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homestead happenings: play

January 24, 2012

It recently occurred to me that it has been weeks since a Christmas carol rolled absentmindedly off my tongue; 2 weekends ago we burned our solstice garland at Col’s birthday party; and, there are 34 more minutes of daylight since winter solstice.

Which is to say there’s a small shift occurring that smells faintly of the memory of grass. It’s like homeopathic medicine, how that expanding sunlight contains the imprint of spinach leaves and wild irises, even if the outside world currently looks like this.

We’ve been getting slammed with snow, well okay, maybe only 8 inches, but I’m a notorious snowfall exaggerator.

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We’ve all become sort of pleasantly agoraphobic, passing entire days at home, inside. By 3pm I feel like I’ve been watching the day-long rehearsal of the new hip Indie film – you know the one that has 2 actors who perform 30 acts in 17 minute segments and you don’t really understand anything but you appreciate the passion of the artists.

Rose: Let’s say I was your puppy.

Col: Yeah, and you wanted to go to the museum (pronounced mu-sem). But then I say: puppy, you aren’t allowed in the museum!

Rose: You don’t say that to your puppy! Puppies can’t hear that.

Col: Sorry puppy. But you can’t go inside.

Rose: Ruff ruff. That means: okay.

Then there’s a scene change and Rose is now the director of the museum, clickity clacking across the tile floor, headachingly, in her tap shoes singing, “I can do anything you want in a jiffy!”

this picture sums up a lot

17 minutes later Col is in his room snapping legos together and Rose is settled on the couch reading Wizard of Oz, her particular version peppered with copious verbs and adverbs, exactly what I warn my writing students against: “And then she said sweetly, why don’t you come with us to Kansas City to get a brain? It was so sparkly bright that he jumped up excitedly and said, let’s go!”

And then, apropos of nothing, Col comes out of his room wondering about circuses. “Because,” he starts, “when are we ever going to see a circus?”

Me: Maybe this summer. Daddy and I saw one at the fairgrounds before you were born. They brought in a big circus tent and we sat in the bleachers, and…”

Rose: (sarcastically) Oh right, and then they just suck your blood.

Me: Suck your blood?

Rose: Right. The bleachers.

Me: You mean leeches?

Rose: Oh yeah.

Today the kids played 26 rounds of crazy 8’s; the new style is to put all your cards face up and boast wildly about how many crazy 8’s you have.

The kids did a 5 minute play with their snake and mouse puppets, consisting entirely of the sounds “eek eek” and “sssssssss.” It’s riveting; I have the video if anyone wants to watch it.

I am loving all this playing, so passionate and silly and unselfconscious and agenda-less. It’s like the secret handshake of childhood, the ability to blink away the world we adults live in and tumble into the realm of pirates and fairies and puppies.

I was at the pool with Col and Rose recently, where scores of kids were ecstatically shrieking and splashing, chasing each other and doing multiple underwater somersaults in a row. The building was humming. And I thought, holy shit, if you could bottle this energy and exuberance, perhaps you could replace viagra, ambien, prozac, laxatives, appetite suppressants and digestive aids. Not to mention harness clean, renewable energy?

Can someone get on that?

Rose likes to keep tabs on me while I do chicken chores.

I am loving all your responses to this post. Connection, simplicity, align, lightness, go!, action, rise, release, inter-personal, whole…so beautiful. Someone e-mailed me, remarking on how, for her, trust feels out of reach. And just like Rose learning to hula hoop, trusting takes practice. At first, you may only notice how quickly your mind fills with worry, about things that are out of your control, or not even real, fabricated from the energy you give it. But maybe in an indecisive or sorrowful or clenched-jaw moment, you’ll remember your word and whisper it gently to yourself. I do believe this is powerful.

And stay away from those blood-sucking bleachers,


21 Comments leave one →
  1. January 25, 2012 8:10 am

    I’s like to schedule an appointment for a manicure at Rose’s Salon. Is tomorrow at 2:30 available? I’ll be wearing my tap shoes.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      January 25, 2012 9:54 am

      May I recommend the massage? The going rate is 11 cents, but if you pay once, additional daily visits are free.

  2. abozza permalink
    January 25, 2012 8:30 am

    Loved this post! One of my favorite things about winter is that I get to “hear” the play that goes on. In the spring and summer, when they are outdoors, I miss the constant chatter that goes along with their play and I cherish it in the winter. I should start taping it and play it for myself when they are out in the sun and out of hearing range!

