Bedtime traditions

Tonight young Whose-its picked the bedtime story. She chose How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin, from the Just-So Stories by Rudyard Kipling.

So, Whose-its and What-its tucked away in their bunks, I settled down in the rocking chair in the corner, covered up with a blanket and began to read.

-I have to cover up with a blanket because the chair is in front of a window, and the windows are about a hundred years old- no joke- and on windy nights the two rag rugs and the buckwheat filled cloth tube used for a draft-stopper are not quite enough to stop the influx of fresh air. But I do have a blanket, so I cover up and read to the First-years.

They giggle sleepily in all the right places. The dim light from the teddy bear lamp behind me has a soporific effect. Whose-its snuggles down into her pillow in the position that always precedes sleep. Whats-it stares owlishly at me while I read. As I peek at him over the top of the book, I see he is struggling to keep his eyes open.

I reach the end of the story, the part guaranteed to waft sleeping children all the way to the ‘luxurious city of Uninterrupted Slumber.’ In our book (not in all versions, but in the one we have) it reads like this:

“But the Parsee came down from his palm tree, under his hat from which the rays of the sun were reflected in more-than-oriental splendor, packed up the cooking-stove, and went away in the direction of Orotava, Amygdala, the upland meadows of Anantarivo and the marshes of Sonaput- where all small people, beginning to breathe slowly and evenly, must inevitably also accompany him- in order to arrive easily and unknowingly at the enormous battlements of the luxurious city of Uninterrupted Slumber.”

Doesn’t that give you a pleasantly drowsy feeling? Can’t you just feel your pulse rate subsiding to a gentle, monotonous blub…….. blub…….blub?

Not so my small people
They perked up immediately.
“What does that mean?”
“What does what mean,” I ask.
“All of it,” they say, “All of the part you just read. Where is that place? What is it?”

“Well,” I say, “I don’t know about Anantarivo and Sonaput and all that, but I do know that the rest of it means something like this,

“Where all small people (that means people like you two yahooligans), beginning to breathe slowly and evenly (that’s when you breathe like this {I demonstrate} just as you are starting to fall asleep, like you should be doing now already); must inevitably accompany him (that means you can’t help it, you have to follow where the Parsee is going eventually, so you might as well give up and do it now); in order to arrive easily and unknowingly (that means you get there without knowing it, it’s such an easy thing to do that you ought to have done it already without even realizing you were doing it. Already) at the enormous battlements (that’s the fancy wall around a castle) of the luxurious city of Uninterrupted Slumber (Slumber- that’s sleep, that is- you know, what you should be doing now! Slumber, like in the lullabye ‘Slumber, Oh Slumber, Rosika.)”

This last reference was a tactical error. You do know what follows.

They: No, we don’t know. Sing it to us. We don’t remember.

It’s a simple lullaby, minor key, soothing melody:
Slumber, oh slumber, Rosika
Slumber, oh slumber, Rosika
I am so sleepy
you too are sleepy
We are so sleepy, both of us.

Whose-its: So why does the story end that way? Who are the small people he wants to fall asleep?

DeputyHeadmistress: I expect it was his children, and he told the story to them. [editorial note: It seems I was wrong. As near as I can tell, it was for his niece, and I’m not sure that the ending in our book wasn’t a liberty taken by later editors]

Whose-its: Just like you’re telling the story to me.

DeputyHeadmistress: Yes, very like that.

Whose-its: And then when I am grown, I’ll read it to
my children, and then they’ll grow up and read it to their children. Like that.

DeputyHeadmistress: Yes, like that, because that’s the sort of thing our family likes to do.

Whats-it: Can you read us some Mother Goose now?

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That’s what it is, you know. Those of us who work at animal shelters know these things. And I did my part and brought home a bunny today. Her name was Hopper, but as bunnies are never clever enough to know their own names anyway we have rechristened her Valentine. She’s a grey and white dwarf, her previous owners brought her into the shelter because they don’t have room in their apartment for her. I wanted her the moment I first found she fit in my pocket, but one has to go about these things carefully when one is still under a parent’s roof. I first thought of our preacher’s son who has gerbils and takes very good care of them, so I called Mom to ask for his phone number. Here is the conversation that took place:
Equus-Chick-“Mom, do you have Wayne’s phone number?”
Mom-“Yes, why?”
Equus-Chick-“Well, he has all those gerbils so I was wondering if he wanted a mini, really mini, bunny rabbit and…”
Equus-Chick-“Yes, someone brought her in today. She’s real sweet.”
Equus-Chick-“She’s on my desk right now, if Wayne doesn’t want her I can put her on or ask bunny rescues about her.”
Mom-“I was just thinking about how much fun it would be for Whose-its and Whats-it.”
Equus-Chick-“She fits in my pocket.”
Equus-Chick-“She is so cute.”
Mom-“Oh, bring her home.We can always call Wayne later.”
Equus-Chick-“It was so hard to talk you into this.”
Mom-“UGH! Don’t you call me about these animals anymore, start calling other people!”
At this point I began making various triumphant signals to Mitzie across the office, who was cracking up. When I hung up the phone she said, “That was your plan the whole time, wasn’t it?!” I’m good.
In all seriousness, we may not have space to keep Valentine permanently, but we’ll make a good foster home for her while I look elsewhere. So now it’s your turn. Do you part, adopt a bunny! =D

