Tuesday, August 6, 2013

running on empty

Somehow we all have to recharge (said a tired mommy who is typing this with one hand) pardon the punctuation, i'm trying to get a little guy to fall asleep with the other hand, and out of his room, because tonight he is keeping his older brother up


I have all these creeping ambitions. I want my kids to read chumash well. I want my kids to enjoy reading chumash. I want them to come up with insights and ask thoughtful questions. I want them to be deeply engaged with Torah and Judaism. I want them to be creative. I want them to listen.

I keep steering myself more towards correcting their behavior and middos, but I keep having academic-related freak-outs. In a way, we are all lolling around, waiting for the next big thing. There is a part of me yelling to declare summer to be over, and go back to a structured scheduled life. But another part of me laughs: whom am I kidding, I am in no position right now to enforce that sort of structure, and we will all end up even more unhappy as a result. Another part of me is calling to play total hooky from life, spend a day in pajamas, don't worry about anyone davening or doing chumash or eating sugar for breakfast or watching too much Pokemon. In the great scheme of things, one day like that will not harm anyone, but I do not think it will get us out of our current listlessness.

In the meanwhile, I try to keep on working on myself, hoping that the kids will pick something up from my example. I am taking a layning class for women, and we are almost done. Originally I signed up to take it because 9 yo expressed interest in learning trop, but I am thoroughly enjoying it now. Unexpectedly, 3 yo comes over when I practice, and wants to sing along. The way it is going, she will know to read trop before she learns the letters.

I am almost done with Yeshaya in Nach Yomi. I have not been doing it daily, but getting to it most of the time. Unlike Melachim, Yeshaya does not have a story line. Artscroll translation is quite an improvement over Judaica Press, but, in my current scatter-brained state, it has been hard to follow. I am still grappling with how it is nevua necessary for future generations, especially since so much of it had to do with Sancheriv and Bavel, and the rest is ambiguous whether it already came true or is yet to be fulfilled. I am considering myself surveying Nach for now, and I can always go back as need be, when I am more lucid.

I have also started playing around with watercolors. I am horrible at it. I also was confronted with my lack of sketching skills; it is something on my bucket list, and I joked that when the kids are older I will take art classes, but with youtube tutorials and books galore, why not now? So far, the amazing effect is that I started to perceive nature in a totally different way. With my biology training, every tree was a complex factory of photosynthesis and food storage. It was an amazing machine, performing synchronized functions. Any particular tree did not interest me, unless I could name which kind it was. Now, with the artsy perspective, I see trees as masses of light and shadow. I see atmospheric perspective effect on distant trees. I see leaves in clumps, reflecting light. I see the light bounce from the ground. I see endless variations in the bark. I see each tree as a fascinating object, waiting to be teased out and sketched.

Will I ever need to layn? Will I ever teach Yeshaya? Will I ever draw? I do not know, but, for now, the learning is enjoyable. I hope my kids will see this and be able to apply it to whatever they would want to explore.

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