Today, we added pumpkins to our giant poster entitled, “Life Cycle of Living Things That Use Sexual Reproduction.” Underneath the title it reads, “by Zach and Ezra and Tara.”
I discouraged them from putting my name on the poster. It was their project, their work, I tried to say. But they weren’t having it. When I turned my back, Zach wrote my name on the poster.
Which everyone who has ever done a project with their child knows to be more honest. This poster has all of the cute hallmarks of children’s work: poor spelling, messy handwriting, too much glue, and less than precise scissor work. But make no mistake about it; I did the lion’s share of the work by setting the whole thing up, asking leading questions, choosing what to print from the internet and how to arrange things on the poster board (even if I tried to make the boys think that they were making those choices).
I guess the practice of including all significant contributors on the byline could serve them well when they are submitting articles for publication. Still, it’s embarrassing to see my name up there.
It’s a good reminder though, that I need to pull back and let them do more of their own work. And then pray that their own work won’t suck as much as I assume it will.
To join the boys in their pursuit of academic integrity, I thought I should update the schedule to more accurately reflect what we do these days. The biggest change is that we have added so much exercise to the schedule, that there is little time left over for “schoolwork.” So now we do academic work for two hours, three days a week. There are other changes as well. The weekly service projects never took off, so it’s gone. And the 15-minute scheduling blocks have given way to large chunks of time where I fit things in as best I can. It doesn’t look as impressive as before, but I am praying that the changes are for the good.
Finally, a bit of parental integrity. The baby of whom I am temporarily the legal guardian (whom I will call CutiePie to protect her identity and because she is so dang cute) has been here nearly a week. And she is melting our hearts.
I pretend to be asleep at 5:30 so Jeff can get up with her, which is what I have always done with the boys. Because I don’t parent before 6 am. Never have.
And even though I know she’s been taken from her home and is scared and confused, I have been letting her cry herself to sleep. It takes her less than five minutes (less than a minute tonight), but I feel ambivalent about it. But I do it anyway, because I’m done with kids by eight pm. Always have been.
As I wait for her to fall asleep, I tell myself that this is what lets me give myself to her more fully during the day. And then I pray that God will heal CutiePie’s heart, from what has happened during the first year of her life. And what we don’t get right in the weeks she’s here.
I suppose that’s the best thing about integrity. It leads to humility. Which can lead to prayer. Which is a good place to be, yes?