In random order:
1. Before kids, two of the things I thought would be a breeze were making one-on-one time with each child and being completely chill about how they chose to express themselves through their clothing. HA! That latter one especially makes me squirm. It's one thing when your daughter decides to wear her princess costume to Costco. That's charming. But when she insists on wearing her taffeta party dress and SNOW BOOTS to the playground? Where every other child seems to have stepped out of Gymboree display window? Folks, it turns out that I am quite shallow, because I felt a great disturbance in The Force. Being chill about their clothing choices? Working on it.
Anyway, this is all by way of saying that I made strides as a mother on BOTH counts this weekend. Tim, Ian and Caroline sallied forth on a Cub Scout campout, taking our only family car. Eliza wanted to stay behind in order to attend her BFF's birthday party. So yesterday, we rode the bus down to the Children's Museum, bonding all the way there and back. We told jokes. We played math pattern games. We enjoyed the vistas of our fair city. My Love and Belonging child's cup overflowed. Oh, and by the way, she wore an outfit that clashed like nobody's business. I'm still here to tell the tale, and I think I'm a stronger woman because of it.
Liberty of London. Y'all. So fetching. From women's clothing to accessories to pajamas and, ahem, unmentionables, to girls' clothing (oh! the! cute! skirts!) to housewares. Consider yourself forewarned.
3. If you're homeschooling, or thinking about homeschooling, or know someone who does, or passed a homeschooler at an intersection once, you might wonder just how freakishly they're going to turn out, especially if their home barely resembles school. If so, you might find this interview with a homeschool graduate, now on a full ride at the University of Chicago, enlightening, reassuring, or inspiring.
4. I just finished reading Charles and Emma (see sidebar for link). It's a fascinating look at the marriage of Charles and Emma Darwin -- man of science, woman of faith. Can you imagine being married to someone who not only did not share your faith, but also pioneered the science that would call into question the faith of thousands? What's absolutely amazing about these two is that they made it work -- respecting each other, adoring each other, raising an unusually close-knit family, weathering tremendous grief together, hardly spending a day or night apart from one another for over forty years. She even proofread The Origin of the Species for him! And yet she agonized over the fate of his eternal soul, while he could not hide from her his doubts. If you read it, I'd love to know what you think. (In case you're wondering, I believe that faith and science can coexist harmoniously ... but we won't open that can o' worms tonight.)
Also. It turns out Mr. Darwin suffered from ill health, particularly of the digestive nature, for most of his adult life. I am hereby diagnosing him with gluten intolerance. You heard it here first.
5. Since the Olympics, Ian's enchantment with commercial jingles has ramped up into hyperdrive. To converse with him, you'd think he watches the telly all day ... which, need I even say, is so not the case. So the other morning at breakfast, we were reading about how David, in the book of 1 Samuel, played harp music to calm the troubled mind of King Saul. Ian interrupted in a syrupy voice: "Get refreshed and regenerated with David's (TM) Harp Music today!"
There's just something about that "TM" that unglues me.