief, and I'm sure answer to more prayers than just mine, the answer came to me. I was asking my Heavenly Father the same questions my children were asking me: "Why can't I stay home with you?" and "It is hard learning new things, and scary." The answer I gave to my children is the same answer I needed: Because it is the best place for you to learn. You could stay home with me, but I can promise you wouldn't learn as much. It is good to learn to do things that are scary and hard. You can only grow with me so much, and I want you to learn so much more.

This is the best place for me to learn.