Previous month:
May 2004
Next month:
July 2004

There will be no coherent thought, no anecdote/thesis/wrapup. No, what you get today are
RANDOM MUSINGS.

Overheard this morning as the boys played cars on the car-track rug behind me:
Tre: Raphi! Look at what you did! (Snort of disgust) It’s all YOUR FAULT.
Raphi: (swaggering away) YES. It IS mah fawt.
He seemed so pleased to have received recognition for his work, at last.

Those who wonder why I’m not dating need to read this. If Nicole Kidman can’t get a date, how do you expect me to? I mean, really. I’m not QUITE as gorgeous as she. I mean, it’s close *snort*, I’m stone-cold-sexy and all *guffaw*, but still…

Every night when Tre goes to bed he reads for an hour or so before he actually goes to sleep. Being the compulsive little soul he is, he must come downstairs and tell me when he’s done reading. But he doesn’t like to just come downstairs like a normal person. He sneaks. He creeps on cat feet, hoping to startle me. I almost always hear him and whip around to see him tiptoeing up to me, like a secret agent. You know - if secret agents got really giddy when they thought they were going to surprise someone. Sometimes I just call out, “I know you’re there,” when I hear him on the stairs. And do you know WHY I always spoil his fun? Because he’s getting older and in the back of my head I’m always aware that he will be entering the dreaded teen years soon. So I want him to be a bit uneasy, to carry with him the sense that I’M ON TO HIM.
BUT sometimes he actually does sneak up without me hearing him, and then his joy and hilarity know no bounds. So I figure he’s going to be a hoodlum for sure. Worse still, a hoodlum with excellent sneaking skills. You know, if I think about it hard enough, I can find a way my every move as a parent has doooooooooomed my children to lives of desperation and loss. It’s a gift.

Only three weeks ago I was standing in my garden, praying, "Please please please, God, let it be a rainy summer. We need the rain. Please let it rain."
Today I stood at the window, peering out at my soggy garden that is completely overrun by weeds, praying, "God, I need some sun, please. If the sun doesn't come out soon I think I'll lose my mind. I NEED TO SEE THE SUN."
Honestly, I don't know why God ever listens to me. If I were Him, I'd respond to my prayers with a booming voice from the clouds, "TALK TO THE HAND, 'CAUSE THE DEITY AIN'T LISTENING." But there's one more excellent reason I'm not God.

Raphael likes to have me read books to him, and although I hate to admit this, it’s a trial for me. See, he interrupts the text to point out items of interest in the pictures. I’M not allowed to talk about the pictures, but I must STOP reading to allow HIM to talk about them.
“Dere’s a dog dere. An’ he’s funny!” I wait to be sure the picture commentary has finished, and, with my pause, earn an irritated, “MAMA! TAWK!” So I start to “talk” – that is, read - but he interrupts me again, to word his order more politely. He reaches up and pats my cheek and murmurs, “Mama? Yoo can tawk now.” I wait just a beat to be sure he’s done, and he repeats in a steely tone, “NOW.” So I start to read again, only to be interrupted by a commentary on the pictures. One book could last the rest of our lives, but I (ashamedly) resort to the “turn three pages at a time” trick. So he’s growing up with no sense of continuity, and will be unable to make decisions or plot his life’s direction in the least. He’ll end up a bitter, burned out old man when he’s 43, drinking his first beer at 10:32 AM and asking himself, “How did I get here?”
See? A gift.


Brains, more or less

Ok, everyone, gather close. I have to tell you a secret.
It seems I screwed up.
Remember my friends Heather and Jim? With the newborn daughter? Well, her name is actually spelled ROWYN. So I just went back and changed all the “Rowan”s to “Rowyn.” I even edited the comments. Shhh. And looking at the two spellings, I think they’re totally right. Rowyn is the better spelling by far. Which is a good thing, because apparently it was my suggestion to spell it that way.
I really need to pay better attention when I’m talking.
Don’t anyone tell Heather, ok?
*whew*
Alright, moving on.
So the boys and I did go downtown today. Tre was going to sell the honey from his hives at Dad’s office. Tre is being led down the slippery slope of beekeeping by my father. Now, you have to understand something about my dad. Beekeeping is odd, right? I mean, most people don’t know how to respond when someone declares that they keep bees. Well, Dad not only keeps bees, he keeps bees in topbar hives. Which makes him a bit odd- AMONG BEEKEEPERS. He not only uses topbar hives, he’s actually on the FOREFRONT of topbar beekeeping. If you google “topbar hives” his name is like the third to come up. So he’s an anomaly among TOPBAR BEEKEEPERS. Aaaand he’s teaching all this to my son, who has absolutely no hope of being normal when he grows up.
Max has never showed any interest in keeping bees until today, when he suddenly noticed people were handing Tre money. He demanded to know how much of that money he would be getting.
“Well, none.” I replied. “That’s Tre’s money, because he’s selling his honey from his hives.” Max watched with narrowed eyes for a few minutes, then announced to Dad that he wanted his own hives. Dad allowed as how that was a good idea. I’m on to the kid, though. I had a beehive when I was a kid. Never even noticed it until the state fair came to town, when I became determined to relieve my hive of its honey. And to SELL said honey, at which point I could go back to ignoring the bees.
Tre, however, seems actually interested in bees. I mean, the money is a definite draw, but he talks about his hives, and fusses over weather conditions, and notices swarms. He’s been stung about five times, and doesn’t consider it all that big of a deal. It’s like he’s got a section in his brain that most of us are missing, the section that collects bee understanding. I think it’s very cool, this library of information he’s amassing in his head. Never mind that I cannot for the life of me maintain my focus when he’s explaining things about his hives to me. He cares about it, and that’s what matters.
Max has a different section in his brain, a section that cares about clothes. I’ve mentioned before his odd dressing ways. Well, I got tired of going places with him while he looks like something between a Chippendale’s dancer and a drug runner. So yesterday we went shopping for “fancy clothes.”
And oh my, did we find some fancy clothes. Max picked out some navy slacks, a blue button-down shirt, and a red tie. Add a black belt and shiny black shoes, and he looked like a tiny little executive. As a matter of fact, while we were eating lunch a businessman walked up to our table, pointed at his shirt, and then at Max’s. They matched, right down to the red tie and black shoes. He gave Max a thumbs-up, which was rewarded with a tiny shy smile.
Max could NOT keep his shirt tucked in all day, but he really enjoyed looking nice. He inspected himself in windows and grinned at what he saw.
Tre, on the other hand, came downstairs this morning in his usual t-shirt and shorts. I looked at him, then said,
“Hey, isn’t that the shirt you wore yesterday?” He looked down, as if surprised to find he was wearing a shirt at all.
“I guess so,” he replied.
“Isn’t it dirty?” I asked. You’d think I would have learned by now not to ask questions like that. What I should have done is stated emphatically, “Well, then it’s dirty.” But no, what I did is ask his opinion on the cleanliness of his shirt. Like he cares. He shrugged and flicked a bit of dried food off his stomach.
“No, not really.”
Different brains, different boys.
They’re so cool.


Personal Space

Took the boys to the zoo today. That was cool. I haven’t been to the zoo in…what…a week!
Seriously, you can never get enough zoo time. Raphael and I went for a few hours last week while Tre and Max were at VBS (that’s Vacation Bible School, you heathens). But THE DAY we were there they were opening a new exhibit – Predator Ridge. Sounds cool, no? However, it was open to the public after the ribbon cutting ceremony at noon, and Raphael and I had to leave at 11:30. Predator Ridge sounded enticing, but not quite enticing enough to leave two boys sobbing piteously in the church parking lot, wondering where mom was.
Anyhow.
We went back today, figuring a week after the grand opening would be a safe. Time for the crowds to subside, right?
Wrong.
There were people simply everywhere. I couldn’t turn around without whacking some child in the head with my zoo backpack. No less than four times Max ended up standing on the other side of a LARGE SIZED man, freaking out because he couldn’t see me. (This did not, by the way, convince Max to stick close to me. I tried explaining to him that if he didn’t dance off, completely oblivious to me and his brothers, twirling around and singing a song to himself, then he wouldn’t lose us quite so often. This suggestion was met with the Max glare of non-comprehension.)
So although the weather was perfect for the zoo, and Predator Ridge is (as suspected) very cool, I can’t say that I enjoyed the zoo all that much today. TOO MANY PEOPLE.
I realized that I’m spoiled, as a homeschooler. I rarely drive anywhere during rush hour. I don’t go to the grocery store during peak hours. We attend museums and the like during the weekdays – except never on Friday. There are always huge school groups on field trips on Fridays. I’ve gotten used to the calm of wide open spaces, echoing halls down which to chase Raphael. I like to meander, and crowds don’t allow that. Add a whole passel of people to what I consider MY ZOO, and I get downright pissy.
On the other hand, tomorrow we’re going downtown for lunch with Dad. I expect downtown to be crowded, so it doesn’t bug me. I keep an iron grip on some portion of Raphael and constant visual contact with Tre and Max (no mean feat), and it feels like an adventure. Many of the downtown hipsters don’t feel that way about us, though. We receive many alarmed looks. Young twenty-something year old men especially tend to inch away from us, as though family were a communicable disease. I find it highly amusing.
Turnabout, after all, is fair play.


Summer Reading

Well, remember when I mentioned that I was TRYING to read The Fourth Hand by John Irving? Well, I just finished it, dropped it on the couch next to me and staggered my way to the computer. I picked the book up this afternoon and barely came up for air until just now.
I remember now why I don’t read as much as I used to. It’s simply not SAFE, with all these children around. All evening I would absentmindedly glance up from my book to find one child or another LOOKING at me. NEEDING something from me.
“What?” I said, “You want to eat what? Dinner? What time is it? Didn’t I make you popcorn? HOW many hours ago? Oh, fine then, you can have more food. What? You want ME to prepare it? OH FINE THEN.”
I smacked the book down on the table and scurried through food preparations as fast as possible. Then back to the book. Mere moments passed, then ANOTHER CHILD, with ANOTHER need.
“What?” I said lovingly, “What time is it? Good heavens, Raphi, you need to be in bed. Since when do you stay up past ten? Hurry-scurry up the stairs! Up. Up. UP the stairs. You. Up. Yes, those stairs. What? You want to brush what? Again? (Furtive look over my shoulder at the book) Um…I heard that brushing your teeth too often can…wear them out. Oh, fine. Here. Brush. Brush. You. Brush. No, YOUR teeth. Brush. Goooood. Now spit. Spit. You – oh, never mind! Hop in bed, and OH YES I LOVE YOU TOO! NIGHTY NIGHT!”
Dive back into book.
So now it’s late. My eyes hurt.
I think it’s time I admit I’m powerless over fiction, that my life has become unmanageable.
But I’m ok with that, because as soon as I can focus again, I want to re-read the last third of that book. Then there’s a whole pile of novels waiting for me.
Light a candle for the boys, would you?


Baby Rowyn

My friend Heather called me this morning shortly before 7 AM. I’ve been waiting for her to have her baby, so every time she calls I answer with, “Are you in labor?” This time it was morning, and I wasn’t on the ball, so I just said, “Hello?”
“I’m not in labor,” she responded. It was morning, so I found that statement to be impenetrably puzzling.
“But I WAS!” she continued.
The penny dropped.
“YOU HAD THE BABY!”
“Yes!” She started telling me the details of the delivery, and I interrupted to ask,
“Well, is it a boy or girl?”
Ready for this?
She wouldn’t tell me.
“You have to come see us to find out,” she replied smugly.
Now, I had gone on record WEEKS before with my assertion that Heather was having a girl. She was pretty sure it was a boy. I just had this feeling, though. When I told the boys that Heather had had her baby, Max responded, “It’s a girl, I bet.”
That settled it for me. Off to buy pink!
Well, OF COURSE I went to see them, along with our friend Amy. We went to the hospital after we dropped our kids off at vacation Bible school.
When we got off the elevator (Amy, Raphael, and I), the first thing we saw was the nursery. And there was Jim, Heather’s husband, hovering over a baby. We peered through the glass and spotted the card attached to the bassinette. It was PINK! I was RIGHT, it was a GIRL!! We waved at Jim, then trotted down the hall to see Heather and to gloat about being right.
This makes four kids for Heather and Jim. They were all there for a while, before Jim took the older three to McDonald’s. They now have two boys and two girls. Heather’s gotten a lot of comments during this pregnancy about how brave/crazy/amazing she is to be having another, and that drives her nuts. She didn’t feel like adding another child to their family was such a wild thing. Until recently in human history, having four kids was pretty normal. But looking at their family, milling about in that hospital room today, I thought that it WAS a huge thing.
They seem so complete.
It’s not like there was this great gaping hole before, but today the five of them circled around the newest member, and to me they looked complete. Heather watched from her bed, a serene (if tired) matriarch. And none of them could stop stealing glances at their new baby.
Her name is Rowyn, and she’s just lovely. 9lb, 10oz, and perfect. Her oldest brother, Wyatt, sat in a chair next to his mom’s bed, watching TV. Heather said she was surprised that it was a girl, and Wyatt looked up.
“I’m glad. I wanted another sister.”
“Really?” I said, surprised that he had such a strong opinion. He smiled shyly and nodded.
“I really wanted another sister.” Then he ducked his head, embarrassed, and went back to watching TV.
I don’t know if Jim and Heather will have any more kids. I’m sure the world at large has many many opinions about that. But I do know this: it is a fine thing that this newest person in their family is here.
Welcome, little Rowyn.


Choices

So I was…down, I guess. Just a little sad, and Dad was worried about me. He stood in the kitchen while I made dinner and asked me if I was ok.
“Yes,” I said, perhaps a bit too firmly.
“Do you get lonely?” he persisted. I stared at the counter, hard. I don’t like to cry in front of my dad.
“Yes. Sometimes.”
“Well, I’m not surprised.”
Awkward silence. Finally, I pushed off from where I was standing at the counter, and headed to the fridge. I started pulling out whatever it was we were having for dinner.
“You know, I think part of it is the boys’ birthdays. It’s hard, celebrating them. You know. Without him.” I was in motion now, chopping peppers and flinging them in a bowl. “You know, he’s never celebrated Raphael’s birthday? NEVER.” And I was off on the spiel I’ve done before, the one about my ex, how hard it is to see the boys hurt for him. How unfair and maddening it is to have him be out there, not making things right.
It was all true, yet not somehow.
I mean, it is hard, and I do get angry, but the accusations didn’t feel quite sincere. I felt like I was rehearsing my lines in a play. An old play.
Later I thought about it, about how strange and somehow dishonest it felt to list his wrongs again in that moment.
I was using that old pain as an excuse. It was protection of sorts from feeling today.
In the days after he left, I remember vowing to someone (maybe everyone) that I would not become a person whose life was ruled by bitterness. I would not become the ex wife who answered every “How are you?” with a snarl of, “Do you KNOW what my ex did?” And I worked at that. I talked about what I was dealing with; I tried to be fair to him. And I did my best to just plain shut up sometimes. Whatever I did right or wrong, I did my best to tell the truth.
Now I’m at another crossroads. Life has dips, times where - for whatever reason - the joy in my chest stills for a bit. Although it feels comfortable and tidy to place that at his feet, there are things in this world that are actually not his fault.
Now I choose. Do I want to be that angry ex wife or not?
I think…not.


