Saturday, March 15, 2008
Friday, March 14, 2008
Otherwise, there isn't much to report. Danny is getting bigger and more smiley every day. The girls are all healthy and happy. Garr and I are good too! Will try to take some pictures over the weekend. We have our church Easter egg hunt in the morning, and then the girls have their first Little League practice in the afternoon! So I'm sure all have lots to write about on Sunday!
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Well, they showed it at my church the other night. It is a fantastic movie! It was funny, and respectful. I really enjoyed it and so did my girls. Plus, it had a great message in the end. Just in case anyone else has been avoiding this movie, I wanted to say, don't! It's a great movie!
Friday, March 7, 2008
Anna Quindlen, Newsweek Columinst & Author
All my babies are gone now. I say this not in sorrow but in disbelief. I take great satisfaction in what I have today: three almost-adults, two taller than I am, one closing in fast. Three people who read the same books I do and have learned not to be afraid of disagreeing with me in their opinion of them, who sometimes tell vulgar jokes that make me laugh until I choke and cry, who need razor blades and shower gel and privacy, who want to keep their doors closed more than I like. Who, miraculously, go to the bathroom, zip up their jackets and move food from plate to mouth all by themselves. Like the trick soap I bought for the bathroom with a rubber ducky at its center, the baby is buried deep within each, barely discernible except through the unreliable haze of the past.
Everything in all the books I once poured over is finished for me now. Penelope Leach., T. Berry Brazelton., Dr. Spock. The ones on sibling rivalry and sleeping through the night and early-childhood education, all grown obsolete. Along with Goodnight Moon and Where the Wild Things Are, they are battered, spotted, well used. But I suspect that if you flipped the pages dust would rise like memories. What those books taught me, finally, and what the women on the playground taught me, and the well-meaning relations --what they taught me, was that they couldn't really teach me very much at all.
Raising children is presented at first as a true-false test, then becomes multiple choice, until finally, far along, you realize that it is an endless essay. No one knows anything. One child responds well to positive reinforcement, another can be managed only with a stern voice and a timeout. One child is toilet trained at 3, his sibling at 2. When my first child was born, parents were told to put baby to bed on his belly so that he would not choke on his own spit-up. By the time my last arrived, babies were put down on their backs because of research on sudden infant death syndrome. To a new parent this ever-shifting certainty is terrifying, and then soothing. Eventually you must learn to trust yourself. Eventually the research will follow. I remember 15 years ago poring over one of Dr. Brazelton's wonderful books on child development, in which he describes three different sorts of infants: average, quiet, and active. I was looking for a sub-quiet codicil for an 18-month old who did not walk. Was there something wrong with his fat little legs? Was there something wrong with his tiny little mind? Was he developmentally delayed, physically challenged? Was I insane? Last year he went to China . Next year he goes to college. He can talk just fine. He can walk, too.
Every part of raising children is humbling, too. Believe me, mistakes were made. They have all been enshrined in the 'Remember-When--Mom-Did ' Hall of Fame. The outbursts, the temper tantrums, the bad language, mine, not theirs. The times the baby fell off the bed. The times I arrived late for preschool pickup. The nightmare sleepover. The horrible summer camp. The day when the youngest came barreling out of the classroom with a 98 on her geography test, and I responded, 'What did you get wrong?'. (She insisted I include that.) The time I ordered food at the McDonald's drive-through speaker and then drove away without picking it up from the window. (They all insisted I include that.) I did not allow them to watch the Simpsons for the first two seasons. What was I thinking?
But the biggest mistake I made is the one that most of us make while doing this. I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of the three of them, sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages 6, 4 and 1. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night.
I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less. Even today I'm not sure what worked and what didn't, what was me and what was simply life. When they were very small, I suppose I thought someday they would become who they were because of what I'd done. Now I suspect they simply grew into their true selves because they demanded in a thousand ways that I back off and let them be. The books said to be relaxed and I was often tense, matter-of-fact and I was sometimes over the top. And look how it all turned out. I wound up with the three people I like best in the world who have done more than anyone to excavate my essential humanity. That's what the books never told me. I was bound and determined to learn from the experts. It just took me a while to figure out who the experts were.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
I had her read a story tonight about a little girl who homeschools. We talked about the good things and the bad things -- like the fact that she wouldn't have friends to play with everyday, no TV during school time, doing work even when she didn't feel like it, doing extra chores, etc. She is still gung ho over the idea.
I, personally, have always felt a desire to homeschool my kids. I'm trying to decide if I am in love with the idea of homeschooling - seeing, in my mind, a perfect house and a happy mom and child learning together. Whereas the reality will probably be far from that on most days (esp re the house!).
At the same time, I know, I truly believe, that Abby would thrive in a homeschool setting. She is already doing really well, but I think learning at home would suit her and she would take right off.
So here's the situation:
I'm going to be home anyway
When I do work, I can take her with me and still help her with her schoolwork
She would most likely thriveIt could be a fantastic thing for us
She can always go back to public school if it doesn't work and be 'none the worse for wear'
It will be investing in my child
It will be extra work for me
She might get bored with it
So what do you think? I am trying to think this through. Garr supports me either way. I really can't think of any more cons. Any suggestions?
Edited to add: Abby is in 1st grade. She is reading at a much higher level though - probably a third or fourth grade level.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Saturday, March 1, 2008
They also ran into (literally!) my Uncle Leland (my mom's brother). The girls have never really had an opportunity to get to know him or vice-versa. So it was really nice that they were able to spend the day with him there.
I'm really glad my parents thought to do this for the girls. They have so many toys already. They really didn't need anything more. It was a great gift - the gift of time and making memories. The girls are already talking about what they are going to do at the farm show when Grandma and Grandad take them again next year.
Emelyn on the merry go round
Abby learning to milk a cow
First stay in a hotel
Butter sculpture behind cowgirls - 11,000 lbs of butter!
Watching chicks hatch