Little Reflections

It’s finally a nice day, and we’ve just dropped Claire at preschool for the morning. Joy of joys, I’ve allowed Quinn to go inside the gate of the JCC playground, though there’s still a good coating of ice across much of it. He makes the circuit of his favorite equipment, then climbs into the front seat of the wooden car play structure. His persistence pays off and I join him, climbing into the backseat of same structure. Okay, half back seat, half trunk– it’s not to scale for me.

Quinny is delighted to be my chaffeur. He drives along, all business, turning the little steering wheel. He looks over his shoulder and asks me in his high, pleasant little voice, “Wanna go Starbucks?”

“Yaay! I want to go to Starbucks,” I agree, surreptitiously cracking up.

“Okay,” he says, intently driving. Pretty soon he turns again, coaching me on the whole pretend thing. “Wanna watch Nemo?” he asks, referring to the DVD player in the van.

I see what I’m supposed to do. “Can I watch Nemo?” I ask.

Quinny doesn’t miss a beat, but says in his sternest voice, “No!”

So I guess that means he’s now reached the age for mirroring my behavior back at me. Yikes. It was bad enough seeing it with Claire, but let’s face it, when she was Quinn’s age she mostly had a tired and bleary, stupefied and sleep-deprived mama to mimic. She said “hunh?” a lot. Quinn has a slightly more crazed model. I mean, I’m more awake now, and I do notice when things go off the rails (which is often)– so I really try to “fix things.” That might mean chasing him down the hall to tackle him before he escapes into the parking lot. Or it might mean communicating in no uncertain terms (for, like, the 54th time in a given day) that we do NOT need a movie every time we drive across town. Either way, the image reflected back at me is less than appealing: not quite Cruella de Vil, but maybe Pollyanna’s aunt or something.

This realization has been bothering me for a while now (because I must admit, I first wrote the above a few weeks ago… my blogs don’t always happen in real time, it seems). Throughout the month, I’ve been looking for ways not just to act calmer, but to BE a calmer, more sane model for my children. And it occurred to me that the desirable traits that keep floating around in my head– patience, joy, peace, gentleness, kindness, for example– all have some common ground. They’re all what the New Testament calls “fruit of the Spirit” (love and faithfulness are the others, I just looked it up). Hmmm…food for thought. So once again I am trying to ‘stir up the Spirit that is in [me]…” and remember that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” (That’s 2 Timothy 1:6-7).

So we’ve been a little short of fruit around here, but working on the problem. But we’ve had no lack of candy. Earlier this week I was trying to get Quinn down for a nap and Claire came into the bedroom to ask if she could have some Easter candy. Quinn’s sleepy little head bobbed right up at the mention and he chimed in, “Easter cee-andy?” (He draws out the word, relishing even the sound of it!)

Since Claire had eaten about one and a half curly pasta noodles for lunch, the answer of course was ‘no.’ When she started to ask again, I sshh-ed her as I tried to get Quinn settled once more. “Claire, don’t even think about it!” I said, pointing to the door.

She left the room and I heard her down the hall, saying to herself, “She said to not even think about it. But I can’t stop my mind from thinking about it! I just can’t help it.”

In the bedroom, I couldn’t suppress a chuckle, which made Quinn giggle, too. Then he grabbed a fistful of my hair and snuggled down to go to sleep.

We are, indeed, plowing through the Easter Candy. Next year I hope the bunny brings only candy I don’t like. I do think he (and his teenaged helpers) had a bit of a challenge finding hiding places for all 26 eggs we colored. Our tradition has become that the family decorates the eggs on Saturday, then we leave them for the bunny to hide when he comes to fill the baskets. Claire couldn’t wait to decorate eggs after doing it last year; but Quinn was delighted and a little surprised, I think, to take part in the egg coloring this year. He looked incredulous when I put the eggs and a dye cup on the table in front of him. We had a few near misses with the dye, but all in all the whole production went well.

The weekend before Easter, as most of you know, we jumped in the Quest and drove off to Washington, DC. For the past two years, Will and Clay have driven down for a long weekend for a soccer tournament Will’s club team played in. This year we decided to skip the soccer (after all, he’s not on the team anymore!) and take the whole family. Chloe got to miss 2 days of school (her first absences the whole year). We saw our good friend Joel, who now lives in the area with his wife, Karnit, their adorable little girl, Arielle (just Quinny’s age), and another on the way any day. We saw the monuments, the museums, the old familiar sights. We had a really good time.

Highlights? Stumbling onto the St. Patrick’s Day parade as we made our way to the museums. Chloe holding the 2-and-a-half inch Madagascar cockroach at the Museum of Natural History 
(see PG-13 rated photo at right!). Clay and Claire closely studying a four-painting cycle by Thomas Cole. Lunches at the National Gallery in the fountain cafe– with delicious gelatto! Sleeping Quinn and I discovering the off-mall Smithsonian museum of American Art/National Portrait Gallery (with its beautiful atrium), while the others enjoyed the International Spy Museum. Just walking and walking. Claire finally getting to ride a subway. Dinner at an old favorite BBQ joint: Lee Atwater’s Red, Hot and Blue. And more. I’m putting mini-albums of Easter and of the Washington, DC trip on the blog main page.

Back to the present: Will went back to school last night, and I am finding the house a little lonely today without him. I’m trying to keep busy and not think about it too much. (Just 71 days before he is home for the summer!) Clay has been traveling all week, but is due home tonight. Chloe is even now enjoying her first track practice of the season (yes, she enjoys running!). Quinn is asleep and Claire is having some quiet time. I recently had the revelation that, although it is at least a month before Spring reliably hits here in NE, we can start to expect some periodic nice days pretty soon (how’s that for half-full thinking?). Oh, and the Red Sox are back state-side after splitting the opening series in Japan (yes, they did go).

Hope you all are doing well and enjoying the extra daylight you’ve been saving. Our best to you, until next time…

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