Tuesday, January 27, 2009

protecting that which is important (knitting part 3)

Before our families start calling and telling us that we need to leave the children and go away on an extended vacation, I want to mention that I'm not really hanging on by a thread.

I'm just trying to come up with catchy titles that tie in to knitting.

We're actually doing quite well despite the fact Charlie and I would both love to have another three hours of sleep at night. Or, at least seven hours, undisturbed.

The decision to take the children out of Montessori and keep them at home has probably been one of the best decisions we've ever made. Although we both definitely need breaks, we like having the kids with us during the day. In fact, I didn't realize just how much I was missing from their young lives, until I've had them home with me.

I can see that they have matured a lot in the past six months. And since the bulk of their waking hours were spent at school, I didn't really notice the changes. When they would come home from school, they were busy wrestling with their siblings and rallying for my attention. They were anxious to see what Henry had gotten in to while they were gone, and they were trying to find all of the toys that I had put away, in their absence. Which inevitably, would send me in to a tailspin because the house that I had cleaned while they were away, would be flipped upside down almost immediately.

Yet, when they are home all day, the house is in a constant state of disarray so it's not like I can see my progress thwarted. And although they still vie for my attention, they get along and play so much better than they ever did while they were in school. The love between these kids is tangible.

Now that they are home, some days we are really active.

Other days, we don't do much of anything.

But, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted off our shoulders not having to get the kids up and dressed and fed and lunches packed and out of the house by 8:30 every morning. Why, most mornings we're still in our pajamas and figuring out what we want to eat at 8:30.

We're not hyper efficient.

We're just taking it easy and having fun.

Now that I've had the past month to reflect on our situation, it seems to me that we live in a society that is so driven. People have schedules to be here and do this and this. And if you don't do all of those things on your to-do list, you're a slacker. If your children can't write their names and read by the time they enter kindergarten, your child is deficient. Maybe you are failing them as a parent.

I am optimistic that our children will be able to read soon. But I'm trying to go at their pace. We place some fairly grand expectations on little people. And even greater expectations on ourselves for what we should be as parents.

Now, I don't want to fall in to a coma of unproductivity, but I think there's a lot to be said for doing simple things and letting our kids be kids. For a while, I felt like I was robbing our children by not giving them a school experience.

Since then, I've decided that the hours I spend every day reading to them and baking with them and pointing out various trees and insects and teaching them how to clean up after themselves, will not hinder their acceptance to college one day. Nor will it prevent them from landing a job. Or going on to win the Nobel. Or Pulitzer.

For our family, this is what works.

But because kids will be kids, if you have kids in the house and you have invested time in to a particular knitting project, make sure that you place it somewhere it will be safe. Otherwise, you might follow a trail of yarn through your house and discover that a blanket you started over the weekend...

... has been reduced to a make-believe spiderweb.


  1. Is part 3 of knitting learning how to make a spider web?! LOL

  2. Hilarious! Good job capturing the story on film as well!

  3. Hey I love the posts, you are real and honest, its probably about everyday I think, boy am I glad my one isn't triplets, not that that wouldn't be wonderful and all but maybe I really would pull my hair out! It is interesting how we all seem to want our kids to not be kids and be over achievers and have perfect manners or we are bad parents ( of course we would all like that out in public) but reality is, they are kids, and they WILL learn to read and everything else they need to learn how to do will come, book learning comes in school learning about real life is something kids need to be exposed to and really I think is more important. Anyway just wnated to say, love your posts they make me feel like I"m human and not a failure with only 1 child.

  4. Good on you - glad it all worked out - and to think - if they hadn't gone to school, you wouldn't now be appreciating this time together as much.

  5. wonderful Jen. what a great essay.

  6. Aren't they creative? Lovely spider's web...

  7. Spiderman... Spiderman... does whatever a spider can...

  8. As always I love your posts. It seems you always write exactly what I'm thinking. You should do what works best for you and not worry about the rest.

    Here's a little something I did this week that my girls loved. We cut paper into small index-sized pieces. Then wrote words for common things you find in a house (door, table, window, doll, stove, rug, TV, etc.) Then we took turns reading the words and taping the paper on the coinciding items. Then later they'd walk up to the sign, "read" it, and be so prud of themselves b/c they were reading. It was big fun. And the pieces of paper taped to various things around the house goes nicely with all the art work they've taped to every wall in our house. Have fun in between when they're driving you crazy!

  9. Well this is non-knitting-related.


    Thanks so much for coming to see in in the hospital. Thank you Charlie for the yummy cookies.

  10. You're truly amazing - you make the beds too?! Wow! :)

  11. I loved reading the spider web story, I especially loved the shot of the little spider (or is he a fly) caught in the web? You should publish a book of the funniest trips with your little brood - I bet you'd make money on the venture! People love to laugh.

  12. I love it! To see the yarn strewn about your house makes me feel so much better about what my kids do to my house. It's normal. Right???