Fig season is upon us in full force.
It was last year that Mr Fox (who is now, in fact, Dr Fox) asked me if I was aware (for he had not been) there was a fig tree on the lot behind him, and had I ever had its fruit? I answered him to say yes + I was too small to reach. I forgot we even ever had that conversation until one velvety August dusk when he came by with 2 big handfuls he picked for me. I barely knew him, although had already pronounced him full in his affinity. I didn't know what to think until I decided, telling Mari some days or weeks later, "I like that guy a lot. He's a really great guy."
He pruned it so the fruit bears lower this year (so great), but I am still getting the hang of choosing ripe ones from the tree. Dr Fox been abroad for a few weeks, so he is no help, but he will return this weekend. He is like our version of Mr Edwards. No, really! For example: the time I called him to tell him I just took delivery of a 50-lb bag of steel-cut oats and Mari was away for a few more days so I was wondering if he would help me get it to our chest freezer in the basement. "And by help," I explained, "I mean do it for me." He took care of it. So helpful! Great neighbor, great guy. Confoundingly foxy, but halacha is always available to assist everyone in this way.
This morning, before breakfast, Fille & I were lying around in my big bed. She usually comes down the same way every Monday morning, creeping into the space recently-vacated by her now-departed father, winsomely blinking her eyes, staring at me until I wake, waiting for me to give her permission to rattle on about whatever of her narrative I missed while our marriage had primacy.
So I was lying there, wondering if I wanted her to make me a pot of tea & bring it to me in payment, or if I wanted to hold off until I got back from the gym, and maybe I should get her to doze off a little with me before she really got rolling in her update when she said,
I got a book from the library called Fifty Shades of Gray.
What? I mean, ok, sure. What? It could happen, ok. We signed off on unrestricted borrowing for them both, so ok, but what? No. No, no, what? And that's what I was telling her, while her chirpy report echoed in my head, I was saying, "No, you didn't. No, because that book is for grownups."
I mean, you know how it is, when you are sleeping or reading or doing something else, right, and then your children pounce on you with some nonsense requiring Parenting Actions all of a sudden? What? No. I don't hear you. Who are you? Go away from me. Be not born, for I am reading The New York Times Sunday Magazine. Find your other parent, could you?
Honestly. I mean, what? I was just lying there, minding my business! To be perfectly honest, I was trying to suck the marrow from the sleeping! Why on Earth would she check out that horrible, boring-sounding, counting-the-color-wheel book when I had to go 12 rounds with her about Twilight? Twilight! I told them they couldn't read Twilight, ok? So did Mari. He said, "You can't read Twilight because the writing sucks. Period."
I, of course, went on & on a bit more, about how they could absolutely read whatever they wanted at the library hours & hours by themselves, but breaking the rules makes them vulnerable and so it could happen that someone might see them reading the Twilight book every third afternoon they were all alone at the library and they might say, "Oh, but we can't check it out," and then that person would know they were breaking the rules, and he could say, "Oh, well, I'll tell your mother you were reading Twilight, unless you take off your pants for me," and then where would they be? WHERE?!?
Listen, I have to tell them these things because there is no longer any The Facts of Life on teevee to do it for me. Plus, I told them they could read the graphic novel(s) if they just wanted to be au courant for the purpose of pop-cultural peer interaction. But those books are a stupid, pulpy waste of homeschool braintrust. Good god!
I was about to tell her, "Come back at [x] o'clock," which is my ace parenting maneuever for dealing with anything sexy, anything at all. It started when she was 6 or 7, I think. We were out in the world & she asked me, suddenly, "Mommy, what's a size queen?" GOOD GOD WHY? WHO TAUGHT YOU TO READ? So I stalled.
I said, gingerly, to Mari's incredible amusement, "Well ... Can I tell you on Wednesday, right after we eat lunch?" Wednesday was 4 days out, but it felt good to me. Wednesday! Mid-week! I had time to prepare for our meeting, marshall my resources, talk it over with friends, sit & think deeply about what she really needed to know & how I would tell it to her, exactly, in the most upbeat, sex-positive, age-appropriate, growable, Swedish way possible. It worked like a charm. Everyone happy. Parenting halo.
So now, whatever it is, whenever I feel ASJKDEUIORENGWTF about any question, I always ask if I can tell the child later, at a specified time, like an appointment. Wow! Later! And it is fine, because they know that it means I am taking them seriously & I will get back to them & with a slide projector, or the internet, or handouts, or whatever we need.
Anyhow, I was still fumbling sleepily through my denying dismissal of her when she said, "Oh! No, not that book! Yeah, I read about that book in the newspaper; that is for grownups! No, it's called ... something else ... but "shades of gray"." Yes. Can I just promise you that after that it was no trouble at all to be in an endless & intensifying dialogue with her about the Soviets' terror and deportations of 100,000 Lithuanians & the subsequent 50-year vanishment of their country. I mean, wiped off the map! Normally, I might not be so ready to hit the ground talking about work camps, rape, and genocide! Not today! Easy as pie! Wow.
Then she made me work out with her, her updated strengthening-workout from June, an endeavor which consisted of me lazily performing one, one-sided set during her rests in between the first two of her three, fully-alternating sets. I mean, "Bridge with Alternating Leg Extensions?" What? It's a thing!
All this in one day. Mother of the Year! À la prochaine fois, beautés. xoxo