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Beautiful Little Nonsense #11

brain

 

 

The 5yo: “This is the law of my brain. If you don’t be’s nice to me, you can’t be my best friend.”

Not a bad law as brains go.

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Beautiful Little Nonsense #10

peter_pan_halloween_costume_kids_boys_2a6ecae0Halloween Morning

Costumed kids climb the school bus uncertainly,

searching eyes to see if they’re made of as much awesome

as they think they are.

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The Rabbit In The Soccer Net

 

RabbitThe other day my six-year-old ran in the house screaming: “A RABBIT IS STUCK IN THE SOCCER NET!”

When I went outside the poor thing was writhing frantic, the webbing wrapped double around its neck. The line was so tight it seemed impossible for it to be breathing. By the time I got there it hardly fought in my hands, less than my cats getting their nails clipped.

I sent my 12-year-old daughter inside for scissors and cupped it still, trying to create any possible slack in the netting. I really didn’t think it would live until she made it back.

She did the cutting, brave girl, shears right against its neck. When it was freed it sat in my hands, sides heaving. Or maybe it just didn’t realize it was free.

“Where did you learn to do that?” my eight-year-old asked.

It wasn’t just me, I told him. We all cut it free.

“No,“ he made a cupping gesture with his hand. “To just….hold it.”

Most people comfortable with handling animals probably say it comes down to some kind of childhood exposure. Pets in the house or barnyard, being allowed to catch frogs and snakes and cicadas. Volunteering in any kind of nature or rescue organization.

But for me it goes back to James Herriot and other books I loved in childhood. These novels and memoirs made livestock and wildlife as familiar as pets in the house, and pets as well-loved as siblings (and at that age, probably more). The country-vet voyeurism of All Creatures Great and Small and its three sequels made a cow’s breech birth as vivid as any movie. In the ’70s, Black Beauty, Old Yeller, and Watership Down were my Star Wars.

They say (you know, they) that violence against animals is a big-time marker for future sociopath behavior. I’d say Continue reading

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Beautiful Little Nonsense #9

potty

Dropping off for the 8-year-old’s soccer practice. The younger two boys need a bathroom; I direct to a porta-potty around the bend.

The 8yo: “Moms always know where the nearest porta-potty is. Even if you’ve never seen it. Because you have it wired in your DNA, like a Mom bathroom GPS.”

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Loosen the Leash

BTMDogIsMyCopilot (http://beyondthemargins NULL.com/btm/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/BTMDogIsMyCopilot1 NULL.jpg)By Nichole Bernier (http://beyondthemargins NULL.com/author/nicholebernier/)

As I’ve mentioned here a few times, we have a young Bernese Mountain Dog. We got her last summer at 8 weeks old and named her Cricket because she was the least graceful thing ever to hop through grass.

She eats. She eats socks. She eats toys. She eats my husband. She eats the house.

Protectively, defensively, we’ve kept her restricted to the main kitchen/family room area of the house. She and the cats eye one another distrustfully through the gates, and when Cricket gets through, it’s off to the races.

When time came for our annual vacation on Martha’s Vineyard a few weeks ago, the owner of the house we rent gave us permission to bring the dog. My husband thought this was great news.

My heart sank. This meant schlepping the gates, the crate. It meant a week with a clenched stomach, wondering what she’d destroy. And yet there was an opportunity to experiment: we’d be in a house without the cats, and were curious to see what would happen if we let her roam free. By which I mean, my husband was curious to see what would happen. I just wanted to be on vacation and maybe sleep in a little and not have to safeguard food on the countertops.

Well lo and behold, she galloped through the place in an introductory way, and then Continue reading

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Beautiful Little Nonsense #8

stomachThe 5yo had trouble falling asleep last night, haunted by a DVD we rented from the library that spooked him.

“Think about ice cream cones,” I tell him. “Don’t think about the movie.”

Him: “But my body keeps pressing the play button.”

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Beautiful Little Nonsense #7

urn

The 6yo, eying the urn with our old dog’s ashes. “What are ashes like?”

“Sand,” I tell him.

He thinks. “Plus love.”

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Beautiful Little Nonsense #6

mazeThe 4yo is doing a maze, blazing wantonly through solid lines.

Me: “Can’t go through walls, bud.”

Him: “They’re just gates. I push them open.”

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Paddling Blind

kayak2Last week the yoga class I take from time to time decided to meet on the water.

“We’ll visit the swans,” said the instructor Erin as she directed three of us into kayaks. Then she climbed into her own — well, they were all her own, she lives on the pond, and teaches the small class at her home — and pushed off from the shore. “Then we’ll have a little blind paddle, see how it might expand our morning.”

My mornings tend to start in a not very expansive way, something I’m not very proud of. My initial reflex when I open my eyes, in that first lucid moment between dreams and reality, is to do a mental check of the things I know are in store and brace myself for the things I don’t. It feels like there’s usually some unforeseen thing, some blindsider that makes me exhale at the end of the day and say, Wow, I didn’t see that coming. Sometimes I wake up wondering what’s going to be The Thing today. I know this isn’t the most open, optimistic way to greet the day.

“There she is,” Erin called back from under the brim of a floppy pink straw hat, and reached back a muscular arm to hand me her binoculars. Not more than 50 yards away, an enormous swan sat on her large nest, a camel-neck queen on a pedestal of sticks. Her mate drifted watchfully about 30 yards away. “Last year when I sat here once, the cygnets poked out and walked around,” Erin said. We floated there awhile letting our kayaks drift, then back-paddled away with quiet strokes.

When we reached the middle of the pond, Erin told us to close our eyes. “Point yourself in a direction away from anyone else, set your sights on a far point onshore, and try paddling toward it blind. Don’t peek.”

I have sat down to writing that way, trying to ward off distractions by typing with my eyes closed. But that’s sitting stationary. I was never a big fan of pin the tail on the donkey or three legged races. I’ve woken abruptly from nightmares about driving a car blind. Like many people stuck with the label control freak, I tend to be far more comfortable when all of my senses and limbs are in play. Surely Continue reading

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Beautiful Little Nonsense #5

 BeckBalletDrawing

The 4yo, irritated that he has to stop drawing this morning and get to preschool.

“Why did you even sign me up for school? It wastes into my art*.”

*part of his “sister’s ballet recital” oeuvre

 

 

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