It was easy to pick a title today. In general, I hate picking titles. The only thing I ever had a good title for was my MFA thesis, and that was a translation of someone else's phrase. I like Kyrie's blog, with the date titles. In fact, I like everything about her blog. It is so clean and beautiful and helpful and inspiring and there are no sponsors or ads. She's a guest on habit this month and her post today gave me a belly laugh. On the subject of pockets, I have been thinking about inventing a sort of mother's field vest. You know, something maybe vaguely attractive, with a thousand pockets. And since the focus of this post is already spiraling out of control, that puts me in mind of Maud, the heroine of Uncle Silas, whose old-fashioned dresses afford her plenty of secret and crucial pockets. Wow. I didn't really mean to say any of that. But since I did, you should read Kyrie's blog, habit, and Uncle Silas. Uncle Silas is brilliant, delicious, thrilling. The French governess--oh! Chills up my spine. You're really missing something if you haven't read it. You may find yourself holding your breath. You may also find yourself yearning for a parlor whose panels are painted black, or old-fashioned dresses with many pockets. You'll almost certainly put the kettle on.
ANYWAY, yesterday was full of small pleasures. We took it easy, and recovered our spirits and health. Jane had been quite sick for the last 48 hours (much better now). She's so seldom sick, it always gives us a shock. When she woke up from her afternoon nap (which she almost never takes now) with a fever I was thrilled I had some acetaminophen in the house that hadn't been recalled. I couldn't find the thermometer. Then I couldn't find the acetaminophen, which had just been in my hand. Frazzled. We got her to bed; she was up 45 minutes later. When I finally got her down again, after much rocking and singing and worrying, I realized how unprepared I was for the long night ahead. For illness in our home in general. At the risk of waking her, I dug out the sleeping bag and put it in her room, along with my water bottle and phone. As if I'd never been there before, I was surprised to find there was not table in her room for medicine, etc. I shook my head at the creaking, high-backed, narrow-armed wooden chair where I'd just been rocking her, and vowed for the zillionth time since her birth that I would never have a baby again without a proper chair. I filled the humidifier, managed to get it plugged in, and finally woke her when I opened it up again to add the salt. It was indeed a long night, but my preparations helped get us through it. She got better pretty quickly, but the event left me with the feeling that I've missed something in caring for our home. When I nested for her, I did my best to outfit her tiny room to suit our needs. Of course, I had no idea what I was getting into (who does?) and as it turned out, other arrangements better helped us survive the newborn months. I have all sorts of ideas about how I would do things another time. But in the here and now, she's still a toddler, not even a kid yet, really. And some new nesting is in order. I'll be pulling together a healing basket, like this (Amanda Soule has one in Handmade Home as well), and making other changes to Jane's room soon. Nesting, nesting. On the brain.
We had a lovely recovery day, as I mentioned. Full of small pleasures--greater than the sum of its parts. With brownies--I had a MAD craving--and lots of coffee. With a long hot shower with some heavenly soap my mother-in-law brought. (I always want to call her Mom. But it seems like it would be confusing. A tradition fallen into disuse? I've starting thinking of her as my Other Mother. Hi Other Mother. I know you're reading this. Love you.) It's French. It's smooth and heavy. It smells so pure and clean. The wrapper was crinkly and delicate. Like a Christmas stocking--almost as good as what's in it.
We did a lot of drawing. Or rather, I did. "Draw paper," Jane commands. Then she rattles off all the things I should draw. "Draw cat. Draw piggy. Draw fishy. Fishy eat stars." She also experimented with the two-crayon method, all by herself. And pointillism. She chooses a consistent a pleasing color palate. I'll take some photos to show you.At the end of the day we put on The Wrong Trousers. Okay, before anyone emails me or judges me, let me say I KNOW children under the age of two aren't supposed to watch television. I don't really have any excuses. But you ought to know that all she watches is Kipper, Wallace & Gromit, and the Sesame Street 25th Anniversary Sing-along. We may be bad parents. But we're not terrible parents. She's not watching Jerry Springer, or Full Metal Jacket, or QVC. As a result of this visual diet, Jane has now acquired a few adorable, semi-useless Britishisms. "Ready....stebby...GO!" and "Troushers, Gromit!" [trousers] among them. She now also says "Oh deee-ah!" like Wallace. And the other day she said to her bear, "Come on Gizzy, watch Gromit!" We may be killing her brain cells, but she clearly has extra. Well, I had just moved the table and chair set I had when I was a little girl downstairs. She was so smitten. She insisted on sitting on one of the chairs to watch Wallace and Gromit eat "cheece" and catch the "pingoo."
It's hard to believe a year ago, this walking, talking, laughing, chair-sitting girl was scrambling and drooling on this same rug.
A reminder of how chock full life is of simple pleasures. What we eat and drink, the world around us, the people we love. And hell, even the idiot box holds delight (I've got a Poirot lined up for tonight). A reminder too of how fast it all speeds by us. I want to hold on, today, to the small pleasures. To live the day as much as I can.
Tomorrow, she may be eighteen.