thankful thursday ~ more light

on my way to my first day back at work after the recent government shutdown, i mused that i was thinking a month of gratitude posts might be in order for february. my bff challenged me to go for it, and here we are! 28 days of gratitude it is!

 

28 days of gratitude ~ day 1

i am grateful for a school day off for quinn. as he was getting in the car to go to work with me in the morning, he said, “i love a foggy morning. the sun doesn’t blind you, but you can see just fine,” and buried his face in his minecraft book.

 

28 days of gratitude ~ day 2

i am grateful for date night. hot and sour soup motivated our choice for chinese food, and we were home watching the hobbit before very long. i am grateful for the ease of our friendship, the comfort of our rituals, and the secure feeling of knowing i am wanted.

28 days of gratitude ~ day 3

today i am grateful for the tiny snowfall that my son woke up to on what was already a day off from school. i am grateful for things i would never have been grateful for in another lifetime, had i not been given this human to raise, because i see things differently through his eyes (such as foggy mornings, and snow), admittedly beautiful things for which i could stand to grow my appreciation. and the gratitude feedback loops begin again, a mere few days into the month, as my gratitude for things my son is grateful for enhances gratitude in me, and reminds me daily how grateful i am to get to be his mama.

 

28 days of gratitude ~ day 4

i can just alternate between my son and my husband, and it would be true to the essence of my gratitude. i am grateful for the laughs we share over regular day-in-the-life things. when he brought his coveralls in from his truck to put on (usually he puts them on at work, but he wanted to wear his waterproof boots), i laughed about the name label (i’ve always found the man labels on shirts and coveralls inherently funny) and said, “you seem familiar, oh rich, that’s right. nice to see you again.” or something to that effect. and he bear hugged me and did other things that belied a closer familiarity than one requiring name tags.

 

28 days of gratitude ~ day 5

i am grateful for showing up to my karate class to the surprise of my son on the mat! i am proud of his growth in the area of self advocating, and grateful for the chance to witness him in the process of learning a new skill, without him knowing i was watching.

 

28 days of gratitude ~ day 6

i am grateful for clear night skies with an abundance of starlight. i also got to see a big round moon only revealing the tiniest sliver edge of itself as it headed for the horizon. light of any kind is something i am still appreciating disproportionately here on the other end of winter, though i am able to perceive the slightest lengthening of daylight at long last.

~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ sierpenski’s rubik’s tetrahedron

~covering 10-23-18 to 11-23-18~

social learning

the first middle school dance!

he was so quull. he decided to wear his owl jacket with jeans and sneakers. legolas went with another friend, and quinn was hoping aragorn and gimli would go, but they didn’t. he ended up hanging out with two other boys who were into dancing, and “by the end of the night, i knew how to dance!” he stayed on the dance floor all night. i asked if he did the escape room and he said no, he just danced. the only money he spent was $1 for a bottle of water so he must really have been dancing!

he said hi to the girl he likes, but they didn’t hang out or dance. his last minute questions in the car going over “what if she asks me to dance” were priceless.

legolas invited the fellowship to his birthday party. quinn’s card making involved sharpies, his four color pen, and google image searches of yu-gi-oh characters. at the party, they played laser tag!

 

we had aragorn over for a day. they played shogi chess, yu-gi-oh, and star wars monopoly. by 1:45 when we were supposed to take them both over to his house for the evening, they had just ventured outside to do some shelter/fortress building, so we extended the visit to accommodate more outside time. quinn is amazing with a hatchet, and i like it when he has others around who help anchor him outdoors, long enough to swing one around a bit.

school learning

we had conferences this month and met with every teacher. his math teacher was enthusiastic about his dramatic “improvement” and it was nice for quinn to hear it from her. we met all the other teachers as well: tag, spanish, social studies, homeroom, p.e., language arts, science, and band.

