Thursday, January 27, 2011

A day at the zoo or ape heaven

We went to the zoo today with our friend and mama of twins Lisa.  It was just Magdalena, Augustus and I with Lisa and her boys in the stroller.  Usually, we're a group going, ya know, at least one other family often two or three, so today felt like a luxury.  
Magdalena and Augustus were together.  Playing.  With each other.  I know I know, there brother and sister right?  They play together all the time, right?  Well...sometimes yes but I realized we've never been to the zoo as just us.  Just the Barnas family and there was something so lovely so sweet so basic about M & A playing together.  At the zoo.  
Lisa had not yet arrived when we got there so we went on in by ourselves.  It seemed so...peaceful, so easy.  We wandered in and Magdalena led the way because since we do always go with other families, I never pay attention to where we're going and really have no idea how to get around the zoo with all it's paths and continents.  Magdalena wanted to go Straight To The Playground.  But first let's stop and take our picture in the photo booth!  (never done that before!)  Next, On to the Playground!  But let's stop and play on the apes!  Next, On to the Playground!  Oh!  There's the lion, so close, right there!  He's sooo beautiful!  OK, now, On to the Playground!  Oh wait, the elephant sculptures!  We must climb those! Mama, mama, take a picture and post it to fb and call it Magdalena and Augustus in Africa!  Done. 
Now, On To The Playground!  (ring ring)  
Now, off to meet Lisa and the boys at the entrance!
Anyhoo, it was a beautiful day.  We played, we saw a few animals, had a lovely lunch with the Jaguars, played at the playground (finally) and rode the carousel.  
It was a special day with my crew, and yes I do believe we will be doing that again one day in the near future.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Tea with the Queen

Today I had tea with the Queen.  Which Queen you ask?  Oh, Queen Magdalena doncha know.

I'll start from the beginning, of the day that is.  The faucet on our kitchen sink is A.) hideous B.) backwards.  Yes, backwards.  One must push the hot/cold handles back for water.  And finally, C.) is leaking horribly and cannot be repaired, thank heavens.  So my hard working man who has worked for a month straight and this was his first weekend off picked up a job yesterday, I said to him I said, Honey, can we spend some time together as a family tomorrow?  M & A were pretty bummed when we woke up and you were gone.  They know it's Saturday and that you do not have the guard and that you were supposed to be home, so can we, hunh, can we please?  He said yes.  Then the phone rang this morning and he said, I'll just be gone a little while.  Sad faces all around.  This won't take long, how about after I get home we all go to the hardware store for a new faucet and then out to lunch?  Happy faces all around.

His job was short, our trip to Lowes was fine.  I said I'd like this, this or this.  And while he checked out the different faucets that met the mama's criteria, M & A & I wandered around the kitchen area fantasizing about our one day kitchen: our one day five burner stove, our one day dishwasher (Nora, I remember your words: It changed my quality of life), our one day two drawer oven, our one day HE front loader, our one day tile backsplash, well, you get the picture.  It was fun.  There is one thing that is a now kitchen and that is gorgeous pulls from Anthropologie and other fabulous places, not a hardware store.

I digress.  After we bought the new and quite perfect faucet and dish soap to go in the soap dispenser (YAY! no more dish soap container on my counter top!) we headed out to Mojo for b-b-q and we had a really yummy lunch.  Then home for coffee and hang out time whilst my man worked some more, but this time for free b/c of course it was here for us.  After a bit Magdalena says to me, Mama, could you please try not to be loud?  Augustus and I are going to take a nap.  Nice I think.  Naps are nice.  Then she wanted some appropriate soft music, turned on Pandora and said mama there is nothing that is the right mood.  Of course there is say I!  Let's try classical.  We try choral...too Christmasy she says.  Then I go for orchestral.  She says what's that?  I say ya know, Bach, Tchaicosky...she says Vivaldi?!  I say yes.  M and A listen to these amazing cd's that are stories of composers lives and music and they are riveting, and yes I listen to them b/c of course I have to and they are really really well done. Very entertaining and they do exactly what they are supposed to do.  Expose my children to great classical, baroque, whatever music and have them fall in love with it.  (We also have been watching the Habenera from Bizet's Carmen on youtube, that is their favorite piece right now.  It's a bit hard to explain that the gorgeous Carmen is a "bad girl", but Augustus gets it intuitively.  She's really beautiful, he says. And she's mean.  Exactly!)

Oh forgive me I digress again!  Such is my nature I do believe.  Anyhoo, so the classical music is playing and Magdalena is snuggled on the couch under a down throw, Augustus is in his room snuggled under his quilt, Ethan is in the kitchen working, I'm doing the endless laundry when Magdalena says Maaaamaaaaa...would you please make me some chai tea?  And then come and sit with me and have tea?  And I say oh Magdalena, I can't, I have so much laundry and... oh well of course I'll sit and have tea with you!  (see how I say no?  see why my laundry is never done?  I thought, as I walked into the bedroom to put down yet another load of not-folded laundry, what am I going to remember in five years?  The laundry that I did or having tea with my daughter in the dim light of her down-time nap?)

