Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Mane Complaint

A note to school on the occasion of bribing my eldest daughter to have someone who knows what they are doing fix the hack job I did on her hair when we had lice.  That's right, I have 6 kids with lice and 57 loads of laundry to take care of and my greatest concern in the whole wide world is: how to get this kid to let me get someone to make her look pretty.  She drives a hard bargain, what can I say.  She turned down a manicure and trip to Chuck E. Cheese.  After an hour, she finally decided that it was time for her to have the upper hand and get out of drama class once and for all.  I happily complied - besides this was free.

Dear Miss Fast,

In order to get Catherine to agree to have her hair styled by a professional, I agreed to write you this note listing her completely reasonable demands.

First of all, Catherine would like to be excused from drama class for the rest of eternity. We feel that she has mastered the art of drama and is quite dramatic enough already. Now, if you have a drama lessening program, we would definitely be interested in that. If Catherine gets to skip drama, she can focus her impressive complaining skills more keenly on other important issues such as excessive homework, yucky lunches, and icky boys.

Which leads nicely to her next request, she would like to sit in the corner all by herself because she just hates people in general, some more than others, of course, but decorum prevents me from listing their names (plus I just quit listening after the first 5 because they all blur together, and I can't keep them straight). She would especially like to avoid contact with all boys, and as her mother, I would like to encourage that sentiment for the next 15 years or so.

I made no promises about how these requests would be handled. That is entirely up to you. I only promised to write them down.

Thank you so much,


So Catherine proudly presented this note to her teacher, who sent me email because she was confused.  Catherine was under the impression that this note was a serious power play by me to get her out of drama.  I just told the teacher to do whatever she thought best.  I had what I wanted - a clean, professional hair cut.   Besides, it would be better if Catherine didn't ruin the performance for the other kids who were enjoying themselves.

It turns out that the drama production consisted of the kids doing the zombie dance from the Michael Jackson Thriller video.  My dislike for all things associated with Michael Jackson  almost  extends to the ABC's.  This drama teacher better be a volunteer.  What girl wants to dance like a zombie?    Eeeeew.   I'm surpised Catherine didn't organize a full scale revolt - but I guess that would have had to involve talking to people. 

The Very Little Brown Church

We went to Vigil on Saturday night.  It lasted over 3 hours.   Before we left, Alexander - the 6 year old - asked both me and our priest if he could build a church.   He received blessings from both of us for this undertaking.  He wanted a small place where he could be by himself to pray - like the laundry room is a great hub of activity or something.  

He is going to build his church out of cardboard and duct tape - his usual building materials.   I'm supposed to print icons out from the internet to tape to the walls of the interior.  When we got home from liturgy he took 4 candle stubs a $5 bill out of his pockets.   HE  ALREADY HAS A BUILDING FUND.

Maybe I should have frisked him for incense.

Alexander asked his dad for help with construction, and got the usual reply - you have to have a building plan in place before we start.  Permits - shmermits.   So, he sat down and drew up a plan for a T shaped church with the "alter" off to the side, and a really big place for the "quire" to sing, candle stand positions clearly marked.

So, being the unfun, art history buff that I am, I tried to explain to him that churches need to follow one a of a couple of floor plans (and one of them happens to be square - the box in its natural state!).  There are rules about these things.  I tried to look up some floor plans on the internet, but all I could really find was Hagia Sohpia, and we don't have that much duct tape.  We discussed how our church is laid out, and the importance of arranging the space so that 2 choirs could sing antiphonally.  You have to have a narthex, or there won't be anyplace to spit during Baptisms - you know, the really important stuff.

Alexander made a new floor plan - this time in accordance with the usual rules, except that he had the "northex" on the north side of the structure.  I guess that makes sense.  As does the space marked "rest of the church".  Kinda sums it all up.

Then I asked him to whom his church would be dedicated.  He looked a little confused, and answered "Um . . . God?"  Yes, but usually churches are a little more specifically named.  "Oh yeah, Orthodox".  Great, but we go to a church dedicated to the Mother of God - who should your church be dedicated to.  He's thinking about it.  My husband is thinking that candle stands aren't such a good idea in a cardboard church.

I'm just hoping he doesn't want onion domes.  

The Meeting of Our Lord or Take Your Kid to Church Day

Today is the rare combination of 2 feasts - 

The Meeting of the Lord (fixed date)

The Sunday of the Prodigal Son  (moveable date)

If you look closely, The Meeting of the Lord falls on February 2.  On the Julian Calendar, today is February 2nd.  We are on the old calendar, which is 13 days behind the civil (Gregorian) calendar.  So, it's Feburary 2nd for us too, despite the fact that everywhere else in the world, except Ethiopia, it's February 15th.  In ROCOR, we don't let some 16th century Pope tell us what to do.  The sun - what a whacky way to determine the date.  Anyway, the old calendar, beside being the Orthodoxically correct, is a procrastinator's dream.  You haven't sent your Christmas cards out late until even after January 1st, and it makes April Fool's day extra fun because NOBODY is expecting it on April 14th.

Today is the day that the Theotokos took her 40 day old Son to the Temple to be dedicated to God, following Jewish law.   It is also the day that the Prodigal Son returned to his father's house. So what you get is, the mother bringing the child to the temple and the Father receiving him with open arms.  Very circular.  Very complete.  Very cool.

And here is how my children marked the occasion.  When we got to church, Roman - the 3 year old - absolutely insisted that he wanted to serve at the altar.   I said that maybe he could come sing with me later instead.  He's as well behaved as your average 3 year old.  I left Roman with the  babysitters and went to sing.   As soon as I was gone, the older boys took Roman to the vestry and found vestments for him.    

Imagine my surprise when at the end of the Great Litany, all of my boys appeared on the opposite side of the church in vestments looking very proud of themselves.  Roman was so happy that he was literally jumping for joy.  He came running up the ambo and stood on the stool next to my music stand.  He gave me a big hug and sang a little "Blagoslovi dushe moya Gospoda", hugged me again and ran out the side door to take the back dor to that altar.  Well, what do you do at that point?  It's not like I can go get him out of the altar.  He came back a few minutes later, out of St. Michael's door, without any vestments.  He sang a litte of the Second Antiphon and then went back to the babysitters.  Busy feast day for a little guy.