There has not been a lot of ability to write or convey my thoughts on Pandemic 2020 parenting. Boy, there is certainly a lot to talk about, just not a lot of enthusiasm to fulfill, I imagine most people understand this feeling by now.
With restrictions easing and states opening and the slightest possibility of positivity, here I am saying something.
Luke and Lily are doing great. They both have there own way of dealing with this time:
Luke: “I really appreciate your home schooling, but to be honest, you guys are not very good teachers (duh!) I cant wait to get back to school!”
Lily: “When will I have a play date again!”
But when I sit back and watch them have their day, doing the things they want to do, I breath relief, I see healthy, inquisitive, hopeful minds, I am able to relax a bit on it all.
Lily just continues the love of exploration when given an opportunity.
Luke is constantly creating and partaking in interesting, mechanically provocative adventures.
We have gone back and forth on how and when to introduce the incredibly complicated world of moving images to our kids. Given that it is a world I grew up in and now have as my vocation, it is hard to hold back on diving in aggressively.
Mom and Dad decided Luke is ready to see Star Wars IV (The first one in our books) and we even got excited about the possibility of finding a screening at a real live movie house.
Then I started to think more and more about it.
Over the last few months Luke has has more specific and increasingly fascinating questions about how movies are made and what constitutes a real life movie vs. an animated movie vs. a documentary? It dawned on me that his mind can barely differentiate between these concepts. That it is really hard to understand the differences between a documentary and a movie where people are pretending to be something or do something. Even animation is still a bit confusing to his young mind.
Then I started to think about how when the first moving images were projected back in 1896, just one shot of a train barrelling down the tracks, patrons ran from the movie house unable to comprehend what they were seeing. Even if this is fabrication of what really happened (no one knows), it still belies the power of the moving image on the human brain.
We opted to fall back and watch some of the Sound of Music instead. (laptop, home, part one only) listening to the questions during the show only confirmed what I was thinking, you need to work up to something like Star Wars, no matter who you are.
Q: Are there going to be more people? (after seeing Julie Andrews alone in the field in the beginning.
Q: Will there be more songs? (after the first song ended).
Q: What’s happening? (could be said at almost any conceivable moment)
I became intrigued on what is the best path to take on this visual journey and found a comforting post from a Waldorf teacher and parent on just this subject. What I love was that her methodology was to start at the beginning, silent films and work slowly through the decades following the major changes in cinema, Sound, Color, Faster editing, etc.
It all made a little more sense after that and I realized it is really a matter of just relaxing. Yes, Luke wants to DO everything NOW, wants to SEE everything NOW, wants to LEARN everything now, but it is our job as parents to figure out the least troubling manner to approach all this.
I am sure I have gone on and on about my love of the Waldorf School concepts and practices, perhaps not, but it makes no difference because what I know is that my kids are thriving in all areas of life as far as I can tell and their school supports a diversity I don’t see happening in other areas of education.
There was a handout at a recent parent night about researchers who have studied child development in hunter gatherer tribes. That children in these cultures are allowed (and encouraged) to play, play, play until they are fully ready to take on the challenges of adult life, Like until the are seventeen or eighteen. PLAY is the key!
Homework bad, play good!
What recently became apparent to me with Luke was his unbridled enthusiasm about this last “handwork” creation. This is a boy who loves baseball more just than about anything, plays football by himself (as well as any other sport you might care to mention) but when he brought home his “needle book” and showed it to us, the light in his eyes, the profound confidence he displayed describing every stitch, this made me see a whole person, a whole being. A lovely boy in every way imaginable.
For Lily it is her inner ability to create worlds. She has got so many little secret worlds floating about it is impossible to keep track. Yet if you ask her to describe what that pile of scarves, papers, stones, sticks and blankets are, she will give a detailed and well thought out description of that world.
For me this took on more “real world” experience when after a huge storm, one that knocked out power for thousands of residents and downed many trees in our neighborhood, I went outside to purvey the damage in our yard and what I saw was this:
A Fairy House she had made before the storm and was completely un-harmed.
I don’t want to finish the post title as it might sound contrite, but I trust after reading this you will agree it is the only appropriate description.
When Luke started school, one thing happened immediately, he came home talking about playing baseball at recess. Now, for many schools, this would not seem at all out of place, but you must remember that Luke’s (and Lily’s) school is not one made from heavy team action, no Friday night lights here. There regular team sports are Frisbee golf and cross country running.
So, when Luke came home so excited about playing baseball, I was truly curious. Then I found out that he was playing with just one other boy, a stick and a rock. I was impressed and aside from the rock, it all sounded like a great plan.
A few days later it was:
A stick, a wood chip and four players.
A stick, a wood chip and a full infield.
Full teams, including the teachers, REAL bases and a REAL bat.
About a month goes by and all I know is that the entire class plays baseball pretty much every day, even the teachers. They have umpires and some sort of a “review” system in the event of a close call.
Luke just loves it all, its the first thing I hear about when I pick him up after school (hit a grand slam today Dad!)
So much transition, hard to know whats what these days.
Since we moved across the country, Luke has been spending a LOT of time in his “grumpy duffers” mode as we call it. This can involve very heavy stomping around, complete disregard to either parents request, usually attenuated with an “I am NOT going to do it!” clause and possibly a jag or a toss of some object towards Lily. Culminating in a complete removal to a “safe space”, such as the now moniker-ed “Keep out!” room. (which is a hall closet)
What we realized after re-reading some of the dated, yet totally applicable Your Eight Year Old is that he is truly in the throws of the sinister nine year change.
Good to know, take a deep breath and surround him with support, that’s what we can do as his parents.
Meanwhile developments continue, one of my favorite is the “fake phone call” in direct response to listening to his mom and dad on the phone talking to who ever. Lily does it as well. Actually Lily may even be more into it as she dug out one of the lego iphone highlighted way back in post #331 and walks around the house in complete conversation with imaginary tel-marketers, friends, relatives, you name it. I LOVE listening to these conversations, they are complete with lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” and “uh huh?”
I was able to record a Luke call surreptitiously, it is far from his best, but still has some great moments. He is using the regicaster as the phone.