Albert the Mowse, Hurry, & Anger

The offers:
Sweet Frog with Daddy.
Rides at the mall with brother.
Rivermont Pizza with the whole fam.

The choice:
Late night writing and reading with Mom.

I love that kid.

Chica had a good week at school.  After the fourth positive note home in her agenda, I told her we would celebrate with a treat of her choice if she brought home a fifth.  Her snaggle-tooth grin coming off the bus Friday afternoon told me she had made it.  On the way home we brainstormed ideas.

“Maybe…..maybe…..” she hesitated, never quite hearing the offer that was, to her, worth five long days of self-control and focus.  I thought for sure I had her at Rivermont Pizza.  Or at least I hoped I had her at Rivermont Pizza.  (I’m thinking I’m picking that as my reward next weekend if I can keep my own self together for five good days in a row.)

So tonight on the way home from Nana’s neighborhood picnic I reminded her that she hadn’t yet chosen a reward.  “Time’s up…you need to pick.”

“Ok.  I want to stay up as late as I want.  Can I write another story?”

Be still my little teacher heart.

After waiting for what seemed like an eternity for Bubba to fall asleep, we finally got busy.  She didn’t have a story idea ready to go like the last one, so I helped her find a little inspiration here.  It took possibly 37 spins, but she finally decided to go with a mouse named Albert that liked to dig holes.  She also decided this second novel of hers would be typed on Mommy’s computer.  We would then print it and illustrate each page.  Whoa.  Big time.  Let’s do it.  Except…

FYI:  A first grader typing anything is slow.  Painfully slow.

“E.  I need an e.  Where’s the e?  Eeeeeeee?  Oh. Here it is!  E.  Got it.  Ok, now…”

Times 90 for the first page.  Yes, I did check.  Bless her.

I almost said it.  90 times, even.  You know, those two words that rhyme with “blurry cup” and flow off my lips like they are her middle and last name.  But there was absolutely nowhere to hurry to.  She didn’t have to go to bed yet.  I didn’t have to do school work.  Jay had given me from 7am to 5pm of uninterrupted time to work, and finished or not, that’s enough.  I wasn’t going to do house work either.  I’m saving that for tomorrow.

Instead I just let it go slowly.  We tried about five different spellings of said before landing on the right one.  We learned about how backspace goes one way and delete goes the other.  We right-clicked the squiggly red line to find better ways to spell mowse and backyorad.  Once Chica moved from typing to dictating, we discussed quotation marks and synonyms for said.  Daddy even came up to hear our story and made us talk about verb tenses.  After she had had enough of her mowse story for the night, we moved to reading a little Junie B.  While we read our two chapters, instead of our nightly normal of one, we discussed the finer details of good sportsmanship and why Junie B.’s antics made Chica want to hide her eyes.

Slowly we wrote.  Slowly we read.  Slowly we talked.  Until exactly 10:47 when she rubbed her tired eyes and agreed it was time.  What a great choice of a reward, Chica.  Better than pizza, even.  Thank you.

I just keep coming back to something I heard recently in a sermon about pressure:

There is always anger in hurry.

And the more I think about it, the more I realize this is so true.

Hurry up, Chica!  Read:  I’m mad that we aren’t out of the house yet.  I still have seven more things I need to do, so find your shoes on your own already!

Hurry up, Bubba!  Read:  I’m angry that you’re taking so freaking long to get out of the car.  I should have gotten up five minutes earlier, but I’m going to blame our tardiness on you.

Hurry up, kid in my class that is always the last one to finish!  Read:  I’m angry that I planned more for this day than we can actually accomplish.  I’m really angry that I’m expected to teach you more in this year that anyone can actually accomplish.

So tomorrow I plan to not hurry the finish of the story of Albert the mouse.  I have no need to be angry.

And this week?  As contradictory as it seems, I’m going to try to fight the inevitable pressure by slowing down.  No need to be angry.

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Horn Beep Beep Beep Town

I feel like I write the same story over and over.   For every one time I write it here, I’ve lived it 20.  Here’s how it goes:

Kids do something annoying.  Mommy gets mad.  Mommy stays mad.  Kids do something beautiful that catapults Mommy from chronos to kairos.  Mommy asks for forgiveness and tries to see the blessings.  Repeat.

So for this morning’s version of the same ol’ story:

Today on the way to church we had to pick up fruit from Kroger for lunch.  Here’s just a sampling of what you may have overheard had you tagged along…

“No, you can’t take the bright orange tie down straps into the store with you.  Why not?  Because that’s just ridiculous, that’s why not.”

“Bubba, sit down.  SIT DOWN!  Sit. Down. Nooooooooooow.

“Chica, puh-lease watch where you are pushing the cart.  No, never mind.  Just stop.”

“Stop talking, I can’t concentrate.”

“Where the heck is my wallet?”

“No.  I already know what you are going to ask.  Just no.”

Yeah.  It wasn’t pretty.  All while I should have been preparing for what has the potential to be my most peaceful hour and a half of the week.  And then we got in the car, and I just wallowed in it, like Templeton wallowing in the muck.

But thankfully, cutting through my annoyance and anger, came the sweetest words from the back seat.

“Horn.  Beep beep beep.  Horn.  Beep beep beep.  Tooooooown.”

Bubba was singing.  Not following along with his sister or me…just singing his own song.  How much was I missing while swimming in the mire?

And somehow his simple words sang to me…

Come awake!  The straps and the cart and the wallet and the begging for gum are just not worth it.  Be thankful.  Be thankful and awake to the gifts around you.  This boy.  His song.  This girl.  Her imagination.  Her freedom.  Her dance in church.  Come awake. 

Sing on, Bubba.  Keep reminding me.  One day I just may get it.

Image:
NY CITY BUS  
© Shankar S. | Flickr Creative Commons