Tuesday, July 28, 2009

On Starting School

We had a fairly good day here. Everyone got up about the same time and ate breakfast together. We then played some music and the boys pretended their snowy owl puppets were flying to the music. Samantha danced with them. Then we went online to look at different kinds of owls. We read their descriptions, listened to their sounds, and watched a live web cam of a barn owl in its nesting box. The website is here:


Then we had snacks and took out the new illustrated Solar System map dad got yesterday at Costco. We laid down on the floor and found all the planets, counted and named them. We identified some satellites and looked at all the equipment that has been sent to Mars.

The boys then clamped their l.e.d. laser spy light to Tribot and drove him around for awhile, much to Samantha's delight. It was some invented game that required lots of laughing and squealing and running back and forth.

We had lunch while watching some chapters of Muzzy, the children's language course, per their request. We watched British English and Bubba said he couldn't understand them.

The boys then took the map box upstairs, along with the army/military playset and built a bridge (with the box) and set up the army men and equipment. It was a top secret installation so I'm not sure of the purpose because I wasn't authorized, but they had their super spy equipment to protect the installation and also a collection of (plastic) lizards, snakes, and bugs standing by.

They found Stump's toy guitar in the closet and Bubba ran to the toy cupboard to get his guitar and they performed an impromptu jam session while standing on the play table. Samantha danced her interpretation of Angelina Ballerina complete with spins and twirls and leg extensions.

Samantha went down for her nap and I laid down for a few minutes while the boys built a space station with the space train set in the tv room and had a snack. They like to get cups of ice water and put together super long straws to drink it. They often have to clean up some drips with a towel, but they are drinking a lot of water.

When I got up, Bubba wanted to build the robot from Short Circuit (Johnny 5) and had gathered a bunch of supplies. We tried to make a small chassis platform with wheels, carboard, foamboard, and duct tape, but, we have some more work to do tomorrow before it is satisfactory.

Dad came home, I made some dinner. It was supposed to be mushroom tacos for me and Dad, but Bubba wanted six, seis, of the mushrooms so I made veggie tacos instead. We had a swim, then bath, snack, some more owl research with dad, then bed. All of these activities today were attended by the boys snowy owl puppets and their toy, stuffed cats (we made a couple weeks ago).

All in all, it was a busy day. We didn't read any books or work on letters or color or paint. We didn't go to the park...it was 102 and 94% humidity. I got dressed but the kids played all day in underpants (boys) and diapers (girl).

At bedtime, I rocked Samantha to sleep. Then I stayed with the boys (they sleep on the guest queen bed together) until they fell asleep. But, before they fell asleep, Stump sat up and said "Mom, when you take us to school, I don't want you to drop us off. You can take the ban (van) to the parking lot and stay and play. I don't want you to come back and pick us up, I want you to be with us." Bubba said, "I don't want to go to school."

I told them there would be lots of fun things to do, they would be busy all day and it would go so fast, it would be time for me to pick them up before they realized it. They can go the first day and see how much fun it will be.

Stump said, "No, I don't want you to go. I want you to stay." (He is not afraid to be away from me, I think he's just expressing his preference to be with me.) Bubba said, "Did you hear that? I just said in my mind that I don't want to go." I told him he can go the first day and see how it goes. He said quietly and sadly "I will go the first day and give it a thumbs down. I will give a thumbs down every day." Then he went to sleep and so did Stump. And I came downstairs and cried.

Can I just say how much I don't want to send them? I don't think there are words. Are my feelings influencing them? I am trying to talk about it positively. We chose lunchpails (on the web, instead of going to the store) and they wanted to know why they needed to choose. I told them I would fix them lunch to take and they can eat it at school with the teacher and other kids. They said, "No, mom, we want to eat lunch with you." I just don't know what to say. Their dad thinks it just needs to be talked up more to them. But Bubba always senses that approach and it usually doesn't work.

The point is that we (me and the kids) have been this small society here on our own. They don't know another way, and neither do I. We asked the teacher about the first day schedule and she told us, "just drop them off and go, maybe ten minutes adjustment and then they start their day." How will I explain to Samantha that the brothers stay and she and I will go. I know she's going to have a full blown two-year-old tantrum because she thinks she's one of them. I also have to get a nap mat so they can have rest time there. Here at home, the boys play quietly while Samantha sleeps, but they don't nap. If I make them lay down, they get their blankets, Stump has his security duck blanket and the two blankets he has wrapped himself in every sleep time since we left California, even on the train. Do I send those everyday? Will they make fun of him if he has them? Do I make him tough it out without them? I will talk to the teacher, but I don't see a satisfactory solution...

Obviously, we are not ready and this is barreling down on us in a few short weeks. I just feel so ragged about this. I don't know how I will do it. I have never left them like that, except to go to the hospital with the baby, and then they were with their gran.

Isak Dinesen, author of Out of Africa, is one of my heroes. I love the book, I love the movie. She wrote of her time in Africa:

"Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.”

Perhaps because of some difficulties I have had in the past, I view my life as infinitely rich and beautiful, just as it is right now. I am loathe to change it, especially when the boys aren't on board with it. I am worrying about it because I just can't accept that this change is one of those things of no importance whatsoever.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The lunchboxes arrived today

A small, black one embroidered with a tarantula.
A small, red one embroidered with a shark.
I found them here.

All I can think of: the lunches they won't be eating with me anymore.
Nevermind if they are ready for school.
I am not.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


A clear view of the street from this small chair.
Is today the day, mom?
He sits and waits, waits for visitors that never come.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Heavy Work

we gather the remnants of sights and sounds, shapes and textures, fragrances, tastes and emotions

with a thread called pain, we stitch them together, no scrap too small to be left behind

making a new life wrapper that we must wear for eternity, it never really fits, but after awhile, we learn to manage

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Musings on a Mess

I was just thinking today about living in the moment. How can you really be an effective mom and be in the moment? Seems to me that when I try, it’s 2pm and no one has fixed lunch and it’s almost too late for naps…I can’t seem to be fully present and take care of the prep work to keep things moving smoothly. Tonight, at my house, the legos go from here to there, the stacks of recycling boxes are blocking doorways (built by walle), the bubble wrap has booby trapped the dining room, thousands of pygmy army troops are practicing maneuvers on every surface, and the progressive dinner fixed in the play kitchen has progressed upstairs and down. I feel like the chaos is out of control and I’m just grateful we made it through another day, albeit, ungracefully for me. I want more memories of laughter, not yelling, ...I think I will take notes from this mom and try to do better tomorrow.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Wherein Athomia introduces her life.

I had a farm in Africa...only it wasn't a farm, it was a house.

And, it wasn't Africa, it was Texas.

I have one husband, three children, and a house in the woods in Texas.

It is a little known fact (or was to me) that you are issued hats, boots, and a drawl when you relocate to Texas.

I also found out, California names just don't work here.

So, for literary purposes, we are now:
The Italian (one husband),
Athomia (me),
Bubba, Stump, and Samantha Jeanpocket (three children).

Samantha (pictured above) is the only Texas native.

We traveled here two years ago from Southern California by train.

The Italian, Four-months-pregnant me, and Bubba and Stump (then 4 and 2 years old).
And, yes, I did bring my crystal and Limoge, too.

Welcome to my Life With A View Out Of Texas.