I figure the first thing to do is to introduce you to the gang, because otherwise you’ll never keep them all straight.
Jane is close enough to eleven that I may as well just go ahead and call her eleven, which will please her immensely. She is passionate about butterflies, math, and Redwall. What are there, like two dozen Redwall books now? And I have promised to read them all. Oh help. For every holiday, including this Mother’s Day just past which was also my 12th wedding anniversary, she makes me a coupon offering her toddler-entertainment services for X amount of time while I read a Redwall book. I keep waiting for the “while you read A. S. Byatt” coupon but I guess I have forty-seven Redwall books to get through first. By which point I will probably be out of toddlers and won’t NEED to redeem any coupons in order to read.
Next is Rose, who will turn eight this summer. Rose is not her real name; all these names are aliases; but Rose is delicate and beautiful and she has thorns. Wicked scary thorns, so watch out. And yet: she is the gentlest of my bunch, when she wishes. She has an amazing way with animals such as dogs and babies. Her ambition in life is to ride horses and/or dolphins. Also to go to Mt. Olympus. Possibly she will travel to Greece via dolphin and go up the mountain on horseback. Big Greek myth fan, is Rose. She made me—I am not making this up—start teaching her ancient Greek. I don’t know ancient Greek but that’s what the internet is for.
Beanie is five. If I combed her hair she would look like Shirley Temple, but since I seldom do (she does it herself) she usually sports a Barbra-Streisand-in-The-Way-We-Were ‘do. Sometimes she wears a hairband and she always puts it on wrong so that it goes around her head like an 80s’ sweatband, and then she looks like John McEnroe. Either way, she’s cute. And energetic. She named her bike Zap, because it’s zappy. She is her father’s little jukebox and can frequently be overheard humming Beatles songs to herself while zapping around on Zap. She also thinks “sum, esse, fui; I am, to be, I was” is one of the funniest lines in the history of Western civilization. (“Sum esse PHOOEY, get it, Mommy, PHOOEY!”)
Then comes Wonderboy, who turned two last winter. We call him Wonderboy because that Tenacious D video cracks us up. Oh, right, and also because he has shown incredible strength through trial after trial. He was the baby I DIDN’T have an ultrasound for, and surprise! He was born with a little bit of intestine hanging out in his umbilical cord. This, in case you’re wondering, is Not Good. A scarily efficient transport team packed him into a van and drove him off to another hospital practically before I delivered the placenta. He had surgery for that and then some other surgeries later, and various doctors kept finding more stuff wrong with him, including surprise! He is hard of hearing. He has the cutest little blue hearing aids, which means, yes, my two-year-old walks around with five thousand dollars worth of technology stuck on his head. Seven thousand if you include the FM system. And no, health insurance didn’t cover it. Yes, I am terrified of storm drains and slobbery dogs.
The baby was born right before Easter, which makes her six weeks old now. If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan then you will know why her blog name is Rilla. I have no stories about Rilla yet. So far she is pretty much an accessory. Babies are the new black, you know.
Letters from Thailand: the Second
The Art of the Warm Welcome