The Pirates of "Pen"zance
O nature's noblest gift -- my grey goose-quill!
Slave of my thoughts, obedient to my will,
Torn from thy parent bird to form a pen,
That mighty instrument of little men!
Be ye warned: this blog is long and has a certain tangent-esqu quality to it.
Why the pen quote? Well besides them being a bit of an obsession and an attempted solution for warding off disastrous emotional spending (when I have the irrational urge to buy something that I don't need, I've been able to redirect that urge to the purchase of an inexpensive pen), I wish to pen an experience I had with Reed the other day and the power of the pen.
Pens really are powerful tools and I am not going to write about how in our house pens and pencils have come to be used as weapons resembling swords and wands, but to what effects an angry boy with the newly acquired ability to read and write can cause.
Yesterday, Sunday, my boys were outside playing in the community back yard. It's been difficult defining what proper Sabbath day activities are when we let them out of the house. No sane person can keep a child in the house on a beautiful day unless they wish to torture themselves. So, out they go, but with instructions on how we play outside on Sundays. This is so psychotic and nearly impossible to reinforce with 6 year olds, but I tell them they can play at the slides and if other kids come over you can play with them (because it's unavoidable), but you can't follow them to other places in the yard (must not initiate play rule). I know this is so weird, but this is what I'm doing for now. I remember as a kid walking over to my friends houses on Sunday asking if they could play and being told they couldn't play on Sunday, sending home a saddened and very bored little girl. Well, the kids around here don't understand what the Sabbath day is, so after a big "huh?!" we call it family day. Playing does happen and it doesn't always stay at the slides, how could it? It's called playing and boundaries are hard to maintain when imaginations are involved.
Back to pens, Reed, Douglas, Vincent and Stanly were playing in the designated areas, each with swords (sticks), and aboard the Pirate ship formally known as the slides. Vincent and Stanly are about 2 years older than Reed and Douglas and because of age differences, there are often upsets in the ranks that the younger pirates don't always deal with in a mature manner. Mature manner example, "Oh, I do apologize for that stab in the lower abdomen, that truly was below the belt my good man. Please forgive me, now you may stab me once where ever you wish. But not the eye, mother says it won't survive a jab." On Saturday, Douglas was so mad that he took his saber and fatally stabbed my folding canvas chair in the heart. I would have made him walk the plank, but it's under construction at the moment.
Apparently, Reed received an unwanted stab from Stanly yesterday, leaving a small mark on his chest. Any offense that leaves physical proof is seen as almost deadly for Reed until it has a band aide on it. There must be some psychology term for this "everything is all better when a band aide can cover it" syndrome. I wonder what it's called when a kiss makes it all better? The balm of saliva? ….another tangent…
So Reed, instead of using a stick to inflict the mortal wound, decided to use the ink sword. I didn't realize what he was doing, but he kept coming into my room asking me how to spell words. First , "Dear", next "you", then "are". I thought, "oh what a good boy, doing the appropriate Sabbath day activity of writing a letter." Maybe it’s for grandmas or grandpas, or even me. When he had completed his letter he went to Chris to get an envelope than came to me to fold his letter for him. Apparently, I am more gifted in the paper folding department. Besides being curious, I had to look at the letter in order to fold it. Reed saw my eyes wander across the paper and he tried to hide the writing with his hand while saying "don't read it!" Apparently, he knew what he had written was not nice because the two words he didn't want me to know he had to sound out on his own. "Stanle" and "Stoopid". Needless to say a lecture, instead of a letter, was delivered. Had he succeeded in the delivery, the wound would have been deeper than a stab in the gut. Or maybe "Stanle" would have retaliated with a pen of his own.