Thursday, June 18, 2020

Notre-Dame and notre dôme*

I'm reading Notre-Dame de Paris right now. I've never read Victor Hugo before but I figured that since Miriam read both Notre-Dame and Les Mis this year, I could probably also handle Victor Hugo...in book form. I don't think I could handle Victor Hugo in real life because he was...kind of a terrible person. Like Johnny Cash. Guys, I'm sorry, I watched Walk the Line when it came out years ago (I am not sure why because I wasn't quite sure who Johnny Cash even was) and I left that movie hating Johnny Cash. I don't know if that was the point of the movie but, uh, that was where the movie led me. Anyway, while I don't think watching a movie of Victor Hugo's life would elicit good feelings towards him, I do like his writing so far.

From "The Great Hall": 'I tell you, monsieur, it's the end of the world. The students' behaviour has never been so outrageous. It's all everything. Artillery, serpentines, bombards, and especially printing, that other plague from Germany. It's the end of manuscripts, the end of books! Printing is killing off the book trade. The end of the world is at hand!"

Spoiler: Books have survived. So rest easy, dear reader.


From "Maître Jacques Coppenole": Applause and laughter broke out. In Paris a pun is picked up at once, and thus always applauded.

I don't get all of Hugo's puns—my Latin isn't quite up to snuff for that—but I appreciate anyone who appreciates a good pun.

I enjoyed the whole of The Place de Grève, especially this discussion of the death penalty: "It is a comforting thought, be it said in passing, that the death penalty which, three hundred years ago still cluttered up with its iron wheels, its stone gibbets, its whole apparatus of punishment permanently fixed into the pavement, the Grève, the Halles....it is comforting to think that today, having lost one by one all the pieces of her armour, her profusion of torments, her imaginative and fanciful punishments, her torture...has nothing left in our vast city of Paris but one dishonoured corner of the Grève, one wretched guillotine, furtive, anxious, ashamed, seeming always afraid of being caught red-handed, to judge by the haste with which it disappears once it has done its job."

I hope that some day we can look at our own brazen injustices with the same candour. Will we ever come to frown at the rate at which our people are murdered by people who are supposed to protect and serve? Will we ever gasp at the idea that we would electrocute or poison criminals we haven't even bothered to really try beyond all reasonable doubt? Our systems of oppression are considerably less tangible than those of the Middle Ages but I do hope we're able to dismantle them, even if we can't quite see them.

In "Besos para Golpes" I laughed this bit about Peru: "If he had had all the riches of Peru in his pocket he would certainly have given it all to the dancer; but Gringoire did not have Peru, and anyhow America had not yet been discovered."

I have a feeling Gringoire is a character we've been charmed into liking (somewhat; at any rate we've been forced to follow him around for the first book and then some of this story) but will find that he'll be cast aside in favour of someone else because the story isn't really about him at all. I've heard that's the meandering way Hugo weaves his tales.

And, finally, I loved this line about how "the gypsy's song had disturbed Gringoire's reflections, but in the same way as a swan disturbs the water." Interrupted, but not annoyed; entranced. What a beautiful way of speaking.

Andrew said that if I'm enjoying Notre-Dame so much I should read Les Misérables, but I'm only 80 pages into this book (and am reading it slowly as I wait for children to fall asleep at night). I have like 460+ pages left. And Les Mis is so much longer! I have this thing about long books...

Anyway, speaking of getting children into bed, I put Alexander into bed wearing underwear tonight. He's been dry for ages and rarely comes into my bed anymore. The sticker chart is what started his path of independence but setting up a little pop-up tent is what sealed the deal.

Rachel, Miriam, and Benjamin had about a week-long campout in the backyard last week. They had a Hunger Games movie marathon since Benjamin finished reading that series (Miriam is reading the new book right now and then it will be passed down the line) so they'd take a laptop out there and watch a movie, staying up way too late, and then, they thought, they'd sleep in.

Well, Alexander and Zoë were jealous that they wouldn't be allowed to sleep outside in a tent with the big kids, so we set up the little pop up tent system in their room (it's two little tents with a tunnel in between; so bedtime has been a little intense (or in tents)). Are you Parisian enough to applaud my pun? Anyway, Alexander has proudly been sleeping in his "own tent, like a big boy," because that's what big boys do, you know.

Unfortunately for the actual big kids, the little kids woke up the next morning at the crack of dawn and even though they'd gotten to sleep in tents like they wanted to life still didn't feel quite fair because they hadn't gotten to sleep outside. So they went outside to check on the big kids. At 6:00 in the morning. They just sneaked their way down the stairs and out of the house into the backyard. And then they didn't say anything to the big kids. They just started running in circles around their tent, so the poor big kids woke up to the sound of wild beasts snuffling in ferocious circles around their tent. They were rather relieved to only find "the babies" when they screwed up enough courage to peep out the window of the tent.

The second night they tried to sleep in the tent we had a thunder storm suddenly roll in. It literally was not on our radar (we checked the weather before sending the kids out there because it rains, like, all the time here, but the forecast was clear). The kids ran into the house whooping and screaming (and a little bit wet) and ended up sleeping inside. Just in case.

Oh, we also set up a hammock and the kids all wanted to try to spend a night in it. Rachel bravely took the first night but gave up around midnight and climbed into the tent with Benjamin and Miriam. Miriam took the hammock on the third evening of their campout (she'd also tried the second night, but got rained out) and slept soundly the entire night. She loved it. Even with nothing but the stars (and some mosquito netting) over her head. Timid little Miriam...who would have thought?

The big kids have since concluded their little campout, but Alexander and Zoë still have that tent system set up in their bedroom. Alexander is very committed to sleeping in his tent. He quickly corrects anyone who dares mention that he would do such an ordinary thing as sleep in a bed. If I say, "Time to get to bed," he will say, "You mean time to get to tent!"

Yes, of course, my child. Time to get to tent. How silly of me.

He corrected Rachel while she was in the middle of praying the other day. She had said that we're grateful Alexander has been "staying in his own bed all night" and he piped up saying, "staying in my own tent all night!"

Yes, staying in your own tent.

Last night he got up around midnight and came to me and said, "Mom, I don't want to sleep in your bed because I still want to sleep in my tent. I just want to know if you found my water bottle yet."

I had not found his water bottle yet (though I had told him that I would look for it before he fell asleep) but I helped him get a drink and then he ran off to snuggle down in his "own tent" for the rest of the evening.

Anyway, I realized that this period of tenting would be an excellent time to solidify our nighttime potty training. First of all, Alexander has been consistently spending the entire night on his own. Second, the bottom of the tent is made out of tarpaulin so it's pretty much waterproof. It's perfect!

He's been sleeping on his little "grandma quilt" so I just added a little incontinence pad over top of that and though I don't expect him to wet the bed, if he should I can't really think of more auspicious circumstances.

*Like a dome-tent! Another pun...maybe? Maybe I'm reaching a bit. Still, clap for me. Hugo would!

1 comment:

  1. Jason slept in a hammock for all two years of his mission. He loved it 🤣

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