Monday, June 24, 2013

To Teach

If I wait for life to slow down to blog, I guess I’ll be blogging via HAUNTING because I’ll be DEAD. And so, since I FINALLY got my kids to bed (well- Boeing and Brooklyn)- Brighton is still driving his car up the wall like the Energizer Bunny- I’m just going to forfeit MORE sleep and have myself a little blog therapy.

Brooklyn turned four on May 14th. That means she should start Kindergarten in one year. All my friends are putting their kids in pre-school this year to prepare them for Kindergarten. So, because I have decided to home-school, I am horrified that my child will be the un-educated kid that can’t read and write and still picks her boogers in public at 16. Naturally. (Which is ridiculous because Brooklyn could write her name at two, and by now can, not only, write her entire alphabet but can spell words and read short stories. And she’s terrified of boogers touching her perfectly OCD fingers and asks ME to get the boogers from her nose). It’s a dumb notion, since most home-schooled children are equal or, in a lot of cases, better educated. But non-the-less I am a worrier, panick-er that has to keep proving myself to MYSELF. As a teacher. As a person with PATIENCE.

Because Brooklyn is GUNG-HO about reading and writing, I’m not AS terrified about teaching her those subjects. Math is one of my favorite subjects, so I’m not too worried about that either. I’ll tell you what scares me. Science and History. (Because I can count on ONE finger how many times I have EVER looked up ANYTHING to do with EITHER subject without being FORCED by some looming assignment)… and the one finger is World War ll that I looked up today. So YEAH.

I decided that in order to TEACH my children these wretched subjects, I need to LOVE them. So starting about two weeks ago, I started watching movies that took place during that era to get my feet wet. Starling and I mixed some classics in there too, which have nothing to do with the time period, per se, but the people still have the same accents and wear the nifty outfits. (And we’ve been talking in British accents ever since… our kids think we are SOOOO cool. Especially our 18 year old). Then I moved into movies that depict parts of history. Luckily, Starling embarked on this journey of education with me so he could console me after I had a nervous breakdown after watching that “Boy in the Striped Pajamas” or whatever it’s called movie about the Holocaust. (I’m fairly certain that I used to be capable of watching disturbing movies in a sane manner at some point in my life, but that dissolved after having children). I find that I have a zero tolerance for anything distressing such as news in general. I can so much as PASS by the tv when Starling is watching the news and either HEAR a clip or SEE an image depicting human emotions in general, and I’m an emotional wreck for the next three days. Especially when it comes to children. I just see every kid in terms of MY children. And Starling certainly doesn’t help. I’m breathing normally watching something and Starling says, “Aww… there’s little Bry” and I’m done. I’m a blubbering mess trying to comprehend how people can still be functioning when something’s happened to their little “Bry.” And suddenly the red drink Brighton poured all over his brand-new carpet seems less worthy of the death penalty.    

 NOW we are watching documentaries. I think that’s a good order to learn things. Enjoyable fiction, historical fiction, documentaries, research. I guess it’s the opposite method of normal school where I always had to research something I had zero interest in learning, then take tests on it, then, after we were DONE learning about it, maybe watch a movie. Maybe. BUT- I’m not really into NORMAL- especially if it doesn’t work for me.

Since our 18 year old didn’t know what the Holocaust WAS, he gets the joy of watching documentaries, too! Which take 3 times as long as it should because I have to pause it periodically and put my two cents in about how it relates to our government today or ask Starling questions on how in the HECK we plan to hide from crazy people with all of our children.  (That was mainly when watching the Diary of Anne Frank. Two families plus another dude stayed cooped up in complete silence 8 hours a day so as not to raise suspicion). I can’t get Brighton to shut up during a prayer. We have a good hiding place under our house, says Starling. Yeah. Except it’s not sound proof.

So anyway- basically I am traumatized. And I want a bunker stuffed full of freeze-dried food, water, medicine, and GUNS. And I want it built underground, and stuffed YESTERDAY.

And I have a hard time knowing how MUCH to teach. I was sitting there explaining the Holocaust to Brooklyn and the thought occurred to me, when she asked, “Why did they be mean to all those people?” that she is four and maybe four isn’t the age to learn about genocide. But, there are four year old lessons to be learned amongst all the “above her head” lessons, so we focused on those. And Brighton, bless him, just stands there mimicking everything Brooklyn says. “That wasn’t very nice,” she says shaking her head.

“Not nice,” says Brighton shaking his head while trying to contort his face in the disapproving stare Brooklyn has.

And, not to be ignored, Boeing comments, “AHHHH!!!” So we all seem to be on the same page. The Holocaust was “not nice.”

