posts tagged with 'boys'
I try as a parent not to be too bossy, but there are still times—oh, there are times—when I find in necessary to ask the kids to do something. Like if I have to pick up their winter clothes from all over the floor I'll go berserk and do something I'd regret later. To stay as far away from that scenario as possible we have rules for putting things away, and we also have cleaning time in our schedule. Times. That way I have to do less bossing. Interestingly, though, any cleaning work provides an opportunity for Harvey to pass the buck on down to Zion.
In his defense, I do sometimes do it to him. If I'm vacuuming and see legos on the floor I'll ask him to pick them up, say. Being a good big brother, he does whatever he can to subcontract to Zion. Zion is the one who ends up bringing things up the stairs, more often than not (which he maybe doesn't mind because then he can hide out for ten minutes "putting them away"). But Zion's service isn't limited to cleaning time; today they were playing outside and Harvey sent his brother in to fetch him his binoculars. That's the way of the world, I suppose. Hierarchy is inescapable.
That said, nobody tries to tell Lijah to do anything in the cleaning or fetching line. We all know it would just lead to disappointment. Poor Zion.
So as I've mentioned in passing, our kids don't tend to change their clothes in any periodic fashion. That is, they tend to wear the same outfit as long as they're still feeling it (or it gets wet or uncomfortably dirty). Not to say that they always stay in the same clothes for long periods of time—sometimes activities call for several changes in one day. But they don't ever feel like it's necessary to put on something different just because it's a new day, still less because they're going to bed. So pajamas aren't a regular feature of our bedtime routine.
But! On the other hand, it's undeniable that pajamas are awesome, especially when they're new. And this fall all three boys have got at least one new pj outfit each, so at times there's been considerable excitement around them. Tuesday and Wednesday not one of them changed out of pajamas at any point—the same pjs over the two days. Sure, Tuesday was a wet inside sort of day, but Wednesday they were at Grandma and Grandpa's all day, and went for a walk. In their pajamas. Only a trip to the dentist this morning, for all three of them, forced a change. Now they're all in bed in the clothes they wore all day.
I don't see anything wrong with any of that. Personally, I don't care to let my dirty work pants into the bed; but when I take them off to sleep I just put them back on the morning, most days, so I have no room to cast aspersions. But it is funny when, as happened the other day, they slept in their clothes and then changed into pajamas after breakfast. The game they were playing demanded it. It makes sense to them, so who am I to question?
There are times—oh, there are times!—when the boys' voices annoy me. But then there are lots of other moments when the things they say are fascinating and delightful. Lijah, for example, is improving his syntax and sentence complexity by leaps and bounds; to wit: "I'm not in the play, I'm watchin the play!"
Harvey of course has all the vocabulary. The other evening I mentioned all the good books he'd read, and he replied, "amazingly, I didn't read any books today... just peered into the books Zion was reading."
Those were last week; I had to wait to gather a sample of Zion speech, because he's the middle child so sometimes I have a hard time paying attention to him. But this evening he was digging a hole in the garden and contemplating what he might find if he went deep enough. He has a theory: "It goes: treasure, dinosaur bones, oil, hot lava."
As you can see, there are lots of words around here. It's lovely.
We don't devote much daily time to "school work" here, and pretty much none at all to reading instruction. Our literacy time is all taken up with read-alouds, story-telling, and, this month, poetry. But nevertheless, while I was doing the dishes the other day this is how the boys were occupying themselves in the other room.
A couple different things going on. Like me Harvey doesn't want to work on something unless he's good at it, and unless he has a good reason to; he also likes to be helpful, especially when he doesn't have to work too hard. Practicing reading with me is frustrating and annoying to him—totally understandably! But he's spent a couple hours a day with his nose in a book every day for at least a year, slowly figuring things out by himself. So when I ask him to read to his brothers while I do some other work, he doesn't see a pointless difficult task, he sees a chance to be useful while showing off a developing skill—and being the focus of uncritical attention!
Don't tell him, but it's all great practice. He's moving up to comic books now—whether they like it or not!—and apologized to me for not being able to do the voices. I pointed out how well he reads with expression from the books he knows better; I'm sure the comic books will come in time too. His audience is delighted either way.
Of course, remember: he still doesn't know how to read.
It rained all day, and our farm-school coop was cancelled due to illness. Which is just as well, because we had a more-terrible-than-usual night here and were ready for a quiet day at home. The boys, that is; Leah was ready for a quiet day (or afternoon, at least) at work. And we all got what we needed, for a very pleasant day—I was so impressed with how well the boys entertained themselves all day. Of course we did a little school, but not too much: they were just too busy. There was some reading:
Lots of imaginative play:
And eventually, of course, some outside time:
The only crying the whole day came when I refused to instantly repair a broken plastic toy for Lijah, which ended his universe for 15 minutes until he threw down the broken fragments in his rage and when he wasn't looking I hid them and then he forgot what he was upset about and got involved in something else. That's parenting!
But really, the day went far better than I have any right to deserve, and I can take no credit for it myself. The kids are alright.
A moment from the week.
At bedtime I almost always ask the boys about their favorite part of the day. I like to pray thanksgivings with them, and it's nice to know what they might feel particularly thankful for. Of course, as I ask I'm pretty sure what I'm going to hear for an answer: "I don't know, what did we do today, again?" Coupled with the other frequent bedtime question—"what fun thing are we going to do tomorrow"—and it's enough to drive a parent to distraction.
In their defense, I must say it's not as bad as it sounds. In Harvey's case it's his natural caution about not wanting to answer any question wrong that's holding him back; what if he forgot something that he should have enjoyed?! But most likely he recalls it all. And Zion's always hard-pressed to name something he didn't love about our day. "Playing with our friends" is almost always his first answer, when he remembers anything; but then when I remind him of the other events of the day he cheerfully adds them to his list of favorites.
So really, there's plenty of gratefulness to go around... even when I have to dig deep to find it!
A moment from the week.
A moment from the week.
A moment from the week.