now that jury duty is out of the way, and i only have my 2.5 jobs and house buying to keep me busy, i am getting back on the horse of blogging. actually, i will be down to just 1.5 jobs shortly, as soon as school is out for the summer. then i will just be tending fish in the fish disease lab on weekdays and peddling veggies every other saturday. and… our offer was accepted on the house! so we are well on our way to being home owners!
it was fun to shove aside all the mail and dishes on the table and sit down and sign and initial a whole bunch of pieces of paper next to my future house co-owner. i sure love him. i loved it when he told me so many months ago that he wanted my name next to his on the deed. i loved it when he told me, mere days before our hope of buying the house we live in fell through, that maybe it is for the best that we embark on a new adventure together (and buy a different house that we choose as a couple). i love his whole approach to this whole process, and look forward to making our new home our new home together.
i secretly get distracted by the left hand side of this picture and a pair of arms i like to have around me.
so, we will be moving soon. it has been a big transition to wrap our heads around, but we have found a great house in a great location, that just seems to fit us perfectly. i waited until the offer was in and looked like it would be accepted before i drove by the place with quinn and told him of our upcoming move. i asked him his thoughts and feelings. they were mixed:
- i don’t really want to leave the dragon house
- i really like exploring new places and it looks like that house has lots of good things to explore
- i’m not very good at adapting!
(the dragons are coming with us.)
he also likes that our local pseudo-family (including his best friend) live right nearby the new house, close enough for an 8 year old to walk! he asked if we would ever get to go back and visit the dragon house (our name for the house we live in now) and i said probably not, but that we’ll still go to sharlei’s a lot on weekends (rich’s mom who lives next door to dragon house), so we’ll still drive down our old road and she’d even let us put up tents in her yard and camp if we want to sometimes.
“well, i’m fine with moving then,” he decided.
on top of all the busyness, it is the merry month of may. my mom and i were reflecting on the month of may back when i was in school, and how there were mays when we ate outside of home for 26 out of 31 dinners. although we have eaten at home more than that, we have been running frantically to catch all of our friends’ and students’ dance recitals and baseball games.
in our own world, quinn’s universe has been filled with many new and exciting adventures, most notably karate. he is now a yellow belt, his belt test is already receding into the past somehow, already more than two weeks ago now. his enthusiasm that night of his test was a sight to behold, and before the test it was hard to get him to stop bouncing up and down to take his picture in his final moments of having a white belt. after the yellow belt was on, he became very solemn, and only when his teachers started hamming it up in the group pictures did he crack a smile again.
last week he went through a very brief period of doubt and thought maybe he wanted to quit karate. i have my theories about the way quinn’s self-esteem and anxiety cycle on an every-other-week basis, but those are theories, and it doesn’t change the reality that he does a different routine every other week of his life. all i can do is try my best to make up for it whenever i get my chances.
i brought him to karate as usual this tuesday, and he reluctantly got dressed. by the end of class, he was back on the karate horse.
then i went one step further and encouraged him to check out the sparring class that he is now allowed to attend, given his belt status. he had been saying things about it that just sounded like made up things to fear, and i wanted him to give it a chance before he ruled it out. on the premise we would just watch if he wanted to, we showed up thursday to sparring class. we brought the uniform “just in case”, and then his instructor caught the nervousness and told quinn it was best not to overthink it, but just jump in and try it out! (great advice, to not overthink things. i should really try that out sometime.)
so he jumped in and tried it out. every parent on the sidelines was smiling at his infectious laughter, which was non-stop for the duration of the class. he beamed, he giggled, he jumped up and down with glee. he saw his two instructors spar with each other for a split second, and the look of awe and amazement and joy on his face was priceless (it was very impressive, to be sure). he gazed at his reflection in the mirror wearing his protective head, hand and foot gear.
one of the things he has been so looking forward to, for when he joins the purple belts and up in the later class, is that they tend to have fewer kids in those classes, so they get to run laps around the mat for warm-ups, as opposed to doing warm-up exercises in place. since only 8 kids came to sparring that night, he got to run, and they did a fun warm-up game with different exercises in each corner, and you and your partner had to run to all four stations and perform the various moves. for the end of class game, they had to slow-motion spar with each other while the instructors went around and slow-motion chased them with big foam pads that they’d sandwich each student between (once you got sandwiched, you were out). quinn was laughing and jumping up and down watching the first kid get sandwiched, he just delighted in the whole process.
i thanked his teacher for encouraging him to “just do it” and also mentioned that i think for quinn, it helps for him to see the whole process, including sparring with an opponent, so that he understands the logic behind what moves he is learning in forms class. some kids are physically coordinated and grasp things first in their body, but i think quinn really takes it in cerebrally first, and then it frees up his physical side to do the moves. he’s the kid who says, “i think i should draw a map of the studio, so i can study where everything is.” that said, he told me, “i didn’t really have to think about it when i was sparring, all i had to do was say in my head what move i was doing.”
his assessment after class: “it was awesome.” he wants to go to karate every day of the week it is offered. “and if they start a friday class, i’ll go to that, too. then i’ll go to karate every day except saturday and sunday. it’ll be like i have a job!” he also said he is back on his way “to build true competence! it’s in the student creed!” i had quoted the “principles of black belt” to him when he told me he wanted to quit, and let him know i believed in his “indomitable spirit,” and it’s fun to hear him now quoting back to me the words he has memorized from speaking them aloud at each class.
or ma’am, depending on the teacher leading class. i can’t wait until he slips up and starts yes ma’am-ing me at home.
i asked what he thought about having taken a chance on sparring and having had it turn out to be so much fun. he agreed, he had made up some impressions of what it would be like that didn’t turn out to be true. he finished my sentence about how sometimes your brain makes up what it thinks something will be like and “your brain just gets stuck on it!”
to his credit, at least his dad does take him fishing…
a few other highlights… we visited the tall ships when they came to town. it’s fun to hear my son walk around and chat with the crew about how “my mom used to do this for a job.” he asked if we could go for a sail next time they come, so that is definitely going to be on the agenda for next may.
we’ve also been discussing all about babies. yes, the birds and the bees! there’s a book you need if you have someone in the age 7 and up bracket called it’s so amazing. and if you have younger or older kids, there are books by the same folks for you, too. quinn has always loved babies and been fascinated by big questions of existence. we want all the kids of our living school to have accurate facts when they go swim in the bigger ponds of public school next year. before we began the unit at school, i bought quinn the book and we read it together. he hung on every word, and asked tons of questions. he loves to sit and leaf through. he points to the people in the pictures and says things like, “there’s me, there’s my mom, there’s my dad, there’s my grammy and there’s my grampy!” the book does a great job of portraying life’s ongoing changes as “perfectly normal” (the title of the book for age 10 and up) and yes, amazing.
my own mom is a super-prepared teacher mom who also had a book at the ready when these questions arose for me and my brothers around quinn’s age. and i just want to acknowledge that, because i think it is an area that many parents fumble through and i wanted to follow my mom’s wonderful example and handle it with lots of accurate information and the overarching attitude of “it’s wonderful to talk about this stuff, bring it on!”
i think the message got through to quinn, if his recent play is any indication. “the blanket is the uterus, and i’m the baby. it’s time to get me out, mama!”
finally, quinn had the awesome treat to get to ride the lovely pony molly over memorial day weekend, and he surprised us all by being game to ride alone, and control the reins with no one holding a tether. he did such a great job, and had so much fun. he looks forward to getting back on the horse again a bunch more times this summer!