Thursday 16 January 2014

Tiny Miracles of Growth

"I didn't think they would grow!" said Zinadine.  He was amazed.  Now, I'll admit, I'm one of those people who is inherently disbelieving about the everyday, mundane, time again proven and beautiful fact that things grow from seeds.  Actual things.  With roots and everything.  So I revelled in his incredulity and joy of discovery.

He said they were yummy but didn't eat more than a small handful.  Safiya thought they were...tolerable.  Mr. S. missed out, and I like them.  I like the taste and that really, they're an easy winter vegetable.  So I think I'm going to give them more chances.  And of course there are consequences to sprouting things.  Now I have to find out what to do with all these sprouts, hopefully find different ones to try (in smaller quantities! wow those lentils made a lot of sprouts!), and in a related vein, I think we'll try starting some seeds for the garden this year.  Maybe.  At the very least I get to look at the Richters catalogue with something more than just longing this lovely.

Sunday 12 January 2014


A lot of what I write here is evidence.  Evidence of the pieces of my everyday that are still madly clinging to me, whipped and bedraggled as they are, as life whistles by.

So here is a piece of evidence that I still make things.  I took some time out a while ago to sew something not so whipped and bedraggled.  More homey and fancy-pants new-like.  Some of my favourite fabrics from the stash and my fancy new rotary cutter and mat, and ta-da!  New pillow covers, a couple of lap blankets, and we're good to go!

By the way: homey stuff by me; my favourite painting by my brother.  Excellent pairing :)

Second by the way: not really "Ta-da!"; more like several hours over several days including more than one period of time holding my breath, sewing machine on stand-by, frozen like a deer in headlights in my basement studio as I hear Zinadine's little feet nonchalantly wandering on the main floor above me and him sing-song calling "Maamaa!" in that "I have lots of things to play with, and I'm quite happy, and my Dad and Safiya are right there but really I can think of nothing better than to track down my Mama....I wonder where she is?" Yeah. More like that.

Thursday 9 January 2014

Growing Into A New Year

Everyone's growing.  With an almost-ten-year-old and an almost-four-year-old and two almost-forty-year-olds, it feels like this house is going to be doing a lot of growing all at once.  I don't know what's different about this year, about 2014.  For the first time I feel ready for it, like I'm not just trying to keep up.  That's seems like tempting fate.  (It's o.k. fate, I'm really not tempting you.  We go way back.  You should know that I'm not tempting you.  Seriously, don't you think I've earned it?  Um...o.k that feels like tempting fate again.  Moving on down the road...)

Down the electrical tape road :) The day before New Year's Eve the kids and I took out the Solstice Tree, cleaned the living room and spontaneously rearranged the furniture.  And installed a road.  And beach.  And lake.  The last evening of 2013 was spent following Zinadine around as he insisted we be a train, keep a fantastic playlist going on the laptop, do some silly dances and then play a slightly out-of-control and more-competitive-than-it-ought-to-have-been Frog Hoppers game.  After Zinadine finally fell asleep I think we watched Tangled, then we all went to bed.  At something like nine thirty.  Well, as of us except Safiya, who, in a fit of independence, insisted on staying up alone until well past midnight.  It was the alone part that she was tickled pink about, which Mr. S. and I thought was fantastic and brave.

That's the other side of the living room.  I include it mostly as a public record that at some point our living room was a tidy and orderly place.  And also to note that that living room cleaning out started a chain reaction around the house of making more room, moving things, rejigging space for all this growing we're doing.

The next day was a morning of Mr. S's famous french toast, Safiya's project of making her own calendar, trying out growing lentil sprouts, and reading and lazing.

Then we went out tobogganing in the afternoon 'cause it seemed like the best strategy to keep the boy awake until evening.  We ended up with a spectacularly icy hill (thank you ice storm) which made for much ridiculousness trying to get back up, frozen toes, the threat of a bloody nose courtesy of Safiya, and a thrilled little boy who finally braved his first swoop ever down the toboggan hill.  And then pizza (with more ridiculousness) and then home and then comfort.

It was a good start to the year. It was silly and fun and happy and quiet and close and may your home bring you as much comfort for the whole rest of the year.  Happy (Belated) New Year!

Wednesday 8 January 2014

The Raveled Sleave of Care

The boy has fallen asleep.  It's now a little past three thirty in the afternoon.  Up at five this morning, his little three-and-a-half-year-old self gave up in a flurry of tears over a broken airplane and a very brief nurse.

A week or so ago, he woke up at three in the morning: "Mama, I want to go downstairs."  That's how he starts every morning: "Mama, I want to go downstairs."  It's like a mantra, or a totem of his, wielded in protest against sleep.  Against our sleep, anyway.

I'm trying to at least get him to have some kind of segue; to ask, "Mama, are you awake yet?"  This seems the more appropriate thing to say to the person slumbering next to you in the wee hours of the morning.  It's also more likely to coax something from me other than "That's nice."

So, as this in-the-middle-of-the-night morning began, he suddenly remembered what was more likely to get a response from me:

(quietly and very close to my face) "Mama, are you awake yet?"

(groan) "No honey, I'm still asleep.  It's the middle of the night."

"Mama, are you awake yet?"

"Zinadine, it's not morning yet; it's the middle of the night.  It's very hard for me to get up right now."

(pause) "Don't worry, Mama," (he gently pats my arm in a reassuring manner with his tiny hand) "it's easy.  You just get up.  Like this!"

He stands up in the middle of the bed.

I never imagined that my life would be measured by someone else's sleep.  But this boy has managed it almost from the beginning.  Rest assured (ha!) we never expected our newly born boy to sleep.  We accepted this jokingly, unbegrudgingly.  This was our second-born, after all, and until she weaned herself at three-and-a-half-ish, his sister never fully slept through the night either.  So we thought we knew.

A couple of months in, we were cautiously surprised to find that he was sleeping almost five hours at a time.  And then, between nine months and a year (it's all a blur), he decided that was enough and proceeded to never sleep again.  At least, that's what it felt like.  And nothing worked.  One year later, Mr. S. and I were adept at grimly smiling at well-meaning family members who helped with suggestions as best they could.  Sleeping arrangements, food, water, positioning: none of it had any impact.  "It will pass" became my mantra.  Two years later and I could probably count on one hand the number of times I had slept more than four hours at a time.  For a long stretch every two hours was the norm.  Almost three years later it's getting better and I've finally not-very-graciously admitted to myself that taking care of myself is actually an essential kind of thing, and that some days it's the only thing I have room for.

And yet, when waking, he is and always has been a delight.  A rambunctious, hilarious, growing, lovely little man.  It's what has kept us sane.  The daytime belied that there was anything seriously wrong.  The boy just didn't sleep.

So here we are, him sprawled out, toes curled like they don't care, pudgy pillow-squished cheek with a puddle of drool at the corner of his mouth, and me thinking that that looks like a little bit of heaven.  And wondering how, when you're so sleepy, it's even possible to laugh so hard.