Tuesday, February 06, 2007

the song we sing in mitten weather

When I have occasion to be at my children's school near lunch-time, I hear the nursery school children singing their way down the halls, following their sweet teacher, in their mittens.

Thumbs in the thumb-place

Fingers all together
This is the song we sing in mitten weather

When it is cold, it doesn’t matter whether
Mittens are wool or made of finest leather
This is the song we sing in mitten weather:

Thumbs in the thumb-place
Fingers all together

No snow here, yet, but mighty cold wind.

Designed my favorite sort of Valentine for Brendan's classmates: easy for a seven-year-old to make, made from materials on-hand (watercolor-painted school-work-- anything with red in it), dear (includes his school picture) and beautiful. Do-able and nearly free, sigh. If only all of life was so satisfying. We'll probably finish them today-- I'm in charge of printing the photos and using the hole punch, while Brendan traces, cuts, and threads each watercolor heart with a gold string for hanging.
I'm not certain if Madeleine will agree to the same design. She sees the flaws and foibles of every idea these days, choosing to noodle around at her own projects with the pace of a child named Denise that I used to know, so busy dreaming very slowly that it's hard to get anything finished.

Madeleine prefers to work on other's exciting visions instead of her own, and she likes projects she can dip in and out of, instead of being in charge. When our friend Merry visited for our standard Wednesday afternoon, Madeleine helped Merry construct a pair of felt shoes for her American Girl doll, and then she assisted as Merry decorated a "house" backdrop for her paper dolls. I cut and folded the standing backdrop from a huge piece of heavy cardstock-- my children each have one, and they've lost track of them somewhere in their bedroom. Merry is a passionate crafter, so we get along well-- She takes great care to choose "wallpaper" and flooring from my stash of scrapbook paper. She will not lose this paper house for a long time yet, taking nothing for granted. Her happiness with a project catches Brendan and Madeleine in it's swirl, and they are amazed by how much gratitude overflows from Merry as she folds her magic house flat and packs up her things to go. "It's just a piece of paper," Madeleine shrugs, as if dollhouses dropped from the sky on a regular basis. "No, it's not just a piece of paper. It's a kitchen and a parlor!" Merry insists.

With me and Brendan, Madeleine argues about each suggested activity, even if she might like it very much. When I "made" her read two days ago, she insisted I set a timer for fifteen minutes-- but she read Twelve Tales by Hans Christian Andersen right through the timer, until I insisted she stop for dinner, for bathtime, for bed.

She's a beautiful character these days, colored with the first shades of pre-adolescence. It's hard to believe her teacher once worried that Madeleine might be behaving "too good," bent on pleasing and peace-making-- Mrs. Babcock made note when Madeleine was caught throwing pencils during the reign of a substitute teacher. Madeleine assures me there is a perfectly good reason why she was throwing pencils... Mrs. Babcock and I speak firmly with Madeleine, then share a knowing look when the children are looking elsewhere.

Days are notably longer. Sun sets at 5 p.m., but snow is still a possibility. We need snow for our mitten weather. Perhaps we will need to drive north until we find some.


Rock in the Grass said...

Drive south sister! here the sun sets as 9pm over the sea and rises over the mountains on the opposite side at 6am. It is hot beach weather, with work being an annoying interruption to surfing.

Meehumm said...

I found your blog when I was doing a google search on George Macdonald and The Light Princess, one of my favorite stories. I did enjoy reading.

Lisa Marie said...

Ah, mittens. In the past couple weeks, I've used three different patterns to knit three different pairs of mittens with three different (wearable) results, but each one providing insane amazement for me each time a thumb magically appears. I'll never tire of that! LOL