A Performance to Remember, and A Silly Thing About Educational Activities

January 31, 2011

Dear Family,

“...Pippi, can you tell me what seven and five are?”

Pippie, astonished and dismayed, looked at [the teacher] and said, “Well, if you don't know that yourself, you needn't think I'm going to tell you.”

All the children stared in horror at Pippi, and the teacher explained that one couldn’t answer that way in school.

“I beg your pardon,” said Pippi contritely. “I didn't know that. I won't do it again.”

“No, let us hope not,” said the teacher. “And now I will tell you that seven and five are twelve.”

“See that!” said Pippi. “You knew it yourself. Why are you asking then?”

--Astrid Lindgren, “Pippi Longstocking”


Without boring you with graphic details, Ben has been having a pretty hard time lately. In GAPS code, this means that he and I both cried a fair bit this week. We also didn't get out much.

However, with monumental effort from all parties involved, our family did attend the third annual EcoVillage talent show, which is part of “Sparkfest,” which of course is co-organized by the inimitable Graham the Great. It was great to see Ben and Jem get inspired by some of our smaller neighbors playing piano and trombone and producing puppet shows. And..._we_ actually performed! This consisted of Jeff, Ben, and me singing “January Hymn” by the Decemberists, while Jem did his “cool moves.” The Moves were hip-swivels and kick-twirls, and lots of running circles around us with a very serious expression on his face.

It was not clear that our show would go on, due to the extenuating GAPS circumstances surrounding this very intense week. But noting the boys interest in performing, and the fact that they DID perform, just warmed the not-very-latent stage-mother cockles of my heart.

Afterward, Ben said, “I liked singing! I did it all good.” And Jem said, “I liked doing my moves. _Everyone_ was watching!”

Watch out, Broadway! Once we're all healed up and capable of leaving the house (and talking to other people, etc...) on a regular and frequent basis...Here We Come!



Birthday money burning a hole in his pocket at the gift shop at the Sciencenter: “I want there to be _something_ that I want to buy!”

“Jem is _so cute_ when he's sleeping...every time I look at him, it's REALLY hard not to hug him.”

Noting the satisfaction of folding a well-designed origami model: “When the creases are there, the paper just SETTLES.”

Things you never heard children say back when I was a girl: “I'm going to save up till I have two dollars more, so I can get a two-gigabyte card for seven-fifty, and then I'll have as much space [for photos on his camera] as Papa does.”



Six weeks ago, our Chicken Club chose to butcher the remaining flock and start again in the spring with a type of chicken that (we hope) will lay more regularly and brood less. Last night, we ate one of these chickens for dinner. Despite all the animal flesh I'm eating lately, it gave me a bit of pause to chew and swallow bites of one of our formerly faithful hens. It didn't bother Jem in the slightest, however: “Our chickens taste very good,” he said, chowing down, “just like the other kinds.”

Chatting with Jeff in the bathroom after Jeff's shower, Jem was listening to the voices echoing in the tub and confusing cause and effect: “You talk different when you're wet.”

Just like his brother, Jem likes to be accurate--”acker-ate”--when he does origami.

“I want to be as strong as Pippi [Longstocking]!”

“Is there no end of the sky?”

If you want cute, you have to hear Jem singing Death Cab For Cutie's _I'll follow you into the dark._ He sings, “...I-loom-eight Grapency Signs/Iiiiiii'll follow you into-the-daaaaark...” (actual lyrics: “...if heaven and hell decide/that they both are satisfied/_illuminate the No's on their vacancy signs/if there's no one beside you/when your soul embarks/I'll follow you into the dark...”_

“You should try to pick me up! I'm a heavy kid.”

Showing off his paper airplane: “I did it with no you-tellin'-me.”

There is a little birdy who makes my cheeks flame like no one else can: “Mama!” (It's a loud whisper, while we're all trying to fall asleep.) “You shouldn't have said 'Shut up' to Ben really rudely when he was screamin' really loudly before...”

