A Bouquet of Semi-Interesting Moments


October 7, 2013 by Julia

This morning Jack had so much trouble waking up that he had to sit in my lap crying with a blanket over his head. (Sometimes I wish I could switch places with my two-year-old: I could cry every time I woke up, throw huge tantrums, and then sprawl face-down with my blankie for a nap. Can you imagine the catharsis?!) We were waiting for Fiona to get dressed so we could go downstairs for breakfast, and as she pulled her leggings on, she pretended to cry along with Jack, whining, “Waaah! Wa-waaahh!”

Jack yelled from beneath the blanket, “Stop!”

Fiona kept on. “Waaaaa. Waaahhhh!!”

Jack pulled the blanket off his head, stormed over to where she was sitting, and smacked her directly on top of the head. I laughed and immediately tried to cover that up with a very serious “NOOOOO, Jack!!” His anger at Fiona for mocking him still boiled over, however, so I had to restrain him. Can I just tell you, angry toddlers who don’t want to be mocked are pretty funny? As much as I don’t condone hitting under ANY circumstances, I must admit to feeling a little satisfaction that he now recognizes the subtle ways Fiona might try to get the upper hand, and he addresses that squarely on the head, so to speak. Still, NO HITTING.

Fiona insisted that she was only fake-crying along with Jack to make him laugh, though. I believed her. She’s pretty good at snapping him out of his waking crying spells, better than I am. When he wakes up crying, I cuddle him relentlessly and offer him a drink or a book or his favorite show on TV…all of the things I’d like to wake up to. He probably just needs to be shocked awake, though. Fiona acting loud and goofy to make him laugh usually does the trick.

Yesterday we went to the Renaissance Festival, which we attend every year. We all arrived with metaphorical bells on. (I only make the distinction because there were also people with literal bells on.) Fiona: “This is so great. I love this place, I want to do that ribbon on the pole thing (maypole), see the puppets, go down the big slide, etc., this is the best day ever, and we get treats!! Treats, Jack!” she exclaimed to her brother. “Playground, Jack!”

IMG_6666 IMG_6628 IMG_6608 IMG_6617 IMG_6597 IMG_6643 IMG_6656 IMG_6648

Dennis and I had a great time with our usual Renfest gang, too – most of whom now have kids of their own. Dennis got to throw axes with the men and I got to sit and watch my favorite Renaissance band while lightly buzzed on golden, delicious mead, exhorting my children to dance because I am too embarrassed to. Poor children. I was in my happy place, though. Also, the maze was a fun activity for the whole family.


I should really learn the band’s name – their music is infectious and rollicking. The singer looks like an Irish Bruce Springsteen, no? Sounds a bit like one, too.


Watching Daddy throw axes, waiting for “his turn.”

IMG_6663 IMG_6672 IMG_6674 IMG_6675 IMG_6701 IMG_6721 IMG_6691 IMG_6695

But it was hot, too hot for October. I don’t know if it ever got this hot during the Renaissance, but it certainly doesn’t jive with the Medieval Nostalgia vibe. So, due to heat and over-stimulation, Fiona got a little…whiny.


Getting ready to complain about something despite the placating treat in her hand


Going on four hours, and the kids are done.

I was having a wonderful time – as was the rest of my family, I believe. But suddenly it all went tumbling over a precipice, as our days are wont to do. (The key is to forget the falling into a deep pit of despair and/or blinding rage part, or turn it into a joke, and then remember that just a short hour or two ago this was the best day ever.)

We had been meeting children’s demands left and right, and finally it was time to go; we had to whip out the map to figure out which direction to walk. While trying to make sense of the map, Fiona kept yelling at us, “I want to GO. Why aren’t we GOING yet?!” until finally I said, “FIONA! You need to SHUT …(deep breath)…your mouth RIGHT NOW.” She stared at me with wide eyes, shocked that I’d come this close to telling her to shut up. I might as well have said shut up, though, and I was so mad in the moment I didn’t even regret it. As we walked to the exit, she said, in a tone implying both shame and resentment, “Mommy, you said a bad word.” I said, “Yes, I know I did, and I’m sorry about that, but YOU NEED TO BE MORE PATIENT.” And we talked about it, and admitted to wrongdoing on both sides, and I think we avoided emotional scarring, but the moment has stuck with me, and maybe her, too.

