Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Tragicomedy (Plus some Abstinence in the Beginning)

Ok, so I haven't posted in forever - at least, long thoughtful (on my side at least - perhaps you can replace inane from your side) posts in forever. Anything with pictures in it is just for my mother. So I've been wanting to post when I have the creative fever on me, and I have a writing voice that will wow you, and perhaps garner me some sort of new, invented Nobel Prize in Literature for random bloggers that no one knows (hey, maybe I could get it for my intention in writing great things - whattd'ya say?). But I am remarkably fever free, and for the first time since Monday am even on the computer, so I'll have to just spew out whatever is on my mind. If James Joyce could pull off famous stream of consciousness, why can't I?

First off, I saw this link on Just Randi's blog - to Lloyds Pharmacy, which is trying to encourage safe sex. So I went and found out my "Sex Degrees of Separation," I admit, for the express purpose of mocking it. Sometimes when I encounter something like this, I am (dare I say it, and sound like a BYU editorial?) appalled that abstinence doesn't even come into question. That having one partner (my husband, just to be very clear here) who is in his late twenties, they assume I've had indirect sexual contact with 747,101 people. Or perhaps what they were really trying to say, was one person. I didn't find it a very potentially useful diagnostic tool when they didn't ask how many sexual partners your partner has had. But then, I'm sure that the people who invented this, and most people who are taking it, can't either imagine complete abstinence before marriage, nor complete, lifelong fidelity in marriage (let alone a complete, lifelong marriage, period.) Echoing something my friend Beth said recently on her blog, I do not feel that the LDS standards of morality, along with other commonly seen "restrictive" commandments like the Word of Wisdom (which I acknowledge is different from ancient times, but although they did drink alcoholic beverages, I would gladly give up wine to forego having to keep the rest of the Kashrut laws), and others are in fact limiting at all.

On the subject of religion, for the most part the happiest people I have known are deeply religious, from Muslims I knew in Egypt to Catholics I've known in America. Not to mention the Mormons I've met on three continents. Anyway.

Life has been rather a comedy of errors lately. Two days ago, in a very unusual day, I had five kids (including my own) for all day babysitting, plus for two hours in the afternoon two more kids, making SEVEN children five and under in my four room house (plus a bathroom). Luckily, the whole time the extra two were here there were also two others that were sleeping, so I only had five awake at a time. And we watched a movie, which I try to rarely if ever do while babysitting, but some days call for desperate, quiet inducing measures. Unluckily, one of the children napping was a two year old in a Pack 'n Play in my bedroom. Usually I only have babies in that pack 'n play, and it's pushed up against a bookshelf and dresser. This day the two year old reached up, and with the extra height provided by the portable bed spot grabbed ahold of my hair that was braided and waiting to be sent to Locks of Love. Why was it still hanging out on my bookcase? (ok, so that's a weird place for fragile things, but we have a certain bookcase we tend to pile things we don't want the girls get into too high for them to reach) Because a friend of mine is planning to cut her hair, and wanted to send her hair in with mine, so I'd been waiting for that.

So, to be brief, the two year old got the hair, and when I got to her, it was only a sad bundle of what looked like a dead hair animal. It was sad. Very, very sad. (These two sentences right here, with their brief yet heart rending description will be what I get that Nobel Prize for). Before my cut hair had felt so freeing - in a heartbeat I felt shorn, bereft of my beautiful hair. I put the two year old in timeout for five minutes, and talked to her about not touching things that aren't hers, but really one can only use the word Accountable with Two year Old so long before one sounds utterly ridiculous. It reminded me in small measure of the time when Lydia took the Weighing of the Heart scene, painted on real papyrus, that I had bought in Egypt, that had been the turning point for Avram and I, and ripped a large central strip out of it. She was also two at the time. I tell you, parenting is not for the weak of heart.

That evening, in a numb state, with tears lurking in my throat, I went through and rescued what hair I could, laying it out into a pile, and then putting it into a ponytail. Then came the hardest part - I carefully held the end of the ponytail, and brushed it all out - with huge globs of hair coming free. At last I was left with a reduced ponytail of brushed hair (Locks of Love hair cannot be loose, and it must be in a ponytail or braided), about one third to a half of what I'd started out with. I carefully put it into a plastic baggie, and put it somewhere much more childproof.

It amazed me how attached I was to hair that I had freely, happily chopped off. I had been glad to have it gone, and had never missed it. Until Tuesday. Now I find myself wanting to grow my hair long again. But when I cut my hair, I had decided to leave it short for a long time! Plus it took me four years to grow it out since the last short haircut I had. I think this life is designed to make us let go of our vanities, and longings for physical possessions. At least, children are definitely designed for the aforementioned.

This morning, Avram and I, in trading off, made Blueberry muffins. Unfortunately, somehow the flour got almost doubled. Once we realized that, we went back and added more of everything else - except an egg. So the resulting muffins taste very, very odd. And we made twice as many as normal. Lovely.

But in good news, I'm done babysitting for the week, Avram's program is having a beginning of the year social tonight where they have yummy Middle Eastern food (plus then I don't have to cook dinner), and tomorrow we're going as a family to a pumpkin patch to pick pumpkins. And it's a real pumpkin patch, where the pumpkins are still attached to the vines! Plus last Saturday we went to the Zoo and rode the Antique 1914 carousel for the first time - Elisheva's first carousel ride ever. So, life is good. And sad. It's a tragicomedy - but somehow I think those are better than the Comedies where everyone has to have fun all the time, just because the Playwright said so.


  1. my number's 747,101 too! what a coincidence. who knew samuel and avram were so experienced? :P

    sorry about your braid :(
    a long time ago, women used to save their shed hairs in a "hair keeper" and when it was full they would comb the hairs out and make false braids and things to add to decorate their updos, or wad them up into "rats" and stuff them into their updos to make their hair seem bigger.

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful, nobel peace prize worthy blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    And I must agree, parenting is not for the faint of heart. Glad you were able to salvage some of your hair. My heart broke when I read those two lines as well. (Definitely nobel worthy. Or at least some type of red carpet award.)

  3. I am so dreadfully sorry about the hair.

    And thanks for writing the abstinence part. The subject has been on my mind and now I don't have to post about it. I just think the rest of the world is so weird to jump with the sack with any old who, or even a good friend without extracting serious life-altering commitment first!

  4. samuel took the quiz, and got some 100,000. I'm not sure how that works???? I mean, that's 600,000 less people than me.

    anyway, we had a good laugh over it.

  5. That is so sad! I think I would be heartsick too. But I'm also learning that it's these moments that make for the best stories. Have fun at the REAL pumpkin patch!

  6. Well, you got some good mileage out of the hair in a story. I laughed--not at the hair tragedy but the lecturing the two year old. You might just as well have talked in the mirror.

  7. Barbara - I literally laughed out loud at your comment!

    Thora - I'm mourning your hair today. I've bargained not to cut mine until I've passed prelims, at which point I'll send you mine.

  8. I'll own up to it. That two year old was mine and you will be very, very, very blessed for taking her for two full days while I was trapped in the hospital "healing" from the c-section. You forgot to mention that your tragicomedy happened while you were attempting sainthood. I'm sorry, again.

  9. Maybe one reason you think you can't do stream-of-consciousness as well as James Joyce is that you don't speak seventeen languages-- yet. Actually, I LIKE your stream-of-consciousness better for just that reason. I don't speak seventeen languages, either, and you don't even drop multi-lingual puns in the ones you do speak, which makes it SO much easier for me to understand.