As I write this, Gavin, our 22mo, is vacuuming the kitchen. He’s quite the little helper — putting toys away, vacuuming, picking the (clean and dirty) dishes out of the dishwasher, pushing the wet clothes into the dryer. Mind you — I’m not asking for his help, he just volunteers.
He’s also pretty chatty. Just about 1-2 new words a day. Last night was “Ketchup” which came out as “kthp” — no vowels, just percussive consonants. He also said his first “sentence” — “all done balls.” And the singing! When he listens to our family’s fav CD — Gramma Sings — everything else stops. He dances and claps and spins and grins and sometimes even matches pitch and rhythm. He then races to get his trumpet or accordian. Then the terrier howls a few notes. It’s quite a happy cacophony.
(That’s Gramma Lewis singing up there. She personally recorded 78 songs just for her littlest grandsons, and it’s a big hit. Isaac turns to Gramma first when he needs an extra help in going to sleep.)
Gavin’s growing neurons and muscles have even matured enough to help him sleep through the entire night! I mentioned this to my mom the other day, and she reminisced, “Oh honey! It wasn’t until Steve was 2.5 until he did that! So Gavin’s doing great!” Good ol’ Mom! . . . And anybody who insists that babies can and even should sleep through the night by two months should take his place right alongside the weight-loss gimmicks and the get-rich-quick schemes.
Gavin’s also just started to pretend, mostly with Brother (i.e. “Ikah”). You’re never quite sure who Isaac will be on any given day. He might be Superman or Spiderman or Woody or Link. If he’s Link, he won’t say much since Link is the strong, silent, serious type. Today Isaac has asked to wear a tie to church. A tie!! I guess he’s going to church as Peter Parker.
Now just one month past his birthday, Isaac the Four-Year-Old is very, very fun! This week we played “War” and “Valleyball.” “War” is cool because we get to talk about numbers. I’m always a little stunned that without much effort, he’s really taken to reading. Yes, READING! My mom said I was the same way. He’ll sound out almost anything, but not nearly everything. He wrote “tap” and “dog” this morning — his first actual writing. And he will read one or two pages in Go, Dog. Go! But our favorite book right now is Blueberries for Sal. This week, after reading about Little Sal and the Little Bear, we collected “berries” (wooden beads) around the house in a tin bucket and made a pie for Daddy with white felt for a pie crust. Big fun!
Many have asked us what schooling options we will choose for our boys. And we can answer with a very decisive, firm, “We dunno!” Yet. . . . There are, of course, many good schools in the area, but I’m not sure that we’re able to spend $3-6000 yearly for 2.5 hours of private-school Kindergarten. The nearby public elementary school is well-rated. Since Isaac will not be actually in K-5 until 2009, I figure we have a lot of time to decide. Right now, I’m intrigued by the Charlotte Mason approach, and we very loosely follow Before Five in A Row. So many of our friends have chosen homeschooling for these early years, and initially I do understand the appeal.
I never dreamed I’d have that kind of input on my sons’ schooling.
There are many other things I’ve noticed but never before considered as we step out of the cave and into the wide open pasture. In our search for a new church, we’ve chosen a denomination — PCA. Based on our reading, no other denomination is as historically aware, theologically sound, confidently evangelistic, and academically argumentative (from a rhetorician this is a high compliment!). Greenville offers many options in the PCA, and our first visit was startlingly gentle. We found old friends and new and a sermon lifted straight out of the words we ourselves have quoted over and over again to plugged-up ears. We will visit several more, I’m sure, but we already feel at home.
It’s still odd to me to find a place where education is seen as a robust compliment to the Faith (instead of, at best, a suspicious antagonist).
I plan on talking more and more about this transition. I still scratch my head at the hoopla that so many made about my speaking out at all. You know that, don’t you? It was exactly 2 years ago this month that it all started. I was told my blog was “blipping on the radar.” My words here were scoured — all the way from a year and half before. My good-natured jokes about campus food, my fatigue during summer school — those were forbidden because “we don’t let the students talk like that on their blogs, so we can’t let you.” Huh?
The most appalling objection — and my mind spins as I remember it now — was a post that was in the context of a prayer for our little Gavin. Under that veneer of silliness, I was timidly asking God to bless us with our second child. “My pencils are all sharpened,” I said. I was praying. Pregnancy is a very scary thing for us, you understand. And I had the books ready about sibling rivalry and breastfeeding. I linked to the book about breastfeeding, and THAT was offensive. THAT, I was told, would cause “a young man to stumble.”
Now, go look at the book and judge the offense for yourself. There’s not even a picture of a woman breastfeeding. The cover art is a cartoon drawing of a mommy flying through the air, happy because she was successful at nursing.
I refused to take it down. I would refuse again.
That kind of underhanded, cowardly scrutiny has caused me to be pretty quiet about a whole lot of things. Still. I’ve played in metaphors. I’ve talked in code. I’ve only hinted at strong opinions. As I look up and see that Damocles’ sword is really not hovering above my ‘do, I realize that I can talk. It’s okay. I can say what’s on my mind without fear of retribution beginning with cryptic emails from the authorities meant to make me squirm in fear. The sanctity of the Body of Christ does not rest on my own personal energy level, my forced appreciation of square fish, or my old-fashioned mothering choices.
Gavin just brought me a snack of cereal. Sweet, little gentleboy. I want to talk more about what God has taught us through these little ones. Not as an expert, of course, but as a blessed Mommy. Why should that scare anyone?