Monday, October 20, 2008

A Day in the Life: Monday, Monday (Da da, da da da da)

Monday Monday, so good to me.....

6:22 a.m. &*%^(&$#. Alarm goes off. Hit the snooze.

6:30 &*%^(&$#. Alarm goes off. Hit the snooze.

6:38 &*%^(&$#. Alarm goes off. Hit the snooze.

6:40 Drag my weary self out of bed. Leave the alarm so that loving husband has to roll over to my side of the bed to turn it off, which will hopefully get him to drag his sorry a....ah, weary self out of bed.

7ish Let the dog out. Let down the chicken coop ramp. "Oh, giant weird chicken mom! Where's our food?" they ask in chicken language. Feed the chickens. Bring the dog back in with me. Make breakfast. This morning it's toasted bagels, scrambled eggs and sliced apples.

7:20 or so Listen for lovely lady stirring overhead. She's supposed to be downstairs by now, but alas, she's still in bed. Her lovely sister is at her dad's on Monday mornings, so no need to wake her. I wake the fine young gents by opening the curtains to let in the morning.

8:00 Breakfast is over. The lovely ladies have a deadline, a bus to catch or a friend to meet to get to school on time. But the fine young gents can daaaaaaawwwwwdle their way through breakfast, so plates clear at 8 whether they've finished or not. I help the fine young gents dress, brush, make beds, do their chores. I can hear loving husband and lovely lady chatting as they clean the kitchen together. Lovely lady's friend arrives and she's off to high school for the day.

8:30 I take a shower and dress while loving husband helps the fine young gents with their Monday morning chore, tidying the play room.

9:00 School starts. The fine young gents haul their school boxes to the table.

We start with our morning warm-up. The gents were having a hard time coming to the table. Grumpy attitudes and dawdling, and a frustrated momma, were the order of the morning. I realized that I was asking them to start their day with a concentration-intensive activity. Math may be a favorite, but it takes a lot of mental energy. I took a two-pronged approach. I addressed the attitudes: "No more grumping, groaning, fighting, fussing, or farting when I ask you to start school," I said. "When I say, 'Let's get started,' I want to hear 'Yes, Mom' and see you get your box without being asked again," I said. And I addressed the teaching: Now we start with a light and enjoyable learning activity, something to ease young minds through the transition from play thinking to concentration. Monday morning warm-ups are mazes for kindergarten gent and a Math Minute sheet for second-grade gent. Preschool gent decides to play with a puzzle on the couch instead of joining us at the table today.

9:15 Morning school.

Preschool gent comes to sit on my lap for a while, plays with the counting bears, then goes to play with his brother.

Kindergarten gent does a Miquon math sheet using the counting bears, practices making "L" and "l" on a handwriting sheet, and works on his alphabet book/memory poem, "A was an apple pie." He takes a break when he's done, playing chess and Legos with his younger brother.

Second grade gent works through math, his Language Arts, and Challenging Word Problems.

10:15 (I think) We all take a break. The guys are playing Legos. I am surfing the Internet.

10:35 We all come back to the table. The fine young gents finish a few odds and ends, then work on their history project. We're trying History Pockets this fall. The curious young gents are interested in Native Americans, so I purchased the Native Americans unit. I'll try to remember to write a curriculum review once we've completed the unit, to go over what we liked and didn't.

As the fine young gents colored, cut and pasted, I read out loud, Native American tales from Keepers of the Earth: Native American Stories and Environmental Activities for Children (Keepers of the Earth) (Joseph Bruchac & Michael Caduto), with Under the Green Corn Moon: Native American Lullabies playing in the background. Preschool gent gets tired of coloring, so he sits in my lap while I read. His kindergarten brother soon joins him.

11:30 Time to make Navajo fry bread. I give each boy his own bowl, so they each mix up and flatten their own little breads. This link has both a recipe and some history, which we read while the bread was frying. The background information was interesting and the fry bread was delicious.

