We make our weekly pilgrimage to the library, that hallowed hall of all things free, and a place to get new stuff to read. The Boy rides ahead on his scooter. Often in the past he has drifted out of site, waited at the corner, but behind a hedge, and he has lost scooter privileges because of it. I have lost count of the number of times I say, "If you look back and can't see me, it means I can't see you, and you are too far ahead. It's your job to make sure you can always see me, or you don't get to ride your scooter when we go on walks."
Today he stops at every corner. Today he turns and waves at me every single time he stops, and does so until I wave back and smile. Today he tells me over and over, "I was checking to make sure that you could still see me mom. Did I do a good job?"
Once, he rounds a corner just ahead of me and drops out of site for a second. As I pass the offending hedge I see him perched on one knee on the sidewalk, his chin rests on the other, and he is gazing at an invisible spot on the ground. "Look mom, look at this nice flower."
He points at a dandelion nestled into the thick grass. "O wow, there's another one, and another. I'm going to pick some for you. Do you like these kinds of flowers?"
He gathers flowers, one for me, and one for each of his sisters, and one for himself.
The Baby has tiny little hair clips. She wants to be just like her older sister. I watch her as over and over again she presses her tiny clip against her head. Each time it sticks for a second she shakes her head, feeling against her scalp, until it falls off. Finally I take the clip from her, open it up, and stick it in her hair. She spends the next ten minutes feeling it with her fingers as she excitedly exclaims, "SSSsss,tttt, ahhhh, bbbpppp."
I hear screams coming from the bedroom. "Aaahh, stop it Baby. Give it back!"
I round the corner to see the Baby, crayon firmly grasped in one hand, toy in the other, motoring her way out of the room with a busy little smile and her characteristic head nod going, humming, "Ahbahbahbahbahbahbahbah" to herself as she makes her escape. The Girl catches up to her and yanks the crayon away and returns to her post and the Baby bursts into an angry scream and runs to me for comfort. I hide my laugh in her soft hair as I hold her and listen to her indignant cries before we go in and make peace.
I am brushing the Girl's teeth. I have just moved the Baby off of the stool to make room for my latest victim, er, child. The girl is screaming that she is cold because I told her to get off of the couch where she was falling asleep in order to brush her teeth before bed. On the bathroom floor the Baby keeps screaming. She looks up at me, very angrily, and then bends her whole body forward as she screams with all the ferocity her 14 months can muster. She is trying to rip me a new one, in baby talk. The Girl continues to whimper about the terribly unjust way in which I am requiring her to stand still long enough for ME to brush HER teeth. My ears are bleeding from the noise. But she looks so funny as she crouches in the corner there, screaming her fury over and over again. I find myself laughing at her, at both of them, as I send the Girl off to bed, where she screams that she is cold but won't put her blankets on because she wants me to do it, and the Baby, whose screams subside the instant I scoop her up again.
During school today, we continue our study of 2 syllable words. The Boy is required to compile a short list of compound words, words with endings, and words that have a syllable break between two consonants. It takes him a long time, because he is goofing off. When we reach the part of the lesson where I introduce him to Haiku format for the first time and show him a sample haiku, he reads it and skips off, convinced that he is finished school. I call him back. "Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait buddy, you aren't done. This is just the example, you're supposed to write one of your own."
The wailing begins. "I don't want to."
He adds some sobs, "But I don't want to."
"Tough, you don't get to play until you do it." I am very sympathetic, you may have noticed.
What follows is half an hour of complaining and general whining and more time wasting. Eventually I get tired of this never ending litany and start clapping my hands. "I don't want to. Nope, that's only 4 syllables. You need 5 syllables for you first line. How can you say I don't want to in 5 syllables."
He suppresses a smile and stares at me sideways, not quite certain whether or not he is being mocked. He is. But I'm keeping my voice level, and my face straight, and I'm trying to make fun of him in a constructive manner. "Seriously Boy, it doesn't matter what you write about as long as you follow the rules. You can write about how unfair you think I'm being if you want, just write something."
There is a bit more struggling and I have to give him a time limit, but I can see that the major battle has passed. Eventually he finishes his assignment and then takes off outside.
And so, I share with the world my eldest son's first ever poetic effort, his first haiku. I am so proud.
I do not like school
I do not like my teacher
I don't think she's smart
Doesn't that just warm the cockles of your heart?