Sophiapea is sprouting quite the vocabulary these days. New words crop up nearly every day. Granted, some of them probably make sense only in context, or based on the fact that I am becoming more adept at reading between the lines of toddler-ish. She tries to say everything.
“Sophia, do you see the car?”
“Carck! Carck! Carck!”
“Do you want to swing, Sofi?”
“Do you like the puppy?”
She listens to everything, absorbs everything, and is turning into quite the little copycat, when it comes down to it. The only word she absolutely WILL. NOT. SAY. (Believe me, I’ve been trying to get her to say it for MONTHS now) is that ever-precious, sought-after, “Mama.” She says “Daddy”, though she’s pretty coy about it, but she flat out refuses to say “Mama”. I don’t get it. I know she could, if she wanted to… heck, at this point, I’d settle for just about anything that she would say consistently for “Mama” . Did I mention she has also learned the word “No”? Or “Doe”, as she likes to say. Allow me to share with you one of these heartwarming conversations, which are usually between my Superman, Sophiapea, and me, or sometimes just Sophiapea and me.
Superman: “Sophia, say Daddy.”
Sophiapea (grinning wildly): “Doe”
Me: “How about Mommy, Sofi? Will you say Mommy?”
Superman: “Come on, Sofi, say Daddy, just once.”
This exact exchange continues for a few minutes before Sophia, practically giggling, finally says “Dad-dee”. After laughter and kisses all round, all attention is focused on the “M-word”
Superman: “Sophia, say mommy now. Mom–mee.”
Me: “Come on, Sophia! Say Mommy!”
The difference in this latter exchange is that it will continue on… and on… and on… with Sophia only ever saying “doe”, giggling profusely, and giving me kisses. I kid you not. Oh, she knows what she’s doing! She knows that after day-in and day-out of being at her beck-and-call, official-reader-of-books, sometimes official reader of ONE book, over and over, bringer of drinks, decipherer of toddler-ish (not as simple as you might think, given the few conversations I’ve transcribed for you here), maker of snacks, cleaner of diapers, cleaner of all the messes she constantly makes, and after ALL of the work that goes into being a stay-at-home mom, she knows that I would just really like to hear her say Mama. And for some diabolical reason hitherto unknown to me, she refuses. I think I give up. Maybe the one that’s baking right now will like me more…
Okay, that’s a lie. I’m not giving up. She WILL say it, sooner or later. Probably later, but I’m sure she will turn into a child who shouts, “MOMMY, MOMMY, MOMMY! MOOOOOOOMMMY!” from across the house, and when I go running, looks up at me innocently and says “I dropped my crayon.”
That will come. She might be 12, but I’m sure it will happen. Until then, if the little rat says “grandpa” or “grandma” or any of her aunts and uncles names when we’re back visiting Kentucky in a few weeks, I will probably have a meltdown. Not just any meltdown. A crazy, psycho, pregnant-lady meltdown, induced by the cruelty of a toddler for whom I endured childbirth, would sacrifice anything, and do everything for, and helped along by the crazy hormones that result from trying to bake another of these sweet, diabolical beasts.
I like to think that since I’m here all the time–for morning snuggles, sticky oatmeal kisses, drinks, and can’t-find-the-teddybear tragedies–she just doesn’t realize there’s a name for what I am.
Then again, maybe she thinks my name is “dreeeee”
(“drink” in toddler-ish)
I’ve been so quiet in the blogosphere lately… life has been busy, and even now we’re in the process of moving, but I’m taking a little time out both for stress-relief and to get the creative brainpower flowing hopefully before we begin our next few weeks of not having a house or any of our normal entertainment outlets. What better time for writing, eh?
Homemaker Monday is a blog linkup hosted by Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.
The weather… IS HOT. I don’t remember our other summers in Hawaii being so humid and muggy, but this one is. High 80′s and humid all week. We are definitely looking forward to the respite of cooler weather in Washington where we will be next week (!!!)
