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Penta-Posse

Sharing a Smile

May 11, 2005 | By | One Comment

A dear friend called today to say that she is moving. Great news for her and her family; not so great for those of us who love them.

So I set off for the grocery with Dreamer, Dancer and Boo, my heart heavy. I went through the routine motions of parking and getting Boo out of his car seat with my mind a million miles away.

Then Dreamer came up behind me with one of those grocery carts that has a plastic car on the front for Dancer and Boo. (Who knew he had gotten big enough to sit up there?)

The look on Boo’s face as he grabbed that stearing wheel!

Who knows, maybe I’m not the only one who had a sad day. I thought I might share the sight that made me smile . . .

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It’s Just What Moms Do . . .

April 30, 2005 | By | No Comments

If you are coming over from LaShawn’s Corner, welcome!

With the writing I’ve been doing on women in combat, I’ve been thinking a lot about the differences between men and women, moms and dads. A lot of people want to argue that there isn’t much difference.

But my friend and mentor, Steve Rhoads, wrote a book this last year Taking Sex Differences Seriously which lays out all the evidence that, in fact, moms and dads, while equally important, are not interchangeable. (You can find a direct link to get this important book on the left sidebar!) For example, moms are better able to hear their baby’s cry than dads are. Strange, but true.

This week was the Dude’s tenth birthday, so we had the cousins over last night. The Penta-Posse plus Two were camped out in the family room, including the Dancer, who hasn’t been feeling very well this week. The physical space separating us included stairs and a door. . .

In the middle of the night, I woke up, for no obvious reason, so started trying to go back to sleep. But I couldn’t. Something felt wrong. I listened carefully. I heard nothing. Or was there something faint?

I decided to check on the kids since I was awake, and as I opened the door to head down the hall toward the family room, I heard the Dancer crying as if her heart would break. She was curled up in a ball on the couch, the blanket on the floor, her body cold, her head hot.

Why didn’t you come to me, baby? I asked.

It was dark. . . I was scared. . .

I got her some medicine, took her to our room, and got her settled in snugly. She burrowed in and went to sleep immediately. With the commotion, Jack woke up. What’s going on?

Over the years, with five kids, we’ve had our fair share of multiple kids throwing up, so he’s been a part of plenty of night-time traumas.

But, usually, mom is the one who hears the first cry. It’s just what moms do.

09 Apr

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Big Man in Charge!

April 9, 2005 | By |

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Who’s in charge here?

Yeah, baby. No contest. It’s the little big man in the middle . . . (check out that face!)

14 Mar

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Babes on Bourbon Street

March 14, 2005 | By |

Made a quick stop through the Big Easy on the way to Austin. Hit Cafe du Monde for coffee and beignets and then headed to Bourbon Street.

Several people warned me about the seamier side of the notorious party promenade, but I hoped the Penta-Posse would be distracted by all the excitement. You would think I would have learned my lesson from Gilgamesh (see below)…

Each one of the Posse (‘cept Boo!) chose a New Orleans feathered mask and we joined the crowds walking down closed-off Bourbon Street. It was lightly raining, but we loved listening to the bands — particularly the trombonist playing Pink Panther — and the Dancer and I grabbed hands and danced with joy in the middle of the street.

Finally, exhausted and foot-weary, we turned back toward the hotel.

The Dude slipped his hand into mine and leaned in closely. Lowering his voice, so his sisters wouldn’t hear, he asked intensely: “Mom, what are those women thinking of?”

So, I guess he noticed the Hustler Club after all.

Looking at the exploitation and degradation of the female form through his eyes, how could I explain their inability to blush? How could I explain the pornographer’s ability to sell such a perverted conception of “empowerment” and “freedom?”

We’re hoping the Posse will learn a bit of history on this trip. But they may learn more about life.

07 Mar

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Westward Ho!

March 7, 2005 | By |

We got up at 0-dark-thirty this morning, put the Penta-Posse in the truck — still in their pajamas . . . and headed West. I am attending a Liberty Fund conference this weekend in Austin, organized by Fred Turner (see Gilgamesh post below) on epic, and my husband has a trade show in Vegas at the end of the month — and, as everyone knows, Austin and Vegas are right next to each other — so we decided to take the kids along for the ultimate field-trip to the Grand Canyon.

