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31 Days

Sam is a self-motivated learner, which pleases me to no end. In the past few weeks, he's "rediscovered" his Leappad that we got him last Christmas, and he's working his way through all his books over and over, playing the games and doing the reading and math exercises. Today he found the book with the map of the United States, and he's been running through the states and asking bizarre questions. "Is Daddy Texas? Is Texas blue?" He declared that our upstairs is America.

I like that he's doing this on his own. I was that way as a child, and it's served me well. My school specifically asked parents not to teach their children to read, since they wanted us to all learn "the right way" (a concept that still makes me shake my head), and Mom tried to follow that request even though she had been a first-grade teacher and was well-equipped to teach me; even so, I had myself reading by three years old and Mom had no alternative but to give me the resources and stimulation I desperately wanted. I'm doing the same for Sam now, and we're enjoying it.

Yesterday at the pet store, Sam pointed to a plastic house in a rat cage. "Is that an igloo, Mommy?" I told him it was. "And does 'igloo' start with 'i'?" Yes, it does, you smart kid. He's at the stage where he recites books to me, knowing what's on each page as I turn it. I know that this is a valuable stage in learning to read, too. Also yesterday, he wrote out a Christmas card to Zach, and he wanted some help in doing it. "Does 'Zach' start with 'z'?" he asked. When I told him that it did, he sighed sadly. "I can't make a 'z'," he said. (He decided to draw pictures of trains instead, though he did write his own name at the bottom.)

I told Eric this morning that I bet Gabe reads even earlier than Sam does. "I read Sam at least four or five different books a day just at nap and bedtimes," I said, "and Gabe has no choice but to sit in on them." I can't wait until everybody in the house is reading together, and we can share books and talk about what new things we've learned every day. It sounds Utopian to me, and too good to really happen, but I can dream about it.

It's funny how much weekends suck simply because they deviate from the rhythms I work so hard to keep during the rest of the week. I'm the kind of person who functions much, much better under at least a loose schedule, with a few "mile markers" to keep us moving. Lunch is between eleven and noon; Sam naps at one. Errands must be done either before lunch or immediately after the nap. Dinner gets started at 4:30, an hour before Eric gets home, and so on.

Weekends are hard from the very beginning. Eric prefers to sleep late (and, frankly, so would I if Little People would allow it), but that upsets Sam, who wants to play with Daddy. Weekend mornings are really my only chance to take a nice, hot bath instead of the furtive washdown I get most days, so that further upsets a normal schedule. Getting everybody ready often puts lunch off until naptime or beyond, and then Sam doesn't want to nap at all because he's overtired and because he wants to play with Daddy some more. It all devolves into a crankfest of the highest order, with Eric and me doing most of the cranking.

Today Eric went out to handle some routine car maintenance (as well, likely, as some Christmas shopping). I took advantage of that fact by keeping the rest of us on our weekly schedule. Sam's upstairs in bed right now, and I've got the floor swept, the mail out, and the fish tank cleaned. Already, we're doing about fifty percent better than most Saturdays simply because I haven't left the house. If we can keep this up, this may go on record as our best non-holiday Saturday in recent history. (And that's not just because I'm sitting here drinking a mug full of hot apple cider, with absolutely nobody touching me. Mmmmmm.)

Well, that ended quickly. Eric just called; the car needs a thousand dollars worth of suspension work done. Fantastic.

He's not having it done today because it would take too long, so in the meantime, we'll probably have somebody else give us a second opinion as well. It's not the end of the world, but it sure is a bummer. Eric tried to talk me into returning one of his Christmas presents (the one he's already guessed), but I'm standing my ground. Too often, he's the one who has to sacrifice in order for this family to make ends meet. I'm not letting him be the one to lose this time.

Deep breaths. I still have my cider, Sam's still asleep...and Gabe's waking up. Touch-free time has now ended.

previous one year ago:
Get, over it, Carrie; nobody wants to hear the teacher complain about the tests.
two years ago:
Oh, no, it first bent, and then in sprang upward and jammed itself deep into the meaty pad of my right index finger before detaching itself in a long rip downward through my flesh..
three years ago:
He's come a long, long way since the early days when he didn't even hold Sam much.
four years ago:
My breasts started itching yesterday and haven't let up since. Is this a common pregnancy thing?
five years ago:
I used to be one of the most insatiable green-eyed monsters on the planet.
In the ears:
Dead silence

On the Bookshelf:

Gratuitous Sam

Just relaxing

Being goofy

Making carpet angels

Extra Gabe

Sleepy little face

Having sweet dreams

Baby hand


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