Domestic Bliss Report

Motherhood is hard work. If we don't stick together, we'll all fall apart.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Again with the anti-homeschoolers

I've thought about it. It was gently and humorously pointed out in the comments that I was one once.
True. I had a teaching degree and absolutely NO CLUE about homeschooling. Zip. Zilch. Nada. It wasn't even mentioned in any of my certification classes.

My idea of homeschoolers six years ago was, in a word, ignorant. I thought it was Mom, supermarket workbooks, and the public library. Christian ones had the Bible, too. They were overprotective near-secessionists (maybe even seditionists!), certainly isolationists, and their children were socially maladjusted and friendless. They just had to be. [Those who knew me then: you can stop laughing now.]

To quote a book I read many years ago: You can only be that dumb when you're young, I suppose.

Then came the story of Madeleine, religious education, Young Fives, all of the mess of current public education, the expense of parochial school (which still doesn't solve the problems), the positive examples of homeschoolers I've met in the intervening years, and here we are.

From my previous misconception: Yes, it's Mom, usually. Yes, some use supermarket workbooks and the library. Others use one of the dozens of curriculum options available online (Kolbe, Seton, Alpha/Omega, Mother of Divine Grace, unschooling, etc.). Yes, Christian ones do use the Bible. As far as overprotective, do we really need to discuss what is happening in Maine? As far as socially maladjusted, that's way off, too. Park days, swim class, Scouts, sports teams, dance, music lessons, co-ops...

But the ignorance so prevalent in the public schools about homeschooling is what brings on articles like this one. The lack of of truth, the utter absence of any information for or against, almost seems deliberate. There are individuals who have some familiarity with homeschooling, but the vast majority know nothing. They have exactly the same misconceptions I did. That's how the NEA can say that they don't feel a child being homeschooled can receive a comprehensive education. They're utterly clueless of the options out there.

While the kids don't get an education identical to a public school education, it seems that is the whole point.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

More on grades

Still mulling the grades thing. What are they for? Do we (parents or teachers) give "good" grades as rewards and "bad" ones as punishment?
Um... no. I didn't when employed and won't do it now. Grades, in and of themselves, can't be good or bad. That is a value assigned to them. They can be high or low, but not good or bad. If they are what they're supposed to be, they're just a measurement of academic accomplishment to the point at which they're given. You know, I like "earned" better--to the point at which they're earned.
I remember telling classes that I didn't sit at my desk with an ouija board, their names on little slips of paper, waiting for the voices to speak to me so I could mark their report cards. I just read the printouts. "Nope, kids, I went into French and Spanish so I wouldn't have to do the math. The software does it all."
This worrying about low grades for my students reminds me of teachers who don't like standardized tests. I only had to deal with them by the impact on the class schedule, when I would inevitably plan a test on a day I'd only have them for 25 minutes. They needed the rest of my time to finish some part of the MEAP. Now, if one looks at test results (or grades) simply as a diagnostic tool, looking for areas where help is needed, you're okay. If they're used as a stick to beat the underachieving, that's where the defensiveness comes in. I will admit, though, sometimes you need the stick.
Since I'm the teacher, the parent, on the school board and I'm involved with the administration, I can keep this in proper perspective. Grades will not be used to punish anyone--teacher, student, parent, nobody. They will be regarded as high or low, not good or bad. They'll be used to focus on areas where we need to improve.
So will I be giving grades to Madeleine this quarter for her second grade subjects? Sure. Why not? They are a fair measure of her progress to date. She doesn't know anything about them. I didn't when I was her age, either, so that's as it should be.
Besides, they're all A's.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

On grades

It's getting to the point where I need to find answers about assigning grades. Back in the day, it wasn't a question; I just entered the scores for various tasks and the software did the thinking. I didn't question the whole paradigm like I'm doing now.

Madeleine is in first grade--for most subjects. Kolbe recommends Excellent, Satisfactory, and Improvement for kindergarten and first grade. Nice and holistic, warm and fuzzy. No problem. When I say "recommends," I do mean that. It's not required.

But what about reading, spelling, and history, where she's in second grade? Do I give her grades for those subjects, or hold off until she's officially registered for second grade? Or until she's seven and would be in second grade if she went, then give grades for all subjects? Or like the school district I worked in, and just not give any real grades until middle school?

Then again, why am I assigning grades at all? I've heard that question more than once regarding homeschooling. We don't move to a new topic until the current one is mastered, so all grades would be A's, right? Grades are meaningless to Madeleine, besides. She attaches no significance to a "test." To her, it just means it's on a single sheet of paper instead of a book.