MOVING ALONG…  Brighton is going to be WAY different in the teaching department. I am ALWAYS finding him on my computer attempting to play STAR FALL, which is a really great website that teaches letters. Brighton has his favorite letters. He asks for “DAT ONE!” pointing to the H because it shows a “heli-top-ter,” the A “ali-day-der,” etc.  Starling and I have different takes on Brighton carrying my keyboard around the house. Starling says, “He’s going to be a computer programmer.” I say, “He’s going to destroy my computer!” And I’m fairly certain, like with most things, I am RIGHT. He’s also going to destroy my nerves. He’s proven himself to be exceptionally blessed in THAT department.

But he does pleasantly surprise us with his memory. Today, in an attempt to get a Sunday nap, Starling turned on his glorious elevator music. (Starling thinks it’s relaxing. You know what relaxes me? SILENCE. No wonder I’m a high strung basket case). Does it RELAX our children and lull them to sleep? NO. Absolutely not. On the contra, Brighton jumps up, practically taking out my face with his enthusiastic big head. He shouts, “Cars! Car song!” The music was nothing but instrumental, no CARS in it. I kept telling Bry this, but he was more determined than EVER to have me KNOW he recognized the song. “Es MACK! Car song!!” And Starling said, “Oh… yeah this is the song they play in CARS when MACK says, ‘pretty music….’” Only Brighton would remember that. AND then he was wide awake wanting to play a perfectly annoying song OVER and OVER and OVER again. (Which defeats the purpose of putting on a CD and going to sleep). Thank goodness for the repeat button.

Despite having to listen to that song, it was a nice break from the short video clips on our phones. WHY do I talk when I video? Because I haven’t the power to hold my tongue. EVER. Speaking of hiding and being caught, I’d be hiding and some intruder would say, “Looks like they aren’t here. They sure have a lot of crap.” And I’d have to pipe up, “Well, now, the four wheeler stuff is my husband’s. I’ve been trying to get him to move it all into the barn for ages, but does he listen to me?  NO!! But take note that all of MY stuff is nicely organized and tidy!” Thus are the videos I try to sneak of the kids. AND then, when Brighton plays them OVER. And OVER. AAAAND OVER. I get the blessed joy of hearing my voice. “Did Daddy leave you? Daddy tried to fish without Bry. That’s not nice to leave your baby, Daddy.” AND since everyone else in the house ALSO has the pleasure of hearing that video 20 plus times, they now quote the videos to me every time I try to speak. It’s super.

Brooklyn has come out of her room six times now to tell me she’s either had a bad dream, heard a funny noise that didn’t make her laugh, or found a wishing star that she made a wish on but can’t tell me because she’s not supposed to tell it. And won’t go back to bed until I tuck her in. AGAIN. So let me do that since its 1:30 in the morning.   



Sunday, June 2, 2013

I sort of feel like a towel that got stuck in the spinny thing inside the wash machine. (One of my towels totally just did that. It’s all wrapped up, stuck, stretched out, and so twisted I don’t suppose even an iron would make it straight again). AND while I took the time and MUCH effort YANKING it free and unwinding it, I said, “YOU, towel, are just a SYMBOL of my LIFE!” (Yes, I talk to towels. I also talk to dishes when they refuse to get clean, hair dryers that suck my hair up when I’ve got my head turned upside down, and I beat appliances that go on the fritz. I am a woman of many issues).

I’ve been reprimanded by many friends (and random people at Wal Mart that I don’t think I know) that I’ve slacked on blogging. Well. It’s because I’ve turned into a soggy, twisted towel!

The week before my children blossomed into the ages 4 and 2 (which took place in one weekend), I decided I was the luckiest person in the world. Brooklyn and Brighton were hugging all over each other, sharing toys, delightfully taking turns, helping one another… Boeing was taking naps quite regularly and perfectly pleasant in his awake hours. AJ and Starling were working sun up until sun down, and I was in a peaceful state. I looked around at my very unfinished house and thought, “What progress we have made! We started with no toilet, no shower, no carpet, no stove, and WA-LA! We are definitely on our way.”

We had birthdays, which were sporadic , but FUN and successful,  AND then that next week started. Brooklyn had dance Monday and AJ had basketball, I coached soccer Tuesday for Brooklyn’s team and AJ had institute, Violin practice Wednesday, Volleyball Thursday, Friday I decorated for my cousin’s wedding reception, Saturday we had Brooklyn’s dance recital  AND my cousin’s wedding reception, and Sunday I got called to be in the Primary Presidency at church. WOWSERS!! But all was well because that week ENDED.

