Friday, August 26, 2005

Thursday - Day in the Life

Another fairly useless day.

I finished my pre-read of "The Ruby and the Smoke" this morning. Neat book.

Fiona and I did the morning chores (chickens and puppy duties). I did the last of the sanding and mudding and sanding and then did my best to start cleaning up the drywall dust.

A photo of my natural dyed fabrics. Top to bottom: madder (1st bath), onion skin, madder (2nd bath), woad, rhubarb root. I definitely need to find a green. Surprisingly, deep greens are hard to create from nature; chlorophyll is not a useful dye chemical.

A friend phoned about a homeschooling/public-school hybrid program they're trying to start in our town. Although I'd love to support the local school by letting them collect funding on my kids' behalf, it sounds to me like the administration either don't have all their ducks in a row yet, or they're trying to pull off some sort of scam with the government. There's a meeting on Monday -- a firm proposal is being tabled. I feel like a killjoy, but I think I'm going to have to be grumpy and refuse to sign on. We'll see. I spent about an hour on the phone discussing the intricacies and my concerns with my friend.

I made oatmeal for breakfast with nectarines because we had about four tablespoons of milk in the house and no bread products. We eked out the milk and managed to all fill our tummies.

I made four loaves of bread. Masking-taped the wood trim around the walls.

The kids worked away cleaning up the family room. I could sort of tell something positive had happened but it certainly didn't get clean.

Sophie and Noah did their practising(s). Erin did her violin practising.

Everyone played outside for quite a while. Then they wanted to go to the beach. I relented, since I needed to buy latex primer and milk anyway. We took the puppy along. Picked up the mail (just boring stuff). Bought the paint. On the way to the beach saw the fruit guy had his stall up so stopped and bought a case of peaches, knowing at the time that I was being really silly -- those we can't eat will need to be processed and frozen within 36 hours and it's not like I have time to spare.

We spent most of the afternoon at the beach. We got the puppy to swim to the raft, and to jump off the raft and swim to shore again (that was much more frightening for her). Erin and Noah, who are fearless and adventurous in the water, invented a game called AquaSumo. It's a best-of-21 wrestling match where you try to push your opponent off the raft into the drink to score a point. My favourites were the two-pointers when they both went in.

Returned home. Remembered to buy milk. Spent almost two hours putting the primer on the walls and ceiling of the dining area. Where were the kids during this? What were they doing? I have no idea. This isn't much of an unschooling blog, more of an enumeration of the ways in which I've been ignoring the kids.

I made pasta for (late) dinner. The kids were outside playing with the puppy and doing imaginative games on the play structure. Fiona is getting to the age of beginning to engage with the other kids in their 'stories'. The contributions she offers up are often outrageous and rather out in left field, but she's trying to be funny, so everyone laughs really hard.

After dinner we did a major dishwashing together. Chuck got home at about 7:45. Erin practiced piano. She was feeling really snarky. It started with her complaining over her piano teacher's suggestion that she spend the rest of this month working on two or three post-romantic lyrical pieces, which she was claiming to 'hate'. She asked why Anne always suggested those types of pieces (she doesn't... Erin spent the spring doing Bach and Haydn and Kuhlau and Mozart) and I said that apparently Anne felt she still needed to work on phrasing and voicing singing lines, something which doesn't come as easily to her as rapid precise playing. Erin got really testy at this, which she no doubt heard as an enumeration of her pianistic faults. Things had already been circling the drain and my 'explanation' didn't help. After reading through an Oscar Peterson Waltz that she complained loudly about because it's got lots of tenths, she quit in a huff and went to the computer where Sophie and Noah had been happily playing "Age of Mythology" together and started saying rude things. Sophie began crying. Erin said she was going to stay up really late so that Sophie wouldn't be able to come to bed for ages, because Erin wouldn't be done her private readaloud until after midnight.

I asked Erin to find somewhere where she could be without upsetting everyone in the room she was in, and reminded her that she was not to ban a tired 6yo room-mate from her own bedroom. Erin started all sorts of silly twisted logic arguments about how late she used to stay up when she was 6 and why it makes no difference whether you or someone else decides on your bedtime and why Sophie shouldn't complain because ...

I just ignored her and eventually she went off to bed. It was about 10:30, very late to bed for Erin, so clearly she was trying to inconvenience Sophie. She came out two or three times after that to where Noah was setting up a modified solitaire version of "Settlers of Catan" on the floor of the living room and told him he was stupid and that his game was idiotic. She did this quietly, so that I couldn't hear from the next room. Noah didn't react. He just sighed and told me about it. He speculated about why Erin was being so hurtful. I said I didn't know, but that she was hurting about something and lashing out trying to hurt other people because "misery loves company". Noah responded "she sure doesn't love my company" and went happily back to his game.

I read aloud to Sophie and Noah. Fiona dropped off to sleep in my arms. I put her to bed and came back downstairs to do a first coat of paint on the ceiling. Sophie stayed up and chatted with me for a while. Thankfully Erin had gone to sleep, so she was able to head off to her bedroom without incident when she got tired. Unless we can find a mutually agreeable solution to the bedtime thing very soon, I think we must consider rooming Sophie with Noah. So far Erin will not budge willingly, and if I force her to budge, she will make Sophie's life miserable. I don't want poor Sophie to feel intimidated when entering her own room, and that's the way things are going the past couple of weeks. We'll take another stab at this issue at our next family meeting. Unfortunately everyone, including Chuck and myself, has made it abundantly clear to Erin that we think what's she's doing is utterly wrong -- and that's sure to put her in an uncompromising frame of mind. I am not hopeful we'll sort this out.

I finished up the ceiling and sat down to write this. Off to bed in a minute.

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