Today I needed to shuttle Olivia to a dentist appointment, so I took my Little A along too. I gave up on my audio book within a few minutes and just chattered with my girls. “I am SO GLAD that it’s not sloppy-floppy on Valentine’s Day,” Addy said. (She really does talk in CAPITALS.) We talked about love and marriage.
Olivia wants a house with a wraparound porch to entertain visitors, and a creek nearby for her children. That is, if she gets married, but maybe she will try a tiny house first because they are less work and everything is arranged so neatly.
Addy wants a humongous yellow house with pink shutters and golden doorknobs. Also ten horses, but if her husband isn’t rich, then just two horses would be fine. She kind of doubts that she will want to marry anybody, actually, when she really thinks about it. Besides, she is too little.
How can one girl and one boy fall in love and spawn 5 such opposite people? I thought opposites are just two things, like cold and warm, but it turns out that there are a lot more than two opposites when you start categorizing personalities. It can be a little disorienting to think you have a certain facet of parenting figured out, only to discover that you are back at base 1 with the next baby. But it’s never boring. Oh, no, never that.
I asked the children for help with a Love Is… list. I will start with Gregory (Alex was skiing, plus he wouldn’t have ventured a peep if he had gotten wind that I was gathering material for a blog post) and end with Addy, who spouted truisms faster than I could write them.
- a penguin fasting for months while incubating an egg. -G
- a chick nestled under its mother’s wing. -G
- going on a date with Papa and eating pancakes every time. -O
- when Mama gives me a cup of tea after my math lesson is done. -O
- cleaning the bathroom. -O
- throwing a stick over and over for your dog. -O
- when a chicken lays an egg for your breakfast. -O
- Mama showing me how to cook spaghetti and meatballs. -O
- a soft flannel quilt that you made for our bed. -R
- helping me make a doll with fabric scraps. -R
- my big sister making me a purse. -R
- when we are allowed to play “rish-rosh” in the house. -R
- a long story at nap time. -A
- when Mama lets you light a candle by yourself. -A
- kisses on your cheek. -A
- when Papa takes me on a canoe ride. -A
- being allowed to swim. -A
- looking at the stars. -A
- when I go along out to the barn to gather eggs. -A
- Mama taking me on a special date (McDonald’s drive-through) while the other kids are on a field trip. -A
- letting me pick my nose. -A
- Papa tucking me in at bedtime and asking me if I had a good day. -A
My children appear to have very homely ideas about love. Houses, eggs, dogs, food, and being allowed to tear around or hone bad habits. And that flamboyant small one… Oh dear, but it is a thrilling ride to parent her!
Our Valentine’s Day was (mostly) that sort of loving. There was sunshine and bike rides in it! There was a supper that was a joint effort, with one person making salad and one setting the table and one cutting lemon wedges and spooning sour cream into a pretty dish, and one snitching bits, and one mother trying to keep her sanity and actually succeeding. We ended with stories and chocolate fondue for all. Also. A BIG ALSO, the man of the house is home this week, and I wish you could have heard how calmly bedtime went down.
Maybe we will get a date later this week, but at any rate we are happy to be doing life together, all of it, ordinary and thrilling alike.