Archives for posts with tag: homeschooling

little w

The other night after a phone conversation with W, I found myself thinking something I hadn’t thought for a while: “I have to write this in the jungle book.”

“The jungle book” is what I call a clothbound journal I got when I was pregnant with W. It has a brilliant leaf-and-bird print cover. In that journal I have written 20 years worth of memories, thoughts, and stories for W. Most of the entries describe tiny pieces of his life: words he learned, silly things he said, places we went and things we did together, his likes and dislikes and tooth configurations at different ages. That book of memories is one of my most vaued possessions. I hadn’t added any new entries since W’s high school graduation.

The other night I took it out and wrote:

You went back to ___ early for January term. You got there a couple of weeks ago and promptly got sick. Got over the fever/chills/dizziness quickly but, as you told me when you called, “As usual, my cough hung on. So I stole a couch.” You said this as if it were the most logical thing in the world. Actually you had dragged it into your room from a dorm common area – because there were so few people back on campus – so that you could sleep sitting up.

So today you called again, said that you were enjoying having the couch in your room, and that you had just gone through “a quite hermitish spell” which you had decided to break by calling me after “spider-crawling over to the window to see how many suns and moons had passed.”

W has recovered from his illness and returned the couch now, but I am still enjoying the jungle book. Excerpts:

Age 3 1/2, as I dried W off after his bath:

W: It’s not YOUR time, it’s MY time! Is not! Is too! Is not! Is too!

Me: Honey, what are you talking about?

W: My feet are arguing [about which should be dried first].

Age 4 1/2:

W: What are you thinking about, Mommy?

Me: I don’t want to tell you, honey.

W: Why?

Me: They’re private thoughts.

W (nodding wisely): Oh. I know. You’re thinking ’bout your penis.

Just before W’s 5th birthday:

You screen my calls for me. Once I heard your side of a conversation: “Are you a salesperson? [pause] Well, are you KIND of a salesperson? Then my mommy doesn’t want to talk to you – but you can talk nice to me because I’m a little kid… Hello? Hello?”

Just after W’s 5th birthday, when my sister visited with her daughters, W’s younger cousins:

You were playing Candyland with [cousin] and Grandma, and you were not winning. Stricken, you wandered out of the room wailing, “Is this how my life is going to be? Will I never smile again?”

Age 5 1/2:

Today you listened to an Alanis Morissette song on the radio and you said, “She sings with might and courage.”

Age 6:

I taught 3rd & 4th grade [Sunday school] last semester, and you and I always talked about our respective classes as we drove home from church. One day I told you my class had talked about Buddhism and the importance of living in the moment and not losing the present to worry about the future. Later (another day, I think) we were listening to your N Sync CD and a song called “Space Cowboy” came on, with the words “We don’t need all these prophecies / tellin’ us what’s a sign / ’cause paranoia ain’t the way to live your life from day to day / So leave your doubt and your fears behind…”  After listening carefully, out of the blue you said, “I think N Sync are Buddhists.”

Age 9 1/2:

Said by a giggling W after I “nagged” him to clean up a mess he had made: “You’re a meany – a big meany! You’re so full of meanness you’re – no offense – BULGING!”

Age 10:

Bellowed by you a couple of months ago as you charged backwards across the room at me: “Buttocks … of unspeakable EEEEVil!”

Every time I read from this book I see that little boy again, shaggy hair in his big brown eyes, huge grin, ready to take on the world. Writing a new silly story in the jungle book this week allowed me to see that that wacky child is not gone. He’s still in there and still delightful.   ❤





Phone conversation this morning: “Mom, I have a group of friends already!  Every night we sit out on the grass in a circle and just talk.”

Because of several moves and our unusual schooling situation (homeschool through 7th grade, brick and mortar school in one state for 8th grade and a different state in 9th, and then virtual schooling for the rest of high school), W is really good at meeting people and enjoying time with them when he can get it, but this experience of being independent while also living close enough to easily see friends  is brand new for him. These past 2 years he has been involved in several youth volunteer groups and has made friends from all over our metro area, but they all went to different schools and had different outside activities, so getting together was difficult.  Still, W is confident, good-humored, kind, and not shy at all, so I hoped/knew that close college friendships would be an enormous treat for him.

I asked if he and his friends eat in the cafeteria together. He replied, “No, we all are ready at different times, and there’s usually not a lot of seating together anyway. I sit with a different group of people every night. I get to meet lots of different people. I like that.  One night I ate with the senior football players. They were really nice.” [The senior football players were really nice to my knows-nothing-about-sports-and-cares-even-less freshman geek boy!!!! * ] He continued, “Another night I ate with international students [here he named at least one from each continent]. Afterwards we went out exploring and took pictures.  We bought a nectarine.”

* This utter fearlessness is not new for W. Once, when he was working one of his volunteer events, two young male acquaintances who played football and towered over W, were trying to talk him into approaching the young woman at the pizza table for them. W laughed and said, “There are these things called ‘balls.’  You should get some.” The young giants looked surprised and then laughed. No immediate death for my boy. No bloodshed.

His classes don’t start for a few more days but W is already well-settled.

I am still settling. Yesterday was a Lost Day for me. I accomplished nothing, did nothing fun or productive or enjoyable, and have nothing to show for that entire 24 hour period. From this I learned that I feel generally icky when I’ve had a Lost Day. I decided that today would be different – that I would clean out the fridge and stock it with stuff for me and only me. This I did, after the aforementioned conversation with W (who called ME this morning just to check in).

After emptying the fridge, I wiped it out and put back only those items which I would be likely to use. All the stuff that I didn’t like or that I could  recognize neither by sight nor smell  or that I could no longer remember purchasing (especially things from grocery chains we don’t have here) was emptied, the containers going into either trash or recycling. As I scrubbed the newly-emptied shelves, trying to get crumbs and spills out of tiny crevices and edges, I wondered how I might clean it even better if I were to sell the house (topic for a future blog entry). Bleach and a toothbrush?  I imagined showing the house to potential buyers, having them open the fridge (which would stay with the house) and immediately stagger backwards from the smell of bleach. I imagined myself giggling a little nervously, creepily, serial-killery, “Oh…. That’s because of the heads. Heads have a peculiar odor that some find … off-putting. Often even after I … remove them … I have to use the bleach. You know.”

Perhaps it’s best I not show my own house when I sell.

So what did I put in my clean halffullnester fridge and pantry? With suggestions from loved ones (who might have been dreaming of stocking their very own halffullnester kitchen), I came up with a unique combination of groceries. Baby arugula. Fresh fruit salad. Asparagus. Green onions. 1 lemon, 1 lime. Part of a rotisserie turkey breast (who knew there was such a thing?). Two kinds of hummus. Pita bread. Garlic. Some kind of artichoke & caper spread. A crusty loaf of french bread. Large heavy oranges. Pistachios. Salt water taffy. 2 kinds of pasta salad: bow tie pesto, and some little half-round pasta in a light lemony dressing. Four little round bottles of Orangina. Cannellini beans. 3 kinds of yogurt. One large slice of a fancy and impossibly fudgy-looking cake. A jar of roasted red peppers with golden raisins and pine nuts. Yogurt-covered pretzels. A half gallon of milk. THAT’s what goes in this halffullnester kitchen. This time around, anyway.

Now to tackle laundry. And work stuff. And then maybe a little reading for fun. Who knows? I might even begin to sort some books for give away.

And tomorrow I have a dinner date with a lovely friend of my own.