Archives for September 2011
On Saturday, Nora and I went to the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, or, the If Sue Could Make Her Own Festival This Would Be It Festival, as I now like to think of it.
It’s an enormous gathering of all things fiber arts related: sheep, goats, rabbits, alpaca, llama, spinning equipment, knitting equipment, fibers and yarn GALORE. And a ton of nice people who know just what you’re going through as you fondle and ogle all there is to see and try to decide what to take home.
We met up with a family from Nora’s school. Karri, the mom, is as much of a fiber junky as I am and some how that makes an event like this that much more enjoyable. Best of all, Nora loved every minute of it. She walked through marketplace petting yarn and saying “Ohhh, mommy, look at this one!” And then through the barns petting critters saying, “Mommy, can we get one?”
That’s my girl.
Last night was parent night, or so I thought. I arranged for Nana Sandi to stay with Nora. I was excited Ben and I were getting to go somewhere together, even if it was just Nora’s school. We’d chat with other parents and Nora’s beautiful teacher. Ben would use decorative beeswax to decorate a candle that would be used for Nora’s birthday celebration next spring.
Perhaps best of all, I would skip putting-Nora-to-bed duties.
When we got to the school, we had a ridiculously easy time finding a parking spot. We walked in and checked the event board. I got the night wrong.
Instant date night! We headed to our favorite swank grocery store and bought anything we wanted. Then drove to Sellwood Park, on the banks of the Willamette river. We kissed at the end of the floating dock and laid back, feeling the dock undulate in the wake of the Portland Spirit. We watched a group of kayakers alight on the shore in the dusk.
We climbed back in the car and drove around, finally parking in a neighborhood, talking about how we got where we are and where we want to be. Together.
When it was late enough that Nora would surely be asleep, we drove home.
We walked into the house and Nora called for Ben.
Then she called for me.
I went to her and walked her through falling asleep: “Get comfortable, close your eyes. Take a deep breath and when you breath out, feel yourself sink into the bed. Now, everytime your body wants to wiggle, or your brain wants to talk, just say to yourself, ‘No, no, it’s okay, time for sleep. It’s okay.’ Just pretend like you’re already asleep.”
“My body won’t let me!”
I told her to keep trying I would check on her once I was ready for bed.
“Get ready as fast as you can,” she said.
When I was ready, I climbed into bed with Ben.
“I had a good night with you,” I said.
“I had a great night with you,” he said.
I padded down the hallway and climbed in next to Nora.
“I’m so tired Nora, I bet I can fall asleep faster than you can.”
“Are you asleep now?” she asked immediately.
“Are you asleep now?”
“Are you asleep now?”
“Stop. Go to sleep.”
For a long time, there was only the sound of constant wiggling and the sniffling of a stuffed up little nose.
I feigned sleep.
More wiggling ensued.
I lay inert.
The wiggles continued and increased in intensity. Feet jabbed into my calves. Finally, I little arm jutted through mine and she locked elbows with me. The wiggling stopped. She slept.
I padded back down the plush hallway rug to my husband.
I remember the sound of no planes in the air — and it was terrifying.
I remember feeling a love for my country that I had never truly felt before. And amazement at watching Americans pull together in grief for a common purpose: preserving an open society.
I wish we could get back that beautiful feeling of joint purpose that came from such horror. It was far too short lived.
And wouldn’t it be wonderful if our children never had to experience a day that causes them to forever remember what they were doing when “it” happened?
Last night’s bedtime stalling tactic started with this question:
“Mommy, are chickens kinda like birds?”
“Chickens are birds,” I said.
“No, they’re not.”
“Yes, chickens are birds. Trust me.”
“No, they aren’t. I know more than you,” said my saucy four-year-old.
“No, you don’t know more about chickens than I do, I’m afraid. Chickens are birds just like robins and crows.”
“Robins and crows are birds, chickens aren’t. And blue jays are birds.”
Nora has had chickens half of her little life. Somewhere along the way, she shoved them on a mental shelf separate from birds. Maybe because they don’t fly as well, or because other birds don’t live with us. For whatever reason, she made up her mind and it’s hard for her re-categorize something she’s believed half of her life — even if two years seems like a short time to the rest of us.
It doesn’t change the fact that chickens are birds. But it was a good reminder for me that we need to keep our minds nimble and willing to assimilate information.
Many adults run around with notions just as silly and in conflict with reality as Nora’s mis-categorization and are just sure they are right. But the consequences for adults are much greater: bigotry, racism, war. If there’s hope for the future, it lies in us being able to re-examine our categorizations against reality from time to time.
Say it with me friends, chickens are birds.