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Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Matter of Perspective

I get out the lamb roast I've been saving for the Christmas season. We like to commemorate Christ's birth by eating Middle Eastern food. As I start to carve it up, John runs into the kitchen. "I wanna hep you!" he shouts, and pushes a chair up to the counter (ignoring the stool that waits to be used). He studies the meat. "Is that a tokey?" No, it's a lamb. He brightens. "Oh! A wam-tokey. Can I eat the bwain?"
     Ruth bounces in. "Can I have some oranges?" she asks, grinning affably. Sure! I've got a whole case. She gets two oranges and promptly throws them onto the tile floor. I jump and look at her with concern. "This helps them be juicier, right?" The light goes on and I'm transported 12 years back, to one of endless bleary mornings when I was awakened by a little blond head bobbing by my bed, tugging on my covers and stating in a high, cute voice, "A't ojie juice." Ruth throws and squeezes the oranges until they split, then rips them in half and juices them. At least she can get her own ojie juice now.
     Rachel appears, smiling proudly. On her head is an owl hat--all the rage now but far too expensive to buy. She made the pattern and after only two tries has succeeded in creating her own, for FREE! I compliment her, then ask how my craft room looks now that she's done with it. She looks chagrined and goes back downstairs. Even though she's nearly 15, I know I'll still have to clean up after she cleans up. Sigh!
     The house shakes and a BOOM echoes from the living room. Blake!!! I yell, No backflips in the living room! He grudgingly goes down into the family room. After a while his head pops up over the stair ledge. "Mom! Come see what I learned how to do from YouTube!" Oh, boy. Maybe we should block YouTube after all. I go downstairs and he runs up the wall and flips backward, sticking the landing. I clap, smiling despite my horror, and tell him to please use cushions next time. I decide we need to find some good used tumbling mats before he breaks his head open.
     I head upstairs and find James on his way down. He turns and smiles up at me, his lopsided teeth showing. I chase him back up and he squeals, trying to get away, then turning to make sure I'm still following. At the top of the stairs, he grabs onto my pantleg and stands up, then won't let go. So I slowly make my way to my room, James toddling along beside me. He finally lets go as I settle into my chair to check e-mail. I am quickly absorbed until I hear a splash from my bathroom. James has unrolled most of the toilet paper and is now happily splashing one hand in the toilet, the toilet brush in the other.
     I clean the baby up and set him toddling down the hall, then stop in surprise at Brigham's room. He is sitting in the middle of an explosion of clothes, toys, and junk, obliviously playing with action figures. I pointedly close all three of his dresser drawers, and try to draw his attention to the mess. He sighs and half-heartedly puts a stuffed animal on his bed. I quickly outline a bedroom-cleaning game plan, then run to head off James at the hall bathroom. Twenty minutes later I look up from whatever caught my attention and remember Brigham. Sure enough, he is still playing in the middle of his explosion. We play this game a few more times before I resignedly plop down in the middle of the mess and tell him point by point what to do. After about ten minutes he gets the vision and I can stop threatening to throw stuff away if he doesn't start cleaning.
   A wonderful smell brings me into the kitchen. Rachel and Ruth are cooking. Rachel has just finished an omelette and Ruth is working on a new recipe. She asks my advice on a few ingredients, then gives me a taste: quite good! "We should open a restaurant together, mom." I smile, but I tell her she should probably just open it on her own. I'm definitely not organized enough to handle a restaurant!
     Joe walks in from the garage and sets his lunchpail down by the fridge. James toddles up to him and looks up expectantly. Joe picks him up and James tries to poke his finger into Joe's mouth. I get a kiss and then start to make a salad to go with Ruth's pasta creation. Soon, I notice that Joe is making a sandwich. I cock an eyebrow at him and motion to my preparations. He stops, sandwich mid-bite, and says, "I didn't take a lunchbreak today. Don't worry, I'll still eat dinner."
     When I lay my head down on my pillow, I wonder if anything productive happened today. But before I can second-guess myself into discouragement, I try to count my blessings: 6 healthy kids who are creative and imaginative; a loving husband with a good job; a comfortable home and plenty of stuff to make a mess.
     Everything seems to be right with our picture.