The other day, as I sat curled up cat-like on The Big Chair sipping my tea, I thought, "Yes, another would be nice . . . ." I was reading Cheaper by the Dozen, the entertaining account of the Gilbreth family who raised twelve children during the first decades of the twentieth century. I pictured them at their music lessons, the older ones tending the younger ones . . . . I pictured them at their studies, chanting along with the German and French records while bathing or dressing -- impressive multi-taskers (their father was an efficiency expert) -- and it seemed a very charming picture indeed.
We had also recently watched The Sound of Music. A family of singers! In matching costumes, no less . . . . The harmonies we could produce! And I'm sure Jamie would enjoy being called Captain . . . . I could get him a whistle.
So there I sat, the warm glow of the tree lights dancing across the pages of my book, the fragrant tea cupped in my hands, my arms eager to cradle a little one. Maybe just a half dozen . . . .
Enter Little Miss Avery Kate. "Mama! Watch this!" her wee voice bellowed (oh yes, it's quite possible for a very small set of vocal chords to produce an unearthly sound). She proceeded to soar through the air from her perch atop the arm of the couch and land in a pile of cushions. I calmly began the explanation that she knew was coming.
"Darling, we don't jump on the couch -- "
Enter Bethie at the piano. Very eager to work on her newly acquired piece, Carol of the Bells. (Perhaps you've seen It's a Wonderful Life. You know the scene where George comes home and his house is fairly erupting? Tommy needs help spelling frankincense, Zuzu's petals need pasting, and Janie is pounding away at the keys. Well, this scene frequently comes to mind when certain people in this family approach the piano bench.)
So, as I said, sister started in at the piano.
"That's coming along nicely, dear -- "
SMACK. Enter Aidan. "Mama! This is so awesome!" And his new remote-controlled helicopter veered first into the tree, then into his little sister's hair, the rotors winding tightly around her lengthy tresses.
Of course, the scene would be incomplete without me mentioning that Drew was (as usual) in the background, shouting out basketball plays like a seasoned announcer. It might have been an actual game. I'm not sure. But whatever it was, the play-by-play was very . . . intense.
After extricating Miss Kate's hair from the rotors, I returned to my tea and tried to focus on the last chapter of my book. So maybe the Gilbreths could raise a dozen. And perhaps seven was just right for the Von Trapp family. But as I attempted to tune out the fierce play-by-play, the shrieking ballerina, the caroling of bells, and the wiz of the chopper, my quiver -- strangely enough -- felt nice and full. Maybe we'll just stick with our plan to get a dog.