Milking it

Dear Ri,


You upset your dad today.  He told you you had to use the restroom before he poured you a cup of juice.  You agreed and waited.  Then, when he was sufficiently occupied with work preparation,  you helped yourself to the milk.  Thank you for using a straw.  Even though dad’s a little mad, you technically did not disobey.  You did not drink the juice. I wouldn’t recommend,  however, that you display your intelligence like this again.  He won’t take it well.

Halloween 2016 – Dr. Brain Zombie


Ri’s costume was a combination of new finds and old imagination play things.  She said she wanted her face make up as a zombie – the first time she’s ever sat for face design of any kind. img1922-copy 

The make up was supposed to be an extension of her supersized brain, but she liked the irredescent blue and wasn’t interested in the veins to sell her look. By the time we got to Halloween ,  she’d decided on “kitty” make up and discarded the brain. The lab coat stayed on.

 I called her “confusion.”  She walked door to door with a lunch box saying “TWICK OR TWEET” and other variations of the candy collecting phrase. And despite the variety of costumed kids she passed, she was unafraid. 

At the library

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Morning lessons at school 

She sits in the corner, staring at the toys.  Her classmates are where they’re supposed to be — sitting on the mat. The older kids are answering a deluge of questions about Moses. And though she’s part of the older group, she ignores them. “Mommy,  I want picture…”

I have to wonder if this is normal. Does she tune out the classroom activities – ignore the lessons in favor of escaping into her own mind?

The teacher says she is disengaged, and even with proximity to the board and teacher, she is only minimally participating. An aide works with her one on one and sometimes this produces a complete work product, but most of the time, her work is a series of scribbles that demonstrate little understanding of the objective. She is also quick to start, often before directives are given. It’s a race to do, even when what she does has no purpose.

Is it to soon to worry?

Wade in the water

Ri came home talking about Elijah. I think he’s a classmate. But seeing that her school has abandoned the moderate ABeka and fully committed to ACE (Accelerated Christian Education), it’s quite probable that she’s referencing a biblical figure.

She’s in the car seranading me with Wade In the Water – or, rather, with what she remembers of the chorus.  You see, Ri thinks it’s about a pool or a puddle. It’s been raining, so it’s only natural that someone is wading water, right?  

I turn off the stereo and start to sing along. Wade in the water. Wade in the water, children. Wade in the water. God’s gonna trouble the water. I *think* that’s how it goes. Ri chimes in. She actually lets our duet happen instead of chastising and commanding  (“No mom. Not you.”)

We repeat the chorus, but the second time I finish “Wade in the water. God’s gonna trouble the water.” she looks at me through the rearview mirror concerned. 

“God’s in trouble?” She inquires. 

Clearly it is unfathomable that He could have been naughty.  I can’t think for a minute on the best way to clarify, but assure her that no, God is not in trouble. 

At this point I’m wondering if trouble is even in the lyrics. It’s a slave hymn, afterall, meant as a lesson on escaping detection while heading to freedom. I vow to look up the words.

“God’s not in trouble, he’s splashing water while swimming.” 

She accepts this and resumes singing. Swim in the water. Swimming in the water. Swim in the water. Over an over she repeats until I  park in our driveway.

Two for tulips

IMG0540 copyThe weather man lied again.  I should’ve known when I requested a personal day a week ahead of time that the predictions might be wrong – – that the forecast would change, as it inevitably seems to do whenever I have plans. Maybe Mother Nature has it out for me?  Or, maybe, she has plotted to alter my plans for some unknown purpose yet to be revealed.

A week of beautiful weather – warm temperatures, clear skies, sunshine.  It was awesome.  Except the blooming tulip field was miserable.  What had already been called a shorter, sparser crop than in previous years suffered terribly under the out-of-the-norm heat. And then the long overdue rain could do little to salvage the flowers.

It’s like the weather flip flopped.  What should’ve been gloomy and wet, was anything but.  What should’ve been comfortable, dry and mildly sunny became a slippery, chilly, dreary day.  Nevertheless, I insisted the girls and I would try for the fields.  We dressed in compatible colors, selected footwear we could (theoretically) clean, and located our umbrellas.  And though I’d splurged on cute umbrellas once before, they somehow clashed with our attire and we desperately need to invest in cute rain boots and slickers.  The voice in my head whispers: “someday soon… charge it!” But I decline.

After confirming Chi had earned her straight-A report card in a “student-led conference,” we returned home in pouring rain.  It seemed as though it would never let up.  I checked the field report on FB, inquired as to whether the daring could still venture out in the soggy fields.  I was assured that at noon, they’d be open for business regardless of the precipitation.

We had the field mostly to ourselves, which was no surprise considering the puddles and mud that slurped and sucked at our shoes with each step.  Ri loved the mess.  The gooshy noise as the mud sucked down her shoes was excitingly new.  And watching the thick brown ‘paint’ cover her legs as she brushed a shoe across them was safely naughty behavior.  Who could fault her for getting a little dirty in all this sludge?

IMG0543 copyIMG0444 copyChi humored me.  Despite an unfortunate teenage breakout that turned into a long blemish down her nose, she was a trooper.  We covered the mark with purple glitter shadow and dubbed it a trademark.  It looked exotic. She looked – as always – stunning.

I realized that our annual sunshine and tulips photos would be a little different this year.  And I relished in the time spent with my quickly growing girls.

They traipsed through those fields with their baskets.  They pulled at their selected tulips and secured a few bulbs, too.

Laughter caught the wind as they got stuck in the mud, struggled to maintain clean shoes.

Each raised her face to the sky to catch the rain as tiny droplets fell in a shockingly chilly drizzle while we lingered.

And the smiles – – those precious smiles as the camera clicked and froze the moments alone in the fields on a rainy ditch day in the middle of the week.

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