Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Spring Break

I made place mats for Valentine's Day and am finally showing you!

Spring Break at Our Fine School comes absurdly early. In fact, it's not even spring yet.That means that every year we have a week of cold, rainy weather to frolic in. There are mud puddles galore and great opportunities to give your winter gear one last workout.

The wealthier families at Our Fine School--of which there are many and of which we are not one--avoid the icky early March weather of central North Carolina by flying to Europe to enjoy the icky weather there. A friend of mine has taken her daughter to London, where according to her Facebook updates, it's snowing.

We, of course, are staycationing. I'm under a deadline for a book, so my staycation involves writing in my jammies, which I don't usually get to do. Whee! Jack's staycation is all about sleeping in and then living on his computer. Will has a circuit: computer, outside to play basketball, upstairs to his room, computer, outside to play baseball, upstairs to his room, and so on. On Sunday, he took up origami. He really did. Last night he worked on a Paint-by-Numbers painting. Today, he took approximately forty-five minutes to complete a wildly expensive Lego kit that I bought for his staycation present. It was supposed to keep him entertained for the rest of the week.

The Man is spending his staycation going to work. You should see his tan.

This is my mosaic quilt. I've completed twenty-five blocks and have seventy-five more to go. It should be done sometime around Will's college graduation.

This week, I've been working on accepting my family for what it is, which is not one of those families that has interesting, educational vacations where many important lessons are learned. When we go on vacation, we all tend to do what we do at home, which is putter, work on projects, mess around on the computer, laze about, read and snack. I was starting to feel okay about this until I read an article about this doctor who's doing groundbreaking work in the field of food allergies. She has five children and prints out charts for their daily piano practice--they have to check off a box every day to show that they've done their time.

My children do not take piano lessons. If they had asked to take piano lessons, I would have signed them up immediately. I have asked both of them if they wanted to take piano lessons, and neither of them do. I could have forced them to, I guess, but I'm against forcing children to do anything besides homework (which mine actually do without force or even prodding), teeth-brushing, chores and saying "please" and "thank you."

Let me tell you a story about Jack. A few weeks we had a conference with his middle school adviser, just the usual semi-annual deal. As always, Jack had to fill out a form before the conference in which he attested to how he felt he was doing in his coursework (he felt good about it), what his favorite class was (Language Arts, per usual), and also how he felt he was doing socially this semester. His response to the last one? "I fail to see how this is relevant or anybody's business."

That's my boy. I have no fears that he'll ever succumb to peer pressure. He's a rock. This, by the way, has its good points and its bad points. My point is, just try to make this kid take piano lessons. I mean, really. Give it a go.

And Will? I asked Will if he wanted to do a poster for the Water Conservation Poster Competition. Will's pretty artsy-craftsy and likes to draw, so I thought this might be a good Spring Break project. His reply? "I don't want to do it, because if I won, then I'd have to go on stage for the award, and I really don't want to do that."

The funny thing is, I totally get that.

My children are idiosyncratic, stubborn and fairly set in their own ways. I've decided that as long as they do their homework without prodding, their chores without complaint (they really don't complain; on the other hand, they do take their time), get good grades and don't get in trouble at school, I'm not going to worry too much about them. I'm going to resist signing them up for things they don't want to do (other than school). I hope to take them to Europe one day, but not in March.


Jo said...

I am totally with you on the child raising philosophy. My kids each do one extra curricular activity of choice, then they bum around, doing cooking, origami and playing Lego. I think we ought to set up your boys with my girls someday!
I really admire a parent who can leave their kids alone and let them be themselves.. and embrace that. So hard to do sometimes, it is so tempting to live vicariously through their achievements.

Don't go to Europe, come to Australia instead. No snow. And we have wombats.

Angela said...

With you all the way, sister. My girls never learned piano [or went to ballet lessons, or joined a tennis club] and they both turned out fine and dandy

Forget Australia, come across to England. No wombats- BUT no box jellyfish either!

AND we understand monarchy properly [apart from burying Kings in car parks]

Lenten blessings xx

The dB family said...

Oh, you make me laugh! At least you didn't have to learn the hard way that your children don't want to play piano. You have the right idea. I want my kids doing what they enjoy and comes naturally to them. I think they are happier and more well rounded than kids who are pushed from one thing to the next, and the next.

