I didn't blog over the weekend because we had some visitors. My former co-editor from the time I was working in Russia (Garfield, who is actually an Aussie), his wife, Olga, and their daughter, Madeline, came to visit the North Shore for a couple of days. I think they had a good time, although after they left, Matt said, "You know, for the first time I feel like kind of a hick. 'Welcome to the North Shore! Let's go climb a big hill! Let's go look at some boats!' I mean, they're from Moscow."
In any case, the weather was good, and Madeline, who speaks Russian almost exclusively, had a great time with John and Maia, who nearly went into hysterics when she said the Russian word for "parrot," which is "popugai," which morphed almost too obviously into "poo-poo-guy" as the afternoon went along.
She also corrected my grammar once when I spoke to her. She is five.
A few days ago, we found that a robin had built its nest just outside our living room window. She thoughtfully placed it so we can watch her as she sits on the three perfect blue eggs inside. The kids were so excited and made more noise trying to be quiet in that part of the room, so as not to disturb her, than if they'd just walk through it normally.
Well, make that past tense. The nest is now empty and I haven't seen the mama since yesterday. I read online that only about 40 percent of first-of-the-season robin clutches make it from egg to flight, so we'll have to see if she comes up with another one, or if this next will be abandoned.
I haven't told the kids yet that the eggs are gone. I fear John Tenderheart. This morning it was rainy, and he wept for the worms on the driveway he could not save from my car tires. As soon as I dropped him off at school, he bent over on the sidewalk and moved several worms there out of the way.
This from a boy who announced a couple weeks ago that his career aspiration at the moment is "wild man," and he says he can't wait to skin a deer to make a tent out of the hide.
Why are kids who wake up from nightmares so darn freaky? Only in person, though -- "I see dead people" was a little more funny than scary.
John woke us up hollering and moaning this morning around 2 a.m. I stumbed down the stairs to find him standing in the middle of his room choking and sobbing with fear, pointing at the corner where his bed was.
"It's there!" he cried. "It -- it -- wait, it's THERE!"
"What!" I said, jumping a little bit.
"It's scary!" he yelled, waking Maia in the next room. "I'm scared! It was right next to my bed!"
"What, what!" I said, certain that something would scuttle out and bite my ankles.
I got him to calm down a bit and tell me what he saw. And what he saw was "Something with bundles of legs," he said. "Bundles of legs. And eyes like mosquitos, you know? With the lines on them? And four wings on top of its body."
Brrr. Bundles of legs. That made me shiver. He was sure it was in his bed, so we stripped it down. Then he was sure it was in the closet, but it wasn't. I sat and talked with him for awhile, and he settled into bed. Maia had gone back to sleep, and calm was restored.
I went back up and got into bed.
The back of my neck prickled. Bundles. Of legs.