16 March 2014

Miscreants in Flowered Shoes

Oh hi.

Every day, I write posts in my head. Long involved complicated chatty erudite posts. But then I never find the time to apply fingers to keyboard. Oy. But here are some delightful or whimsical or heart-catching things that have happened recently:

Yesterday morning, the ten year old girl used 'miscreant' in a sentence, properly (regarding the cats), and correctly pronounced.

The same child also has been on a campaign to get another mammal in residence in our house. She started by trying to talk us into adopting a four year old. Not an infant, no, a four year old.

After we beat that one back - we're too old, our house is too small, we like having one child, you don't want to have to share your room - she moved on, telling me she'd accept a rodent. The rodent lago-morphed into a rabbit, the argument moved onto Powerpoint.

This conversation is far from over. It's shifted gears yet again, to either a new kitten (which would be a third cat) or a plastic horse (Breyer, what you covet when you outgrow American Girl dolls). Or both. Part of the problems is that our cats are faulty. They are not lap cats, they do not purr. They do not care if you are home, they barely deign to be in the same room with you. Oh well. It's not like we're going to drop them off the town dock*, which is what my mother threatened to do to the cat that peed on her toaster once upon a time.

We continue to try to teach the girl to cook. Last week, she made Petits Pains Au Chocolat out of Rozanne Gold's Kids Cook 1-2-3, which, by the way, is a great book for your learning-to-cook kids. Okay, they used frozen puff pastry, and Daddy had to help her whack the chocolate up into the right sized pieces, but they were mighty tasty and she was awfully pleased with herself.

She can also scramble an egg, make hot chocolate, and drop the batter into the boiling water for the spaetzle.

Not too shabby for ten, I think.

In an effort to get her to be a better human being, I took her to help out at a soup kitchen. She, naturally, grumbled about being torn away from her plastic horses and electronic devices, but I won, because I am bigger than she is, not to mention the whole thing of being her mother. It was eye-opening, for both of us. For her, because she'd never seen 50 men (and one woman) eating free food in a church basement because they had nowhere else to eat. For me, because I got to watch her rise to the occasion, don some latex gloves, spoon peas and carrots onto plates, and haul full trays of food out into the dining room, cheerfully. When we left, there was a bicycle chained to a sign post, out front. It was pretty beat up, but rather joyfully so - decked out in red and yellow and green tape. "Mommy, do you think one of the men in there rode his bicycle here, in the snow?" Yup. I think so.

Over our own dinner, later that day, we talked about what we'd done. She hunched her shoulders and leaned over her plate. "One of the men was sitting like this. What was he doing?" "Well, what do you think?" "He could be afraid that someone might want to take his food from him, so he's protecting it. Or maybe he's shy and doesn't want to talk to anyone."

Music lessons, and practicing the viola, have been a constant struggle. We'd signed her up for private lessons last summer, at her request. But it's devolved into "I hate the viola" and "I want to be in chorus" and I think the problem was compounded by the fact that the viola teacher was something of a wet blanket. Finally, after lots of tears, I agreed to let her stop the private lessons, on the condition that she continue to be in the school orchestra, and that she do the mid-winter recital. I also told her she could wear whatever she wanted to wear to the recital, and made the mistake of showing her Mark Wood's website. [Mark Wood plays the electric violin; he was kind of the black sheep outlier of a very musical family in my hometown. His aunt was my flute teacher.] A little product to spike up her hair, and she cleans up fierce.

The skirt's rather too short, but the shoes kill me. They're a pair of shoes, from the fifties or sixties, that lived in the dress-up box when I was a kid. My sister thinks they weren't our mother's, but that they'd come from a friend of hers. They're pointy, black fabric with big pink roses, and spiky not too high heels. And right this very minute, they fit my ten year old perfectly. Oh, she can't walk more than fifty feet in them, but she played her viola recital in them and looked swell.

I thought she sounded great too, but she still says she hates the viola.

*We don't even have a town dock.


S said...

Ahh, this is terrific. She is awesome. And you, Maggie? You know how I feel about you. xo

heidi said...

This post makes me miss you... Also: I saw Mark Wood at Green Cactus with his family and thought he looked like a famous rocker. I took sneaky spy pics of him, and I'm pretty sure he saw. Another mystery solved :-) xoh

edj3 said...

Love your girl.

Jocelyn said...

I love both of you. I'm very crabby these past few days, and this got a bunch of grinning out of me. You win.

Veronica said...

My kids did used to make formal presentations to "sell" us on their ideas. It was a blast. They loved to cook too but bailed on the music lessons entirely. It's fun to hear about your daughter and remember what being a mom to a 10-year-old was like.

De said...

My daughter would probably arrange for yours to have an 8 year old boy, even if he did make chocolate frosting and pink polka-dot fondant for her 12th birthday cake.

M continues to rock the world. Thanks for sharing her with us.

Catherine said...

Constant struggle with my violist too. If only I had some heels that were the right size for him...

Cathy said...

In the kids-take-action-to-better-the-world department, maybe you and your husband could watch the movie Nicky's Family (Netflix Instant) and consider whether it might be right for your daughter.

It's about the plight of Jewish children in Prague between the annexation and the start of the war and what one ordinary man did for them when no organization and no nation would lift a finger.

But equally important, it's about how the children he saved, and the children whose lives they in turn have touched, have been emboldened to try all kinds of inventive approaches to help imperiled children worldwide. I think kids who watch this will really feel they could make a difference … beyond stints in the soup kitchen.