Tag Archives: childhood

Sally and the gang

They were hidden for years in a blue plastic garbage bin in one closet or another. Moved with me more times than I can count over the years. Played with, cuddled with, cried on, loved.

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I brought them out today without expectations. My children aren’t really into dolls. But I was.

These dolls, they were such a huge part of my childhood, of me. Of my imagination, and story telling. I lovingly toted them everywhere with me. Most were handmade by my mother. While I had Barbies (much to my mother’s chagrin… and now mine…) the soft hand crafted, made with more love and patience and occasionally blood and tears, were my favorite.

This afternoon I gingerly took each one out of the bin marked Dolls – Corinne’s Room, written in my mother’s handwriting. Thick black sharpie on yellowed masking tape. I smoothed doll hair and dresses. As my children watched closely, the names rattled off my tongue like I was five and playing with imaginary friends. Sally, Margaret, Raggedy Ann, Star, Sleepy, Holly….

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Sally {above} was my favorite. She was beneath the tree on the Christmas of 1983. Whenever my mother made me a new dress, Sally had one as well. When I cried, or was lonely, or was the kind of mad that only a little girl can be, Sally was there. When I got my ears pierced, so did Sally. It never dawned on me until years later that Sally didn’t look like other baby dolls. She was made for me, nearly indestructible, and still soft. So full of love.

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I don’t know that I’d define myself as a normal child, or a normal adult for that matter. I know I made up worlds of my own, friends of my own, and lived happily among them. I was the child sitting on a swing set singing Somewhere Out There to my grandparents miles away. I penned stories that my mother bound for me. In my mind, my dolls had feelings, and I had to play with them all equally so no one would get upset. They were a part of me, of my childhood circle of friends. They were me. I need to pull them out every now and then, not only to share with my children, but so I never forget.

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Happy Halloween!

From our ghoul & goblin to yours!

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Treats for the soul

Sometimes, a little treat is good for the soul. Big souls, little souls, we all need treats. They lift the soul after a very tough week. I’ve of the belief that food can fix almost anything. Might not be true, but not be the right mindset, but it’s what I firmly believe. And when you don’t have brownies… you go to the next best thing.

One part healthy:

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One part, not so healthy:

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Put them together….

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And it makes for very happy, very messy children.

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Tuesdays page turner

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He had to bring it to the dinner table. It was not an option. He was engrossed, telling his own story as he looked carefully at each and every illustration. Struggling to keep the book in the right spot as he turned the pages, the pages so big in his little hands. He didn’t eat much dinner (he rarely does) but he was at least with us at the table that evening. A small success for us in the grand scheme of things.

And who was I to make him put down his book?

I couldn’t. At that moment, in him, I recognized myself. The book worm, eager to get my hands on anything with words. The child whose imagination grew with every turned page. The girl who couldn’t get enough of worlds that were captivating and seemed somehow possible.

Who was I to make him stop?

There’s no way. While it might not be polite, the occasional book at the dinner table will be tolerated, if not encouraged. Especially when shared with enthusiasm and curiosity with his dinner dates.

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Please visit Emily at Chatting at the Sky for more Tuesday’s Unwrapped. You’ll find simple moments and simple mysteries unwrapped in everyday life. Enjoy!

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A new (tv free…) world

Recently Heather of The Extraordinary Ordinary put together a very well written post about unplugging, being tv free. I read it and remembered the TV free few weeks we spent last winter as a TV detox for our oldest child Fynn. It went better than we expected. We put the TV in the closet and it was an out of sight out of mind situation. Fynn never mentioned the missing mind sucking device. It was going well, until we all got sick with colds one week. Then out of desperation (mostly on my part) the TV came back as a babysitter for the toddler while I tried to simultaneously take care of myself, the toddler, and nurse an infant with a stuffed up nose.

And then it was all over.

You see, like Heather, moderation is not my strong point – especially when it comes to the TV.

In her post, Heather mentioned The Case for Make Believe, by Susan Linn. After catching wind of that book, I promptly hopped on the waiting list at the library and waited my turn. It came sooner than I expected, and I devoured the Linn’s words. I highly recommend it, but I’ll warn you, as I read I kicked myself for taking away chances for my kids to enhance their imaginations and their emotional growth by giving unhealthy doses of TV every day… It’s heavy, and some parts seem extreme, but it’s good stuff. I promise.

