Monday, November 4, 2013

Isabel says, matter-of-factly, that Mama doesn't like drawing.

I really appreciate how clearheaded Isabel is most of the time, and the other day she really made me stop and think. She was talking to her dad about drawing, and complimenting his. Marco said how good my drawing was, and Isabel agreed that I was good at drawing, but added that I didn’t like it.

What to say. How sad that she should think I don’t like drawing, but what evidence does she have to the contrary? She looks at how I spend my free time, and doesn’t see me drawing. What has always been hard for me is how little interest I have in the things I do well. I don’t know if it’s a cause and effect thing, or which way it goes if it is. It’s certainly a sad state of affairs. 

Is the answer is to try harder to like and invest time in the things I do well, or to just accept that what I like is learning new things, and acknowledge that as I get better at them, I will lose interest? The second sounds sadder, doesn’t it? I'm not sure staying true to yourself is always the best idea. The first sounds better.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Small epiphany over ice cream

I went to Safeway with James and Bjørn for a few groceries and a treat while Isabel was at a play date, and James asked for ice cream.

I found some single-serve cups and we made our way to a table outside. James was waxing almost poetic over how yummy his vanilla ice cream was, and Bjørn was enjoying the ice cream he shared with me.

There was a small pause, and James said "Thank you, Mommy. Ice cream." I said "You're welcome, James."

He smiled so big, and said "Best friends, right?"

I couldn't move for a second. What an incredible thing.

"You and me? Best friends?"


"Yes, James. You and me are the best friends ever."

" Yes."

This was a couple days after a birthday party he went to, and I wondered whether somebody had introduced this phrase to him there. Still, to me it was just an overwhelming feeling of joy that he would think of us as best friends. It's such a wonderful thing when you like, and not just love, your children.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A beautiful music room

We've had lots of nice moments today. Here are a couple.

James picked up Bjørn and put him on his lap, and said "I love you", and then Bjørn gave James a hug and then sat there for a while, quietly playing and babbling.

Isabel came in a few minutes ago, excited to tell me about the beautiful music room she'd made, and wow, it WAS beautiful. Instruments hanging from the top bunk, others spread artfully around the room in stations. She played a little piece she'd memorized from a book on the piano (I gave Isabel a 15-minute lesson once, and she still knows how to read the notes and explain all about it), and it took me a few minutes to realize that the incessant fluting of James had actually turned into a song that I could recognize. He's actually learning to play the recorder!

Of course this last was all happening while Bjørn is asleep, but being a third baby, he stays asleep rather nicely. :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Who are we independent from again?

As a parent, I've often heard that it's wisest to be careful to give only as much information as a child is really asking for when talking about potentially complicated topics, like sex, for example. The trouble is, apparently I'm not very good about judging which topics are potentially complicated, or maybe it's just that Isabel reaches a critical mass of knowledge rather early in the game, but lately I've been finding the simplest conversations going off the rails way earlier than I would have expected. A little while ago, it was the possible instability of banks.

Now, it's Independence Day. So I come in to hear Isabel heatedly and emphatically declaring,
"Bjørn is NOT independent."
Marco: "Yes, it's you and mommy's, and James' and Bjørn's independence today."

And I'm thinking, uh-oh, of course I've been spending the last couple days emphasizing the things the kids are independent in. Isabel tends toward unnecessary dependence in things she's already mastered completely, and though a little of this is fine and even endearing, a lot can be wearing. And, well, I did say that Bjørn was not very independent, because he needed help to do lots of things (being a baby and everything).

Me: "Isabel, Daddy's talking about our country. It's our country's independence day today. It used to be a part of a different country, and now it's its own country."
Isabel says, brightly, "That's right. It used to be the United States of India, and now it's the United States of America."
(pause--me thinking, What?....oh.)
Me: "The United States did used to belong to the Native Americans, and then it belonged to England, and then we got our independence from England."
Great. Clear as mud. History majors forgive me, but that's how I explained it. She seems satisfied with it. 

And here I thought this was a nice uncomplicated holiday, even taking into account my husband's situation. After reading about Native Americans who celebrate it, and those who don't, I've thought about something I haven't before on the 4th of July. Thanks, Isabel. Even for the extra dose of guilt. :)