Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Waters Sometimes Get Choppy.

My day started out with a rousing ring of the telephone some distance from our bed this morning at 7:30a.m.  I was so tightly wound up in the covers that I couldn't fight my way out to get to the phone in time; I picked it up only to hear the classic click and dial tone drone.  Out of sorts I stood there and wondered if this droning in my ear was going to effectively set the tone for the day.  And yes it did!  Do you have days like this?  The days that shake to a different rhythm other than the one you'd hope to create for the duration of your awake time?  Gah.  I should have stayed curled up in bed a bit longer, phone call be damned.  Unfortunately it was a call telling me that the carpet installers would arrive at my house within the next 20 minutes.  Barely time to brush my teeth and get the dogs situated outside so they wouldn't cause a ruckus or run out the front door toward their destiny of trouble.  And this would be the morning of utter bedhead, too - unruly, sticking up everywhere.  I do think I saw a flash of alarm in the carpet installer's face when I opened the door.

Three hours later we had new carpet in the family room.  Pristine, without a pee spot anywhere!  I did mention those dogs with troubled destinies, didn't I?  One weighs six pounds and can't quite muster the energy to tell me that she has to go outside RIGHT NOW.  It's an ongoing touch point between her and I that we struggle with.  Even if I leash her to me and take her everywhere with me in the house, she's so darn short that by the time I look down, there's a nice little yellow puddle glistening beside her and she's turned her tiny attention to something else.  She's a Chihuahua with a bladder that needs some sort of on/off valve installed.

Max and I tried to get some school stuff done while the new carpet was being set down.  It didn't go well at all.  I was edgy from my bumpy start to the day, I was monitoring the very small dog that was mentioned for signs of wayward behavior (you know, Chihuahua stuff like biting, growling, pant-bottom tugging), and Max was refusing to write out the multi-digit multiplication problems that Teaching Textbooks was throwing at him; hence he was getting the majority of them wrong and was working himself up into a lather.  Our whole morning felt like a tug of war of epic proportions as I was encouraging him to use the gift of paper to solve the problems.  He continued to hold fast to the well-known fact that kids don't need math to survive.  I countered with a problem he may be faced with in the not-too-distant future of how he would divvy up his allowance money to purchase the game he's been eyeing for several weeks.  No response - just frustration roiling across his face.  We were each other's barometer's today, like a really bad storm and its low pressure system rolling in.  It just did not flow!

Yesterday was choppy, too.  We had several appointments to attend to - two doc appointments and then a drum lesson.  I sometimes resent appointments because they break up the day in such a way that we get all off balance and disrupted.  I feel like we can't start something new without being interrupted shortly, so why start?  I long for those quiet afternoon stretches where we are content to hang out, maybe read together, play a game or work on a project of some sort. 

Max was the wise one today.  I couldn't get my ducks lined up, so he said he wanted to take a break, get the frustration out, and go down to entertain the chickens in the yard.  It was the perfect suggestion and it helped us reset ourselves.  When he came back in, the carpet dude was on his merry way and we had this great expanse of new carpet to play with.  Max grabbed some blankets, we threw down the couch cushions and lallygagged on the floor, learning about the 1920's, the stock market crash, and the depression with a little reading from his online history class.  I was unable to explain to him how the economy or the stock market works, much like I am unable to housetrain a tiny Chihuahua.  I told him he'd have to wait for a college economics class to get those questions answered!

Then it was time to clean out part of the coop, feed everybody and suit up for the karate studio.  I also vacuumed and put together a desk that needed some assembly.  Groceries need to be procured, as do a few other items before we take off on a road trip which is quickly approaching; something my husband wants to do, so we're going with for the ride. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is some days I'm rattled when it comes to getting any school work done.  And then I get rattled about being rattled.  What I really need is a nap followed by a tall glass of iced green tea and some dark chocolate - that would set me on a positive course, again.  I'll need to grab those items when we go shopping for groceries tomorrow.

The best I can do is all I can do.  Truth be told I'm a first-born-over-achiever-perfectionist-type who is trying very hard to recover from fate.  When I'm uptight, it passes right to Max.  Free range learning sounds blissful and I'm trying to let go so that my compass points in that direction.  Little by little and honestly, some days are so great they make up for the choppy ones. 

How do you cope with responsibilities outside of homeschooling?  Are you able to go with the flow as to whatever each day brings?  Are you real or robot??  Just kidding.  I'm curious about how homeschooling parents deal with interruptions during the day, how you set up your schedule, or do you just wing it?  We have two weekly appointments, drum and karate.  The occasional haircut (although, Max said he'd be willing to cut his own hair if I let him??????), doc appointment, vet run, chicken feed gathering mission, house cleaning effort, phone call from girl friend that turns into a saga for which I am unprepared and ill-equipped.

Anyway, just coming off of a choppy day and wondering.  Set boundaries.  A little planning goes a long way.  More dark chocolate at the ready.  Chihuahua in her kennel when I can't watch her every move.  Hey, I think I'm getting the hang of this!  Just another day in the homeschooling adventure.  A day when I wonder if we're doing enough and what is enough, what does that mean.  Reverting back to some deep fears that are unfounded, but based on the way I was schooled.  Wrong way to think.  Off to bed - just letting off some steam.

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