My Book About Me

imgres-1Spending time outdoors is a must during the fleeting summer months so when the rains come being stuck indoors with three boys can try the patience of a saint.

Much to the chagrin of my oldest son, I am not a craft mom.  Our craft cupboard is a sad collection of things I have picked up from the dollar store and anything that has been gifted to him over the years from his more creative aunts.  So crafting in our house only lasts so long.

Much to my chagrin, the boys don’t want to spend rainy days curled up with books for hours on end, reading silently.  In fact the only way for me to enjoy solitary, daytime reading is relaxing my “no Wii” during the weekdays rule and that is a slippery slope.

My Book About Me has proven to be this summer’s favourite rainy day past time.

My Book About Me is written by Me, Myself with some help from my friends Dr. Seuss and Roy Mc Kie.

That’s right.  Written my Me, Myself.  Or in most cases, by your child, about themselves.

The book starts off fairly benign.

First of all there is one thing you should know.

Am I a boy?

Or am I a girl?

Well, I’ll tell you.

I am a __________________ (write your answer here).

I weigh ____________ pounds.

How tall am I?  I am ______ feet, _________ inches tall.

Pages and pages capture information about the here and now of your child’s life but of course things quickly get silly in that delightful Dr. Seuss way.

I can make noises, (check all that apply)

Like a rooster

Like a dog

Like a cat

Like a goat

Like a sheep

Like a goose

Like a train

My family loves my noises. Yes or No?

The boys work away on their books independently, and every once in a while I hear a giggle or a rooster noise.

Once completed these books will hold a special place on our shelves as a snapshot of who my boys were when they were 5 and 6 years old . . .

And their wobbly, misshapen letters will continue to tug at my heartstrings long after they are too big to sit in my lap and discuss the merits of life as a giraffe.*

*I wish I were a giraffe/ I am glad I’m not a giraffe.  Check one.

Remembering Memories

We’re a family whose memory-making veers more to the experiential than the material.  There aren’t a lot of framed photos in our house. I don’t scrap book (three attempts notwithstanding, it hasn’t caught on). I’m not even a particularly good photographer and more often than not, we forget to bring the camera with us when we go out (I’m still old-school enough to prefer not to use my phone!). I feel some guilt over the fact that we don’t try harder to document our lives. After years of sleep deprivation, my memory of my own children’s infancy and young childhood is quite honestly spotty. I do wish I had more concrete reminders of those times.  My children, their synapses young and agile, have a recall for events and things that makes me gasp.  I can barely recall what I wore to work today — and I’m still wearing it.

But I do intend to change. These memory-capturing crafts have my attention. With a little time and organization, I think even I could accomplish some of these:

At Tresfrenchhens, these lovely framed handprints. I might need to do this before it becomes unclear whose hands are whose:

Over at Everything Fabulous, there’s a post about these adorable Love Maps. What a clever way to mark certain important  places in your life:

Both Beth-Anne and Nathalie have had the presence of mind to write down all those wonderful things their kids say during the year. I haven’t managed that, but maybe this will help. It’s a Memory Jar, inspired by something Joan Didion did with her daughter in The Year of Magical Thinking.  Every time someone says something worth recording, you jot it down on whatever’s handy, and drop the paper into the jar. Each year, you start a new one. Brilliant.

But if I don’t get around to any of these, it’s probably because we’re  busy doing things as family. Perhaps I’ll just get this for the entry-way wall. Can’t say I didn’t warn you!

Memory Making – Let Us Count the Ways

There are few truisms for parents these days, but one almost universal impulse we see is the desire to make memories with our children and find ways of preserving them.  This impulse is hardly new, but what does belong to the present is the myriad ways in which this can be done.  A combination of more disposable income, a recognition (idealization?) of childhood’s importance and transience, and, well, computers, has led to countless ways to record these special times with our little people.

This week we’ll talk about some of the memory making and meaning going on in our lives, and because this can only touch on a very few possibilities, we hope you’ll join the conversation and tell us about what you’re doing in your neck of the woods.  Because, in addition to Photoshop, the computer is positively splendid for sharing ideas on topics just like this one.

Our Story of St. George and the Dragon

Daniel and Sebastian,

I used to take you for walks in our old neighbourhood. On Bond St. near Gould is St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church.

image credit: wikipedia

On the front is a mosaic depicting St. George slaying the dragon. When you were perhaps 2 and 4, you asked about the story of St. George. So I adapted it and told it to you many, many times at night while you were going to sleep. Here it is:

Once upon a time, there was a village. And the village didn’t have a well in it, so every day the villagers had to walk to the well outside the village to fill their pots and buckets with water for cooking and cleaning.

One day, a dragon decided to move into a cave beside the well. Of course, the villagers were terrified. They had to sneak to the well to get their water when the dragon was asleep so that the dragon wouldn’t eat them.

After a few days, a man riding a white horse carrying a long spear came into the village. His name was George. Seeing the spear, the villagers wondered if George could get rid of the dragon for them.

“Please, sir, can you help us get rid of the dragon that’s moved in beside our well? We’re afraid to get water because we’re worried the dragon is going to eat us!”

“Of course I’ll help you!” said George. “Can someone show me where the well and dragon are?

Only one person was brave enough to take George to the well. When they got there, there was no sign of the dragon. The person went back to the village, and George sat down beside his horse to await the dragon’s return.

After a short while, who should return, but the dragon!

George said to the dragon, “Dragon, you are terrifying the villagers. They have nowhere else to get water. Would you please move somewhere else?”

The dragon laughed and said, “I like it here. And you are going to be my lunch!”

George replied, “Now dragon, if you try to eat me I will poke you with my spear!”

The dragon wasn’t worried about a man with a spear. It walked toward George, and George took his spear and poked the dragon. Poke!

This made the dragon very mad. “Ouch! That hurt! What did you do that for?”

“I told you that if you tried to eat me, I would poke you. And I did! Now please move someplace else.”

Of course the dragon was quite angry now. “I will not move away. And I will eat you!”

George replied, “Remember, dragon, if you try to eat me I’ll poke you with my spear!”

The dragon rushed at George, but George was very quick with his spear and he poked the dragon twice. Poke-poke! This made the dragon furious!

“Ouch, ouch!! That hurt!” The dragon started to rush back at George. “Little person, I am not going to eat you now. No, I will jump on you and crush you!”

And George replied, “Please, dragon, go somewhere else and leave the villagers alone. And if you do try to crush me I’ll have to poke you with my spear again!”

Of course the dragon tried to crush George, but he was too quick. He took his spear and poked the dragon again and again. Poke-poke-poke-poke, poke-poke-poke-poke, poke!

“Ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch!!!” cried the dragon. And it ran far away and was never seen or heard from again.

George went back to the village and told the villagers that the dragon had fled and that the well was safe again. They thanked him with a feast. The next day, George got on his white horse, took his spear, and continued on his journey.

The end.

Of course, you both wanted more “St. George stories”, so I made up “St. George and the Bugbear”, “St. George and the Griffin”, “St. George and the Elephant” and “St. George and the Crocodile”. I should write those down,too. Perhaps one day you will share them with your own children!

Peter Leventis is the father of Daniel, 8 and Sebastian, 6 and husband of Marcelle.   She’s eternally grateful to him for missing a good chunk of game seven of the Stanley Cup Final to finish this post, and is very aware that she owes him one.

No real dragons were harmed in the writing of this post.