Monday, March 31, 2008
Once inside the National Gallery of Art we wandered around the second floor looking at beautiful religious art and often stumbling across paintings the kids recognized from Sister Wendy's Story of Painting video series. The evening before we had read about several of the more famous paintings in a library book on the Smithsonian. The painting I had starred on my list was the only Leonardo da Vinci painting currently in the Western Hemisphere. Ginevra de' Benci, a gentle and intelligent girl sat for this portrait when she was 16 and about to be married. The painting is displayed in the center of the gallery so both the front and the back can be seen. The image on the reverse was painted several years later and uses symbols to describe the personality of Ginevra.
After a few hours which seemed to fly by the younger children were clamoring for a snack and drink so we had to wave farewell to Monet's Woman with a Parasol, Renoir's Girl with a Watering Can, Degas' dancers, and many other new friends. I am sure there will be many more trips back to the West Wing of the National Gallery and perhaps a swing through the more modern paintings in the East Wing.
Back up the hill to the Capitol for one last time, I made Maggie and Charlie jump out of the double stroller so I could push it those last few yards. We arrived back at the house to make the beds, finish packing the van, and have a quick lunch. Since I made a wrong turn trying to get back to 395 we accidentally swung around the Mall one last time and finally pulled onto the interstate, leaving the hustle and bustle of DC behind us. Only after stopping at the rest stop in North Carolina did I notice that Maggie has swiped several house keys while I was packing the van. Not the worst thing in the world and easily remedied with a mailer from the post office and a few stamps. We swung into the driveway at 6pm weary, hungry, and grubby, but grateful for the opportunity to see a few of our nation's treasures and monuments.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
After 2 hours of looking at such famous artifacts like the rickety plane flown by Orville Wright, Amelia Earhart's tiny red plane she flew across the Atlantic, and the LM prototype shown here, the kids started pestering me for their promised "astronaut ice cream."
Actually, Maggie had been asking in a plaintive voice since we walked in the door, but I told her if she asked again I was going to eat hers. I figured that I would indulge them in such a treat once as children, especially since I had to shell out $16 for a 5 bag pack of what I thought was going to all be packets of cookies and cream. However, I found as I passed them out that it was a mix including Neapolitan and freeze dried strawberries. When Mary, who clamored for the pink package, tasted one strawberry she started to cry. I first gave them to Timmy, but when he decided that he didn't like them either, all the kids generously gave pieces of their ice cream to him.
As on the previous two days, we made it all the way to the Capitol reflecting pool before Charlie announced, "I have to go potty!" Perhaps it was seeing all that water, but after the first pant wetting incident on Monday, I put him back in nappies. This day I told him yet again, "There is no bathroom within 4 blocks and no place you can just pull down your pants. You can go in your nappie or hold it until we get back to the house."
After another afternoon of playing UNO, naps, and reading stories, we had had one house disaster. My cousin's house is just like most of my relative's homes - filled with exquisite antiques and breakables. I warned the children many times during our trip not to damage anything, but just when I thought everything was going to emerge unscathed, disaster struck. While I was sitting in the next room bathing the little boys Maggie found a ball point pen and drew several circles in the finish of a blanket chest. I scrubbed with some brownish oil, pledge, and wax, but to no avail. To say that I was livid and mortified was a gross understatement. I trundled everyone into bed early and prayed that my relatives would understand and allow me to pay for Maggie's misdeed. After the tongue-lashing she received, I figured it would be quite a while before she did such a thing again. Little did I know that I only had to wait until the next day for another episode of childish foolishness that got her mother riled up.