Right now I am… in the middle of scouring the kitchen. It’s the last “to-do” on our cleaning checklist, besides weed wacking the mini-yard, but I sat down to eat lunch, read some blogs, and decided it probably wouldn’t kill me to take a 15 minute writing break.
Thinking… There are still so many little loose ends laying around the house. We have to get rid of the paint/aerosols that the movers wouldn’t pack, clean out the fridge (ugh), put a screen protector back on the front door, pick up and get rid of all of our cleaning supplies… how can it look like so much and so little to do all at once???
On my reading pile… not that I have much time for reading, but I do have two books from the library that I would ideally like to finish before we move out on Wednesday. All bets are off on whether I actually will. I have:
NOS4A2 by Joe Hill and A Brief History of Montmaray by Michelle Cooper. After I leave them at the library on Wednesday, I have my kindle appropriately stocked with reading material for the endless days in hotels that I know are coming.
On my TV… Not too much, since our TV went out with our household goods. We still have netflix on our laptops, so if I have any free time I’ll probably watch Dr. Who or Bones.
On the menu for this week… Really only have planned meals for today and maybe tomorrow. The fridge is just about empty. Tonight we’re having frozen chicken potpie, and tomorrow we’ll have scrambled eggs and some leftover soup. Oh yes–the endless bizarre combinations uncovered when one is trying to empty out one’s pantry amazes me too.
On my to-do list… Clean the refrigerator/freezer, mop the kitchen floor, mop the entryway floor, wipe out the dishwasher, weedeat the backyard, wipe out cupboards, clean sinks, clean stove.
In the craft basket… None. Whenever our stuff gets to Washington I do have a cute autumn hat in the works, but can’t do anything about it right now.
Looking forward to this week… Being DONE with all the cleaning and checkout crap. Can’t wait to check into our hotel on Wednesday and just chill out until our flight on Monday!
From the camera…
Bible verse: Matthew 6: 25-30
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air; for they sow not neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
I write. Somedays I spend every spare moment I can wring out of a busy day, pecking away busily at the keys on my laptop. Words pour out of me, magically assembling onto the page. Sometimes I write five pages and am completely happy with the flow and the cadence of the words that I’ve found.
Then, out of the blue, it stops.
Sometimes it’s a conscious break. My days suddenly change. We get up earlier, go to bed earlier. Naptime is sidelined. Errands pile up, cleaning piles up. I miss a day here or there, always telling myself that it’s only temporary. I have to take a day off. There just isn’t time to squeeze it in today.
Othertimes, it’s less conscious. Committments call my name, luring me away from the story-telling that continues in my brain, like an engine that keeps turning over, and over, and over.
All of the sudden, when I sit down to write, the words aren’t there. I stare at the screen for an hour, reading back over what I’ve written previously or focused on that blinking cursor with a blinding intensity.
Days of that monotony begin to pile up. I’m not content with what I’ve written and overwhelmed with the editing that must occur eventually.
I don’t know what causes this cycle. Why does my brain keep repeating the same loop? This has happened before, and it will happen again. Stuck in the mud, unable to move until I close my eyes and climb. Write a ladder. Write a rope. Write an elevator. It doesn’t matter what I write, yet I know I must. There will be other times for editing. When I have the first draft, I can begin to worry about making these miniscule changes that bother me so in the first reading. There will be a second draft. The words that I write are not etched in stone, but they cement an idea.
Like the ancient Romans, I can begin with concrete. Concrete is crude and inexpensive. But when it is dry, I can paint. I can paint wild tapestries, ornate with vivid colors and scenes. I can paint windows that aren’t windows, into worlds that exist only in my mind. I can shape the muddled blobs of my first draft into a real story, IF…
I just write.
It was late summer of 2011. The news was blowing up with articles and speculation over the budget crisis, and the gridlock in Congress. Figurative buckets of icewater were upended over our heads as we realized that the political parties of our government could not set aside their partisan differences to solve a problem-namely, an exorbitant government budget, and only a small fraction of funds on hand.
