Waking up to the knowledge that I cannot leave the house today without a provable necessity, and will likely have to prove my need to a police officer under threat of a fine or prison, is unsettling. I reassured myself that there are treasures throughout the day that God has hidden–like a scavenger hunt–and it was my job to find and enjoy the them.
While the older kids were doing their online classes and Annie was diligently worked on her assignments, I told Sebastian, “I have worksheets for you from your teacher that she sent me online.” He literally cried tears of joy and said, “Am I old enough for school?” Rather than discuss how next August he will enter elementary school, I just said, “Yes!” He hugged me and thanked me. So weird how I have invited him to do homeschool-type activities for the past 2 years, but TODAY he was suddenly ready.
He sat at the table and did his worksheets. Halfway through, when his little attention span ran out, he ran away from the table as fast as he could, like he was putting out a fire. But then he returned and re-focused and accepted my corrections. He got an A+.
At one point, Annie spoke rudely telling him that she was doing important math, but he was doing stupid writing. I reprimanded her and then, anticipating the fight that was surely coming down the pike, I said: “Annie and Sebastian, I challenge you to get through the whole day without a fight. If you succeed, even though it is a Friday in Lent, you will both get a treat tonight. But Annie, if you speak rudely to Sebastian, you have to take out all the trash [it’s a long walk from our house]. Sebastian, if you speak rudely to Annie, you have to clean up the messiest room in the house.” The all-powerful “double incentive”–how does anyone parent without it? It is the only tool in my toolbox that keeps me sane.
I said, “Annie, repeat after me: ‘I will only speak kindly to you today, Sebastian.'” She giggled and obeyed. Then I said the same to Sebastian. But the Little Tooter replied: “Sebastian, repeat after me: I will only use kind words with you, Annie.” They both laughed and laughed. He did this about five times. “Sebastian, repeat after me. . . ” he crooned. What a stinker. Finally he did it correctly.
They made it through the day and earned a treat–amazing!
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Meanwhile, the older kids have rallied to help me with my new Instagram account. Jacob started it: “Guys, let’s help Mom! She doesn’t understand what Instagram is. She is using it like a blog or Facebook, and doesn’t realize it is mainly to feature artistic photos. She has lots of followers on her website–let’s help her with Instagram!” The girls all went for it. This blew my mind, since I have been hearing, “Mom, don’t post this on your blog!!!!!!” for about 5 years–since Jacob went to school one day at Cistercian and his classmates knew that Sebastian had needed to go to the ER. “You all read my mom’s blog???” He was horrified. Thus began the clamp down. So why, pray tell, are they okay with Instagram? Maybe the hopes of more tags and posts and pics that they approve? I really don’t even get it. But I’m so happy! We had a great afternoon, taking pictures!