Tomorrow's itinerary? The National Gallery of Art, packing, cleaning up, and the long drive home.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Finally we headed upstairs to see the Hope Diamond and other gems, but when I saw the 6 deep crowd around the glass I gave up. Will and Mary insisted on wiggling in and trying to take a photo of the exquisitely crafted gem. Perhaps Will's picture will come out, but with flashes constantly going off as well as his propensity to get too close to his subject to focus properly I doubt it. After a quick stop in the gift shop for postcards and a sugar crystal lollipop treat we headed outside and back to the house for lunch and naptime. The rest of the afternoon we read, played UNO, washed clothes, and relaxed. The few schoolbooks I brought stayed in the basket, and everyone was eager for bed and the much anticipated return to the Air and Space museum in the morning.
Friday, March 28, 2008
4.5 hours from home with 5 tired and cranky children and the key won't work. I looked down in shock at the return address on the envelope the key had been mailed in. A tiny spark in my brain reminded me that Grandmother had mentioned years before that my cousins had moved, but since my Christmas cards didn't come back I forgot about it.
After pulling out the map, I realized that their house was only about 6 blocks away and shoved them all back into car seats for the short trip behind the Capitol. I prayed for a parking space and behold, one appeared right across from their house, the only one big enough for my van that I saw for the next 3 days. That sucker wasn't gonna move until Thursday afternoon.
After finding that the key did work (thank you cousins for writing the return address) we proceeded to unload all the gear needed for 6 people for 3 days and it was a lot. Pack-n-play, clothes, every stuffed animal and doll they owned, backpacks, and of course their Easter baskets filled with plastic eggs and candy. I figured out where everyone was going to sleep and decided it was a too lovely day to waste inside.
We made the first of our 4 trips down the hill inhaling deeply the fragrant cherry blossoms that were just starting to open and went in the National Air and Space Museum for an hour. We oohed and aahed over the LEM, the planes hanging from the ceiling, and all touched the moon rock. I promised them we would come back and I would buy them astronaut ice cream. Of course there was the typical nappie crisis with Charlie wetting his pants (his first accident in a long time) we hoofed the 8 blocks back to the house. I tried to stay up reading, but soon crashed from the long drive, my initial panic at the first house, and having to push the double stroller back up Capitol Hill. Tuesday's plan: Washington Monument and the Natural History Museum with the inevitable fun and crises.
Day 2: lions tigers and bears, oh my!
Day 3: off to the moon!
Day 4: Mommy, I want to see a da Vinci!
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Our Easter flower bouquet from the discount floral bin at Kroger. I even had to buy a bigger glass vase to hold them all. I do hope Tim remembers to change the water while we are gone.
Have a good week and see you on Friday!
Saturday, March 22, 2008
There was the time I was 7 and the lady at the beauty parlor tried her best to give me a Dorothy Hamill cut- I looked so much like a boy that my mother had to have a t shirt made that read 100% GIRL. There were the bad spiral perm, the red hair dye that stuck and I gave myself swimmer's ear trying to wash it out, and still ended up with pink hair for prom. There was the short wedge that made me look like a female golfer and the $100 haircut that made me look exactly as I had when I walked in the door. Finally I just gave up and grew it out long with bangs.
But the one consistency has been the color: golden blond, a far, far cry from my natural medium mouse brown. Several times I have tried to grow it out or dye it back, but I missed the youthfulness and sparkle the blond brought out and gave up. No more. After reading the book Growing Gray, What I Learned about Beauty, Sex, Work, Motherhood, Authenticity, and Everything Else That Really Matters a few weeks ago, I finally decided to go natural and a little shorter. I'm still not subjecting myself to the whims of a salon, but armed with a pair of scissors I layered the sides, hacked off 2" and bought some new styling products. My roots are about 3" long with some highlights, but I can no longer stand the expense, the fakery, the time it takes to attempt to look like I'm 22 when it is become increasingly obvious that I am approaching 40. (40? Yuck!) My hair needs to grow up.
Cheer me on my journey of exploration and discovery, 'cause I haven't seen my natural hair color since 1986.
“I have a serious love affair with to-do lists. I could sit for hours reading, organizing, and rearranging my weekly calendar.”
