Saturday, 27th of August, 2016
There is an interesting parenting technique that happens in our household and on any given day there may be an example of it. This morning there was a lot of conversation about how in the world we were going to get out the door each morning and be at school by 8am? I was feeling confounded. “It is too early! Too, too early!” I might have even stomped my foot. Not at all frustrated, but just in a way that let my body express I felt strongly about it. As the saying goes. I wanted to put my foot down.
“We will have to get up at 6am, do you know, it will still be dark in Winter in Maine at 6am!” I said a little too dramatically.
Maya did not seem at all bothered by the impending change in routine, in fact it seemed like she was embracing it.
“Mum when I come to you in the morning and tell you it is time to make breakfast, you are going to have to do it.” Maya said, letting me know how our new life was going to be. “You won’t be able to ignore me, or put it off, because if you do, we will be late. You will have to stop using your computer, and make us breakfast. If you don’t we will take your devices away.”
I looked at her with big eyes. “Really?” I said. “If I ignore you and I do not pay attention to time, you are going to take my devices away?” I could not help but feel very, very pleased to hear this news. It was after all a brilliant! It is what is known as wise mothering ways. I had managed to teach my children, by having them be the ones to give the lessons to me.
“Ok, well I will do my best to pay attention and not be distracted by devices.” I said. “I will get up and make my bed, get dressed, make breakfast and pack bags for the day.”
Maya looked a little dubious, because as our Living Learning life was not like that at all. It seems Maya had forgotten that we did in fact have this same routine once before, when she went to another school, before I decided to homeschool her. #livinglearning had been going on for so long, she did not know, I could be one of those mothers, a get up and get out the door mother.
There had been a time when I was very good about starting the Living Learning day with the children as soon as they woke. I wrote by beeswax candle light and they would blow the candle out and I would give them my undivided attention, but then something happened. We all grew. Part of my expansion was that I wanted to be with my computer too much to manage living learning on my own.
Everybody became tired of me trying to juggle my passions. Simultaneously Maya decided she wanted to go to a gentle school she knew about. It seemed like a good idea, since she wanted to, and I was struggling to put the children first ALL DAY, EVERYDAY. If the children went to school then I could be with my computer more. Doesn’t that sound terrible? A mother wanting to be with her computer rather than her children? Well, I do feel terribly about that. But we had a good go. I homeschooled Maya for three years, and Elle was at home with me until almost 8 years old. I taught Elle to read and write, both of which she does so well, and that makes me prouder than almost everything. We did it together, I gave her the gift of literacy, and she gave me the gift of being her teacher. When you are able to teach your child to read and write it is a satisfaction far above others, except for maybe teaching your children to cook. The world needs people who can feed themselves healthy food. Anyway…
The day went on, down to the library we went, to return the last lot of books we would ever read from the Montclair library. As we were pulling up to a set of traffic lights, Maya had been spoken to sternly for some reason and she retorted to me in a smart and slightly annoying way. I found myself caught in a negative cycle.
“Well, thank you back-talker.” I said sarcastically. Wishing I was better behaved myself.
“You’re welcome Monkey-talker. Maya replied without missing a beat.
“What! I shrieked. “Monkey-talker?”
Maya had managed to be cheeky in the exact right dose and say something funny enough that it broke my stern manner to pieces. I turned quickly to look around at her and she was trying her absolute hardest not laugh. Elle was by her side, with big eyes, wondering which way this was going to go? Was Maya going to get in trouble, or did I think it was funny? It was so funny in fact I could not keep a straight face.
“Am I a monkey?” I asked. And then I started making what I thought was monkey sounds.
The girls began protesting. “You sound like a donkey!” From that point on, craziness enveloped the car, and the girls were making every imaginable monkey noise you can think of, along with actions. It was a cacophony far greater than two children should be able to make. When the traffic light turned green, with my hands on the steering wheel, I drove on, like I was a the calmest, most peaceful women imaginable, chauffuering a troop of chimpanzees around. I could not have been happier. It washed over me like golden light, and I thought, “Yes, this has been an amazing life, and I am going to miss having these monkeys with me all day every day.
Thank you for reading Magnesium Blue