Friday, April 26, 2024

Signs of growing up

Alexander just came upstairs to tell me that in addition to the songs I assigned him for piano, he's also been working on the C major 5-finger scale with both hands

"You just play them at the same time and it sounds amazing. Like, I have both my thumbs on middle C, like this, and then I play with my second fingers—which would be D on the right hand and B on the left hand—and it just, like, together it sounds so beautiful!"


Yesterday we had our last official day of co-op classes, though we still have a field day next week. Rachel wasn't here (obviously, since she was in Vienna visiting Uncle Patrick, though technically I think they were in Bratislava on Thursday) so I had to teach her preschool class for her, which went well. 

We played "The Floor Is Lava" and talked about things that hop, settling on frogs, read a story about a frog on a log (and talked about rhyming words as well as synonyms), then we read some "Frog and Toad" tales. All the kids were familiar with "Frog and Toad" and so they wanted to read more than one story, which was fine by me since I had the whole anthology—and their attention—at the ready. Then we used dot paint markers to colour some frogs and logs as a prop to use while singing "Five Green and Speckled Frogs." With a little bit of free play worked in there, we covered an hour quite easily.

When my relief came, Phoebe looked at them and said, "Me not want stay in nursery with you. Me want go with my mom!"

So she came to Alexander's LEGO challenge class (where I was co-teacher) for the next hour. But I'm pretty sure if you can say "Me not want stay in nursery with you. Me want go with my mom!" that's a sign that you probably can stay in nursery without your mom.

No matter. There's another little girl around Phoebe's age who always skips the first hour of nursery, but goes the second hour when her mom is one of the teachers. 

Homeschooled babies can be a little clingy, it's true (though I wouldn't say they all are), but I think they are as happy to be independent a public school kids are by the time they're teens. I mean...I just shipped my homeschooled teenagers halfway around the world and they—by all reports—managed just fine.


I'm a homeschool mom, but I'm not a helicopter parent.

This morning after Benjamin (finally) finished his end-of-year testing (Zoë finished her exams on Wednesday), we decided we'd go to the park, as I'd promised Phoebe a trip to the park this week at the very beginning of the week...and then suddenly it was Friday. 

Benjamin and I also needed to go for a run and since I'd just replaced the flat tire on the jogging stroller, I thought we could kill two birds with one stone and go for a run at the park. 

But I also just fixed the flat tire on Alexander's picking up a new bike from the Buy Nothing he wanted to ride his bike while we were running at the park. 

Now, hear me out! It's not as bad of a fix as you think. His old bike had 14" tires and the back one was completely shredded (that's an occupational hazard of pedal brakes, which stop the back tire from moving, as opposed to handlebar brakes, which squeeze the rim to slow the bike down). We have a 20" bike, but it's just too big for him (trust me, we tried). So I ordered new tires for the 14" bike and a new tire for the jogging stroller, but while they were being shipped, a 16" bike was offered on the Buy Nothing Group. 

So we picked it up and found it to be in ridable condition and a perfect fit for Alexander (whose old bike was admittedly getting too small for him)!

I hung the 14" bike up in the garage, hypothetically waiting for Phoebe to be big enough to ride it...but we decided to return the tires (and order them again later if we want to fix them) because I don't trust myself to not snag a cute, girly bike from the Buy Nothing Group if one comes available. I mean, I have no issues having her ride Alexander's old bike, but I also know that she might like a more girly bike. So we'll see what happens.

Anyway, I put the jogging stroller into the trunk, and was about to put Alexander's bike into the trunk, when Zoë mentioned that she might like to ride around at the park. And then I thought (and said), "Hey—why don't you guys just ride your bikes to the park and I'll meet you there?"

The park isn't too far and I would ride with Phoebe on a bike...but we don't have a good bike carrier option (or any bike carrier option). We've tried a few things (from the Buy Nothing Group) but they haven't worked out. So, the kids left on their bikes and I drove the van down to the park, unloaded the jogging stroller, and then headed out to meet the kids (who were just about to the park). I ran a mile with Phoebe in the stroller, which felt like five miles, and then we stopped to play at the playground. And then we rode/ran around the park for another mile before the kids headed home.   

I reminded them to be so, so careful at the big intersection—they have to cross seven lanes of traffic—and then loaded up the stroller and started home in the van.

We saw the kids at the big island at the intersection, having successfully crossed one lane of traffic, and waiting patiently to cross the other six lanes. But I noticed, while I was watching them, that they were pushing the wrong pedestrian button. They were pushing the one for the single-lane of traffic rather than the one for the six-lanes of traffic. There was no good way to tell them this, however, because I was too far behind them to yell at them from where I was stopped and then once we were going, well, we were going. 

So I finished driving home, got Phoebe unloaded from the car, set her up with snacks and an iPad in the dining room so she could watch some Bluey episodes, and told her that if something was really important she should knock on Daddy's office door (he was in a meeting). And then I lifted Miriam's bike off the wall in the garage and rode off to rescue my poor street-illiterate children from the island (because, once again, I couldn't see a good way to rescue them from a car).

I was hoping they would have figured things out and would meet me as I was riding, but alas they were still stuck on that island. 

"You're pushing the wrong button!" I hollered to them from my side of the street, leaning over to push the button on my side (which only has one they didn't have any trouble getting to the park). 

They couldn't hear me over all the traffic that was rushing past, but soon the light changed and—miracle of miracles!—gave them a walk signal. They seemed simply shocked that it had changed and weren't sure they could actually go—they'd been at the light forever

"Come on!" I yelled, waving furiously at them. 

They shook off their shock and started dashing across the street with their bikes. 

"I don't know why that took so long!" Benjamin said when they'd joined me. "The light turned green several times! We should have been allowed to go!"

"Well, you guys weren't pushing the right button!" I explained. "The one that we can see from here—the one that you were pushing—is actually the button to go from the island to the far side. You needed to push the button on the other side of the pole. Like, if you were standing by the pole waiting to go this way, you push the sign beside you. There should have been a little arrow on the sign showing you that if you wanted to come this way you push that button, but that's okay."

"Oh! That makes sense!"

"I saw you pushing the wrong button, so I figured I'd come down to help."

"Thank you! We were getting a little worried."

To their credit, they were all very patient as they waited (and waited and waited and waited) for the pedestrian light. 

"Why don't you ride up ahead, Benjamin, to get home to Phoebe a little quicker? I left her watching Bluey, but Dad is in a meeting and I'm not sure that he knows where I am for sure." Because in my rush to leave the house again I hadn't remembered to dig my phone out of the diaper bag to text him. "I'll stay behind with Alexander."

"You got it!" Benjamin said, speeding off. 

"I'll go, too!" Zoë said. 

"Hey, guys! Don't leave me!" Alexander wailed. "Wait for me! Guys! Wait! Mom said you have to ride at my pace! Guuuuuuuuys!"

"Hey, buddy!" I called from directly behind him. "It's okay. I'm riding home with you."

"Oh, yeah," he sniffed. "I forgot you were here."

"Let's get a move on, shall we?" I asked. 

"Okay," he said, kicking off the ground, pedaling furiously and wobbling a little as he gained enough speed to keep his balance.

And that's why I'm pretty sure I'm not a helicopter parent.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. What patient children. I am glad you could help them get off the island!!