Thursday, October 08, 2009


Alouicious' stitches come out tomorrow, about the same time that I'm supposed to be having an ultrasound. He's barely noticed them all week, except that there's a little bit of string or thread sticking out that he can see if he looks down cross-eyed. Every now and then he's banged his nose while crashing around the house (it doesn't matter how many times I say 'Please slow down! Please be careful of your nose!) and been very unhappy about it. I don't know how to stop them from their evening lap--running crazily around and around the living/dining/kitchen over and over and shouting while supper is being made. Last night I tried closing doors and putting up gates but that caused a large amount of banging on the door and shouting.

I'm not complaining. It just takes psychological work to have boys (and a baby toddler girl who's as hyped up as a boy). My natural instinct is to always to achieve quiet. 'Please be quiet', 'please lower your voice', 'please stop hewing and smiting'--these words are always on my lips and in my heart.

The trouble is that I don't really know where they're coming from. 'Imagine that our family was a fire dragon' Alouicious just whispered into my ear.
'Ok,' I said, 'but I'm not really awake yet, and I don't know really know what a fire dragon is.'
He seemed disappointed, like surely his own mother should know what a fire dragon is. I've never, in a thousand days, even considered the existence of a fire dragon. In my haze filled memory I think I pretended a lot that my parents had had more children and I had siblings. And sometimes I would stand in the yard, looking up at the sky and pretend that visitors were coming that day and we needed to bake a cake. Surely I imagined other things, but I can't remember any of them.

The imagining of my boys is so beyond a cake for visitors.
'Are you the princess?' Romulus will ask his sister. 'I have a sword. I will save you.'
'I guess I can be a princess,' Elphine will concede, 'Don't step on my dress.'
Then he will run around wildly shouting 'Princess! Come here princess. I am saving you,' cape flapping behind him.
'Please lower your voice,' I whisper to myself. But less and less out loud. Maybe some day he'll really save something, and it would be terrible if he did it so quietly that I missed it.


badman said...

This is a very good piece. Thank you!

Have you ever read Mrs Miniver? I don't mean the film, but the original newspaper pieces which were gathered into a book, on which the film was loosely based. I think you would like them. Out of print now, but there are second hand copies. They are about a wife and mother struggling, valiantly and wittily, with the day to day.

The writer was "Jan Struther", a pseudonym for J Anstruther, who was also a well known hymn writer.

Anne Kennedy said...

I do indeed. I have a fine old copy that I generally read once a year (this year will be as soon as I dig it out of some box or other).

badman said... says more about the book:

"Shortly before the Second World War, a column by 'Mrs Miniver' appeared in THE TIMES, the first of many recounting the everyday events of a middle-class Chelsea family: Mrs Miniver's thrill at the sight of October chrysanthemums; her sense of doom when the faithful but rackety car is replaced; the escapades of Vin, Toby and Judy, her unpredictable young children; visits to the Kent cottage and, as war becomes a reality, the strange experience of acquiring gas masks and the cameraderie of those unsettling early days. Mrs Miniver enchanted the public with her sympathy and affectionate humour, capturing ordinary lives and values now darkened by war. First published in book form in 1939 and later an enormously successful film, MRS MINIVER became a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic -- with Churchill exclaiming that it had done more for the Allied cause than a flotilla of battleships.

'Mrs Miniver, you feel, could rule the world' VALERIE GROVE"|&ref=e2007031914544584 gives a short pen portrait of the author.


badman said...

Sorry to cross post.

If I'd read yours first I would only have said:

Oh - good!

R said...

Haha- I do wonder what I'm going to do if we have a boy. Although I have imagined the existence of a fire dragon, it was largely with the intent of keeping him as a pet.

I think boys in England have to be especially quiet for fear of upsetting the neighbours. Luckily for us, ours have young children, but I so rarely hear them that I worry. I still have a very American attitude towards noise, I'm afraid.


Anonymous said...

And I LOVE those people that say that boys and girls are the same if we would just allow them to "play" the same. I have 2 boys and 3 girls, and they have NEVER played the same...even with the same thing at their disposal. And I am beginning to realize that those that told me that my girls would be more difficult to raise were lying to me...:o)
Laura from FL

Anonymous said...

Your last line is especially wonderful. I have finally figured out, now that our son is approaching his 20th year, that he is frequently saving things quietly, and I may not notice. But he is hoping I will. His specialty seems to be birds: at age 6 he found a wounded honey-eater (small Australian sparrow-like bird) as we walked on the sidewalk on our street, and it had to be brought home and ensconced in a shoebox. When poor little 'Tilly' (short for Attila the Honey-eater, of course) succumbed after 24 hours or so we buried him/her ceremoniously in the garden with a marker stone. As a high school student and older he has several times saved or guarded mother ducks and their duckling trains threatened by neighborhood traffic - he loves to tell of the day in about Year 9 when he and several schoolmates held up traffic at the roundabout next to their campus while a duck family safely finished crossing that busy intersection. Much as he loves to let his little female cat roam, he now will keep her in until the eggs that a silvereye is sitting on, 6 feet from our kitchen window, are hatched and the young birds can fly. I'm thankful I began to notice these quiet saving acts and was able to reinforce their rightness for him, in a world that would like to coarsen and dull his sensibilities to other living creatures.
The 'Dangerous Book for Boys', or something like that is, however, also a good resource.