Reading Concerns

Clara has always struggled with reading.

She dropped behind her classmates early on. It wasn’t surprising given her complete and total lack of interest in the entire “learn to read” plan . Given a list of words to practice such as “the”, “two” and “go” she would respond to flashcards of the same with answers like, “turtle”, “grapes” and “birthday cake”. And with that less than auspicious start, she was off on the road to reading.

Over the years she has, of course, greatly improved but in a house full of readers, she is a listener. Happy to listen to audio books for hours and beg for chapter after chapter of whatever our current nightly read is.

This has been troubling as a mother (not to mention as a reader and an author) but Clara has always been disinclined to acquiesce to anyone’s plan just because someone thinks she should. When I worry, I remember how much she likes books and stories and figure that eventually Clara will decide that reading is important to her but it’s not going to happen until she darn well feels like it.

Two nights ago I gave her yet another pile of books that I thought she might be interested in and now I have a new worry.

Will the girl ever get enough sleep again?

Clara has gone to bed hours past bedtime since she picked up Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. Of course as a life long “just one more chapter before bed, oops it’s 2am” sort of girl I’m not about to throw stones. But as her mother I am a bit concerned. Not only is she not sleeping but what book do I give her next?

Book suggestions welcome!

Scary

Have you ever done a thing that scared you but you did it anyway and, even though it went well, immediately afterwards it was still so terrifying to think about that you couldn’t even talk about without sweating and almost bursting into tears?

I did a thing last weekend and I’m still not sure I want to talk about it.

It was fun (on the way up).

It was terrifying (on the way down).

I did it lots of times.

I liked the challenge.

I hated the way back down.

I tried really hard not to think about the scary part while I was doing it.

And if I continue not to think about it maybe I’ll do it again someday.

 

Thanks to Uncle Jim for another great weekend adventure and for taking pictures too!

 

Teenager

Last week Ivy sat at the dinner table with an attitude of, shall we say… discontent. John ever the problem solver asked, “Ivy, what brings you joy? What do you like?”

Ivy replied…

(Now mind you, Ivy has recently discover that she can read my blog. This is a new fact of life that I have seriously mixed feelings about but I can assure you, knowing that my lovely eldest daughter will read this sooner rather than later, I speak the truth and nothing but the truth, so help me God.)

… “eating…. And sleeping.”

John and I burst into laughter at this totally stereotypical teenage reply, which was of course totally unwarranted because she was only twelve at the time.

But today she is thirteen.

We now have a teenager in our midst. She likes eating, sleeping and even, when to pressed to answer by the laughter of her parents, reading and drawing.

She’s pretty alright, we think we’ll keep her.

Happy Birthday Ivy!

 

 

Zen I Am Not

The world is full of people and articles and memes and cute rugs and inspirational posters and sassy bumper stickers that all tell us that we should live in the moment. They proclaim that we should focus on what we are doing and not dwell on the past or dream of the future so that we can enjoy the present fully. I’m here to be argumentative and contradictory and say that’s an absolute horseshit way to live your life.9c0dcd10f1c79da228208860590c6c75

I feel that I have some authority to say that because, despite my best efforts not to follow this advice, my concussion and resulting long recovery has forced me to “live in the moment.” All. The. Time.  Sadly this is not because I’m cherishing the fact that I am still alive or that I’m savoring every moment of my children’s bickering because one day they will be grown and the house will be quiet and I will miss them. No, instead it’s that for many months it has been extremely hard for me to think of anything beyond what I am doing.

Being forced to live in the moment is hard.

If you live fully in the moment you must set time aside to think about the future. As in, stop and think what will be for dinner and how it’s going to be made because you are not capable of thinking of what is for dinner while you change the laundry.  There are many moments that I have been happy to be fully present for. Laundry, however, should be for multi-tasking, wool gathering, dreaming, scheming and planning dinner.  In fact as opposed to living in the present, I want to be more like Anne of Green Gables who dived into beautiful moments with her whole heart and dreamed away all the mundane ones.

“I don’t like picking fowls.” She told Marilla, “but isn’t it fortunate we don’t have to put our souls into what our hands may be doing? I’ve been picking chickens with my hands but in my imagination I’ve been roaming the Milky Way.”

Anne of Avonlea by Lucy Maud Montgomery

I continue to recover but as I do I still find multi-tasking extraordinarily challenging.  And yes, many would say that’s a good thing. But please people, I am a mother, I run best on a steady diet of caffeine and multitasking. Now I have minimal amounts of both and I’m making do, but this is not how the world was meant to be. Above and beyond the daily challenges this “living in the moment” brings, I find it terribly hard to write.

B.C. (before cow) an idea would float by while I was walking the dogs. I would let it roll in the back of my mind while I fed the chickens. The idea might percolate back to the surface while making lunch and start arranging itself into paragraphs while I drove to pick up the kids. By the time I found myself in front of the computer, sentences, already lined up in my head from a day of dreaming and multitasking, would flow from my finger tips.

No longer.

I’m living in the moment and that’s a horseshit place to be when you are a dreamer at heart.

Luckily my dreams have been swimming tantalizingly close these days. Stories form in my head only to skitter away when the kids ask a question. Blog posts try to write themselves in the half awake moments of the night. Snippets of phrases pass through and fade away. Trying to catch the idea is like finding a dragon in the clouds only to watch it change and blow away. But I can see the dragon again and that’s a very good sign.

Insurance Foolishness

The deck at my family’s Shack” has never had a railing. Dogs, kids and intrepid adults have spent over thirty years jumping off the edge and climbing back up without the benefit of steps. But the powers that be in home owners insurance decreed it must have one… or else.

So now it has one…

… and I’ve never seen the deck look so hazardous.