Any thoughts from those with more experience?


Wednesday, October 24, 2007

They really, really seem like Bigfoot.

By that, I mean anti-homeschoolers.

I haven't met any. I might want to add "yet" to that, but it's true. I say "Bigfoot" instead of unicorns because there are really credible, sane people who claim to have seen one, whereas unicorns are pretty much regarded by everyone as mythological. If I were in Scotland, I might use Nessie instead, but I think that's been pretty much debunked.

Why? My own random experiences. When asked about our kids and school and I say, "We're homeschooling," I get a small variety of responses. Curiosity, interest, respect, admiration. Maybe nobody's had the nerve yet to challenge me on it, so I should be prepared, but it hasn't happened yet. What have I dealt with? Here's some of the surprises.

Last year at the optometrist. The owner of the shop is a former client of Dale's. She asks out of the blue, "So are you homeschooling now?" I thought he'd told her we were, or were going to, but he hadn't. "I just figured you for the type of former teacher who would." Seems she was one on a long list who knew before I did.

At the dentist. In talking with another patient while I was trying to get Rachel's coat on her, he said, "She's got more patience than God. She homeschools, too." We had been discussing it earlier and a friend of his son's was homeschooled. His wife (the dentist's) had pointed out all of the time lost in school--attendance, quieting down, waiting for answers, lining up, answering redundant questions, reteaching, waiting for twenty-five (or more) students to get the correct book open to the correct page... Yeah.

Last month with the city water workers. Mr. Conscientious Blue Shirt asking, "So are you going to homeschool them?" out of the blue, the support and lack of surprise of his boss, the admonition for our son to aim for the space shuttle instead of a backhoe driver... Yeah.

At the pediatrician. The older one tried to give me a talk about socialization when I first asked him if we'd miss any screenings (vision, scoliosis, etc.), but I tuned him out. This past month at the girls' annual checkup, the younger guy just looked up brightly at Madeleine and asked, "What are you learning about?" He had what I imagine is the same tone he uses for his own five-year-old daughter.

At swim class this session. It started with having more than the standard two children, then I got called an angel come to Earth for homeschooling them by another mom. Gee. I just think of it as a sneaky way to sleep in during the week, for one. (I'm kidding. Sort of.)

Today at the Detroit Science Center. We walk in to the little kids' area after the planetarium show (Dale wanted to see The Little Star that Could), and I look to my right. That kid is WAY past six years old, I thought. No uniform. Must be a homeschooler. From our group? Turns out he's the oldest child of this interesting lady, with whom I had a really good conversation.

I mean, I've been told they exist. I've heard it from other families they do. I've even had a drive-by troll comment against it, back in the day. But actually dealing with one, in the flesh? Not yet.

Nuts. Now I've cursed myself, haven't I?


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Eight years ago

I did the smartest thing I've done my whole life.

I married my best friend. The man who has held me when I've cried about my father's death... years before. The only one I've wanted in the delivery room of our children. The man who brings me Hershey's Nuggets (dark, with almonds!) when he's forgotten to put the dishes away. Who installed a hand-held shower for me when my sciatica or varicose veins are acting up, so I can sit in the shower.
Who listens to me psychoanalyze the motivations of the characters in my romance novels or Desperate Housewives. Who didn't run for the hills when I had a temper tantrum about onions on my Filet-O-Fish (remember the Deluxe? Eew.) or about having the same chenille bedspread as my mother and grandmother.
Who understands that propositions made during a second cup of morning coffee may be null after bedtime stories, or at least postponed. Who doesn't laugh when I spend 30 minutes of our 45 minute browse time in the children's section of the bookstore, simply sighs and holds out his hands. And later signs the debit receipt.
Who notices when I do vacuum or shave my legs, but not when I don't. Who tells me that dinner was delicious, even when it involved merely boiling water and opening a jar. And who says, on days when I'm too overwhelmed to do even that, "Would you like someone else to cook?" despite knowing we have less than $30 in the bank.
Who takes it as a compliment when I tell him Who's Your Daddy? reminds me of him (even though he's called it a four-minute leer). Who takes it as a challenge to find me fourteen books that have gone out of print--and succeeds. Who knows the exact right words and action to show me forgiveness.

I love you, my best friend. I mean it every night when I tell each of our children that it was the smartest thing I ever did.


