Thursday, September 11, 2014

One Ordinary Morning

Higgle Wiggle

First thing after breakfast all the children went the back yard to play.  In the yard, the baby pool was full of water from another day’s play.  The kids reached in and splashed a bit.  Then Annie, who is almost 4, ran to the porch and told me she wanted to swim.  There was a swimsuit on the patio table that had been left there to dry.  She pointed at it when she asked to swim.  I grabbed it and quickly slipped it onto her.  After a few seconds Annie began to wiggle and scream as a nickel sized spider crawled out of the suit onto her breast.  I tried to help her brushing the spider away.  But it’s sticky silk prevented us from getting it off immediately.  It bounced from breast to arm, to leg, to leg, to leg, and then to toes where she danced on it lightly and then it bit her toe.  The spider made a dash for the grass where it vanished.  Annie, of course, was traumatized at the hairy, scary, tickly attack.  She no longer wanted to swim.  The thought of getting into a different swimsuit had no appeal as she explained there were definitely spiders in the pool as well.

The Child Philosopher

Later as we made our way through home school lessons my son had an existential moment.  He paused from his work, his face became long and he looked as though the weight of the world were pressing down upon him and indeed it had.  He said, “Sometimes I wonder what I am doing here.  Is the world an illusion?  Is God real?  Why doesn’t he answer me?  Why doesn’t he tell in words that this world is real?”

I played Socrates and started asking him “the questions,”
            “What about this world would make you think this world is an illusion?  What are some things that indicate that this world is real?”

He began to talk about God some more without answering my questions.  So I talk to him about how God talks to us—in silence, in signs, in our humiliation and devotion.  I talked to him about seeing the signs of God.

These are questions men have been asking for ages, son.  It’s just not usual to start pondering this all when you’re just shy of eight years old.  I guess he takes after his father and grandfather.  I know the path you should take in this world, son.  Now where should I start with such a young philosopher?

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Comforting Big Baby

Sometimes when the girls are grumpy, whining or throwing fits, I ask them if they want to play big baby.  I swaddle them in a blanket; feed them a cup of milk; and then rock them a while.  Today, during home school I wrapped up my big babies; set them in their cradles and gave them stories to read.  This lasted about 20 minutes.  It was worth the time with the other children.

French Binge

A few weeks ago I had a Franco-American book binge.  I read Bringing Up Bebe and French Women Don't Get Fat.  Bringing Up Bebe was interesting.  But, I didn't really learn anything that made me radically change my parenting style.  Mainly, I took away to not take crap behavior from the kids.  I decided to tighten up on my discipline--make it clear cut and clean.  Seems like everyone needs to do that every once in a while, especially after a summer of watching T.V.

I learned almost nothing from French Women Don't Get Fat.  That's not to say there are not tips that could improve the lives of poor eaters.  However, I simply learned nothing new--nothing I did not already know.  It was a little bit of a bore to me.

But, there is one thing that I really enjoyed during my time reading the books.  I started drinking a petite glass of red wine every afternoon and a small piece of cheese.  During those weeks I felt a lot more relaxed about life.  I felt this way not because I was feeling the effects of the alcohol.  It really was not that much wine.  But, the flavor sensations of the wine and cheese were lovely and relaxing.  And I knew the whole day prior that I had this lovely little snack to look forward to.

I drank a bottle of wine a week.  Alas, this became too expensive of a snack.  A decent wine is at the very least $10.00.  A $10.00 snack for one person is too much, not to mention the cheese.  It was a nice ride maybe someday I will have money enough to continue this day break.

Mno Hiya Lita!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Chore Tags

I attribute our relatively smooth home school days for the past two weeks, and free time for myself to our new chore tags, and parental, no nonsense attitudes.  We have been able to be especially no nonsense, because we have the chore tags to back us up.  Next step: manners tags.

Last spring I came up with this idea to make these laminated chore tags on rings, but it took me a long time to put them into action. 

First, I spent a week thinking up all the things my children need to do in a day.
Then I spent weeks upon weeks formatting, downloading clipart, and purchasing supplies (lamination pouches and book rings). It took me a few weeks to convince myself that this is something I wanted to spend money on.

Then it took me a week to print, cut, laminate and assemble.  There are over 100 tags.  It breaks down to about 30 cards per kid.  We also have weekly card like dusting, sheets and bathrooms.

Why I did it: 

One should not need cute little cards to do the simple things one needs to do in a day.  I should not have to repeat myself over and over, brush your teeth, wash yourself, pick up after yourself. However, all I do all day is bark orders at the children.  They don't do what they are told.  Then in despair I give up and do it myself.

So I put it in simple pictures and black and white.  Now they know what I expect done.  Now they know how to take care of themselves.  It's like a scavenger hunt. 

Suddenly, our house is generally neat, tidy--dare I say, clean--and I have free time.  In the past couple weeks I've read books, taken naps and prayed in the afternoon hours. 

(Lucy loves helping the most)

Next, I plan to make manners tags, because I constantly have to correct behavior.  Perhaps, if they can see it in black and white, it will finally click and they will exhibit proper behavior.  Wish me luck.  It will take me weeks to format, find pictures, print and spend the money on these tags.  I plan to make it like a game.  On one side of the card list a scenario, and on the other side proper manners.  I might have to draw the images myself.  I have about 40 manners in mind at the moment.  But, perhaps if they see the effort I have put into their manners, they will care too.

Mno hiya Lyta!