Mothers Diary
Steve came home from school the other day with the momentous announcement that "Boys take off their caps when they come in the school house and don't put them on again 'til they go outside." The teacher told him so and that's the way it is!
It has always amazed me that teacher's word (in the lower grades, anyway) carries so much more weight than a parent's. A mother, especially, can preach various good habits and manners for years with dubious success, until suddenly "the teacher said so" and the deed is done. For instance, no one can say that brushing teeth is an unknown habit in our household, and we've kept on our daughter's trail about it since she was able to handle a tooth brush. But, naturally, it didn't get done unless I was right there to see to it. Then suddenly one day a couple weeks ago, she came tearing home with new and important news that the teacher said she was supposed to brush her teeth after every meal! So anytime the girl is wanted now, and she isn't around, she can be found up in the bathroom, brushing her teeth!
However, this utter faith in teacher's word can be inconvenient, too. Children can misunderstand. If a child thinks that his music teacher said that the note on the first space is an "a", I'd like to see any mother convince him that it is an "f." And one evening last year when bed time came, our daughter suddenly rebelled at the regular nightly bath which has always been an understood thing, and she has often regarded as an unnecessary chore. "Our teacher said a bath once a week was enough," she flatly announced. She took her bath anyway, and for several succeeding nights she had a bath, but it was much against her better judgment.
Having taught health classes myself and read a good many children books, I know that phrase by heart – "and take a bath at least once a week", but I couldn't get the idea across to my own child. I finally appealed to her teacher to "please explain to the child that it was quite all right to take a bath every night." Miss Stene was highly amused, but must have corrected her impression because after that, I didn't have any more trouble. That is — aside from the usual protest that any child deems ethical when it comes to cleaning up.

My mother and I visited the second grade last Wednesday afternoon, and had a lovely time. We were very much impressed with the bright cheerful room, and the library corner. When we left I tried to decide whether it was the room that made the people in it seem bright, or if, perhaps, the harmony and goodwill between teacher and pupils, made the room seem cheerful! A teacher like Miss Kallem, who seems to be doing an efficient, workmanlike job, and after a month still almost bubbles over with suppressed laugh­ter in her enjoyment of the children. is going to have an awfully good time teaching school!

Our puppy, Taffy, thrives, in spite of a few mishaps. He got rocked on once, and great was the lamentations from both dog and children. And Steve climbed up on the fender of the car with him, and when he found himself unable to get them both down comfortably, simply dropped Taffy to the ground. My husband and children don't want to appear prejudiced, but they are frankly of the opinion that they have an extremely bright dog. I think he's all right, too, of course. That is as long as required attentions from me consist only of supplying milk and oatmeal and breadcrusts.

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Mothers Diary
Conversation with Bruce on ironing morning: I finish sweeping the dining room and kitchen in a flurry of haste and hook up the iron. Bruce adjusts his high chair to his satisfaction across the ironing board from me, climbs up, seats himself and glances about benignly. Then he frowns and points at a fluff of dust besides the table leg.
"You don't get all the dirt," he accuses me sternly. This is mere routine, since he has appointed himself chief efficiency expert around the house, and I no longer pay any attention to him.
I counterattack instead. "Did you put your puppy outdoors?" "Isn't my puppy," he answers.
"It isn't? Whose puppy is it then?"
"Our puppy. Belongs to all of us."
"Is that so?"
"Sure. I don't want him all by myself," he assures me indignantly and considering the care one small puppy takes, I can see his point.
"All right — all right — did you put our puppy outdoors?"
"Yes," he says serenely.
I get nicely started on the first shirt and Bruce announces "I want to iron."
"Wait 'til I get through."
"I want to –"
"Look," I interrupt hastily, "Let's sing, shall we?"
"No — I want to iron."
Nothing daunted I burst loudly into Little Jack Horner, which does not make him feel any better. Then I switch to Mary Had a Little Lamb, and unwillingly, Bruce settles back in his chair. He is determined not to enjoy himself, but becomes interested in spite of himself and at the end demands to have it repeated.
I oblige, and then change to Little Miss Muffet. The bit about the spider pleases him very much but after the third time through, I change to Ten Little Indians. This bores him and he interrupts.
"Sing a song about a merry-go-round."
I search my memory. "I don't know a song about a merry-go­round."
"I want to iron," he says sweetly.
"But I know a song about a pony," and I sing it. He hears it through patiently.
"Sing a song about a merry-go-round."
"I don't know a song about a merry-go-round," I inform him somewhat out of patience. "What else shall I sing?"
"About a merry-go-round."
So in desperation I improvise and warble a very bad ditty about merry-go-rounds and horses and children riding.
Bruce listens round-eyed and entranced and beams at me. "You didn't know" he approved triumphantly. "You did know a song about a merry-go-round. Sing it again."
I feel that once was more than enough.
"How about this one? Hippity-Hop to the barber shop to buy a stick of candy; One for you and one for me, and one for — Hey, What's the matter?"
Bruce is climbing from his chair. His whole being is outraged. He is all done.
"Why, what's the matter, Bruce?"
He stalks to the door and turns to me severely.
"Barber shops don't have candy," he says and departs in a huff.

The only trouble with going to bed early for a succession of nights is that it's habit forming. The first night I felt a little better, I was sitting up with the new Cosmopolitan, and it was only by the sternest self control that I managed not to abandon it before ten o'clock.