Monday, October 22, 2007

Eight Random Things about my Kitchen

This is going to meander, and I'm going to go slightly off-topic, but isn't that the point of a meme? I asked my husband about it. He said, "It's really the beating heart of the house, isn't it?" So here goes.

1. My kitchen is more than just the kitchen. It's also the dining room. People brag about an "eat-in" kitchen; here, it's that or the living room. One of our rules is No food in the bedrooms, and it's just common sense not to have food in the bathroom. Not to mention there aren't enough seats in there.

2. My kitchen is more than just the kitchen. It's also the schoolroom. SFO Mom has over 100 cookbooks in her kitchen; I don't have that many, but maybe a fifth of them are cookbooks. The rest are for school, or the Time/Life series on the American Revolution, or something else. We also have our school supplies and the stereo on one of the bookshelves. It's nice and centrally located.

3. It's also the laundry room. With no basement, where else would the washer and dryer go? I don't like to have the washer going during school or meals, but the dryer is okay. I like to think the steady hum on the other side of the wall from Rachel's crib helps lull her to sleep. I'm not convinced, but humor me.

4. It's also our science lab. Making crystals, planting beans, watching candles self-extinguish in sealed jars, snow melting to water.... Except for the time we used paper plates in the bathtub for plate tectonics. The Boy had a question about earthquakes.

5. I use my oven. That's not a big deal for most of you, but to me, it's huge.
See, my mother's oven went somewhere in my very early childhood. Actually, I'm not sure, but she mutters something about it being set to "clean" when she went to preheat, or some such, and has not tried it since. I have snapshot memories of the five of us around the kitchen table, my brother still in a high chair. So... Roasted turkey on Thanksgiving? At my aunt's. Christmas cookies? Store-bought. Homemade cakes for birthdays? Nope, Sara Lee or Pepperidge Farm. Banana muffins when they got overripe? Negative. Lasagna, casseroles, roast, meat loaf, brownies?
We never even had Shrinky-Dinks.
So when I make pumpkin pie from scratch (except for the crust), or bake muffins, or cookies, or Idiot Chicken Italian (frozen chicken breasts, spaghetti sauce, 45 min at 350), or anything at all, I get a pang. Of something I missed but am providing for my own.

6. The color scheme is a true collaboration of my husband's and mine. We decided to make it more neutral to sell. I looked online for some flooring I liked, he took the printout to the store and chose a different pattern (same colors, though). I went to the paint store and got half a dozen chips I liked; he came home, brought them all along with the sample of flooring outside, and chose his favorite.
Now the floor is nicer than the former in that it doesn't show when it's dirty. The flipside, though, is it doesn't show when it's clean, either.

7. All of the appliances, except the refrigerator, are about the same age. The stove we bought within a week of moving in, the washer shortly after, and the dryer by the following spring. All from Sears. This was even before Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

8. I think it might be my favorite room in the house. It's where so many of my memories are, so many things happen. I think he nailed it when he said about the beating heart of our home.

So there. I think that was pretty random, eh? And it didn't take me a week, either. I tag Shelly and Heather.

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Book review

So you know we're homeschooling. We have a pretty comprehensive curriculum and I like to think the kids are pretty active outside of home, with swim class, soccer, dance, and park days or other field trips. One of the areas I feel a little weak in is their art background.
We've got the Mommy, it's a Renoir! or Miniature Masterpieces or whatever the one is with the postcard matching. It seems designed by someone with OCD, frankly, and I question how much my kids were getting out of it. Besides, I'm worried more about their creativity than recognizing someone else's.

I keep them stocked with crayons, markers, construction paper, glitter glue, and scissors. They get regular infusions of stickers, too (thanks, Mom!). I try to get out the play-doh regularly and I plan to get out my iron for a third time in Madeleine's life to do the wax paper and leaves thing. I was a camp counselor for seven summers, but they aren't ready for so many of those crafts and they're expensive on a small scale! The kits from arts and crafts stores aren't much better, especially when you consider they're single-use. So what else can I do?

I got an answer. On our Friday night date, after dinner we went book shopping. Yes, that's our idea of a good time. I picked up Kath Smith and Charlotte Stowell's Fun Things to Make and Do. I just read the first page but didn't go any farther than that. It was on the bargain shelves in the kids' section (where I admittedly spent most of my wander-time--what mother wouldn't?).