“When will it be summer?” Oh, not for a loooong time. Why? “Cause I _hate_ jackets.”

Blowing air-kisses: “I'm kissing Not-Anything!”

Jem loves his small, adorable jeans, and wants to wear them every day. He explains: “I'm a jean-a guy!”

Illustrating how tastes really can change, even in a three-year-old: “This [sauerkraut] is the best stuff!”


Things We did this Week Besides Simply Surviving (which, let me tell you, was an Accomplishment all on its Own)

--Laundered bedsheets, bathed (all family members), vacuumed the floor, and took out the trash, recycling, and compost. Also, we changed clothes daily.

--Just kidding. We didn't ALL change clothes daily. Don't want you to think we are overly neurotic about cleanliness or anything.

--Made coconut milk: http://nutrition-and-physical-regeneration.com/blog/533/how-to/how-to-m… . It is incredibly amazingly delicious. And Oh My God, it is SO MUCH WORK. I am determined to find some way to make it that takes less than 2.5 hours and which doesn't turn the kitchen into an unholy mess littered with pieces of coconut shell and the remnants of the skin from my hands. Will report back.

--I had totally forgotten how subversive Pippi Longstocking is. We finished the first one and are on to the second, and I'm thrilled for an excuse to read them again.

--Jeff and Jem had a couple of cross-country-skiing adventures, and after the second one Jeff said that he now knows what it feels like to be a glacier. I was thrilled that Jeff had the patience to take him, though, because I know it's good for Jem got out of the house on most days, even if he was moving at .09 acres per hour.

--I did something very extravagant and bought myself brand new cross-country skis last week. I've been waiting for two years for some decent used ones to come into Instant Replay Sports...and they just weren't coming. Hence, the extravagance. It can make an entire day much better if I get to glide through the woods at the beginning of it. Some people like the thrill of downhill, but I'm fine with the tiny dip right before the creek that is just fast enough for a little Zoom but which doesn't usually cause me to fall over. Mostly, I am grateful for the gorgeous woods, and getting Out of Breath before tackling tasks relating to Food Therapy.

--The Sciencenter has a new math exhibit that started a few weeks ago, and so, feeling very Academically Minded, I got out some math books from the library for the boys, and took out our Balancing Numbers Scale. There. Experiential learning now proves that it's ridiculous to label an activity as specifically relating to “math”, because we did a lot more incidental exploration of numbers while discussing dinosaurs and digestion this week than because of some dinky “manipulatives.” (Mainly, with the scale, we discussed the politics of making things in China, and why the toy is so poorly balanced and keeps dropping its plastic pieces on the floor.) The bright side of these school-type “math” activities is that they are often preferred by Academic Worriers, so I'll have to make sure to mention the number scale to them.

--I have an awesome new penpal! Haven't written so many letters in about fifteen years, and I fear am totally clogging her inbox. She is a marathon runner, a Cuban cook, a mama who heals, and a crazy-smart, inspiring scientist. My e-mailed introduction to her was a lot different than the ones I used to write as a teenager, which concerned Fav Pets, Musical Tastes, and My Favorite Fantasy Novels. Now, it was more like: “Hey, I have a really sick child, and you've healed a really sick child--can you tell me your secrets and wisdom and appreciate some really esoteric jokes relating to gut flora?? In a solemn, complicated kind of way, it's fun to feel like a kid again in the midst of a situation that is likely making me increasingly prone to gray hairs and cynicism. I always did like getting letters. :)

--Oh, I can't remember if I noted a very important fact: Athena has found THE perfect dress, so the wedding is definitely on. :) We can't wait for the festivities to commence.


And finally, I must mention that my favorite camp in the whole wide world (full disclosure: I work for this camp--but only _because_ it's my favorite camp) will be open for 2011 Registrations starting February 1! Check out the ever-improving online registrations website, designed by Jeff: registrations.nbtsc.org .


Not so many other news items this week, so that's it for now. :)