ACCEPT, apparently terrible two’s and Tattle-Tale four’s, do NOT END. EVER. NEVER EVER. Hence me turning into a nervous wreck and acquiring this little twitch that starts in my left eye every time I hear Brooklyn’s voice say the WORD. (A word, mind you, that we spend an entire YEAR coaxing out of our little baby’s mouth, pleading and practicing day in and day out. Just say it! And when they do- FIREWORKS of glory! OH so PROUD! But then they turn 4. And suddenly you want to wash their mouths out with soap and brainwash the word from their little minds. That word is… “MMMMMMMMMMOOOOOOOMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!”)

 Ugh. I know that one day I will like that word again, perhaps even love it. But right now? I HATE. THAT. WORD. With all the passion I have left from cleaning up explosive piles of poop out of baby swings that didn’t even MAKE their mark INSIDE the diaper, (probably, because Daddy put the diaper’s edge in Boeing’s butt-crack instead of its proper position to CATCH the poop), pulling Brighton out of the driver’s seat of the van where he continues to find my keys and crank and/or turn all the lights on and run the battery down,  pick up dirty socks thrown at the BASE of the laundry basket, clean out wash machines where someone got the bright idea to wash rugs, so on and so forth.

You would think I’d have no passion left… but amazingly, when I think I’m all out of juice, ah-hah boiling annoyance at Brooklyn’s constant, continual, only intermediated with four minute time-outs and Brighton’s 2 hour nap time, yelling, “MOOOOO-OOOM!!! You know what?! Brighton JUST-“  And if she could just mix it up a bit! But no. It’s always the same shocking news. “Brighton just took that from me!” “Brighton just hit me with that!” Today she got creative. “Brighton just opened the box and found me!” Pay no mind that she asked him to play Hide and Seek with her.

And Brighton has, in total honesty, become a terd. (Cutest little adorably terd on Earth, but a stinker non-the less). The more Brooklyn rants and raves and tattles, the more energized he becomes and the faster he tries to torment her before I plop him in time-out. I start one project, say lunch, and I’m breaking up fights and arguments and before you know it my 3 minute lunch prep of a PB&J has turned into a 45 minute drama fest. And in 45 minutes no one wants PB&J anymore. They want some other lavish food like cereal or spaghetti-os. And ME eat? Puh-leeeze. By the time I actually get to quickly inhale my fried bologna sandwich, the meat’s cold and the bread is stale. I’d rather shoot up calories than have to face off finding time to feed myself.  

And don’t get me started on my PERFECT Boeing. How is it that in a HUGE living room of carpeted floor where he is placed in the MIDDLE amongst brightly colored toys and noisy things that are supposed to entertain babies, does he always roll his way into some position of STUCK in some pile of wires under the t.v. or up against the fire place or any other perfectly hazardous location? And why, even though he manages to roll ALL over the place, does he roll onto his stomach at random, lift his arms and legs balancing on his stomach, and SCREAM bloody murder until “I” go flip him back over? It’s like him yelling he is drowning in water up to his ankles when I’ve been watching him do back flips in the deep end. I just want him to crawl. Except I don’t. Because, then he might ‘walk’, and I went through Brighton learning to walk at 11 months. I don’t want Boeing to walk until he can talk and understand the meaning of the words, “We do NOT climb on the counter and play in the knife drawer.” My nerves really can’t handle another Brighton. Every time I get Brooklyn and Brighton asleep at the same time, take a deep breath and say, “THANK YOU!! A minute ALL to myself without the “I needs,” Boeing starts. He needs to sit up, stand up, bounced, pacified by yours truly. And don’t give the boy a substitute. He wants his Mama and he’s not afraid to say it. Loudly.
After 6 attempts to bribe our children to GO PLAY so we could indulge ourselves with Sunday afternoon naps, I finally made a ramp in Bry’s room to get them interested enough to STAY -PUT sending toy cars slamming into the floor. I climbed into the bed next to Starling and said, “FINALLY.” And then Boeing became disinterested in Squeaky Head, and started his warning call. I asked, “Do you ever want to thump our kids on the head?” Starling nodded, “They only cry when we want alone time.” I snorted at that. “That’s the only time YOU notice!”

And the OTHER thing a feel like? A Bassett Hound. EVERY time Starling comes into the house during the day, where am I? Laid up with Boeing stuck to my chest. I can’t actually SEE myself, but I imagine I look like an old, worn out hound dog.  Given up, pups mauling her, and too tired to MOVE, she just lays there and takes it. But alas, I got Boeing to sleep, then Brighton to sleep. And then Brooklyn was left to herself which meant she had to have me to entertain her again, and Starling’s alarm went off ending his nap anyway, so we shall TRY again NEXT SUNDAY!   

But the good news is, through each day I am LEARNING what does NOT work in parenting. By the time Boeing is 18 I’m going to be a parenting GENIUS