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Mowat and Maese

January 27, 2011

The youngest generation of our community includes two toddlers,

three children and one teenager.  I’d like you to meet the two whom

Jude and I know best, Mowat and Maese.  Here’s Mowat:

Yes, he’s exactly as high-spirited as he looks.  He just turned five.  We

met him at a neighbour’s party to welcome him to the world in general,

the community specifically.  New members are joyously  received here. 

His first few years we only saw him sporadically, like when his parents

Greg and Jolie came to the farm to pick blueberries.

Last year Jolie asked us to baby sit Mowat and Maese once a week.  I

was uncertain about this because my child-rearing skills were rusty

at best, most likely calcified.  However, while Jude and Maese did girl

stuff, Mowat and I found common ground in the water.  We fished for

trout fry with an aquarium net in our main creek.

We had a grand time.  He insisted on naming each fry we caught.  That

first day we caught Billy, Fishy, Swishy, Pond Fart and The Big Guy.

Mowat was straightforward in his assessment of my fishing skills

(“That wasn’t a good idea.”) and full of health tips (“If you ate more

carrots you’d see better.”).  He stumped me with cosmological

questions (“Who made this pond?”).

We both gained a lot.  Mowat learned how to share the net, I learned

how to share my time.  We can’t fish now because the creek is too

high and swift from the winter rains.  But we found a computer game

called “Harpoon Lagoon” that substitutes quite well.  It teaches him

math, reasoning, teamwork and eye-hand coordination.  Somewhat

regrettably, it requires the spearing of a lot of sealife.  But a growing

boy needs protein for his body and his mind.

Here’s Maese bathing, one of her favorite activities.

That’s chocolate on her chin, because another favorite activity of

hers is making cookies with Jude.

Maese is about to turn three.  She’s an old soul, I suspect.  Even

now she shows remarkable knowledge.  She studies people like

no other child I’ve met.  She tried to cop out on an easy task that

Jude gave her by pleading “I’m little”.  She always remembers to

put the vanilla in the chocolate chip cookie dough.  And she already

understands the classics.  Once we were in the car to pick up Mowat

from kindergarten and I asked her if she wanted to hear some rock

and roll.  She did indeed, so I turned on the Beatles’ “Abbey Road”,

already in the CD player.  “Octopus’s Garden” started.  She yelled

“that’s not rock and roll!”

Mowat and Maese do much for Jude and me.  They keep us nimble

chasing them around when we babysit.  They keep us in touch

with the thoughts and feelings of a fascinating age group.  My

grandchildren are thousands of miles away, so I really appreciate

that.  Most important, though, seeing their faces often reminds

us that, despite all the intentional malevolence and well-meant

idiocy in the world, we simply cannot give up trying to make it

better for them.

  1. Meghon permalink
    January 29, 2011 8:50 am

    It’s nice that you’ve found surrogate grandchildren….now if only we could find surrogate grandparents….we could definitely use a date night now and again.

    • January 30, 2011 10:01 am

      You know that they’ll never replace the originals.

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