Thursday, June 26, 2008

My little chocolate monster is four!

Jove's 4th birthday is tomorrow but we celebrated last week with a chocolate party fit for any chocolate monster. He had so much fun and it was our first combined friends and family party. Jove has really great playmates and cousins and it was nice for all of them to meet and play together. I really enjoyed planning it and was relaxed enough to actually enjoy the party and experience it with Jove. All of the kids really liked getting to be chocolate monsters for a day.

We made chocolate lollipops in molds (Jove's idea), the kids topped their own ice cream sundaes, mixed up chocolate milk, they swam in the pool, made mud pies in the sandbox, hunted for chocolates (which I had to freeze since it was 85 degrees outside), had a water race and, of course, ate cake.

I have been thinking a lot about Jove and Miranda's lives lately and how much they have changed in the past few months. Jove seems so aware of the beauty and joy of life and is making connections between his experiences: what he sees, what we read, things that have happened to us, the places we go, what he sees others doing or saying. He doesn't want to be left out of any conversation or trip anywhere. He is also trying to make sense of some difficult things to understand like lying versus pretending and the rationale for fighting (think pirates and knights). He really internalizes everything I tell him and I have to be so thoughtful about what I say to him. Above all, I want him to feel safe and secure in his world. It really is a gift to be with him everyday at this stage in his life.

Miranda is walking and talking up a storm. She wants to do everything Jove is doing, which he loves. She wants to eat everything everyone else eats. She LOVES animals and we just acquired some geckos and turtles that we will be pet sitting this summer and she likes to hang out and watch them. She is bringing books to us to read. Jove loves to build hiding forts and she loves to look for and uncover him. That is what they do every morning while I get dressed. She loves playing with water in the yard and bends over to stick her hands in every puddle she finds.

I am grateful for summer's arrival and Jup's last day of work being today!!
Jove has his first real friendship and it so fun to watch. His friend is four and a half and has a brother the same age as Miranda, so Miranda always has a playmate too when we hang out. They really enjoy each other and have similar dispositions and interests: making up songs and dancing silly, being outside and getting dirty and they both have gentle souls. We are going to stay overnight with them next week for a couple of days to escape the kitchen remodeling. We are all pretty excited, well, except for papa (and grandpa) who will be working on the kitchen. I keep telling myself the most helpful thing I can do is to get out of the way.

Monday, June 16, 2008

busy bees

I feel bad that I have not been posting more frequent entries here, but every time I feel inspired I feel pulled away by many new and exciting things in the works and unfolding around me.

We have been ordering and planning our new kitchen. My dad will be here soon to employ his masterful skill to help us. Jove's birthday is coming up and his chocolate party is in the works. It has been raining like crazy which means that our garden weeds are very unruly and begging to be pulled.

Miranda has started walking and we are all enjoying this new stage of her life. She is also in a block building apprenticeship with Jove. She miraculously leaves his towers alone except to maybe take a single block on and off the top. This morning she made a five block tower all by herself and then called to me to look at it. She is going through a putting things in and taking them out stage and is saying a lot of new words. Toddlerhood is in full swing.

Jove is enjoying warm weather so much: collecting bugs, monitoring the flowers and vegetables, checking his rain gauge, watching thunderstorms (even dancing outside in a recent one).

This brings to me to the latest development in my life which is our decision for me to homeschool Jove next year. It is not homeschooling in the truest sense since he is not of compulsory school age, but he will not attend a pre-K program. I have met some homeschoolers and I am reading a ton about it. It is all very interesting and even through Jove will attend "regular" kindergarten soon enough, the information I have learned in the last couple of months has really informed my parenting and my understanding of learning. My own teaching of adolescents has shown me a lot of the problems kids experience when their personality or learning style seems to be at odds with what they are supposed to do, but I have never throught about it the way I am now. I think I will also be a different and better teacher when I return to the classroom.

I really cherish the joy and wonderment that Jove shows towards his interests and I feel like he is learning so much from our life right now. He says he does not want to go to school right now and I am excited to have him home with me. The great thing about the homeschooling community in this area is that there are so many great things going on, opportunities to explore and learn together. I will share more of our adventures as they unfold.