Thursday, June 12, 2008

Hurray for Seasons!

A big change is coming tomorrow. Don will begin leaving for work at 6:00 a.m., returning at 3:30 p.m. This is in contrast to his regular schedule, which has him leaving at 2:oo p.m., returning at 11:30 p.m. He's been my tireless and faithful daytime partner in homeschooling, sharing the same values, hopes, and dreams for the children, as well as possessing a genuine gift for teaching. One of the many reasons we do this, is that the children wouldn't see their second-shift Dad nearly enough if we didn't. He is such a rock for them, such a messenger of Christ in our lives, that I couldn't bare to see his time with them diminished. For those reasons, second-shift work is a blessing. It fits with how we want to rear the children.

But it also means that I do the witching hour parenting all by myself, which wears on me some nights considerably. The kids get along and enjoy each other, so the majority of the time my sanity stays intact. They play in the playroom while I prepare dinner. It borders the kitchen and is fully visible due to a large peak-a-boo type opening under the kitchen cupboards. It was the previous owner's family room.

Still, there are nights like tonight, during which nothing goes right, and making dinner whilst in the midst of the chaos is about as pleasant as a root canal. When we get to the table, Timmy won't drink his milk, or eat the baked potato (don't forget the butter and salt!) he begged for; Rosey won't stay in her highchair, and ADHD Daniel is up from his seat more times than I can count, although he is a fantastic eater.

Incentives work for a while to keep him in his seat, but the positive effect wears off when the incentive is gradually withdrawn. Ultimately, we're left with having to utter stupid-sounding phrases, such as "self-monitoring" and "check yourself". We got them right off the ADHD websites, and they're great in theory, except that without medication to change the brain chemistry, they don't result in significant change. When I'm about to blow my top, I go to the bedroom and bring back a belt to fasten him to his chair. When I first tried it, he felt silly and I felt guilty, but now he instinctively knows that he needs it, and I've come to accept that my patience isn't angelic. I only resort to it when the rest of the day has been trying. Having some sanity savers up my sleeve, especially those that don't undermine my credibility too much, are a necessary part of having children this close in age. If you spaced yours nicely, I'm sure you can't relate to any of this. And good for you! lol

Tonight, I am embracing and thanking God for the schedule change! Don will eat dinner with us every night until his elementary school starts again. I can prepare more varied, interesting, and tasty things, while he delights our children with his play skills. He reminds me of Christopher Robin, to my Miss Kanga/Rabbit personality. Christopher Robin is adult-like, but is very much in touch with his inner child. He knows how to play. I'm Rabbit when I'm frazzled and behind, and Miss Kanga when things are smooth. Daniel is a cross between Tiger and Roo, and Timmy is definitely all Roo. While we don't know how Rosey fits into Pooh's world yet, we're enjoying every minute of her sweet unfolding.

We won't be able to enjoy our weekday family breakfasts anymore, which have been a sweet way to start the day , but there is a season for everything under the sun. Hurray for seasons! They are a reminder of the Lord's blessing and wisdom.


Jen(ni)/Fern said...

That's wonderful! We have experimented with different shifts too, and it's so helpful. The variety is nice too. My husband is also on a 7-3:30 shift right now, so he gets home a bit after 4 and I love that. It gives me a chance to cook and hide from the kids, or to go run errands and still get home before bedtime. Do you all keep going with school throughout the summer? I am amazed at all you are able to manage -- Emily Rose is at a busy age and your boys are both busy -- I can't imagine how you get school done, let alone housework and yardwork and cooking.

Ashley said...

Thank you so much for visiting Nico's site and praying for his family. I know they covet and appreciate your prayers so much. I was absolutely touched and blown away by the faith they showed during this tragedy for their family. We sang songs about God's goodness during the funeral, and his parents (and four-year-old sister) said they were granted God's peace even though the pain is still so acute.

I hope your family is doing really well. I have no doubt you are keeping very busy.