Thursday, September 17, 2015

New Things

Or, things that should be old by now but are new for me. And , no I am not talking about any new technology. Though speaking of technology, for some reason blogger is not talking to my One Drive, and I am really not interested in sorting out any more petty squabbles and digging into 'he hit me first' stories that can, and do continue for days. So I'm going to ignore it until they sort it out themselves. Sadly, the internet is the loser as I can't post cute pictures of my super cute kids. But no pictures does not preclude me from poking the keyboard for a bit, as I actually have a few minutes  before somebody draws blood and I have to clean it up before the stain sets.(Hydrogen peroxide for all your children's activities. Works on urine too.)

Fiona is napping so I was going to read more of Fr Spitzer's book, but the 'atmosphere' is not conducive to thinking so I figured I could let the gelatinous gibberish that is my brain's offspring lately coagulate here for a bit instead. My apologies. Especially since I can't make it up to you with a (Fi)cture.

I really don't know how other moms find time to write. Or eat. Or brush their hair. I have yet to find a way to facilitate any independent, as in just me, activity that does not necessitate copious amounts of hydrogen peroxide, bleach, or new wall board. Or toilet seats.

Speaking of toilets, Shane, who was consoling a naked Malachi as he was pining for his brother's tape measure,   just leapt off the couch and exclaimed,

"What is that on your finger?!" Then proceeded to have the couch and  his, Shane's, pants sniff tested to make sure 'that' was not anywhere else. It wasn't. We, or rather Shane, scrubbed Muffin's hands and put a diaper on him. Apparently, he had used the toilet (yeah!) but still needs some help in the clean-up department.

I just stayed back and watched the whole event. I had been typing for three minutes so I figured some catastrophe was bound to happen any minute. It's not so bad when you can look at such events as a disinterested third party. Or highly entertained by it because its always fun to see people freak out about what you spend most of your day dealing with.  Not that Shane freaked out. He's used to it by now.

It also helps if you do get called in for the clean up. Yesterday I decided to get a jump on the clean up and went out to buy new toilet seats. (Sorry for the toilet-themed post. That's just a consequence of having little boys.) Also a consequence of said boys having difficulties trying to pee in that microscopic basin that keeps moving all over the room just as you lock on to it. Every visit to the bathroom is a like new game of Asteroids. So off to the hardware store I went to try to restore some decency to the bathroom. (You are welcome.)

I had no idea there would be so many choices in the toilet seat department. Also, I had absolutely no idea they made some with built in night lights! Seriously? I don't need another thing to keep supplies with batteries.  Of course I took a picture to show Shane.

 His response was,

"Really? That's so cool! Did you get one?"

Needless to say I did not get anything that would encourage more nighttime activity. Or boys guzzling gallons of water before bed to increase their trips in the dark. Just like 'free' time, sleep is a highly valuable and scarce commodity these days. But maybe I'll remember when it comes time to fill Shane's stocking.

He's earned it this year. Especially for taking care of the poo finger.

I was going to share our academic plans for this year but this post has taken me 5 hours, as many cups of coffee, twice as many diaper changes (for the kids), and  every other sentence I get questions like 'what's for dinner?' 'do you know where my book is?' 'what's the air speed of an unladen swallow?'

In a nut shell we are doing less. I signed the kids up for lots of classes and the week before we were to start I cancelled them all. Except two. The little kids are continuing piano, and as this is Audrey's last year for Drama and Trudy offered to take her to that, we kept that as well. But nothing early in the morning!

I can't believe I didn't so it sooner. As in years ago. It takes so much energy to leave the house with all, or even some, of the kids. And even though Shane's mom has been doing the driving most of the last couple years, it is still an effort to make sure everyone is up and breakfasted and has TWO shoes in the morning. Matching was optional. Plus, I was realizing that outside classes were taking up all the schooling energy I had and leaving us with nothing for the work I would like to be doing with the kids.

Add to that two toddlers, dentist appointments, grocery shopping, and occasional doctor appointments, I'm swamped. As energy is scarcer and scarcer these days and ignoring that fact turns me into exhausted,grumpy, none-fun mom, I finally felt it was time to speak up.

I brought it up to Shane a week before we were to start, bracing my self for the talk I had given myself every time I felt overwhelmed, and honestly, scared, by it all. He listened and then said,

"OK. I do think we need a more family centered and directed school year , not focused or restricted by what classes are available. And something that will not suck all your energy. Let's do it."

None of the,

'oh come on. Don't be such a wimp! My mom's been doing all the driving any way so its not really any effort on your part. This is what we are supposed to be doing now, for the kids.'     Which is what I had been expecting.

So the next day, I joyfully wrote cancellation checks to all the teachers and only had to rip up three of the five, for clerical errors. not sure if it was just the fact I had to write so many numbers that tripped me up or if I was just excited to be unsigning up for the stress that would have accompanied all the classes. Plus, knowing I would not have to do all the tuition checks again in a month was pretty exhilarating.   Either way, every time I realized it was not going to happen I was thrilled and over the next week felt more and more assured we were doing the right thing, planning the activities and subjects we would be doing instead. Shane felt the same way, so I must be right. And the first day of nonclasses while the other mom's were scrambling to get kids in cars and diaper bags and lunch bags packed, I was still in my pajamas drinking coffee. Not because I was being lazy but because we had the crappiest night of sleep we'd had in a long time with both babies waking up just before midnight and not going down again until 2:30am. But the entire time Kateri and I were tending to the babies , Shane still had work in the morning so I thoughtfully did not bug him, all I could think and rejoice about was the fact I didn't have to drag all the kids out of bed in a few hours.

I had always felt resentful of the schedule I had forced us into in years past. I felt a tension between what the baby(ies) needed and what participating in the kids' classes required i.e. being away from home all day. Camping out in the car for hours. Coming home exhausted at dinner time with no energy to cook or clean. Finally recovering just as the next week started. Looking back at those years I  think what an idiot I was. Or maybe that is just the Now Me imagining doing it. Maybe the Then Me did have more energy and a bigger brain. Definitely had better hair.

My definition of homeschooling has definitely evolved over the years. And I am sure it will continue to do so. Right now our plan feels a comfortable fit for the family. I'll share some more details on curriculum etc later. Shane took the kids outside to play so I want to use the time to get dinner going and if the post got any longer I think we would all die of boredom.

Oh, look at that! Shane, the peace broker, finally got things talking to other things, resulting in my being able to post a picture. This was from last week. My dad's sister, Sister Judit, was here visiting for a short time and we got to host her for lunch. She is a nun with the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart ofJesus  (see if you can spot her). She was previously in Hungary and before that Taiwan so it was great to see her here again. Now she is in California, they get sent wherever there is a dire need, so hopefully there will be more opportunities to see her.


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