Liner Notes: March 2013

The following post is a repost from March, 2013. 
Spring knocked on the door the other day, when I wasn't paying attention and when I finally answered it, I found that the entire neighborhood was covered in blossoms. It happens like that, doesn't it? One day the trees are covered in dry sticks and the next day it looks like it's snowing. Los Angeles is painfully beautiful this time of year and all along the residential neighborhoods, petals fall in your hair and get stuck on the bottom of your shoe and your car windshield and everyone's always pulling blossoms out of each other's ponytails. Except for Fable. Fable picks all the flowers up off the street and puts them in her hair and my hair and sticks them in the holes of fences. And Archer collects them and gives them to Fable. 
I have photos of him as a baby handing Fable dandelions. He would pick them and hand them to her long before she knew what to do with them. And then, when she was older, she would pick them for him. I will be a hundred years old and be reminded of these moments every time I see a dandelion or a weed.
We pulled the water table out of dust bunnies last week (and tried to wash the dust bunnies off the thing which didn't work so filth-fest 2012 was born.) I used to care about these things and now I'm like, eh, dirst shmirt as I pick my nose and wipe it on my sock.

Our water park lasted all of ten minutes before Fable accidentally splashed Archer and got water on his shoes and then Bo emptied an entire bucket on Fable and everyone was hysterically crying and soaking wet and I'm trying to undress Bo and Revi and Archer can't get his wet jeans off and Fable's hair clip fell off in the swamp and it's the worst thing that has ever happened my poow cwip is DEAD and then Hal comes home and gives me this look, like, "should I turn around? I should probably turn around."

But before all of that there was this.
IMG_4790(the calm before the storm)
We've been living outside most of the time, which we didn't do nearly as much at our old house, maybe because we didn't have two toddlers there who wanted desperately to be outside every second of every day, half naked, preferably, with a face against a fence.
Meanwhile, Archer prefers to play inside. No extracurricular sports for this kid, that's not his bag. He does swimming once a week and every other day he's here, after school, building and creating stop motion videos with his camera, playing with his sisters, hanging with me. 
None of his friends play sports, either. It's kind of amazing, actually. I had this picture in my head, pre-kid, that parenthood meant shlepping your kid all over town from one sporting event to the next and that isn't it at all even close, actually. We have ballet on Sundays, swimming on Tuesdays and the rest of the days we just hang out and exist and the kids paint and draw and build and splash water table all over each other and do homework and we go on walks and hang out on the stoop of our favorite local cheese shop and watch the cars and the people and the men change out the billboards and read the street art (and check for typos) and let's just get outside and do stuff I have no idea what yet let's just go and be and see what happens...
And so we go and be and everything happens and sometimes it's lovely and sometimes it's a complete disaster and I have two kids fighting the stroller that I'm trying to fit them into while a bottle goes rolling into an intersection and all the cars stop because they don't want to run over the bottle and my arms are out, like, nobody move. Then there are times like this: 
IMG_4709and this: 
IMG_4712and this: 
IMG_4381and this:
This is our first Spring in this house and every day there's a new surprise pushing through the back garden and up the fence in the side yard. I was crushed to leave our old house and the jasmine that bloomed this time of year, oblivious to the fact the entire side-yard of our new house (this house!) was COVERED with the stuff. We're talking twelve feet high for the entire length of our house. I burst into tears when I saw the stuff blooming last week because, last year, when we put together our "list of wants" for our new house jasmine was one of them and it sounds silly because we could have easily planted it but here it is! It's here! And not only can we smell it from the living room but from all the bedrooms, too. Incredible. Magic, maybe. 
IMG_5098IMG_5099baby's first whiff of jasmineIMG_5041IMG_5096IMG_4673IMG_5097
Another new discovery: we have mint! Piles of mint! One day it was dirt and the next day an entire stretch of fresh, delicious mint and Bo and Revi saw me eating it once so now they eat it, too and spit it out and then try to eat it again and think it's gross and spit it out repeating repeating repeating. 
They're at the stage where they emulate everything so when I say, "I love you SOOOOOO much" they respond with "Ah ga ga GOOOOOOO Ga!" Hey! Who needs words when sounds exist? Who needs sentences when there are syllables? 
Everything seems to be growing out of control, most notably, Fable's hair which she recently insisted on growing out and I'm like "okay, sure! Whatever you want! Express yourself!" but inside I'm like, NOOOOOOO and the OOOO goes on infinity. Her bangs are long enough to hang over her eyes, now, so I have to pin them back with fourteen rainbow-colored clips and every time I do I die a little inside.