  3. January 25, 2012 9:20 am

    Rachel, I love that your Rose is in the world. your tales of her so often remind me of my Madeleine….. case in point, I ’bout spit out my cereal laughing reading your post this morning when the ‘bleachers’ part of the story came. Once we were on a cave tour in Kentucky when our kids were pretty little. We had been underground for an hour or so and came to a stopping place where there were benches we could sit on and the ranger could do the awesome ‘lights out’ exercise (to really see how dark things were) and get some questions from the tour goers. The best question of all came from Maddie (at the time maybe 4 at most) “We’ve been in here a long time and I haven’t seen a single one of those stalagmice you keep talking about. Where do they live? Are they hiding somewhere??” Somewhere there is a kid’s book in that one…. I just haven’t gotten to it yet.
    Keep those precious stories coming!!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      January 25, 2012 9:55 am

      Stalagmice! I love it!

  4. January 25, 2012 10:14 am

    Thanks for the tip Rose, I will keep that in mind next time we go to the circus! Hilarious!

  5. January 25, 2012 10:36 am

    Wonderful post. Even as a child, I was fascinated by how my mind would work, making connections that lead from puppies to leaches (bleachers). And I would sometimes find myself thinking about something, and think “how did I get here” and then track back my thoughts (this made me think of this which made me think of that). Somehow, it was easier to trace the path as a child. As an adult, my version is asking people what they do, and if it is something interesting or unusual, asking “how did you get here” and it is always this wonderful circuitous route that was never dreamed of when they were 12 and someone asked “what do you want to be when you grow up”. That picture of Rose asleep in the dress is priceless. XO

  6. January 25, 2012 11:17 am

    Wow! If our kids lived next door your mouse and snake would be visited by a newly made shark sock puppet, a knight puppet and a fish on a stick puppet. We had a 17 second showing (about 7 times) of a shark finding a pile of dirt (a.k.a zevy under a blanket) the ending was when he popped up and the shark and the boy attached said…did you see that? huh? did you? watch again… love that across the country you are enjoying the same sorts of life! xo

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      January 25, 2012 3:21 pm

      I love hearing these stories!

  7. January 25, 2012 11:50 am

    I don’t think I would want such an energetic laxative. That borders on purgative, which is right up there with leeches.
    “oh right, and then they just suck your blood”
    That entry was good to the last gulp. Thanks!

  8. Christy permalink
    January 25, 2012 1:42 pm

    It always amazes me how the games shift and the rules change and all the kids just role with it. Could you see an adult game night like that? In the middle of a scrabble game, “now everyone who uses an e gets minus 10 points” and everyone around the table smilimg and noddingg.
    Love this post. And we are drinking up every second of additional sunlight.

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      January 25, 2012 3:26 pm

      My god, that is so true. Yesterday Rose was tearily admonishing me for staying outside longer than I said I would to do chicken chores, and when we walked in the door, she heard Col and bounced right into his game, while literally ONE SECOND earlier she was terribly bereft.

  9. January 25, 2012 3:14 pm

    Watching and reading the actions of your family gives one Life :o)…raising my own went so fast I sometimes can’t recollect the wonders of it all, trying to get through the days…but watching your blog reminds me of the wonder of childhood..children keep us all alive.:o)

  10. January 25, 2012 3:54 pm

    ” It’s like the secret handshake of childhood,” love this line.

  11. January 25, 2012 10:40 pm

    The indy film that we don’t get but appreciate. Brilliant. You are the Metaphor Goddess.


  12. January 26, 2012 12:31 pm

    “Yeah right, and then they suck your blood.” I can imagine the scene playing out in Rosie’s head: everything’s peachy, watching your first ever circus, sitting happily on your leach, when all of a sudden it turns on you and…!

  13. January 26, 2012 4:28 pm

    sleeping rosie. awwww. and i had to laugh about the last paragraph. given that my word is *whole* and all. it’s not like i can just say it and voila here i am, whole. i get that it means i’m going to look un-whole-ness in the face a lot this year and sometimes maybe even frequently laugh at the absurdity of me, broken me, picking such an audacious word. but i did it anyway. hurray for play!

  14. Emily permalink
    January 26, 2012 11:00 pm

    When are you going to post the 5 minute puppet play!?! Can I post the 5 minute spoon puppet play (thank you, old Sesame Street video with Jim Henson) that my kids put on? Or would you prefer the video of them singing along to “Yellow Submarine”? tough choice I know.

    Rose stories are some of the best. “sparkly bright” !!

  15. January 27, 2012 11:49 am

    oh I LOVE the bleachers! Aren’t leeches just a fabulous source of inspiration. you are never too old to be riveted by a leech encounter! fiction or otherwise! (we were SUCKED DRY in Haviland last summer!) And we pronounce it mu- sam over here. FYI. have a lovely!

  16. janie permalink
    January 30, 2012 1:13 pm

    It sounds like my house….
    “And we actually fly”
    “okay and and we go super dooper high and over Oakyand by the park where we used to sleep with the Geese”
    “Okay, but first we take a trip to the Milky way and and and we…. everybody can fly except baby, she’ll hang on to my back”
    “we need to fly or else we will fall”
    “yeah, baby almost falls but I’m the brother who stays right next to baby and holds her up”……


  1. Listening to Play « My Real Life

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