Up until that summer, I was a more-or-less mainstream Republican. I sided with Republicans on issues, just because I knew I was conservative and figured that had to mean I was Republican. At some point in that debate-wrought summer, I began to ask what exactly the differences were between Democrats and Republicans. Yes, Republicans tended to hold some of my core values–they were most likely to be pro-life, pro-business, and anti-taxes (although, lets face it, everybody says they’re against taxes when election season comes around), but when it came down to it, Republicans were just as happy to make laws as Democrats are, and that is exactly where I realized my problem with the main political parties stems from. Republican and Democrats alike are happy to make laws all day long. It doesn’t matter which side of the aisle you want to sit on, you have to at least admit that most of what our senators and representatives do is make laws and pass acts.
My problem with this whole law-making business is that I believe this country was founded on freedom and for freedom. Our forefathers didn’t come here because there were laws about whether or not you could smoke marijuana. They came here for freedom: Freedom of religion, entreprenurial freedom, freedom to live their lives out from under the finger of an overstepping government.
When did we (as a nation) become more obsessed with our laws than with freedom?
(This is when Republicans and Democrats alike start clammering–”But these are good laws! We need them! We need more!”)
Sure, we need basic laws, to prevent society from becoming an anarchal chaos. Murder, Robbery, Assault. We all know what the big crimes are, and we know that they need to be prevented. People need to be deterred from damaging another person or his/her property, but why go any farther than that?
We have governments because we must. To keep an ordered society, government is a necessary evil. That doesn’t mean that we should leap into the arms of big government, expecting them to reward us for our inability to get a job, take care of us when we get sick, and make laws that are meant to save stupid people from themselves, but are actually utterly ineffective because–guess what! The stupid people aren’t magically becoming smart enough to abide by laws. Thomas Paine described the necessary evil of government best when he said, “Society is produced by our wants, and government by wickedness; the former promotes our happiness POSITIVELY by uniting our affections, the latter NEGATIVELY by restraining our vices. The one encourages intercourse, the other creates distinctions. The first is a patron, the last a punisher.” (Thomas Paine, Common Sense). Both society and government are necessary, but Republicans and Democrats today try to combine the roles of society and government, and churn out laws regarding things that could and would be determined by the core values of society if left alone.
So now let me ask, what do you think the core values of the United States are? I don’t care whether you consider yourself Democrat or Republican. If you think that freedom (which is, the ability to do whatever you want, as long as it doesn’t hurt somebody else or take away somebody else’s freedom) is one of the main core values of the United States, ask yourself where you stop believing that principle, and then ask yourself why. Why do you reach a certain situation and suddenly think “Oh, but we need laws for that.”
If the value that we kept coming back to was, You have the freedom to do anything you want, as long as you don’t take away somebody else’s freedom to enjoy life and pursue happiness, what else would be necessary? Just think about it for a minute. So few of the laws our politicians make are actually necessary to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and so many of them flagrantly prohibit it, that we have created twin monstrous cliffs of destruction out of the Republican and Democratic parties. Each political party keeps growing the cliff and widening the gap between those cliffs until any attempt at compromise is certain to end, crumbled in pieces at the bottom of the gully.
I believe that we have come to a point in history where we need to set aside the corrupt political parties that currently rule us, and get to the root of our values. I don’t want to elect any more big government cronies thinly disguised as Republicans. I want to cast my vote for people who love freedom as much as I do. And I want to be as dedicated to the pursuit of freedom as our founding fathers were when this country began. That is how we will be able to bridge the awful gap between our current, warring political parties.
“Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” (Patrick Henry, from his speech before the Second Virginia Convention, March 20, 1775)
I am currently reading an excellent book called Reporting the Revolutionary War, by Todd Andrlik. It is, for the most part, a collection of the newspapers printed during the Revolutionary War.
This picture is a page of the Pennsylvania Chronicle, October 12,1767, just after the Townshend acts were passed. They printed the entire act–every single specification of the tax, in excruciating detail.
When was the last time our tax laws were simple enough to be printed in a paper when they were enacted?
And the more troubling question that springs immediately to mind: when was the last time we cared enough about the laws our politicians enact to actually read them if they were printed?
