Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday, March 04, 2013 - No comments

Baking, Bruises and Buried Treasure

When I woke up this morning, I rolled over and found a raccoon staring me in the face.  Behind him, two pairs of coffee-brown eyes blinking back at me, the nearest pair crinkled up til they almost disappeared when their owner smiled his missing-tooth smile.  

“We’ve been quiet for a whole twenty minutes waiting for you to wake up!”

I’m on Day Four of my Twelve Day Crash Course in Motherhood.  My friends needed to make a trip to their home country and didn’t want to pull their kids from school, so I have the extreme privilege of hanging out with a ten-year-old princess, a seven-year-old charmer and a goldfish called Prince Abooboo.  I’ve been looking forward to this time for months as these two have been a great source of entertainment and delight to me since they were itty bitty.  Besides the sheer amusement of their company (Boy does a great impression of an American speaking Turkish with a mock hillbilly accent...) it’s been nice to be able to give my “I can’t wait to be a mom” wiggles some relief, and sobering to get just a glimpse of the grace and supernatural strength required to shepherd little souls.

The raccoon episode came about as a result of a scary tarantula on a Brady Bunch re-run which prompted a request to all sleep in the same bed.  After a good tickle fest and some stories about the “stuffies” I had when I was little (“Tell us the one again about how you put your mom’s hand cream on Snowy and Leo and pretended they were wearing sunscreen to go to the beach...”) Girl went into the living room to work on a sewing project and Boy and I headed to the kitchen to mix up some apple cinnamon muffins for breakfast.  He’s a little baking natural and was a big help measuring out the flour and mixing up the sugar and pekmez (molasses) to make brown sugar.

Since it’s the weekend and the sun was out, we decided a little adventure was in order, so over breakfast, we made plans to head over to a nearby gully to climb around and have a picnic.  The “sinkhole” is massive, with a creek flowing through it that heads underground and appears again several miles away in the form of a waterfall.  Making our way through a rocky field of newly awakened daisies and poppies, we stood on the edge, oohing and aahing over the layers of striped rock of the cliff face opposite us.  We spied out a patch of grass on one of the lower levels and climbed our way down past goats and other picnickers enjoying their lunches to our spot in the shade.

We were sitting there, enjoying our picnic, no greater worry on our minds than whether or not a bug would poop on our sandwiches, when suddenly the peace was shattered by a rock falling from above and landing right beside Girl.  We looked up just as another one sailed down, this one (thankfully small) pelting Boy on the back, followed by the howls and scary noises of a pack of boys up to no good.

I hurriedly helped the kids get their shoes on and hustled them under a nearby overhang, frustrated that all I could do was shout back, “Stop throwing rocks!  Shame on you!”  Our attackers were a good thirty feet above us - too far away to grab them by the ears and march them home to their fathers, but close enough to nail me in the head with a pebble as I gathered up the picnic blanket.  A head peeked over the edge, and then pulled back when he realized I could see him.  What made me more angry than the fact that they were deliberately trying to hurt us was the fact that I recognized them as the same seemingly polite boys we’d talked to just a few minutes earlier when one asked if he could leave his backpack with us while they explored by the creek.  

Grateful for the overhang, the kids and I stayed under cover, hoping the boys would get bored and leave.  The kids were shaken and I felt a welt coming on, but we were safe.  Wanting to prevent fear from taking root in their hearts, I tried to keep things light while we waited.  We prayed - not only for protection, but also for the boys, forgiving them, knowing that they must have been bullied themselves to be so violent at such a young age.  The kids’ compassion towards the boys amazed me, and I was proud of them for how they handled the whole thing.  

We weren’t exactly in the mood to explore the gulley anymore, so when the boys had apparently tired of not having a target at which to throw things at, I made sure the coast was clear and then we climbed up to the top.  The little hooligans were nowhere to be seen, so I gave up on my fantasy of giving them an earful, and we headed home.

All danger and drama were quickly forgotten when the landlord/upstairs neighbour of our apartment had a relative come to till the soil in the garden with his tractor.  The guy put on quite a show for the kids, singing silly songs and lolling his head around, acting as if he’d fallen asleep at the wheel.  I laughed along with them for a bit and then left them downstairs with the neighbour kids to watch the “silly farmer.”  

Not long after I’d come up, Girl appeared at the door with a look of panic on her face and an “Um, I need to talk to you.....”  

She and all her little friends had been standing on the back balcony when she spotted a pair of her cupcake underwear directly in the tractor’s path.  They must have fallen from the clothesline at some point.  She didn’t figure it was safe to jump out and grab them, so she just willed everyone not to notice and then watched in horror as the tractor blades scooped them up and then ground them into the dirt.

We waited until the tractor had rumbled off down the road, sent Boy out front to distract the others and give us some privacy, grabbed some beach shovels and started digging.  We turned over a good pile of soil, giggling the whole time, but alas, never came up with the sought after “buried treasure.”  In the end, we decided the tractor must have made crumbs out of the cupcake underwear and decided to stop digging and just hope it didn’t turn up anywhere embarrassing.  

We’ve been keeping a journal about what we’ve been up to while Mom and Dad are away - stories and pictures so they don’t miss out on anything fun that’s happened.  When Girl sat down to write about the day’s events, I was happy to see that the rock-throwing boys took up very little space compared to her dominant memory - the hilarious “Underground Underwear” episode.

Her closing sentence:  “I sure hope Uncle Ismet doesn’t find a surprise when he goes to plant his eggplant!”  :)