Tuesday, April 15, 2008

not quite the first spring day

The first day of spring is one thing, and the first spring day is another. The difference between them is sometimes as great as a month. ~Henry Van Dyke

Sean and Kevin just got back from the football playing field down at the high school. Paddy and Kieron are outside. Aidan is eating chili at the counter behind me. Clare was out earlier on the deck playing her guitar. I start noticing all the things that need to be fixed or cleaned up around the house and yard. Kevin is finishing up the taxes and getting a new prototype ready for the new game he has been working on. All this tells me that spring is perhaps very close now, with the snow melting in patches that seem out of date, like when you have lost some weight and are wearing your old clothes with the creases and stretches that don’t match the way the clothes hang anymore.

Our days have definitely gotten looser in structure, too. Partly because I have a rotten spring cold, and partly because I feel like if I spend the time it takes to plan and carry out regular lessons, I will miss the changes that after all often come very subtly.

Like the boys spending all kinds of time playing plastic ball-and-bat baseball upstairs — all four boys, ages 5 to 15.
Or Brendan heading outside almost every day to reconnect with the forest.

Yesterday evening Kevin took the older three and Aidan to a hockey game. Our niece is dating a hockey forward and he got some free tickets, so several of the uncles and aunts and cousins went, along with Grandma and Grandpa, to a pub and then to the game. I didn’t go, because I was so sick last night. Paddy and Kieron stayed home with me and sort of regretted it, when they heard the stories when the others got home. And I was mean and didn’t let them watch a movie — I wanted them to feel the unaccustomed silence in the house, because it is so rare. We played SET and I read a lot to Paddy, and Kieron hung around and talked to me about Sonic the Hedgehog, mostly. When Kevin got home he showed them a couple of clips from Kolchak the Nightstalker. That spooked Kieron enough so that he didn’t sleep well last night.

I had taken night time cold medicine and didn’t even stir till 9 am. I can’t remember the last time I haven’t been awake several times during the night and wide awake by 7 am. The reason for this was that Aidan was still asleep, too. He has been a restless night person recently but not last night. I guess the hockey and pub grub were just the thing for him.

This morning we got into a discussion of how “Signs” (the Shyamalan movie) was more enjoyable but not as good as “The Sixth Sense”.

Then Sean did his regular habitual school stuff. Then I did Algebra with him.

I read a little bit of our read aloud to Kieron and that was about it for anything formal with him.

The kids started playing SET and then played their baseball game, and Sean went out to lift weights, and I got busy taking apart the master bedroom and putting it back together again.

After that I read to Paddy for a long time. He is expanding out of Tintin again so maybe it was that I wasn’t doing enough lying around so he wasn’t getting enough chances to come up to me with a book.

Aidan made up a sort of learning game for himself. He had one of the altar server calendars telling the schedule for Sean and Kieron. He asked me to cut up the hundreds chart I printed out for him some time ago. Then he started doing this:



He matched every single one and was very happy about it.

The other day he asked me to write the days of the week on cards. Then he spent a long time laying them out and talking about them.


One must learn a different… sense of time, one that depends more on small amounts than big ones.

Nothing to do with anything else, except that it’s Poetry Month, but here are 30 Ways to Celebrate Poems.