Sometimes I think the hardest thing about parenting multiple children is that when one child is having a crisis that demands attention, sympathy, wisdom, advice, action, the world just doesn't stop, and all the rest of them still need to be delivered to their activities de jour, need to be taken to the dentist, need new shoes, demand to be taken to the snow:
and if they are Posy, wake up in the morning with the day's activities fully planned.
'Today I will make a very big cake and carve it into the shape of a car,' she declared this morning approximately three seconds after waking up. Changing Posy's mind is like changing the direction of the Titanic. It is so much more relaxing to go with the flow, we have found, icebergs notwithstanding.
Conceived, planned, executed, eaten. Tick. That child is a force of nature. Hope she continues to use her powers for good...
So this week, it has been all about juggling needs of children, and my need to get through this very large pile of books:
What I love doing with non-fiction books is dipping between half-a-dozen at a time. It is such a luxurious feeling to have so many books to read, and not having finished any of them. Most of these are library books. I am excited to have discovered the call number 640, which appears to feature books about domesticity past and present, greener ways to live at home, and experiments in domestic management. I borrowed A Long Way Home from a friend because I heard the author on the radio. I am re-reading my copy of Nurture by Nature in the hope that there may be some clues in the Meyers-Briggs personality profiles which will shed some light on the personalities of a number of my peculiar children.
The Dirty Life and Mobilizing the Green Imagination I ordered from my local bookshop, The Dirty Life because I got it from the library and loved the glorious craziness of it. I think there is a tiny corner of me that really wants to go out and start an organic farm and live like Almanzo in Farmer Boy. A very small corner. Because indeed I wouldn't get to live like Almanzo at all, but like his mother, and like her, never get to sit down except when spinning, or like Kristin who married a crazy man who didn't like plastic and wanted to start a farm with no money or electricity, but lots of cows and some draught horses. Fun, fun, fun. I think I am more a reader than a doer, farm-wise.
Frances recommended Mobilizing the Green Imagination, and because I trust her book recommendations implicitly, I rang up the bookshop straight away and ordered it. More later when I have finished it. But I am perking up already. It really is an antidote to environmental depression.
Do you have a local bookshop? I never, never order books on-line. Well, once I started an on-line bookshop, which is still running two owners later. I am immensely proud of that achievement, even though it was never really financially viable, because it turns out I am not much of a business person, but that beautiful site? I love it. I helped design it, because I wanted a calm and beautiful on-line shopping environment. I was homeschooling at the time, and lots of homeschoolers are geographically isolated, far from a bookshop, and needing good books for their kids. I do still buy books from Leatherwood Books, because it is an independent bookshop, on-line. But those giant behemoth book sites? They are like big-box stores, but on-line. And they are ruining the High Street of every small town that now doesn't have a bookshop. What kind of a world doesn't have a bookshop in every town? How is civilisation to continue? Do these giant book behemoths hire local literary teenagers in the summer? My bookstore does. Is there a lovely gracious lady on your shiny lap-top screen who chats to your children and finds them books that they will love, and recommends the perfect gift for your godchild? If there is a problem with your child's textbook order, does the bookshop owner contact you personally, and tell you how much he regrets the error, and give you a hefty discount to make up for it?
Sometimes.. let's face it, most times, the books from my local bookshop are more expensive. But what kind of a world do we want to live in? One where there are local, independent stores, with book readings and employment for your kids, and you can afford five books a year in your budget? Or one where you can buy a dozen books a year and have no bookstore in your town? If you buy a dozen books a year, you will just end up decluttering them later anyway. Makes much more sense to buy quality, buy your kid a job, and not overfill your bookcase with bad books.
We get to choose the kind of world we live in, every time we spend a dollar. I had this revelation the other day while standing in the shower. Which is why I need long hot showers. NEED them. Here is my thought:
I never need to go to a shopping mall, giant department store or supermarket EVER again if I don't want to. And I really don't. They are just nasty and soul sapping. With some determined planning, I could avoid them entirely and pretend they aren't there. And maybe, we could all stop believing in them, and then they would just .. cease .. to .. exist..