I made this little map of Janderhil a few weeks ago. If you’ll notice the crinkle in the lower right corner, you’ll see where Clive left his mark while perusing the map. It’s not too big of a deal, since things have changed on the property and I have to make a new map, anyway. I have to add Fairweather Pond (or the place where Fairweather Pond appears after rainstorms), I have to move the blueberry bushes (they’re not in that trough anymore), and I have to add the trees we’ve planted.
Dedicated to Anselm Ioan
Who is Two-Years-Old
It was a half-past four when Elvie woke this morning, grumbling and complaining after having flipped herself over to her back (she hates that, but won’t stop doing it.) I turned on the lamp against the darkness and went to get her from her crib. It seems early, but it’s only half an hour earlier than when I want her to get up and not so early to feed her and put her back to bed.
I sat cross-legged on my bed while I fed her, and once my eyes stopped closing of their own accord, I picked up the devotional that was sitting on the bedside table. It was by Charles Spurgeon and part of a two-book set, one book having readings for morning and the other having readings for evening. And before I sound too holy, let me say that this was the evening book I was about to read, and I did so because I hadn’t been keeping up with reading the evenings ones, and I also wasn’t exactly sure where the morning book was... But I’m trying not to look at my phone first thing in the morning, and the devotional was available, so I picked it up and turned to the entry for today. Well, for this evening, anyway.
(with apologies to Kipling)
Long ago, O Mostly Liked, or maybe last weekend, there was a mother who lived on a hill called Janderhil. And she had four little children that she called her own: Ephraim Eldest, Clive Contrary, the pretty baby Elvie Kate, who smiled and sang but didn’t say much, and Anselm. And all morning and all evening the children played out-of-doors, except of course the pretty baby Elvie Kate, who smiled and sang but didn’t say much, as she couldn’t get around on her own just yet. She stayed in-of-doors with her Mother, but the other three played and frolicked out-of-doors until the sun set and the fireflies came out.
And it was one day after dinner, which was scrumptious and nutritious, that the Mother went out-of-doors herself, because Elvie Kate (who smiled and sang but didn’t say much) was already asleep for the night, and because she had some work to do in the flower-beds. And she called Ephraim Eldest to herself, and said:
When I first read about slow living–or began seriously overthinking it, truthfully–there was one aspect of the lifestyle that I couldn’t reconcile with my life as a full-time homemaker and mother-of-four. It was the question of where routines and schedules fit in with the concept. In eschewing “busyness”, was slow living attempting to throw off living by a clock? How so? And how much? And was that really possible?
If you have small children at home, you know how quickly things can devolve into disorder if there is not something–or someone–uniting all things in a common purpose and steering everyone’s attention toward that end. Without that anchor, my children (or, really, the three that can move independently) are like ships tossed on the waves of whatever their whims are at the moment, and I am reduced to herding and chasing and nagging and then yelling to get everyone back together. And it always takes longer in the gathering than the scattering.
It has to be said that there really are times that they should be able to pursue their own interests and let their feet run off to wherever their minds will–that’s what our copious amount of time for outdoor play is for, really. But times when it’s time to eat, or sleep, or brush teeth, or whatever things have to be done because they must be done? What then?
Miss Elvie Kate turned two months yesterday.
She’s quite the little thing, captivating her brothers and wowing strangers at the grocery store with her astonishing collection of head wraps. Incidentally, I’m awfully glad we have those wraps and head contraptions since she has very little hair to speak of, which I knew would be the case should we ever have a baby girl. The boys all had hair in spades, and I had to cut it again and again and again. And now here’s someone whose hair I don’t have to cut, but she doesn’t have any…! Life isn’t fair.
For starters, thanks so much to those who have sent messages and comments expressing thanks for these honest updates. It is always so encouraging to know people read and appreciate–thank you!
I felt a little badly last week while writing that the week had been easy. Not that I minded having an easy week, but I didn’t think it would be very interesting or helpful. “This week was great!” Um, the end…? Well, this past week has made up for it. So enjoy! 😉
here we go again
When our second son Clive was just eleven months old, we discovered we were pregnant again.
I had spent the last ten months working my house like a well-oiled machine; Clive kept us all ticking along to a very predictable routine. I had just gotten my cycle back when I realized I was late that next month–I took a test on a whim, in the middle of the night, at my in-laws’ house while we were on vacation. After the test turned positive, I was absolutely unable to get back to sleep. Looking back, I probably should have taken the opportunity to rest, but you never really can when you need to, can you?