The ISTJ mother has a highly developed sense of responsibility: for work, home, family ... particularly her children. Whether she’s overseeing daily baths or insisting on a 10 p.m. curfew, her efforts are largely focused on providing her children with order and routine. She wants them, regardless of age, to be able to count on her and the structure she provides.
In carrying out her commitment to her responsibilities, the ISTJ mother is organized, industrious, and detail-oriented. Because her focus is the day-to-day realities of life, her children are likely to feel secure and well provided for.
The ISTJ mother also sets a good example and provides her children with practical guidance on being a productive, responsible individual. Still, with all her seriousness, she may delight family members with her quick wit and observations about the details of life.
This mothering style quiz was found courtesy of Jeanne at Books and Brownies, a fellow North Carolina homeschooling mom of soon-to-be 7.
So what is super-organized mom doing today? Picking up sippy cups and juice for the trip to DC on Monday and making a packing list. Don't want to forget anything!
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Since then we have learned much more about our faith, Tim so much so that his writings about various subjects pertaining to Catholic medical ethics have been published a dozen times in magazines and medical journals. I have not written anything as profound, but have memorized all those prayers I once thought weird and have taught them to the children. It is so precious to listen to Maggie blurt out the Act of Contrition each night before bed, a prayer I had to carry in my pocket the first dozen or so times I went to Confession.
I especially am grateful to the wonderful ladies from Catholic Women of the Chapel in Italy who showed me hospitality, gave me an enthusiasm for homeschooling, taught me how to pray the Rosary, and were such good friends and examples in my early days as a Catholic. May God bless each one and may God help each of us to encourage each other in our Faith.
When I see folks putting $4 a pound organic apples and $7 a pound free range chickens in their carts I wonder if they counteract all that by popping artificial birth control pills. And while reading Mother Earth News (just for the agriculture stuff) there is always some real life story about a couple living off the electrical grid, usually in a yurt (a big ugly round tent) and eating veggies they grew in compost made from their own waste (perhaps a slight exaggeration)and how this lifestyle is the most wholesome for Mother Earth, I wonder if they too put artificial chemicals in their bodies to stop their reproductive system from behaving naturally.
After all, the folks at the grocery nor the ones in the magazine seem to have any children. 'Cause we all have been fed the line that children are evil and the cause of all the problems in the world. If children didn't exist there would be no global warming, no acid rain, no suburban sprawl (well...), no crime, no cutting down of trees, no progress. Of course with no children there would be no humanity either, but that seems to be a slight oversight. So it pleases me to see some mention of how the hormones in ABC are dangerous to people and the environment. Maybe by reading this a seed of truth will be planted in those tree-hugger's minds...
Birth control pills, like batteries and baby bottles, have become the latest item in American homes to become a focus of environmental and health concerns. As scientists debate the effects of synthetic hormones that are flushed into waterways, the potential threat has sparked a clash between advocates and critics of the pill.
"I've heard a little bit about the bad things that birth control can do to the environment," said Casale, 26, who lives in New York City. "If it's causing major problems, I guess I would stop.
In 2003, a group of scientists in Washington state made headlines when they discovered that traces of synthetic estrogen in the state's rivers had reduced the fertility of male fish. Hormonal birth control pills and patches were blamed.
David Norris, a physiology professor at the University of Colorado ...said numerous reports show that estrogenic chemicals in water can result in thyroid problems and an adrenaline imbalance. Thyroid inhibitors are of major concern because they affect the nervous system's development and can cause permanent mental retardation. (link to article)
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
Taking a bathroom break in our school day doesn't take up much time since we only have 3 children and the bathroom is right next to the school room. The children just resume working when they come back, unless it is Will in there reading a Hardy Boys or Star Wars book, in which case I have to holler at him. One benefit of homeschooling I have pointed out to the children is that they don't have to ask permission to use the potty, unlike this child in Florida who was forced by his teacher to use a lunchbox in class as a urinal. I know how frustrating it can be to be interrupted 10 times each hour to be asked, not about something educational, but to be allowed to leave the room for water or the bathroom. I don't know what the solution is for the public schools, but am grateful once more that my kids have never had to ask permission or been denied access to the facilities.
