Speaking of exorcisms, I've got a four-year-old hovering at my elbow giving me the stink eye because I served her curry for the third time this week. Dal Curry, a lentil and potato dish of Indian origin, is one of my favorite dishes, and the boys will eat it without complaint as well, as long as it's served with some hint of lime Tostidos for dipping. But angry Jane, when promised an ice cream cone if she ate all her lunch, took her lunch outside and dumped it in the bushes. She then came to my elbow and declared, "There is something that is never going to happen again. You are never making curry again, and if you do, I'm not going to eat it. I'm getting some ice cream." Well, I took issue with her declaration, and naturally nixed her cone. To which she replied, "You're rude Mommy." And now, here she sits...glaring. Well, you won't find a cheaper meal anywhere than lentils and potatoes, and since one pot lasted us through two dinners and a lunch, chances are very good that I'll make this dish again. Four out of six eaters in our house enjoyed this dish--unfortunately, my husband lies in Jane's camp--I feel these are good odds.
Another Stinker in the house, has also been giving me the stink eye, and that is Andy. He is now 27 months old and says aproximately five words: eeeen(drink), DAAeee (daddy), Mommy, No, and AAAAAHHAHAHHAAA!!!!!! I list them on a scale of frequency going from least used to most used. Which means that the soundtrack at our house is something like a possessed herd of swine (Was this a recent Gospel reading? Is that why demonic pigs are so much on my mind?). Naturally, "AAAAHAHHAHAHAAA!!" is the word that Andy uses for every word in the English language that is not Mommy, Daddy, drink or no. This is an escalation from his months of prior grunting, which leads me to believe that his urge to speak and be heard is gaining more importance to him. Whenever I don't understand what "AAAAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!!!" means in a particular context, I usually try to pick two objects he might be referring to, and give him a choice--one that only requires he point to the desired object rather than attempt to verbalize himself again. I know this is a far cry from speech therapy, and that many of our MANY MANY readers would take issue with my methods, just as they would take issue with my offering sweet food rewards for eating lunch in my prior paragraph.
In my defense, I have also been reading Wendell Berry's Agrarian essays, and find one of his points to be a very compelling support of my parenting style of the week: When one is concerned only with survival, planting and harvesting one's daily bread, then many other material and philosophical worries dissipate. Racism, Feminism,consumerism, and I'd like to add popular psychology on child-rearing to his list of things that are irrelevant in the face of imminent survival or demise. And yes, pregnant with fifth child (though, as my husband points out, I am not the first woman in the world ever to be pregnant and feel like a lifeless turd), and though I have been given every grace and blessing...I am hanging on for dear life. If bribing my children with ice-cream allows me passage through the hours between lunch and dinner, I will do it.
I'm adopting Daniel's recent simile for my life right now. Playing on the playground in Greensburg, on one of those old fashioned merry-go-rounds that spit weak children off into orbit when their hands get sweaty from holding on, Daniel, sprawled out on his stomach, clinging with suction-like hands and bare feet, yells, "We're like germs on a frisbee!!!" I have to agree.