August 6th, 2005



Ow, cleaning bug! Don't bite so hard!! I got the kids' department picked up, dusted and vacuumed the entire house, cleaned the bathroom and did 2 loads of laundry...what more do you WANT FROM ME??

Outing plans were moved to tomorrow and we are planning to spend Sunday afternoon at Bakken, a lovely little amusement park in the forest outside of Copenhagen with our friend Mats & Annelott. And I have sushi with friends to look forward to tonight, so this weekend is shaping up to be a good one. :)

And best of all, Angie called this morning, and Kristian is home again, with a diagnosis of lymphoma. While not exactly the best news, it is at least treatable, and the doctors assured them that he'll be fine. He still has to undergo some chemo and radiation and they are in for a tough autumn, but now they know what they are dealing with and know that it can be treated effectively. So, not wonderful news, but most definitely not worst-case scenario.

I'm usually in bed long before Anders, even on weekdays, since he can survive on much less sleep than I can, and even as a night owl, I'm usually nodding off around 11:30 or so. He tends to watch tv until the wee hours, dozing on the couch on and off while flipping through the channels. So I shut the door so the sound doesn't bother me and most of the time I don't even hear him come in. The other night, however, he claims, he came in to the bedroom around 2 a.m. and I sat bolt upright in bed and demanded loudly to know "WHO ARE YOU? WHAT DO YOU WANT?" before subsiding into mumbling relief when he answered that he was my husband and he just wanted to come to bed, would that be alright?

I was so proud of my son this past week that I thought I would bust. Martin is like me, you see. He plays mostly in a world of his own with books and art and animals and little make-believe setups. He builds elaborate fantasy playplaces for his little plastic figurines and dresses up stuffed animals in costumes of his own design. He reads until 10 p.m. in bed every night and falls asleep with books over his face. He builds worlds out of lego and sits for hours making things out of wood or lego or paper. He's interested in nature and collects things and he's a packrat. He likes puns and riddles and going for walks in the woods. He's been in some sort of Scout organization since he was 3 years old, but we figured trying to get him into any kind of organized team sport was a lost cause. He has always professed to be completely uninterested in ball sports and has steadfastly refused to get involved with any kinds of sports.

Before vacation Anders heard about a summer sport day camp at the village next to us, and asked Martin if he would be interested. There were 2 to choose from, one for soccer enthusiasts and one for kids interested in trying out track and field. Martin decided he would like to try the 2nd one. The camp was from 10-4 each day for a week and it cost 500 kronor since lunch and some other goodies were included. The first day, after they arrived, Martin refused to go in. He wouldn't leave Anders and even though Anders tried for an hour, he adamantly refused to participate. So Anders brought him home, understandably in a huff. We had a talk, Martin and I, and I explained to him that since no one had forced him to sign up for this, that in fact, HE had made the decision to go, and that because we had paid money for it, he was going to have to go back the next day and try again. He finally agreed that yes, that was only fair and he was willing to give it a go. And he did, and he had a BLAST the rest of the week. They did long jumping and high jumping and track running and hurdles, they played brännboll and they went to the swimming pool every day as well. He came home so enthusiastic each day and was very upset on Friday when he realized it was over.

I know how hard it is to try new things, especially things you are prejudiced against (sushi! softball!) and I'm really proud of him for trying, and for succeeding at something new. I think that if my children can grow up to be well-adjusted, well-rounded, outgoing and caring people then I will be equally proud of my job as a parent. I think that happiness follows from those things. It's not that I don't want them to have excitement and adventure and happiness. It's just that I think those things follow as a RESULT. One of the nicest things I can hear from my children is the phrase "I'll try it, Mama," whether it's in reference to a new food, a new experience or a new thought.

Today I asked Karin to do something for me, and she answered "I can't." I stopped her and hunkered down and told her that I thought she would be better off to say "I don't want to" rather than "I can't" because when you say can't you are stopping yourself in your mind from being able to do something you CAN do. You are stopping yourself from trying, from giving something a chance, from learning, and from growing both mentally and emotionally. You are stopping yourself.

And then I cut her some slack and emptied the wastepaper baskets myself. :)

Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: The Boy

More Really Great Writing Out There Right Now: Ice Cream Houses and a Grasshopper

*Francis Bacon
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