Monday, March 17, 2008
Listening to their talk, it struck me how we are oddities, since most folks here are dual income professionals, associated with universities, and don't spend a lot of time with their kids, but spend huge amounts of money on their schools, their sports, their activities, and their wardrobes. There was also an underlying striving toward future materialistic goals for the children by pushing for superb test scores and admission to a fancy college that was almost frantic. For what? A prestigious job like mom and dad? A chance for their children to produce more suburbanite professionals just like themselves? Is that the end-all, be-all of life today? I feel much more at home among the hippies of Maine who understand our desire to be counter-cultural, even if it is from the opposite side of the political spectrum.
This weekend, even though I tried to keep a low profile, I still felt like an exhibit in the freak side show at the circus. "Come right up, folks! See the amazing mother of 5. Hear that? 5 children! She doesn't work, but stays in her jammies until 7am! She cooks, she cleans, she educates her own children! Give her a poke, she really is made of flesh and blood, just like you! The most amazing thing is she stays home and hasn't quite gone completely batty yet! But perhaps if you pester her enough, she might. Give it a go! See if you can send her to the loony bin! $5 a ticket, step this way!"
I am quite sure that when we move up to DC I will be able to find some other moms I can become friends with: moms who are open to life, who desire to find God's will in their lives, and want to spend great amounts of time with their children. I am looking forward to settling down for a nice cup of tea on the porch with a new friend, "Would you like one lump or two?"
Friday, March 14, 2008
6:00am wake, shower, dress
7:00am drive to 5K race
8:30am run really fast, hopefully place in age group
1:30pm meet with other moms and Brownies in church parking lot
2:00pm drive to aquarium 3 hours away
6:00pm begin overnight with a dozen Brownies, sleeping on floor next to a huge tank with sharks
10:00am leave museum for drive back
12:00noon meet Tim and rest of family for Mass
2:00pm Will's Cub Scout meeting (he will be late)
3:00pm unpack car, bags, and try to recover, as well as make supper
See you Monday!
The poor thing has been neglected terribly with almost all the silk pieces split or shattered. I have pulled it out and taken it to the local shop to find matching fabrics. I only picked out 3-4 colors to applique so I can break up the project into smaller ones which should be simple to accomplish, "Look, I finished all the yellow patches." There are over a hundred small blocks that need to be repaired and it could take me months to get it done. The point though, is not to just fix it, but to focus on family, the past, and restoring beauty. I have enjoyed the past few evenings of quietly stitching and admiring the skill of a quilter in my family history.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
The kids were impressed by all the paintings until we got to the Modern era with cubism and surrealism, abstract expressionism, pop art, and minimalism. Charlie became bored and had to be put to bed, and the video was punctuated by, "Sorry Sister Wendy, I just don't get it." "That looks like splatter!" "I could do that!" Will summed it up by saying afterwards, "I liked all the pictures except those last ones, they were weird!"
I highly recommend this series (we found it at the library), but there are lots of nudes and mention of the technical term for bosom as well as describing the occupation of several of the models (think Elliot Spitzer's recent troubles). However, mixed in with all the unfamiliar artistic words I didn't think the kids even noticed.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Whoa! What happened to the parent teaching their tike to ride their trike? What is next, Mary reading to the little ones on the sofa? "Mommy I already read to them, you can stay on the computer." (ooops, that already has happened too)
This must stop! If you get to do the fun stuff, then you can take over the yucky stuff too, like changing nappies.
Well... at least I know I'm still needed for something.
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell comes to the defense of homeschool families. "The California Department of Education policy will not change in any way as a result of this ruling. Parents still have the right to homeschool in this state," he said.
