Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Monday, September 27, 2010

"happy little man"

This is why I don't get anything done during the day...

Who can scoop up this little bundle of smiles when he's having so much fun playing in the dirt, chewing on the hose, and learning to climb stairs? Not me, that's for sure. The laundry sitting in the washer can wait 'cuz my boy is happy. Thank goodness I have an understanding husband. I don't know, I think my kids need the change of pace just as much as I do. I'd get bored of the same old toys and same old house all the time, so I mix it up for him. Maybe someday he'll let me know if the rocks taste better at our house, the school, or some random Starbucks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Pen, Pencil, or Crayon. The Game.

This game can be played with a variety of ages. Young players will tend to follow the older crowd, so no worries if the concept of the game is not understood, even a non-talker will have fun.

Step 1: Borrow a backpack full of pens, pencils (colored or regular), and crayons. There can be markers in there as well, and there adds a bit of surprise if the lids come off easily or are not pushed on all the way.

Step 2: Get at least 2 unsuspecting children and don't explain the rules because there are none.

Step 3: Grab a hand full of pens, pencils and crayons and hold it low in the bag so that the children can't really see what you have in your hand.

Step 4: Ask, "What do you think I will pull out? A pen, a pencil, or a crayon?"

Step 5: The children will guess. Often times the younger child will just copy the older child. That's OK. If it continues to happen you may ask the younger child to go first.

Step 6: Pull out one writing utensil and see if anyone got it right. Cheer, laugh, cry... whatever seems appropriate based on the item that was pulled out.

Step 7: Put the item back in the bag and ask the children an abbreviated version of the question: "Pen, pencil, or crayon?" They understand by now because they are bright children and it's not a hard game.

Additional tips:

  • you probably don't have to have a backpack for this game, just a container that you can somewhat hide the items in.
  • when you pull out a marker, "accidentally" pull the lid off. This is funny.
  • when you pull out a short colored pencil, think that it is extra long and then it will fly out of your hand and fling down the hall
  • if a totally cute Asian boy sits down next to you and watches, let him play. It doesn't really matter if he speaks English or not, he's 2 and is just copying the other kids. He'll get excited and clap when they get it right.
  • if a player starts to get discouraged that they are not guessing right, make sure you pull out their guess next. This is rewarding for both you and the child.
  • sometimes an older child may ask, "what letter/sound does it start with?" Assuming you know what you're pulling out, you can tell them. If this occurs, you may add "marker" to your list of items since it adds an additional sound to the line up.
  • if the children try to peek to see what you are going to pull out, let them. Who cares. This isn't really a game anyway.

Thanks for tuning into this episode of "what to do at the end of a 3 hour block of church when you've exhausted all other games, snacks, and ideas..."

NTS: You Can't Hold a Baby and Make Gravy at the Same Time

It turns out lumpy.

You need one hand to pour the liquid, and the other hand to stir.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Some Appropriate Chinese Fortunes

Bill: Devotion will make you feel more complete.

H: You will lighten another's heart.

Kyra: You like to form new friendships and make new acquaintances.

Tasha: You life will be happy and peaceful.

Payton: You may be disappointed if you fail, but you are doomed if you don't try.

Is It Really That Odd?

Am I the only person that meets my husband for lunch? Does anyone else do this? Is this abnormal? I'm not sure what to think of the fact that people comment on how nice it is that I meet Bill for lunch sometimes. "Awe, how sweet" is all I hear. What's so sweet about it? Huh? Huh?

I'm wondering when it started or if maybe it just never stopped. Maybe the reason it seems natural is because Bill and I used to work together and would often times plan our lunch break at the same time. But even then, when we saw each other every day, we didn't do it all the time. We would go out in groups or with other people or even just bring something back if one of us was busy working too hard. It was back in the cantgetenoughofeachother, havetocalleverynight, kisskisssmoochsmooch, blahblahblah days of dating and falling in love. And by "falling in love", I actually mean the bliss of the honeymoon of not really knowing what true love is all about. Not where we are now. OK wait, that sounds really lame. Clearly, I'm not a writer. Let's try C.S. Lewis:

"...whatever people say, the state called 'being in love' usually does not last. If the old fairy-tale ending 'They lived happily ever after' is taken to mean 'They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married', then it says what probably never was nor ever would be true, and would be highly undesirable if it were. Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? What would become of your work, your appetite, your sleep, your friendships? But, of course, ceasing to be 'in love' need not mean ceasing to love. Love in this second sense-love as distinct from 'being in love'-is not merely a feeling. It is a deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both partners ask, and receive, from God. They can have this love for each other even at those moments when they do not like each other..."

Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' about, baby. So clearly I'm not falling in love anymore. There have been plenty of times when I haven't liked Bill. (GASP!) In fact, sometimes lunch is used to break the ice of the silence that weighs heavily after a nice little disagreement (aka: fight). Other times it's because one of us is having a really bad day. And sometimes, well most of the time, lunch is just lunch. Everybody has to eat, right?

So, I ask again: is it really so odd, or so sweet, that I meet Bill for lunch?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Sorry, dear. 'Eenie, Meenie' is a binding contract."
-Fairy Godmother on Sesame Street

Monday, September 13, 2010

Bill: I'm going to stop at the hardware store on the way home to get some oil for the cooler.

H: OK. Can you get a handle for the toilet too?

