Poor Step-mother! or, Why we don’t watch much TV these days

We were visiting at Chris’s mom’s house while he and Kelly were in town, and sitting down to white beans and rice with the three of them and Granny, when Lucy raced into the room.

Lucy: “The step-mother is here!”

I start to ask one of those motherly questions which draws out the story behind her pretending, but before I can form the words…

Lucy: “I’m going to kill her!”

And she was gone again.  I turned red, shocked, and sent Craig to deal with this.  He deals with football players and wrestlers and marine-wanna-bes on a daily basis, after all.  Apparently Lucy was protecting her friend, Meadow, from the step-mother, who was going to hurt her.

Thanks, Disney.  Non-violent child-rearing takes another set-back.  Craig tried to explain, and suggest that she convert the step-mother, but I’m not sure that it sunk in.

Related, or not, Lucy spent a good half hour crying because she didn’t want to take a nap today, which she hasn’t done in months.

Tomorrow – the journey to Fargo begins.  Pray for us.

This week’s news

It has been a week of visitors.  We managed to have someone over for a meal every day last week.  After Taylor’s wedding, my mom and brother came over, so they were here Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday.  (Their visit also included a shopping trip to the French Quarter and a trip to the Aquarium.)  On Wednesday Craig’s brother and his girlfriend came for dinner and so that Craig could help Sean with calculus.  Thursday’s dinner included some of the usual suspects, Theresa and Paige.  (Eric Parrie – I am calling you out publicly for standing us up!)  Friday Fr. R.B. spent the night.  Which I guess means I could count Saturday breakfast, too, but then Theresa brought a little girl she was babysitting over to play and have lunch.  Seven days in a row!

After which, Craig took Lucy to Baton Rouge and I stayed home with Samantha and slept.

Our other exciting event of the last week or so is that a litter of kittens has taken up residence in the back yard.  I first discovered them, just starting to walk, in the shed.  Since then they have moved the bushes on the other side of the yard and they were last seen under the house this morning.  The mama is black with a few white features, and the five kittens run a full range of color: one almost white, one grey, one calico with a lot of brown, one mostly black calico, and one almost all black.  Needless to say, the girls are enthralled.

While I’ve been writing this, Samantha has managed to color significant parts of both of us with blue marker, and is now very upset about the color on her hands, so I’m done.

Purple puddles

Well, it has finally happened, that rite of passage all mothers must undergo.  (It does happen to everyone, right?)  One of my children has fallen into the fountain at the mall.  You know, the one with the plants around it, strategically placed next to the winding stairs, the lovely view from which we always bypass because I am not Superwoman enough to drag a stroller up them.

It was funny, because as we passed the fountain outside the Riverwalk in New Orleans, (Grandma, Uncle John, the girls, and I) Grandma was explaining to Lucy that this wasn’t like the fountain she played in in Florida, and that we couldn’t go play in it.  When we got inside, Lucy wanted to go see the other fountain, so we swerved around an elderly man and his “Information” table, and went up to the little square tiled pond.

As she always did when my brother and I were little, but as I have never yet done as a parent myself, my mom offered Lucy pennies to throw in the fountain.  This was just the distraction needed.  Lucy readily agreed, and as I looked away and Mom went to dig her purse out of the stroller, Lucy tried to lean on the rope barrier (what are those things called?!) that was put up, apparently, to keep people from getting to close to and/or in this little fountain.

Little did Lucy know that the rope barrier was not attached in any way to the ground, or anything else solid.  First the nearest pole went in with a splash, which caught our attention so that I turned just in time to see Lucy lose her balance and hop from the side of the pool into it, landing (miraculously) on her feet, in water right up to the edge of her dress.

