I never know when the moment will hit, but it always comes. There is something that happens that signals Christmas is over and it’s time to put it all away. I sent out my newsletter on Wednesday and mentioned I was still happily in the Christmas mood. Then Thursday afternoon something switched and I knew we were done.
I think it was the sunshine. It felt like it was time to clean and simplify from all the Christmas items. And once that thought hits, I have to act or I rapidly start to feel increasingly melancholy about it. So last evening while we were listening to the MSU basketball game on the radio, we picked it all up and packed it away until next November. When I came down for breakfast this morning and saw the spot for the missing tree in the family room, I looked at David with a sad look and stuck out my lower lip. When Caroline came down a few hours later, she did the exact same thing to me. Like mother, like daughter! LOL!
We’ve been doing some different kinds of learning things this week as we transition back into the regular life. I’ve been focused on having Caroline finish things that she’s started. So she finished the Bloomin Butterflies – Color by Numbers that she received as a gift for her birthday from her aunt, uncle, and cousins. She put it on the black wall in her room which shows off the colors. She’s finishing up a book of Christmas puzzles, word searches, etc. because doing word searches and crossword puzzles are good mental exercises for her (and something she’s struggled with in the past). We’ve been playing new games. (We bought Kanoodle for her Christmas stocking and she loves it!) She’s been doing some learning in the kitchen as well. I need to start planning for next week including a science curriculum we are trying out for a review I’m writing in February.
For the longest time, our dining room table has been round and small. It works well for a family of three when one of the three was a little person. From time to time I would put the leaf in it to make it a longer oval, but Caroline always fought it. I think it felt like we were all too far apart and, from the perspective of a small child, it was probably true. This Christmas I tried again with the leaf and bought an inexpensive dark red tablecloth for it. This time we were all in agreement that we very much like the larger table. Whew! I’d like to see us spend more time there together working on our individual projects and less time each doing our own thing in different rooms. We’ll also use it for homeschooling since we changed our homeschooling room into a library and there isn’t a table in there any longer.
While I’m writing this I can hear Caroline down in the library, laughing and squealing with delight over the book that just came in the mail that she purchased with a gift card she received from an “aunt” (my maid of honor).
People can talk all they want about keeping their children twaddle-free, but when you have a child who has resisted reading because of visual difficulties, you are thrilled with almost anything that gets her excited to read!
When I went off on a link to a link to a link this summer and discovered the world of blogging again, I realized why it refreshed me so much. I was soooo tired of thinking about the topics that have consumed me for the past eleven years – parenting, gifted/2e, etc. My life has been out of balance, especially when you add in my own health issues. But Caroline has made such tremendous leaps in maturity and her learning abilities over the past six to eight months that I feel like a tremendous amount of margin has been added to my life. It was so refreshing to read and think about something completely different – homemaking, simplicity, etc. Topics near and dear to my heart that have been relegated to the far margins of my life. Instead of homemaking tasks being something I could enjoy and expand on, they have been things to get done with the minimal amount of effort so I could do other things that were more pressing. I don’t enjoy living that way. I truly do enjoy my home, making it cozy, and focusing on homemaking.
Over the past six or seven years, there have been many learning posts I’ve wanted to write, unit studies to develop, and so on. But there was either never enough time or enough mental energy since they weren’t things that would work with my particular child. I’m hoping now to do some of those creative things. Even though I was not able to do them with Caroline, I would still like to share my knowledge and experience with other moms who could use those ideas.