If you were to sneak a peek into my living room this morning, you would probably see the wide, dimpled grin of the sweetest 13-month-old in the world as she swoops in and snags my pen from where it is sitting on top of my grocery list (Which was prepared last night for the inevitable shopping trip that MUST occur this morning if we wish to eat something other than peanutbutter and tuna for dinner).
She clenches it between her chubby fingers with the determination of an ant pulling a boulder, and talks seriously to the room in general while she attempts to scribble over my painstakingly neat grocery list.
She loves pens. Pens, pencils, crayons, chalk–if she can hold it in her hand and draw on something she is perfectly happy. Of course, I know where this is leading. Part of me is already suspiciously watching the walls for the inevitable crayon marks. The other part of my brain, however, is secretly tickled to watch her learn, and entertaining the conceited wonderings of every parent ever–who knows, maybe my daughter WILL write the next great American novel.
“Let me tell you a story about Queen and Dolly.” Those were the words my maternal grandfather, Elden Oscar Lloyd, began many a story with. Queen and Dolly, he would continue, were two huge workhorses that his family owned when he was growing up. They used them to work the farm and such, and apparently they were two very remarkable animals. As a child, I loved hearing his stories because I thought they were funny. As I’ve grown up, however, I have come to appreciate them more and more for other reasons. Now, I appreciate the glimpse into the history and life of somebody who I love dearly, but who is eternally fixed in my memory as the stooped, gray-haired man who told us stories, and to stop horsing around the house and just sit on the “davenport”. I am captivated by these snippets of story that reveal the child, teenager, and young adult who turned into my grandfather.
That being said, I’m not entirely sure why it has taken me so long to realize that I should also be writing about all of the little family stories that run the risk of being forgotten in the next generation or two. I have called my blog ‘The Story of A Girl’ because I like telling my story. I like describing different facets of my life. I like to think of it as scrapbooking with words. There just isn’t enough artsy creativity in my fingers for actual scrapbooking… but stories? I can do stories. I can write stories. I can print stories. I am passionate about stories. So, I write. And now, I am going to go even farther into my story–and attempt to know the stories of my family.
Geneology Research–here I come!
I love how the house smells when dinner is cooking. Spices and meat and vegetables and banana muffins. It smells homey, warm, and inviting–walking inside to a house of good smells just makes me happy, even when the walk has only been to the mailbox for the furniture warehouse flyers and other various junk mail. Afternoons are hard, though. Sophia is grumpy, because she really needs two naps a day, but she only thinks she needs one. I try to keep her entertained for just a few minutes so I can chop the veggies for the salad, but she doesn’t want any part of the activites that usually make her happy. Throwing all the silverware on the floor around the kitchen? Already done. Pulling the cans off of the turntable and leaving tuna in random places around the house? Been there, done that.
I usually feel pretty good about how entertained I keep Sophia. We read books, we go to the park, we take walks, we go on bike rides, we read more books, we listen to music, we dance, we sing, we read more books… we read a lot of books… but somehow, whatever we do is never quite enough to make her give me just a half hour of time to get some dinner cooked. Turns out, I can actually hold her and do a great deal of most things that need doing, so in most cases that is what I do. I’m never entirely sure that it really helps matters though. Sure, she’s reasonably happy if I’m holding her, but if and when I do need to set her down to fix something in the oven or on the stovetop all hell will break loose. It really would be so much easier if she would just accept the fact that when it is time to make dinner, mummy cannot play.
Sophia is on my hip again, one hand wrapped around the shoulder of the arm that holds her, the other hanging onto the neck of my shirt with a grim determination to not be set down. She watches everything I do in the kitchen with a grumpy, stoic expression. Her lips pushed out into a pout, I can just see a foreshadowing of the days that must be coming when she learns to talk. I can almost hear her two-year-old voice complaining in her one-year-old babbles. Outside, I hear the garage door open and close. I can’t help smiling, and breathing a breath of relief. That moment when my Superman gets home feels like the turning moment in a battle, when the reinforcements show up with better guns, ammo, and morale.
