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“Oh, mother, how pretty the moon is tonight.”

All of my little kids were here this evening. Five kids under six are a bit busy and a bit noisy.

One of them is living here for awhile, and Daddy of the other four was working, so Mummy asked if they could come to hang out and have dinner. And playtime. And baths.

To tell the truth, I had been planning to write this afternoon because I have another chapter just itching to get onto the page. Instead, I threw pizza dough into the bread maker and started preparing pizza toppings. After that, I made two “impossible pumpkin pies”, and while they were baking, the kids arrived. All five of them at once.

I have to tell you, there’s absolutely nothing like kneeling on the floor while being body-slammed by five little kids as they vie to be the closest in order to get the first hug. It usually turns into a group affair at first, and then we narrow it down to one long hug each before they run off to play.

Dress up clothes_58591The six-year-old wants to draw — and she’s very good at it.

Halloween 2011_5713 copyThe five-year-old puts on his knight’s helmet, and then wonders when Pop will be home. He  likes it when Pop pretends to fall asleep on the floor while they poke and prod him with things from the doctor’s kit.  (He’s Tigger Woods in the picture.)

IMG_1959The three year old promptly takes off most of her clothes and heads for the dress-up corner, while the 19 month old saunters by. He lives here. He knows the ropes. There’s nothing new and exciting for him.

March 2012_0041

Dress up clothes_5849The one-year-old isn’t walking yet, but he’s able to navigate the step up from the kitchen to the family room, where the toys are. We cheer for him when we realize he’s come back down again without falling like he did last week!

After supper, and lots of playing, including “one piano/eight hands”, the evening ends with everyone in the tub. Once they’re scrubbed and shining, they put on PJs and slippers before we herd the four who don’t live here out to the van. The six, five, and three year olds hold out their hands, waiting for the pretzels that I always give them once everyone’s buckled in.

The one thing I miss about all of this though, is getting to tuck them in. When they stay here by themselves, I sing them to sleep with a lullaby my mother used to sing to us:

Oh, mother, how pretty the moon is tonight, it was never so pretty before.

Its two little horns are so sharp and so bright, I hope they don’t grow anymore.

If I were up there in that beautiful sky, and on the bright clouds we would roam,

We’d see the sun rise, we’d see the sun set, and on the next rainbow come home.

We’d call to the stars to get out of our way, lest we should rock over their toes.

And there we would sit, ’til the dawn of the day, to see where the pretty moon goes.

The tune is gentle and repetitive, and it gives me a twinge of sadness when I remember holding my own little ones while singing this song. How is it possible that a 6′ 4″ son once came in a cuddly 8 lb. package, and I rocked him to sleep while singing about the moon?

Do I have a point to this ramble? Probably not. Evenings filled with kids, noise, and baths just make me remember.


Phyllis writes words: words for stories, and words for books. Phyllis writes words for blogs too.

3 thoughts on ““Oh, mother, how pretty the moon is tonight.”

  1. I am envious of you on so many levels! Your incredible writing skills, your proximity to your beautiful grandchildren and of course, your mouth watering cooking and baking skills. This was another truly wonderful piece. I could picture the tumble on the floor as all the kids piled on you and the image of Pop being prodded by stethoscopes and plastic needles was hysterical. And the pictures are just too darned cute – especially little diaper clad baby stretching far, far up to get his fingers on the piano keys. Lovely! Just lovely!

  2. Oh, Susan … and I envy YOUR incredible writing skills, and the time and space to apply them. Ten days on, ten days off — I’m literally green with envy. I guess the grass is always, erm, greener, isn’t it?

  3. This is the sweetest post. I loved hearing about each of them. What a great team they must all make and lucky to have such close and caring grandparents. You’re evening reminds me of evenings at my grandparents. The best place to be:)

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