I decided that I really don’t like the pseudonyms I’ve been using for the kids. So, starting now (I’m going to go back and edit old posts gradually), the 4-year-old shall be known as Emily, the 2-year-old as Jenny, and the baby as Charlotte. Sorry to confuse! I originally picked names that I thought would be easy to remember based on their real names, but really I didn’t really like the names much. Hence the change!
We played hooky from school yesterday. 🙂 We went to the indoor playspace instead. The girls spent some time climbing on the play structures, bouncing in the bounce house (just Emily, for some reason Jenny doesn’t want to go in), and, mostly, in the art area. Emily would have been happy to spend hours coloring and painting. The paints were a special treat because we don’t do painting much at home. And these weren’t regular cheap kid watercolors like we have, they were nice (acrylic?) paints. I’m somewhat astounded that nobody ended up with paint on their clothes. They did have smocks on, but still.
Today we’re back on our normal schedule for school. Plus I promised Emily a picnic, we need to clean the house in preparation for an inspection tonight (long story), and I need to go to the craft store and get more foam board for…
The calendar! I’ve been making a calendar for the girls (mostly for Emily) to start to learn the days of the week and months of the year, plus to start to get a sense of time. So it’s going to have a section at the top where it says: “Today is THURSDAY, APRIL 7, 2011. The weather is <picture of sun> and COLD. We wear <picture of coat, picture of pants> outside.” Where the all caps words will be separate pieces of foamboard that will Velcro on, so that they change daily, and the parts in < > will be foamboard pictures with the words written smaller below. Then the bottom half is a calendar with the days of the week written across, then six rows of seven days with little pieces of Velcro in the corner to place the numbers appropriately. And then each day will have two little pieces of Velcro to fit two small pictures to show activities that we’ll be doing (dance class, AWANA Cubbies, Papa nights, church, etc.). It’s been a lot of work but fun to make. I’m pretty close to done (I have everything cut out but the weather symbols and the activity symbols), but I’m out of Velcro. So today I’m going to get more foamboard from the craft store. I want to make a separate piece of foamboard that will have all of the days and months shown in order, and we’ll pull the current one from it. So it would say, for instance, “Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday Saturday.” So then tomorrow, Emily would pull off the Thursday and put it back, then grab the Friday. She’d get used to seeing the days listed in order and getting a sense of where we are in the week and in the year. At some point I’ll make a separate chart with seasons.
I also used one sheet of foamboard to make an alphabet tree. The tree is construction paper, and we’ll put foam letters on it each time we’re learning a new letter, until we have all 26!
I’m also planning a new system of chores. We’re going to try doing a short chore three times a day. Morning chores for both girls, with no morning snack until the chore is complete to my satisfaction. Afternoon chore for Emily before she can have her afternoon snack. And an evening chore for both girls on days when our evenings are free (not on dance class or Cubbies nights, or evenings when we have something going on). So far it’s been working fairly well. The first day, Emily picked up the laundry in her bedroom and Jenny put toys from the living room into a box (to be transported into the playroom). Emily folded pants for her afternoon chore, and there were no evening chores because of dance. The second day, Emily’s morning chore was to pick up toys from the bedroom and put them in a box. Jenny unloaded the kid dishes from the dishwasher. And Emily helped me pick up her playroom and put things away as her afternoon chore (Cubbies in the evening). Their chores really helped, and each chore was something they could do relatively independently, which means that the chores actually made it easier for me to get things done. Yay!
My plan is to have a chart where each girl has a little pocket for morning and evening chores (and Emily has a pocket for afternoon chores) and then a pocket for “Done.” I’ll set them up the night before, and then in the morning they can check the pockets to see what their chores are that day, and as soon as they’re done a chore they can have the satisfaction of putting it in the done pocket. I’ll use a picture to represent the chore and write the name of the chore underneath.
So, Seth and I have been talking a bit. And we’re strongly leaning towards being done having kids (at least biological ones). We have three beautiful girls. And while we’d initially talked about having four, there were certain practicalities that we didn’t really know about at the time, like the fact that the minivan can only really fit four carseats. We want to make sure that we’re able to foster or adopt a few more kids in a few years. We don’t want to have so many biological children that it becomes no longer possible to adopt or foster, or that it limits us too much. So, it looks like we may be done having babies. We haven’t decided for certain, but we’re definitely leaning the way.
It’s strange to think that things that Charlotte has grown out of, I won’t be using again. So far everything has gotten three uses. I feel like I’m probably supposed to tell myself constantly, “This is my last baby. I need to enjoy her while I can!” She’s really approaching my favorite age for babies. I love it when they can sit and crawl and play with toys. Even though they get into so much trouble!
I’ll admit that I feel a sense of relief, though. Imagining last summer, when the kids were 3 and 1.5 and were so independent and played so well… I could be there again next summer, but this time not near the end of a pregnancy. I guess that now that we’re getting into homeschool, I’m ready to move on to the next period of parenting. It will be so much easier to homeschool if I don’t have a newborn or baby to work around. And I’ll be able to concentrate on it so much more. I’ll also be able to plan better for the future, not having to worry about where a new child will fit in. Of course, while we could *intend* to be done having kids, God of course sometimes has different plans, and we’re aware that there aren’t any guarantees. If He does decide that He wants us to have another even if we plan not to, we’ll happily accept. But we just won’t plan one ourselves.