Wednesday, June 07, 2006

In Which I Attempt to Blog

I've taken a couple of shots at blogging over the last few days, but I keep passing out with my head against the keyboard before I can finish.

Today's dirty little word is Lexile. We'll just leave it at that since either the word means something to you and you just groaned and nodded sympathetically, or it doesn't and I'd be whining just to hear myself whine.

I know I'm prone lately to blogging the laundry list that is my day, and I'm grateful to those of you who still somehow manage to find that interesting. Today is another laundry list, and yet . . . it's not.

I think the *reason* I blog my What-I-Did-Today lists--besides being inherently self-centered and sure that it's more interesting than it really is--is that I am deeply sure that in each way, each day is important somehow. Sometimes the list is there to help me find the redeeming value in the day--the reassurance that there was SOMETHING meaningful in the day. I didn't just give my kids one more reason to seek therapy as adults. Sometimes that's the purpose of the list.

And sometimes the purpose of the list is to celebrate a day. "Well done, Pig." I tell myself, having no farmer to do so for me.

And sometimes the purpose of the list is to go back and enjoy it again, before it slips into my memory--which is spotty, having been permanently damaged by so many consecutive months of sleep deprivation.

Let's go back through today and enjoy the highlights again. I don't have any pictures, since it didn't look like a special day to begin with. So I will make a concerted effort to spell things correctly for once. I want you to picture the day in your mind's eye and not be wondering for the nth time how I keep myself employed in publishing.

The alarm went off at 7:06, which is where it has meandered to after having been dropped a few times. I originally set it for 6:55, and it has wandered since then. I got up, turned off the alarm, and walked back to bed. I tugged the blankets out from under Himself and tucked "my" half around Milo, who had been asleep next to me. I had a moment of gratitude for both Himself and Milo. They both look angelic asleep.

I let Max sleep in and spent some time at the computer. Then I woke Max and we had a hurried half hour getting people fed (by now both twins were up) and then I took Max to school. He's really enjoying school. I am relieved.

Back home I took the dogs on a walk and then went to find Chris. We spent an hour or so visiting with each other. We try to do this each Wednesday morning--just take an hour from the week and be with each other. Some mornings it's easier than others to let go of the enormous to-do lists and just focus on each other. This morning--maybe it was the sun, maybe it was getting enough sleep the night before--we had a really nice "date" here in our own home. We talked about--oh, everything. Finally, it was back to reality.

About this time last year I got RightStart Level B to try with the twins, but it didn't take me long to decide that they just needed more time with plain old object-number correspondence. They couldn't look at a small group of objects and name the number without touching each and counting. RightStart doesn't work well with that strategy, so I waited.

So I pulled out RightStart last night and looked over the first few lessons and then came up with my own "intro" lesson to assess whether or not they were ready. This morning I pulled out the abacuses--still in shrink wrap--and had them ceremoniously unwrap them. They did so with much ooohing and aaahhhing. We talked a bit about the five and five grouping on the abacus and then we counted the tens. Instinctively, they counted 1-ten, 2-ten, 3-ten, 4-ten.

Thing is--RightStart LOVES this. RightStart USES this to teach little people about place value in a way that seems to develop an understanding of base-ten place value like no other method of instruction I've ever found (okay, go back and read that in your Wallace voice--"RightStart, it's like no other method of math instruction I've ever found. Math, Grommit!")

Anyway, so we gleefully counted with "the math way of counting" on the abacus and played with numbers 6 through 10 as "5 plus X" which Ben would do by showing on his fingers first, then on the abacus. This slowed us down a little as it requires some concentration to show any number other than 1 or 5 on your fingers when you're four.

Then we played a quick game where I'd set a certain number of objects five or less out and they had to holler out how many were there--without counting. They did beautifully, although struggled with four.

Since my pupils were still full of enthusiasm--we quit. 15 minutes of math is enough for a four-year-old and I wanted them wanting more. They knew they'd done well. They glowed.

