Well, we’re beginning to catch our breath here after the whirlwind of the last few weeks. Not that the whirlwind is over, since there’s still the whole sell-the-house-pack-the-house-move- cross-country thing ahead of us. But now that the house is on the market, we’re settling into a new rhythm of cleaning and waiting, and I’m finding that it’s really quite a mellow rhythm after the frenzy of the past two weeks.
Rhythm is good. Lesley Austin has some lovely thoughts on that subject this morning. (I love her idea of making cards with the kids’ daily chores on them—Jane oohed and ahhed over her examples.) During times of upheaval like this, pegs become even more useful and atmosphere more important than ever. I am leaning heavily on our pegs these days: poetry with meals to keep them from being rushed and cursory; singing (very loud; seldom very good) with housework to make the work merry; and the all-important bedtime read-aloud to keep things cozy while the hurricane roars.
For a while there, we had cast aside all read-alouds. It was
comforting, last night, to start a new one. I went with something light
and easy: James and the Giant Peach. Jane has read it before
but doesn’t mind listening in, and neither of the other girls has ever
heard it. Beanie was appalled by the first chapter’s breezy depiction
of the grisly demise of James’s parents, but the satisfyingly
ridiculous names of Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker reconciled her to the
tone of the book. I always remember that Jim Trelease (he of The Read-Aloud Handbook fame) calls James and the Giant Peach the best read-aloud ever, and while I don’t agree with him (I’d put By the Great Horn Spoon and Understood Betsy above it, to name two), it does fit the bill when you want something fast-paced and funny.
One thing my pegs are not helping me with at all is email. I have over a hundred emails piled up and waiting for answers. If yours is one of them, forgive me! (But don’t stop writing…I can read mail, just can’t find the time with both hands free to answer it!)
E. B. White Essays
Comics Make You Smart
Jan Brett Is the Coolest
High Roads, Low Roads, and Very Long Roads