After the Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District in Los Angeles ruled on February 28 that parents had to be credentialed teachers to educate their own children the statement from O'Connell is encouraging news for the homeschool community."O'Connell has it right," said Michael Farris, Chairman of HSLDA. "But the court decision must still be overturned before homeschool freedom can be restored in California."
The Court of Appeal ruling shocked the homeschool community because in one sweeping decision it effectively outlawed homeschooling."
We hope the statement from O'Connell puts the brakes on any enforcement action," said Farris. HSLDA will be pursuing several legal options, including seeking review by the California Supreme Court and petitioning the same court to depublish the opinion in order to return California to being a state where a family can legally homeschool in California without fear.
I had a sadistic thought during this whole crisis of giving a one-two punch to the whole idea that a teaching degree is somehow essential to teaching children by introducing legislation that requires every teacher, public, private, or home to take the National Teacher Exam for K-8 for free. Wouldn't it be interesting to see who scores the best, and who does the worst?
Now, I would never suggest this in real life, since you give these people an inch and they will twist it into a restriction on liberty, but it does make me grin. After all, homeschool parents are the ones in the trenches teaching children phonics, math, grammar, science, history, in depth and continuously from year to year. I didn't know anything about phonics when I took the NTE and did very well, imagine what I could do now after immersing myself in short and long vowels for 5 years?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Liberals want to live in a world with no rules, especially rules about sexuality, however they forgot about natural consequences. Morality, the rules of civilized behavior in society, is not to hurt us or condemn us, it actually helps keep us healthy and happy. I feel so sorry for the tens of thousands of poor girls who now have to live with the shame of having a disease with no cure and the possibility of leading to cancer. The blame should lie with the "free love" radicals of the 1960's, the "just do it if it feels good" left who don't reason, but just let their feelings dictate their actions.
We don't have to just give up our children to this culture of sexual saturation that leads to misery and death, be proactive in shielding the innocents from mass media and teach them the benefits of practicing the virtues of modesty, piety, obedience, love of neighbor, and humility. We have let the "experts" have their way with teaching children about sex for far too long, the results are a disaster. Let us return to parents teaching their children about the facts of life in a context of family and morality and return to a world without a constant epidemic of preventable diseases.
A virus that causes cervical cancer is by far the most common sexually transmitted infection in teen girls aged 14 to 19, while the highest overall prevalence is among black girls — nearly half the blacks studied had at least one STD.
While some teens define sex as only intercourse, other types of intimate behavior including oral sex can spread some infections.
The study by CDC researcher Dr. Sara Forhan is an analysis of nationally representative data on 838 girls who participated in a 2003-04 government health survey. Teens were tested for four infections: human papillomavirus, or HPV, which can cause cervical cancer and affected 18 percent of girls studied; chlamydia, which affected 4 percent; trichomoniasis, 2.5 percent; and herpes simplex virus, 2 percent.
Blythe said some doctors also are reluctant to discuss STDs with teen patients or offer screening because of confidentiality concerns, knowing parents would have to be told of the results.
The American Academy of Pediatrics supports confidential teen screening, she said.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Poor Mary cried and cried, but I might have found something better, a horse rehab farm near our place in Maine which has a day camp running all summer. I wasn't too keen on having a 8 year old spend a week away from home on top of the $400-500 for a week, but this one is much, much more reasonable.
What a wonderful thing the internet is, I can stop a crying child's tears with just a few clicks. Now if I could find a magical way to get them to stop bugging me for candy at the grocery store checkout, I would be one happy mama!
The kids are excited about moving, they like looking at pictures of houses on-line, saying, "Get that one."
"Well, that exact house might not be available by the time we go up to pick one out, but I'll keep your suggestion in mind."
I don't think the idea of packing up all their stuff and saying goodbye to their friends is as traumatic as it could be, we haven't really put down roots and they are focused on the final move in 3 years to the farm, "How old will I be when we get ponies and a dog?"
