Monday, June 29, 2009

Wild monkeys

My kids are wild monkeys today.

We didn’t get a good start this morning. Everyone slept in after a very active weekend. Somebody wanted French toast for breakfast, and before I knew it was 10 a.m. Kip was scrambling to get out the door for work and I was frustrated that we were going to miss our new PE class that I enjoyed so much two weeks ago.

Should I go even though we are going to be really late? Should I stay here and get some school work done here.

While I deliberated someone slammed someone else’s fingers in the door and there was howling and name calling.

I decided it was time to wear them out.

Since we were all laced up to run around the park, I grabbed the basketball and ran them down to our neighborhood park where I insisted we each make as many baskets as our age.

This was met with grumbling, which I responded with coach like commands to “Fine then! Run around the court.”

I am so NOT a PE teacher.

It took about 20 minutes, but eventually the 10 year old made 10 baskets – she had to run around the basketball court several times in between. And the 7 year old made his 7. (He made up to 10, just to show he could.) And I quit at 10 too.

Then we ran a half mile around the park and back home.

The exhaustion made for nice quiet attentive listeners to our new read-aloud book, Carry On Mr. Bowditch – the biography of 18the century naval navigator Nathaniel Bowditch.

And then we hit the math books. It seemed that all happy exercise endorphins disappeared in the face of division with decimals. And as I was staring into my daughter’s deeply frustrated face, I realized that this was a case of “I understand how to do it, but I refuse to do it until I understand why.”

I’ve been here before, frustrated child punching angry pencil holes into her math book, scowling at me like I invented math as a punishment. And I hate it more than she does.

I know from the past 6 years of homeschooling/parenting that I have a couple options --- get mad and threaten to send her to school, block out all distractions and focus on her until we come to a breakthrough or take a break.

Sometimes a break is good medicine, but today I opted for focusing on her and pushing through. It was difficult, but when the light bulb went on, it was totally worth it.

But I was exhausted.

That is the hardest part about homeschooling for me. My kids are not very independent, so I find that sometimes I am completely exhausted at the end of the day.

For them to shoot baskets, I’m shooting baskets. For them to fall in love with history, I’m reading the historical biographies out loud. I’m trudging through the math with them. And when it’s time to read with the 7-year-old, I’m gently pushing him to try another word, painfully, slowly decoding each little one.

We stopped for lunch and my son argued with me about whether or not he was going to eat the three little carrots from dinner last night that he was “sentenced” to eat before consuming anything else.

No, they are not moldy.

You know what, I can see them shoved under the plate. You are still going to have to eat them.

After lunch it was back to wild monkeys running through the apartment.

And just as I was about to lose it totally, I heard my daughter singing as she skipped through the hallway…

“Every good and perfect gift comes from yooooooou…. “

It’s our wedding song.

It comes from James 1:17 – “Every good and perfect gift is from above ….”

I don’t think she even knows that I walked down the aisle to it. She has probably heard it on an old CD or in church. But along time ago, in a far away galaxy, Kip and his band played that song as my dad and I entered the church together, on the verge of a new life.

At the time we wanted to include a song in our wedding ceremony that recognized God as on the one who gives good gifts – like friendship, joy, romance, marriage, children, basketballs, math, carrots …. Everything good.

So I get it --a little divine inspiration to re-boot the day.

Thanks, God. But do I have to finish the carrots?

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