Not that I would ever tell her that but I do.
IMG_1805 IMG_4905
"I'm going to grow my hair long like yours, Mommy. Like Rapunzel!" she says and every picture she draws of herself looks like this: 
And she looks beautiful all ways and always of course, and I love that she is growing up and into this incredibly independent rock star of a girl who lives life like a costume ball and makes clothes for her dolls out of socks. This morning she wore purple hair to school and a thousand barrettes and I don't even bother dressing myself anymore. I have Fable to pick out my clothes for me. (The pink jeans I'm wearing today were her idea. She pulled them off the rack at Target yesterday and begged me to try them on.)
I'm going to end this post with some of my favorite shots from the week. Bo and Revi had just woken up from their nap which is the best time of the whole day because they're rested and bed-headed out and completely stoked on every single thing that exists and this moment was no exception.
It was Saturday and the whole day was ahead of them and they were doing that thing where they jump up and fall down and bury their heads in the mattress and squeal and jump back up and "life is so awesome!" said their eyes and their hands and their whole entire beings. LIFE IS SO AWESOME, say the children. Not because they don't know any better but because they LOOK and they SEE and they get it.
The other day I read a marvelous piece by Michael Chabon in The New York Review of Books. It was about Wes Anderson, but more specifically about childhood and its first three paragraphs blew me away because yesyesyes and here, I will paste them below:

"The world is so big, so complicated, so replete with marvels and surprises that it takes years for most people to begin to notice that it is, also, irretrievably broken. We call this period of research “childhood." 

There follows a program of renewed inquiry, often involuntary, into the nature and effects of mortality, entropy, heartbreak, violence, failure, cowardice, duplicity, cruelty, and grief; the researcher learns their histories, and their bitter lessons, by heart. Along the way, he or she discovers that the world has been broken for as long as anyone can remember, and struggles to reconcile this fact with the ache of cosmic nostalgia that arises, from time to time, in the researcher’s heart: an intimation of vanished glory, of lost wholeness, a memory of the world unbroken. We call the moment at which this ache first arises “adolescence.” The feeling haunts people all their lives.
Everyone, sooner or later, gets a thorough schooling in brokenness. The question becomes: What to do with the pieces? Some people hunker down atop the local pile of ruins and make do, Bedouin tending their goats in the shade of shattered giants. Others set about breaking what remains of the world into bits ever smaller and more jagged, kicking through the rubble like kids running through piles of leaves. And some people, passing among the scattered pieces of that great overturned jigsaw puzzle, start to pick up a piece here, a piece there, with a vague yet irresistible notion that perhaps something might be done about putting the thing back together again..." 
The rest of the article is here and well worth a read but I realized as I was reading that "putting the thing back together again" is what this thing called parenthood is also about. We are here with our broken pieces and our broken lives and in the middle of all of that (all of this!) are these tiny people who do not know of broken. Who will someday, yes, but not yet. Not now. And we know that it's coming. We know the end is nigh and we are here to shelter and protect them and be afraid for their hearts and minds and bodies and we must prolong the inevitable!

But we can't, of course.

We can't!

So what to do? What to do with the pieces that have broken and the ones soon to break? Isn't that the question we can't stop asking ourselves? And we call this period of parenting, "painful"...

But also divine, because in the middle of the brokenness that is this fucked up world, are these wonderful creatures who recognize the magic of the world in ways we cannot. Because as we age, our vision blurs. Because we cannot gaze out the windows when we are also driving the car.

They can. It is their job to gaze out the windows and perhaps to also remind us what is out there. So that we may revisit our puzzles with renewed hope. 
Childhood is magical because it has no choice but to be. Because the world is full of amazing things and every day there is something new to discover and a rock isn't just a rock. It's a rock. And things aren't just things they are things. Hilarious and wondrous and exhilarating.
And we get to sample this life through our children. The amazingness we forgot about - the firsts that escape us and the moments we take for granted. Our children revel in them. They inhale the fumes of flowers with their entire bodies and remind us to do the same. They gaze upon a sky that has never been so blue and birds... I mean, how amazing are birds? Birds are THE GREATEST things to every happen to a child and whoa, maybe they're right. Maybe birds are actually birds.
...And all of the beautiful things that grow and twist and bloom and fall and fly and fly and fly... they're magic, too. Everything we see and cannot see and feel and feel and feel. All of this...