Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Littlest Author

Caedance spent all evening frantically writing one story after another, her pencil scrawling across the lines, ceasing only in her mad dash to be the illustrator of the tales from her mind.

To say that this child likes to write would be like saying Niagara Falls is just a waterfall. It describes it, yes, but inadequately at best.

I think Caedance needs to write. Her mind is constantly tangled with characters and plots; a wicked brew of scheming creations twisting around up there, waiting to be put on paper and set free.

I think writing is her best form of communication. Pencil in hand, this child owns her language and her conversation. She is in control when she's wielding the implement and smoothing out the paper.

Every child has their purpose; the drive that will mold them into their future. Caedance must write. She will write. Sure, she's presently published under the Dickinson Staple & Tape label; but one day......oh, one day......what other places will print her name?

Do you want to know why this copious amount of writing is such a miracle around here? Just a matter of months ago, this is the child who could barely hold a pencil. This is the one who had such a disinterest in writing. Who cried when asked to complete a worksheet because it hurt her hand.

And she's writing.

"Mom! Quick, I need to write a book!" she calls out, making her mad dash to the table, digging through her pencil box to retrieve her pencil; settling herself in her chair, and getting ready to pour forth her next tale.

Let the writing begin. This child who not so very long ago was bested by this particular form of communication now has an awful lot to say.

And I for one cannot wait to read it. All of it.

Friday, February 17, 2012

"Aren't I Just Something?"

One is painstakingly, sometimes irritatingly, tidy.

The other seems to take great pains to be otherwise.

One little girl, I kid you not, could eat tomato soup while riding atop the swaying back of a camel. While wearing a white dress and using a spork as her utensil. And not get a single drop on her. Not one. It's true. (Untested, but true.)

The other one finds a way to make a plain piece of white bread into a laundry nightmare. I don't know how she does it. I don't. But she manages it. Quite well.

I've never worried about my tidy one. Sure, give her a chocolate ice cream cone, I'm not worried about her white shirt. Absolutely, she can have that big glass of cherry Kool-Aid, her Easter dress is in no danger. Let her eat the spaghetti; I do not fear the clean up.

My other darling, on the other hand, my not so neat one? It's her meal time antics that keep my worries honed to a point. I know everyone has a messy eater. In a family with more than one kiddo, you gotta figure you'll have at least one. And the funny part is that I don't think she's trying to be deliberately sloppy about the process.

Our untidy one also happens to be our non-eater. In the past, food held little interest for her, being as it was just a forced break between all the fun she had been having before being called to the table. "Do I HAVE to?" she'd mournfully ask.

"You do," was our non-negotiable reply.

Shoulders slumped, she'd make her way to her chair. And sit. And sorta eat. Pick. Pick. Pick. Pick.

"All done!"

"Not so fast, lady." Rearranging food on a plate is not the same as consuming any amount of it.

She's finally reconciled herself to the fact that meal times are a reoccurring event which she must endure. She sits. She eats. But I often wonder if those earlier years of disinterest fostered a sense of Devil May Care-ness about the entire process.

Hair. Shirt. Pants. Socks (yes, even socks). These can be used as napkins. Under our watchful eye, not so much; but when our backs are turned, oh, it happens. I see the evidence every time I do laundry.

"How did you get yogurt on your sock?" I ask her.
"You're so silly, mom!" she laughingly replies. As if that explains it all.

"Use your napkin today, hon. Please?"

"OK. I will mother. No worries."

Yeah, the thing about that is I'll still find whatever she's eating all over her clothes. Inevitably. All over. Napkins or no.

She just manages it.

And then laughingly says, "Mom, aren't I just something?"

Yes. You are, sweet one. You certainly are.

Maybe one day my neat eater's habits will rub off on her. Until then, I'll take her messiness and love it as part of her unique self.

She certainly is something, after all.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Found At Last!

We live in one of those older homes with an attic. A real, true, honest to goodness attic. On a side note, I love our attic. How cool is an attic with its angled ceilings and cozy little knee walls? They are fabulous.

I digress. We haven't quite gotten around to making the renovations that will turn our glorious attic into fully finished 3rd floor; it's more of a semi-finished 3 season room. Instead of the plush carpet I dream of, it currently has a clown hair orange remnant-cut covering the bulk of it. My feelings about this clown hair rug are fodder for another blog, another day, but I can tell you that when we moved into the house, we found a book hidden beneath the it.

It was an old copy of a Golden Book Alice In Wonderland.

The girls were enthralled that we found this buried treasure and spent a lot of time seeking out nooks and crannies to see if the Literary Fairy had left them any other joyous gifts. She didn't. But they loved this singular find anyway.

Then one day it disappeared.

This happens a lot in our house. Books and toys are loved and enjoyed, and then somehow dissolve into the ether. Where do they go? Who knows. What I do know is that the girls will happily move on to a new love, a new devotion, and forget all about that lost object.

Until something makes them think about it again.

And then they want it. The very thing that is missing. Whatever it may be. Even if they have another of it. They want THAT one.

So it was with the Alice in Wonderland book. After they lost it, they moved on. They adore books, so it wasn't hard to distract them. Every once in awhile they asked about it, wondered about it, searched for it. They couldn't find it. I even ordered another copy from that great purveyor of replacements for the misplaced: EBay. It mollified them, but didn't quell the curiosity for the location of the one they'd lost.

"It's somewhere in our house, Mom. Do you think the house ate it?"

 I did not.

