I Blinked, and Six Years Later…

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Memory is a Funny Thing

Have you noticed that there are certain events that seem like they happened only yesterday, and yet you have trouble remembering what life was like before? Milestones, like graduations, moves, weddings, births, jobs; as another year rolls by, it’s hard to believe they happened so long ago. Yet at the same time, you ask yourself, “What did I do before?” The other night, my husband and I were driving home from a niece’s birthday party. B was singing along to a Wiggles DVD in the backseat, T was not happy to be in his car seat (getting a tooth and fighting sleep), there was an inflatable monkey squeaking between the travel high chair and the stroller in the cargo area, my husband J began humming along to the Wiggles tune with B, and as it was the eve of our wedding anniversary, I wondered to myself, “How did we get here?”

No Regrets

There is absolutely no negative connotation to that question. I am not disappointed or wishing for bygone days. Rather, I am amazed. Time really does fly. We all hear it from our parents, from our friends who have children before we do, but no one can understand the cliché until they’ve experienced it. So, here we are, six years happily married, two beautiful children, and as hard as it is to believe the time has passed, the memories of our previous life are foggy and distant; this is what is our life, now is the only thing that feels real. I can only hope that as time continues to whiz by and our lives continue to evolve, the changes that come will leave room in my memory for the happiness I am blessed with in this moment.

A Year in 32 Pages: The House in the Meadow

The House in the MeadowIn a coincidental parallel to our anniversary, we recently brought home Shutta Crum’s The House in the Meadow. Inspired by the counting poem “Over in the Meadow,” the story follows the life of a couple from their marriage to the completion of their home. “A bride and a groom and their best friends 10” celebrate their marriage in the meadow, then the countdown brings a myriad of workers and community members who contribute to the construction of their home, including masons, carpenters, and plumbers, right down to inspector number 1. The rhythm sometimes gets a little sticky with the construction vocabulary, but B loved talking about each worker and seeing the house take shape with each turn of the page. The illustrations are cut-paper collage, striking and bold. I appreciated that the workers represented various ethnicities and included women as the leaders of several crews. The home is completed the following spring, just in time for the couple to move in with their new little one. With my experience limited to home renovations rather than construction, I can only imagine that year would feel like an eternity, and yet at the end, that couple with the new baby would look back at their wedding and say, “has it really been a whole year?”

Sprouting Some Curiosity

Beyond the bouncy rhyme and counting practice, there are some good opportunities to stretch that cognitive development if you extend the discussion around the book. As I mentioned, the community represented is diverse, and you may want to highlight that with your child, emphasizing the choices he or she has. Though not the backbone of the story, the book also depicts the passage of time and seasons – a very tough concept for a young child. The illustrations help show the changes in the scenery, and if you live in an area with distinct seasonal changes, you might want to page through the story with a photo album near by and track the passage of a year in your town.

The House in the Meadow also offers an ever-so-simple introduction to the concepts of marriage and children, which you may choose to elaborate upon with your child if it seems appropriate. As I mentioned, the timing was coincidental, but reading the book gave us a segue to talking with B about our wedding, looking at a few pictures, and making our anniversary plans. Finally, you can extend the discussion further to the social domain by highlighting the importance of the various community workers in accomplishing the goal. Point out that each has a special talent that was important to the final product. Community workers are often a part of the social studies curriculum for kindergarten and/or primary grades (check the references page for links to academic standards) Check with your child’s teacher if you’d like to use this story to help your child make connections.
Appropriate for toddlers, preschoolers, primary grades.
Also linked up at:


Janna May 17, 2010 at 1:37 PM  

It's so true how our life almost seems like lots of diff lives. I had a life before my daughter? I enjoyed those times but I'm happy with the stage I'm at too.

I hope you will consider joining me once a week for 15 weeks to record young Anne before the days of marriage and mini you's at Mommy's Piggy TALES .com and please spread the word to those you think would enjoy the project.

I'm going to convince my mom to do it too b/c I want to know more of her stories and have them documented.

vanessa @ silly eagle books May 17, 2010 at 6:10 PM  

This looks really good--I love Ezra Jack Keat's version of Over in the Meadow, so this would be a fun twist on it.

Ginny Marie May 17, 2010 at 7:11 PM  

I love all the ways you suggest using this book! I taught second grade for many years, and now I'm entering a new phase...in the fall I'm going to teach preschool! Seasons, community workers, rhymes...it sounds like this book has a lot to offer!

I also wanted to thank you for linking up to Meme's the Word! It was exciting for me to check my blog and see another link! :)

Braley Mama May 18, 2010 at 7:46 AM  

Happy Anniversary!!!!! I feel you on the time thing. I can't remember life before, but it has gone so fast!!!!!
Have a blessed day!!!

Anne@LittleSproutBooks May 18, 2010 at 9:00 AM  

@Janna - I'm working my way up to committing to your project... :)
@Vanessa - I haven't seen Keats! We'll look for that one.
@Ginny - good luck with the transition!
@Braley Mama - thanks for the well-wishes!

Christianne @ Little Page Turners May 18, 2010 at 12:43 PM  

You HAVE had a busy six years! Thanks for the book recommendation - I'll have to check it out. :)

Raising a Happy Child May 18, 2010 at 1:33 PM  

Thanks for joining WMCIR! What a wonderful way to talk about marriage with your children through the book that talks about it. My daughter has a lot of questions about what we did when "she was in my tummy". According to her she was "always there waiting to be born" :)

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