I have been asking the same question for the past 12 years, "How old will we be when we finally get to settle down and never move again?" Military life is hard but at least there is the pride of serving one's country, the little quiver in the throat when singing the National Anthem that makes it all worthwhile. My grandfather served our nation for over 25 years, my father fulfilled his payback time, leaving my mother to deliver her first child alone, and together Tim and I have done our bit. Whenever things get tough, including these days of him not coming home until 8pm most nights he says, "It could be worse; I could be deployed."
Pray with me for families who have loved ones deployed, on the battlefield, or on unaccompanied tours, all far from home.
Sunday, March 09, 2008
A California appeals court ruling clamping down on homeschooling by parents without teaching credentials sent shock waves across the state this week, leaving an estimated 166,000 children as possible truants and their parents at risk of prosecution.
The Second District Court of Appeal ruled that California law requires parents to send their children to full-time public or private schools or have them taught by credentialed tutors at home.
"California courts have held that ... parents do not have a constitutional right to homeschool their children," Justice H. Walter Croskey said in the 3-0 ruling issued on Feb. 28.
"A primary purpose of the educational system is to train school children in good citizenship, patriotism and loyalty to the state and the nation as a means of protecting the public welfare," the judge wrote, quoting from a 1961 case on a similar issue.
Training is for dogs and horses, not for children. How could these judges assume that homeschooled children are not taught to be good citizens? Their parents don't vote? They don't call on their state representatives to support legislation? They don't have any desire to serve their country? What rot!
The ruling was applauded by a director for the state's largest teachers union.
"We're happy," said Lloyd Porter, who is on the California Teachers Association board of directors. "We always think students should be taught by credentialed teachers, no matter what the setting."
The teacher's unions want NO competition, no free market, no accountability at all. At first they pull in new members by scaring young teachers about the promise of legal counsel in case of lawsuit-happy parents, and then use their huge bargaining power to influence politicians and judges so as to eliminate any threat from their monopoly in the market.
Brad Dacus, president of the Pacific Justice Institute... said the appellate court ruling has set a precedent that can now be used to go after homeschoolers. "With this case law, anyone in California who is homeschooling without a teaching credential is subject to prosecution for truancy violation, which could require community service, heavy fines and possibly removal of their children under allegations of educational neglect," Dacus said.
Homeschooling parent Debbie Schwarzer of Los Altos said she's ready for a fight.
Schwarzer runs Oak Hill Academy out of her Santa Clara County home. It is a state-registered private school with two students, she said, noting they are her own children, ages 10 and 12. She does not have a teaching credential, but she does have a law degree.
"I'm kind of hoping some truancy officer shows up on my doorstep," she said. "I'm ready. I have damn good arguments."
The public school system will not allow Bill Gates to teach computer science, a physician to teach biology, a engineer to teach mathematics, or a published historian to teach US History because they don't have a teaching certificate from a college or university. No exceptions. A degree costs about $15,000 to obtain, most of which is wasted in classes that teach theory, child development, and classroom management. Education programs usually attract the least intelligent students, because it is so easy. However, they are not stupid since teaching is an almost guaranteed job for life with good pay. (I did obtain a Masters in Education (3.78 GPA), but am proud that I have a real undergraduate degree. While teaching I was amazed at how many public school teachers had to retake the National Teachers Exam, which is so easy I scored well above average. I also admit I don't consider myself all that intelligent partly 'cause I quit earning the big bucks to teach my own children.)
Michael Smith, president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said the ruling would effectively ban homeschooling in the state.
"California is now on the path to being the only state to deny the vast majority of homeschooling parents their fundamental right to teach their own children at home," he said in a statement.
"They just affirmed that the current California law, which has been unchanged since the last time it was ruled on in the 1950s, is that children have to be educated in a public school, an accredited private school, or with an accredited tutor," she said. "If they want to send them to a private Christian school, they can, but they have to actually go to the school and be taught by teachers."
