The Children's Book Quote of the Day

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A remarkable resemblance August 30, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 9:59 pm
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Mrs. Weasley was marching across the yard, scattering chickens, and for a short, plump, kind-faced woman, it was remarkable how much she looked like a saber-toothed tiger. (from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling)

 There must be some recessive gene that is somehow triggered by the behavior of your children that makes you uncannily like your parents. Because today, and I don’t know how it happened, I counted to three to make my child obey. I doubt this counting tactic needs explaining–I think we all remember our parents employing the method. But I thought they had something in mind, some consequence if you got to three. When I did it, I had nothing in mind. It just flew out of my mouth in the same tone and with the same seriousness behind the eyes in which both of my parents were experts. I said, “One….” and thought, Oh my gosh, he has no idea that something is supposed to happen when I get to three! What do I do?”

Then, for some unknown reason, I said, “Two….”

And. It. Worked.

No one could be more astonished than I was when he hastily obeyed. I still don’t really know what I would have done after “three,” other than physically remove him from under the computer. (That was the problem, by the way. He was trying to play with the power strip under the computer desk.) But I’m not totally convinced it was the counting that did it. I think it was the look.

Like a saber-toothed tiger.

 

Do I look stupid?

Filed under: Chapter Books — Kristi @ 1:40 pm
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“Do I look stupid?” snarled Uncle Vernon, a bit of fried egg dangling from his bushy mustache. (from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling)

“Mommy, I want some milk.”

“Okay, just a minute.”

No, Mommy, I want some miiiilk!”

“I’ll get it for you in just a minute.”

“Mommy, Pweeease! I want MIIIIILK.”

“Benjamin, I said just. a. minute.”

“I WANT SOME MIIIIIIIIIIIILK!!!!!!!”

BE PATIENT!!!!!! I’m getting it!”

Hmmmm. Did I just yell, “Be patient!” at my two-year-old? Sometimes it’s the things you see plain as day in someone else that are huge hidden problems for yourself. Or, as my dad used to say, “The smeller’s the feller.” Uncle Vernon is, of course, stupid. But he doesn’t ever see the egg on his own face. I am impatient. But here I’m trying to pound the virtue into my son by yelling? Oh, my. How can I teach him patience when I am so impatient?

Ah, I must learn it myself.

It is a great gift of motherhood that it gives you a reason to finally fix your faults before you pass them on. I have never been more motivated to improve myself, to be worth imitating, to teach well. I want my son to grow in strength of compassion, empathy for others, kindness, forgiveness, resilience, and patience. So I have to stop being judgmental, start putting myself in others’ shoes, showing uncommon kindness. I have to be so quick to forgive and so slow to anger. I have to try again when I fail and do it with a smile. I have to slow down and have patience.

 

All the difference August 28, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 10:51 pm

It’s only a little light, but it makes all the difference. (from The Long Winter by Laura Ingals Wilder)

I am posting for Shanna tonight because her home in Boston has no power. I just finished The Long Winter and enjoyed it so much. It actually cooled me a bit in the midst of a hot summer in Texas. We have blasted through a record for the most days over one hundred degrees in a year and we have felt it. Reading a book about a pioneer family stuck indoors for seven long months of one blizzard after another was deliciously cooling. Another technique I have employed is visiting Hobby Lobby, an air conditioned craft emporium which already has a sizeable section stocked with Christmas stuff. Strolling the Christmas aisles makes me forget that it’s actually 105 degrees out. It’s wonderful.

Well anyway, when Shanna texted me that she needed me to post the quote tonight because she has no electricity, I immediately thought of this scene in The Long Winter. The Ingalls family, of course, didn’t have electricity in their home at all but in this scene they were also out of kerosene for their lamp and coal for the kitchen fire. So while Pa twisted hay to make sticks to burn, Ma fashioned a little lamp out of grease, cloth, and a button to give the family a little light. I’m glad Shanna doesn’t have to go to such extreme measures, and that she and Spur can enjoy reading by candlelight knowing the power will return with time. But I also think it’s wonderful how going without can make you appreciate something so much more. The little button lamp, Pa said, was only a little light. But it made all the difference.

 

Dark and Stormy August 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Shanna @ 5:15 pm

It was a dark and stormy night.

In her attic bedroom Margaret Murry, wrapped in an old patchwork quilt, sat on the food of her bed and watched the trees tossing in the frenzied lashing of the wind. Behind the trees clouds scudded frantically across the sky. Every few moments the moon ripped through them, creating wraithlike shadows that raced along the ground. (from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle)

So, there’s a hurricane making it’s way in my direction. As a native West Texan, I’ve never had to face a hurricane before, and while I’m trying to be all cool and calm and grown-up about it, I’m just a little nervous. Thankfully, it looks like it’s not going to be too bad in the Boston area, but I’m playing it safe and taking precautions like stocking up on water and non-perishables. I also took the important precaution of doing laundry so that, if I’m stuck in my apartment for a few days at least I’ll have clean underwear.

These are practical things, right? But I keep having to fight against this urge to go a little overboard. Like the voice in my head that keeps saying I should fill up ALL of my containers with water in addition to the several gallons I already have. Or the one that made me frantically bring all of my plants and other things in from my patio when it started raining hard earlier, as if that downpour meant that the hurricane was arriving about 24 hours earlier than predicted. As if I didn’t know that it was supposed to rain all afternoon. As if they winds were already whipping, which was definitely NOT the case. I felt a little sheepish after that one, and calmed down a bit.

For all of our readers who are also along the east coast, I wish you peace and safety, and I hope you’re riding out the storm with more grace than I am. Maybe I’ll just fill half of my containers with water . . .

 

Never complain August 25, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 10:05 pm

“Don’t complain, Laura!” Ma told her quickly. “Never complain of what you have. Always remember you are fortunate to have it.” (from The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

If you are ever starting to compare yourself to the proverbial Joneses, and feeling like you have less, check out this website: http://whoarethejoneses.org/   It allows you to put your salary into a calculator and then compares you to the rest of the world. It is a humbling reminder of just how much most of us have, how grateful we should be to have it, and how much we could stand to give.  When I hear people in typical American families with two cars, a three bedroom home, and enough to eat that they will never seriously fear starvation complaining about the economy, I just want to send them to this website. I want to say, “Hey, at least you’re not living in the town dump!” Just look at it.

 

 

 

Nobody does August 24, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kristi @ 10:25 pm

After a moment  Mary said, “I think it is a good idea. It will help us to learn self-denial.”

“I don’t want to,” Laura said.

“Nobody does,” said Mary. “But it’s good for us.”

Sometimes Laura did not even want to be good.

(from The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder)

 

A proud ache August 23, 2011

Filed under: Chapter Books,Classics — Kristi @ 11:16 pm
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Laura was proud. her arms ached and her back ached and her legs ached, and that night in bed she ached all over so badly that tears swelled out of her eyes, but she did not tell anyone. (from The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder)