7 Quick Takes Friday!

Thanksgiving is over. I am recovering by chugging coffee and mindlessly trolling the internet. In approximately 1.5 hours I will put on Christmas music, bake banana bread (sans walnuts, since I now live in fear of potential allergens) and wake my husband up with a cheery smile. But right now I’m throwing dry Kix at the kids as they watch Rikki Tikki Tavi and wondering why, why oh why, have my children morphed into walking disasters?

No, Seriously
Charlotte projectile vomited mashed potatoes all over my brother-in-law and sister-in-law’s entry way last night. 
I have no idea why. All I know is that I spent the entire day frantically trying to keep her adorable red dress clean (which I failed to get a picture of!) because it was the cutest dress I’ve ever seen. And I succeeded, through 3 separate Thanksgiving meals. 
Then came the vomit. 
Luckily it was literally right as we were preparing to leave, so it’s not like our evening was cut short, but still. What a way to end Thanksgiving. 
The only child I managed to get a picture of, and you can’t even see all of his cute red overalls which I borrowed from his cousin Luigi

did pretty well all day, in spite of still being a little sleep-deprived from all the excitement of earlier in the week. He was extremely tired and whiny as the evening wore on, but giving him a grape guaranteed 68 seconds of happiness and silence. 
The kid ate lots of grapes yesterday. 
was, as usual, her bubbly and silly self. She gave two toasts at dinner, in which she thanked an unknown entity for making her father an Ogre. 
Oh yeah, Sienna’s bottom two front teeth have been looser than loose the last few days, and the night before last the Ogre tied some dental floss to one and yanked it out. 
She was thrilled with this development, as it meant the tooth fairy was coming. Then last night, the remaining tooth was leaning precariously, so after dinner the Ever-Teacher asked to see it and then pulled it out. 
She was, at first, delighted at the prospect of two tooth-fairy visits in such close proximity to each other. But after a few minutes she became visibly upset and teary. 
I pulled her into my lap and asked her what was wrong and she said, “Mom, there are holes in my gums. I don’t like having holes in my gums.”  
She’s still upset by them this morning and keeps asking when her new teeth will grow in. 
as I was rushing around getting everyone ready to go, Sienna spent an unusual amount of time contemplating her coins from the tooth fairy. After a few minutes, the Ogre asked her what she was thinking about. In a tremulous voice, she sad, “Daddy? Are you sure there’s a tooth fairy? Are you sure it’s not just you and Mommy?” 
This question breaks my heart. I don’t know if she heard from a classmate that there’s no tooth fairy or if she’s just reaching the age when the magic and wonder of childhood begins to slip away, but I wish there was some way to preserve it for her. We’re going to rent The Tooth Fairy tonight (awesome movie, by the way) and I plan on spending lots of evenings this Advent reading The Polar Express and The Night Before Christmas to her. 
I hope I can manage to raise my kids so that they always believe in Santa Claus, fairies, dragons, elves and Wonderland. The world has become so utilitarian and horrible. Everyone has forgotten about the magic in the world. 
 I can remember being in college and coming out of an evening class in which we were learning about Irish fairy lore. My head was full of wild Irish tales and eyewitness accounts and artistic renderings of fairy visits, and as I walked around a corner a little grassy corner shimmered a bit in the moonlight. Out of the corner of my eye I swear I saw a flutter of wings and heard a little sliver giggle, but of course when I turned around it was just grass and flowers and moonlight. 
I Believe in Santa Claus
and no, I don’t mean St. Nicholas. Yeah, I believe in him too, but I also believe in the Santa Claus of the sleigh and reindeer and Miracle on 34th Street
Think I’m being facetious? I guess you can think that if you want. But I’ll tell you what, many have been the Christmas Eves where I’ve stayed up late wrapping presents for the kids and hoping to hear the clatter of reindeer hooves on the roof. 
Now That You’re Doubting My Sanity
I’ll leave you with this poem, by someone much wiser than me, who also believed in fairies. 
The Stolen Child
Where dips the rocky highland
Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
There lies a leafy island
Where flapping herons wake
The drowsy water rats;
There we’ve hid our faery vats,
Full of berrys
And of reddest stolen cherries.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses
The dim gray sands with light,
Far off by furthest Rosses
We foot it all the night,
Weaving olden dances
Mingling hands and mingling glances
Till the moon has taken flight;
To and fro we leap
And chase the frothy bubbles,
While the world is full of troubles
And anxious in its sleep.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us he’s going,
The solemn-eyed:
He’ll hear no more the lowing
Of the calves on the warm hillside
Or the kettle on the hob
Sing peace into his breast,
Or see the brown mice bob
Round and round the oatmeal chest.
For he comes, the human child,
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