I made an early lunch of good deli meat with fresh veggies on good bread . . . it was an unusually good (if low key) collection of sandwiches.

I worked for a few hours on the Lexile business and then faced the fact that I needed to go to the library to get more books. It was well after lunch now and getting on towards the time when someone needed to get Max, so I offered to take the twins with me to the library. Chris thought about it and tossed Max's bike in the back of his white truck. He'd go get Max and then they'd go to the bike store to get some seasonal work done on Max's bike. They'd check on the unicycle while they were there.

Meanwhile, the twins and I had a wonderful time at the library. Four-and-a-half is old enough to entertain oneself for hours in a good children's section of the library, and the new library has a wonderful children's section. Ben was in a Mom-and-me mood, so he sat with me the entire time and--since I needed to skim through each of the books I was getting anyway--we would read the more promising ones aloud. If Ben said, "My turn" when I was done--which is what they do when they like the book you just read to them and now they want to quickly read it again, memorizing the words you just read--then we kept the book for my work project.

After a couple of hours we had 28 books, so we headed for the self-checkout and then to the Children's librarian desk to sign up for the Summer Reading Program. Milo very carefully wrote his own name in his book, but was upset since he knew the "s" in his last name was wrong in some way. We managed to beg a treasured eraser from one of the librarians, and Milo and I wrote the s together.

Back home we had an early Taco dinner on the deck and then Max went off to play with the neighbors while Chris and I hung out on the deck and talked about a variety of subjects including but not limited to--the marketing of Britney Spears, the role of the corporation as "human being" and the effect of shifts of polarity on the planet.

Finally, it was time to get back to work. We pulled the two youngest back indoors and Chris went off to paint bodies and I went back to the Lexile stuff. My step-mom called and we discussed my sister's wedding plans. I got a great idea for a Father's Day gift. I kept working.

At bedtime the twins and I did a bit of work in MCP Phonics kindergarten and then read some of the books they'd picked out. They then passed out and I went back to Lexile.

It was an ordinary day. Nothing momentus happened. But absolutely nothing went wrong. Every ordinary thing was somehow less ordinary. In spite of taking more family time than usual--somehow the day grew. I still got in a full work day. It was just an especially nice ordinary day.


Writing and Living said...

I honestly love reading about your days. They're so honest and funny and true.

Eliza said...

I think something very momentus happened - love was passed around in a great family :D

That was a beautiful post, too :D

Jill said...

I have to agree with both of the other posts. Sometimes, the most ordinary of days are the most special. I bet the twins are loving having school with you and I'm so glad Max likes his new school. I've been thinking about you a lot lately and hoping you were okay (not too too busy or sick or sumpin') since I haven't had any contact in a while. We could now walk to Watkins for a sundae and the trip would be some exercise and therefore less guilt. Of course if we walked all the way, or biked, to Meyer Dairy we could eat completely guilt-free, but I, at least, would also probably die in the process... Hope to see you soon:)

PuppDaddy said...

New Pine Grove Mills Sidewalk = UNICYCLE to Watkins Dairyette.

Dy said...

I love days like that!

But I enjoy reading your writing, even on the days you feel you've just shared your laundry list.

Some of the reasons you mentioned are among the same reasons I blog my dull little to-do lists and such - and why I prefer to blog in the evening. I can take stock, savor, cull, and put things where they belong. Some, I tuck into my heart, some I flush from memory - but no matter what, I get a better grasp on This Life We Live. I'm glad you blog, and that you let us share it.

LOVE your method for picking books - if they love it, then it's worth taking home. :-) And I am SO glad Max likes school! That makes me smile, and I know it's a joy for you, as well.


The Crib Chick said...

You made me laugh with the "Well done, Pig." :o)

Yes, I understand. :o)

Pioneer Woman said...

It's amazing how an "ordinary" day can be so "full"! Kids and books do that to a person.