tag is held every other week, and they’ll go on field trips, so it has been my “in” as far as volunteering, not just because i sell organic veggies to the teacher. i think since it is his break period on normal days that he has to give up, he is happy for any help.  apparently the rest of the tag kids are as forgetful as quinn, so quinn (whose mama had set a loud phone alarm to remind him about it) was the first kid to show up the day i started volunteering. he “complained” about the alarm with a big grin on his face. it was nice to see him and he wanted me to be his cribbage partner. the class was small, around 12 kids total. it’s a cool classroom full of tools and projects and stuff, this teacher teaches all the “STEM” classes such as engineering and robotics as well.

games, puzzles, and fizzbuzzes

we are doing lots of logic puzzles, often in the evening after dinner. anagrams have been a recent pastime as well.

vi hart’s latest project was called 50 fizzbuzzes, a panel of 50 python programs, variations on a script to write fizz for every multiple of 3 and buzz for every multiple of 5, and we were both intrigued. once he found out that version #48 was a “FIZZ DUNGEON GAME” he played all the way to the conclusion of the game (101).

her reasoning behind writing the program 50 times was to truly explore all the facets of learning python that she could, eliminating assumptions and challenging her thinking along the way. many of the results turned out to be very creative. quinn and i both especially loved version #42 which prints beebs and froods instead of fizzes and buzzes, and for 42 prints ******DON’T PANIC******

it was a learning experience for us as well, as we have never worked in python either, but in order to run the scripts, we had to install a python interface to work in, and it was neat to see both the code she had written and the working programs, side by side. i liked that not all of the programs worked flawlessly, all good things for my young perfectionist to observe of his hero.

he stated that he wants to create a set of cards on graph paper (a project he has started in many forms – spinoff games on pokemon or magic the gathering) “but this time i want to really follow through on it.” i thought that was a very interesting observation for quinn to make, knowing how much of my life i have spent as a project creator/not necessarily finisher. i would not be surprised if his own project motivations are ultimately what inspires him to come to grips with time management.

he made a game from legos, including separate playing boards for two people, but explained to me “this is only a prototype of the game.” we played a few rousing games of yu-gi-oh. we had a fun discussion about rubik’s cubes in which he thought of a cool way to make sierpenski’s triangle into sierpenski’s tetrahedron. and then we thought of sierpenski’s rubik’s tetrahedron and had a geek session of doodling ideas on paper of how it would work.

he still needs a ton of prompting to get his homework done, and then to hand it in, and then to retake tests, or follow up on finishing them when he doesn’t finish them in the allotted time, or freaks out and decides he can’t do them on test day. in outside-of-school math, however, he is finished reading life of fred geometry and is ready for me to order him trigonometry.

the other kind of pi

the morning after he finished the geometry text he told me, “i had a dream that you me and dada and my sister who was my twin, were going home to the barn. but we didn’t have a car, so we were walking along a cliff edge, and me and my sister fell off. and then my sister and i made it to shelter but then we got separated. then we found each other, and the dream ended.”

the main source of material for the dream, i knew, had been the life of fred geometry book, in which part of the plot (spoiler alert) is that fred falls in love with P, and then in the end it turns out that P is his long lost twin sister. it made me want to read the whole series now to get the back story of fred!

i asked if he knew where the rest of it came from, and he said, “i don’t know because that’s never happened before, it’s always either me and dada, or me and you” and i said, “well, when you were very little all three of us were together, but even though that couldn’t continue, i think it’s really normal for a kid whose parents aren’t together to always wish for a way it could be. and sometimes when you dream and you’re not in control of your thoughts, things that are a deeper part of you can come up that you didn’t realize you had thoughts about.” i think he appreciated that validation.

he said his twin looked a lot like one of the characters from yu-gi-oh named ishizu.

he is using the duo lingo app to learn italian, inspired by signing up to go to italy in just over a year, and i caught this audio of him saying “butterflies are insects” in italian:

on thanksgiving day, i caught him mouthing the words to rock me mama like a wagon wheel through mouthfuls of pancakes when rich put it on the stereo and started building a fire. quinn helped by making personal pies, and eating 3 pumpkins, 2 pecans, and an apple before heading off to his dad’s.

