Last week I was sick. It’s hard, and humbling, and horrible to be sick when you’re the mama. I had hatched grand plans for a week of fun activities before C starts school…and then I came down with a dreadful cold. I find that this stage of life, with three little people at home, is interspersed with frequent stretches where all we seem to be doing is surviving: eating simple dinners, wearing fairly clean clothes, bathing occasionally, and watching a lot of movies. This was another round of that routine. I wanted to be outside basking in the glorious weather, and instead I was walking to my couch with a kleenex box in hand while sunlight gilded the leaves outside the dining room window.

Over the weekend Daddy ran the household while I slept for hours, and on Monday he had to stay home and do more of the same. For rest of the week I cooked minimalist meals and forced myself to do a load or two of laundry a day; for some odd reason, people still need food and clothes, even when Mama is sick. During the kids’ naptimes, I slept on the balcony in the sun, hoping for a Vitamin D cure. The kids ate a lot of meals at the kitchen table with Daddy while I retreated to the couch.

When Daddy was on duty, I napped and sifted through the arid wastes of Netflix instant streaming in hopes of finding something watchable. To my surprise, I discovered two movies I liked (Possession and Enchanted April) and one I loved (A Good Woman: an Oscar Wilde adaptation set in 1930 and starring Helen Hunt and Scarlett Johansson? How did I not know about this?!). And I succumbed to periodic guilty gloom over what felt like another week of living in limbo rather than building or growing or doing anything better.

But then I rounded the corner one evening and spotted this:

I thought that if my child sits down on the floor to read a book, we must be doing something right. Good things are happening, even when I think life has ground to a halt.

A brother gives his sister a kiss:

Small feet cross under the shelter of a book.

Brothers enjoy a favorite read together.

My daughter absorbs works of art…

…and turns on her movie star charm for the camera.

(I’m still a rookie at editing pictures on my new camera: can’t figure out how to crop without distorting the image. Sorry for that chair leg in the top of the frame. I’ll try not to do it again.)

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In other news, Miss E is developing an avante-garde sense of fashion. One afternoon her leggings got a little damp while she was “helping” me water the flowers. (Those things need water when Mama is sick, too…) When we came back inside I called her to come for her pre-nap snack.

“I’m not coming yet!” she called.

“What?” I said. “Come for your coconut yogurt!”

“Not yet! I’m putting on my skirt.”

I ran upstairs in alarm (her dresser is quite stable but I still don’t like the thought of her opening drawers by herself) and discovered that she had indeed removed her leggings (rather a feat, I think), deposited them in the hamper, chosen a skirt, and put it on. This blurry shot gives you the best glimpse at her clothing selection:

She has an attitude about it, too. Don’t diss my style, Mama.

I’m hoping for a healthier week next week–but I’m also hoping it includes more book-reading snuggles and boundary-breaking fashion.

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