May 27, 2009

Pit Check

5/27/2009 — cori
No one ever informed us that we would ever have need of something called a "Pit Check". Why would anyone ever want to smell someone else's pits on purpose??? That is the most important question here. I guess love and personal responsibility for younger people you brought into this world makes you do things you never thought you would.

Take for example, Bennett. He can spend all day in the shower and never even use soap. I truly don't understand. He was hugging me goodnight one evening when a noxious fume came between us. I kept smelling him until I located the origin of the odor. It was his pits - and this was after he had showered. Ughhh! Daddy made him get back in the shower and gave him detailed instructions on what to with the soap and where!

I can't even tell you how many times Bennett has gotten out of the shower, Chuck given him the 'pit check' (which includes smelling feet - because the water at the bottom of the shower doesn't automatically clean them) and marched him back into the bathroom for his second shower. At what age do you just assume they can adequately clean all their bodily parts?

Oh the joys of parenthood that no-one warns you about. But if they did, do you really think you would believe them? You'd probably think...not my child, that would never happen to us, we know how to raise clean kids...and then you become a parent and all thoughts of perfection fly out the window. Especially with boys.

The old saying is true afterall:
What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That's what little boys are made of !"
What are little girls made of?
"Sugar and spice and all things nice
That's what little girls are made of!"

Changing Times

5/27/2009 — cori
I was at a park today where I've taken the kids to play since they were all babies. I saw lots of moms there today with little ones at the stage of life we were at a good 5 to 7 years ago. It made me melancholy wondering if I enjoyed it to the fullest as much as I could. I'll never get those years back. Was I too worried about 'the schedule' or making sure I packed everything in the diaper bag or too frantic from the exhaustion that life with toddlers brings? Or did I sit there and smile as I watched them play, giggle and explore their new little world with excitement and energy? I really miss that time of mommy-hood.

In the same vein, I've also been wondering if I'm enjoying my kids enough at their current ages: 10, 7 and 5. As much as I miss their teeny, tiny toddler voices and needs, I also love where they're at now. They are super fun. I love who they are as individuals. I love how they see the world through this age. Everyone is still good, there is no bad in the world - at least nothing that a superhero couldn't fix (yes, the line is still fuzzy with reality vs. fantasy). They are so, so innocent. They are not self-conscious - yet. They do everything with abandon. Playing is by far the most important priority in their little world.

Even though I never dreamed I would ever homeschool my children, I've enjoyed the challenge and excitement the past 5 years have brought us on this journey. I think I've learned more than they have. I never realized how much work it would be; how much I would love it and hate it simultaneously; how rewarding it is; or how much I would stand in awe as I watched them learn and the exciting process that is.

But the challenge, for me, has come with juggling my time with the kids. Many moms are able to work out a routine that fits their family's needs wonderfully. I, on the other hand, seemed to struggle with this non-stop. It's understandable being that 'time' is one of my strongest love languages and I value it greatly. Feeling like I had to choose between the kids and who got my time when, started weighing very heavy on my heart. It started taking away all the advantages that homeschooling seemed to be giving to our family. And most importantly, it started taking away my joy in them.

We always said we'd take it year by year to see what God wanted for the kids and their education. This has been a very humbling road for me. As wonderful as it has been academically for the children, it has also been a huge growth in my heart and way of thinking. I love the challenge. I love the research. I love having the freedom to pick and choose topics my children have an interest in and watch that knowlege expand as we learn through it together and go as far as we want. But, as with all things, there is a season. And the season to walk off the homeschool path and walk onto the public school path has come.

I was very surprised by the timing. I thought God was preparing my heart for a year from now. I was already excited about a charter school I had looked into for the children. But he knew they and I needed the separation even sooner - even though I wasn't able to admit it. And I have to say, I'm soooooo excited about the prospect of just being mom again. The line between 'teacher' and 'mom' became so blurred. I know moms are always teaching their children in life lessons, but also teaching academic lessons can at times be challenging. Don't get me wrong, the rewards of homeschooling have been numerous and I would do it the same way all over again. I thought I'd homeschool forever, actually.

We're walking into this new path with excitement, optimisim and a little trepedition of what lies ahead. But we trust God in all this. He's been in control from the beginning. But most of all, I feel I can finally get back to just enjoying my kids again...not feeling like I have to divide my time up equally between them all and still find time to get lessons prepared, dinner cooked, house cleaned and everything else.

Chloe and I are planning on having a wonderful year of playing dress-up and makeup everyday and doing whatever it is girly-girls do. She's probably born the brunt of the lack of my time in this whole venture. Granted, she didn't know what she was missing (time with me), but I did and my heart was very heavy because of it.

This is just one of the many changes life brings. I'm glad for change...other wise life would be boring and predictable and we'd never grow.

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