The Sun Will Come Out Tomorrow

Oliver Twist, surprisingly, became one of our best subjects this week. Most days went very well. Monday, actually, was awesome. Looking back on it at night, I couldn’t remember any contention.

We also had a fun adventure with a bird flying into the kitchen. Woo was able to gently trap it in a towel and release it on the balcony where it flew away without problems—yay!

But Thursday was the worst. (How long is this “last battle” supposed to last???) Also, Thursday’s always seem to be our worst days lately.

It started well, actually. I’d gotten a few additional hints the night before on how to increase my ability to receive personal revelation and I was doing those, getting little tidbits here and there.

However, Herbie and Moses were on an accelerated downward spiral and eventually embroiled themselves in such a petty, small argument that it disrupted our whole class.

At that point, class was over, so that was good. I didn’t yell or threaten or even get mad, also good. But neither did I do any of the good child management techniques I’ve learned over the years. I had nothing. I was tired... so tired... I needed a break.

I separated Herbie and Moses to their respective rooms, left the kids at home with Woo (working), didn’t take anyone outside to the parking lot, but walked to the school to exchange packets. I walked so it would take longer. I needed time alone.

And then when I came home, I laid in bed for quite awhile with a pillow over my head. I really wanted to go to sleep, but it didn’t come. The kids were very subdued at that point. Honestly, I think it’s good for mom to have a bit of a break down occasionally (not every day! ... unless there’s a good reason, I guess... ) so they can reassess the consequences of their actions and see that other people are also effected by them.

I was able to call Herbie and Moses in individually to talk after that. They were sincere about changing. (And luckily they have been.)

I picked up our day by reading the kids our post lunch break book (Journey to the River Sea—lots of fun for everyone), and mostly had a normal day from there, except that it was raining so we couldn’t go outside. And I was still tired, so tired... The kids did their own thing while I went into Linus’s room for privacy and prayed and cried almost that whole hour and a half we normally go to the parking lot.

That really got to the kids too (not that that was my purpose... that would be manipulative, which is dumb... ) and several of them gave me hugs and apologized for little things they’d done during the day when I came out.

I felt like a broken woman, but I did gradually receive ideas and tweaks to improve what needed improving in our day, and the next day is always a new day and a new start, thank goodness. What a difference a good nights sleep always makes!

Ruby, on the other hand, is a changed woman. She’s cheerful so much more often now, I sometimes can’t believe it. Thursday I ate dinner, then went to lie down again and Ruby cleared all the table herself (a job I normally do, but that Ruby, Herbie and Woo have increasingly been helping me with, and that I was going to get up and do in just a couple minutes). It was very nice of her. (Although, her earlier teasing of Moses and accidental breaking of Herbie’s earphones almost certainly contributed to their clash that morning.)

One of the little changes I decided on was to head back into “the wilderness” for a nature hike. I had a bunch of sketchbooks from the kids’ travel kits still and I packed those and some pencils for the kids to draw and diagram some of their observations.

Penelope was thrilled with this new activity. She was generous with her praise on the walk in and talked constantly on the way back, fully envisioning herself as growing up into a true naturalist. She was highly influenced by our recent reading. Naturalists play a significant role in Journey to River Sea and before that we read Hatchet (slightly edited) together.

All the kids were more enthusiastic about it than I thought they’d be. Even Herbie, who hates to draw spent significant time drawing fine details and labeling a plant he’d found.

Woo no longer has to be with us when we go outside (although I still can’t send the kids by themselves to the park), but he went with us and taught the kids a bit about plants. He noticed a wild garlic or onion which Moses tasted and dissected after drawing it and found it to indeed be an onion.

Woo also suggested I could find some neat naturalist journals of Darwin, Muir or other early biologists to let the kids look over and get a better idea of what was noted and why. I thought this was a great idea, but I haven’t showed the kids any yet.

I had the kids document two things (Penelope did three), then we let the kids just explore. Linus found some giant beetles; Ruby found our first snake we’ve seen here (Archie was frightened and came to sit by me); Moses found hornets and tried to catch some lizards; and all the kids (and Woo) figured out how to get on top of a group of abandoned buildings.

It was just the change of pace we needed.

Archie was sick a day or two this week. When that was over he had many bloody noses, and then after that he stayed up one night making a fort out of his bed instead of sleeping. He threw a few tantrums that next day.

It felt like years since he’d thrown a tantrum... since anyone had thrown a tantrum... I’d forgotten all my tantrum defusing tricks. But I regained them on about tantrum two or three.

Penelope finished the whole Chronicles of Narnia this week. She’s been participating with some skill in Moses and Linus’s Narnia quiz games and even playing legos with them (she’s usually not that into legos) when the play is Narnia related.

One of my new ideas for our week included a temple activity during the time we’d normally go to the temple. I told Linus first and he was super excited. Like jumped and down and said, “YAY!”

A few weeks ago I spake in our family sacrament meeting and spoke only of the miracles surrounding the building of the Freiburg Germany temple. Linus loved that talk and is expecting this to be similar.

Archie announced he had a talk in primary today and then gave a very good one about how he lost patience putting together a Lego set once and threw away the instructions and his truck looked terrible. Then he did a very good job drawing the parallel how if we lose patience in life and don’t follow the instructions (commandments) our finished product is not going to be as good as we’d hoped it would be. I was impressed.

Anyway, here’s to hoping our next week is better! And I hope yours was great!