Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Song for a Fifth Child


When I was growing up, my mom had a needlework hanging in the hallway; the last portion of this poem by Ruth Hulburt Hamilton.  Until a few years ago, I was not aware of the title of the poem, or that it was longer than the portion my mom had embroidered.

Casey and I discovered last November that we were unexpectedly expecting a fifth blessing.  Sometime during the pregnancy, I came across the saved file of this poem on my computer and decided that I should post it on the blog.  Now that little Mackenzie Ruth has been here for a month, I feel it is only fitting: a poem a mom (named Ruth!  I had forgotten that part.)  wrote when her fifth child (a daughter) came along.

Song for a Fifth Child
By Ruth Hulburt Hamilton
Mother, oh Mother, come shake out your cloth
empty the dustpan, poison the moth,
hang out the washing and butter the bread,
sew on a button and make up a bed.
Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.

Oh, I've grown shiftless as Little Boy Blue
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).
Dishes are waiting and bills are past due
(pat-a-cake, darling, and peek, peekaboo).
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew
and out in the yard there's a hullabaloo
but I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't her eyes the most wonderful hue?
(lullaby, rockaby, lullaby loo).

The cleaning and scrubbing will wait till tomorrow,
for children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down, cobwebs. Dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

Mackenzie Ruth and Family

Mackenzie Ruth Cowart was born July 16th, weighing 8 lb, 7 oz and 19 3/4 inches long.  I am once again captivated by a sweet floppy bundle of helplessness.  Though I’d love to have already posted a lot about this precious addition or how much our life has changed since I last posted regularly, it may be very appropriate that this poem remains the last post on this blog for a  while.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Herd Overheard

Claire (doing fancy moves on the elliptical machine): “Mom, look!”

Me: “Wow.  What a great trick.”

Claire: “You should sell us to the trick store.”  3/25/11


(On the phone with her grandma, discussing Sandy’s upcoming birthday)

Ruby: “But how much will you be, Lita?  ‘Cause I’m guessing you’ve run out of fingers.”  4/5/11


Ruby, telling me about needing to pass some jeans down to Claire:

“My legs are getting fatter; like yours, probably.”  4/13/11


Claire: “Mom, what’s a birth stone?  Is it a stone you take a birth on?”  4/20/11


Claire, eating monster mouths (sliced apples w/peanut butter and marshmallows): “I call this marshmallow ‘Grandma,’ ‘cause it’s old and crusty.”  4/21/11


Claire: “Haley, doesn’t that dress itch you?”

Haley: “Yes.”

Claire: “Then why are you still wearing it?”

Haley: “Because I have to dance.”  4/23/11


Haley (at bedtime): “Mom, can you kiss me? . . . since I just can’t kiss myself.”  4/26/11


Me: “Did you know that chicks come out of eggs?”

Ruby: “We knew that for years.”  4/27/11


Haley, sitting on a pile of library books: “I’m hiding these since I can’t trust Ian.  He will drool over them and ruin them all up.”  4/28/11  (“Since” has been one of Haley’s favorite words this last year.)


(Background: I have 3 different kinds of towels in the kitchen—each with its own use.  Claire had just washed her hands and I was telling her which towel to use.)

Me: “Here.  This one’s the hand towel.”

Claire: “Hmm.  Which one is the foot towel?”  4/28/11


Me: “Is this Haley’s toothbrush?”

Ruby: “Let me see. . . I have a special way to tell. . . (long pause). . . if it’s ruined, it’s Haley’s.”  5/1/11


Haley to her dad:  “I’m growing boogers on my shirt!”  5/1/11


Haley (proud of herself): “Mom, I hugged Ian like a normal person!”  5/2/11


Claire, obviously searching for something.

Me: “What are you looking for?”

Claire: “I heard something over here that sounded like a toad’s foot.”  5/1/11


Ruby: “I am a lazy bird.  No one can stop me.”  (Ruby went on to express that being lazy is doing nothing.  Ever. All the time.)  5/5/11


Claire, showing me a tall stack of blocks.  “Mom, look!”

Me: “Wow.  That’s a big tower.”

Claire: “It’s not a tower, it’s a dad.”  5/7/11


Ruby: “Mom, it hurts my ears when Claire screams like a crocodile bit off her arm.”  3/10/11 (Ruby, you’re not alone.)


Ruby, pointing to the roof of her mouth: “My top lung hurts.”  5/23/11


(The kids are all in the shower together.)

Me: “Ruby, would you please wash Ian?”

Ruby: “Mom, I love washing Ian.  It’s like washing a pig.”  5/25/11


Casey (After Haley runs into a wall): “What hurts?”

Haley: “My owie!”  5/25/11


At the drive-thru: “That'll be $3.05 at the window.”

Claire (with interest): “Did she say, ‘I’ll climb out the window?”  6/7/11


Claire: “Mom, I just love watching you . . . but it’s kinda boring.”  6/18/11


Claire, pensively recollecting a statement she’d heard after watching a ballerina’s dancing presentation: “She said she danced with her whole body, but she didn’t dance with her eyes or her lips.”  (Pause.)  “And she didn’t dance with her nose, either.”  6/21/11


Sharing what we’re thankful for, Claire is excited that Ian will grow up to be a man because he can get married.

Casey: “You should hope that when he grows up, he’ll stand up for his big sisters.”

Claire, nonplussed: “He already does stand up for us.  Lots of times.”  6/25  (Do we have another literal thinker in the house, or what?!)

