just the two of us

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When I talk with other mamas about Opal starting preschool, they often comment on how nice it must be to have a little more time to myself.  I look forward to that someday, but it’s not quite here yet.  Instead, as each kiddo goes off to school on different days, circumstance has given us the gift of one on one time.  Every week I spend one morning with each of them, just the two of us.

Mattheus usually has a grand outing or project planned, which I say yes to when I can.  But in the in between moments–in the car, when I’m doing housework–he speaks little, or quietly to himself.  I know he’s thankful for the solitude–for a morning free of all those siblings.

Lucien thinks Mattheus’s outings will surely be wonderful, but he tires easily and quickly remembers he’s more suited to projects at home with Mama.  Our mornings together are uniquely special.  Birth order has never quite allowed us this space, and our shared joy is clear.  The kitchen is his favorite creative place, so I try to reserve some of our Monday baking for Thursdays with him.

Opal is thrilled about school and her new friends.  Often she wanders around the house whispering lists of their names over and over again.  So, she can’t quite figure out why the boys are so excited about getting to stay home with Mama by themselves.  (“Papa, today I am staying home with Mama, like Opal does!”)  She’d much rather be at school where all of the action is.  But then there’s a trip to the coffee shop for hot chocolate, and Mama actually playing at the park instead of sitting on the bench with knitting needles in hand while everyone else plays.  It might not be so boring after all.

Next Fall Mattheus will meet the teacher and classmates he will spend the next eight years with, formally marking the end of his early childhood.  And with this shift, some part of our entire family moves on and out into the world.  No longer will life be all that is home, with a bit of school, a bit of friends, a bit of family added at the last minute for garnish.  But before that, these last few months of one on one days, to pause and be grateful all the quiet chaos and humbling joy of the last six years.  I’ll take it.

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his first paying job

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If you haven’t yet gathered as much, I can tell you that our eldest child likes to work.  If it includes power tools, even better.  After “Mama,” “Papa” and “no,” his first word was “pry bar.”  His second was “nail.”  Shortly after that we were called upon to decipher the meaning of “wood wadder.”  Weed whacker!   Now five years old, he really does use the weed whacker more than anyone else in the family.  (This picture is actually a couple of years old.  I tried to capture a current one today but he insisted that there would be no weed whacking at all until the grass was completely dry.  How little I know about the rules of proper weed whacking!)  Lately he’s also been insistent upon spreading his landscaping work to his school playground, which he has pointed out is in serious need of attention.  A key part of this equation seems to be that the other children in the class will not be able to be there since he is the only one allowed to use a weed whacker.  I suppose he’s likely right about that one.

Yesterday, while I was making supper, John and the kids were out working in the yard.  Mattheus ran into the house, elated and puffed up with pride and holding up a folded dollar bill in his hand.  He exclaimed, “Mama, look, Brian gave me money!”  And indeed our next door neighbor Brian had.  Apparently, Mattheus had noticed that the grass under Brian’s hasn’t-run-for-sometime car had grown quite tall.  So naturally, lover of weed whacking that he is, Mattheus went right to work.  Brian noticed and came out to thank our industrious five year old and pay him for his work.  I cannot speak to the exact revelation that happened in Mattheus’ mind when Brian handed him that dollar bill, but I can assure you there was one.  I’d hoped we could hold out on the lessons of finance for a bit longer, but Mattheus has already told me about all of the weed whacking he is planning to do to increase the money in his new mason jar bank.  Knowing him, he’ll have a business plan drafted before the week is out.