There is nothing that beats that intentional time that we create for our children and the impact that has on their and our own states of mind and heart rates. Bob was out at Pitville having a ball learning about worms and expounding energy and Zog, Kanga and I curled up and had a lovely afternoon nap. When Bob came home he soaked his hip in a hot bath while Zog and Kanga helped me with getting dinner in the oven. Then instead of reverting to my end of day tired frame of mind and allowing them screen time we played a memory card game and had so many laughs and lots of fun.
Recently I had started to realise that I had stopped having fun with the children. Lessons and attempts to stay on top of housework, nothing like having to keep the house in order as the landlords have put it on the market and the unknown of what is next for us has meant my mind is far from being present in the home. Screen time was an easy out, something they wanted, and meant I could escape in my mind. But I was brought up sharp this morning at the library. Bob and Zog both have had lots of story times with us and still go to the library for books. Kanga on the other hand went straight for the computers. Books just do not capture her attention in the way they do the boys. And yet she does love them but often intentional reading with her gets dropped off and so they are not a probity for her either. The idea of reading picture books, the same picture books a third time round does not grab me with excitement and we have moved onto lengthy chapter books with the boys. The Borrowers is our latest lunch time read. Some children I know can cope with screen time but we are becoming aware that right now for Zog in particular screen time just does not help him.
So today we played games and tonight Kanga and I hid in her bedroom at bedtime together and read books and she drifted off to sleep happily. I was struck though as she picked out two books and I know there was intentionality in her choices. She like her brothers were at this age dependent on other means of communication that words. And she choose Come On Daisy (given to me many years ago by friends) and Humphrey’s Corner. Both books speak of seeking to stay close to Mummy, that that is were they feel safe and where life is right. And Kanga pointed to the character of Humphrey and changed the name to her’s and pointed to the Mummy and pointed to me and then hugged me. She and I both have the same strong willed stubborn personality which has the potential to take her places but she needs to learn how to use it and I think at time the strength of feeling she has overwhelms her. I remember often my parents and wider family and parents friends spoke of my stubborn independence and how it would take me places but I do feel that no one taught me how to use that strength and in a sense I was not guided or directed in ways that might have been more constructive, in part because I masked my need for help with being so independent. I do not want the same for Kanga. I want her to grow up with a confidence in who she is and what she has to offer and what she could accomplish. She doesn’t need to be in a high flying well paid role. I simply want her to do what she is made to do and is passionate about and loves and that is going to require us stepping into her fierce independent stubborn ‘I do it’ streak and not backing off.
Bob’s writing though not something he is passionate about is coming on and this week has really taken shape as far as uniformity in letter size which has been encouraging to see. He continues to be lost in a world of history and was putting my church history knowledge to the test. He is also getting his head around numbers with more confidence after a break from it all. Again showing he needs to be given time to percolate and allow things to simmer on the back burner. Another reason I am so thankful for this opportunity to let them learn at home. He can go at his speed and allow his skills to be grow and develop as they are ready and nurture those subjects he is in love with without limit or restrictions due to other skills not being necessarily up to speed.
Zog who has showed little interest in letters seems to have started to get the idea of them though I would have preferred if he could have waited till day time rather than in a state of delirious happiness induced by a high temperature while we lay on the sofa at 3 in the morning last week. He suddenly started excitedly asking me if certain (correct) sounds were the first sounds of lots of words and checking what letters those sounds went with. I have been trying to get him interested in letters since September and we have not got past D and then I would have had no confidence he would have remembered A, B or C.
While they are always learning though play, watching us, helping around the house though not necessarily at the most useful point, and in lessons, I think I have been the one who has learnt the most important lesson these past two weeks. That they are learning from my example more than anything else and I need to be present and intentional in my actions and the way I am living this season of unknowns out. To choose to read with them, to play with them, to enter their worlds and allow them to enter mine and to stop living parallel lives alongside them in the same house.