William and the Witch

Once upon a time was a little boy named William who lived in the forest with his family. William had a very special gift – he was able to grow any kind of plant. When he was a baby, he would crawl along and poke his finger in the dirt, then put a seed in the hole. And everywhere he did this a plant would grow with no help at all. As he grew older, he was in charge of the family garden, which became the most amazing garden in the world. Tomatoes grew to be the size of your head! The strawberry plants had so much fruit that his sister Zoe would pick half of the strawberries and sell them in town for enough money for the family to live comfortably all year! And still they had more than they could eat, so they made gallons of strawberry jam, strawberry preserves, and dried strawberry chews. They always had plenty of fruits and vegetable to eat and were very happy.

One day, while they were sitting down to a delicious dinner of butternut squash soup and fresh salad, they heard a knock at the door. John, the oldest son, got up to see who it was. He opened the door and saw a little, old lady.

“Please kind sir,” she said “please let me in and give me a bit to eat as I am very hungry and tired.” John was a good boy and knew it was important to be kind, so he let her in and set a place at the table for her, and made up a bed so she might stay the night. The old witch (for she was indeed a witch) sat at the table eating the delicious food and wondering aloud at the bounty the family had at the table. The mother and father told her of William’s ability to make plants grow and promised to send her along with as much food and strawberry preserves as she could carry. But the witch was selfish and wanted William’s magic for herself.

So when all were asleep, she crept into the children’s room and sprinkled magic dust on John’s and Zoe’s faces to make sure they slept deeply until morning. Then she snatched up William, stuffed him in a sack, and ran away.

William woke up in the sack and was very afraid. He started to cry but then he remembered his brother John and how one time when they were the laying on the woods a bear had come and John had stayed calm and used his cape to frighten the bear away. And he remembered how he had fallen in the pond and his sister Zoe had stayed calm and gave him a stick to grab onto and had pulled him to safety. And he remembered all the times his parents had made scary or dangerous things be ok by staying calm and using their brains. So he calmed down and thought. In his pocket were some seeds and a little knife that his father had given him on his 4th birthday. He felt through the seeds and found one for a butternut squash. He held it in his hand and concentrated very hard. At first nothing happened, then, it began to wiggle and grow! It grew so fast that soon he had a ripe butternut squash as big as he was! The witch started to get tired not realizing she was carrying a boy and a squash. She put down the sack to rest a moment. He used his knife to make hole in the sack and very carefully crept out, then tied it back up, leaving the squash inside. When the witch picked up the sack, William ran away back home.

The witch ran all the way to her home not knowing she had naught but a squash inside her sack. When she got home, she opened the sack and peered inside. Now, she was a very old and wicked witch and her eyesight was very poor. As soon as she cut it, she could not tell that it was a squash inside her sack. She pulled it out and yelled at it that in the morning it would make her garden grow. Then she set it down by the fireplace and went to bed. In the morning she took up the squash and admonished it to make her garden grow before she came home. She then set the squash that never said a word by the garden and left. When she came home, nothing had grown and she was very angry. She screamed and yelled at the squash and set it down by the cold hearth to sleep without any supper. The next day, she again took up the squash and admonished it to make her garden grow before she came home. She then set the squash that never said a word by the garden andleft. When she came home nothing had grown and she was very extremely angry. She screamed and yelled at the squash and set it down by the cold hearth to sleep without any supper. The third day she took up the squash and again admonished it to make her garden grow before she came home. She then set the squash that never said a word by the garden an left. When she came home nothing had grown and she flew by into a rage. She picked up the squash and threw it against a tree where it broke into 5 pieces. The witch was immediately sorry she had killed the boy (or so she thought) and gathered up the pieces and buried them in the wood hoping no one would find them.Months passed and the place where the squash was buried started to sprout and grow. But this was no ordinary plant as it was full of William’s magic. It grew huge and high – more like a tree than a vine. One day the old witch was in the forest and came to the strange plant wondering a loud from whence it had come.

