Thursday, June 9, 2011

Would You Call Me Cordelia?

Phil had a Saturday morning commitment a couple weeks ago, so the kids and I scooted out to Southern Belle Farms again, this time after their blackberries. Good news: Unlike wild blackberries, these farmed ones do not have thorns! Bad news: Though it had been cloudy the whole ride down, the sun came beating down mercilessly upon our backs as soon as we stepped into the field, and all the ripe berries were hiding deep inside the bushes. We had to bag our original plan of picking 2 giant buckets. Instead we knelt on sweaty knees and cursed the one bottomless bucket that haunted us row after row.

But the kids were great and we really did have fun. Especially after we were back in the shade with icees in hand, a bucket of fat berries waiting for us in the car.

One of my rules for myself as a mother is to try hard not to pass on any of my neuroses to my children. It seems only fair that they get to pick out their own. The area where I've felt this most keenly is with the bugs. More specifically, with the giant, horrible roaches that occasionally get in the house. I realize that they are the trade-off for not living in the ridiculous frozen tundra of the north where no man (or bug) was ever meant to inhabit, but it doesn't mean I can't be very, very scared of them.

So a few mornings ago I was getting Elsbeth up and a roach went tromping through her bathroom like a big, fat, dirty, hairy old man in smelly slippers and a mustard-encrusted bathrobe with a limp cigarette hanging out of his mouth tromping through a cute little girl's bathroom. I quickly ran my Nibblet down the stairs and got her set up with her cereal, then slowly climbed the stairs again armed with an old Real Simple magazine. (No Raid on the premises, and though I was sorely tempted to do my whole "bowl over the bug until Phil gets home" thing, I was afraid it would get out, hide in a toy bin, then come out at night and chew on my daughter's feet.) Andrew was right on my heels, very excited. I said something to him to the effect of, "OK, so there's a big bug up here that we need to get, and Mommy might scream a little bit because it's freaks her out, but I want you to know that it's just a bug and it cannot hurt you. There is no reason whatsoever to be afraid of these things. They're just kind of gross and sometimes Mommy is a little silly about them."

At first we couldn't find it and Andrew was devastated, but after some timid searching, the monster waddled out from beside Elsbeth's crib. I threw the magazine on top of it, but I knew that wouldn't be enough to end the beast.

"Now I'm going to jump on top of the magazine and I'm going to have to scream while I do it, but I'm totally fine, OK?"

So I did it and yelled and did a spastic tippy-toe dance all over roachzilla's face, then I had to run back downstairs to check on Els and decompress after all the stress. Andrew was mesmerized by the scene and didn't seem to be at all traumatized. In fact, after Phil flatly refused to come home and clean it up (rat fink), I paid Andrew in candy to do it. And he handled the situation valiantly. Who says high fructose corn syrup on a stick at 9am is a bad idea? Morons, that's who.

When not discarding large insect carcasses, The Precious can be found playing Yahtzee, his new passion. I just love hearing him say, "Hmmmm, 2 fours and 2 twos ... I think I'll go for a full house." So cute. Tonight before bed he requested I pray that Jesus let him have a bird for a friend in heaven and stated matter-of-factly that he would have to teach it how to play Yahtzee. "He'll have to use his beak to pour the dice out of the cup," he tells me.

This year our church has planted a community garden right next to the playground. All the produce goes to a local ministry that helps families in need - pretty neat. There isn't a whole lot of outreach going on in my world these days, but the kids and I do love to play with a water hose on a hot day, so we're in charge of Monday watering.

I think it's going to be very educational for me. Andrew really wanted to plant something in our yard early this spring, so we let him pick out a few packets of seeds and Phil tilled up a little spot. Take a look at our awesome vegetable garden!

What do you mean you don't see it? Back there, behind the bushes in that shady grove under the giant oak.

In our (very weak) defense, the leaves in the trees hadn't fully grown back at the time of our planting, but yes, I am a little bit of a amateur when it comes to, you know, growing things. But I'm learning! And look at this brave little blade of a corn plant. Talk about perseverance in the face of adversity! And shade! There's so much you can learn from a garden.