-W.B. Yeats

Go see Jen for more quick takes! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07632005486245515873 Calah

    Ahem. That *poem* would be particularly suited to singing. Jeez.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01805401564651493025 Bonnie

    Calah,I've been thinking about this post for a long time. I also encourage my daughter (who has the vocabulary for it) to believe in fairies, princesses, faraway lands, etc. I have told her that mermaids are real and so forth. BUT I really don't know how to balance this with all the evil in fairy tales. I am quite unsure of how to balance the scary with the beautiful. We went through this HUGE ordeal about giants (GIANTS for Pete's sake!) – nightmares, wouldn't be alone, couldn't fall asleep, etc. So, in short, (while we combine Santa and St. Nick with more emphasis on St. Nick) at our house, I want her to love Neverland as much as I did when I was a girl. Tooth fairies, pesky leprachuans turning toiler water and milk green, etc = okay. But what do you do about the scary witches, ghosts, ghouls, dragons that can really scare a little kid. (My oldest is 3, by the way.)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01805401564651493025 Bonnie

    Also, it's interesting to me how beautiful everyone thinks the poem is. When James was a stillborn and we were told he would shortly die or be very, very disabled I thought of him as a changeling. Part of me was convinced my real son was taken away and this "thing" was put in his place. So for me, the poem brings back all kinds of horrible, lonely, scared feelings. Interesting how different life experiences so change our perspectives on things.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07632005486245515873 Calah

    Bonnie, have you read Chesterton's The Dragon's Grandmother? I wrote an earlier post on fairy-tales (you can find it under either my favorites or your favorites, I can't remember which) that talks extensively about how the most important things fairy-tales give children are the tools with which to fight the darkness. Chesterton goes into greater detail and is a much better writer, so it's worth a read. You can find it in Tremendous Trifles. I guess my feelings about the frightening and the evil are that children should be frightened, because the world is evil and it is scary. But they have their guardian angel, and St. Michael and St. George and all the host of the angels and saints, and of course the power of Christ and God and the Holy Spirit, all of which are so much more powerful than the terrifying things that linger in the darkness. Spending some time talking about this is probably important. Sienna had lots of issues with nightmares, and talking frankly with her about how what she is afraid of is not imaginary, and how it's not all in her head, but how there are stronger things that protect her made a big difference. Eventually a friend lent us a fully-blessed Benedictine cross (the kind that had been prepared for exorcisms) and we hung it above her bed, and that was when her nightmares finally stopped. Those are not easy to come by, though, although if your oldest is truly struggling (Sienna was having what I guess could be classified as night terrors) you can find a way. I think the biggest disservice parents can do for their children is to tell them that what their children are afraid of isn't real. Giants might not be real, strictly speaking, but they're real to your girl, and she needs to know how to fight them, so to speak. Sienna was also three when she had her nightmares, and they continued until early in her fourth year and then stopped. She's a great sleeper now, and has adopted St. Joan of Arc as her patron saint. I sort of think those early struggles gave her something of a warrior spirit. As far as that poem goes, it is beautiful, but you're right, it's terrifying as well. The idea of changelings is still very ingrained in culture, I think, and I can imagine why you would feel that way. The thing about the poem, for me, is that if it were my child being lured away I would be horrified and panicked, of course, but on reading the poem I also think, wow. The world is so full of weeping. Maybe the child would be better off in fairy-land. It's a weird mix of emotions. But for me it's really the language of the poem that gets me. Yeats is such a master with words.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/17128643518805976665 Luke and Ashley

    Bravo, to you and KT about Santa. I, too, have become so enraged by many a Catholics who feel that they are lying to their kids by having the idea of Santa around at Christmas. I don't mean to re-tell all of KT's post, but I just wanted to let you know that I whole heartedly agree.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01805401564651493025 Bonnie

    Calah, Thanks for your response. I will try to search out the book. I have encouraged Lydia to pray the St. Michael and Guardian Angel prayers, to call on her angel and Christ to aid her and keep her company when she's scared but it seems to be lacking for her. Perhaps I have not been honest enough. I am surprised by how straightforward you were with your little girl – I think that would truly terrify Lydia, but at the same time I think she suspects it's all true anyways. Thanks for the feedback – lots to think about and discuss with my husband!

  • KT

    This is what I'm talking about, right here. Grrr.http://www.buildingcathedrals.com/2011/11/29/imagination-and-lies/