Category: Play

Paper Houses

Things were not going well. Despite paper doll houses and painting projects at the dining-room table. Some of us have been inside for three days straight. Some of us felt like throwing our heads back and howling.
What’s that you say? Out there in the big wide world? Today is not freezing, or windy, or rainy? The sun is shining? I could hang the laundry?! Boots on, door open, fresh air, improved moods. Especially mine.

Better Than Television

Here’s what’s happening in our yard this morning. Add in the sounds of the children yelling over the chipper, and you get the full picture.
Below, our Monday evening activity. Also better than television. Add in a popsicle and a scrounged-up frozen chocolate chip cookie or two, and Kevin’s soccer-playing night looks a whole lot more fun for this Mama.

More Less-Stress Tea, Por Favor

Alright, I’ll admit it, we’ve been bored. What am I doing wrong here? We have the scheduled activities, the swim lessons that eat up the better part of the morning, with bike riding and snacks included. And this afternoon we have the playdates to coincide with naptime. We have the free play, open permission to upturn chairs and couch cushions, to layer blankets, to strew about toys. We have library books. We have siblings. We have bread baking mornings and cookie baking afternoons. We have an enviable backyard. We have day trips planned and accomplished. And yet, and yet … We have back-talking, complaints about the service and the food, we have biting and kicking and general restless rolling about, we have nagging and ignoring and tears. I wonder how homeschoolers manage this. In theory, I’m all for a bit of necessary boredom. In theory, it should push us toward creative solutions; and sometimes does nudge the children toward playing together, and making up their own games; but just as often, in practice, boredom seems to breed conflict. It’s like, with nothing better to occupy the human mind, inventing some trouble is a satisfying interim solution. I see this played out in miniature all day long, and frankly, it grows a little tiresome. Can’t we all just get along? I ask. And am treated to, at best, blank stares, and at worst, piercing moans of misery, wails of “it’s not fair.”
On a separate but not unrelated note, in reflecting on our recent family “holiday,” I’d like to use my friend Marnie’s rather brilliant phrase: such adventures shouldn’t so much be called family holidays, as family “experiences.” Yup. That about sums it up. “Holiday” is a word overloaded with expectations, none of which are remotely fulfillable with four children in tow. (Relaxing, rejuvenating, restful … uh, no, no, and no). “Experience” on the other hand … now that’s the truth! And it’s not a bad thing, either, the family experience, especially when it’s not trying to be something it’s not. Our recent family experience was all the things you might expect it to be: busy, rife with detours, noisy, active, mosquito-bitten, containing mysterious ailments, brief respites, good food, necessary disciplinary tactics, all in all a touch of the arduous and a touch more of ardour. Good times.
I’ve been writing this whilst overseeing two playdates, ear to the naptime baby monitor, bread baking in the oven, and my interruptions have included: tossing snacks at hungry children, sandbox mediation, and a young man in construction garb at the front door to inform me our water will be shut off for the better part of tomorrow and Friday.
Thank goodness for this cup of “Less-Stress Tea” (courtesy Homestead Herbals at Little City Farm, via Nina’s buying club).

Morning o’ Boredom

The weather isn’t cooperating with my great Outdoors Summer Plan. So we’re getting into trouble indoors instead. Actually, I think that’s okay. Things picked up after this, at least briefly, and for some of us. CJ maintained a non-stop screeching, complaining riff (could be the new tooth pressing against the gum), but the big kids dragged themselves off the floor to play Jr. Monopoly together. We ate what amounted to lunch. I had a cup of coffee. Could be worse. Boredom is good for the soul, in the small tolerable doses, that is. Pushes its sufferers toward creativity. One hopes.
I’ve had requests for my granola and quiche recipes, so will post those at some point in the near future. Meanwhile, it’s Siesta Time. What am I doing standing here typing?

The Upside to Construction

Weekends the noise stops, and the digging, and the beep-beep-beeping, and the dust settles, and all is quiet at our little corner of urbanity. Time to hang the clothes on the line. Time to get out the wheeled devices. Time to fly.

Playing School v. Real School


Yesterday was so peaceful. We played school.
Today, I was up early anticipating some time alone to blog and email friends and prepare for a writing day; sort of forgot about the two cakes waiting on the counter to be decorated for real school’s cake decorating contest. It was bottom of the barrel around here … what could be scavanged from cupboards to decorate cakes, not to mention the cakes themselves were so moist only I could frost without eviscerating them in the process. It took me eleven minutes to smear white frosting on one round cake. “These cakes could win the ‘most pitiful’ competition.” The kids riffed on that theme for awhile, but bless them, they weren’t in the least discouraged. Apple-Apple took her time and planned carefully, “Autumn tree with roots,” and Albus chucked things on randomly and then declared that it was a composting cake. (Both went with the “eco” theme.)
I should post photos, but honestly … pitiful. We had five minutes left over in which to eat breakfast, dress, and run to the walking school bus. Poor Kevin was tasked with driving the cakes to school (yes–cakes, not children, how’s that for eco madness).
Now I’m upstairs for writing day. Feeling resistant because this last story isn’t yielding easily. I’m digging through the cupboards dragging odds and sods off the shelves and tossing the mess onto the blank; a composting story, I suspect, rather than “autumn tree with roots.”

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