Wednesday, February 3, 2010

High Demand

As the kids continue to grow older and more independent, I have had more time to spend on other projects. While I avoided volunteer work during the newborn stage, I started last year to start saying “yes” to more things, and to sometimes even throw my hat in the ring just because I knew my kind of talent was needed. I always make sure I am putting my time into an interest that will also benefit my children – teaching their religion class, coaching their sport, or putting my organizational skills to work in their sports organization.

For the first time, I allowed my children to take part in winter sports this year, and I am still wondering if that was a good idea. I always liked to take a little time off from all that running around; to enjoy Advent, and my daughter’s birthday, which falls around Christmas. I usually read a nice long book in January, and then do some serious writing. This year I have not had the leisure to either read or write at any great length.

Although we have quite a busy schedule, when we are all together in the house sometimes it feels like I am no longer needed by them in a direct manner. Then suddenly one of them comes to me for help and I am very pleased. The only problem is that this always seems to happen to all the kids at the very same time.

Today my eldest daughter, who practically taught herself while we were homeschooling and catches on to math skills quite easily, came to me for help with her algebraic inequalities. It took about an hour to explain things to her. During this hour, my three-year old daughter continually came asking for me to play a game for her; my eight-year-old son kept asking for advice on a picture he was working on; and my eleven-year-old started crying for no apparent reason.

Done with the primary task at hand, I went on to my second daughter, asking yes or no questions to try to get at the cause of her crying. I finally got at it – she had come home with a C on a test about primes and composites and was afraid to tell me. Note that this is the same teacher who had not properly explained things to my older daughter. So I explained to her that if she didn’t get the math concept it wasn’t her fault, and we worked on understanding the test together.

My son didn’t really need my help; he was just responding to the high needs of everyone else around him and demanding his own piece of me. My three-year-old gets more than her fair share of my attention and needs to learn to wait her turn.

During this time, somebody ate all of my husband’s oatmeal cookies and all of the apples that were supposed to go with the lunches for tomorrow. My husband arrived home, ate the dinner plate I had prepared for him, and asked how I could allow that to happen!

“I don’t know. It’s my writing night,” I replied, and took my laptop upstairs to write this little piece.

Chapter 131
A song of ascents. Of David. LORD, my heart is not proud; nor are my eyes haughty. I do not busy myself with great matters, with things too sublime for me.
Rather, I have stilled my soul, hushed it like a weaned child. Like a weaned child on its mother's lap, so is my soul within me.
Israel, hope in the LORD, now and forever.

Painting above: “Lotte (Werther’s Leiden)” by Wilhelm Von Kaulbach


Holly Rutchik said...

Good for you on the writing night. How self-aware you are.
And, I have a two year old who will not stop with the crying and carrying on. Reading your words "need to learn to wait" turned a light on in my head. I know it sounds nuts, but just repeating it over and over again gave me peace and let me let go of my mommy guilt for the day. Thanks. Bless you!

Anonymous said...

Wow - that's a busy time and *with* algebra!

bettyl said...

It looks like things might be gently turning to a new direction for all of you! Sometimes, they sneak up on us and we have to realize that the things that used to work, don't any more! But it sounds like you are handling things well.

Loren Christie said...

Wow, you were pretty patient in your response over the husband's favorite cookies. Sometimes I feel so pulled in every direction that I feel like quoting a line in a Britney Spears song- "You wanna piece of me?!" Seriously, motherhood can be craziness.

Louise said...

I've just started teaching my 5-year-old about numbers and words (they don't seem to be getting round to it in the pre-school), and it's a wonderful experience now that he's old enough to enjoy learning. But you make me feel inadequate...I'm not sure if I know any algebra...and certainly not in Italian! I hope you had a peaceful time for the rest of your writing night. Greetings from Italy, Louise.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

Please don't feel that way Louise. I used to teach math in a Christian junior high school. There are new techniques for teaching math that I am not aware of. I really feel for parents who have to help their children at home with their math and are not experienced in this area.