Oh yes, I’m sure all of you stay-at-home parents know exactly what I mean. That sweet, blessed, all-powerful moment when the garage door opens, and you are assured that you are not in fact, alone in the world with a person who refuses to talk sense, cries whenever something is wrong and sometimes when nothing is wrong, leaks graham cracker crumbs and cheerios EVERYWHERE, and can singlehandedly undo the work of two hours of folding clothes in two seconds. You can finally take a breath of relief and talk like an adult again.
Plus, I don’t know if it’s just my daughter or all children everywhere, but no matter how grumpy she may have been, when Sophiapea sees her daddy she is all smiles.
He gives me a big hug and a kiss, his arms wrapped tight around both Sophia and me, and lifts us off the floor a little. Sophia’s grumpy little pout is gone. She is grinning, and wrinkling up her nose,as she holds her arms wide out to him. “Sophia, baby!” He scoops her up into his arms, kisses her cheek, and then blows a raspberry on it. “Have you been good today, or have you been a little rat?”
She grins coyly at him, and snuggles up, her head on his shoulder. She’s all like, “Oh, Daddy! I’m so happy to see you! I’ve been a complete angel all day, and smiled like a cherub, and given mommy lots and lots of kisses and smiles, and I haven’t cried at all, and it’s been sunshine, and butterflies, and rainbows, and unicorns all day long!”
“Aw, Sophia, are you giving Daddy hugs? I love you too, babygirl.” He says. He smiles and leans his cheek against Sophia’s fuzzy head. A half second later she sits up straight, her eyebrows lifted, her face serious, and begins babbling baby talk at him.
And just like that, her mood changes. She’s happy. She’ll play with her toys for a little bit, and then we’ll chase her around the house on our hands and knees and tickle her until she giggles. The rest of the evening is fun. Charming. Delightful. Stupendous. We look at Sophia and give ourselves a pat on the back for making such an adorable kid.
Thank heaven for The Reinforcements!
(I love you, Superman)
It is getting dark outside. From the couch I can see streaks of orange and pink clouds filing through the blinds that Sophiapea loves to pull back endlessly. She clambers up onto the couch, and then carefully crawls up onto the back of the couch, extends one plump little foot to the window sill, her toes spread wide. I watch, cringing a little and ready to leap to the rescue, but resigned. She will climb.
We are at a splash park. Water-drops glisten in the breeze, blowing rainbows in the air. The tradewinds gust and blow the sprinklers waterdrops against my face. I watch Sophia as she ventures beneath the streams of water. Timid at first. Running back to press her soaking wet head against my legs when the wind blows water against her face too. She becomes braver though, right before my eyes. The flow of the sprinklers ebbs, and she splashes in a puddle. When the sprinklers come back on, she runs back to be held, but just seconds later she squirms to be set down, and toddles away from me, towards the water. She picks her feet up carefully, tiny heels spread wide in the awkward precariousness of a child just learning to walk and run. She leans her face into the sprinkler and looks back at me, misty water on her eyelashes, a big grin crinkling her dimples and nose. She will play.
We are walking down the street to the park. Sophia walks right beside me, her pace unsteady. She knows that we are heading to the park and tries to walk faster, faster, faster, until she very nearly loses her balance. I catch her arms and swing her back to her feet, holding her soft little hand snugly in mine. We walk slowly for a while. She cranes her neck to watch each car go past on the road, curiousity plain on every feature of her face. A dog barks and she presses her face against the fence, trying to see it better. A huge leaf on the sidewalk begs to be picked up and she pauses, crouching to carefully retrieve it. “Come, Sophia.” I say. “We’re going to the park. Can you say park?” She grins up at me, and talks some mostly unintelligible baby babble, but she says something that sounds very like ‘park’, and she says it again when I urge her. Her gaze has fixed on the white gate that surrounds the tiny park. She talks some more, her index finger carefully extended and pointing at the park. When we walk through the gate and I push it closed behind us, Sophia runs to the slide, half-squealing, half-giggling. She climbs up it, slipping and sliding in her shoes, only to slide back down when her foot slips near the top. It is a new game for her. She climbs, climbs, climbs, and slips. Then she slides down the slide backwards, on her tummy, laughs at the bottom, and does it all over again.
