Tuesday, August 21, 2007

A Couple of New Experiences

Note: for today's post and for subsequent ones, I will be appropriating the nicknames of my three kids found on my lovely wife's blog here and here.

Today I had a couple of new experiences. Nothing major, like visitation from the Ghost of Christmas Present (well, that would would be new), but interesting nonetheless.

First: I'm having writers' block. Nothing new about that, but it's rather odd that after only five posts in four days on this new blog, I couldn't think of anything to write about. Is my life really that boring? And Wendy, I'm totally sympathizing about your NaBloPoMo travails last year. So this truly is a new experience: I've actually been enjoying writing, I want to write something, and I can't think of anything to write about. What's up with that? That's totally opposite of my experiences in school, where I knew exactly what I was supposed to write about, and simply couldn't bestir myself. (That is, not until about two periods before it was due. Then I would pull out a sheet of paper, and every time my third- and fourth- period teachers would turn their backs, I would scribble out a sentence. Then I would hand in the paper in fifth period, and get at least a B+. Everyone else hated me.)

But now that I actually want to write, the muse deserts me. Again I ask: What's up with that?

So my lovely bride came to my rescue with an excellent suggestion. Turns out she had to go to a physical therapist this morning, to learn how to care for the knee that's been giving her trouble recently. Now we're like most homeschooling families, in that the father works outside the home while the mother does the homeschooling instruction. But today I got to do the instruction while Tonya was being subjected to that strange voodoo that physical therapists do. (And you should see some of the exercises she's supposed to do now!)

The experience puts me in mind of juggling bowling balls.

Lots of them.

(Tonya just nonchalantly piped up: "Yeah, it puts me in mind of them too.")

Whoa. Ok, all three of them are pretty young, and all three of them like lots of attention. But since all three of them are at different age levels, it's rather difficult to find one activity that can satisfy all three of them. So the strategy is to get one of them started on something he or she can do alone, then attend to the next kid, then the third, then go back to the first, until the bowling balls start crashing down around you and you decide to do something completely different. With this in mind (except for the part about the bowling balls), I started Pillowfight Fairy on the math worksheet, and supervised for a minute or so until I was sure she understood the directions. Then I sat up Happy Boy outside our little playpen area, because he was bored with being set down inside it. This seemed to work, so I pulled out a couple of books and started reading them to Adrenalin Junkie. (Yeah, like that's going to work.) So about this point, I realized that Pillowfight Fairy was having trouble with the concept of adding things on a number line. Now, it's not that she doesn't get number lines; but I think that she just didn't "grok" this particular diagram on the worksheet, and she would have had no problem had it been exactly the same problem with a different style diagram. But anyway, as I was doing this, the Adrenalin Junkie was wanting more books read to her right now. And Happy Boy increasingly, um... wasn't. And then someone had poop.

The whole thing reminded me of this muppet show skit. (Just the first 2.5 minutes or so. It didn't remind me the least bit like the rest of the clip.)

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the experience, and I got to see just how far Pillowfight Fairy has progressed in her studies. She's very good at reading, and is pretty good at reading instructions from a worksheet and carrying them out. And the Adrenalin Junkie can sit still-ish for longer and longer stretches with nothing but a pile of books (and occasionally someone to read them to her, although this is sometimes optional).

And Happy Boy just needs a good tickle now and again, and he's set to go.

So, on the whole, I can see how people do this. It doesn't take superhuman talent. On the other hand, it does take a great deal of dedication, flexibility, and situational awareness. After this morning, my admiration and love for my cherished spouse is duly re-affirmed.


Ahermitt said...

The muppet show comparison was awesome!

Renae said...

Watching the muppets clip gave me a much appreciated visual of why I'm exhausted by dinner time.

jugglingpaynes said...

You are right. Juggling bowling balls isn't hard. Just tiring. (Personal experience)The secret about juggling is to throw 1 ball at a time. Let the catches take care of themselves.

I love the muppet show comparison, big fan here!

Timothy Power said...

Actually, I learned how to juggle when I was a senior in high school. I mentioned it in passing in my post about Legos a few days back. Wow--I actually managed to work in juggling and Legos in one post! Sometimes I even amaze myself. [hubris alert...]

So, it would appear that I've been juggling wrong all these years: I always concentrated on the catching, and let the throwing take care of itself. Silly me... ;)