The TRUTH for various Things

October 23, 2011

Dear Family,

“...With a long and slender body
And the sweetest softest hands
And we'll blow away forever soon
And go on to different lands
And please do not ever look for me
But with me you will stay
And you will hear yourself in song
Blowing by one day

“Oh, hold me like a baby
That will not fall asleep
Curl me up inside you
And let me hear you through the heat...”

--From “Gypsy,” by Suzanne Vega

(This song always makes me want to cry--it's so sweet and her voice is so silvery and I guess I just like it a lot.)



“Every time when you're feeling bad: Poop!”

Describing some pictures he made for Graham: “This is a different kind of flying ghost...this is a bird beak...this is a funny _aminal_ that LOOKS like a train on top but is ACTUALLY a nose and mouth.”

Stopping his tricycle for a snack: “I need to eat kefir to keep up my strength!”

After a trike accident, Jem sort of looks up, stunned, from the pavement. Do you need a hug? I ask my small, independent child, who is laboriously pulling himself out from under his tipped vehicle. “No, I don't need anything,” he says. “I just need to get on my trike and ride.”

“I wouldn't want to go to school, because I want to be with you--AND I wouldn't want to NOT be with you.”

“I don't play in sandboxes anymore, because I'm getting too grown up for them.”

Jem: “I _like_ ambulances!” Yeah, they're useful, I say, especially if you're hurt and need to get to the hospital fast. But, Jem points out (more to the point): “They're also COOL!”

Getting a stomach cramp while running down the street forces some modifications: “I gotta do the tummy run!”

“The reason I wouldn't want to go to war is 'cause somebody might kill me.”

“I don't ever want to go to war! Or go anywhere where there's a war.”

(By the way, the preceding words are exact quotes from Jem; three sentences which I hereby add to his Conscientious Objector file for a hopefully-never-needed future date.… )

Jem's thoughts are lately stated in this format, concerning all sorts of topics. He'll say something like, “I'm super thirsty, and water tastes good! And that's the TRUTH for water.” Or, “My bug bites are SUPER itchy, and that's the TRUTH for bugs.” (Subject and the TRUTH do not always match.) Or, “Papa is cute! He went through the Cute Machine. That's the truth for Papas.”



Playing cards: “My fan is getting too big with almosts!”

Describing a harrowing bicycle incident: “I saw myself going too fast, and then I rode into the [neighbor's garden bed full of] cosmoses!!” ...Yeah, and I saw you riding with your feet off the pedals, I say, and I wondered why, because then you couldn't use the brakes! Yes, Ben agreed, “_And_ I was pedaling too fast, when I came around the corner. There WAS a reason I did that, but I forgot it. ”


What else is new in our house??

--Lots of fun visits from various grandmas and grandpas. Every time his grandparents come, Jem says, “They should stay longer!” And Ben says, “WHY can't they stay for a HUNDRED YEARS?!” (He may not be completely social or huggable at all times, but this is a far cry from when Ben used to hide and/or scream when family was visiting.)

--Ben and Jem are _sleeping in their own bedroom!_ Hallelujah, after nearly eight years of co-sleeping! And...I totally cried the first night that this miracle occurred. It's kind of hard to explain exactly why I was bawling. I mean, with Jem, I've had so many nights of cuddling, and he's all growing up and getting Big, and so the Big Move felt right and normal, and I cried just because I think Mamas often do that when their kids grow up. But with's been a looooong time in coming and so it's bittersweet. My colicky Ben never snuggled in bed when he was a baby, and we didn't so much co-sleep as co-stagger-through-the-sleepless-and-crazy-nights. And as he got older and got sicker and started having anxiety attacks every night before bed, requiring my constant presence, there still never was cuddling or snuggles or hugs, just an inconsolable child next to me, dealing with pain I could never seem to take away, sometimes recoiling from my slightest touch. And so now, way past the age when a child might “normally” choose to leave his parents' bed, Ben is ready to sleep in his own bedroom. And that night he moved out, I cried for all the nights of cuddling we've never had, and also (as Jeff pointed out) because of how incredibly hard-won and sweet it is, now that he is healing, when we DO get cuddles and hugs. May I never take these signs of affection for granted, for as long as I live.

--Jeff and I recently read “Killing Bono,” by Neil McCormick. It was recently turned into a movie, and I have no idea how that came out, but the book is fantastic and chronicles the life and times of McCormick, a wanna-be pop star who just so happens to be friends (since middle school) with the guy who subsequently becomes one of the biggest rock stars of all time. It's kind of cool to know a famous person, McCormick explains...and it's also kind of hard to be the not-so-famous guy, especially since he wants what his good friend has. McCormick is so non-whiny and funny that his writing paints a clear picture of the ways in which our “fates” may not be nearly as under our control as we might think. And, he manages to give his memoir an ending that is just so spectacularly perfect, it's worth reading just for that.

--This is not news, but we spend a huge amount of time around here cooking, eating, and Doing Money-Making Work. Just thought I'd mention this in case you wonder why my list of What We've Accomplished Lately is so short.


Books the Boys Are Lately Enjoying:

“Dinotopia” and it's sequel, by James Gurney. Fantastic pictures, so-so stories--but the paintings really make up for it.

“The Mouse and the Motorcycle,” by Beverly Cleary (they liked it just as much the second time around).

“Homer Price” and “Centerburg Tales,” by Robert McCloskey. It must feel really great to be a great author, a fantastic illustrator, get to tell your stories just the way you want to tell them, AND have kids laugh at your jokes. (Although: skip the very un-PC references to any minority groups that happen to get mentioned...)


Our big news this month is that we took a vacation! To the seashore! In Connecticut! For eight whole days. And it was gorgeous weather, and Jeff and Ben swam in the Long Island Sound, and we canoed in the salt marsh, and Jeff's breathing and asthma and allergies were SO much more normal (as in, they pretty much weren't a problem at all), and Ben collected seashells, and I loved that we were all together for a whole week with the main agenda being To Have Fun. And it was super nice to have Grandma and Grandpa and cousins and and aunt and uncle spend a couple of nights. We are definitely planning to buy a home at the beach when next we win the lottery.

In case you're interested, the following is an approximate list of what we ate during the week (8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 8 dinners, + 2 picnic lunches while traveling). Traveling while doing GAPS is sort of like planning to go to the moon...and did I mention that the Salt Sea Air increased the boys' appetites to unprecedented levels??

Coconut oil
cider vinegar
olive oil
oregano and basil, dried

sardines in cans (12)

12 avocados
15 lbs. Onions, garlic, and shallots
2 heads lettuce
1 head cauliflower
3 lbs. Broccoli
1 bag mixed greens
2 cabbages
1 bunch kale
big bunch each parsley and cilantro
1 hot red jalepeno pepper
6 lemons
2 bunches celery
3 lbs. Carrots
5 lbs. Green beans
6 zucchini

8 oz. Cheddar cheese
4 quarts yogurt
2 gallons kefir
6 oz. Olives

7 dozen eggs
1 gallon red cabbage kraut
1 gallon cucumber pickles
1 quart pickled beets
1 gallon broth (plus more made while there)
1 quart coconut kefir

2 lbs. Tallow
3 lbs butter
14 lbs. Ground beef
1 large chicken
4 lbs. Cod
1 lb. Lamb
Several quarts soup, made-ahead

Equipment I brought:

chef's knife
unscented dish soap
cast iron pan


I am wishing you a very good night! And that's the TRUTH for good nights.