Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Who needs Jiminy Cricket?

I snapped at the kids today for no reason. I was tired. They were getting on my nerves. I wanted a nap. They didn't. And I said a few choice words with great emphasis. Afterwards the whole room was quiet and after a beat Sami said: "I'm going to give you a couple of minutes to yourself to think about this. Then I think you owe us an apology."

Sheesh! What kind of kid am I raising?

Today the skies were gray in these parts but we managed to make a few shiny moments along the way. We visited a good friend and her kids and for the second time in three days I couldn't but marvel at my new ability to just sit and chat with another adult. Neither kid needs me all that much anymore, although Oliver still can use a bit of help to focus his attention, but he manages OK for short periods of time. I also got to enjoy chatting with my friend about her pregnancy and for the first time not feel a bit of envy. My load is starting to feel balanced for the first time in oh, so long and I guess that gives me a bit of perspective on the baby thing.

When we got home I basically forced the kids to take a walk with me. I tried to entice them by calling it an adventure walk but really I had to resort to drill sargent tactics. (Happily, I refrained from yelling so as to not be further chastized.) To get the kids regulated I started off by singing a song about marching like soldiers in the army. Each kid gets a chance to march out in front and after a few feet I shout stop and then we do some exercises. I'm always surprised that Oliver follows along with this as well as he does. I just have to remember to keep each part of the activity short and not make the exercises too complex. We walked in the alley that runs behind our house -- most people have big trees or fences lining their property so it always feels like such a private place. But today I was amused that an older gentleman was sitting quietly in his grape arbor and so got to watch our whole routine! I can't imagine what he thought about this mother/drill sargent lady marching her kids down the alley and making them do calisthetics!

When we finished the marching I started making a big deal about all of nature's treasures that we could find, even in the alley, if we looked closely enough. I pointed out the tiny tiny flowers in the moss, the half-eaten nut on the ground and the blue bird. Sami pointed out a couple of things, too, but what most amazed me was that Oliver showed more interest than usual in joining us to examine each of these treasures. He even half-heartedly tried to locate the bluebird that was at some distance up in the tree. Oliver is pretty good now at using his gaze to follow in a line from a pointed finger but I'm still not sure if he knows he can follow it all the way to the horizon. He tends to stop somewhere in the middle ground.

We ended our walk at the cat lady's house. More properly I suppose it should be called the cat house because no lady actually lives there. The owner lives a mile away and keeps two adjacent houses on our street just for her cats!! She is around 95 years old and comes to visit and care for the cats 3-4 times a day, all year 'round. The cats seem to be in good shape but this year there were so many litters born that the neighbors are starting to complain. But my kids love to chase the kittens around the empty field behind the house.

I'm planning to make this adventure walk part of my homeschooling morning once I really get into the swing of things.It will be good for both of us to get some fresh air in the morning and I'd like to get physical enough that our heart rates actually increase, but it is hard for me to get Oliver to sustain that kind of exertion unless he is jumping.


  1. Anonymous11:56 PM

    I love the image of Mom the Drill Sargent. :)

    Chee has low endurance too on physical activities. I'm trying to work on it with her as well.

    She is a big fan of obstacle courses- that might help Oliver get his heart rate up and you should be able to do a variety of things outside (and inside when the weather turns) to keep them from getting boring. We do obstacle courses nearly every day. She gets a lot of sensory input from them.

  2. What a great day for you and the kids. It sounds like they really took to that adventure walk once you got them going. Great job Oliver!!!!

    Frog insisted on sitting down every 4 feet on our walk yesterday - so we didn't get very far :0) - pictures at

  3. Anonymous11:03 PM

    Just don't tell people you have a cat house on your street! Hee hee!