Sitting at the breakfast bar in my parents' dining room, with an astonishing few quiet minutes to myself. The older three monkeys are downstairs watching Peter Pan (which has narrowly edged out Star Wars Episode IV as the movie of choice, only because they've watched Star Wars about five times this week, and Peter Pan only once). Iain has just rolled down the single step at the base of the stairs, and is happily kicking the dog crate and playing with his fingers. In a minute he'll get tired of being on his back, but it's possible that if flip him over he'll play a while longer without getting upset. Because at nearly 8 months old (merciful heaven, where did this year go?!) he's old enough for that...just barely.
True confession: I have a journal which states on the outside that it is for mothers. I started writing in it when Brynning was born. I stopped after Audrey was born, and haven't written in it since because I wanted to record my memories of my pregnancy with Benjamin before I wrote anything else and, well, I just haven't gotten to it. It's a good thing I keep a blog. Someday, my children will have a variety of my memories to look back at. If they can manage to gather them up from all the random places I scatter my memories at any given time.
Today it is absolutely beautiful out, more like what I think the end of September should be, rather than two days before December. So I decided to hike my children back into the woods to share some of my childhood memories. We took my mother's poodle with us.
I got everyone into coats and shoes, popped Iain in the Ergo, and off we went on an Explore. We were searching, not for the North Pole, but for a long straight stick that Brynning could use as a spear, to go with his new helmet. Did you know that Greek hoplites carried spears over twice as long as the average man is tall? Me neither. But he can't be a Greek soldier without a proper spear, and then what will Greece do when the Persians invade? I just hope he reenacts Marathon, rather than Thermopylae.
We hiked past Picnic Rock, took a left at the un-named pair of rocks that I vaguely remembered needing to find to get where I was going, and made it to Big Fun Rock. (I was clearly somewhat challenged in the naming department as a child.) Jesse (the dog) was concerned, not being sure how he was going to herd us all back to the house, since he's never been out that far before. Clearly, I am not an Alpha person in his life, because just as the children were scrambling through the gorge to find a place low enough to climb up onto the rock, he decided he'd had enough. He wanted nothing to do with that dark, narrow, rocky, scary place. He couldn't rescue all of us from THAT, so he announced in no uncertain terms that he, at least, was heading home. Whatever the rest of us might decide was our responsibility.
The monkeys were all so excited about this enormous rock that was so perfect for climbing on. Brynning pulled a thick pad of moss off a rock to determine that it was, in fact, growing there, and was fascinated when I told him that if he patted it back down it would regrow into the same space. Audrey and Benjamin scrambled up the side of the gorge at a low point, and then Benjamin (wait...guess!) found the highest part of the rock, at which he was essentially standing on a cliff ten feet up in the air, to wave down to me, standing on the rocks below.
I wanted to show them my old fort, and the spot where I used to set up a picnic lunch. I had so much fun playing and exploring on and around that rock as a child. There's really nothing like it near us in Indiana, and I wanted to share that experience with them. Unfortunately, I was quite certain that my mother would not accept "He took himself home, and got lost on the way" as a reason for why her poodle disappeared, so the outing was cut short. Jesse was clearly relieved.