Fred has had us reading the Odyssey, and the Aeneid, as well as his own epic poem, Genesis, about the settlement of Mars, in preparation for the conference. So I think I’ll blame the insanity on him: all the epic adventure inspiration. Well, adventure, yes. . . but I guess I overlooked the conflict, destruction and general mayhem storylines, as well. . .

Stay tuned. Will they survive the Odyssey in the SUV?

04 Mar

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Gilgamesh is gross!

March 4, 2005 | By |

I recently read the epic poem Gilgamesh for an upcoming Liberty Fund conference, organized by Frederick Turner, in Austin. (Fred is the renowned poet and author of a modern epic, Genesis, about the settlement of Mars.)

In my ongoing attempt to expand the Penta-Posse’s literary horizons beyond the Adventures of Captain Underpants, I snapped up an audio reading of Gilgamesh when I saw one at the library. On our next road-trip to see Jack’s mom, I felt like quite the uber-mom when the Penta-Posse became engrossed in the story of Gilgamesh, the ancient king of Uruk and his friend Enkidu, a wild man who lived among the beasts.

Problem: a key element of the story is Enkidu’s transformation into full humanity . . .through seduction by a harlot.

The print version read that they “lay together” and she “taught him the woman’s art.” That probably would have gone over their heads. The audio version, however, translates her “welcoming” him pretty explicitly. We’re riding along enjoying the story and all of a sudden we hear, “she spread her. . .” Total brain freeze! I looked over at Jack and I could see his brain racing, “Where is the off button, where is the off button?!!?

Then, that particular phrase turned out to be a refrain in the poem. No, no! Where is the off button??!!

Finally, the story moved on to tamer things.

Total silence in the back. Jack and I were still not quite breathing.

Then, suddenly, we hear the Diva: “EWWW! That’s gross!”

So, it’s official: Gilgamesh is gross. On the other hand, maybe this could be a new, more classic, approach to sex ed in the schools . . .or not.

For the record, the Dude did think that Gilgamesh’s fight with the ferocious Humbaba of the seven terrors, was “tight.”

03 Mar

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Gandalf and audacity

March 3, 2005 | By |

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The Dude (with the help of the Diva) discovered that Gandalf has something to say about audacity on PlayStation 2. They worked very hard to get the quote for mom’s blog. And it’s perfect:

For ourselves there is no hope. This is our final act to give Frodo time — time to end the evil that marshalls before us.

We now give witness that the day of men faces the final test. The eye of Sauron will be upon us, mistaking our audacity for power.

We must hold his gaze long enough for the unthinkable to become real. For hope to conquer all.

At first, the Dude gave me only the part of this quote about audacity — that evil would mistake it for power. And I was disappointed. Where is the inspiration in that?

But it’s all in the context: sometimes we are powerless; sometimes we do confront circumstances and opposition that are overwhelming. I loved Lord of the Rings for the reminder that it is a great honor to give your all on the side of good, standing against evil, even if it costs you everything. And even the weakest among us has a part to play.

You just have to go with Gimli! “Certainty of death! Small chance of success. . .What are we waiting for?” There’s audacity!

(Thx for LOTR transcript.)

Aaron Burr and Boo

February 23, 2005 | By | No Comments

Today was completely taken over by getting Boo’s vaccinations up-to-date. He had to get five shots. I hate getting my kids vaccinated. If I could morally justify it, I wish I could be a free-rider. . .The very thought of watching someone take a needle and inject my perfectly healthy baby boy with a virus that used to kill people makes me uneasy.

And then, of course, mom is the one who has to hold the baby down while they do it.

Sweet: the Dude was very unhappy about the idea of his little brother getting shots, and wanted to be nearby and watch over him, too.

So, I kept thinking of Aaron Burr! The man who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel was orphaned at two years old after his mother died from a smallpox innoculation.

One wonders: would history have taken a different turn if that little boy had had a mother?

To think that I am scared of shots now. What a debt we owe to the people who took those early vaccines. . .