Saturday, August 30, 2014

Natural Consequences

He said, "No, I won't do it."
I waited him out.
When he finally sat up to the table and I tricked him into choosing a "Printing Practice" homework sheet, we settled down to write the letter "F" sixty times.
He wrote the first 10 "F"s and deliberately made the top horizontal line a fraction of an inch underneath the top line.  He also deliberately made all the second horizontal lines longer than the top horizontal lines by several millimeters. Ten identical and exactly wrong "F"s.
For the second 10 "F"s, he drew one solid horizontal line through the middle of the writing space, then he drew a second solid horizontal line through the top of the writing space.  Finally he slashed 10 vertical lines down through these at evenly spaced intervals, telling me it was much faster this way.
I stopped him and said, "No, that's not right.  That's not the way the teacher wants you to do it."
He had chosen to write in highlighter so I handed him a pencil and told him to re-write the "F"s the right way.
He threw the pencil at me.
I stared and thought.
He picked up a colored pencil and scribbled on the entire paper.
I bit my tongue and thought some more.
He said, "stupid" several times and grabbed the paper to crumble it.
I reached out and stilled his hands.
"You win," I said.  "We're done."  Then I took the paper, put it back in his folder, and put the other seven, entirely blank "Printing Practice" papers in the folder too. 

This is Zeke's life journey, not mine.  He gets to live it anyway he wants.  I can encourage, I can suggest, I can facilitate, but there are fewer and fewer moments now when I can force.  The training wheels are off and they aren't going back on.  Zeke knows how to use a screwdriver.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


I have an alarm clock by my bed now and it is set to ring every morning at 6:15am.  This is the first time in five and a half years that I have used an alarm clock.  
In truth, I don't need an alarm clock 90% of the time; it's a pretty safe bet that at least one of my children is awake before 6:15am on any given morning.  The device is really a symbol and its message is simple - my freedom is gone.   

Lily, with kindergarten gear. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


This boy went to Kindergarten today:

He was very brave and didn't need any hand-holding or coddling.  He just waved goodbye and walked into the classroom, no problems.  At the end of the day he was glad to see me again, but he was full of good (and bad) stories about his adventures. 

He is very pleased with his new backpack and his new shoes (not pictured).  When I asked what happened at school the very first thing he said was, "Do you know what happens at kindergarten, Mom?  We eat breakfast and watch movies!" 
Ah, public education.