Bill: Are you sure it's broken?

H: No, but it's about to break.

Bill: Are you sure it's not just loose?

H: Um...I don't know. Can you tighten handles?

Bill: Well, I can if I know it's loose.

H: Well, how did you know it wasn't broken?

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Truth About DMS

I've been ragging pretty hard on our delightfully quirky little Waldorf school, nestled in the slums of the 28th Street and Southern farming land. See there, I just did it again with words like slums and quirky. But the truth is that I love Desert Marigold. I don't love everything about it, but I love enough of it to send my child there. Obviously I wouldn't have Tasha there if there wasn't something of merit.

At first thought, with the moving of the parking lot and office to the edge of the school, I was dragging my heels and whining about the trek that would now need to be made to get to the first grade classroom. If we're late and I have to park and go to the office and then walk them to class it's going to take For.E.Ver. And the amount of time that it took them to put in this special parking lot made from recycled, earth friendly rubbery pipey tubing stuff, was just a little longer than they anticipated. But, truth be told, it is all delightful. A few weeks ago, as I parked on the far end of the lot under the shade of a tree, I noticed the non-dusty, yet non-blacktop surface that we parked and walked on to get to the footpath that leads to class. We meandered over rain-soaked bark, in a curved sort of path that went right past the garden and under a couple of arches that lead to the main campus. The kids said "Hi Farmer Tony!" as he crossed our path with his apprentice, both sporting big straw shade hats and muddy shoes. I believe my blood pressure dropped, the pain in my neck disappeared and I decompressed just a little bit. The peace continued as the children played on the early childhood playground which is just off the pond where ducks swim and next to the home of the goats and pigs which the children are welcome to feed if they get to school early enough. Then comes the bang and clang of the giant bell as school starts, which is followed shortly by the first grade teacher's gentle, rhythmic shaking of a ring of jingle bells. Again, more decompression as I started to walk off in another direction to the shake, shake, shake of the quiet beat of the bells. I stopped on the brickwork path to chat with a friend as PT pulled leaves off wild growing flower bushes and ate dirt covered rocks he found just off the path. It was all very earthy, welcoming, and calming. I left the school in less of a rush with less anxiety and more hope for whatever reason.

For these first few very influential years in my daughter's short little life, I want her to feel this peace and love of school. I want her to delight in her surroundings and not be overwhelmed with structures and rules and big buildings with lines and funny smells. I want her to feel free to be one with her environment and learn that she can connect to people and places on a very intimate level. I don't want her to be a number that is pushed through a system that may or may not be in her best interest. I don't need her to be reading and doing flash cards nightly to keep up with some academic standard that some bureaucrat somewhere deemed necessary for first graders. I like the old school philosophy of letting kids be kids. They are developing their fine and gross motor skills as they continue to learn rhymes and chants that help them discover math facts and pre-reading skills. They learn to follow directions with meaning and with respect to their fellow classmates. They care for one another and their campus.

A place where kids are kids. A place where, on the first day of school, after a really good rainstorm, the playground was soaked. And by soaked, I mean there was an actual island with a tree swing on it, surrounded by a small moat. It wasn't taped off with yellow caution tape for fear that children would fall in and get hurt, or even worse-wet! Nope. There were children of all ages swinging back and forth, standing on that rope swing, getting from the mainland to the island. And off to the side was a boy, laughing, drenched from mid-chest to 2 soaking wet feet. On the first day of school. And it was Kids are kids and they will remember that first day of school for the rest of their life.

The real truth is, I wish I lived in a world where DMS philosophy of life was real. A world where we treasured every moment of our child's little life. A place that allowed us to stop and smell the roses or the duck pond or the smell of homemade bread baking, without worrying about making it to that next appointment, meeting, or class. I'm re-reading the book Beyond the Rainbow Bridge by Barbara J. Patterson and Pamela Bradley. I decompress a little each time I pick it up. I breath easier and wish for a calming attitude to enter my heart and mind and stay there. Although I love the quickness with which we can get things done in this world of ours, there is something to be said for the finer, yet slower things in life. I think that is why, over generations of time, kids love to visit their grandparents. Grandparents move slower and take the time to look, listen and answer. They have the time. Why don't I?

I need to develop some healthy rhythms and stop resisting the dreaded routines that I fear will tie me down. And you may be shaking your head, but when I say "fear", I really mean it. I fear being stuck in a rut and not being able to serve or help a friend in need out of some obsessed need to make sure the bathroom gets cleaned or the floor gets mopped. I resist at all costs. And this, again, is where DMS steps it up a notch. It is the beauty of the rhythm of the day. The color-coded day with anticipation of special classes and early release. The jingle-jangle of the bells starting the trek to the first grade classroom. Lunch with my friends with a handmade place mat. Moments each day to decompress, laugh, and play with the people I love the most. This can happen. This can happen in my home if I let it. There is a way, I know it! When I find the secret, I'll let you know. If you know the secret, please pass it on...

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peeping Gecko?

Twice now, while showering, I've looked up on the window and there is a gecko on the outside of the window. All I see is this white outline of a gecko body. It's odd. Is it possible that there is a peeping gecko in our neighborhood? Who's he been spying on lately? Has he been to your house? Should I report him? Has he made the news? (See how I assume it's a he? A female gecko wouldn't do such a thing.)