Legos!

Dialogue from Lego play:
Boy: “Hey, you wanna go out with a guy that knows about science?”
Girl:  “Dude, I have a pet monkey, this fancy house, a box of treasure, a shiny trophy, and an Xbox One.”

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Some Days are Like This

Yesterday was one of those days. A rough mommy day. We’ve all had them. One of those days when you feel put upon, underwater, exhausted.  A day when your temper is a little quicker, your patience a bit shorter.  You know it.  The day when you can’t seem to get ahead of your emotions, and you snap too quick, maybe say things you don’t mean, maybe raise your voice louder than you intended.  Yesterday was one of those days.

I know myself.  My introverted, Scorpio self.  Stay at home mommyhood and I are good friends, until the moment when I can’t take a second more of being around people.  When my need for solitude has been thoroughly sacrificed, and I have no more compromise to give.  I know myself, and I know what to expect.  So yesterday was one of those days.

There was no particular trigger.  We woke up, too late in the day for normal people, but not really for us.  I made eggs, spinach, and grits, while the big kid made fruit kebabs for everyone.  We all made plates, varied for our particular tastes.  Normal stuff.  But I was irritated.  I can’t really explain why; there was no exact reason.  The big kid asked for a cheese quesadilla, and I was annoyed.  I mean, this is par for the course for him, it’s just kind of who he is, but *seriously, I just cooked food for everyone, and now you want something else, what are you talking about?!*  And when I wanted to make dinner, there was just not enough eggs, so I thought of something else to make, and there was no basil and *what the heck, why don’t we have anything in this house?!*  I went to take a long shower, because that’s my quiet place but *omg, why does this kid keep running in and out of the bathroom, this is not a play place, can’t I have 2 minutes to myself?!*  Then I went to grab a dress and *did this hanger just break?!  just like that?!*  Yes, one of those days.
I used to beat myself up about these days.  I used to feel awful, like a failure as a mother.  I would really get on myself; my inner judge would go to work.  What is your problem?  You have wonderful kids!  You  are able to stay home with them and soak up all of their awesome!  You made this choice, get it together!  But when has that inner judge ever been really helpful?
Other times, I would wallow in that feeling.  I would create a self-portrait of myself as a martyr. Does anyone ever not want a piece of you?!  How are you supposed to do everything by yourself?!  Noone appreciates you!  Not only was this not helpful, it was not a remotely accurate representation of our lives.
But what I’ve learned over the years is that it’s ok to have bad days, and it’s ok to be compassionate with myself in those moments.  When the kids have bad days, I can show them compassion.  When my husband has a bad day, I try to create space for him in that moment.  Why was it so hard to do the same for myself?  So I have learned to be present with my feelings, but only so long as I am working through them.  I have learned to forgive myself for the moments when I spoke in anger, too sharply, too loudly.  I have learned to ask for the help and support I need, because I have learned that it’s always present for me.  Most importantly, I have learned who I am and what I need, so that I can work on anticipating bad days before they happen, and try to stem the coming tide in advance.
I am not perfect; there is no perfect.  But I am the perfect me for my family.  So even on a day like this, we ended cuddled in bed together, watching videos, reading books, meditating, and making an “even if” list.  So I know that my kids will love me, even if I’m having a bad day.  And they know the same is true for me.

Unschooling Means…

Watching Olympic wrestling videos on Youtube that lead to conversations about world geography and flags and languages, then settling in to a library book at 3 am, with plans to learn Japanese when we wake up in the morning.

Making plans to head to the state capitol this week to watch people talk to legislators so that the 6 year old can think about getting involved in efforts to pass Erin’s Law in Georgia.

Checking out an opportunity shared by our homeschool friends to volunteer at a horse shelter, which leads to conversations about abuse, activism, and freedom fighters, that comes back around to an earlier conversation about Harriet Tubman.

Discussing how people get started voice acting, video game making, and professional wrestling at various points in the day.

Looking for the kid who was just coloring, only to locate him by the sounds of a drum session.

Cuddling on the sofa watching Everybody Hates Chris on Amazon Instant.

Amani’s Toy Drive

Amani has become very passionate about ending child abuse.  He decided he wanted to take action, and so he is spearheading a toy drive.  All toys will go to Nia’s Place, a local supervised visitation and exchange center.  Nia’s Place provides a space for children, ages 0-18, who have been victim or witness of domestic violence to spend time with their non-custodial parent when their families have been separated.  There are two visitation spaces that are stocked with toys, books, and games for the children.  As the children use the toys, they become worn and sometimes break or pieces go missing.  The toy drive will replace the toys currently being used.  Please consider donating new or gently used toys to the toy drive!  Image

Check out Amani’s video about the drive!!

Around these parts

Lots of things have been happening around here!  

Baby girl is now 6 months!  We have started her on solids now, and have been following the Baby-Led Weaning method.  We started with bananas and eggs.  So far, she has tried banana and egg pancakes, steamed veggies (carrots, broccoli, sweet peas, green beans), salad veggies (lettuce, spinach, cucumbers), gluten-free pancakes, watermelon, oatmeal, and brown rice cakes.  I think her favorites so far are the cucumbers and brown rice cakes.

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Manikins has continued making Youtube videos, although I haven’t been keeping up in the editing and posting department.  He has about 3 or 4 more that he’s filmed.  They’ll be up soon, I promise.  He’s also been teaching himself to play the drums.  He got the drum set a couple Christmases ago, but soon after decided he would rather play electric guitar.  We got him an electric guitar this past Christmas (you can check him out playing at the end of this video), but now he’s decided that he likes the drums better.  He’s been practicing on his own a lot, and is getting really good.  He’s got a mean drum roll :).  We’re trying to get some video of him on the drums, but we’ve got to convince him to play when he’s dressed lol.

We’ve been reading lots of comic books, and now that he’s becoming a more confident reader, he’s been taking on reading some of the characters.  For a while, he didn’t really like going to the library, but the other day he declared, “The library is pretty fun.”  So we’re planning to go a lot more often now.  Unfortunately, the hours in our public library system were severely cut recently.  

Dad and I have also realized that he is doing math in head.  A while ago, he asked about learning to add, and we did worksheets for a bit, but that has never really been his thing.  We did some Khan Academy, and he breezed through the first few skills tests without having ever seen the material before, but then he lost interest.  He has this persistent interest in the years that things happen though, like this game came out in this year, this show started this year, and in this year I was this age.  He would ask us how old he was in a certain year, and we would tell him the answer and how we figured it out.  We realized a few days ago that he’s now able to do that addition and subtraction in his head really quickly.  Dad calls him a historian, because he will run down a list of things that happened in a given year.  

His love of animation and video games continues.  He is super into voice actors, and can tell you all this interesting information about the production of his favorite games and cartoons.  I was really amazed by how many actors I knew that did voices on cartoons and games.  I learn so much from him.  I now have this strong love of comic books, and an interest in Black comics and comic creators that I never would have had otherwise.  (I will do a post on the things I have learned soon!)  We had intended to go to Onyxcon this past weekend, but got there too late.  I heard they are doing it again in August, though.  Hopefully we will be able to get tickets to San Diego Comic Con.  I think he’s most excited about that one.

Manikins is also working on a toy drive for children who have been subject to abuse.  More on that in the next post.

Dad and I are doing our same old same old.  I am trying to make sure not to lose myself in this current configuration of our lives.  We are getting into a good unschooling groove though, and I’m happy about that.  

Until next time!!