And then today in Panera Bread, Jack was basically running circles around our table, or screaming into my hand, or leaning full force away from me while I gripped his arm and tried to eat with my other hand. Meanwhile, the two little girls at our table would turn around slightly in their chairs and their moms (my friends) would say, “Please sit facing the table,” or some such thing and their girls would comply. They would comply! I’ve given up on manners for the time being. Also, eating. My goal with Jack in restaurants is simple: keep him quiet. I can force him to sit in his chair and we can all listen to the screams and then I have to leave, food untouched. Or I can let him be the bad kid bouncing off the walls, but smiling. I figure as long as he’s not literally in anyone’s face, or hurting himself or others, it’s the better option.

At one point he was making eyes at an elderly couple sitting nearby, and the woman told him to come over and give her a high-five. I jokingly said, “Don’t encourage him!” She put her hand over her mouth, stricken, and said, “Excuse me.”

“Oh, no!” I exclaimed. “I was just kidding! He loves high-fives!”

On Saturday while looking at a picture of Jack with my Grandma, I told her that his impish grin reminds me of Grandpa, who we lost in 2007. She and my mom declared that I was absolutely right; we smiled and looked at the picture together, marveling at the way Grandpa’s good looks and rascally charm have been passed down to his great-grandson, as if by magic.


Jack, 11 months

Every little thing is gonna be alright.


3 thoughts on “A Bouquet of Semi-Interesting Moments

  1. Vike Thurston says:

    Ju – Thanks for all you guys are doing with our beautiful grandchildren. It costs a lot, I know. As I look at these pics, I’m just struck by how ALIVE Fiona and Jack look. They are so blessed to have you and Dennis for their parents.


  2. Martha Morley says:

    That must be why Jack’s smile always melts me. It is like his Great Grandpa. Grandma M.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 531 other followers



--- A Return to Art Criticism ---

Radical Discipleship

A Joint Project of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries and Word & World

Read Diverse Books

Let's Read The World


A daily selection of the best content published on WordPress, collected for you by humans who love to read.

Angela Barnett

Writer. Wig Wearer. Shame Buster.

Things We Like

a project by jessica gross

LaMonte M. Fowler

an indie author writing to stay sane

Kelsey L. Munger

writer & writing coach


Social Justice | Pop Culture | Black Girl Magic

One Awkward Year

wow, this is awkward . . .

The Belle Jar

"Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences." - Sylvia Plath

Joy, Lovely Joy

Writing through mothering

Fucking Awesome Bulimics I Know

Kicking that pimp called Shame in the shins.

An Honest Mom

From the hip on mindfulness, parenting, feminism and homesteading.


small shares from Pronoia Coaching

James Gillingham - Long Arm Films

Thinking thoughts and making films

Jennifer Keishin Armstrong

Writing for the Pop Culture Literate.

Laura Parrott Perry

We've all got a story to tell.

Ginger's Grocery

Come on in and browse. The biscuits were made fresh this morning, the Slush Puppie machine was just refilled with a new bottle of red syrup, and we have the biggest selection of bait this close to town.


some of us are brave

Music for Deckchairs

"In shadowy, silent distance grew the iceberg too": universities, technology, work and life

my name is elizabeth

stories about race, culture, and identity

Priss & Vinegar

Lawyer by trade. Writer at heart. Housewife by accident.

Angela Tucker

Blogger / Speaker / Educator

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Song of the Lark

Music, melodies, mutterings

Adventures of a Teacher Nerdfighter

Building a fifth grade classroom community around enthusiasm, creativity, and awesome.

Michelle Murnin Paulson

Evidential Spiritual Medium & Blogger

Olivia A. Cole

Author. Blogger. Bigmouth.

%d bloggers like this: