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August 2011
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October 2011

It's oKAY!

This little person right here is totally potty trained.

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Like, dry-all-night, can-use-any-public-restroom, I-don't-even-check-with-her-anymore, POTTY TRAINED.

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She's pretty cool, and she knows it.

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I was telling a friend this morning that Sophia was wearing two tu-tus (or as Clay calls it, her four-four), and I had only just barely talked her out of wearing three. She arched an eyebrow at me and said, "So...she OWNS three tu-tus?"

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No. No, she actually owns something like...um...seven. 
 
She has her own response when she does anything she shouldn't, "Dat's o-KAY!" It reminds us all of Raphael, whose chosen response when he was being a wayward 2 year old was a cheerful, "UH OH, Faphi DID IT!"

While Raphi always sounded fairly pleased with his misbehaviors, Sophia mostly sounds happy and comforting. Whatever has happened, someone will deal with it. Don't be upset. It's all o-KAY!

Except I am watching her grow and dance and inhabit her tu-tus like she was born to be this exact girl right here, and I can tell you...

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...it's way better than oKAY! 
 


A slow start, but at least it was a start.

So...I think the first day of school was something of a shock to the system for us all. We had our back-to-school meeting, wherein I detailed the different things we'd be doing this year, and passed out their books (those we aren't still waiting for, someone remind me next year that ordering curricula ON Labor Day is prolly not all that effective, please?), and set to work.

Max flopped into his chosen position on the couch, and immediately started asking what he had to do that day.

"Well...start with grammar. You know, like EVERY OTHER DAY ALWAYS."

"Yeah, fine, but what then?"

"Um. Math? Or you could do spelling. Or history next."

"I HAVE TO DO IT ALL?"

"...?..."

"...!..."

He sort of explained that he knew we were "starting," he just didn't realize we were "START starting" right away like that. Sorry to disappoint, dear heart.

So he set to work on ALL the unreasonable expectations, and Sophia positioned herself next to him, and waited for the fun. Max is always fun.

Sadly, this day he was irrationally focusing on his books and papers, and ignoring the little package of princessy goodness next to him. To help him correct this, she proceeded to place her foot right in the middle of whatever page he looked at.

"Sophia! Can you STOP THAT?" he finally said, exasperated.

"NO, YOU stop that NOT PLAY WITH ME!" she bellowed back, and tipped a stack of his books to the floor. So yes. I guess Sophia's educational goals this year are going to start with, "not be a big demanding jerk when my brothers are working." That should be simple.

Raphael grabbed his stack of work and trotted right off to start. He always likes a good beginning, and still gets that old contact high off new books and pencils and possibilities. I predict a bored meltdown no later than Thursday, but hey! For today it was lovely.

However, when he headed over to his desk, we realized that it wasn't there. Five years ago Clay built these lovely desks that fold flat against the wall (because we have 6.3 children per square foot of space in this house, or something like that). But this summer Clay painted, and when he did he removed Tre's desk (no longer used) and Raphael's desk. Now that I think about it, I'm pretty sure we all talked about it and decided he could do his work at the table...but none of us remembered that this morning, when we stood around, blinking at the blank wall.

But Happy Raphi is very adaptable, and he took himself right over to the table and got to work. Soon he was bringing me finished pages to be checked, and then Max was right behind him. They kept flopping down their books next to me and I swear to you, after about the third item, I thought, WHY ARE THEY BUGGING ME WITH THIS?

Because yes, that's right. I seem to have forgotten that the kids aren't the only ones involved with this educational venture. Nice, Kira. Very sharp.

But we all pulled it together, and in the end the work got done, the corrections got made, and all small feet were removed from offending school books. Let the learning begin.


And then, after that, we're moving on to "What should not be under your bed, 101"

Hi! Hi! So...HI! You know what today is? Of course you know what today is, today is Labor Day and you stayed home from work and ate something grilled, am I right? Unless you live somewhere outside the United States, like New Zealand, and apparently celebrated Father's Day, which, good for you, New Zealand! Way to appreciate your paternal figures on your own terms!

But yeah, for the rest of us, today was Labor Day. We grilled pizza, by the way. It was amazing, if I do say so myself. The family fell on it like a pack of wolves on a wounded antelope, but they'd just gotten back from swimming. Even Sophia ate her way through 1.5 pieces of pizza, peeling it apart and devouring it by strata, like some sort of wee famished archaeologist (this made me laugh because Jennie eats her pizza the same way, and I wished she was here to see it).

What was I saying? Oh, that's right, they went swimming. *I* did not go swimming, I stayed home so I could use my time more wisely by sorting through the school supplies, organizing material and preparing myself for the new school year. And maybe hyperventilating just a little.

It's INTIMIDATING, diving into the new school year. This is my...wait, counting...ELEVENTH YEAR of homeschooling, and I still get flop sweat. As I sorted and planned, I thought about all the things I'd like to do, and how few of them will actually happen. It's the tyranny of endless possibilities, I mused to myself, and also, yay for melodramatic musings all alone in the basement.

The truth is that the kids are doing fine. Tre transitioned pretty darn well to public school, and the other boys are spot-on for their goals. But as I combed through the shelves, I discovered over and over something about what the boys have been doing down in that room when they clean up on Saturday mornings.

It's not their educational goals I need to worry about. Apparently my sons can't tell the difference between a book and a dirty sock. Good lord. I feel a unit on cleaning coming on.


Unbearably precious

Because I have to break my silence here with some sort of story, here is what happened today.

This afternoon I was buzzing around, trying to get a few things done in the lull between the early day running around and the late day running around, when the phone rang. It was Clay, which was odd, because he was supposed to be home in about 15 more minutes, and oh he had better not be calling to say he's working late, because he's NOT on call this week and...wait, he sounded kind of keyed up.

"Hey, guess what, honey? I think I'm getting a new car."

*beat, beat*

"OH MY GOD, ARE YOU OKAY?"

Yes, he is okay. His car is probably totalled, but let's not get ahead of ourselves. He had been coming home in traffic that suddenly turned to stop-and-go, and he stopped, but the guy behind him opted for "go." The guy hit him going about 40 MPH, smacked him into the car in front of him, spun him sideways, and smacked him into the same car sideways.

Tonight he's sore enough that he's taking a bath. I peeked in on him to see if he needed anything (and to ogle a little, because turnabout is fair play, and that is his favorite part of MY baths), and he's lying there, being sullen. He hates baths.

Unreasonable tyranny of baths aside, we are all a little shaky with gratitude. This could have been a lot worse. Just yesterday I was reading this, by a woman who lost her husband in the blink of an eye. It was the sort of writing that made me blink and look away, as though I couldn't quite bear to meet it directly with my eyes. If that was me...I thought, but I couldn't quite bear that thought either.

It's not me, and tonight (in minutes) I will curl up in bed next to the warmth of my husband, and listen to him breathe. I will be grateful and exhausted and grateful some more.

Life is unexpected, and sometimes it is almost unbearably precious.