Friday, May 12, 2006

Typical Day

This is what our basic day template is looking like nowadays — of course, endless variations on the details.

The morning light comes in our bedroom window, so this time of year I am usually awake by 7 am or a little before. Paddy sleeps next to me. Aidan is in a toddler bed in another part of our room, which is pretty big. I get up and go to the computer in the bedroom to check email. Kevin (husband) usually wakes up soon after and goes and starts the coffee and sits in his office. He brings me a cup when he goes to get his.
I usually spend until about 9am on the computer, doing one thing or another. Aidan wakes soon after I do, as does Kieron. Kieron has recently been playing on the gamecube in the mornings and Aidan watches him or gets himself a bowl of cereal, or sits on my lap and talks to me.

By 8:30 Paddy is awake and soon after that I usually go downstairs and start breakfast. We eat a different breakfast most days, which I cook — a late solid breakfast usually seems to keep them going better than cereal or whatever (though that’s a default option).

Then I do some household jobs and take a bath and work in the kitchen a bit… Clare, 16, and Sean, 13, are usually awake by then and we talk. If Brendan, age almost 18, is awake, we do his overview — I fix him some breakfast and we read and talk a bit. Then I go outside with Aidan.

It sounds like it should be about noon by then but actually, usually it’s after 1 pm. I think I move slowly through the day partly because I do little 5-minute straightenings and cleanings and laundry folding type things and also, because this is the time to be around the kids and so various conversations and interactions take place.

At about 3 pm I have a rest, if nothing else is going on. Then I start dinner. Most evenings we have some activity outside the house, recently — either baseball or choir. Most days we have somewhere to go during the afternoon, and on Wednesdays, the OT comes.

At bedtime there is a sort of flurry … our family prayers (if we manage that), teethbrushing, baths, hunts for pillows and blankets scattered during the day. Kevin watches a Netflix movie with them several times a week. Recently they have been watching old episodes of “Murder, She Wrote!” The kids have always gone to bed on their own schedule, usually with a book in hand.. Paddy usually nurses to sleep, and Aidan usually falls asleep cuddled in Kevin’s arms during the movie.

Now the big question: Is it enough? We certainly move at a slower pace than we did when I was doing things in a more structured way. At least I personally have less on my TO DO list — for the kids, I don’t think the activity level is much different. They don’t seem to miss the schoolwork. Though Sean did ask to do math last week. Clare does hers in her room. I am basically as busy as I was before, but in a different way. Rather than managing their activities I’m interacting and responding and sometimes looking for things to bring out.

One question in my mind is how to keep meaningful records. The “learning” moments in the day, the moments that seem key, rarely can be written down in educationalese. How would I write down the launch of Kevin’s game with the kids’ participation in playtesting and just hearing us talk and being part of it, for instance?

I remember a conversation with my father when he told us we were moving to Switzerland for three years. He explained to us his whole life in terms of how he saw it. It was absolutely pivotal to me. He told us how he made regular decisions to “downsize” and to get back to the core, the center of what he REALLY thought his life was about, which was helping individuals He would do thing temporarily because his ability level was such that he was asked to hold leadership positions, but he also listened to the voice that whispered to him about what his life meant.

As usual, I’m wandering off the subject, but that’s partly why I started this blog — to have a way to journal the moments in our lives and how the children are learning that takes into account those momentary flashes that illuminate the path, and the longer quiet times when nothing much seems to be happening on the surface.

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