Claire, discussing love with Ruby: “I don’t think I’ve ever fallen in love.” (Pause.)  “But I might have fallen in love with Daddy.  And I might have fallen in love with Ian.”  6/27/11


Claire, handing the phone to me: “Daddy wants to talk to you again. I think he must be falling in love with you again.” 6/30ish/11


Claire, commenting on the upside of getting soap in one’s eyes: “Well, after you get the soap out, at least your eyes will smell good.”  7/6/11


I was explaining to the girls several of the qualities of breastmilk that make it such a perfect food for babies.

Claire (with surprise): “It’s alive?!?  You mean it can walk around and it has a nose?”  7/6/11


Ruby and Claire, playing “finding a baby”

Claire: “Pretend you saw me and I was so cute.”

“And pretend you took off my headband, and I was even cuter.”  7/6/11

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Herd Overheard

Claire, after taking a bite out of a donut: “It’s like a Boppy!”  9/27/10

Ruby, playing with magnetic letters (as though they are people—nothing is safe from becoming an action figure at our house):
“We had leg surgery tomorrow.  That’s why we tip over.”  9/27/10

Haley, as the blender startles 3-mo. Ian, making him cry:
“Mom!  Don’ scare Ian a smoothie! I don’ wike it!”  9/30/10

Claire, tattling: “Haley hit me with a rock!”
(after a pause)
“It’s a beautiful rock, but that was unkind.”  (Claire loves rocks) 10/13/10

Claire, when asked if the report was true that she’d scratched and hit Haley:
(Emphatically) “No!  I did NOT!  I only slapped her face!”  10/14/10

Haley (with a cold):  “I need to blow my nose, Mom, because my nose is coming out.”  10/14/10
also: “My nose is running out,” and “I just have a nose in my boogers.”  10/19/10

Claire, coloring a fish-in-an-aquarium-picture:  “This is gonna be mold at the bottom, just like in our bathtub.”  10/16/10

Ruby, wistfully: “I love pets.  All I have is pet bugs, but I want to have a pet what could stay alive all winter.”  10/25/10

Claire, during calendar time, noticing there aren’t many more days left in October: “When we run out of days, will we die?”  10/26/10

Claire, after I was gruff with Haley: “Mom, you’re not supposed to do that.  Remember, you need to let the peace of God rule in your heart, and be thankful?”  10/27/10

Ruby, having wished on a star the night before: “Mom, my wish didn’t come true, to fly up in a basket.  That’s too bad.”  11/1/10

Claire, holding a wooden spoon from their kitchen set: “This is my gun.  It’s automatic.”  11/1/10

Ruby, explaining to me what she meant when she came in from playing outside and told me she was “soaking hot.”
“It means I have tears coming out of me for having two jackets on.”  11/14/10

Serving the girls slices of the apple cinnamon bread brought by the neighbor:
Me: “Wasn’t it kind for Daddy to fix Sharon’s laptop, and wasn’t it kind for her to bake Daddy some bread?”
Claire, puzzled: “How did she make her laptop into bread?”  11/17/10

Claire, in pain: “Two of my ears are hurting.”  11/29/10

Ruby, coloring with me: “I still have more imaginations to color.”  11/29/10

Haley, singing (to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb): “Mary had a muffin man, muffin, man, muffin maaaan. . .    12/1/10

Haley, playing with her pretend camera (batteries dying): “Oh!  My cheeseball is broken!”  12/10/10

Ruby, discussing our trip to Colorado: “It’s gonna take forever till we get to the ‘nother world . . . . . . Mom, get ready for this hard trip, because it will be a disaster.”  12/13/10

Haley: “Mommy!  I burp!”
Me: “Yes.  What do we say when we burp?”
Haley: “Thank you, burp.”  1/2/11

Claire: “Last time we went to church, I forgot my notebook, so I had to just sit there with my rock.”   1/2/11

Reviewing yesterday’s science experiment on matter:
Me: “Was the ice solid, liquid or gas?”
Ruby: “It had a shape and you could hold it. . . . .  It was a solid.”
Claire (whose eyes have a light-bulb-over-the-head-look):
“Poop is a solid.”  1/13/2011

Haley, upon hearing the telephone ring:
“It’s Mr. Daddy.”  1/28/11

(While Claire and Ruby play that they are moms.)
Me: “How many kids do you have?”
Claire: “Just two.”
Me: “And how do you like that?”
Claire: “Good. ‘Cause if I had three, I’d be like, ‘I need to sell one of these kids. . .’”
Ruby: “If I had three, I would say, ‘I’m so nervous, I have to put one of you to bed.’”  (For the record, I have never said either of these. )Smile  2/9/11

Claire (to Haley, who is wearing a dress-up dress): “May I have a turn wearing that?”
Haley: “No, Claire.  First I have to marry to Ian.”  3/1/11

Daddy to the girls as they discuss police officers: “I was riding in a car that was pulled over today.  Do you know what two people weren’t wearing in that car?”
Ruby: “Clothes?”  (Also for the record, the correct answer was seatbelts.) Smile 3/1/11

Haley (making small-talk while I change her diaper): “I don’t like to eat my poop.” 3/6/11

Claire (looking out the window of  a crowded restaurant): Dad, Look!  That person’s smoking!”
Ruby: “But they’re already old.  They’re probably going to die soon anyway.”  3/3/11

Haley (stepping out into the pungent country air at a friend’s house): “Somebody pooped out here.”
{demandingly} “Who pooped out here?!?”
{more demandingly, as we make it to the car} “Who did it!?!?!”  3/14/11

Haley (pretending one action figure is speaking to another): “Do you know the muffin man?”  3/19/11

Haley (after having tooted while eating her lunch):
“S’cuse me.  That was my carrot tooting.”  3/14/11