In the afternoon sweet Sofi becomes slightly less sweet. She is tired, but she will not rest her weary eyes again until bedtime. She follows me around the house, clinging to my leg and making annoyed whining sounds. All I need to do is finish loading the dishwasher, I tell her. It really won’t take too long. I promise. I implore her to just play for a tiny bit longer. She lifts her arms to me, and stands on her tippy-toes, trying to levitate into my arms. Those big brown eyes just melt my heart. Her tiny face looks so distressed, her eyes big and shiny with unshed tears. I can’t do it. I scoop her up into my arms and balance her on one hip while I finish loading the dishwasher. Minutes later, we are in her playroom, sitting on the beanbags against the wall. Sophia is playing with a book, and I take it from her to read it. When I start reading she comes over and sits down in front of me, doing a weird scoot on the floor. When I pull her up onto my lap, she settles back against my chest with a contented sigh. I read.
I’m not usually very good at participating in bloghops regularly, as evidenced my my shortlived attempt at the JustWrite linkup events, but I saw this one on my friend Lisa’s blog today and decided to give it a go. I love the idea of bloghops… just painfully bad at remembering to do them regularly!
Anyways, Happy Homemaker Monday is hosted by Diary of a Stay at Home Mom.
The Weather… 81, muggy, and rainy. We’ve had a heat wave the last couple weeks, and though the temperatures don’t really sound that bad, the humidity makes being outdoors brutal. I would say pool day, and give a cheer, but it’s rainy, and who goes to the pool when it’s rainy?! Then again, I guess we’d definitely have the pool to ourselves!
Right now I am… Really looking forward to getting back to my research when I finish this blog post. Brushing up on my American Revolution history for my new novel and LOVING it. Have I mentioned how much I love history lately? I do. I really, really do!
Thinking… I’m thirsty, and a nice mug of coffee sounds good too, but I want to get as much done during the sweet, sweet solitude of naptime, as is humanly possible.
On my Reading Pile… Where to even begin… Currently rereading The Shadow Rising by Robert Jordan in an attempt to get through the whole Wheel of Time series before I start in on the latest/last book in the series, which is A Memory of Light. I also have the biography of Madeleine Albright, and Teaching Your Baby to Swim. I have about 6 other books from the library to read, but if we’re being realistic here, I’ll probably be lucky to finish these three by the end of the week.
On my TV… Trying to keep the TV off during the day, which is turning out to be more of an issue than I expected it to be. If I cave and turn it on, I’ll probably watch Dr. Who, maybe Toddlers and Tiaras. When my Superman comes home, we’re watching Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares, and catching up on episodes of The Office, and Parks and Recreation.
Favorite Blogpost Last Week… I read an awesome one that somebody linked to on Facebook, about “Things I would Tell my Younger Mommy Self”. I don’t remember exactly where it was though. It was a great article, and really reminded me to enjoy the mommy moments.
Bloghopping (Newly discovered blog)… It’s not exactly a blog, but I’m thrilled to have found it because it is turning out to be a really great resource for my preliminary research. Boston History. Check it out! It’s interactive and fun!
On the Menu for this week…
Diced Chicken on Salad
On my to-do list…
Air stroller tires, Dinner prep, 1770′s research, vacuum
In the craft basket… Not so crafty lately, unless research/writing/violin practice counts.
Looking Forward to this week… More stroller strides classes, reading, hopefully checking out the State Library downtown!
Looking around the house… My music stand and violin are out, and will hopefully remind me to finish playing when the sweet girl wakes up. Speaking of, I’m beginning to hear baby sounds upstairs.
From the camera…
Sophia woke up at 0430 when my Superman and I got up, refused to go back to sleep, and was so tired by 0830 that she didn’t even wake up when I moved her from the carseat to the stroller for Stroller Strides
Bible Verse… From a sermon yesterday.
John 1:14-17 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
Off to accomplish the rest of our day! Have a happy, beautiful Monday!