~rainbow mondays~ wild and precious

 

 

 

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

~black and white wednesday~ peaceful love

~rainbow mondays~ comfort and joy

rainbow heart lisa kitty!

loving our sparkly rainbow christmas tree this year…

love it even more with a beautiful boy sleeping in the room with it on christmas eve!

and of course, full of joy on christmas morning!

red: my husband beckoned me outside on christmas day to see this red-breasted sapsucker on one of our old apple trees.

orange: husband’s solstice fire dwindling.

yellow: playing tiles for a new low-tech mathy game called hex that quinn likes to win.

green: lichens and guys i lichen standing by the creek at the campsite i lichen. (where we stopped for a visit on the way home with our christmas tree; we saw a salmon heading upstream!)

green: amazing sunshine on christmas morning!

blue: one of the rocks outside our house glows blue in the right winter combination of moisture and a low altitude bright sun.

blue: full moon solstice!

purple: late bloomer.

gray: just a magical full moon-solstice bunny who has been visiting our yard for several nights, spanning solstice and christmas, here to wish you a happy new year!

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

seven ~ forever is composed of nows

at this life stage, i like to go to the grocery store fewer than once per week, but i went two consecutive days in a row last week. rich asked me to buy him some ricolas, and at the same time we realized we were getting low on t.p. (low for people in middle age, so with about 3 rolls to go; closer to out than we want to be at this aforementioned life stage.) since that night would be the opening night of rich’s play, i also bought a bouquet of flowers. cough drops, t.p., and flowers really felt like a shopping list snapshot representation of love, seven years in.

on my way home from quinn’s band concert that night i hired the person tending the performing arts center lobby as my flower delivery elf. i was banking on knowing the person performing this job, and sure enough, he was a guest at our wedding.

between gratitude and herbs and twinkly rainbow tree lights and camp boss love meals, i’m hanging tough through my least favorite season, but every way i can boost self care, i do. the next morning, i picked some cards from my animal medicine card deck, as i’ve found it to be a reliable way to reconnect my spirit. the card i picked for rich was crow the “sentinel” but i hadn’t seen his play yet, so i didn’t even realize how fitting it would be.

other reading and reflecting has to do with a certain man i met at yoga class 7 years ago…

actual words i typed before asking him on our first date:

omg my tummy is so butterflies right now i can barely type. lol. one hour till i leave to go do laundry.

third date:

he doesn’t seem afraid at all to tell me sweet things. so far he seems so willing to say basically yes yes yes i like you, yes more being together, yes more phone calls, yes. there is no holding back or thinking something is not ok to say or feel or do…

i loved finding that “yes yes yes” before i ever went to country fair with him and stood under yes yes yes banners and added yes yes yes songs to our mix tapes… fun to find evidence that it was always there. it was never a maybe or a let’s see for either of us. we weren’t messing around.

on friday morning, rich was reading aloud about a high surf advisory on the beaches. crow is a watcher and protector.

me: “so i’m hearing take my camera to work today so i can go to the beach and take pictures of big waves?”

“um, no.”

“go to the beach with my camera, right?”

“do not go to the beach. well, you can take pictures, but you have to stay up high, not go down on the beach.”

“on the jetty?”

no! do not go on the jetty.”

it has been fun remembering together. “seven years ago this friday morning i was blowing up lauren’s phone with how we gave each other backrubs in yoga and how you ran away out of class and i couldn’t ask you out. but i knew we’d both go do laundry on monday.” he was laughing and calling me a stalker, which i owned. he said, “i didn’t run away,” but i disagreed, “you basically jumped into your socks and shoes and sprinted out the door.”

he went out the door to work friday morning at a leisurely pace, but i hadn’t made him any tea and i had been trying to keep his throat happy for the play. he said it was okay if i would just make him some that night before the show, and he stuffed some ricolas in his pocket. after he left, i tucked a quart jar of tea in a fuzzy wool cozy, and dropped it off in his truck. i had to check two locations but once i located his truck at the port, i snuck tea into it with a note, “making sure my stalking skills are still intact.”

