our kiddley read of the week is a vintage picture book, this one thirty years old and straight from the wooden shelves of my childhood (hence the yellowing and small tears).
sidenote: classic children's literature tends to surprise me with its grim theming and cavalier approach toward violence. still, the artwork is wonderful, and nostalgia covers a multitude of sins.
three ducks went wandering (ronald roy/paul galdone)
a trio of ducks wander away from their mother (who, clearly, needs to be paying more attention).
in their wanderings, they encounter sundry perils. first up, an angry bull:
next, a den of famished foxes:
then a hawk:
and finally, a snake:
in every case, the ducks are blissfully unaware of the danger, and narrowly escape impending doom through sheer luck and curiosity (and, perhaps, strategic plotting on the author's part).
(fortunately for our small feathered trio, the snake was still working on his coordination.)
in the end, the ducks wander RIGHT IN FRONT OF...
...their mother, and they are safe at home again.
elle loves this book nearly as much as i did at her age, saying each RIGHT IN FRONT OF with exaggerated trepidation, and clearly delighted when the ducklings wiggle out of yet another disaster. three decades later, this book still doesn't fail to charm.
we took a longish walk this morning, past the golf course, over the little bridge, and into the leafy neighborhoods beyond. i love how such times afford me insight into the workings of the world as elle sees them.
me: so. tell me about your brothers. what are they like?
elle: um, they are like brothers.
me: right. of course. and what are brothers like?
elle: brothers are like helping you do things. like they help you get down toys and putting it back when you're done playing, and they help you open the refrigerator, and they help you with opening the mailbox. and they play the things you like to do, and they sometimes eat your dinner. when it's not the kind you liked.
we also discussed other family and people groups:
moms are like putting your blankets on at night.
dads are like driving you in the car.
grandmas are like making you soup and kissing your booboos if you have any.
grandpas are like going to work. and they give you bandaids.
uncles are like, well, they play with you. and that is all i know about uncles.
aunt kristin is like playing hide and seek and staying at our house for a couple days. aunt kindra is like taking care of brandt. aunt nicki is like making dinner, and making the table, and one time she had a water fight with my brothers.
cousins are like friends who come to your house. and they ride bikes with you.
and can i tell you what kids are like? girl kids, okay, because i already said what brothers are like. girl kids are like having parties and giving their girlfriends presents. and they wear perfume and chapstick and colors on their eyes like blue and purple.
(also, i've been making progress on the quilt. this past weekend i cut 80+ sashing blocks and attached them to my nine-patch squares, then laid them out across the carpeting of elle's bedroom, only to discover that i was short 3 squares. either they have wandered off into the darker recesses of my wip pile, or i cannot be trusted to count to 70. alas.)
then there's my elle, who starts her drawings and daily projects in her pajamas, her hair a tangled cloud, and likes to leave her works in progress scattered about the house to be picked up and finished at whim.
You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose....
Out there things can happen and frequently do to people as brainy and footsy as you.
And when things start to happen, don’t worry. Don’t stew. Just go right along. You’ll start happening too.
so the boys started school yesterday, dark and early.
and this kid is now in middle school, which is still a little hard to fathom. (he came home flushed with the wonder of lockers and lunch choices and navigating labyrinthine hallways, everything i'd thought could easily unnerve him. good for you, B.)
And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed.)
so elle and i are now left behind with oddly placid mornings. she's the left-behindiest kid, that elle, but she likes my company just fine, so we manage okay.
* * *
today i'm feeling a bit sad that B forgot his box of sliced apples (breakfast: 6:20, lunch: 12:50, so they're allowed to bring snack to tide them over), but i need to be a parent who doesn't bail her kid out of small dilemmas, who allows him the space for disappointments and growth.
gorgeous and talented and athletic, and still one of the kindest people i know. i am one lucky lady to have been able to shoot her senior portraits, to visually transcribe this stunning girl on the brink of her final high school year.