Recently, their curiosity has sparked anew, sending them scurrying hither and thither in search of this great white whale in our house. Where could the book be? I asked them not to tear through the bookshelves; we'd already done that. I asked them to avoid the toy boxes; checked those too. I suggested under the furniture, behind the furniture, all places we'd checked before but which didn't add to my Clean Up List, which made them a-okay searching spots in my mind.

And so they looked.

I suggested they give up. (I sure did). We have no fewer than 4 copies of that tale of Alice and her adventures down the rabbit hole. Really, we do not need this one copy that is missing. Move on, my darlings.

They disagreed.
And continued their search. I shrugged and went on about my day, forgetting all about their renewed hunting efforts.

But then, miracle of all miracles, Caedance found it. She actually found this book. This lost treasure that had been missing for well over a year. You read that right. One year; more than that. Gone. They'd torn through every conceivable spot to no avail, and yet she found it today.

The joy. The jumping. The squeals of delight. Both girls were beside themselves with glee. Myself, I was just stunned. The impossible had just occurred. How could this possibly be? Where could it have been for all this time? Why had it alluded us?

Where was the book, you ask?
Was it tucked in some far put and awkward place?
Was it crammed behind some unused knickknack, gathering dust in its forgotten place?


It was under the cushion of the chair. The chair I sit in all of the time. To write the epic adventures of Twin Parenting, in fact. This very blog.

Right. Under. There.

I suppose it says something about my cleaning skills that I haven't lifted the chair cushion in over a year; a revelation I'll have to ponder closely.

But mostly, (I have firmly decided), it speaks to the determination and perseverance of my girls that they wouldn't give up looking for it. No matter how many replacements they got. No matter how many days, weeks, months, or years passed by. They still remembered. Still wondered. Still searched.

And they found it.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Same or Different?

Despite being 7 years old, neither of the girls is really that into the whole clothing thing. I'm not complaining, mind you. I've seen what awaits us out there.

Shoe Horses
Sock Hoarders. (gasp!)

I am quite content with life in my little world of "I Still Pick Out All My Kids' Clothing Because If I Didn't, They'd Happily Wear A Potato Sack."

I am, however, hoping to teach them the independent art of choosing their own clothes everyday. And since they'd gladly spend their days shuffling about in pajama pants, I guide this daily procedure carefully.

"Girls, what would you like to wear today?"

"Pajamas!" (of course)

"Yes, okay. I know that. But we might go out somewhere later and wearing pajamas isn't the best choice for that. What else might you like to wear?"

Silent stares. (Pajamas or nothing).

"Let's start with this: Do you want to dress the same today or do you want to look different from each other?"

"The same!" they both cry out with glee.

"You want to look the same?" I ask, just to double check, even though quite frankly this is their daily response.

"Of course we do, Mom," they say with a hardy dose of Eye Rolling.

I won't lie. I like this. I like that they choose to dress the same right now.  But I want to know why. I know why I like them dressed alike, but why do they choose it?

"Why do you want to dress the same today, loves?"

"Because we love are-chother (each other) mom."

A statement, made as if it were the most obvious thing in the whole world. They love each other; therefore, they want to dress alike as a outward profession of that feeling.

They love each other. And they want everyone to see that.

I like that reasoning. Simple and to the point.

They love each other.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

A Case For Being Different

Every single school morning since August 29th I have awoken the girls with a simple morning greeting: "Good morning my loves! Time for school!" I know it's not a particularly flashy wake up call, and really I probably could dig deeper and come up with something brilliant if I tried, but morning is still morning and I'm not completely my superior self in those hours. So there you have it.

And every morning as the girls hear my greeting and begin to stir in their cozy beds, their response is always the same: "Homeschool right? Not school at a building?"

Every night as I plant one more kiss on their heads and squeeze one more hug in before the lights are turned off, I ask them what they are most looking forward to in the next school day. What new piece of learning are they excited about?
And their reply is always and ever this: "Homeschool right? Not school at a building?"

Here we are, greeting the month of February already, and still they worry about school. Even after 5 full months of this routine;103 days, each a continuation of the day before. They each still suffer a moment of worry every day. (Or at least 2 moments of worry, I guess).

Has mom changed her mind?
Has something changed?
Will tomorrow be the day we have to go back?

My heart hurts for them in their worry and fretting. They only went to one year of school at a building. One traditional year. And it was Kindergarten at that. But still it has left its marks on them. I think back to my own Kindergarten experience and I still smile. It was fun. I'm a natural chatterbox and being around a squajillion other kids all day suited me just fine.

But not my daughters.

They are not me. They are their own individual selves, and for this stage in their lives they like quiet and stillness. They like the neatness of moving fluidly from one subject to another. Or having the ability to linger on something that might be tricking them up, going over it "just one more time, just to be sure I've got it, Mom. Please?". Or being able to delve deeper into a subject that interests them, further exploration, more discussion, an impromptu field trip. "I just can't believe how amazing this is, Mom!"

This works for them. It works for me. Win-win. We'll do it as long as we're able. For as long as they're willing to put in the effort, because it is by no means a small sacrifice on their parts to do this every day. It takes a lot of work on the part of the parent and the kiddo to school at home successfully. Anyone who thinks otherwise may want to rethink it a bit. I'm just sayin'.

But how I wish they had happier memories from their time in a classroom. I truly do. They are living proof that there are no cookie cutter learners. We are all different and unique. And I feel like we're kind of celebrating that with this first year of OHVA. We're taking what works best for them and absolutely embracing it every single day.

And you know what? That's a pretty good thing. It really is.