Wednesday, May 02, 2007

packing for Maine

My brain is in an almost constant whirl these days as I pull items from closets and attics, pack up Christmas ornaments and dollhouse furniture, and make lists.
Lots of lists.
I have the to-do list, the what-to-take-to-Maine list, and the better-buy-it-now list. Maine summers are short I have to anticipate fall clothing needs and the fact that the children will outgrow their clothes and shoes the instant we hit the state line. This is our 6th summer in Maine and since I always pack in the heat of Virginia, I inevitably pack too many sleeveless items and never enough long pants and sweatshirts, which we need even in August.
Our town has no children's clothing stores and the closest Walmart is an hour away. I have learned the hard way that if I don't bring something, it is not easily procured. Spending the summer there reminds me of this post about a town in Vermont with no children.
I once vacationed with my three girls in a town without children. It was a picture perfect Vermont town, that could have come from Norman Rockwell, but there were no children on the street. I first noticed something amiss as we first drove through, the many art galleries had signs saying "no children" and "dogs welcome". Strange I wondered, where are the children?
Maine is a very liberal and our town is even more so with lots of left-over hippies and the occasional movie star (Kirstie Alley and John Travolta) coming over to shop in the whole-food co-op. Everytime I go to stock up on honey and maple syrup (which you can buy in bulk) I can feel the glare of the usual patrons simply because of the troop of little ducklings trailing behind me. I recall speaking with a father of 6 from a nearby town who recounted his experience when he took his well mannered children into the same store. We laughed as we swapped stories of disbelief from the locals and imagined their comments afterwards, "Did you see that breeder?" "Think of the future enviromental disaster from all those diapers." "Don't get close, children have cooties."
So, in addition to proctoring Will and Mary's schoolwork, keeping the little ones entertained, I have been spending my afternoons making lists and anticipating the growth pattern of a 10 month old chubby baby so he doesn't end up naked in September.

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