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Tonight at bedtime Moomin and I read the title story in The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Virginia Hamilton. During the bit where there is an evil guy whipping one of the characters who has a baby strapped to her back while working in a field, Moomin sat straight up in bed and yelled “WHAT!!!?” Yes, kid, slavery was bad like that. I’m going to see if he’ll read “A Girl Named Boy” which is about a girl who is sick and tired of her parents trying to raise her consciousness of the history of slavery in their family, until she accidentally goes back in time and experiences life as a slave in Virginia. I thought of Walter Mosely’s 47 but realized it was too intense and meant for older kids. A Girl Named Boy should be just about right for Moomin!
At school this week they had a visit from a traveling musical about important teenage issues. It’s called “Nightmare on Puberty Street” which made me laugh since … Do 6th graders these days know what that even refers to? Do 10 year olds generally watch ancient horror films? Anyway, Moomin reported that it started off with a long song called “Am I Normal” and then went into an even longer song about people calling other people bad names. I asked if it was hilarious or just embarrassing and he said it would be hilarious to a 40 year old but not so much if you were a kid, and that none of it was anything he had to worry about except for M. the kid who makes fun of him now has a long list of new horrible names to call him. “Sometimes I imagine that instead of ignoring him, I could kick him right in the nuts.”
Moomin’s doing a book report on The Mystery of Lilac Inn, which M. the bully told him was only for girls. We laughed about how stupid that was. (I was like “What… it’s not like I read a book WITH MY VAGINA” to which Moomin replied smirkily, “Point!”, and then we laughed uproariously. I would have said exactly that at age 11, while he is much more subtle of a person.) Then we made fun of Nancy Drew and her dad and her cousins and how their mysteries always wind up being the same mystery but they don’t realize it till very very last minute. He pointed out that Nancy Drew almost always gets tied up by the criminals who then gloat about their plans in front of her and then she screams for help. “Instead, she should know karate, and when two bad guys come at her, she should figure out which one to attack first, and then kick him in the nuts. Then punch the other one in the nose. Then, don’t scream for help.” We talked about Tom Swift and I tried also to describe the horror and pain and glory that is the Bobbsey Twins. Moomin laughed a lot at my description of how their nemesis, Danny Rugg, always shows up no matter what town or even another country the twins go to, and then is mildly naughty and gets in trouble and is sent home.
Then Moomin pulled out Whales on Stilts, an awesome hilarious book, to show me the list of fake book titles that make fun of Tom Swift and that sort of old-fashioned series.
We laughed so hard over the stupendous air waffle that we both got asthma.
We got a tiny christmas tree tonight, an alive one in a pot, for 40 bucks! Moomin picked it out. Tomorrow I’ll have the energy for us to decorate it. But today I worked a lot and drove Oblomovka to the airport and did 6 loads of laundry and washed a week’s worth of dishes and then there was an electrical problem in the aft cabin so I had to borrow an extension cord so that I could have heat. So, no tree decorating! Only collapsing!
In other news, I have been a somewhat rotten parent this last month, at least that’s how it felt to me. I was often sick with a cold, barely able to get around the boat and its stairs and trying to keep it together till bedtime (ie not crying, and not taking painkillers), didn’t have the right food in the house most of the time (um, we are having hot dogs… again), was gone for a week on a trip to NY right at the holidays, and when I was here and wasn’t in bed hiding from the world, was emotionally caught up in a situation of my neighbor’s. Basically I used whatever energy I had to help out with her domestic violence and court situation, and things came out pretty well, but it upset me on top of being sick, I could not blog about it openly because it was too personal, and it seemed like the only decent thing I did for Moomin was to read to him lots and lots at night and watch his dance practices (which are great – they have a 5 minute long routine to Tabloid Junkie). I’m sure there were good moments and I’m being too harsh. We did kayak a bit during the 3 days I wasn’t sick, including a nice trip out with a new neighbor kid, Dani. On the trip, I had a fabulous time, and wasn’t sick, things were great but very tiring, and I got to play with L.Q. and M’s daughter, Little Ada and went with her and Big A. to Plimoth Plantation — feeling bad that Moomin wasn’t there. Anyway, I feel more myself again this week. Back in the saddle!