Thursday, August 30, 2018

I Enjoy Doing Enriching Things With My Kids, But It's Slowly Killing Me

Karen finally figured out that story time went more smoothly when she sent the children outside.
Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Afternoon Readers,

How was everyone's summer break?

Shhh. The important thing is we survived. It's all over now. Stop crying.

Originally, I'd intended to blog throughout the heat-saturated months, but my days were soon sucked up by the pool, breaking up kid fights, and taking so many trips to the grocery store, the customer service lady said we could move in.

I like and respect her, so I said, "No, I couldn't possibly," despite the proximity to free bakery cookies.

So, back to school and spilling on the strange, new routine, it is. Because, quite frankly, this year is different from every other year since this establishment's establishment. Meaning, three out of four Kellerman children are in school.

*This spot reserved for pointing and gasping*

The twins started third grade. Doc is in Kindergarten, and the baby is a terror. Oh, a cute terror, to be sure, but I've never met a two-year-old I could trust. (The last one made some bad financial investments and it was a whole thing.) Anyhow, it's only Mrs. Jones and I. Compadres. Ride-or-dies. People who have conversations like...

"Would you like to watch Octonauts or Wiggles?"

"The toof paste is aaaall ober da floor."

"Right. Hiring a nanny, it is."

Kidding. Sort of. We all know I'm still on the lookout for that blessed lady floating out of the sky with her carpet bag. But more on my time with Mrs. Jones later.

Exhibit A
Now that we're back on the educational track, the name of the game has been personal enrichment. NFor instance, I'm doing my best to try and read out loud more to the children. It's a strange sentiment from a writer, making it sound so arduous. And I do love it. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut.

Have you ever tried to read out loud to several children, spanning several different ages?
And you're not a teacher?
Or popping quaaludes?

In theory, it's a joyous experience, filled with wide eyes and inquisitive looks. "Mother?" One child raises a hand to submit an inquiry. "Now that you've finished the story, can we talk about themes?"

You smile back benevolently and everyone takes turns talking about how the story addressed truth and their various opinions on the matter. Was it about mobile down stuffing or something more existential? But it is just Make Way For Ducklings, after all, so everyone breathes a collective sigh that the birds made it to the pond.

And then there's real life.

First of all, when you're a mother and want to read a story, they all sit on on top of you. Yesterday, as I struggled out from underneath my pile of children and gasped for air, I manged to claw my way to a copy of Little House on the Prairie.

"Everyone, sit down," I yelled at the top of my lungs.

I combed a shaky hand through my hair. "Now then. Gather round. This is a classic. A beloved staple of my youth."

A voice piped up. "What is it?"

"Little House on the Prairie."

"What's a prairie?"

"It's-"

"How little is the house?"

"I-"

"I don't like it." (No one's more that they don't like a book than a child who's never read it.)

Sighing, I cracked the cover open and began. "Chapter one-"

"Who's Laura?"

"She's the author. Now then-"

"She lived on a prairie? Can we talk to her?"

"She's dead."

"Oh."

The next hour existed in fits and starts. Mostly because the children had no idea what a covered , wagon was, and also because the baby is enthusiastic about being read to but, due to her nature, can't let it happen.

"So they're putting everything in the wagon and it's covered with a tarp. Right, so no air condi-"

"Mama?"

"Yes?"

Mrs. Jones ripped at a page. "Dis' a book?"

"Yes. So as I was say-"

"You get me milk? Ma. You readin'. I yike dat a wot." *starts singing unintelligibly about cows*

All this to say, I really am trying, but the literature angle to parenting is a little more complicated than it seems. Enrich your children? Sure. Try not to back, slowly, out of the room and buy a plane ticket to Europe? Complex.

I'll think about it later. I have toof paste to clean up.


Until Next Time, Readers!



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