Noon Lunch for the fine young gents. We're reading The Black Stallion (Walter Farley), but the gents enjoyed the Native American tales so much that we continued reading from Keepers of the Earth. The first lunchtime story was a Pacific Northwest story of mountains and rivers that we know and love, the Columbia River and the Willamette, and the mountains now known as Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams and Mount Hood.

1:00 Back to school. The fine young gents take turns practicing piano and playing games in Japanese on the computer. Preschool gent alternates between the two activities. He likes to "practice" too so that he can get a sticker. As soon as piano practice is over, they all go outside to play with the dog.

3:00 Quiet time. Second-grade gent is upstairs with his reading book, Detectives in Togas (Henry Winterfeld). Kindergarten gent is on the couch with his bin of Legos. Preschool gent is playing with toys on his bed. It's awfully quiet in there, so I think he may have gone to sleep. I'm working on this post. In a moment, I'll go out to collect eggs and feed something green to the chickens.

Oh, and I ate lunch around this time too, leftover pasta. Sometimes I forget.

3:45 Lovely lady the younger usually arrives home around now, but she's not here. She's officially at her dad's on Mondays, but it's easier for her to ride the bus home and meet him here than it is for him to fight the traffic at the school. I called her dad. He'd picked her up and forgotten to tell me.

Lovely lady the younger is usually closely followed by her older sister, who bikes home from school. She gets a snack then settles in to do her chores and homework.

4:00 Quiet time is over. It's nearly time to take the eldest of the gents to his choir practice, so he's getting his shoes. I realize I haven't brushed my hair since I took a shower this morning, and I'm wearing my ancient too-big jeans with the coffee stain and the hole in the knee. (Just keepin' it real. Most days are like this one. Honest.) I brush my hair and contemplate running upstairs to change, but I decide I can't be bothered.

4:15 Choir drop-off. I leave the younger gents with their oldest sister for a few minutes. I contemplate staying to watch the rehearsal, but I've forgotten swim things and a snack for choir gent, who's got swim lessons immediately following choir.

5:15 I pack fine young gent's swim bag and head out to pick him up from choir. When I get there, he's so wiggly that the director has to ask him to move to sit between two of the fifth graders. She assures me afterward that it's normal, and that he'd been quite well-behaved up until then.

We drive straight from choir practice to the pool. Fine young gent eats a snack in the car and changes at the pool. There is a family changing room at the pool, but it's always full, so I let him change in the locker room by himself. With strict but low-key instructions to talk to no one, to change and come right out, to leave immediately if anything makes him uncomfortable. It's a challenge trying to give those kind of directions to my child. I want to allow him freedom and independence. I want to protect him and teach him to protect himself without making him afraid because I know who might be in there, but he doesn't yet. I'm not too worried. There are several dads in that locker room with their own children. They grin at me as I give him his instructions while they walk by us. As long as fine young gent follows my directions--don't talk to anyone, stay in the public area, leave if you feel uncomfortable, yell if you need help--a dad would help him even before I dash into the men's locker room.

When he comes out, he tells me, "I made a friend. It's that kid over there. I told him where I live and what our house looks like. And the number." Sigh.

While talkative young gent swims, I finally finish the last three pages of the Michael Pollan article I'd posted the link to a few days ago. I love the idea of a Victory Garden.

6:35 We arrive home. Loving husband is putting the finishing touches on dinner: Pasta with tomato sauce, green salad. Lovely lady the elder is out, babysitting.

After dinner I get the fine young gents ready for bed while lovely lady, returned from her babysitting job, helps loving husband clean the kitchen. I gave her that particular chore on purpose. Time with Dad is at a premium in our busy family, and it gives them a time to stay connected and maintain their wonderful relationship.

8:00 I read The Black Stallion to the boys. I give them hugs, and kisses, and blow the scary away before I turn out the light. I'll hang out here for a while, then off to bed for me. Tomorrow, I'll do it all over again.

Finally, a typical day. Not very exciting, but it's our life. Every day can't be field trips and fantastic art projects and rah rah rah. Life is good.

Monday Monday, it was all I hoped it would be....

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