January 30, 2009

Friday Extra Kid Blogging

Thaw

Ponytail is four years old. She lives down the road with her mother, her eight-year-old brother, and a baby brother. Her two older siblings and her father are sometimes there and sometimes not. Every afternoon after school, she and her brother knock on our door and ask to come in and play. Sometimes she brings her doll.

19 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed your blog for years. But I have never liked the fact that you call your children's friends "extra". Or in this case, your own friends. It makes these kids merely extras on the stage of your own full, perfect, wonderful life. In their own lives, they are the stars. Please consider this.

--Diana

liz said...

Wow, Diana, I've never gotten that from Jo(e)'s blog at all. The "extras" are extra-ordinary. It's clear from the way Jo(e) writes about them that they are an integral part of her life.

elswhere said...

I've always read "extra" as "bonus, special, even more and better than I imagined." Like the Cajun concept of "lagniappe." I also think it respects that they have their own lives, and their own (I think, mostly) families, wherein they are the stars; on the stage of jo(e)'s family life (or this written version of it), they are like the movie stars who come in for a cameo on a TV series, who it's always exciting and intriguing to see.

jodi said...

To change the subject, this post is so sweet and so sad at the same time.

Anjali said...

I have always admired how you open up your house to the extended family of your neighborhood. It's made me more generous with our own "extras."

jo(e) said...

Diana: I've never thought in terms of the way the word "extra" is used on a movie set. In common usage, the word "extra" means "additional."

When people say to me, "Sheesh, how many kids do you have?" I say, "Four. But I've got a lot of extra kids."

In our household, being an "extra" means that you are more than a friend. You are an additional family member. The extras know they are welcome to come over without invitation, rummage through the kitchen for food, take showers, use the outdoor clothing that hangs in the laundry room, sleep overnight, do chores, and generally just behave as members of the household. We began using the word "extra" long before I had a blog, and none of us mean anything insulting by it.

Ianqui said...

FWIW, I've always taken "extra" to mean children that you consider to be just as special as your own. The fact that they recur so often really indicates how important they are.

But I was going to say what Jodi said. This post is very poignant. Ponytail is very lucky to have you, but I'm sorry her own family isn't apparently so welcoming.

bsouth said...

I think that being an extra in jo(e)'s household would be pretty cool. I figured it meant extra as in additional.

Lovely picture - is that your back garden?

BerryBird said...

It looks like Ponytail is taking advantage of the outdoor clothing in the laundry room -- those big boots cannot be her own! This is a great photo, I love the mist you get in your woods.

For the record, I have always interpreted the term "extras" as a badge of honor, an affectionate way of acknowledging the special place these kids have in your family.

jo(e) said...

bsouth: It's the woods behind my house.

Berrybird: (laughing) You're right! The boots are way too big, but they are the smallest pair we have.

Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Those kids are lucky to have a welcoming neighbor like you. But it also must be nice for you to have little ones around again. I get the impression that they're enriching your life as much as the reverse.

Cranky Old Man said...

The term “extra” may be from the old country, when I grew up visitors were often called extras as in “Set two more places at the table, we are having extras”. This applied to anyone, even family who were stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Ok, cool. I'll just have to change my way of reading. Never a bad thing. --Diana

kathy a. said...

i always took "extra" to mean "extra special" and that the kids so designated were treated as family.

it is really lovely that you have this relationship with ponytail and her brother. i was an "extra" with the families of 2 friends, who lived across the street from each other -- and although it has been over 30 years since those days, i love and appreciate those families more than i can describe.

they did not ask why i needed to be there so much, which is good, because i could not have told. nor did they require "reciprocal invitations," which i could not have given. they are families of my heart.

jo(e) said...

Jennifer: Yes, you're right. It's fun to have little kids around again.

Cranky Old Man: Yep. That's how I've heard the word used.

Diana: Thanks for coming back to read the comments.

Kathy A: More than anything, kids choose to be "extras" at my house. And everyone benefits.

deb said...

Hi Jo(e)-
We always had 'extras' when my kids were growing up. In our house, the rule was the first time you were here, you were a 'guest'. We would show you where the drinks, snacks, food, etc. etc. etc. were. The second and subsequent times, if you were hungry, thirsty, tired, bored, whatever, go for it.
Most of the 'extras' called me 'mom' within a few visits.
My kids are now 35, 30 and 26. I miss the extras! *sigh*
Deb

joanna said...

Being an "extra" after my mother died was one of the things that helped me get through adolescence alive. If not for the generosity of some of my friends' families, I would not have made it to twenty.

sheepish said...

The more I stare at this photo, the more haunting I find it to be. I think it's the mist in the background and the doll that does it. It's very sweet though, and I can only imagine how it puts a smile on your face to have a cute little girl knock on your door, asking to play.

YOOL NEVER FIND OUT MI NAME said...

AAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWW THAT IS SO CUTE LOL THAT IS WHAT I CALL ADORABLE I BET THE LIL GIRL HAS NO ONE TO PLAY WITH AND I WOULDNT MIND LETTING MY KIDS PLAY WITH HER :-)