We like staycations. They're all we can afford these days anyways. It's spring break here too -- and it's been trying to snow again. Yuck!


magsmcc said...

Definitely don't come to Europe in March. Go Mediterranean sometime in the summer, but if the avoidance of ick is high on the priority list, I'd have to vote with Jo. Not that we'll ever go to Australia. Prince Charming says there are too many things that can kill you with one bite in Australia. Mind you, he's been to Africa. Being a red head, I prefer ick. I resorted to major blackmail this week on the music front. More major even than the reward chart. I am too afraid to tell you about it!!

Pom Pom said...

Oh, I DO love reading about those two wonder boys.

We are in the middle of state testing. I have the jitters.

We're going to have a staycation for our spring break, too. Yay! I might pull a dead stalk or two.

Your quilting is fantastic! You're SO GOOD!
Yay for another book!

debbie bailey said...

Actually, the end of March is a good time to go to Europe. The crowds are much smaller and the temps are mild but not cold.

Sounds like you're a smart mama. Kids shouldn't be forced to do things like piano or sports. They'll naturally do in their spare time what interests them. If they are forced, they'll quit as soon as they're able never to go back to it.

Your quilt is beautiful! Thanks for your comment on my post today about my mama's quilts. I wish you could study with her too. She's a great teacher.

Tracy said...

I am oh-so with you. I have one child who has begged to learn the piano and has been granted her wish. The other two have no such grand plans and I have this aversion to paying lots of money so that I get to argue with my kids.

I also have an aversion to spending all my spare time (you know, cos I have so much of that....not!) running hither and yon for sporting commitments. Like you, if they'd wanted to we'd have looked into it. But they don't. And we enjoy lovely relaxing weekends just 'being'. There's absolutely nothing wrong with learning to be still. There's not enough of it in the world.

By the way, March in Australia is usually rather lovely, wombats and jellyfish aside. My girls and I hanker for a trip to Paris though....cos we do bits of Australia all the time ;o) We could meet you in Paris some day.

Heather said...

I had to laugh about the Lego set. They cost so much money and kids can put them together in a flash. Then what? (My son has a Lego obsession.)

I love the place mats. I also love staycations. Sometimes everyone just needs to chill out at home, I think.

Susan said...

"I fail to see how this is relevant or anybody's business." Oh my! I think that sums up my entire social experience of 3 years in Junior High. Rock on, Jack! There's nothing like complete disdain for the social scene to make for one well-adjusted human being. The trick is seeing and naming it early. Claim it, Baby!

Susan said...

"I fail to see how this is relevant or anybody's business." Oh my! I think that sums up my entire social experience of 3 years in Junior High. Rock on, Jack! There's nothing like complete disdain for the social scene to make for one well-adjusted human being. The trick is seeing and naming it early. Claim it, Baby!

wayside wanderer said...

Oh goodness, Jack's response gave me a good outloud cackle. (I'm afraid I don't have a delicate laugh.) One of my daughter's recently told me she wants a small wedding because she doesn't want (or need) everyone looking at her. I get that, for sure.

I love your placemats and material. So cute!

We are on spring break, too. You should come to Texas. It isn't summer, but things are blooming and we are all sneezing. :)

Gumbo Lily said...

I love your young men and their responses. All but one of our children took piano lessons, but I didn't do any chart stuff (too much work for me). I encouraged the 5th Child NOT to take piano lessons. I think I was worn out by then going to recitals and listening to practices.

The mosaic quilt is AMAZING! The placemats too.

No spring break here. We are into spring calving now. It's been warm and dry though, for the most part.

Fat Dormouse said...

It sounds to me as if your boys are well rounded young men who can think for themselves while respecting other people. That seems like a great combination. Be proud of them!

Pom Pom said...

Back to say, "YES! I'll tramp around England with you!"
Also, YES to the Beatrix book. I kept it by the bed for a year, just dipping into it every now and then. I wish there were more like it.
Happy St. Patrick's Day!

GretchenJoanna said...

Wow - your boys sound so normal as to the logic and common sense of healthy boys I've known. It all reminds me of one of my boys who quietly refused to go along with the Bible memory program in Sunday School; that is, he just didn't bother trying to compete. I think he knew that the Bible was important, but he probably felt insulted by the earthly reward the children received in the form of candy. He said he didn't want the candy because "it's not good for you."