Raphael's Trials at McDonald's

I had a fabulous blog all mapped out in my head. Well, it was long, anyhow. But then my BROTHER (who is visiting from Phoenix) got on MY computer to send sappy email to his girlfriend, which cut into my blogging time. So now instead of a fabulous (or at least long) blog, you get to hear about Raphael at McDonald’s today.
The boys and I met my friend Amy and her kids at the Great Playland of Doom for lunch. After a few perfunctory bites at his cheeseburger, Raphael tore off into the bowels of the climbing apparatus. Tre and Max followed shortly after, along with Amy’s kids, William and Carolyn. Amy and I sat at the table, picking at the leftover fries and chatting.
Soon a heart-rending cry pierced the din of the room. The adults who were within earshot jumped and turned to see what poor child was having his ears twisted off like that. I, on the other hand, recognized the scream of protest. It was my Raphi. I walked over to the play area and caught him at the bottom of the slide. He wrapped his arms around me and wailed into my shirt.
“What happened?” I asked, pat-pat-patting his back.
“Dose KIDS!” he moaned, “Dey did just HIT MY NOSE!” He pointed an outraged finger at his rubber nubbin of a nose, just to make his meaning clear. Had this been my first child, my reaction at this point would have been outrage.
“Some one HIT my BABY?” I would have said, “Where is this PHILISTINE? That child had best hope he brought his Little Tykes canister of MACE, because MAMA BEAR IS COMING!”
But no, this is not my firstborn. This is my angel Raphael, and Mama Bear knows better by now.
“Well, what did you do to the kids, Honey?”
He drew a shuddery breath and cried, “Ah JUST hit dem in dere nose!”
“You hit them first?”
“YES!”
Of course.
“Well, you can’t go around hitting kids. When you hit kids they might hit you back.”
He glared at me, then started squirming to get down.
“Where are you going?”
He gave me an exasperated sigh,
“Ah just goin’ to kick dose kids!”
“No, you can’t kick them either. You should go tell them you’re sorry you hit them.”
He was struggling to get down, pushing at my arms and twisting vigorously.
“Ah JUST GOIN’ TO KICK DEM!”
“No.”
He glared at me. I looked at the ceiling, trying not to laugh. Finally, he relented.
“Ok. Ah say sowwy.”
I let him down and he trotted off. Amy and I returned to chatting, but a few minutes later, Raphael was back. Crying again.
“What happened, Raphi?”
“Dose KIDS!” he sobbed.
“Did you say sorry?”
“Yes! Dey won’t tell me ‘yes ma’am’!”
Will the injustice never end?


A story you probably don't want to read

Five years ago my husband (at the time) and I bought our first house. It was a two bedroom townhouse, and you would have thought by our pride that we’d just purchased Buckingham Palace. We were SORRY for the poor inhabitants of Buckingham Palace, because they didn’t get to live in our adorable little townhouse with the new carpet. Max was just a baby when we moved in, so we put in new carpet. No way was our child crawling on that nasty old carpet.
Anyhow, upon becoming owners of the new adorable townhouse, it became clear that the previous owner was…a whack job.
I mean, there were the small things, like the seventeen (no kidding) fly swatters he left behind. The package of boob-shaped pasta (cook 11 minutes for firm breasts, 14 minutes if you like ‘em pendulous). The size eighteen women’s bright red spangly high heeled shoes. All that stuff was…odd, but the sort of thing you might expect to find in a young single guy’s house.
The thing that really tipped the mental picture of him we were forming from “free spirit single guy” to “whoa…whack job” was the wall behind where his bed had been. We were painting the place before we put in the new carpet, and when we went to paint the room that had been his, we discovered the wall. In a half moon above where his head rested on his pillow, was a virtual relief map of snot. He had clearly reached up and wiped the treasures from his nose on the wall behind him. Nightly. Do you have ANY idea how hard it is to scrape old snot from a wall? There was a bunch of it too. As I toiled to pry the stuff of the wall (shuddering and taking frequent retching breaks), I pondered what sort of person would do such a thing. I mean, if wiping his mucus on the wall was his thing, fine. But how do you just LEAVE it there? Hadn’t he glanced at it as he was packing and felt even a pang of shame?
But then it got even weirder. About a month after we’d moved in, a horrible odor filled the house with the stench of death. There was this strange thing about the air flow in that house that caused smells to sort of congregate at the top of the stairs. The scent of the shampoo in the bathroom, the garbage under the sink downstairs in the kitchen, the forgotten sippy cup of juice under the couch, all those scents would wander around until they found each other and twined together at the top of the stairs. When I was pregnant with Raphael, getting up in the morning and finding my way down those stairs was like running some vicious gauntlet of nausea.
Anyhow, one morning the bouquet at the top of the stairs was paint-peelingly bad. We staggered through it and down into the kitchen, where we discovered the source of the smell. It was coming out of our dryer (yes, the washer and dryer were in the kitchen. I thought that was CUTE. I thought it was HANDY. I was delusional). He and I stood at the back door, gasping for air, wiping away tears, and discussing what on earth could be wrong. We decided there must be a dead creature in the dryer vent. It must have climbed in there and died, and now it was exacting its revenge on us for owning the site of its demise.
So an expedition was launched to crawl under the house and pull out sections of dryer vent until the one containing the dead animal was discovered. Although it would have made sense for there to be a mouse in there, the smell had me convinced it was a raccoon. Or maybe a horse. It was bad.
Do you know what was found in the dryer vent?
A box of Hot Pockets ™.
Someone had stuffed a box of Hot Pockets ™ into the hole in the wall, from the kitchen. In case you’re wondering what they smell like after weeks of being bathed in warm, damp air - IT IS NOT GOOD.
For the life of me, I cannot imagine WHY someone would do that. Did he think of it as some time-released house warming gift – you know, if by “warming” you mean “gassing?” Was it a joke?
So here’s my problem, and the reason I bring this up today. I CAN’T REMEMBER HIS NAME. The guy we bought the house from. For years I’ve hoped to run into him in some social setting. Not sure how I thought that would happen, but I HOPED. I wanted someone to introduce us, so I could say to him in a clear, carrying voice,
“Oh, I know YOU. I bought your townhouse – the one on Eagle Street! Yeah, I had to chisel your SNOT off the wall! And I’ve been wanting to ask you, WHAT WAS THE DEAL WITH THE HOT POCKETS ™?”
Only now I can’t remember his name.
There goes the death of another dream.


