Monday, August 11, 2008

And so we begin anew.....

I had such fabulous intentions of starting school last week. Isn't that always the way--those intentions can really come back to bite a person, especially if you share them with another person. I'm pretty sure it's proportionate, too...the more people you tell, the less likely it is that you'll reach your goal. Or something like that.

So we began this morning.

The kids did their usual "two chores before each meal" routine, and then everyone did math. At the moment they're outside for "recess," which is nearly over.

I love how this morning went. I love that while they were doing their math, I had time to work on my menu and shopping list for the week, while Monkey watched a little bit of Thomas. I love that I had time to make a quick phone call to My Darling to see if he would have time to pick up a few odds and ends that we need....and that he said, "Why don't you e-mail the grocery list to me, and then if my afternoon permits, I'll just do the shopping?" (Oh, TWIST my arm!) I love that the kids are all playing so nicely outside that I hear nothing (not even the Scream Just Because Screaming is the Thing To Do), even though the windows and doors are wide open to let all this glorious fresh air inside!!

What a gorgeous, perfect day.

The other thing that we started, along with our school routine, is a new system of privileges. I need to be able to steer them away from media and into activities that will actually benefit them, rather than encourage laziness, for Pete's sake (although, truth be told, they do spend lots and lots of time outside messing around in the yard or biking or rollerblading or jump roping or bouncing on the little trampoline or......).

So each week, each of them will be able to earn Art Project Time (free project--not school related), Baking Time, Movie Time (once each week), Computer Time (twice each week), and either Sewing Time or Tool Time. This amounts to six days, because Sunday is Family Day, and the options there will be up to Dad. They each have a specific privilege on each weekday which can be earned by completing their morning routine (Bedroom Zone, 2 Chores Before Breakfast, Clearing Breakfast Mess, Morning School) without complaint and in a timely manner. The days alternate--so for example, today, Reepicheep earned Baking Time, Pickle earned Computer Time, and Frog earned Movie Time. Tomorrow, Reep can earn Computer Time, Pickle can earn Tool Time, and Frog can earn Baking Time. The other part of this is that they can do these things during Quiet Time, with the exception of Tool Time (because that's with Dad, and, well, he's not here during Quiet Time).


Tweenagers. Is there anything like them in the world? I'm finding it something of a mixed bag to have one in my house, and a girl at that. She is clever and talented, tall and pretty, and very responsible. And very much starting to have to reign her emotions and attitude in. It's not a bad thing, but it's definitely something that I'm glad didn't happen overnight.

I'm having to be very careful about how I phrase things to her, lest a fit of tears be the result of careless words. And warnings--oh yes, we Absolutely Must Follow Through With Them. There is no other way. That's kind of been one of our strengths anyway, so that's not too worrisome. The trouble is finding something that matters to her enough that when a privilege is removed, it actually makes an impact. Then the trouble is making the consequence proportional to why it's being meted out. Then the trouble is following through, yet again, to be certain that the undesirable behavior is actually changed. I know there are books, "life coaches," counselors, nannies on television, and Dr. Phil (we prefer Dr. Ray by far!)--all kinds of experts to tell parents what to do and exactly how to go about it. The problem with all of that is that I'm the expert on my children. What is effective for one does not necessarily work for the next.

I know, I know. This, too, shall pass. And then the next one will be this age, and I'll have no idea what to do for him, either.....and then it'll pass. And then the next, and then the next........and hopefully, by the time they're ready to be Their Own Individual Persons, we will have laid a solid foundation and they'll be able to just......really be OK and learn from their mistakes and treat others kindly and remember everything we taught them and love Jesus more than life and eventually.....make it to Heaven.

Can you tell I'm just a little anxious? How in the world can I not be, when it's my job to raise these Little Souls, which are on loan to me and their Daddy from God? And it's our goal, then, to safely return these Little Souls to Him in heaven. It's a trialsome journey, but it's also joyful. And this is where I really need to just keep praying my way through each day, each hour, each minute...and hope that I'm hearing Him right and then be obedient.

And always keep in mind.....Phippians 4:13, for Pete's sake!

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