Let me say that even if you aren't homeschooling, this is a fantastic book of kids' crafts. One is making your own puzzle by gluing a picture to cardstock. Yeah, that's an easy and simple one, but how many of you have done or thought of it? Then there's the spiders from plastic dish scrubbers, pipe cleaners, and googly eyes. Rachel was thrilled that hers was all pink except for the red glitter glue.

One of the best things about this book is the picture directory at the back. Madeleine has already selected a few she wants to do, and Dale has a favorite. None of these involve a great expense, either. A package of straws, paper plates, camembert cheese boxes... I'm in love.

I see the splatter monsters by Hallowe'en, and we'll be making the foil balls for Christmas. The straw danglers and the window lights are on my list, too. What am I talking about?
Buy the book.
It's from the same folks that brought you these.

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Hey, astronomers!

Rachel spotted what I'm pretty sure was a planet this evening, around 7:30. She even called it such. It was in the southern to southwestern sky. It seemed too bright to be a star, as there was still some residual light from the sun yet.

The big question: Which planet was it? And how did you find out?


"Croup stinks, Mom."

So says Madeleine as she hacks her way through her afternoon snack of Nilla Wafers. She doesn't like the way her brother's face turns all red with his coughing, either.

Next week, the hat trick. Rachel just has a mild cough yet.

Warm mist vaporizers, anyone?

UPDATE: Listening to two youngsters laugh so raspily through It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown! isn't really all it's cracked up to be. The laughing does indicate 1) they're breathing, 2) they're feeling well enough to do so, and 3) isn't laughter the best medicine, anyway?


My mother and her grandkids

In cleaning off the washer today (which is where everything that comes off the table gets put at mealtime), I found a stack of cardboard shapes. Circles, oval, square, rectangle, triangles... Where did these come from, I wondered.
My son told me. "Look at the shapes we made with Grandma yesterday," he said. I had taken Madeleine to swim class and she looked after the younger two.

A couple weeks ago, she babysat while I went to my OB appointment. When I came home, they were sitting around the kitchen table playing Candyland.
"It was Madeleine's idea," my mother told me. "I told her that she'd have to teach me how to play, but it was pretty easy."

Why do simple cardboard shapes and games of Candyland make me want to cry?

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Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm deliberately being vague.

But I have a prayer request.
It's not for me, directly, or any of the kids, or dear husband. But it IS someone near and dear going through a pretty rough stretch, and taking family along for the ride, and... That's enough. The details are not mine to divulge.

I'm sad, I'm scared, I'm worried, none of which I need right now with being 7 months pregnant, et cetera. I don't know what else I can do.



Sunday, October 14, 2007

Is hindsight really 20/20?

Three times in the past month I've had reason to reflect on history, the passage of time, and the distortions foisted off on it. In the order they've happened to me:

Episode the First
I recently finished Stanton's Ty and the Babe. I wondered as I read it about how Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth have been treated since the end of their careers (and lives). Cobb wasn't demonized until much later, deemed a dirty, racist, mean-spirited, almost outright evil baseball player, and that's just on the field. Ruth, on the other hand, has been portrayed as a "Hail-well-met" friendly guy, a gift right from God to baseball. Huh?
Maybe if Cobb had stayed in Detroit, where he was well-known, instead of moving back home or to the west coast, would have helped what became of his reputation. Ruth stayed in New York. If you're looking to be or stay in the public eye, it's New York or Los Angeles.
That's a start. But when you peel back the layers, and the distortions, and the ideals of today and judge them as men of their times, it's a lot closer competition.

Episode the Second
The other night I watched History Channel's hourlong show on cannibalism. The kids were in bed. They covered the Donner Party (where they determined the actual Donners had NOT engaged in such, but the others did after the group split--much to the relief of a descendant of the Donners). And they told of the Cubans getting out of the Bay of Pigs, spending 16 days on a raft with no food or water...
Anyway, I was watching it for the third segment. It was on these prehistoric bones found in caves somewhere in Great Britain. How old were they, who put them there, what kind of bones were they, were they evidence of cannibalism?
Turns out that they're from about 3900 BC, involve human babies and animals, and yes, they're probably evidence of cannibalism. You had me until this point.
One of the "experts" is trying to explain it from a modern perspective, and said something like this. "The location is about where neoliths, who were farmers, clashed with the mesoliths, who were hunter-gatherers. The mesos saw their own way of life ending, of dying off, so they decided what more brutal statement opposing their enemies' way of life than to consume their offspring? How more obvious could they be when watching their own way of life coming to an end?"
Ooookay. It's really nice to give these mesoliths all of this planning and long-term thinking. I thought vegans had a new idea with their diet-as-political-statement. On these prehistoric folks, I'm thinking of Occam's Razor--they were just mean, nasty people who'd eat anything including the babies of those who had ruined their hunting grounds. They were angry at the neoliths for destroying their hunting territory by farming and thought they'd get revenge. "Hey, you made it tough for us to get meat. Look, we found some!" They idea that they'd think any further ahead than their next meal, where they'd sleep that night, maybe the next day sometime is a tremendous overstatement.
I could be wrong. After all, they did come after Lascaux's artists.

