Also subtitled, Dear God, what am I going to do if you send me another boy???
Don't get me wrong. I know that parenting girls comes with its own set of problems. I mean, theoretically. I only have one girl to parent, and she doesn't seem to have a lot of those problems, probably because there is just one of her. Maybe those girl problems are the sort that show up in packs, just like there are some boy problems that only show up when you have at least three boys in a row.
(I have 5 boys in a row.)
Anyway, the week before last was lovely and laid-back. (Mostly). We watched a few backlogged episodes of Nature on the DVR, including the hummingbird film, which was good preparation for the Hummingbird Festival on Sunday (Katydid took all the photos, and I'm sure she has a post forthcoming on her blog.) We attended a First Friday Mass with our homeschool group, and then had a (very hot) playday at the park afterwards. My boys had other boys to play with; they chopped down one of the park's trees; they were happy; I was happy. (I chose to look the other way about the tree.)
Last week, in contrast, was a nightmare. I had penciled in on my calendar that we would take a two week break in between summer and fall terms, because I knew we would be going on vacation somewhere, and we would need some time to get the house back in order and I would need some time to get some rudimentary plans together for the next quarter. This was in July, before I knew I was pregnant. Of course, a week is not enough time to get a house in order in one of my typical first trimesters, and this week everybody younger than 10 apparently decided that they were hideously bored and that the two things that would make them happiest would be to irritate their brothers and to do the exact opposite of anything their mother says.
Boy: How long do I put this sandwich in the microwave to melt the cheese?
Me: 30 seconds.
Boy: Ok, I'll put it in for 40.
Me (incredulously): Didn't you just hear me say 30?
Boy: Yes, but I thought it would be better if I did it for 40.
Anyway, in spite of everything (or partially in reaction to it), we did accomplish some schooly (and non schooly) things this week.
Andy taught George how to solder. With lots of eager onlookers.
And Chipmunk painted the wooden tractor he and Andy put together from a kit a long time ago.
We also started on the Alphabet Path. I wasn't planning on beginning until this week, but while I was reading through Jessica's delicious archives, the boys came and looked over my shoulder. They were particularly taken with all the desserts. Particularly, I think, with the Gumdrop Garden. (Scroll down. It's at the end of the post. But be warned; you can probably gain five pounds just looking at it.) So I casually mentioned that I was thinking that we could have our own letter weeks, and they immediately began thinking of all the food they could eat.
They are boys, after all.
Anyway, we jumped into A week on Wednesday. Fortunately, I had been gathering some of the materials I needed... and back when Elizabeth first came up with the Alphabet Path on Serendipity, I had bought some of the books, hoping to use them with a younger George. But George wasn't very keen on alphabet books back then, and I couldn't get it together. (Katydid, on the other hand, gobbled up all the flower fairy books and memorized all the songs on the CD. (In fact, she still has them memorized. She sang us the song of the Apple Blossom Fairy the other day, because we can't find the CD.)
I'll do an A week post later on this week when we finish up, but for now, here's a peek at what we've been doing:
Some Do-a-Dot printables collected here. (I recently picked up a new set of Do-a-Dot markers, so Chipmunk and Leo have been using them a lot lately.)
We made apple pies on Friday. Please do not ask why the boys are peeling apples onto construction paper.
The twins and Chipmunk have also been using the Handwriting Without Tears iPad app religiously, every day (including Saturdays and Sundays). I had no idea they would enjoy it so much that they would do it voluntarily, but I guess they are motivated by earning "letter cards". The app is much more of a stickler for perfection than I am, which causes a little frustration from time to time, but I have noticed a vast improvement in the twins' handwriting since they began using it. Highly recommended, especially if you have children (boys) with fine motor delays.
And the twins have been reading the first Faith and Freedom reader to me in the afternoons. I only have the very first one, which I bought to help George with his sight words a couple of years ago. He struggled with it just like he struggled with phonics, though, so we dropped it. It fell out of the bookcase the other day, and I decided to try it with the twins. For those not familiar with the Faith and Freedom readers, they are basically the 1950's Catholic equivalent to Dick and Jane. The twins surprised me (again) by their interest. I think it is probably a good feeling to actually be able to read a book easily without having to stop and sound out words on every page, so I think we will continue with this series in addition to our phonogram/phonics approach to decoding.
Last but not least, Gareth and Katydid have begun their Latin II class with Memoria Press online. They had a bit of a rocky start because the first week was a lot of homework, and they didn't understand that if their class was on Thursday, they would need to use Friday to do some of the homework if they wanted to have their quizzes done by Wednesday. But they got things straightened out and last week went more smoothly.
This week is supposed to be a "real" school week, but I am still feeling not-so-great, so we'll be doing what we can and counting it good. I read Eat That Frog! last week and got motivated for about a day or so. Right now I think that eating my frog just means "I made dinner and did not order pizza five days in a row this week."