Me, happening upon a small boy industriously wielding a feather duster on the bookcases: “Wow! Thank you!”
Huck, a certain gleam in his eye: “I need lots of dust so I can shake it in Rilla’s face.”
Huck, oh so casually: “Mom, I like it better when you leave the bag of marshmallows on the counter after you make lunch. Not for any reason. I just like it. FOR NO REASON.”
“But the bag said ‘Complete set’!” —child with Sharpie about to write letters on blank Scrabble tiles.
In my house this morning: a breadcrumb trail of Angry Birds playing cards leading from my bedroom, down the hall, through the kitchen, through the patio room, to the wide-open sliding door.
Me: “It’s freezing in here!”
Huck: “That’s what the trail is for. To show you what a cold day it is.”
Scott: “What’s with all the hand gestures?”
Huck: “I’m silent-beatboxing.”
Huck: “Mommy, be prepared for me to shout, ‘It’s Christmas, it’s Christmas, woohoo!’ tomorrow morning. It will probably startle you.”
Rilla, standing in front of the coat closet: “I’m looking for Jane’s old coat with flowers on it.”
My mother, pulling out the flowered coat directly in front of Rilla’s face: “You mean this one?”
Rilla: “No, Mom said it was an aqua background. That’s seafoam.”
Huck (returning home from a playdate): Can I add something to my wish list? Two shields, a sword and a cotton ball.
Me: …A cotton ball?
Huck: You know, the little white round puffy kind?
Me: Okay, so a regular cotton ball. I’m just curious, what’s it for?
Huck: Well, it could be two shields and TWO swords. But Parker only has one sword, so he let me use it, and he had a cotton ball that he threw at me and I deflected it with my shield EVERY TIME.
Whew! We moved Jane back up to college over the weekend and then, back here at home, got to spend an extra day visiting with my parents, who had come to stay with the rest of the gang while we were away. And then it was hustle-like-crazy to catch up from being gone. Which is to say, business as usual.
It’s too late in the day for a nice coherent post, but I wanted to toss down some stories I’ll otherwise forget. Huckisms, mostly…he’s been on a roll. Tonight he wanted me to take dictation for his Christmas list—no moss growing on this kid. I dutifully wrote down his three longed-for items and he leaned over the page, frowning anxiously at my cursive. “What if Santa doesn’t know this fancy writing?”
This morning I read aloud from Child’s History of the World—our tried-and-true first history book for the younger set. Today’s chapter was about Sparta and Athens (mainly Sparta, with a thorough description of what a young Spartan boy’s life might have been like). Huck listened intently to the plight of Spartan seven-year-olds—an age only months around the corner from him—and had lots of interjections to make along the way.
After the chapter, I asked him to narrate in the casual way I generally begin with around age six or seven. Not casual enough. He instantly froze up. My kids have been about half and half with narration: three of them taking to it like ducks to water, and three feeling shy and put on the spot. Huck is one of the latter. He actually ran out of the room and had to be coaxed back by a big sister. I cuddled him into my lap and told him not to worry, it wasn’t a test, I was just curious to know if anything in the story jumped out at him.
Huck, scowling: No.
Me: Do you wish you were a Spartan boy?
Huck, galvanized: No! Because they had to leave their moms when they turned seven, and—
—and he was off, chattering away for a good five or six minutes about all the details in the chapter. This is the way it normally works with my reluctant narrators, and I smiled secretly into the top of his sweaty little head.
Suddenly, mid-sentence, he broke off and reared back to look at me, laughing. “Hey! You tricked me! I just told you all about it!”
We all melted with giggles. He was so honestly amused. All the rest of the day I was cracking up over the shocked, almost admiring tone of his “HEY!”
The other thing that happened this week is that Rilla invented a board game. It’s called “Elemental Escape” and involves players representing Fire, Water, and Electricity (twist!) racing to the finish on a track filled with monsters. She drew a game board and mounted it on cardboard, and the game pieces are all Legos. Pretty fantastic.