Today

Hi here,Luca writing. Today has been boring, boring, boring. All I feel like doing is a Rubik's cube. But mom had stuff to do. #:(

Violet Evergarden

Luca and I have been having a "guys night", where just him and I spend time together. Usually we play Minecraft, watch a show, play a board / card game, go out for a treat, or something like that.

For a few weeks, we've been watching Violet Evergarden, an anime about a young woman who has difficulty with emotions, both expressing and identifying. While not explicitly autistic, she does have autistic attributes, like the difficulty with emotions. So I think her struggles resonant with Luca, and it provided a good opportunity to talk about these issues while providing experience of another person with the same difficulties.

The show also provided him an opportunity to see me get emotional - many of the episodes are tear-jerkers for various reasons. At times, I noticed him looking at me to see what I was expressing. Usually young children do this to understand and model emotions, and Luca is just doing this now.

One of those moments was in the special episode ("episode 14"), where Violet is asked to write a love letter for an opera. The lyrics are very touching and remind me of people I've lost, to death and other circumstances, including our foster child. I think I might print out some of the lyrics and post it on our memorial wall. I couldn't find them online, so I thought I'd post them here. (If you haven't seen the show, I highly recommend it.)

Letter from Marietta to Modesto
Just listening quietly,
To the wind in the sky,
Together.
[But] you're no longer here with me.

But the words I've written,
Over and over,
Have flown as if they were feathers
And disappeared.

Love is always
In a sunshine-filled place
Even if I can't see you,
Can't touch you,
It's like you're by my side.

[woodwind solo]

Just softly speaking,
[The] trees in the forest
[In] the rain,
As if to cheer me up.

Walking upon
The yet damp
Ground,
A road to be.

Love is always
Like looking through clear water.
Go to accept it,
And it leaves,
Just like you.

[instrumental]

Love is always
In a sunshine-filled place.
Even if I can't see you,
Can't touch you,
It's like you're by my side.
We remember those who have left us, and cherish their memories. They are a part of us, and made us who we are.

Day

Hello, Luca writing. Today I had a water balloon fight with Mom and Astrid. I also made origami roses with Dad. For nap time we all (except Dad) had to rest in Mom's room because Dad was putting up ceiling fans up.

Poor caterpillars

Hello, Luca writing. Our caterpillars were doing well until one of them died. The first one to die was "Tiny". He got to attached to his leaf of old Milkweed and then died because he didn't get enough nutrients. The second to die was "Lucky". We had his leaf on an egg carton and he fell into the hole. "Lucky" was not very lucky after all. :(

Monarch Morning

Saturday morning, Nana called me a little panicked. The hospice where she had been working as a gardener had instructed her to pull out all the milkweed in the gardens, as "it wasn't part of their gardening plan". (This, despite the fact that monarch butterfly habitats are already under siege on all sides) She was doing as instructed, when she found two plants, one with eggs and one with a live caterpillar on it. "I just couldn't throw him on the pile," she told me, "he deserves a chance to live." So she saved the plants, and at nine AM rushed over to my house to find a spot to plant them. The kids were elated that we were being given charge of new creatures, and I quickly googled "how to care for monarch caterpillars indoors". (Seriously, what did people do before the internet??) Mom arrived, and Luca carefully scoured the plant for any eggs, removing nasty aphids and spiders in the process. Sadly, the big caterpillar mom found that prompted all this had fallen off somewhere in transit. But we did find two new hatchlings (later named Lucky and Tiny), and we transferred to mom's mesh cat carrier. Then, as mom was literally walking over to pick up the plants for transplant, a monarch lands on the milkweed and starts laying eggs! Luca then once again went back to scour the plants for more eggs, and found at least two that the monarch had laid.

As a preschool teacher, I couldn't think of a better lesson illustrating how humans are screwing up, what we can do to fix it, and the general beauty of nature. What a magical monarch morning!


Luca and Astrid checking on Lucky and Tiny


Tiny (above), and Lucky (below)

Cat carrier/butterfly habitat!