She was shocked, to say the least.  I leaned over and lifted her out, thankfully only wet on her shoes and about an inch up her favorite purple “ballerina” dress.  And, more thankfully, she was not screaming.  I righted the rope line, which was now soggy and dripping, and noted the puddle Lucy was making on the floor.  (Fortunately, she had talked me into letting her wear pink sandals instead of tennis shoes and socks.)  Mom proceeded to give her the pennies, all of which she threw in, and one of which she clanged off the side of the potted plant, and we moved on in search of lunch.

The “Information” man, who was less than five feet away, never even turned around.

I never thought of God like that…

Lucy: “If God was made of glass, and had a thing in his back so you could wind Him up, like a wind-up bunny, then he could go up to the sky and come back down from the sky.”

And later in the same car ride…

Craig: “Have you ever tried to talk to Jesus?”

Lucy: “No, I’m too shy of him.”

A Community

Ah, it’s time again for me to write about something of substance.  Or something.

We talk often about trying, someday in the future, to live in an intentional (Christian) community.  We liked what we had at the Tulane Catholic Center, we’ve had retreat/camp experiences that were short term communities, and we liked it, so we’d like to do something similar full time.

Funnily enough, Craig’s parents already practically have this.  We borrowed their house over the 4th of July weekend while they went on a vacation to Boston.  Here is how our weekend went.

We drove in on Saturday afternoon and set up shop.  Before we could decide what we would do for dinner, Miss Mary Lou and Mr. Bob next door invited us over for ham, corn on the cob, and potato chips.  This, of course, led to an evening of conversation, running children, and general fun.  It was a good way to start the holiday.

On Sunday, we went to Mass (after which the youth group help sparklers to liven the spirits of those exiting the church – Fr. Tom’s idea, not ours!) and then spent a long time talking over donuts with Rusty (who we found out lives two blocks from Craig’s parents) and Anna who is the 13th of 18 children.  We were almost the last ones to leave.  But we went back home and cooked hot dogs for Bob and Mary Lou (aka B-Bob and Mimi) while the girls swam.  Dinner was kindly provided by Mr. Joe and Miss June across the street, and B-Bob and Mimi, the neighbor next to Joe and June, Mr. Darwin, and the couple two doors down were also there, along with a good part of Joe and June’s family.  So far – five meals, four of them in communities.

The other thing with Mr. Joe is that he invites everyone who lives around him over for beer every afternoon at 4.  Accommodations are made for little ones who can’t drink much beer.  And Mr. Bob spends 9/10 of the day, rain or shine, hot or cold, on his back porch (which might as well be his front porch) open to company.  We barge in frequently, and often return with ice cream.

Monday we had Mr. Darwin and B-Bob and Mimi over for dinner (Craig made some amazing meatballs, I’m sure he would be willing to share the recipe if he remembers it!) and then went to a youth group softball game.

Tuesday Craig went to work and the girls and I met Bob and Mimi at the donut shop, where they meet their friends Bill and Mary (and anyone else who comes in!) every day.  Lucy enjoyed her pink sprinkled donut, and the shop owner gave them donut holes when she saw that Samantha hadn’t touched her pink sprinkled donut.  Chocolate milk was enjoyed all around.

We finally headed home Tuesday evening after Craig took some youth to visit a local nursing home.  On the way back I was counting (we had 6 of 9 meals in community – and 7 if you count dinner with his parents after they got home!) and realized that the community we would like to build could look very much like this:  neighbors watching out for each other, feeding each other’s dogs, drinking each other’s beer, (occasionally accidentally feeding each other’s beer to each other’s dogs…) talking, talking, talking.  Most of the world’s problems have been solved at least twice on Bob’s back porch.  But there is one thing that makes it all happen – people take the step to invite other people to share with them.  Then the trust builds, then the back porch is always open.  It was a good lesson for me.

It’s staying.

Lucy’s imaginary phone conversation this evening as we drove to dinner:

Lucy: “We’re leaving the house.”

* unintelligible question from interlocutor*

Lucy: “Because we can’t pick up our big house!  It’s too heavy!”

Apparently her friend on the phone was a turtle.