Saturday, August 15, 2009

Summer Projects

We haven’t been home quite a week, and we’re already bored.

No, scratch that: we’re not bored…we’re restless. Which is so typical of me and my kids. I’ve already made a project out of cleaning and organizing the entire shed in the backyard, never mind that I have plenty else I should be doing. I sort outgrown kids’ clothes into piles: not-yet-big-enough-for-Toby, just-right-for-nephew-Homer, too-trashed-for-Calvin-to-wear-in-the-fall. I used to have boxes upon boxes, but the supply is dwindling: Nate and Calvin seem to wear their clothes out these days in addition to shooting up too fast for the hem lengths to keep pace. And the newborn onesies, knit caps, and booties--everything up to 18 months, actually--have been handed down. All that remains in limbo are three or four boxes in the 3-5-year-old category, waiting for Tobes, and a few sparser stacks in the larger sizes.

There must be a poetic analogy in there somewhere, but my attention has been drawn to the Fisher Price toys stashed deep at the bottom of a Rubbermaid tote, whirring into a rendition of 'We’re litttttle people who like to sinnng and play…' every time my foot makes contact with the base as I shuffle past.

Which of course, is an analogy in itself. Oddly, it doesn’t make me melancholy. It only makes me pause to consider the likely price of shipping it all to my sister in Massachusetts.

The kids are busy in their own manufactured pursuits. Calvin comes to me with a hardly unusual (for him) request of random objects so he can 'make an invention'. Today he requests 1. a board, 2. a string, and 3. a grape. I don’t ask what it’s all for, but ten minutes later, he’s dangling a line over a pile of ants, hoping for a bite.

Nate joins him at the junk drawer, where he constructs something out of a tin can, rubber bands, and more string, then becomes distracted by a stack of all seven Harry Potter books. He’s flipping through them rapidly, copying down every incantation he can find onto a handmade chart. He fully intends to type them all out afterward and print up cheat sheets for all the kids in the neighborhood, so that he has people to properly duel. (Poor Nate, so like his mother, not above begging people to escape into imaginary worlds with him.) Every few minutes, he looks up to ask me how to spell things like ‘lumos’ or ‘lux’. We have a chat about Latin root words. Toby hovers over him, wand in hand, much to Nate’s annoyance.

I suppose this is what summer is about, as much as it’s about travel and exploration. Quiet days, during which we have to invent our own amusement. And dig through drawers for string. And haul Pampers boxes from place to place through a spider-infested storage space. And smack the printer until it decides to work. Why we can’t just sit down and read a book in a hammock, I’m not quite sure.

Maybe tomorrow.
blog comments powered by Disqus