Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Confessions of a Life-Long Beatrix Potter Enthusiast

I do agree with those who believe that the effects of eating too much lettuce is considered "soporific". I have suffered those effects myself; sleepy, satisfied. It is a summer malady, to be certain.

I commiserate with the rage of Tom Thumb and Hunca Munca when they tried to eat some of the lovely dishes set out in the dolls' house, only to find they were nothing but painted plaster. Can you imagine a greater disappointment?

And I confess to an affinity for a certain mouse.

A woodmouse, to be exact. Mrs. Thomasina Tittlemouse. Her creator, Beatrix Potter, fashioned the characteristics and features of this little friend with such sweetness; I've been known to fancy myself as a creation of hers from time to time.

I've clattered my dust-pan at the errant beetle found in my kitchen. I've sent uninvited ladies in their red spotty cloaks home to their children, and spiders, of course, are never welcome. They cause such mischief with their cobwebs scattered about my house, yes, but even more they are, by design, an unattractive blemish on my otherwise tidy, clutter-free home.

I long for distant storerooms in my home, where I could fetch cherry stones and thistle down for dinner. To negotiate passages in my tidy apron, as I carry my lantern high to rout out any more unwelcome guests of the eight-legged variety.

I've also been known to grow weary before I've finished my chores. Had I a rocking chair, I surely would spend my rest time snoozing in it, chin touching chest, hands resting gently across my lap.

Mrs. Tittlemouse is timid, but firm. She is tidy to a fault, but certainly a wonderful little hostess, even when she is unkindly visited by a frog whose tendency for the phrase, "Tiddly, widdly, widdly!" would be enough to drive this hostess to cross words of her own.

Were you to drop in suddenly today, you would be welcome. If you do not care for thistle-down, and cherry stones cause you indigestion, why then, won't you have a saucer of honey? You may warm yourself by the fire, and I shall sweep discreetly where your feet may have left a print on my clean floor. A cup of tea, pleasant conversation, and I promise not to worry about the dishes until you must fly away home, friend.

For Eliana and I, it is a treat to enjoy these together. There are sweet stories, beautiful music, and laughter in every moment. And even more often, it is this we delight in. Accompanied always by a special blanket, which I purchased at a flea market when Corban was a baby, but, as it happens, turned out to be a little too "girly" for Daddy to allow.

It fits the bill perfectly now, don't you think?

19 fellow travelers shared:

Andrea said...

What a darling. On a darling blanket.

But, my friend, you can be a Mrs. Tittlemouse in your home, but for me-- I'll take a Miss Tiggy-Winkle in *my* home to do my washings!!

And I'm tad partial to the story of the Two Bad Mice, for they have my daughter's name and my mother's name in the story: Lucinda and Jane. :)

Ah, but I also have myself a little Tom Kitten, being naughty with his sisters!!

...obviously I could go on and on. I feel a tad like a Star Trek freak 'cept it's Beatrix Potter. *grin*

Grafted Branch @ Restoring the Years said...

We love Mrs. Tiggywinkle; she's the hedgehog that takes in all the washing.

At least I'm pretty sure that's Potter.

I love her illustrations and actually pieced together a crib quilt with them for Fifi before she came.

Alison said...

I love, love, love, LOVE the DVDs. My MIL got them for my 2 and 4 year old along with a small peter rabbit book with the original drawings for Easter. We read the book but had put the movies away (we were moving). After the move I pulled them out and Oh my goodness. Is it crazy to say I almost cried when I heard the song that goes with the credits? 'Fear is nature's warning. Hunger here is never far away.' Blessings, blessings all around us. My 4 yo son hides his eyes when Peter and Benjamin get spanked with the switch. I thought my eyes would pop out when I saw that! He also loves the two naughty mice...hmmm. I think there's a link there.

Yikes, I think it is a little obsessive. I tell EVERYONE about the books (of course) but also the DVDs. Isn't it funny that THIS post brought me out from lurker status! :-)

henryteachers said...

I love sharing those stories with my children. And you even have a blanket to go with it. How cute! I bet you would love a great movie that came out last year called "Miss Potter." Have you seen it, it is about the author's life.
Take care,
Mindy :)

Bethany said...

Oh Elise,
I miss you and Eliana and Kevin and Corban and no specific order! Love you!

Christine said...

What a sweet girl! We have a giant anthology too and it is one of the kids' favorites. We especially love Squirrel Nutkin. Of course, I have made up tunes for all of his rude little songs! ;)

It is so special to share these things with our children...

Staci said...

I, too, love Beatrix Potter.

Sweet picture of your daughter.


Meredith said...

Oh, what a beautiful post and picture!

Beverly said...

What a cuddly-wuddly blanket! Lena and I love blankets like these. I'm jealous that everyone knows the names and character traits of all these Beatrix Potter animals. I must do better!

I love the character sketch, Elise! Beautiful.

Joyful Days said...

One of our long-time favorites. Can there be too much?

tonia said...


"I shall sweep discreetly where your feet may have left a print on my clean floor."

psst...when you figure out how to do that discreetly and without appearing too me. I'd love to know!

Beka said...

OH MY GOODNESS!! This was great! Sorry-- can you tell I'm excited? I am a life-long Beatrix Potter enthusiast too: when I was a baby, my mom decorated my nursery with a Beatrix Potter theme, and I plan to do the same some day, Lord willing.
One of my very favorites is The Pie and the Patty Pan, I think. We even had a cat named Ribby when I was very young.
I love Eliana's blanket-- so perfect! I had a Peter Rabbit blanket, too... my mom still has it somewhere.

Cindi said...

I have the cutest set of these that I bought 18 years ago for reading with our oldest. In the spring while cleaning out bookshelves my children did not understand why I wanted to keep such books for "younger" children. I smiled and just put them back on the shelf.

Sarah said...

Well now I simply must get some of these books! Where is your favorite place to buy them? Every time I read your posts Elise, I just want you to live next door!
Love, Sarah

Sarah said...

We do have Peter Rabbit, one of Emma's favorites, but what are some of your other recommendations?

Munchkin Land said...

Oh so very sweet! Don't you love watching your children grabbing on, and loving, some of the same books from your childhood?! It nearly brings me to tears!

schnuckiputzi said...

My children loved these books so much, as did I. We even had our own Mrs. Tiggy-winkles, and hedgehogs are wonderful pets, although the girls never dressed them up, as they did the banty chickens we had. Maybe all you need is a frilly apron? :)

Miriam said...

Elise, we so love all things Beatix Potter too. And Mrs. Tittlemouse - she is a character. :)

Last weekend I watched the movie "Miss Potter" with my mom. Have you seen it? It's quite good!

bluemountainmama said...

LOVED this, elise! there is something so gentle about beatrix potter's books and illustrations.

and you'll have to tell hubby it's not just you... sir laughsalot had a peter rabbit blanket, too. in fact, his whole crib set was all peter rabbit- sheets, pillows, comforter, etc. i couldn't resist!

and did you know that a movie came out recently, i think called'miss potter' with renee zellweger as beatrix potter. it's about her life. i haven't seen it yet, but it's definitely on my list.

have fun in your travels! sounds like it will be a wonderful trip....12 dozen cookies each! oh my!

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