Gleek was romping. She was giggling and playing with her brother and when I required him to do his homework, she attempted (unsuccessfully) to coax our cat into romping with her. The trouble was that I was burned out. I’d spent all afternoon running around, making extra trips for kids, fulfilling promises that I’d made to them and to myself. There was still a long list of promises still unfulfilled. These were things that I was disappointed with myself for not getting around to doing. As much as I did today, I felt scattered, like I’d not used the time well. I needed quiet and space to sort my thoughts, to turn over the accomplishments and non-accomplishments and make peace with the day’s choices. Instead there was romping. I’m afraid I was not particularly patient with it. Somewhere around the fifth or thirteenth command to Gleek that she find a book and read, my fatigue tipped over into grouchy.
Now it is quiet. The younger two had their snacks and are reading in bed. In a minute I’ll have to begin the lights out arguments. There will be new negotiations and possibly I will have to find the energy to listen while a child sorts feelings out loud. I hope not. Not today. I’m not sure I have the emotional energy to find my therapist hat, let alone wear it for the necessary length of time to listen. But I will if it is needed. That has been the theme of the past four days, doing the things that are needed.
Somewhere in the last week I switched over from a holding pattern into one which is full of projects. I can tell that we’ve hit November because sales have picked up in the store. They did so even before we opened pre-orders on the 2013 Schlock calendar. I also got working on layout for the 2011 family photo book and for The Body Politic. Both are progressing nicely. Further layout work awaits after those are done: the 2012 photo book, my 2012 One Cobble book, and Cobblestones 2012. And I’m trying to write every day. All of which is why I picked this week to begin requiring chores of the kids again, because the clutter is closing in on us and it is time to attack it.
Tomorrow will bring a scout troop meeting in my back yard around my fire pit. Link will be leading this meeting. At this point I think he is kind of looking forward to it. He’s prepped notes to read from. He has brochures of places to suggest as High Adventure camp destinations. He’s even put together a flyer of possible stops for the trip. On Sunday leading this meeting seemed completely impossible to him. Tomorrow he’s just going to do it and probably won’t even be particularly nervous about it. He’s grown by doing this. Yet supporting him and helping him has eaten up a significant portion of three afternoons for me, not because I did things for him, but because Link needed a spotter while he learned how to prepare these things for himself. I will be quite glad when the meeting is over and we can move onward to the next challenge. Which is probably helping Gleek design and sew a stuffed turkey for a book report.
Kiki came home from the convention yesterday and spent some time talking to me about all the excitement, fun, and hard things. She is quite tired today. I am extremely impressed that her fatigue has not turned her into a puddle of despair. I don’t know whether the increased emotional stamina is a result of additional maturity or the fact that she’s getting regular exercise. Whatever the reason, I’m glad of it. I’m glad for her sake and because listening while someone sorts thoughts is far more enjoyable than scraping up a puddle of human despair and making it better. She’s picked her college. She’s been accepted to it. Now we move forward with seeking scholarships and other forms of funding.
Gleek has done her homework in the afternoon for the last two days. She’s been quite delighted to be able to announce “All my homework is already done!” when I declare homework time: hence the romping. She’s also got to choirs which are performing holiday concerts, so music is a big theme lately. I think she may also be teaching herself how to recognize pitches by hearing them, because she’s been playing with a pitch pipe she found in our music cabinet. At her fall choir performance there was a girl her age who played the harp with a high level of competence. I listened to the beautiful music and felt glad that my children have been generalists in their childhood. They sample lots of things and only begin to focus as they hit their teens. Gleek might be one who continues to generalize through her teen years, not picking a single thing, but instead doing half a dozen things in rotation. If she does, then at twenty she will be discouraged when the kids who picked a single thing hit professional levels while she has not. But watch out for her at thirty when she is professional in all of her dozen things.
Patch is enjoying the space at the beginning of each month when the project deadlines are all far away. He’s managing all his homework without complaint, and planning ahead for things like book reports. I’m still doing lots of reminding with him, but I don’t have to argue to get the work done. This is what makes the current academic program possible, the fact that my kids are thriving on the work. They don’t always love the work, but it is not actually difficult for them to do. The one weak spot for both kids is fluency with reading aloud. The solution is for me to require them to read out loud to me, and somehow I’ve yet to figure out how to work that into the day.
And so we continue onward, each with our own sets of tasks and challenges. The quiet of bedtime reading has now slid into the quiet of kids asleep. I should go to bed too. Tomorrow will be another busy day.
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