Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happiness is a perfect day...

Yesterday was a terrific day! The kids finally woke up shortly after 9am. While they ate breakfast, I reminded them that I wanted to get to our schoolwork before they got involved in their game, and they were both totally fine with that. They finished eating, got dressed, and met me downstairs. Big Sister covered handwriting (she's working on learning cursive), spelling, and math, and Little Brother did some math, handwriting, and reading. We were done by 10:30, and then they went upstairs to watch a Voltron cartoon on Hulu.

Shortly before 11am, I got a call from the mom of a friend of Little Brother. Her boy was in LB's class this past year, and the two of them started getting together for playdates in the last month of school. He's a really nice kid, and the boys have a lot in common - it's nice to see Brother finally having a friend of his very own. Anyway, we invited this boy down to our place for a few hours, and had his mom drop him off with a lunch and a swim suit for the slip-n-slide and wading pool. He showed up wearing a brown, hooded sweatshirt, hunched over and using a little stick like a cane, and announced that he was Yoda for the day. See? The perfect buddy for my boy! Each of them dueled with sticks for 3 hours straight, and not so much as a scratch on either one - shows pretty impressive self-control for two 6-year old boys.

When Big Sister found out that Little Brother was having a playdate, she wanted in on the action, too. Until this past fall we didn't know any other kids in our neighborhood. It's an older neighborhood, and there just aren't a lot of young families. In the few families that are around, the kids seems to play indoors, or in their backyards, so we've rarely seen children in the three+ years since we moved here. Fortunately for Sister, that all changed last month because the family of a girl in her girl scout troop has moved in around the corner! She is so happy to finally have a friend within walking or biking distance. I held Sister off for a few weeks while her friend finished up the school year and her family got settled, but we finally had her friend down to play on Saturday for the first time. Yesterday I let Natalie walk up to her place, and they played there for a couple hours while the two young Jedis kept me entertained. Eventually both girls ended up back at our house, and I treated them to a snack of watermelon and popcorn.

Maybe I'm a freak in the Mom World, but I loved having kids over to our house. This is what I've wanted for my kids for so long - something that more closely resembles what I remember from early childhood. My kids have always had friends, but they're friendships that require phone calls, car rides, and scheduling in advance. These are friendships that have grown over time, and we would never trade them for the world, but I've really always yearned for them to be able to wander over to a friend's house to knock on the door and ask if their friend can play, and I want their friends to be able to do the same. I hope our summer will be filled with many more days of friends dripping water through my kitchen, and eating me out of house and home! And for any of you out there? Stop by, anytime (after our schooling is done, lol)! ;D

Monday, June 29, 2009

Summer school...

Summer. The sun comes out, and suddenly I want to do nothing more than relax and shrug off any sort of constraints to the pursuit of nothingness (constraints being schedules. and any tasks pursued for reasons other than my personal enjoyment). Consequently, in the past couple of weeks, there hasn't been a whole lot happening in la escuela de Koch. Late bedtimes for the kids, followed by equally late awakenings in the morning, have led to days that are terribly out of sync for all of us.

I'm awake by 6:30 every morning, usually earlier. I sip coffee, and spend time reading email, blogs, and playing on Facebook. When Little Brother was going to school each morning, I had a perfect pattern of: coffee, computer, shower, wake the boy, sit together while he ate breakfast, he gets dressed, I finish getting ready, jackets on, say goodbye to Big Sister, and we'd head out the door. I'd return to the house to find Big Sister fed, dressed, and ready to homeschool. We'd do all our schooling while Brother was at school, and be done by noon at the latest. The kids had the whole afternoon to do as they pleased, and so did I. I was happy. Kids were happy.

In the absence of a real driving need to be out the door at 8:30 each morning, our routine has greatly suffered. I'm still up at the crack of dawn sipping coffee, but my hour on the computer has stretched into two. The kids are up nearly as late as Mom and Dad, and they stagger out of bed at 9, 10 or later. They sit, half-asleep, on the couch in the living room until their growling stomachs eventually drive them to the kitchen to seek out nourishment in the form of oatmeal, fruity pebbles, or (if mom is distracted) a bag of chips. The remains of yesterday's ongoing "game" (it's how they refer to the days-long sagas of pretend play they create) are strewn across the living room carpet, and both of them are drawn in. Not being in any real hurry to accomplish anything, it's now almost 10am and I'm still unshowered. By 10:30 or 11am I'm clean, clothed, and feeling ready to take on the day, but the kids are now fully engrossed in the game. By noon they are hungry again, and I take advantage of the break in their play to at least have them get dressed so we can do something, anything outside of the house. At that point, shifting gears to sit down and do some schoolwork is unappealing to all three of us. The end result is that I end up feeling like we've been incredibly lazy, with nothing to show for our time but a floor full of star wars characters, littlest pet shop animals, and various magnetics pieces scattered from one wall to the other.

I really can't see taking two months completely off and losing whatever progress Big Sister has made over the course of the last few months. Plus, I much prefer to spend the year working hard for a couple of months, and then taking a week or two off - much more manageable, in my opinion. I do need to find some kind of balance so that I'm not sucking the fun out of these long, sunny days, but right now the scale is tipped way too far in the other direction. My intention today is to get us back on track. Hmmm... how to make this work? I think what I'm going to do is let them continue to follow their own sleep patterns, and make sure I have myself ready for the day before they wake up. That way I can be ready to jump in with a little school time in the moments before they find themselves sucked into taking General Grievous to a birthday party for the spotted dog. Wish me luck!