The plant spoke to her saying “Do you not recognize me old mother?” And the witch was very afraid and ran back to her house and bolted the door. But the plant had put a little twig in her pocket and as she slept the twig sprouted and grew and grew binding her fast to her bed. And still it grew more filling the cabinets and drawers, lifting up the floorboards and finally the whole house into the sky. And no one ever heard from the wicked witch again.

A roar

Ongoing story in the car:

William: you hear a roar from the valley of the fairies!

John: it’s me the golden dragon! Roar!

Zoe: I use fire steel to break the cuffs and escape!

No one can explain to me what is actually going on but they’re having a great time ….

So that’s why they call them “belly buttons”

William: A bear stole my belly button!!

Me: What?

Zoe: Here’s what happened – Wiiliam and I were walking in the woods and a squirrel ran up to me and snatched my belly button and ATE it! Then, a bear came who was putting in a sweater to go hunting. He was missing a button and saw William and stole his belly button to see on his sweater.

Me: That is a great story!

Zoe: Mommy! It is NOT a story – it’s true!

Parenting Story: Birthdays and Choices

We love a good birthday party!  Who doesn’t? And we have been to a lot of really amazing parties – bounce houses, the zoo, gymnastics schools, museums – the list goes on. So, as a new parent, I began to wonder whether I should be doing something similar for my kids. Certainly, the kids thought so, as they kept asking whether they could have a party next year at such and such a venue. As I sat down and did the math – it just wasn’t going to work for us.  I could do the party, but then I wouldn’t be able to get much in the way of presents and vice versa.

Our solution to this was to essentially remove ourselves from the equation and let the kids decide.  I’ve got a budget for their birthdays and we give them a choice:

  1. No birthday party, all money goes towards presents and food.
  2. Small birthday party at home with a few friends, less presents (to buy the supplies for the birthday party plus gifts for the guests)
  3. Large birthday party at a venue (bounce house place or similar) and no presents.

I like it because it puts the kids in charge of how their birthday budget gets spent and takes the pressure off of me worrying whether I made the “right” decision about how they should celebrate.

Well, Now That’s Not Creepy at All…

Zoe: Mommy, I want you to come into the bedroom with me while I get dressed.

Me: Zo, you don’t need me to come in there. What do you think is going to happen if you go in by yourself?

Zoe: Sometimes, when I’m walking by myself in the house, I think that hands are going to come out of the walls and grab me and drag me away to a witch who wants to keep me for herself.

Me: Um, ok, I’ll come in there with you.

Parenting Story: Christmas Presents

Having kids at Christmas is awesome – it’s also really stressful, when it comes to getting presents.  Not picking them out so much, but trying to not get too many things and overspend. Every time I go to a website or store, everything looks so amazing and it would be super easy to just go into debt and buy the kids a bajillion things they don’t have room for anyway. Not to mention that this completely dilutes the meaning of the season.  So, to keep ourselves in check and manage the kids expectations, they get 4 gifts from us and one from Santa.  Their gifts are:

Something to Read
Something to Wear
Something you Want
And Something to Share

Share items can be a donation to a favorite charity or a play-doh set they all three use together. So far, so good!

“I’m just…”: Parenting Story

We try to teach the kids that they need to think through what they’re doing before they do it. Failing that, they need to fess up and deal with the consequences of their choices.  As a result “I’m just” or “I was just” are not really acceptable phrases, as it means some justifying excuse is coming next.  So, from an early age, they learned…

Child in trouble “Mom, I’m just…”

Me, interrupting “What does ‘I’m just’ mean?”

Child, sighing and resigned “I’m just about to get in trouble.”

Whatchamacallit – Beware!

Zoe: William and I decided there is a whatchamacallit so you better be careful!

Me: Oh no what does it look like?

Zoe: It’s huge! And purple and covered in greeeeeeen slime. And it hugs you so hard that you can’t breathe then eats you with its serious tusks. So you better watch out!