Thursday, November 11, 2004

Eight Is Definitely Enough

Remember this show that ran from 1977 to 1981? Well, me neither, because I wasn't really watching much television in those days, but I did manage to see enough of that show to wonder why those kids all looked so dissimilar. And boy, I wished I had that long sheet of butt-length hair that one of the daughters had. In my youth, long hair was everything. I dreamed of long hair and then Farrah came along and I was all about wings. But Eight is Enough.

What brings this to mind today, you ask? This afternoon, I did a head-count and found that eight certainly is enough. DaycareKid didn't even come today, yet I managed to spend an afternoon with eight children in my house. And eight is enough.

I feel like a terrible American citizen and schooling-at-home mother because not only did I not observe Veteran's Day, I only gave it passing thought--once when I thought what a terrible American citizen I am and then again when I realized there would be no mail delivery today. It's awfully strange not to have school on a Thursday and then send the kids back to school on Friday.

My twins were peeved that I expected them to do lessons today. But since we lost our internet connection earlier this week, they fell a little behind. I really had no choice but to make them do school. They'll thank me when they are grown. Or not.

Despite the siren song of The Secret Life of Bees (which I heartily recommend and, yes, Beth, the library should have it), I rose above and beyond my usual standard of mediocrity (keeping the kids alive, basically) and cleaned up the backyard, even mowing the lawn and gathering trash and sweeping up giant piles of Douglas fir needles. The trees are in our neighbor's yard and dump an endless, prickly supply of rusty needles. The visiting twins came outside and I said, "Hey, what are your plans?" and they blinked and said, "We're going to work on the moat." I said, "Fine, but no water, okay?"

So, they continued to dig near the back fence. They have quite a tributary system happening there.

I did not paint.
I did not do much laundry.

Tonight, I sat in Babygirl's room and while she watched her Barney video, I read by the light of a small book-light. She sat on her knees right in front of the small television with its built-in VCR, mesmerized. She asked for a banana. Finished that and asked for an apple. Then, she turned around and said, "I dance?" I said, "Sure, you can dance."

First, she held onto the wire television stand as if it were a ballet barre, and danced. Then she swung her arms and did a little step from side to side. The room was dark, lit only by the television and my book-light, so her silhouette glowed with the flickering light of Barney. I looked up from my book and saw her sparse blond hair forming a halo around her bobbing head and the image brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. She looked around to see if I were watching, then danced on.

I know she won't dance to Barney forever, but I hope she'll always have moments when she can only respond by jumping to her feet and swaying to the music. And I hope I won't be too busy to notice.


Blogger Beth said...

Ah yes, the simple pleasures of the young. For my young baby girl, it's Blues clues. I've tried to introduce her to other videos, but she starts crying and yelling "Blues clues!"

6:43 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

A moat without water? What are you thinking? ;)

My kids are not back to school today. They planned it to be some sort of teacher inservice so the kids could have a long weekend. I like it when they think to plan that way...

9:05 AM  
Blogger Marisa said...

That's awfully sweet.

4:34 PM  
Blogger Robin said...

How sweet! When Lillianna was very young, maybe 2 or 3 years old, she came over to me while I was doing the bills and asked if I would dance with her. Of course I was so busy my first impulse was to say, "not right now" which is what I did. As soon as I said that she put her head down and walked away. It was in that instant that I realized I should never be too tired to dance with my precious daughter. I called her back in and we danced and danced and danced and we laughed and hugged. It was lovely and just what we both needed.
Now when she asks I immediately jump up and dance with her!!!

8:42 PM  
Blogger QQ said...

Geez...that last paragraph was sweet. Tears are forming....:::sniff sniff:::

10:32 AM  

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