Home Assessment 2.3.2020
Updated: Mar 17
I recently read about how writing a narrative of your day is a great way to get a bird's eye view of how things are going in life; for your children's education, your home atmosphere, etc. The goal is to randomly pick a day and not just a good one! I hope to write one each month in 2020 - it will be interesting and revealing when I look back in 2021. I am specifically thinking about what the little Meadors are learning as they live in our home, so that's my focus. You can read January's post here: https://www.melinameador.com/blog/home-assessment-1-11-2020
This chilly but sunny morning found me sleeping past my alarm and waking bleary eyed to Dale hurriedly packing for a work trip in Florida. I felt a little jealous as I noticed his sandals in the suitcase. Unfortunately Snowpacolypse hit Denver where he was planning on flying through so he is rushing to try and find another route via the sky. Incredible that we can travel so far, so fast. We will miss him this week.
I invited Samantha to wake up and play with Rex in his room, buying me a little quiet time to nurse the baby and leisurely drink a cup of coffee in the still morning. Those two children play together with joy, sometimes tears, but altogether creative joy.
At breakfast I pulled out our new poem, new hymn and new artist for February. Each month we are learning together and it is so much fun – especially for me! The new poem is titled “Animal Crackers” by Thomas Morley and when Samantha took umbrage to the line about a “kettle singing” and a “stove aglow”, we talked about personification, old fashioned wood stoves and firewood, and the power of steaming hot water. After that I ordered a stove top teakettle on Amazon because I realized that I’d never replaced our electric one that met an untimely demise at a recent dinner party. I made sure I got one that will sing.
Bradley, who is nearly three months old, took good naps and allowed me to get bills paid, personal Quickbooks updated, a turkey pot pie made for dinner and assorted chores done. Meanwhile Sammi and Rex played for three hours with a board of wood that they made into a ramp to climb into their “house” (Rex’s bed). Up and down, up and down, and only a few bumps.
During lunch we listened to the stories, “Bread and Jam for Francis” and “Bedtime for Frances” by Russell Hoban. Listening to those is balm for all of us. Hoban writes with gentle understanding about the small but important details of life. We laughed and groaned and nodded with camaraderie at Frances’ situations.
Our usual quiet time is from 1-3, so up went Rex for a nap, up went Samantha for her time of quiet play and listening to an audio book. She’s still enjoying the American Girl stories – "Felicity", "Samantha", and "Julie" are all checked out from the library now. I’m so glad I kept my old CD player from 15 years ago! I took a nap too and then did some writing, made cookies, and washed the lunch dishes. Samantha also did some art with popsicle sticks – first coloring them, then making them into letters. I was surprised at how many letters three sticks can make!
Next we drove out to pick up some friends to play and eat dinner at our house. These two are L, age 8 and E, age 6, and they are so fun to have over. First stop was a local walking path that has various exercise equipment scattered along the way. Most of it is broken but it’s still good climbing for those with short legs. Brilliant sunshine and icy wind made for lots of running – feet and noses – and somersaults and rolling down hills while Mom – freezing – and Bradley – all bundled in the stroller – walked the path.
After forty five minutes we’d walked the half mile loop and set out for home. It felt good to warm up and the children immediately began playing with blocks, playing “Motel”, dancing to big band music, and looking at books. There was chatter and laughter the entire time. It was a happy afternoon.
We played one new game that involved puffy balls, Velcro vests and mitts. It was great but challenged everyone’s gross motor skills with all the throwing and catching. We had a tournament and when it was my turn to play Rex, he quickly lost interest. All the children decided to run upstairs and play more “Motel” but Samantha realized that I wouldn’t have anyone to play with. Her eyes big with concern she wailed, “But Mother, who will play with YOOOOOU?” I sure appreciated the empathy but I assured her I’d probably be ok with the peace and quiet.
At dinner we turned off the lights except for a few twinkle ones and three candles. With soft music playing it was easy to pretend we were at a restaurant. We thought about what names we would call it and then we discussed our favorite meals and what we wanted to eat on our birthdays. E, age 6, informed us about how much room our stomachs actually take of our abdomens (not as much as I thought) and how big our kidneys are. He also told us about stomach acid which led, naturally, to vomit and how terrible it feels to throw up. I volunteered the Meadors to recite our January poem (The Yak by Hilaire Belloc) in order to veer away from bodily fluids, and that led to poems being recited by our friends, too. I really felt grateful to be eating a candlelit dinner and hearing poems recited by children. What a treat!
Once our friends were picked up, Samantha and Rex got into pajamas, Bradley was put to bed, and we read a couple of stories on the couch. One of these was fine but the other was miserable. I’ve got to figure out a way to get rid of it when no one is looking. Life is too short to read dumb books - especially when there are so many amazing children’s books!
Bedtime came and both fell asleep quickly – they played hard today. I’m proud of them for their ability to look life full in the face and eat it up. They know no fear and are living the good life.
I didn’t stop moving or working myself except for a fifteen minute nap and I was tired. When Dale is gone, I really notice how much help he is and how much his company is appreciated. I did read a bit before falling asleep, but barely...what a busy day!