Sunday, December 23, 2012

December 23rd, 2012

The other day, Izzy had a near melt-down while we talked about having Christmas at Uncle Joel's house. I think she was just overly tired because every obstacle I removed (yes, Nana will be there... Santa doesn't forget presents... you'll get to see everyone...) was met with a 'what if?' and sniffles. She even asked "What if Santa is dead?" Now that's a child determined to have a reason to be upset! 

If you're wondering what I told her about Santa, especially when she asked if he could be dead... well, I'll tell you. I told her that part of Santa's magic is that he'll be around as long as he needs to be and that he's been doing this job for so long, there's no way he'd forget to do his best to give every kid at least something. She said "Well, I know that there are a lot of countries so there must be a lot of Santas." I think it's great that even when she's seeing the 'flaws' in the Santa story, she finds a way to compensate and hold on to it just a little longer. We went to our local mall and saw Santa there (thank goodness the same one has been there since she can remember) and afterwards, she said "Well, I know he's the real Santa. But how does he get here?" She's pretty sure his reindeer aren't allowed in the mall so he must get a ride from someone else. hehe. 

Childhood is a wonderful thing... for the kids it's a time of constant exploration and wonder and for the adults? I think it's a time to reconnect with what's innocent and beautiful in the world. A time to declutter your mind and heart and enjoy life for what it is. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

December 14, 2012

What can you say when the unthinkable happens? When something horrific and violent, like a shooting at a theater or a mall or a school, shocks you out of your daily routine and makes it impossible to just be... happy.

I cannot grasp how these things happen and I'm just so terribly sad for the families involved. Those that are innocent victims and those that cannot understand why their children would do something so awful. What was so terribly broken in these minds and hearts that they thought this was a viable response to the world around them?

Tonight, our synagogue had our annual menorathon: we bring our family menorah and candles and light them together. It's a beautiful sight to see so many lights burning brightly... reminding us to be a light to the world, to continue the chain of tradition, to reflect on years past, to burn with hope for the future. Tonight it felt like a reminder that there is light in the world and that we need to fan those flames when we have dark days like today.

Praying for peace and healing.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

December 13, 2012

The school year isn't even close to being over but I'm already starting to get the new-curriculum anxiety. Izzy's just about done with the Math U See Primer (as in: we have 4 pages left!) and other workbooks that we like to use are nearly done as well.

What REALLY gets me anxious is knowing that Lily will be 4 in 6 months (as of yesterday!) and I really want to get her started with some sort of formal learning. I know a lot of the learning that Izzy did at 4 was just happy accident but it feels like I need to actually plan things out a bit better for Lily. She knows a lot of her colors and shapes and she can count quite well but she's not familiar with letters or numbers yet and it seems like she could be, if I took the time to teach them 'officially'.

So here's where I went wrong today: I started looking for new activities for Lily and overwhelmed myself by looking at what other moms are doing/providing for homeschooling kids at this age. There are so many 'packs' and 'kits' and whatnot that it's mind-boggling. I keep telling myself that these things are coming from moms that have 4-5 kids and/or used to be teachers in public/private schools so of COURSE they come up with all kinds of activities. So many of them look cute or fun but then when I think about printing them out and using them, it hits me how redundant it is. I know kids love to repeat themselves but a color of the day? animal of the day? I think we'd be burnt out within the first week and not find enough new ways to explore those things to make it worth my time printing/cutting/laminating.

I dunno. Maybe I'm just talking myself out of these things because it seems so time consuming. I mean, how am I supposed to enjoy teaching if I'm either planning a lesson, setting things up for it, or teaching it? It's like the coupon ladies... how can you enjoy yourself if your time is used up with all of this busy-work and nothing of substance? I love my kids but I can't get anything done or enjoy any free time if every waking minute is devoted to school. Surely there's a middle ground somewhere.

December 13, 2012

It's the 5th night of Chanukah. So funny how we were anxious for it to start and suddenly it's nearly over! Izzy lit the candles with me the first night but I guess I said something about wax dripping on my finger and now she doesn't want to try it anymore. Lily has no such worry and has been lighting the candles for me each night. She's just not afraid to try things, even if something goes wrong, she'll keep going. I hope she doesn't lose that attitude ever.

Lily was battling a stomach virus two weeks ago (started the 30th and ran through the 4th) and seems to still be bouncing back. She ate next to nothing for those 5 days and now she's asking for 2nd and 3rd helpings on a lot of foods. I guess it's a combination of regaining what she lost and a growth spurt? Either way. It's much better to hear 'can I have some more?' than 'I think I'm gonna throw up' every couple of hours. :)

School is going well for Izzy. I'm hoping we're making some breakthroughs on reading but she's still so hesitant to even sound things out. I think I was the same way  because I know I was still shy about even trying to read when I was 7 or so. I need to read more to the girls so that they really grasp how important and exciting it is to read for themselves. I don't think Lily will be an early reader but it wouldn't surprise me.

It seems like there's always a phase being gone through these days. Fighting about everything, whining to get their way, making noises when someone is talking to them, arguing incessantly... I guess it's not so much a series of phases as it is one loooooooong phase of contrariness. haha. This too shall pass? Sometimes it seems like structure is the answer but the whole point of homeschooling with this method was to avoid rigid structure to our days/life. Consistency is difficult for me.. how do you drop everything to enforce each instruction you give without setting the expectation that mommy has to come help/push/guide every time she gives an instruction? Consequences for disobedience are consistent but I find myself so exasperated at having to leave so many of MY activities/chores half finished to impose those consequences or redirect little hands towards better activities.

Ok, re-reading that last paragraph's beginning has me thinking that the phase that's being gone thru right now is a verbal defiance phase. Expressing displeasure or annoyance without any filter or control. So... what's the key to resolving that? It seems like when I was a kid, we still got flicked for talking out of turn or had to put scotch tape on our mouths to help us be more mindful. Lily tends to react in the oddest ways to discipline. Either she gets sullen and then goes back to her bad behavior when the punishment is over (and so it starts again) or she laughs it off. I think there needs to be some sort of 'come to Moses' parental meeting to figure out a plan here... haha.