Friday, April 6, 2012

Spring Break Reports

When I sat down to write my blog posts this week I felt like I needed to blow a layer of dust off my keyboard. I've missed writing and I'm glad to be back, but I have to say that sometimes it's good to take a break from your usual routines and spend time doing other things. And even though I don't feel like a particularly energetic or effective human being these days (I keep saying that I've lost my razzle dazzle), I spent some great time with my girls over spring break, talking to them and observing the many ways they are growing into their own person.

We made a goal to do one fun activity each day during spring break. So, we went to a movie matinee, we went to the Denver Science and Nature Museum, we went swimming and spent time with their cousins at a park. Writing this list actually makes me tired remembering the hustle and bustle of last week and frankly I'm relieved our fun family spring break was successful and also that it is over. But there is something about spending a lot of time with your kids in close quarters that helps you to really see them and hear them.

At six years old Katherine takes such a light approach to life, searching for ways to make everything around her fun and/or funny. She took the opportunity this week to explain to me that if she can't find a guy her age to marry, she'll just find and marry an old lonely grandpa. Now that's what a mother wants to hear from her young daughter! Not ten minutes later Katherine tugged on my arm and said, "I'm thinking that when I'm nineteen years old Madeleine will probably be old enough to have a boy friend and I bet they'll be lovin' on each other, don't you think?" Since the Facts of Life are not yet part of Katherine's life I asked her, "what do you mean by lovin' on each other?" This question was followed by explosive laughter and three year old Elisabeth interjected, "She means kissing." The very prospect of her older sister kissing a boy kept Katherine giggling for the rest of the evening and I had to shake my head, secretly loving and admiring her ability to create her own fun out of thin air. That quality brings so much laughter and happiness to our family.

Madeleine is an entirely different brand of weird. The day we visited the Science and Nature Museum she carried a notebook around with her and insisted on recording notes at every single exhibit. Consequently our progress was painfully slow and I was left with the unsavory task of making the never-ending Egyptian mummy exhibits entertaining for my three year old. But I kept quiet and left Madeleine to her note taking. I don't want to do anything to discourage the "school nerd" spirit within her, and the part of me that wasn't annoyed by the situation felt inspired by her curiosity. She is interested in everything. There were several instances over Spring Break where I felt total admiration for Madeleine's ability to see the world and its history as this amazing, incredible adventure that is hers for the taking. Which I suppose is exactly what it is.

And all the while her older sisters are raising havoc and transcribing the universe into a notebook, there was little Elisabeth prancing around Denver in her hats. She decided in early March that she can't abide her naturally curly hair and has taken to wearing hats all day, every day.



At first she wore Jeremy's hats, but when my mom came to visit she bought Elisabeth a delicate, wide brimmed little Easter hat, which has now become a dependable part of her daily uniform. She puts it on her nightstand at bedtime and shows up in my room at the crack of dawn the next morning, hat on her head. The hat is a particularly special sight to see on days when she insists on wearing leotards with knee-high socks and tennis shoes, or dress-up clothes with snow boots when we leave the house. I've learned not to impose my tastes during these intense periods of wardrobe creativity. I want her have this time to invent herself without fear of recrimination, which I'm sure the world will introduce to her life soon enough.

I wasn't planning on writing about my girls when I sat down today and I had originally intended on taking this post a different direction. But these observations about my children kind of poured out of me when I started typing, and although they don't mean anything to your life, I hope they'll invite you to think about your own family, their best quirks and qualities. I started off Spring Break feeling monstrously sick and fairly resentful that we were going to be spending the week at home. But the report I have to offer at its end is the age old it doesn't matter where you are, it matters who you are with. And all things considering, we had a lovely time.

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