Archive for December 30th, 2005

Seven Belly Laughs

December 30, 2005 @ 9:27 am | Filed under:

…and that’s in Chapter 1 alone. I’m reading Jeanne Birdsall’s The Penderwicks to the girls. They—we, I should say—connected to the characters so instantly, from the very first page, that it’s hard to believe we only just met them. Jane seemed to find the connection so emotionally charged that she spent half the chapter with a blanket over her head, needing a refuge, I presume, in which to absorb the shock of having encountered a girl so apparently like her own self in the pages of this book. (The ten-year-old sister is named—guess what—Jane, and, like my ten-year-old Jane, is a dreamy sort of girl who likes to write stories.) Rose grinned wickedly over the barbed remarks of wisecracking Skye, and Beanie could not be restrained from leaping to her feet and echoing every line uttered by four-year-old Batty—who, like our Bean, prefers to spend her time wearing a pair of silken butterfly wings.

I understand Jane’s reaction—I’m a little goosebumped myself. We know these girls. How exciting to know our friendship is only just beginning! I can’t wait for Chapter 2.

I Guess I’ll Have to Wait for the Meaning of Life to Be Revealed Another Time

December 30, 2005 @ 2:26 am | Filed under: ,

Beanie stayed awake past ten the other night, long after the lights had been turned out, her sisters had fallen asleep, and even the story tape the girls were listening to had wound to its satisfying end and clicked off. I know this because she got out of bed and padded downstairs to tell us she couldn’t sleep. I followed her back up to the girls’ room and climbed into bed beside Beanie, because she is not quite five years old and the days when she won’t need mommy to snuggle with her are not so very far away.

She poured herself into the curve shaped by my arms and my swelling stomach, and we lay there a while in the dark, listening to the soft breathing of her two older sisters, while her newest sister, the one who’ll be born in April, bump-bump-bumped little taps against Beanie’s back. Bean sighed, the kind of long, happy, exaggerated sigh you only ever hear a child make. This is very good, that sigh was saying.

Then, into the hush, Beanie whispered a question. A dark room, late at night, cuddled up with your mother: it was exactly the sort of moment that brings out the philosopher in a child, and when she began to speak, I waited for the deep, probing question that was bound to come.

"Mommy," she murmured, "did you know that ducks never get wet? Because they have waterproof feathers!"

Um, no. No, I don’t think I did know that. Well, there you go.

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