I found this on my weekend away in NYC:
I don’t know why I took a picture of it. (I googled it and it turns out it’s a brand name…and not quite my style though I appreciate the detailed graphic illustrations printed on the clothing.)
Little did I know that it would be my theme of last week after we came home from our weekend away.
Scumbags and superstars.
I walked the fine line last week of being a scumbag mama and superstar mama. A FINE LINE.
Do you ever have those weeks when you just feel like sitting at the computer leads to complete mayhem and utter loss of control? When we came home last Monday night, my intention was to sit and write a blog post about the wonderful weekend away. The kids looked at me like I was a total scumbag for sitting at the computer. Ok, yes I can see that. They were bursting with stories and the need to hug and touch me. Right. I get it. What was I thinking? Scumbag.
After a weekend away with Ever-Patient, which I hope to post about eventually, I found the kids really needing me. (okay, us…but more me.) All of them. At the same time. They also needed lessons. It was as if I had left them with a cliffhanger of a lesson the week before and they were dying to know what was coming next. #2 and #3 were eager for their agenda to-do’s. Begging for them really. I heard strange things like: “Yes! I have math questions today AND a spelling list!”
You want lessons? All right then. Here we go. Spelling lists. Grammar exercises. Math questions. And fun math questions. Ancient history chalkboard illustrations and stories galore. Storytelling. Circle time. Scavenger hunts. Painting. Handwork. The whole shebang. Superstar.
Some snippets of our mornings:
Spelling list on the left. Grammar exercise on the right…pick a noun, then a verb, then an adjective…
Ancient Persia…mapping and drawing dark to light:
Circle time with the littles. Acting out this verse…(sorry, I’m not sure what the source/author is for this verse but please post in the comments if you know!):
Outside is a pine tree, standing straight and tall
It needs no decoration, nature’s done it all;
Pinecones on its branches, icicles glistening white,
Snow upon its needles, and birds at rest from flight.
I see it from my window and take time to say:
“Thank you for your beauty tree, on this winter day.”
And we love acting out this verse…taking turns being the bear and the cave. It’s pretty hilarious when I’m the bear and #5 is the cave…(again, not sure about the source/author):
Here is a cave
Inside is a bear
Now he comes out
To get some fresh air
He stays out all summer
In sunshine and heat
He hunts through the forest
For berries to eat
When snow starts to fall
He hurries inside
His warm little cave
And there he will hide.
The snow covers his cave
Like a fluffy white rug
Inside the bear sleeps
All cozy and snug.
And #3’s form drawing – crossing the midline. I used the story of the “Tower of Babel” for her forms.
Some painting…#5’s interpretation of our family as snow people:
#4 finished sewing and stuffing up her big bad wolf…She learned a new stitch – the blind stitch to close him up. She loves the fact that Red and Grandma are in the wolf’s belly:
#2’s embroidery: a constellation (and that is her cute little handwork bag and acorn pin cushion she made)…
I took pictures of all of the above which was met with a collective groan: oh man, total scumbag again.
Because we had a mild weather winter week, we also spent a lot of time outdoors with friends sliding down ice hills, four-hour hikes, making fires, and just hanging out:
And I also let them pile on top of me and pin me down onto the ice. Superstar.
Pulling the chute and leaving the ice hill after hours of sliding down and getting bruised in places that don’t see sunlight…scumbag. For about 5 minutes. But then in the car, on the way home, it became “the best hike ever.”
When we got home, I resisted the urge to get on the computer and blog or check email. I thought about the pattern this week. When I was fully present in the moment – wrestling with them, reading to them, doing lessons one-on-one, looking an upset and anxious child in the eye with a reassuring look – I had authentic experiences with them. Moment after moment. There are weeks when I can hop on the computer and they are unfazed. They continue to play and interact as if I’m not there. This past week, I realized how much my absence, for only a weekend, threw them off-kilter.
I found our rhythm again. Morning: lesson work. Afternoon: outdoors. So simple but so effective. My early mornings had me prepping, exercising, and reading. My evenings were spent tidying, reading aloud, and sleeping early. And only 20 minutes of computer time for mama.
We all have our scumbag and superstar moments. When my mind was preoccupied with writing a post or checking email, I couldn’t see or hear what they needed from me. I would grow impatient and testy. When I shooed away children so I could just check email, it was a little scumbaggy. When I jumped for joy in front of the kids every time someone asked about my weekend away, yes, I have to admit that that was scumbag-esque. But when I let go of my own expectations, let go and stood in the space of the moment, we were all in synch again.
With trepidation, I opened up the computer this morning. All the big ones doing their independent work and the littles playing nicely with a toddler friend. I start to write. I look around. No harsh looks. No child is rushing to my lap. They keep playing and working. Hmmm…it seems like they are back on track. Today I can write and post because of what I gave them last week. I gave them a little more of me so I can have a little more of me this week.
But in case this turned out to be a scumbag moment, I baked these sweet potato muffins for breakfast:
…with double the portion of chocolate chips.