Monday, 20 October 2008

Finding time

I've developed an infatuation with the idea of homeschool. I would write the word "love" in place of infatuation, but I'm not sure I'm there yet.

This morning Colin went off to nursery school and Caleb is indulging me with an hour and a half nap so far. With this "spare" time, I was able to tidy up the living room, throw in a load of laundry, clean up my desk space, bake some homemade buns, listen to a radio program, and have my own personal bible study and prayer time. This is unheard of in my life.

If my boys were home all the time, I can't imagine where I would ever get in any of this. From the time (often before 6am) that I'm wrenched from a few hours of sleep until 8:30pm when the boys are generally sleeping, my boys use up all my focus. As it stands, the house is generally untidy, I'm always behind on laundry, and James has been wondering if I'm on a bread strike lately. My bible time is usually loaded up on one day of the week and prayers are prayed either hurriedly as I attend to my children or at night as I lie in bed about to drift off.

My hope is that this is just the stage my family is at. Both of my boys demand my attention all the time. Caleb generally cries to be held all day. I, of course, can't comply, and so often have to endure his mad screams as I maneuver around the house with him attached to my leg. Colin is learning to play on his own, but doesn't like to be by himself for more than a few minutes. I can be almost certain that trouble is brewing when I don't hear any noise coming from the playroom.

I have relished these two hours this morning he has spent at "school", and am equally grateful that Caleb actually napped so that something could be accomplished. And as I sit here and indulge in writing, I wonder how mothers who homeschool manage to get anything done when they have 3, 4, 5 or more children under foot all day. Right now I usually run around like a chicken with my head cut off between 8:30 and 10:30pm trying to keep up with everything that needs doing, as these are the only hours in the day I have to devote to stuff like that.

Am I alone in my wild world? Have I missed the boat in teaching my children to amuse themselves, or at least be a little more mild-mannered? Is there a secret time of the day I don't know of? Or must I patiently endure this crazy time of life, simply trying to cherish the young ages of my kids, and know that things will smooth themselves out eventually?

Ahhh. The little one is crying again. The dishes, the vacuuming, the laundry, the dusting (do I even have a duster?) the lawn and the soup will have to wait for another day.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Not alone. Shea WAS asleep in his crib for 20 minutes or so, he is now asleep in my arms (it's that or no sleep at all after that first waking), and does play during the day, but only if I am right there to rescue him when he gets onto his belly (about every 2.5 minutes). I also use the time between 8:30 and 10:30 (though he tends to wake up 1-3 times in there, he's usually settled easily at the beginning of the night, so I just make sure what I'm doing can be interrupted). This is still more than I got done when he was a newborn, so I'm not complaining. I do wonder if I'm doing something wrong that he is so dependent upon me. I'm second-guessing a lot of stuff lately, though.
-Heather.

Kevin H. said...

I'm not quite sure what you intend hari-kari to mean in this context ("wild and whirling"? "rushed and discombobulated"?), but it's a Japanese term* that's usually used to describe ritual suicide by eviceration.

(* In fact, it's a derivative of the "more correct" harakiri, which in turn is a more colloquial, less formal term for seppuku ... or so Wikipedia informs me.)

I'm hoping that's not what you meant to imply in this case...


But whatever you meant, my heart goes out to you and my mind literally reels at the crush you're forced to contend with. I can barely drag myself out of bed before 10:00 a.m. most days and I'm generally pleased with myself if I manage to eat three (roughly square) meals -- maybe even cooking one of them! -- and get a few emails written or some other minor task accomplished. I certainly don't envy the desperate pace of your lifestyle; but on the other hand I think it's better to be busy than idle, and I'm sure you're happier (in many ways) as a result. (Just like WALL•E.)

Goodness knows you must be doing better than I am at present. Oh how I miss the golden pathways of knowledge revealed by the academic institution (whatever its commitment to big-business profits and exploitation of the miserable student proletariat)...

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I assume that parents who homeschool also have their children involved in activities that allow them to mix and mingle with other children, and, if they're smart, they schedule them for over-lapping time frames :).
If I'm still at home when Shea is Colin's age, I plan to enroll him in a pre-school (or even a play-school like we did in highschool) a couple mornings a week, for both our sakes. I'm starting to do some part-time home daycare, that allows me to bring Shea, which I may bump to full-time once he's 2, and we still go to the Early Years Centre, so he gets lots of time with other children, but I think, having worked with children that age at a daycare, that it's beneficial to have children enrolled part-time in such a place. It is, as I'm sure you've learned, particularly helpful if you have more than one child as it allows you to spend time with the baby. Most of our parents keep the older child enrolled for at least the first month after a new baby is born, and some for their entire mat. leave. I don't know that I'd have my child enrolled full-time in daycare while I'm at home, but I think a couple of mornings a week, after a certain age, is a great idea :).
-Heather.

Terri-Ann said...

Heather:

Have you considered if there is something more serious going on with Shea? If he never sleeps for more than half an hour or 45 minutes, it could actually be detrimental to his health. My Nana found out much later in life that her chronic light sleeping meant that her body was never reaching the sleep needed to rejeuvenate and heal the body, and now suffers health effects because of it.

And I understand the second-guessing - it takes so much strength to know when to struggle forward with what you're doing and when you need to change something.

I wanted to enroll Colin in the local high school program, but they closed down just this September! It's right around the corner from me. But yes, Colin loves being at his nursery school (although insists every Monday and Tuesday that he absolutely doesn't want to go at all! I have no idea why.)

Terri-Ann said...

Heather:

Have you considered if there is something more serious going on with Shea? If he never sleeps for more than half an hour or 45 minutes, it could actually be detrimental to his health. My Nana found out much later in life that her chronic light sleeping meant that her body was never reaching the sleep needed to rejeuvenate and heal the body, and now suffers health effects because of it.

And I understand the second-guessing - it takes so much strength to know when to struggle forward with what you're doing and when you need to change something.

I wanted to enroll Colin in the local high school program, but they closed down just this September! It's right around the corner from me. But yes, Colin loves being at his nursery school (although insists every Monday and Tuesday that he absolutely doesn't want to go at all! I have no idea why.)

Terri-Ann said...

Kevin:

Hmmm...yes, I intended the "wild and whirling" definition...have I used a malapropism? Certainly the Japanese ritual suicide is a little drastic...

I, too, have felt the pull back toward the safe, nicely structured world school provided for me...

Anonymous said...

I know what's wrong with Shea, he CAN sleep longer than that (he's currently heading into hour 3ish of his nap.....but I have gotten him back to sleep several times), it's just how to remedy it that is difficult. The issue is that he does not know how to get himself back to sleep. Everyone, baby and adult, wakes as often as Shea does, it's part of the sleep cycle, but most just roll over and go back to sleep, never realizing they were awake at all, Shea thinks he needs me to get back to sleep. He is, 9 times out of 10, sound asleep as soon as I lift him from the crib. In my arms, he could sleep for hours. I just know I can't do crying it out (he wailed himself to sleep in the car today, with me sitting in the seat beside him, and I could barely take it), but I also don't know that I have the patience and strength for the very time-consuming no-cry way. Either way, he has a cold right now, and is teething something fierce, so I can't start either method to any degree just yet.
-Heather.