Dear Dad,

Hi, Dad. Happy Father’s Day. You may have noticed I didn’t get you a card. I looked, I really did. In four different stores. But Father’s Day cards are irritatingly stupid. They’re all aimed at men who are bumbling fools, men who start home repair projects and never finish them. These men hog the remote control, drink lots of beer, love to golf, and are uniformly uninspiring.
These men are not you.
For one thing, you start and COMPLETE home repair projects with blinding speed. Things I would never dream of doing myself, you size up, and then announce, “So, I’m going to paint the house.” Now, if I said that, what it would mean is that I intend to bring home paint chips, tape them to the walls, make you look at them, take them down in despair when I can’t decide on a color, tuck the paint chips on a shelf, then throw them away three months later, disgusted with myself for never following through.
But you. You announce your plan, and by the time we’ve blinked in response, you’re out there, scraping the old paint away.
Plus you don’t watch TV, or drink beer, or play golf.
So.
Those cards wouldn’t do, you see? I was talking to my friend Amy last week about our plans for Father’s Day. She’d baked cookies and mailed them to her dad (who was, I mention pointedly, going to golf school this weekend). I complimented her on her dutiful daughterliness. I, on the other hand, I told her, did NOT know what to get you.
“That’s tough,” she admitted, “because of everything he’s done for you. It’s not like you could give him a gift that would really repay it.”
“Exactly.” I said, “Except maybe if he needed a kidney, I guess.”
“Right. But he doesn’t.”
“No! So here I am, and what do I do for him?”
Well, I did get you a gift…and I hope you like it. I mean, what says love like a staple gun? But it isn’t enough. And how could it be?
My first memory is of you. Well, your hands. You were taking apart a car engine, and handing me the parts. I washed them a pan of gasoline and handed them back to you. I remember your hands, the whorls of your fingerprints black with oil. I remember the oily feeling of the gas. I remember looking up, into a deep blue sky, and watching a plane pass over head, leaving a white plume. There’s not much of that one memory, but the details that stayed with me are crystal clear. Also the feeling of it. You were there, I was there. What more could a little girl ask?
Today in church, Raphael came back to sit with us after Sunday school. He raced right past me and thumped chest-first into your knees.
“Appa!” he announced, “Ah’m here!”
You were there, he was there. What more could he ask?
My life has ended up in a place where my kids won’t be growing up with safe, warm memories of their own dad. In an era when you should be enjoying a little peace and quiet, you’ve taken on the task of giving them as much of that safety as you can. And we all know how determinedly you take on projects.
So I’m sorry I didn’t find you a card. None of them would do. And I wish I could have gotten you a gift that would express even a bit of my gratitude.
Happy Father’s Day.
And if you want a kidney, I’m your girl.