Heimov said her organization's chief concern was not the quality of the children's education, but their "being in a place daily where they would be observed by people who had a duty to ensure their ongoing safety." (link to article)
Yet again, these judges blatantly show that the purpose of spending billions each year to school children is not to give them an education, but to warehouse them so parents can work, to oversee them to observe neglect or abuse, and to indoctrinate them into being mindless workers and consumers.
This is the reply of Homeschool Association of California to the calls of many worried parents. In other words, "we are doing the best we can, just sit tight." (h/t to Danielle Bean)
Saturday, March 08, 2008
One day I would love to set myself up in business selling quilts, quilting on my own long-arm machine, and selling wool batting from our own sheep. I just have to get the sheep, figure out how to shear, learn how to quilt with a long-arm...
I will never learn.
Friday, March 07, 2008
Since we only have about 3 days, unless we skip Friday Enrichment, so I want to make it simple and fun.
Any suggestions for little-child friendly, simple for mom places to go in Washington DC?
Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian (which one?)
National Zoo (though this might be too much- Metro, long walk, then walk around the Zoo)
Did I mention I need simple? One mom, five kids, strange sleeping arrangements, lots of antique furniture to keep safe... The whole thing is making me nervous already.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
We have many great books in our Baby Augustine store such as "Baby's First Catechism", "Moral Theology for Toddlers", our very popular "Read the black, do the red", "The Spirit of the Liturgy for 3 to 5 year olds"...
Baby Augustine also has great toys like St. Peter's Keys which will provide your child hours of fun "binding and loosing."
Wednesday, March 05, 2008
Here is the finished living room:
This is the bathroom all finished:
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
I have gained 5 pounds over the past few weeks from those tasty treats, despite giving up Coca-cola for Lent. That is on top of the 5 pounds I am over my goal weight. Running 3-4 miles a day can't possibly overcome the pounds of sugar I am shoveling in so I have to do something drastic.
Monday, March 03, 2008
My mind could not escape the image of my precious baby dying in front of me so I closed my eyes and prayed, "Please, dear Lord, save my child, help me save my baby." In my imagination I wrapped my arms around his tummy and jerked upwards in time to see the imaginary gumball shoot across the room and roll under a chair. The reality of knowing that Timmy was sleeping soundly in his crib did not change my perception that he was in grave danger and needed to be rescued.
And so it is also the case when reading other mom's blogs. What is presented in a series of posts is not necessarily what is going on in that person's home and homeschool. Lately I have read more than a few blogs where everything is idyllic, the children are perfect angels who love to do math problems, chores are completed without grumbling or pay, they never buy kid's meals at fast food restaurants, the houses are constantly immaculate, and the mothers never raise their voice. Even Danielle Bean's blog throughout Lent has been exclusively syrupy sweet, "I love to snuggle my baby, isn't life grand?"
Now perhaps these folks do have Better Homes and Gardens homes and cheerful children who always do as they are told the FIRST time, but I doubt it. When I visit homeschoolers I notice that they too have toys all over the living room, that the art project from who knows when hasn't been cleaned up, and there are children squabbling in the backyard. My house is just about average in terms of organization of books and craft stuff, the floors have crumbs and goo despite sweeping and vacuuming daily, and there is always a huge pile of laundry to fold on my bed. My kids bicker and pick on each other, and I feel like I'm doing well if I don't tell them, "You are driving me to drink!" more than 3 times a day. (even though we don't have any booze in the house) I can't feed my family of 7 on $50 a week, posting arranged shots of my grocery haul and receipt totals. I don't think many of us can do most of these "super homeschool mom" stuff since posts about organizing, needing hired help, getting kids to do their chores, and simple exhaustion are the longest and most anguished discussions on bulletin boards. So, as you roam the internet, remember that what is perceived is not always reality and to keep gumballs out of your dreams.