Apparently, I am the mother of a pirate.
I rarely in my forty-four years of existence wear lipstick. More often in the last couple of years than ever before, as my lips are drained of their former natural pinkish hue, most likely due to sheer exhaustion, and sleep and vitamin deficiency. I was always more of a lip balm kind of a girl, if anything. There was a huuuuge Carmex phase, but I’m over that now, by about a decade and a half. I loved Burt’s Bees lip balms, but developed allergies in my late thirties, and can no longer wear Burt’s Bees and expect to breathe because of the coconut and almond oils in them.
These days, I have a couple of berryish, slightly more than skintone shades with names like ‘shy’ and ‘tenderheart’ tubes in my purse for the color/dryness emergency. Still, rarely do I actually use the stuff.
Enter my daughter. She started raiding my purse for the sheer fun of dumping contents quite some time ago, but now she goes in for specifics:
I absolutely love language development. Toots is now stringing words together and is almost more thrilled by it than I am. Honey, Grandma and I are just giggling in amazement at everything that comes out of her mouth lately. Some recent examples:
We had turned the lights out in the office/playroom/guestroom the other night. Toots runs in a step or two because she still wants to play with her interlocking building toys and screeches to a halt-shiver-spin and hightails it out of there with a big grin on her face:
“Whooooaaaaa! It dahk in dere!”
“Mommy, you too funny!”
Big huuuuuug, Mommy!
“Daddy, I wuvey you-you!”
“Gam-ma, you wead book!”
Just a sampling, because I know this isn’t nearly as exciting to read as it is for me to hear. She talks a lot about herself, too, and is too cute saying her name like Elmo says his in every sentence.
In my first middle reader manuscript, I have a character I love who shows up near the beginning, is integral to a couple of things in the story and for the main character, but who drops out of sight about halfway through. He had a purpose as a confessor for the main character, but that ended up being served later in the story by another character altogether, who made better sense for the role in the way the story developed.
I had this thought previous to my writing retreat, even had advice from my old writer friends back in Boston to get rid of the early guy, but I loved him way too much. While at the retreat, I figured out how to combine the two characters, but I wasn’t ready to let the early character go. I think I am today. Barring any appointments Grandma may have this afternoon, I may need to steal hubby’s laptop and head out to a cafe to do the dirty deed of killing off my character. It’ll be like a death to me, even though I am really just taking parts of him that advance the story and giving them to the later character. And of course I will have to change how that works, too.
Sometimes, I really do just want this finished already. But the process is what is fun, right? Even when it can be agonizing.
As for leaving the house to write, I think I really have to start doing that now. Toots won’t nap until the afternoon, and by then, Grandma is home from her morning routine and Mr. Cynic arrives off the bus not long after lunch because his high school starts ridiculously early. And then comes Captain Comic about 90 minutes later. Even when they are not directly interrupting me, which is usually the case, just the presence of so many people who may likely interact with me is too distracting for me to concentrate on real writing.
And then there’s the whole guilt factor of having constantly divided attention between mothering and creativity. I really should be paying attention to my kids more directly. I really can’t focus on the writing when family is around. Might as well define the borders better physically. Now that’s a step in the right direction for me. What took so long for that to sink in and come up with a solution?
Baby C has recently discovered the joys of kissing.
She wanders over to me at the computer, raises my shirt tail and kisses my hip repeatedly, giggling. Then wanders away chuckling to herself.
She stood in the corner of the room the other day and blew kisses to the maddening crowds. That would be Grandma and me. Tossed them through the air like an old Hollywood starlet.
She gets sudden urges to run up and plant one right on my mouth, Honey’s or Grandma’s. She tries to with the boys, too, but they run screaming. Well one does, the other says, “Nah.” She just takes it from him as if she did sneak one in.
But don’t try to kiss her. She just turns her head and runs, laughing and saying “No, no, no!”
Could any phase of development be better than this one?
Take words with the letter K, especially in combination with L or short I, or hallelujah when you put them all together, tickle, pickle, oo da ickle snookums, even nickel. Comedians know this to be true. Minus slapstick, the next thing to make people laugh is language, especially words with K.
The other day, I spoke with my twenty years and running friend back in Boston, Joe. Every so often, when I do, I can’t help but think of Groucho Marx. Groucho has always guaranteed a laugh from us both. Even in his ridiculous statements, the grain of truth is liable to get stuck in a tooth.
So in the interest of making me shut up upon occasion, enjoy some Groucho-isms:
Before I speak, I have something important to say.
Humor is reason gone mad.
I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it.
One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I’ll never know.
Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.
And last, but certainly not least, the following always puts a smile on my face for days and days, especially when I can find someone with whom to sing it aloud. Watching it again also reminded me of my lifelong infatuation with Harpo. How can anyone not love Harpo?! Harpo has a stellar autobiography, by the way: Harpo Speaks.
I may be a later comer to this party, but I enjoyed this immensely. And so did all three of my kids. How many things can you find that will simultaneously entertain a 14 year old cynic, a 10 year old who clearly has his own entertainment repertoire and a 13.5 month old girl?
It’s also another great distraction from working on my novel.
edit: i realized after i posted this that i had promised another blogger to blog for today about the work i managed to accomplish in the manuscript yesterday. i had also promised i would finish my 2 razzafrackin last scenes, but between baby c’s distinct un-desire for her am nap and my mil’s return 30min after nap finally started, i managed about half of the first scene. the juggling act dropped a lot of writing balls on the floor, but i held onto a few for a while. hoping for more of same today.
Now just don’t get me started on sneezing pandas!