So, since reading Heather’s post, and Linn’s book, it had been on my mind. The need to be free of it.

The thing Fynn asked for the moment he woke up, “I watch a wittle bit of TV mommy?” The minute his sister would go down for a nap “our quiet time Mommy! TV Mommy!” Since when does TV = quiet? And the kicker of it all? We don’t even have cable.

Something had to be done.

We mentioned in passing to my blonde haired little boy that the TV might have to go into the shop for a bit. He didn’t really say much. And I must add, I have not mentioned Paige yet because, bless her, she could care less about TV. It could vanish altogether from the face of the earth and she’d be none the wiser.

After the kids went to bed one night we snuck the TV into my closet, and covered it in blankets in case a certain sleuth found his way to our hiding place. Instantly I felt calm. Then overwhelmed with the though of how I was going to survive, being the parent at home with the kids all. day. long. every. day. Panic set in. Fynn’s quiet time had been my time to do my thing. Email, use time sucking networking sites that will remain nameless…

In any case, the first morning came, and after the initial shock of the TV being missing I heard things like “I want my TV!” and “I miss my TV!” Apparently this time it would stay in his mind.

But we made it through the day. More got accomplished (by all!) than usual, and we listened to more music, danced, read more books. It was really nice. However, when I mentioned his father’s upcoming arrival from work I was told matter of factly “Daddy bring my TV home.” Sorry baby, not tonight.

Day two brought with it a panicked bright eyed boy. “Where’s my TV? Where’s my TV?” was heard as he ran through every room of our two bedroom apartment, about ten times. Searching hysterically, the prior days success seemed hard to repeat.

Day three was a little easier, though he still longed for his TV. But that day he was happy to sit on the couch, stare at the vacancy left by the electronic babysitter, and pretended to watch one of his shows. I won’t even tell you for how long.  But still, no whining.

Day four the only mention was that he wanted to watch a movie, but then he quickly moved on to something more interesting.

Day five came without so much as a hint about TV, movies, or anything else electronic for that matter. And so it continued.

We now have a week of being TV free under our belt. And I know we did the right thing. The other day Fynn had us all pretend we were at the beach. He took off all of his clothes (because apparently that’s what you do when you go to the beach…) Then Lucas helped both kids jump over huge waves and build sand castles. All in our living room.

We love it so much that we’re actually going to get rid of our TV (this was NOT my original plan, nor was it my idea. It was ALL the husbands – so don’t go saying I’m some kind of crazy wife who’s depriving her husband… little do the kids know we can watch TV on the lap top… shhhhh!!!!)

It’s a whole new world. It’s not for everyone, but for us, it makes us more connected as a family. Imaginations are running wild and giggles have filled the void left by TV signals. We spend more time just being with each other, and exploring our creative and quiet sides. And if we feel the need to be crazy, all we have to do is put on our sunglasses, pop in some tunes, and stroll to our living room to enjoy the view.

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Cranky Sillies

Today had all sorts of potential. Chillier than normal, but still gorgeous out. Our morning went pretty well; we met friends for a walk, got lots of fresh air and visiting in.

Then we got home.

And things got crazy.

Overtired children dizzy with fresh air and bellies full of laughs. Sometimes that combination is fantastic, and others… well… sometimes that combination leads to a big case of the cranky sillies.

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And the cranky sillies often lead to nightmarish meltdowns over books about ducks that somehow became offensive…

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Which inevitably leads to naptime. Apparently for all. Even those who only nap on the rare occasion. But only when next to a beloved clementine of course. And the nap needs to take place only on the floor, when a certain mother isn’t looking (possibly dozing herself for a brief moment…)

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Here’s to being forever grateful for the weekends when husbands are home and can help deal with the cranky sillies… which inevitably also come out on rainy Saturdays (like the one we’re schedule for tomorrow).

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Through the eyes of my Fynn

Only through his eyes could a spider be a playmate. Someone to confide in, and share his book of the day. To him, a spider is someone. Someone to greet with a hello or depart from with a goodbye. He apparently has not acquired his mothers squirmish nature around the 8 legged creature. He tells me “mommy, I love spiders!”

Only through the eyes of my Fynn.

