Friday, December 12, 2014

A Profound Realization

When Charlie was born, I distinctly remember feeling frustrated and sad about the fact that my time and attention was now split between two children. I didn't like feeling that either child was getting less than all of me.

I was thinking about this tonight as I was putting Cubby and Charlie to bed, and assuming it would be even worse with three children among whom I must divide my attention.

But then I had a thought that stopped me in my mental tracks: My kids might get fractionally less of me, but they get a whole, entire other person.

I realized that while a mother (or father, or whoever the primary caregiver is) is paramount when the children are small, there is going to be a lot of their lives after they're . . . well, not small. And for the rest of their lives, they'll have not just me and their father, but their two brothers to support them. Adding a family member is never a diminishment.

Of course, explaining this concept to a child under the age of five is not really possible when every one of the three children is vying for space on Mommy's lap. At such moments of less than brotherly love, I'll just have to remember this profound breakthrough.

And then maybe hide in the bathroom. Because profundity can only help so much.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Christmas Newsletter: The e-Version

I love getting those long, detailed family newsletters at Christmas with all the pictures and updates on every single family member plus pets. I'm not being sarcastic. We always got a lot when I was younger, because they're particularly useful in military circles for keeping up with all those people you know for three years before moving to the next assignment. I would read every one we got, even if I didn't really remember the people who sent them.

A. said we should send one out. I would, but in truth, I am far, far too lazy for all the printing and the addressing and the mailing and all. But the writing? That, I can do. 

And so! Presenting: The Family Blackrock's Christmas Newsletter to the Internet.

Hello to all! It's been another eventful year at Blackrock, full of children and animals--wild and domestic--and general country hijinks.

Kristin is currently expecting the third Blackrock baby, which is--no one is surprised--a boy and due in nine days. She is remarkably unconcerned about adding yet another male to the household, figuring we might as well just throw another one into the feral pack we already have. Although she is considering building a bunkhouse out back in a few years for the boys.

A. decided this year to end the solo law practice he's been running for the past five years, instead taking a full-time, standard-hours job at a law firm in the Small City. We all miss having him home at odd times of day--especially when we run out of water and Kristin has to get the beach pump going by herself--but it seems to be working out so far.

The combination of new baby and new job resulted in the decision to sell the sheep flock. They all went to nice people, the last group of sheep--including the ram--actually going to a family in Pennsylvania with five boys, ages four months to 10 years. How appropriate. The boys decided to name the ram "Mr. T." You know Kristin approves of that.

Cubby will be five in February and continues to attend the local preschool, where he has displayed a natural aptitude for policing the other children. His favorite activities continue to be anything involving the forest, especially camping, but also accompanying A. on hunting and trapping expeditions. He can sit for an incredibly long time in the forest without talking. This is the only time he doesn't talk, as he is otherwise a frighteningly verbal child.

Charlie is now two-and-a-half and also working on his verbal skills, though he still has trouble with "r." And "c". And, uh, everything else. He has no trouble following his older brother around, however, and is generally good about taking direction from Cubby. Charlie is the forward scout in any adventure that might involve danger, real or otherwise; Cubby instructs Charlie to go ahead and scout the area and off Charlie goes. When he gives the all clear, Captain Cubby will join him. We all need a good sidekick.

Our dog Mia continues to be the perfect child-friendly dog, following Cubby and Charlie all around on their outdoor adventures and courteously standing still to act as a pull-up bar for any child that falls and needs a stationary object to haul himself up on.

We're all hale and hearty as always and very much hoping that you are the same. Happy Winter Solstice, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all things bright and beautiful to all of you.

The Family Blackrock

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Merry Christmas to Me

Our annual village Christmas festival was this past Saturday. I had to go so I could fulfill my obligation of sitting at the preschool fundraising table, selling various crafts. Right next to the table I was (wo)manning was the church bake sale. They had the usual assortment of banana breads, cookies, pies, and . . . what's that on the end? OH MY GOD, THOSE ARE FRESH TOMATOES.

Apparently, one of their church members grows patio tomatoes on her enclosed and heated porch into the winter. They were selling pint boxes for four dollars. I got the last one.

You can keep your cookies and pies. If I can get fresh, homegrown tomatoes in December, my Christmas is going to be merry.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Continuing Comedy

So who among you wasn't convinced that our friend the flying squirrel had politely gone out the door and vacated the house for good?

Yeah, me neither.

At 8:15 last night, I was sitting on the couch talking to A. and trying to summon the energy to go to bed when I caught a flashing glimpse of a scurrying animal in the adjoining library. And then there was our little buddy, staring up at me from under a chair only about five feet away.

"Dammit," I said. "There's that squirrel again. It's looking at me."

A. got up to herd it into the dining room and hopefully out the door--again--but instead it ran into the downstairs bedroom.

At this point, the MiL reminded A. that he had a live trap for squirrels up in the attic that might be useful. So A. baited the trap with peanut butter, put it in the bedroom, and shut the door. He also carefully placed a small bowl of water in the room, thinking the squirrel would surely be thirsty after its adventures.

A. apparently harbors a soft spot for flying squirrels. He informed me that some people keep them as pets, getting them as babies and wearing them in special little bonding pouches to establish a relationship. I just had to look that up, and was reassured to see that flying squirrels are indeed considered a most gentle rodent and very good pets if properly cared for early on.

Still, when I came down this morning and found this in the trap, I was not tempted to try to carry it around in a pouch next to my heart in hopes of establishing a relationship.

Sorry, little dude; I am not the rodent bonding sort.

But my new knowledge of the cuddliness of flying squirrels enabled me to carry the trap outside and open it to let the squirrel out without fear that it would fly out and attach itself to my face, which, you may remember, is a persistent fear I have about most wild animals.

Yes, I'm aware this is an unlikely scenario with any animal, but we all have our things.

Anyway, the squirrel has been definitely released back into the great outdoors and thus ends our time as a flying squirrel haven.

Except for the ones in the attic. Those I guess will be staying.