We definitely painted the town – or at least the hall closet – orange yesterday. While breakfast was devoid of citrus hues, as soon as the girls had finished eating, we grabbed a stack of old magazines and began looking for any orange objects we could find. The girls were amazed to discover how many different things could be one color; before we started, I asked them what they could tell me was orange. Beanie responded with “oranges, because that’s why they’re oranges,” while Bugaboo offered, “carrots, and sometimes the sun.”
As the girls pored over pages looking for images containing the color of the day, I cut out leaves and oranges from construction paper, and taped the skeleton of a tree to the hall closet door. By the time I returned to the table, the girls had assembled an impressive pile of pictures and were chattering about all the things that could be orange, from dresses and butterflies to Easter eggs and book covers. Anything, it seemed, could be orange — even carrots and oranges. While I was explaining to the girls that the next step in our project would be to glue the pictures to the leaves so we could make an “orange tree,” Bugaboo excitedly exclaimed, “Mommy! Mr. Man will be so excited when he sees this! You know orange is his favorite color!”
Orange is, in fact, Mr. Man’s favorite color.
The girls broke out their glue sticks and set to work. As is usually the case, Bugaboo finished first, and thus was given the task of composing a prayer about orange. She went with the simple, but effective, “Thank You, God, for orange.” With a piece of leftover packing paper and some foam letters, she set about putting her words to paper, and we crowned our orange tree with her words of praise before decking the tree skeleton with rich paper foliage.
After we had leafed our tree, Mr. Man and Baby Guy awoke, in dire need of milk and Cheerios. We are still attempting to convince our youngest that cereal is intended for ingestion, not decoration, but since we’re not making much headway with it, it’s fun to see where he’ll attach one. Yesterday morning, it was his cheek, and Mr. Man kept pointing at his little brother and hollering, “Camwa! Camwa!”
While the boys were making breakfast a multisensory experience, the girls and I scattered throughout the house to find any and all books that had orange covers, orange letters on their covers, or orange spines. We actually assembled too many to read in a single day, but each time we read one, we wrote the name of the story on an orange and attached it to the tree. Mr. Man was very enthusiastic about this particular aspect of the project; one of our biggest challenges was keeping the teetering pile of books on the loveseat from falling over when he spied one of his favorites in the stack and attempted to winkle it out.
I had hoped to look at some orange peel under the microscope, break out a bottle of orange tempera paint, and teach the kids the “O-R-I-O-L-E-S” chant, but we ran out of hours in the day. In a way, that’s a blessing, because it means the next time the skies are cloudy and we decided to add vividness to our world by having another “orange day,” we still have plenty of different options to celebrate the color of late afternoon sunshine.
We did, however, manage to work in apricots and macaroni and cheese for lunch and carrots with our dinner.
The girls, upon hearing the news of Maurice Sendak’s death, have decided that tomorrow should be “wild things” day. I approve.
Actually, Bugaboo brought a little mist to my eye when she saw the tidings. My oldest brother gave the tribe a copy of Where the Wild Things Are for Christmas last year, and it is a favorite of all four tiny people. We had explained to them that their uncles and their parents all loved the book as children, and we were happy to be able to share this piece of our childhood with them. Bugaboo ran to the shelf, hunted furiously until she found the book, and brought it to me with the admonition, “Mommy, you need to email Uncle and make sure he’s not too sad, and please tell him his book is safe with me.”
Today’s prayer: Thank You, Lord, for orange, for afternoon sunlight, apricots, carrots, butterflies, and everything else You thought to color with so cheerful a hue. Thank You for the abundance of books, good food, and craft supplies with which our house is blessed, and thank You for little blessings who see You in all things bright and beautiful. You advised us that Your people will be known by their fruits; please, Lord, grow our family tree into a beacon of love to nourish the hearts of those who seek Your kingdom. Thank You for eyes to see the brightness and beauty of the days You grant us, and tongues to taste and proclaim Your goodness.