Episode the Third
It's on the Church and Galileo. I know, "everybody knows" the Church punished Galileo for teaching heliocentrism. If that's what it did, prima facie, yes. But did it? Why? What else was going on in the world at the time that it would do such a thing?
If the Church condemned Galileo in an attempt to defend Scripture at a time when popular opinion was the Church doesn't care about Scripture, it makes a little more sense. If it condemned Galileo not for teaching or writing about heliocentrism but about having a heretical attitude about the Church and using astronomy and heliocentrism as a stick to beat the Church with, it makes sense too.

So... How much history is what we know to be accurate, and how much is us projecting our early-21st-century ideas on to the past? Was Ty Cobb a racist or was he no worse (or better) than others of his time and place? Were mesolithic peoples really able to project into the future and see that this 'farming' thing meant the end of their civilization (such as it was) as they knew it? And what really happened with the Church and Galileo?

Seriously, if anyone reading this knows of a good layman's book on the whole Galileo thing, put it in the comments box. Christmas is coming. Even if it's out of print--that just means a challenge to my beloved husband.

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I was just thinking, "I'd like to blog..."

"But I don't know what to say." Then I looked around and found I'd been tagged for a meme! Thanks, Shelly! Your timing is perfect!

List 20 things you have done, seen or experienced that, you think, "Most" people on earth, right now, have not?

This has taken me a while--like DAYS--since the first ones that came to mind are things I'd rather not share with the general public, you know? It has to do with that not-as-bad-as-some colorful past I've had. But here goes.

1. Been to Europe twice

2. Homeschooled my kids

3. Taught one of them to read (so far)

4. Driven a Pontiac Horizon over the Mackinac Bridge in November (hey, my best friend was graduating from Tech)

5. Been to a mosque, a Buddhist temple, and a pagan handfasting

6. Met a movie star, heroine of my adolescence, in a bathroom

7. Ran across a Parisian traffic circle to meet a friend under the Arc de Triomphe

8. Been to a World Series game (the good guys won)

9. Attended modeling school

10. Read Les Misérables in both French and English, unabridged

11. Donated about four gallons of blood (not all at once)

12. Skipped school to attend a baseball game

13. Attended prom in a tux and high heels

14. Seen the Space Vampire episode from Buck Rogers

15. Was part of a performing troupe for Rocky Horror Picture Show--I even had the false eyelashes for Magenta

16. Seen the movie Howard the Duck--in the theater

17. Seen a modern opera in France

18. Been in a bridal fashion show

19. Been to a transvestite show in New Orleans

20. Hand-made a doll for my first child, using one of her sleepers for the pattern


Saturday, October 13, 2007

At the library

All of us, even Daddy, went to the library today.

Now, I'm of two minds when it comes to the library. It's a wealth of free resources for myself and the kids, for out-of-print books, and others the kids won't mind giving back. They have books and videos on every topic: history, fiction, geography, science, there are even math texts. It's a money- and space-saver.
Unless you don't get the books and videos back on time. I had a fine this summer of over $25, and today we forked over $7. What keeps me from flinching too much is 1) the money stays in the library system, and 2) the very kind librarian renewed the book on mosquitoes that Rachel insisted on getting last time and Madeleine had forgotten to replace in the backpack.
I could say "I pay my taxes, that's enough to support the library!" But it's also a nice teachable moment of justice and responsibility.
I personally don't like giving books back. I think the kids have that, too, since we've renewed as often as checking out afresh. Whatever, I guess; we don't have a limit around here. [Question to other parents: do you limit how many books your kids can take out of the library? Is age a good number?]

But today, we got out books on castles, the Middle Ages, water (Rachel's pick), motorcycles, Winston Churchill, boats, renewed two on ballet, and Elizabeth I. The only one for me is the Elizabeth, and Daddy didn't get any. And those are the ones I can think of without actually going in their room to see. Madeleine checked out on her own card The Hobbit (VHS), Halloween is Grinch Night (VHS), a book on Louis Braille, another on Mount Rushmore, The Black Stallion, and three or four other fiction books.
One of the librarians believes that kids should have their own cards as soon as they can write their name. Why not?

