Thursday, February 14, 2008

Outside the closet door.

I've been wanting to post. I even started a couple of times. There is a post brewing inside my head. It's bubbling, simmering, but not quite there yet. Each time I start to work it out there are lots of dots and dashes taking the place of finished thoughts, so I hit the 'save now' button, X out of blogger and think: "Tomorrow I will finish". But when I review it the next day nothing is exactly right so I delete it and another day goes by without a word here.

THIS isn't THAT post. But it's something. And the other? Well, if you see a post here in the next couple of weeks titled 'The Sun Never Rises', then you'll know I've succeeded. I mentally work things out by coaxing little germs of perceptions into words and if I'm lucky, sentences. And this? Well, there is something about it that just isn't ready yet. It's like a small animal living in the darkened recesses of my bedroom closet. I visit it a few times every day offering platefuls of food but so far no luck. We'll see.

But in the meantime, there is lots of LIVING going on here, in this house, outside the closet door. Today we had an extra fantastic stupendous time at the dentist. I take Oliver in every three months, alternating cleaning appointments with "happy" visits, hoping to get him used to the place and the experience of rubber-gloved hands reaching into his mouth with sharp, metal instruments. And today we had some luck. Without much to-do, Oliver sat through an entire cleaning. I couldn't stop telling him how proud I was -- because I was absolutely bursting. And the hygenist told me that he has one loose front tooth and two six year molars poking through. My boy. Isn't he too young to lose a tooth? Or is it just that I'm not ready for this particular rite of passage?

And then there is the playdoh. And the homeschooling.

I ordered my Enki kindergarten package a few weeks ago thinking that I had better get a jump on things for the fall and also that *I* needed to come up with some kind of structure for our days before my head simply started spinning from too many days without the inertia to do much of anything. I LOVE being at home with the kids. LOVE IT. Love it. But sometimes the days they do stretch on, ya know? So when the curriculum materials arrived and I started to read through them I was pretty impressed but also daunted. OK, I thought: circle time? ADVENTURE circle time? Outside? I can just really see myself outside with a big stick poking and herding my kids up and down the sidewalks and alleys with the other neighborhood moms shaking their heads and clucking at me from their kitchen windows, watching as their own kids play quietly with dolls and farm animals in the next room. I so love the ideas, the foundations, upon which this curriculum is based, but I just so do NOT love having to be the one to get my kids to do it. Especially Oliver, I thought. Even the most basic parts of this, like story-time, are going to require lots and lots of scaffolding. But then, I broke out the playdoh. We haven't used playdoh here in over a year, I'm sure. Sami was immediately enthralled and declared that he was going to make a "whole forest full of bears". It took Oliver a little bit of persuasion, but not all that much as I think of it now. And then, there they were: both boys at the kitchen table experimenting and exploring with the materials. A half hour passed. An hour. Ninety minutes. And they were still at it. As I watched them from my position at the kitchen counter, leafing through the vast curriculum notebooks, I found myself daring to think: maybe this won't be as hard as I fear.

Later, when I moved the boys upstairs to my bed for family quiet time, in which we all lay together and each pretend to read a book, I also pretended not to watch as I saw something begin to blossom between my boys. Laying together with their head on the same pillow they touch their foreheads together and couldn't get over each other. Really. Their smiles and giggles at each other were beyond priceless to me. The two of them pretty much ignore each other during most of the day, but since we started these quiet times I see, finally, a brotherhood emerging between them. I can't wait to see where this leads. It occurs to me that if I had chose a different path -- to keep working, to send the kids off to school -- that I wouldn't have the luxury of allowing them this time together. I feel so incredibly blessed to have this time and space to watch and allow things to unfold.

Happy Valentine's Day my friends.


  1. Anonymous7:08 AM

    Christine, how lovely to hear from you, and what a lovely post!

  2. I'm so glad to hear from you and read about your lives again. :-) It sounds like Oliver is making tremendous strides. How is the process of becoming an RDI consultant going?

    Happy Valentine's Day.

  3. The image I have of your family quiet time with Oliver and Sami's foreheads pushed up together smiling and giggling, IS priceless.

    Oh the adventures you three will have! I am so excited for you!!!

  4. This brought tears to my eyes. Your boys love each other so much. I love it when Sam says over and over "That's Oliver. He's *my* brother."

  5. This was lovely. A new beginning, endless possibilities.

  6. Yeah, a new post:) That is the wonderful thing about home schooling!! No rules, you don't have to sit still in a circle with hands folded ready to hear your story. I know you will figure out a great plan for your boys. How exciting!!

  7. Anonymous9:45 PM

    oh, that's so beautiful, Christine! i love love love the image of the boys touching heads, discovering their brotherhood. and Enki! congratulations! can't wait to hear about your homeschooling adventures. i wish we lived next door so we could join you for circle and playdough!

  8. Wow. There's a WHOLE lotta living going on outside that closet door, my friend! I stopped in the day you posted this but had to dash...just now coming back to revel in the beauty of these happenings. The image of the quiet time in bed with the boys...those are the moments I read about and ache for want of another child (not happening in this household!!). Then I sigh and remeber that I can read about it with other's. And be inspired to check out things like Enki.