7 Quick Takes Friday (Vol. 23)

— 1 —
Last weekend we went out of town to what the boys call “The Cousins’ House” to get out of the way so John could get some packing and moving done. (They have other cousins, but the pack of four in one family earns them the formal title “The Cousins.”)
During our visit, we drove into New York City and visited the American Museum of Natural History.

I was worried that Daniel would be scared of the dinosaur skeletons, but he and Leo both liked them, especially the one that bears our name, Buettneria.

“I miss the dinosaurs,” Daniel said the other day, “and the dinosaurs miss me.”

The same could be said for The Cousins.
— 2 —
Despite having a GPS—two, actually—for our drive home, I managed to miss a key exit and traveled miles and miles out of our way. I would like to blame the GPS.
Still, it might not be a coincidence that I missed the exit when Daniel had just bitten his tongue and was screaming, “It’s bleeding, Mama! Pull over! Pull over!” There was nowhere to stop, probably because we were crossing—and missing—the Garden State Parkway. So we went in this huge circle and finally, eventually hit the New Jersey Turnpike just when everyone else did. And then we sat. And sat. And sat.
When I called home to tell John we were lost, he offered advice and then cheerfully said, “Look at it this way. I’m getting a lot done right now.” And he was.
— 3 —

As we were preparing for Leo’s last day of preschool this week, I asked him whether he was sad.
“The only thing I am sad about is that I will miss my best teacher,” he said. He wanted to give her something “like roses or something more girly than boy-ey. Will you pick something out, Mama?” So I did. When he delivered flowers to his teachers, one of them said to me, “Thank you for sharing him with us.” I’m sure she says it to every parent, but my eyes welled up and I had to leave the room.
This is one transition that is apparently harder on Mama than Leo.
— 4 —
I’m not scared of adoption paperwork. Bring it on. But the new-school paperwork is defeating me. There are forms to fill out for vaccinations and after-care programs and the milk program. There’s another form explaining which school supplies he needs and other papers describing the uniform and shoes. Then there’s yet another form asking me which of the dozens of volunteer opportunities I would like to do. I want to be involved, but right now the idea of another commitment makes me shudder.
I started reading the emailed list to my sister Maureen, the mother of four, and she stopped me after the 15th entry.
“Just hit delete,” she said. Sisters can be so wise.
— 5 —
When you dream of becoming a parent, you imagine reading your child a favorite book, going on family outings, and watching classic children’s movies.
Then one day you sit down to watch Mary Poppins with your 5-year-old son, and the questions begin.
“How did the wind blow those ladies away?”
“What’s a nanny? Why do they need one? Why can’t the mother and father take care of the children themselves?”
“Why do they need someone to clean their house for them?”
“Why does that man think his roof is a ship?”
“How does laughing make those people float in the air?”
“Wait…women can’t vote in this movie? Why not?”
“Now Bert is cleaning chimneys? Why does that man have so many different jobs?”
Leo has a vivid imagination, so he was fine with the fact that people could clean up the nursery using magic and jump into a chalkboard picture. But he couldn’t understand why their clothes had to change when they landed on the other side.
And he enjoyed the carousel horses that jumped off to compete in a race. But it bothered him that the carousel poles dragged in the dirt. Why couldn’t magic take care of that, too?
I explained and answered question after question, but I was actually relieved when we stopped watching before the end. Convincing me to watch Mary Poppins with Leo again soon is going to take more than a spoonful of sugar.

— 6 —
Although the boys are not happy about moving, they have found some advantages.
They can have anything they want for breakfast, as long as it’s in the house. Pickles? Sure. Ice cream sandwiches? Um…well…OK. We might as well clean out the fridge.

A lot of the furniture is gone, so there is room to run, run, run.
We’re using our van to move things, so their car seats are sitting in the living room. Who needs toys? The boys sit in them and pretend they are driving in the car, flying to outer space, or racing around a track. With or without their toy light sabers, these seats are the best entertainment we’ve had in the house in months.
They are discovering long-lost toys. Hooray that we finally found our flashing SpongeBob wand, which I may or may not have intentionally misplaced.
The boys think it’s hilarious that our furniture is disappearing. “This room looks fine to me,” I’ll say. And they jump to correct me. “No, Mama!” Leo will say. “That bookcase is gone! And there was a little table here, and a lamp. And see? There’s no couch. And the pictures are gone from the walls. Don’t you see? And there was a rug here, but that’s gone, too!” Then they explain to me that Baba is the Furniture Thief. “It’s OK,” Daniel will say. “Baba put our duff in dorage. We’ll get it at our next house.”

— 7 —
Leo went to a summer reading celebration at the library during his Grandma’s Day. When his name was pulled out of a hat, he was told he could have a four-pack of Orioles tickets or pick two things from the treasure chest.
He came home with a rubber eyeball that pops up when you stick it to a table and some Wikki Sticks.
I was thrilled. I really do want to take the boys to see our Orioles play, but I also know the treasure chest saved me $50 in parking and lemonade and hot dog fees.
Plus it’s such a cool eyeball. And, even better, I think we already lost it. Maybe it will show up when we unpack.
Read more quick takes at Jen’s blog, Conversion Diary.

Catholic Review

Catholic Review

The Catholic Review is the official publication of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.