Allllllllmost there.....

This is the LAST WEEK OF SCHOOL around here. We’re almost DONE. I mean, except for the little bit of history that we’re going to stretch out over the summer because it can actually be FUN if you take your time and ENJOY it, dammit. Today, for an end of year celebration, we went to an evil empire of satanic mayhem, with a vile rodent overlord, that probably carries plague-laden fleas AS WELL as false cheer and creepy amounts of affection for children he’s never seen before.
Um, I meant to say Chuck E Cheese’s. You know.
Anyhow, when we’d finished all the fun there – you know, cowering in the midst of ticket-crazed hordes of children, choking down pizza-printed cardboard, gagging on our tongues from the occasional seizure caused by ALL THE FLASHING LIGHTS - that fun, we left to run a few other errands. By the time we got home it was 3:00. We have a rule here about schoolwork. I will not, WILL NOT harass my children to do their work. I will present it to them, answer their questions, and occasionally order them to put their heads down on the table until they are ready to STOP shooting things out of their noses, but I WILL NOT crack the whip over them. They have until 4:00 to finish, and if they don’t, a flurry of consequences rains down upon them. No TV, no GameBoy, no fun, no joy. Tre noticed the time when we walked in the door and proceeded to FREAK OUT (as he is wont to do).
“MAMAMAMAMAMA! Let’s do SCHOOL! I WON’T HAVE TIME TO FINISH! Do I have a LOT to do? AAAAAAAAAAAUUUUGGGGHHHH!”
It was raining at the time, huge fat pelting raindrops. Rain has been scarce enough around here over the last few years that the novelty of it drew Max and Raphael outside. They were standing in the downpour, watching it splash off everything. This is good stuff, standing in the rain. I knew that once the schoolwork was done Tre would have no time for that sort of behavior, because post-school is the time in which he falls face first into his GameBoy or disappears across the street to play with friends. So I decided to postpone school a bit, give him a chance to play in the rain.
“I’m not quite ready. Why don’t you go play with your brothers?” He had to admit that all the wetness outside was interesting, and he soon slipped out to join the others. I breathed a sigh of relief because he was actually going along with my evil plan, and…well…truth be told…I hesitate to admit this…
Ok, I’m sick to death of school. This is the real reason we don’t do school year-round. I would go stark raving mad, drive pencils into my eyeballs, and leap off a large stack of books into a dark ravine if I had to do school all year.
Which is not to say I don’t love it. There comes a time, though, when it’s time to close the books for a bit. Their books. That’s the time *I* get to actually do some reading. I’ve been striving to read the first chapter of The Fourth Hand by John Irving for the last week. THE FIRST CHAPTER. But there’s NO TIME. But soon, soon, an entire chunk of my daily obligations will be cut out.
No more pencils,
No more books,
No more teacher’s – wait a minute.
Anyhow.
Tre did enjoy playing in the rain for about twenty minutes. Every so often he would stick his head in the door to tell me things like, “We’re making a river in the sand box.” And, “Did you know ants float?” But he also FREAKED OUT approximately every 4 minutes and came tearing in, to shriek at the clock, “I’M RUNNING OUT OF TIME! I WON’T HAVE ENOUGH TIME!”
“OY!” I said. “And by the way, VEY!”
Finally I relented, and stopped forcing him to play in the rain. They all trooped inside, dripping, and Tre and Max did about 15 minutes of school work. Tre was amazed and moved to tears to find out that I wasn’t going to require a full day’s work in 15 minutes.
I’m not sure what I accomplished there, but I do know this:
ONE. MORE. DAY. TO. GO.