A few notes on things I want to remember later:
This is the period of our lives I’m going to christen “the Hogwarts Express.” We read the first two Harry Potter books to Maggie and Tom is now helping her plow through number three. It’s been Maggie’s first foray into the delightful world of daily cosplay, as she’s taken to wearing her Gryffindor Quidditch jersey and glasses from the Harry Potter Studio Tour in Watford along with her Halloween costume robe and handmade scarf pretty much on the daily. I had to hide my lip liner since it was showing up in random spaces and on random toys. Sophie the Giraffe probably doesn’t care about being touched by The Boy Who Lived, but I think Minna will one day object to the scar and glasses drawn on her rubber teether in makeup. OveralI enjoy the books and the first two movies are fine, but I think I’m going to enjoy them less and less if Ron keeps making that ridiculous constipated “I’m in trouble!” face.
It did lead to a delightful themed Halloween, however. Moira, inspired by a photograph I showed her from Facebook, decided she wanted to be both a princess AND Darth Vader for Halloween. I’ll go into it further during her birthday letter–my darling will be four, FOUR! next week!!–but Moira has been in rare form these past few months. Princess Vader was absolutely the right choice for her, and it segued into a nice theme for the family. Tom went as a movie screen, I wore a bow tie and Minna’s carrier was bedecked to look like a box of popcorn (complete with popped corn glued to her hat), and we were collectively “A Night At The Movies.” Frankly, this is far more creativity than I ever expected to show at ten weeks postpartum.
Tell me that is not absolutely awesome. Go ahead. You can’t, can you? Tom ditched the movie screen after the party attendance swelled to more than five guests and no one could see my bow tie, but for a brief shining moment captured on camera and posted with an explanatory caption, we were the ensemble lords of all Halloween.
Minna. Oh, my darling Minna. I don’t know what I did to deserve a baby like her, but I’m so grateful for her. She rarely cries, unless I’m trying to clear her nose or if she’s in her car seat and the car is not moving. Minna favors a little bleat-yelp that sounds like “Bap!” She bap-baps like a little lost lamb until I pick her up or put food in her mouth, and that usually rights the wrong. Her head still has that soft-but-penetrating indescribable baby smell, and the rest of her smells like coconut and lavender from us trying to help her dry skin. She likes to be held like a little football in the crooks of our arms so she can see what’s going on, and she coos softly to anyone who listens. She sleeps at night, waking only once or twice. She naps well. Her eyelashes are filling in and her cheeks are plumping up, distracting from the long leanness of the rest of her body. Minna smiles when she sees her sisters and they both adore her.
We like her, too.
Homeschooling…deserves its own post. Nine days out of ten, I’m convinced it’s the best thing to have ever happened to Maggie. On the tenth day, I bring up the local tuition school website and lovingly hover over the phone number for admissions. I expect that’s true of every homeschooling family everywhere, and my desire to punch myself in the face rather than do a math lesson on the tenth day is totally normal.
And finally, we are in the midst of our final year in England. After three years in Hawaii and what will be just over five years in England (!!!), we’ll almost certainly be returning to Maryland. Instead of the DC area, we think we’ll be exploring the northeast suburbs of Annapolis. Someone pass me a crab hammer. It feels like the end of something, something more than the end of living abroad. We’re talking about buying a house and a minivan; we’re setting up Minna’s college savings plan under the Maryland pre-paid lock-in. After a decade of “Where next?” we’re starting to make something new.
I think we’re going to make a home.