A new normal

Sydney arrived late last night, a bit worn out from long lines at the border and a flurry of activity at the airport in Copenhagen (he said half the flights to London were canceled).  We took a nice loop around the parks as a family this morning, enjoying the deep fog and the quiet parks (apparently slushy footing keeps the regulars away).  After a long job season and lots of winter travel, we’re hoping to ease into a less stressful breed of normal for awhile!

I’ve been getting a lot of requests from Katherine to read “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.”  I recently bought her a nice collection of Beatrix Potter’s stories, and we’ve worked through a handful so far, but Katherine always returns to the Peter Rabbit story.  Can’t say I’m surprised that she’s not riveted by stories of a tailor whose mice sew the waistcoat (the story was stuffed with millinery terms!  good grief!!) or a hedgehog who lives in the hill and (surprise!) spends her days ironing the other animals’ clothes, but it does make me laugh that Katherine loves the Peter Rabbit story so much.  I mean, for all the nods to obedience (Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, Peter’s sisters, were good little bunnies, and at the end of the story they are rewarded with a supper of bread and milk and blackberries), the story is filled with the antics of Peter.  So much for obedience: he eats all sorts of good things, has grand adventures, and the only bad thing that happens to him is a tummy-ache that lasts the evening.  Such a lovely English story, with the large kitchen garden of Mr. McGregor becoming the “wild” and “dangerous”–and very alluring–site of Peter’s adventures.  Like Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-tail, we’ve gathered our blackberries on walks through Oxfordshire, and we’ve had our own currant buns.  Everything about this story looks different to me now that we’re living in England, from the illustrations of the robins (much smaller than American robins) to the dominance of cabbage in the garden!  So many classic children’s stories are English (Peter Pan, Winnie-the-Pooh, Alice in Wonderland), and it’s quite a treat to be here now, at this point in our children’s lives.

Erin

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4 Responses to A new normal

  1. Heidi says:

    My grandmother kept a hardback set of the Peter Rabbit books. They were tiny, hardback books with white sleeves, and we loved reading them at her house. We also loved the Tale of Benjamin Bunny and Squirrel Nutkin. Though I just read the plot of Squirrel Nutkin, and it’s kind of a creepy story for children…

    Also, my brother refused to eat carrots when he was little unless my mom assured him that they were “Peter Rabbit carrots.”

    Enjoy the currant buns, they sound delicious! 🙂

    • Erin says:

      Hey, I live for Easter season. Not just because I now live in the land of hot cross buns and Cadbury eggs, but those help 🙂

      I thought hard about buying the individual books, but had to tear myself away: they were far too expensive for me to justify, and they did take up a whole shelf. I am hoping that the collection I bought will keep us diving back in for those stories we might have skipped over while she’s young (yeah, Sydney was wondering about the Squirrel nut-kin story; he took one glance and said “Why is the owl not eating the squirrels?”). I also try to entice Katherine with “Just like Peter Rabbit!” when I set out carrots or lettuce, and it really does help!!

  2. Mother-of-the-bride says:

    Over the years of reading stories set in England, I also see them differently – particularly the fairy tales and story books. When we visited last year, I immediately fell in love with the pastureland and hills. I fully expected to see James Herriot out and about with his vet bag. There is something about seeing sheep dot the English countryside that just doesn’t have the same allure in the states!

    Flopsy, Mopsy, and Cotton-Tail’s reward for supper sounds exactly what Katherine would like to eat. And you’ll need to remember those “Peter Rabbit carrots” for future food discussions.

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