Simple pleasures of simple days

It has been hectic in our household this week. Hectic in useful and joyful ways, but hectic all the same. First, my husband arrived home, which is always exciting. Lucky guy got home in the wee hours of the morning to be woken up for classroom observation at K’s school. The Friday was a PD day so we drove to the ROM and met up with friends. Saturday, we celebrated K’s 4th birthday. Sunday, my husband surprised me with an early Christmas present: tickets to go see Cinderella at the National Ballet! It was amazing. Monday and Tuesday K was randomly sick; or not so randomly I should say between Kindergarten germs and an overtaxed and oversugared immune system… Thursday we had a bit of a travel to get the first leg of his psychoeducational assessment done, and then we had to follow that up with a visit to a nearby trampoline park. That night, my mom made us a delicious American Thanksgiving dinner (that’s when you’re half American/ half Canadian and want two big guilt-free meals instead of just one). And then yesterday my husband headed back up to work. So yeah. Hectic is a good descriptor.

I was pretty certain today was going to be a wash. We had told K Thursday that karate this morning was non-negotiable since he hadn’t been yet this week (he gets to choose two days a week, three if he’s eager). If I’m being totally honest though, I doubted whether we’d be up and out the door in time. We have a little ritual that usually the first day Daddy is back at work, we have a sleepover, and with the Gilmore Girls revival out I told him he could watch a bit with me. Surprisingly, he still fell asleep fairly early and easily, and woke up in an excellent mood. We had breakfast, built a marble run, and he voluntarily got up and got his Gi on and brushed his teeth without a fuss. We were out the door with time to spare, which I don’t think has ever happened before.

When we got to karate I asked him to try to keep his hands away from his face the entire class, because apparently the day was going too well and I needed to set an unrealistic expectation lest I get too comfortable. It is a constant struggle, and I think it’s one of the reasons he has been so sick since starting school. However, he did such a great job, I don’t think his hands were in his mouth (…or nose) once! He may or may not have chewed on his pants’ drawstring for the majority of the class but I still count that as win because there is no way it is as dirty as his hands.

On the way home, K spent the entire car ride freaking out about his “hand wrinkles.” I don’t know why it concerns him so much, but his knuckles seriously freak him out. I don’t know if he’s secretly watching anti-aging cream commercials when I’m not looking or something but it’s something that he obsesses over almost every time we’re in the car even though I explain (every time) that he couldn’t bend his hands if there wasn’t some wiggle room!

So when we got home, we made some food,* because both performing and observing karate are equally hunger inducing. And we made a handy little “robotic hand” out of cardboard, straws and yarn to figure out why those hand wrinkles are so darned important. It wasn’t the most exciting thing we’ve ever done, but if I never have to hear him obsess about his knuckles again I will count it as a monumental success.

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We then stared at his triops. He got an amazing set of science experiments for his birthday, and one of them was umm, gross pets. Yaaaayyy. For the record, I have a totally irrational phobia of fish and sea creatures as in I FEEL LIKE I HAVE ONE CRAWLING ON ME AS I TYPE THIS. Ugh. But he is so freaking excited for these things that haven’t hatched yet because I’m cheap and cry over polar bears dying because of climate change and therefore our house ain’t the tropical atmosphere necessary to hatch these things. So I caved. I set the little aquarium up on his science table and donated my beautiful super cool writer’s desk lamp to science. So stay tuned for triops babies.

Then, he voluntarily suggested we go read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and TAKE A NAP. Where did this angel child come from you ask? I know not. But it was delightful. Until later on when I found a clump of a clay on the ground, far away from where the clay is kept, and was informed that it fell out from behind his ear. Because that’s where you put things for safe keeping. But I suppose if your kid is going to learn weird or bad habits, it’s better that they come from books than TV? Right?

I may have dozed off in his bed, woken up to an almost continuous buzzing that comes from completely disregarding the rules of Operation, and decided to start on dinner. Of course, that’s when K decided he wanted to do a science experiment from his chemistry set. I told him he could do anything as long as he could do it himself. And so proceeded two hours of beautiful science. He read the directions. He asked before opening “chemicals”. He squeezed oranges to make orange juice. He even cleaned up without a single complaint when I called him for dinner.

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And then, when we did have the smallest of spats, literally- he spat all over; he came up to me afterwards with the sweetest apology and hug! We then crawled into bed, finished Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to cheers of “Yay! He won!” “I love Charlie!” “Can we start The Great Glass Elevator tonight?!”, and he fell asleep to Trans Siberian Orchestra because why not?

It was my favourite kind of day. Unplanned but full. Relaxed and easy but exciting. It made me nostalgic for the days when he wasn’t in school. I feel like we’re so rushed with school even though he’s only attending half days and usually misses at least one day a week. We achieve such an insane amount of learning when we aren’t even trying. I love, love, love the play based curriculum here, but it just can’t touch what this kid teaches himself at home.

I think the only bad parts of the day were the parts where I was reminded of how starved he is on a day to day basis. Now, this kid wants for nothing, really, but for most kids his age it’s fairly easy for their parents to meet their needs for learning. Play pretend, read a book, build some blocks, and they’re learning exactly what they need. He was so upset with me when at around 3pm he realized it was Saturday and we didn’t meet up with his mentor. He knew he was missing last week for his birthday party, but silly mom was so busy this week that she didn’t remember to schedule something until it was much too late. And on top of that, I had to break it to him that he doesn’t get to go to the psychologist every week, just the two times and then the hope is never again. He apparently thought it was a new exciting thing he got to do every week where he gets to go and get a brain workout. But all of this is the exact reason why we decided on the assessment. So at least there’s reassurance coming.

All in all, I’m pretty thankful for days like today. I wish I could bottle them and conjure them at will. I guess I’ll just have to immortalize them instead.

*Okay, full disclosure, it was microwave popcorn, not food. It came in his trick or treat bag and even though I am not a big fan of the microwave convenience stuff, I figured it was healthier than letting him eat a chocolate bar. Plus, I’m sorry, but chemical butter tastes sooo  freaking good. He was jumping up and down excited- the novelty of popcorn, in a bag, that pops in the microwave was just too much of an adventure to handle it calmly.

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