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VHS-DVD recorder

‘Tis me again. At the moment I am looking up VHS-DVD recorders online, to see which would be the best to get, as Daddy said that if I found one, he would buy it, and hook it up, and then I would be able to burn all our home videos to DVD. The reason he said so was because he had heard on the radio some guy who said he had a lot of home videos, and he would pay someone to burn them to DVD. Daddy thought that it would be a good idea to do to our homevideos, and if anything like that came up again, we could make some extra money.
However, considering I don’t know anything about VHS-DVD recorders, it’s going rather slowly. I read somewhere, though, that some of them are as cheap as $120. I also read that they are rather a trouble to hook up. *sigh* Hopefully I will find something soon, as it is rarther tiring to read about DVD players, and such like.
Oh, and on another note, the Zookeeper has told me that from now on the first thing I must do on the computer is to post. So, you shall be seeing me a lot from now on. I am unsure whether you should be scared or pleased.

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Copywork or Dictation material:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

First Corinthians, chapter 13


Vocabulary Study:

From Your Dictionary:

Etymology: Middle English charite, from Old French charite, from Late Latin
caritat-, caritas Christian love, from Latin, dearness, from carus dear;
akin to Old Irish carae friend, Sanskrit kAma love
Date: 13th century
Inflected Form(s): plural -ties
1 : benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity
2 a : generosity and helpfulness especially toward the needy or suffering;
also : aid given to those in need b : an institution engaged in relief of
the poor c : public provision for the relief of the needy
3 a : a gift for public benevolent purposes b : an institution (as a
hospital) founded by such a gift
4 : lenient judgment of others
synonym see MERCY

From the Newberry House Online Dictionary:
… 3 [U] the act of stopping oneself from judging others, (syn.) forgiveness…

From wordsmythe:
… Definition 4. unwillingness to judge others harshly; benevolence;
Synonyms kindliness (1) , good will (1) , benevolence (1) ,
considerateness {considerate}
Similar Words kindness , forbearance , graciousness {gracious (adj)} ,
mercy , leniency , tolerance , compassion , philanthropy , indulgence ,
Definition 5. in Christian theology, unselfish spiritual love for others.
Synonyms caritas , love (5) , agape2 (1,2)
Similar Words altruism

Related Words: good, goodness, love, donation

From Webster’s 1828 dictionary:

1. In a general sense, love, benevolence, good will; that disposition of
heart which inclines men to think favorably of their fellow men to think
favorably of their fellow men, and to do them good. In a theological sense,
it includes supreme love to God, and universal good will to men.

1 Cor. 8. Col. 3. 1 Tim 1.

2. In a more particular sense, love, kindness, affection, tenderness,
springing from natural relations; as the charities of father, son and

…6. Candor; liberality in judging of men and their actions; a disposition
which inclines men to think and judge favorably, and to put the best
construction on words and actions which the case will admit. The highest
exercise of charity, is charity towards the uncharitable.

7. Any act of kindness, or benevolence; as the charities of life…

Writing and composition:

Littler children: Use any of these words in a sentence. Can you think of any of our stories we’ve read where one person shows love for another person? Tell me about it or make a puppet show about it.

Middler Children: Think of an example of this kind of love and charity from one of your school books. Write down your narration of what happened.

Older Children: Write an essay about charity (length will be determined by parent). Inclue in your essay an example of charity taken from any book you’ve read for school this year (or month, or week).

Woven paper heart basket– this is a favorite Valentine’s craft,
but we love these little red and white checked heart baskets-
make them any size- put tiny rubber stamp designs in the pattern if you like-
lovely and not too difficult.

Quote for the commonplace book:

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.” -Goethe (thanks to Jennyanydots, who included this quote in a valentine to me)


Memorize 1 Corinthians 13 OR ‘God is love,’ OR one of these poems.

1/3 c. butter
1/4 c. honey
2/3 c. oats
1/3 c. dry milk
4 tsp. water
3/4 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt (optional)

Mix butter and honey. Add oats, milk, and water. Mix well. Add flour, baking powder, and salt. Roll dough 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick. Cut with heart-shaped cookie cutter. Bake at 325 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 12. Eat on Valentine’s Day. NOTE: You may chill the dough before rolling and cutting.

For extra math practice double or triple this recipe- or mulitply the number you eat.

We hope it is understood that all of these activities are considered optional and entirely at the discretion of the parents and children.

Note: substantial updates and additions on February 5, 2006

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Pipsqueak is posting.

Yes. See me post? 🙂 Just thought I’d pop in- or rather, the Zookeeper told me to “at least comment.”
We just got back from our Grandmama’s, we were watching Sue Thomas F.B.I., but it was a To Be Continued. I don’t like to be continueds. They are so annoying.
And now I have to do the kitchen… I was supposed to do it for lunch, but- shall we say it “slipped my mind?”

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