I looked at some on homeschooling. I decided against them since I feel like I have a grip on it. For now. No book is going to help me with the questions I have. [If Madeleine is mostly in first grade, but has some second grade subjects, should I give a grade for the second grade subjects or wait until she's 7? And what's a fair workload for Dale? He'd be in preschool if we weren't homeschooling. If he's already telling me the letter sounds (thanks, Shelly), starting to read, and halfway through the kindergarten math book, is three pages four times a week fair? Four pages, thrice? How much with math, how much with phonics? Or is a time limit in the seat better? I won't find those answers in a book.]

So. That was our family adventure today. And Madeleine even found the mosquito book on Dale's bunk after we got home.

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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Deliberate ignorance beyond ridiculous

Here are a couple of hypothetical situations. Okay, they're more caricatures, but that's because they're supposed to be over the top.

Jacob Isaac Steinberg, wearing a yarmulke and a long dark beard, carrying a Torah, protesting in front of a butcher shop that sells ham. He departs around dusk on Friday for his walk home, muttering about his chutzpah and mother's matza balls.

Mary-Elizabeth Shanahan, with her six children under nine (Anthony, Joseph, Moira, Kathleen, Patrick, and Sean) in tow, arrested in front of an abortion clinic for disturbing the peace. A rosary is found in her pocket when she arrives at the police station.

Does a newspaper really need to tell you the religious background of these imaginary individuals? Is there anyone reading this without a clue?

But the New York Post has to brazenly demonstrate its ignorance in the conclusion of this little blurb. Is it dhimmitude or stupidity?


Thursday, October 04, 2007

Hallowe'en music request

In the spirit of the season, I'm going to be subjecting the kids to music that goes along with it during school time. I've got Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique around here somewhere, and I know Grieg's In the Hall of the Mountain King. Oh, and Bach's Toccata and Fugue, too.

What else is out there along those lines that will go along?

And yes, we will be playing Tchaikovsky's The Nutcracker in a few months. Why do you ask?


I wonder sometimes if we're raising them right.

Then things like this happen.

Daddy has A Time to Kill on before baths. It's just a conversation between Samuel Jackson's character, in his cell, and Matthew McConaughey's. It went like this.

D3: "Why is that man in jail?"
Daddy: "Because he killed two men. Two men who hurt his daughter."
D3: "So why is he the one in jail?"

I'm not advocating vigilantism, mind you. Just being reassured that my son has a sense of justice.


Tuesday, October 02, 2007

"Are you done?"

It has come to light that, upon Louis' birth, there are those who believe we will or should be "done" having children. Apparently there is a quota we will have filled or a maximum we have attained. I think this may be stemming from having two each of boy and girl, and thus have the elusive quality known as "family balance." Which we screwed up with Rachel, and have now re-attained.

To hearken back to my Scottish forebears: Bullocks.

"Are you done?" Why should we be? Well, children are expensive. We've gotten to the point though that we know what we need. And, more importantly, what we don't. We need a new car seat for Louis; to be done after him goes against my principle of getting one's money's worth out of something. I admit, though, that might be the only new thing the kid gets for his first year of life. Besides diapers, of course.

Another reason is the chaos that ensues from lots of kids. Right. I'm not convinced by this, either. Do parents of one or two never have days of chaos? Where the kids are never sick at the same time, or feeling housebound, or both want to play with the same toy? Where they both need help doing something at the same time or want You the Star of Their World to read them different books at the same moment? Where there are never any scheduling conflicts?
Do you live in Lake Wobegon or just have a really serious head injury?

Okay, it's rough on the mother's body. So is aging and gravity. I've covered this before. I personally don't have that as a reason. I can understand those who do, I'm just not in that group.

But the deprivations a child will suffer if you have more! Like what? Kids grew up to be productive citizens for years without ballet lessons, violin lessons, art classes, competitive sports teams, Mommy and Me crafts classes, baby yoga, and karate lessons. Really.
And how much more valuable is a sibling, anyway?

I'll admit I can understand the argument to allow more time between kids than we have in the past. Yes, it would be nice to be in a larger home. I really don't want to have triple bunks; making a top one is tough enough. Can you imagine squeezing in to a middle one?
Postpone, sure. But quit entirely? I don't get it.

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