Taffy and the boys become more attached to each other every day. We are undecided as to who has the best time when they're hilariously romping, but we know who wears out first. And it isn't the boys.

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Mothers Diary
My washing machine is back! After six months of doing without one, I welcomed it back to the fold with loving arms. It had been bought back once in May, supposedly repaired, but had to be returned, so I was just a bit on the jumpy side when I started it up last Tuesday morning.
The agitator really and truly worked, and just more them splashed the clothes and suds around. It was the most beautiful sight I ever saw in my life. That is I thought so, until I saw the sheets and blankets going through the wringer. I flexed my wrests and said to myself, "look – just look – it's doing it all by itself! You're not breaking your arms and wearing blisters on your palms this wash day."
The noises bothered me, though. Every time the motor crackled, I got down on my knees to peer under. Every time the wringer buzzed, I stopped it and hovered anxiously over it, and then timorously started it up, feeding in just one handkerchief at a time. After hanging up a few clothes, I'd gallop back down to the basement with my heart in my mouth, just positive that the machine had blown up.

William Stein started construction yesterday on a 24 x 40 frame building near the Rock Island tracks on highway no. 5. Upon completion Al Peters, who will operate a general blacksmith and welding shop, will occupy the building. It is hoped to have the structure ready for occupancy by January 1. Some of the materials are slow in arriving and will prolong the construction time.

Add to unanswerable questions: After I had explained all about speed limits to Steve at his request, he still looked blank. "But what does a speed limit look like?"

It makes me cross every time I read it in a story. "She hastily ran a comb through her curls." And then presumably was all beautiful and ready to go. When I hastily run a comb through my curls, my head looks like a hurrahs nest. I have to stand n ifront of a mirror and brush and comb and arrange 'til my arms ache and my eyes burn form looking at me for so long. And then there are always a few curls that don't seem to fit in anywhere.
So Edna Mae was temporarily taken aback when she was shampooing my hair, and I asked her to fix my hair so I could just "run a comb through it," and it would be done. She wasn't sure that there was such a hairdo.
So I just wonder. Is there anything to it? Can it be done?

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Mothers Diary
When Glenn North stopped in after school, Friday, to play, I suggested that the boys take him upstairs to show their room and toys. And as Stephen had assured me about fifteen minutes before that the room was "all straightened up" after a session of playing. I commissioned Glen to report to me later if it really was straightened up satisfactorily. Then I got busy with my rolls and forgot the boys until I was aware of Glen standing in the doorway.
"It was," he said shifting his weight from one foot to the other.
"What?" I asked, temporarily baffled, and then realizing what he was talking about, "Oh, it was?"
"Yes. Well – anyway – pretty good. It was straightened up pretty well."
"That's good," I approved briskly. "All their toys put away in the box?"
"Well – no," he replied, and then went on appeasingly, "But they were all bunched up on just one spot on the floor."

The business of keeping the house straightened up, after the cleaning job is done for the day! Normally, I am quite resigned and stoical about the whole thing – trained myself to be. Either I clean in the morning and expect to do it all over again before I go to bed; or I wait until just before supper and dash about giving a brush here and a swipe there, just so it will look as though I tried, anyway. Either way, during the day I accept philosophically all the spills and scattered toys and the chairs lined up for a train and the old blankets arranged like a tent.
But if I'm expecting company for dinner, or for the evening, or for a few days visit, I can work myself into a state verging on a nervous breakdown. I like to do all the cleaning the day before company, and save the crucial day for the last minute thongs and the chores I know I'm going to forget until the last minute. I work hard cleaning – but I work twice as hard keeping things clean and neat and presentable. For some reason or other, my boys are the kind who can merely walk through a room and manage to give it a disheveled appearance. Then add one frisky puppy to disarrange the rugs. The seven year old comes home from school with a schoolmate in tow and they have two rooms, three veiled hats, five purses, tow pair of high heeled shoes, a stack of papers and books, and six pencils in order to play school. The 8th grader comes flying in and books go on top of the piano, a coat goes on the chair, and gym clothes land on the table. My husband comes home and his coat hangs over the back of a chair and his shoes are parked beside the davenport.
Well – you can stand by and quietly have yourself some hysterics or you can start squawking and nagging ('honking' is my husband's polite term for it) and neither method really solves a thing.
When my mother and father planned to arrive on a Thursday, I spent all day Wednesday, scrubbing and waxing every floor downstairs (and a good thing I did, too, as Dad crawled all over the dining room floor one day looking for a screw he dropped). Wednesday evening I went down town to work in the office, leaving Marcella and the children to have pancakes for supper. The next day, we stuck to the floor every time we took a step, and though all four violently disclaimed any responsibility for syrup being all over, it was there, and I had to do the floor all over again.
Well, it's things like that, that turn a mother's hair gray, not the original labor involved, as some people believe.
Of course, there was the lady I once knew, who set aside a room for her child, with no furniture, completely equipped with oilcloth and linoleum and gate at the door, and he spent all his waking hours there. And there are mothers who never allow their children in the kitchen so there are no messes to clean up, or frosting to wash off faces and hands and tables. And there are mothers, who never allow their children in their bedrooms so there's never anything out of place there and no cold cream to wash off windows. (I had to do that once.)
Maybe they have something there. At least I think so when I'm expecting company.

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