Sunday, March 30, 2008

Ostrich possum boy

Jared is so funny. By far my most entertaining toddler, his new strategy for avoiding doing whatever he doesn't want to do is to play possum. He refused to stay in bed yesterday and snuck down the stairs two minutes after I tucked him in, for the fifth time. I heard him slither down the stairs and told him to go to bed while Jeff and I paused our movie. Silence. "Jared? Go to bed." Still silent. Jeff crept over to check on him and then laughed. Curious, I skipped over to take a peek too. Eyes shut, face composed in 'sleep,' and body stiff as a board, Jared lay spread across the tread corners of four steps. His face was very convincing, and if I hadn't just heard him moving, I would've thought he'd fallen asleep there, albeit rather stiffly. Jeff scooped him up to carry him to bed and he let out an immediate howl of protest so I know he wasn't having a seizure or anything. Then today when I asked him to return the toy he'd just swiped from Nathan, he immediately rested his head on the couch and closed his eyes. Ditto for the marble he popped into his mouth an hour later that I wanted him to give me. Apparently, he is under the impression that if he can't see us, we can't see him. So maybe he's more of an ostrich.

As for the rest of the menagerie, they are getting along and for the most part, enjoying each other's company. No small miracle there. After pulling myself together from my manuscript's demoralizing critique, I talked with the kids about the power of words. I wanted them to understand how criticism and negativity could poison our thoughts, bringing down both the giver and receiver. With so much of it in our society, I want our home to be the antidote. I don't know if it was what I said, or my tears while I said it, but they seem to have taken the lesson to heart with more laughter and kindness in their interactions. So who knew? The critique proved beneficial after all. I've also cut 4,000 words out of the beginning to tighten it and get the plot moving. I'll re-write a few parts I think are weak and then send it out for another round of darts. If it gets skewered again, I'll lick my wounds and take a few creative writing classes. Stubbornness can be a vice or virtue and is defined by the result. During my moody, stubborn, teenage years my mom would chant this little verse to my unending irritation, "Patience is a virtue. Virtue is a grace. Grace is might pretty when you wear it on your face." So I'm smiling while I stubbornly insist that the time I spend writing is a good thing, despite evidence to the contrary. Of course, I could always close my eyes and play dead like Jared. But where's the fun in that? Besides, dead things stink.