Sunday, March 29, 2009


Sometimes the only time I can think is when the house is quiet because everyone is asleep. The cat and the fish keep me company and I suddenly feel very clear and cogent. Unfortunately, it inspires me to stay up too late.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Dead Horse

We heard recently that a friend lost an old horse. She invited the kids to come and watch the autopsy if they were interested in learning more about anatomy firsthand.

D instantly covered her ears and listed her reasons for not wanting to do it. Too much blood, she said. And she didn’t want to be around death, which I can totally appreciate.

G had a different perspective. “I want to see the dead horse,” she explained,” because I don’t know what it means to be dead and maybe I could learn more about death if I could see it.”

You can see how my kids process information just from this encounter with them. One of them memorizes poems handily. One of them examines and recalls every image in a picture. One of them will trip over toys, books, clothes that she scatters around the house. One of them has remarkable hand-eye coordination for her age. D learns primarily with her auditory sense and G with her visual. Interesting that it permeates even their perspective on death.

Sunday, March 22, 2009


I had the pleasure of volunteering for a choir concert recently. My kids sing in the choir and it’s a huge treat to spend time with them backstage as well as to get to know the other kids in the group. One of the tasks of the volunteer is to keep the kids in their lines once the teacher sets them up for the stage. One of the other mothers and I decided to write down the names of the kids in our line in order so we could reorder them if they got out of order. With pen in hand, I asked each little girl her name and how to spell it.

When I got to one of the tiniest little choiristers and asked her how to spell her name, she sat up straight and confidently called out,” P…B….S….Q….R…..E….A….Z!”

Of course, this group of letters not only doesn’t spell any word that I can understand, but it resembles nothing of what her name sounds like phonetically. But I LOVED how she wasn’t about to admit she didn’t know it, and she was going to do her best to give me some letters just like the other kids did.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Crooked-Eared Bunny

Just finished this little guy from the pattern in this issue of Living Crafts Magazine. Now for two more.....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

One Thing I Love About Homeschooling

Today we went to a birthday party. There were kids from ages 4 to 11 playing a game together that involved pretending to be cats, dogs, and various characters. V, at 17 months, was the littlest person in the house. And she desperately wanted to go play with the other kids, pointing and carrying on about it.

I told some kids, "She would like to play."

A nine year-old smiled and said, "Okay." Then she looked to V and said, "Do you want to be a cat or a dog?"

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


G loves to paint. Every time she gets her hands on paint, she puts paint on her hands. She likes to make hand prints. She can paint for incredibly long periods of time, quiet and peaceful, making an enormous mess.

So, it should have been no surprise when she told me about her ambition to become a painter someday.

“When I grow up, I am going to be a painter,” she proclaimed. “It means that I will have to travel a lot. Even to Mexico.” She paused. “Will you come with me when I travel?” she asked me.

“I would like to do that,” I affirmed.

“Even to Mexico?” she asked, surprised.

“Yes, even to Mexico.”

Monday, March 16, 2009

Results of the Challenge

I failed to stick to my goal 100% of the time. But I will say that the results were impressive nonetheless.

"You have confidence in me, don't you Mommy?" my six year-old asked tonight.

Of course I do. I just need to remind myself now and again.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


Try this for one day. Pick someone you love. Kid. Spouse. Someone near and dear. And choose. Choose to focus on things that you like about this person for one day. Don't mention the things you don't like about them. If they do something rotten, try to take a deep breath and move on. Try to be very, very gentle in necessary corrections. Try to correct only when NECESSARY. And try to show extra kindness and understanding. For one day.

I wonder what will happen.

I wonder if I can even do it.

Friday, March 13, 2009


I find myself mired in doubt these days. Am I doing enough for my kids? Am I doing too much? Should I stand aside and let them educate themselves? Should I trust them more to handle their own intellectual development? Should I be more structured in my approach? Should we be studying Latin yet? Is yelling over a screaming baby a reasonable way to teach history? Should I give the screaming baby more personal attention? Would she scream less if I did? Do we do enough art? Enough reading? Enough math? Do we get enough exercise? Did I remember to feed the kids lunch? Am I interrupting someone’s FLOW? Do I get to have my own FLOW? Why isn’t homeschooling protecting us from all of the stuff I find annoying about kids?

Mostly it’s because I have at least two kids in difficult stages and I am trying to find my way to balancing everyone’s needs at the same time.

Yet, once in a while, I find something validating. And I cling to it like a security blanket.

Oldest D to middle G: “If you love it, you can marry it!”

I cringe. I guess that homeschooling doesn’t mean we get to avoid inane childhood jokes and teasing. I am considering an intervention to remind everyone about kindness to one another, when I hear the rest.

D: “Actually, if you hate it, you might have to marry it, too! You’ll be like Hermia and Demetrius.”

Okay, my six year-old knows a good bit of Shakespeare. And a little moment like this gives me the clarity that I need to focus on what we have achieved rather than what I might not have done.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


By the time I was in second grade, I had things figured out. Being an animal lover, I would dedicate my life to the care of animals. I would become a veterinarian. Always a researcher, I checked out books from the library about veterinary work. And then my dreams were shattered.

The books showed many photos of vets helping sick animals and providing routine healthcare – which included shots. A vet not only gives animals vaccinations, but shots of medicines for ailments, I learned. I also learned that a vet might heal an animal through surgery rather than just lots of hugs and a warm lap, as I envisioned myself doing it.

Being completely against anything piercing flesh in any way – even furry flesh – even to heal and help – I was unable to continue with my life’s ambition. Never again did I feel so inspired on a career path. Must have been why I ended up being a lawyer. Lack of inspiration.

Still, I remember my passion for animals and feel some of it even today when my passions outside of raising my family have muted to dull in so many respects. And because I remember my passion, I understand my daughter’s growing passion.
“Mommy,” 4 year-old G leans in close to me and looks at me with the most sincere brown eyes you have ever seen, “I want to have a horse when I am growed up.”

I agree that of course that’s totally her choice and I support her in it.

“And really,” she leans so close that wisps of our matching hair touch, “I want a horse when I am still a kid. A real horse. Just a small one, like a pony. Maybe when I am much older, like seven or eight. I will take care of it all by myself. Well, maybe I’ll need your help a little. We’ll keep it in the front yard.”

Her solemn voice and earnest eyes tell me that this not the last conversation we will have over this issue. I do mention that our postage stamp yard is not big enough for a horse. She insists that it’s fine for a very small horse – a pony. I tell her that I understand how important this is for her now, and that we can wait and discuss it when she is older. She says okay. But I know her. Her okay means, okay, when I get older, we will talk about how and when I will get my horse. This is not an, okay, we will talk about IF I get a horse.

In June, her big sister received a tea set for her birthday and G wanted it in the worst way. Of course, big sister didn’t want to share the new gift mostly because middle sister wanted it so much. G asked my mom, the giver of the gift, if she would get her the same thing for her October birthday. Yes, grandma agreed. Then not another word about it. Well, come early October, G says she is very excited that she will be getting a new tea set. Both grandma and I had completely forgotten about the exchange, assuming she would as well. But behind those huge brown eyes, there is a vault containing important information, especially information about “those things that are coveted most.”

So, I know that the horse is not forgotten. And it does come up again and again. It’s not the pleading I want a pony that you read about in kids’ books. It’s more like, I am looking forward to a time when I have my pony because I want it so much that it must be coming to me.

I remember having a fleeting desire for a pony when I was a kid. But I knew that it was so far beyond the realm of possibility, I didn’t even waste my daydreams on it. I am not sure whether to be glad or worried that my daughter has the belief that she can make her passions come alive. Probably a little bit of both.