Wednesday, February 22, 2012

home economics

Today was co-op Wednesday. I was out of ideas for things to do with toddlers and we haven't made it to the library to restock on books, so late last night I kept mulling over: cats? dinosaurs? sheep? I settled on faces and printed out some without eyes, figuring we can add sticker eyes and draw hair.

A lot of people were out today, so it was a pretty quiet time. I ended up catching up a bit with a friend of mine and now we have a whole shabbos lunch planned out and another chance at grown-up conversation.

7 yo did clock series in art: he drew pictures of analog and digital clocks, hourglass and sundial. He said that he was influenced by Catlanta(?), some bizarre artists who is still alive and works locally. I think he was amazed that artists could be contemporary, not just dead people.

5 yo came out of his art with Eye of G-d project. It is basically two sticks crossed over, tied with multiple strands of colored yarn. He said it's called eye of G-d in Mexican language. I am staring  at this thing and hoping it is not a cross that my child has been working on... I googled it later, it's not that bad, but will probably be quietly disposed of in the next couple of days.

On the way home, the boys started haggling over the price of sitting in the back seat, where 7 yo sits now. ( I have five car seats in the car now for carpool, so certain spots are off limits and certain others are valuable). He was trying to sell the rights to his seat. We used to have a rule that nothing could be bought or sold, since the older always took advantage of the younger. This time, I bit my tongue and wanted to see where all of this went. At some point, 7 yo was selling his seat for 2 years for all of 5 yo's allowance, which is upward of 20$.
5 yo: But then I will have no money. So you want me to be poor?
7 yo: It's not that I want you to be poor, I want to be rich.
Thinking a bit: How about I pay you back a bit? I can give you a penny every day.
5 yo: And I get to sit in the back? It's a deal!
As we got home, I told boys I will have to think whether this is fair.

We came home and had lunch. Everyone asked for bagels, got their own plates and cleaned up. 2 yo went for a nap. The boys did Rosetta Stone. 5 yo did handwriting and ketiva. I wanted to focus more on lameds, he wanted to move on to pei sofit. To my amazement, he got it.

7 yo asked for spelling, he said it is his favorite. He was a bit discouraged, as he got three words wrong today. One of them was "yelled", he forgot one l. The he tried squeezing it in. Then he blacked out the whole word. I told him that nobody will see his writing, it is only for him to see which words he knows and which need more study. We pulled out a tray of rice for tracing today; as I expected, it was a hit. Then the imagination took over, the boys wanted to add water to it and mold it. That was out of my comfort zone. 5 yo also wanted to trace words in it.

Then the boys did math. 7 yo worked on feet and yards. I was glad that we had a yardstick, because even though he told me that there are three feet in a yard, he could not figure out how many yards are in 4 feet. 5 yo worked more on 2nd grade math. I find it amusing. I get the point of not wasting time on trying to teach kids concepts which are way above their heads. I get the point of waiting and teaching later, but going through the material quicker rather than stretching it out. I get the idea of challenging and prodding out of comfort zone. But the idea of a reluctant child doing math two levels above with ease and WANTING to do it... either this is his strong area and he does not feel that he's being challenged, or I am missing the forces at play. To please mommy? To prove me wrong?

Then there was chumash. I asked 7 yo whether he wanted to start with it. He declined. When we finally got there, 2 yo woke up screaming. She only wanted to pee downstairs. I did not want to take her there. She was screaming, I was impatient, 5 yo was running around. And I was trying to get 7 yo to read Vaeyra. Now it all sounds ridiculous. 7 yo finally broke the impasse by taking her to the downstairs bathroom. We did two more pesukim. In the pshat, it should be Lot talking to the malachim, but it says "vayomer", "and he said". I was waiting for him to ask the obvious, "who is he?" but he did not. I bit my tongue. Maybe it's time for another review sheet of mi amar al mi to refocus. I am realizing that even at our leisurely pace of two pesukim a day, we will be doing 12-14 pesukim a week.

5 yo read a new section from Lama.

Then we headed out to redeem Ace Hardware groupon by buying a new alarm clock for the boys. The old one got destroyed during the sleepover and not knowing what time to wake up is a major concern for the 7 yo. Before we got to the store, the boys asked if they can get some tchochke toys and I said: we'll see. When we got to the alarm clocks, 7 yo quickly calculated that if we buy a cheaper one, the chances for him to get a toy are higher. Then the boys went to check out the bargain section while I loaded on some potting soil. Our total came up exactly to groupon. The boys got LED flashlight rings. As we got to the car, 7 yo discovered that his does not work. I gave him the receipt and told to ask for a replacement. He marched in and very politely did just that. Till now, he usually claimed to be too shy in such situations.

Then we walked to Office Depot to laminate some Purim stuff. 7 yo was surprised that we walked there and did  not drive. The boys hung out nicely, exploring nooks and crannies of the shelves while the clerk was fighting the laminating machine which kept sucking in empty plastic sleeves.

We had milchig tacos for dinner. 7 yo first retold the story of an emperor without clothes.Then he made up a lengthy story about how the cheetah got its speed, Kipling style. He mixed in the African legend of tear marks on cheetah's eyes, but the rest was quite original. After dinner,7 yo sulked a bit since he wanted Bruster's for dessert and kind of mentioned it in the car this morning. I used my standard "we'll see" and 5 yo piped in from Winnie the Pooh: you always see, but nothing comes out of it. I guess that's true. "We'll see" buys me time and allows to explore how I feel on the issue. Sometimes the answer is "yes", I just did not consider it. And even if the answer is "no", it is gentler after I put some thought into it instead of knee-jerk response. At the end, the boys got Ben and Jerry's Phish Food, with whipped cream, syrup and sprinkles.

Then it was haircut time. The boys needed it. I usually cut their hair at home, but every once in a while, I will take them to get professionally straightened out. This was at home job. They knew that we will be getting pizza tomorrow for Rosh Chodesh, and I explained before that every time they get a barber haircut, that's one less pizza to eat out. While monetarily this is worth it, effort-wise it is a bit crazy, since I have to keep three kids  out of a pile of hair and stick them straight into shower... but for me, that is one less dinner to cook, serve and clean up after!


  1. I love the stream-of-consciousness in your posts. Your writing is vivid and your observations of children and self ring so true to the ears of another homeschooler. Loving your blog!

  2. I love your down to earth posts. Your kids are so cute.

    Devorie F

  3. Tell the 7 year old he can pay pack the 5 yr old, by starting with one penny the first day, and then each day the amount doubles. So the second day would be 2 pennies, and then 4 pennies, and then see what that amount would look like after a month.