7 quick takes Friday (Vol. 8)

— 1 —
One of our favorite topics is what we’ll do when we go to the beach, even though it’s not happening anytime soon.
“When we go to the beach,” Leo said this week, “this is what I want to do. One, I want to go to the boardwalk. Two, I want to ride the bumper cars and the haunted house ride. Three, I want to spend time with my family.” It was one of those wonderfully sweet moments and John and I just beamed at him.
“Oh!” Leo said. “And I want to jump on the beds!”
I know just which beds he means—and somehow I’m surprised that didn’t come in higher on the list.

— 2 —
“Mama, when is Christmas?” Leo asked yesterday.
“It’s eight months away,” I said. “That’s a pretty long time.”
Leo sat and thought for a moment.
“Mama,” he said, “when does Advent start?”
Someone has been paying attention.
— 3 —
We had two sad discoveries this week in our yard—one caused by nature and one by man.
One day John and the boys found a bird’s egg that had fallen from a nest in a tree and broken. Both boys were upset, but especially Leo because he knew the baby bird wouldn’t be born. He has such a heart for little animals.

Then we returned home the next night and found that our pinwheel had been damaged beyond repair—most likely by one of the many preschoolers in the neighborhood who play in our yard.
Leo and Daniel were crushed. We bought the pinwheel last year at a dollar store, and they stop to look at it every time we go by. But it was so damaged—one piece was intentionally ripped off and thrown behind our bushes—that we had to throw it away.
What bothered me the most was that I know the parents are there while the children play, and I thought someone must have seen what happened and would stop by to apologize. When they didn’t, I said to John in frustration, “Maybe it’s time for us to put a sign up in the front yard.” I meant one that said, “For Sale.”
Leo liked the idea of a sign. He wants to make one that shows a person ripping a pinwheel apart and draw a big X through it. I kind of liked the idea, but rational minds prevailed. Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with us and our broken pinwheel. Still, it’s hard to see our children discovering how inconsiderate people can be when we’re trying to teach them to be kind.
— 4 —
Have you heard of The Little Couple? I hadn’t, but I know nothing about TV. When I heard that the couple recently adopted a 3-year-old boy from China, my ears perked up. Then yesterday I saw their family photo, and I recognized their son! I remember seeing his Chinese foster home post his photos on Facebook. That couldn’t be because I’m following too many Chinese adoption-related groups, could it? Of course, this particular child always seemed to be packed with personality.
— 5 —
Let’s say you were planning a day trip to colonial Williamsburg to meet a family you hadn’t seen since 2011 in China. And let’s say you’d have five children age 6 and under. What would you do? Where would you go? How many pictures would you take?
— 6 —
If we ever go back to China and stay in the White Swan Hotel, we’ll have to get a new white swan. The hotel used to be the standard place adoptive families would stay during their time in Guangzhou, where the U.S. Consulate is, and we stayed there on our trip to adopt Leo. I believe in packing very little and bringing cheap toys you could leave behind. I bought inflatable swim toys—they are really reasonable in November—to blow up and enjoy in the hotel room—including a large swan.
We got our money’s worth. And my master-packer husband folded that swan up and carefully brought it home. We’ve had it for more than three years, and he has supported 70 pounds of weight as the boys scooted around on it. It finally popped last weekend. Fortunately we have plenty of photos of it, including this one of the White Swan in Leo’s crib at the White Swan Hotel.
As I recall, the swan used Leo’s crib there more than he did.

— 7 —
On Monday Leo told me that two of his classmates’ moms sent notes in their lunches every day, and would I please send a note in his lunchbox? Now, I can barely find my way around Pinterest, but even I can pull off a lunchbox note.
Since I wanted to write notes for both boys, and Daniel is not interested in his ABCs, I thought I would draw them each a picture, too.
Then this morning one of Leo’s teachers stopped me to tell me about some beautiful spring drawing he had created, and she commented on “your artistry.” I laughed, completely baffled, and not knowing what she was referring to.
Then she mentioned the notes, and I was shocked. I had imagined Leo looking at his note discreetly while eating his apple slices. As it turns out, the teacher is passing them around, and everyone in the class is marveling at my…er…artistry.
Suddenly I feel more self-conscious than Leo felt while playing the triangle in his spring concert last week. Well…maybe not that self-conscious since he told us not to look at him and he barely moved his lips to sing. But I may have to kick it up a notch if I’m still doing this when he’s in high school.
Read more quick takes at Jen’s blog.

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