Classical music played while I danced my way into the living room with the little blue cafe table and matching chairs for Augustus and I, Magdalena would stay on the couch.  I put down a lavender tule with white stars table cloth, made a lovely pot of chai tea with warm milk and honey, and danced my way into the living room to serve.  Once there, Magdalena proclaimed her royal-ness and that she was Queen Magdalena and that I was her servant.  Fine by me I thought, pretty close to real life but I'll play along.  She spoke with a delightful British accent and when I answered her I barked out my best Cockney accent and she said no mama, you're not that kind of servant, you speak with a nice British accent.  I was knitting on my forever knitting project, having tea with Queen Magdalena and Sir Augustus, and we had a whole discussion of aristocracy, the working class, the servent class etc and accents and countries and what it means to actually say "the sun never sets on the British empire" which led to an exploration of "imperialism" to which Magdalena replied "oh you mean like the Persians!" and then went on a meandering narrative about Cleopatra, Julius Caeser, the Roman Empire and the asp that bit Cleopatra from Magdalena.

Sigh.  A perfect day.  Days like this I think, why do I ever worry about "what if"?  What if they're not learning?  What if they don't learn the right things?  What if I never really stick to a curriculum, whether it's one I bought or borrowed from the library?  What if I fail?  What if I fail them?

And then I remember that at the zoo party for Addie Magdalena was the only person in the room who knew "crepuscular", and one of the few that knew "diurnal".  And then I spend the afternoon having tea with the Queen, getting schooled on Ancient History, what Tasmanian Devils really eat, and who's who with Caeser, Cleopatra, her ten year old brother that she married, and Marc Antony and then I remember how perfect this really is, and how blessed I am to have the family I have, with the husband I have, and the children I have.

Tea with the Queen was all I could have imagined, and more.

Friday, January 14, 2011

What is it about children and kittens?

Frida came in the kitchen and stood back as Lavender wove her way between my feet, watching. I bent down to pet the kitten and Frida said, in her delightful high, light & sing-song voice - can I pet her? We sat on the kitchen floor and I said of course. She picked up Lavender with her little girl skills, and walked away in absolute bliss. She was the perfect picture of childhood wonder and innocence, white pj's sprinkled with pink & blue flowers, trimmed in pink, clutching a freaked out kitten. Does it get more perfect?

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Wow, it's been so long and fb has become such an easy way to spread the Clan Barnas propaganda that I have lost my blog groove.  Those quick and easy posts from my BB are so easy, just like on fb, that well, I guess nothing.
I digress.
Today I spent the morning with some of the most fabulous families I could hope to know.  Mamas, papas, little ones, infants, toddlers, big guys, babies in the bellies...and more love and kindness and good will that one knows what to do with!  Oh do let me gush on, please.
Seven years ago around when Magdalena was four months old I co-founded an API group with four other mamas.  (API you ask?  Check it out here.)  The group in Cruces was like a (not to be cheesy) warm green ocean of love and support for this brand-new-didn't-have-a-community-mama and I loved and still love all the families/mamas/children/midwives/doulas that I met and that sustained me in my wild and random ride of early motherhood.  

Today I was at our regular second Tuesday of the month API meeting and there it was again, that warm green ocean of love and support.  The listening, even over the din of children playing, babies cooing, Augustus demanding (noooooo!) and general parenting going on amongst 15 families with various numbers of children, 40-ish folks at least, the quality of listening is profound.  Throughout the din, the parents are heard, and heard with love and respect and offered suggestions and solutions.  Oh how I do cherish the community that is growing here, and thriving.
Like I said, do let me gush on.  This is where we grow.  This is where we thrive.  This is where we learn to surrender expectations, to open our hearts and stretch them all out of proportion to allow more love in so we can let more love out, this is where I connect my heart to my brain to my instincts to my nature and learn to filter out the noise that says our children do not deserve our respect, and in turn, that we do not deserve theirs.  This is where I see the evidence of the success of attachment style parenting.  Listen, if something I'm doing as a parent doesn't work, it's not the fault of my child, nor necessarily my fault, but if it doesn't work, I am certainly not going to do it over and over and over, let alone try to enroll other families in a failing philosophy.  The beauty of attachment parenting - besides the payoff of loving it! - is that it is effective parenting.  It works!  I respond well when I am respectfully asked to do something, not barked at.  Big fat hairy surprise, it's the same for my children.  Shocking, I know.
Oh how I could ramble and ramble and ramble on about the lovefest that is my family and my community, but if you don't know them or me, you probably won't believe me.  And if you do know them or me, then you know.
All this to say that a 2  1/2 hour meeting and lunch at Costco (so random) turned out to be one of the loveliest days around, and I'll take that anytime.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kitten perfection

Did I mention we got kittens for Christmas? Oh that's right, how could I? I haven't posted since September. Meet Lavender & Yorick, our most precious additions to the family. Augustus held Yorick in his lap and petted him the first night we had them and had such a look of awe and wonder on his face. He said, mama, he is exactly the kitten I wanted. How did you find him?

Time to liven it up again.

Yes, it has been for-cussing-ever (see Fantastic Mr.Fox) since I have posted but now, well, we're mobile. Prompted by a dear friend and devoted follower, ahem, I decided to actually get busy. Hello 2011, nice to meet you.

For Becki