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Father & daughter

They’re thick as thieves

I’ve never seen the likes of it

A little girl with her daddy completely wrapped around her finger

They’ve got a bond that I can’t even begin to describe

When one needs the other, they know

And they need each other

Every child has a bond with their parents

But this seems so much stronger

The way she runs to him when he gets home from work

The way they sit and read stories for hours

The way they get each other

He never turns her away

He always has an embrace

Kind words

Snuggles and open, protective, arms

I don’t know if he understands what he’s in for

Daughters… are something else

But fathers of daughters

They are a force to be reckoned with

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You Capture – Still life

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Years ago my family lived in a duplex right next to the ocean on the New Hampshire coast. I don’t remember exactly what age I was, but it was right at the point where my brother and I were able to go on adventures by ourself. We’d go for walks down by the ocean, exerting our independence while entering worlds of pretend. We were young, but old enough to be trusted for bits of time outside of our comfort zone.

On one adventure, we found a lobster trap. We saw it as a treasure, and decided that our mother had to have it on our porch. After all, there was one already there, and it would be a perfect match. We hauled the trap down the sidewalk next to the beach road, since it was easier to walk on than the rocks and sand of the surf. Proudly, and awkwardly, we carried our prize.

Until a police man stopped us and told us we were committing a crime by taking what was not ours. He helped us put it back up on the ocean wall, explaining how the fishermen would come back and get his trap. It was not ours.

I cannot tell you how embarrassed we were, and how sad we were, mostly because we lost something that we were so proud to take home to our mother. She would have loved it, and understood exactly why we brought it home. A piece of the ocean turned into still life at home for us to admire, imagine with and turn into a piece of our history. It’s out there still, somewhere. Our treasure. Part of our story.

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This weeks You Capture challenge was to show still life. Check out Beth’s site to see more fantastic captures!

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Welcome Stanley

Meet Stanley.

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He’s our newest arrival. He joins roughly 25 trains (of all varieties) and a gazillion cars and trucks.

We are by no means wealthy, but if you were to measure wealth by the amount of matchbox cars one has, we’d be the wealthiest family this side of the Mason Dixon line.

The problem is my constant trips to Target. I’ve cut down, but we still head over to Target once every few weeks. Today Fynn’s phrase on the way there was “I can’t wait to see Target! Mommy, I can’t wait to see Target!”

Cute bad mommy moment.

But getting back on point. The reason why we could be rich in terms of matchbox cars is that every time we go to Target Fynn gets to pick out a toy. Not because he’s necessarily been extraordinarily good, but because it makes him happy. We go to the toy aisle and pick out one matchbox car. Or one train (which is hardly the 99 cent equivalent of a fantasy on wheels). But still, he gets to pick out something every time we go to Target.

And that’s my fault . I know that. I get that. It’d be easy to say “no, this time we’re not bringing a toy home from target just because we need laundry detergent”.

But it makes him so happy. And proud. You cannot imagine the cuteness that occurs when he carries his toy up to the checkout lady and puts the package on the conveyor belt and waits for it to get scanned through.

However… the problem is that Paige gets left out (and the real problem is that he expects a toy every time we go to the store…. but I don’t want to deal with that…). And please, don’t let me go into the shortage of appropriate toys for me to get for Paige every time we go to the store. I’m not going to buy the girl a Barbie or a Polly Pocket every time we step foot into Target. At last with cars the imagination has some sort of unlimited access.. but really, I won’t start on the shortage of educational “girl” toys…

So we welcome Stanley for the moment. And not mention to Fynn’s daddy how we brought another toy home to join the clan.

My thinking is that maybe, just maybe, if I type this out on this blog… maybe it’ll be incentive to not buy another matchbox car, not buy another train, the next time I go out with the kids. I always think – I just won’t bring the kids with me! But really, sometimes it’s necessary. Like today, I had to get two new pillows, otherwise my mother, who came into town today, would have never let me hear the end of the crappy pillows I let her sleep on for how many nights in a row… (just kidding of course mom 😉 ).

But really, I could just say no, and let the tantrum happen once, and then it’d be the end of it.

So that’s what’s going to happen. So help me. No more new trains. No more new cars.

But for now, welcome to you Stanley. We love you, like we love every other train and car and truck in our collection.

And please, tell me I’m not the only one who has the problem of multiplying cars, trucks, and trains.

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