the set for rick bartow: in spirit was magical, with alder branches lining the “walls” and animal sculptures nestled among the branches. the floor was covered in sawdust and wood chips, the perfect workspace of a loved and respected local artist. at the start of the play rich was alone on stage, sweeping wood chips, and immediately there was no fourth wall, he spoke directly to the audience. his opening lines spoke of “when i returned” referring to rick’s time in vietnam. he was drafted, came back “a walking wound,” and wore bells on his arms and legs to be able to hear his parts moving.

rich set a grounded and warm tone over the whole room (no surprise here, that is the effect he has on me all the time). he stopped sweeping and picked up a discarded piece of pipe, some twine and a twig off the floor, and turned the pieces into a crow.

three other characters came “out of the stacks” at the library and they interacted with bartow. in a distinctly non-wronging way, rich’s character corrected a lot of the misconceptions about being native american. emily dickinson could relate, and took the opportunity to dispel various myths about herself. next, he interacted with a.e. housman, and was able to break through his defenses (his initial tone was “who the heck is this indian?”) to offer metaphor that brought the agitated poet some peace. rick had done sweat lodges with recovering alcoholics in real life, and would take no credit for any healing taking place, referring back to spirit working through him. the characters discussed the lack of a word for religion in native languages because it’s not something separate from life. his character discussed with brecht how he had a strong attachment to this place, our coastal town. finally the authors were on their way to return to the stacks but rick paid some final tributes:

“but what about the women in your life?”

“those women are Everything.”

“and what about the children in your life?”

“the children are Everything.”

(knowing that rick’s son, who years ago used to skateboard with rich’s son, was sitting in the audience while he said this, was pretty deep. rich’s one condition upon being asked to take on the role was that rick’s son approved.) i also liked having it heard by my own child-who-is-everything right beside me, who proudly observed before the show that, “my step-dad is basically the star of the show.”

on sunday after the final matinee, i helped strike the set. but first i got to witness rich getting greeted by so many people who knew rick and had stories to share, or just loved the play and wanted to shake his hand. he was so gracious and deferred to his fellow cast and director. i told him he is like the quarterback who gives all the credit to his teammates. he got pulled away from three women after they thanked him but one of them recognized me from the farm stand so i kept chatting with them and they were a hoot. they all knew rick from the library or school, one was his second cousin once removed. they were naming actual theaters in portland where they were envisioning the play touring. i said, “as long as i can finagle a way to go along, i think they should definitely take it on the road!” they were tickled that the veggie lady was married to the star of the show.

rich’s process with plays is a bit like mine with writing. he reads my final drafts but most of the time i am doing my own internal process and all he hears is the sound of keys clicking on the laptop. when he does a play, i likewise see the end result, but he learns his lines and does his process internally. it was like a release that evening, finally just getting to revel in the experience and discuss our thoughts on it, hear about what resonated for him in his role, how the experience was for him.

that night i read him the cards i had picked out. about how crow strengthens his voice and uses it to bring light forth from the darkness… flies over with regularity, a reminder that we are not alone on our search to discover the light within. with his strong, loud call he encourages using one’s voice as a tool for knowing and sharing Truth.

in the card i attached to his flowers, i had quoted emily dickinson: “forever is composed of nows.” i think it’s a good description of how we are doing forever together, being fully present in the now moments with each other, remembering the nows of yesterday and savoring the nows of today, not just ending up at the destination together one day, but being here enjoying every little moment together going down the road.

another memory:

it has all just felt so “yes” the whole time and in addition to all the yes it’s also lack of dissenting voices. i asked him if he minded if i fell in love with him and he said he didn’t mind. then he said, “you know that falling in love thing has been on the tip of my tongue.” i said, “yeah, you were going to ask me out too, but you waited for me to say it first” and he laughed.

i strive to elicit that same laugh today.

he already got me a christmas present. when my butt nearly caught on fire one morning a few weeks ago due to my heating pad spontaneously combusting, he helped remind me what to do in my panic (unplug it, sweetie) and quickly carried the smoking object outside the house. when he returned, he made sure i was okay before he even cracked any jokes about my smokin’ hot butt. and a new heating pad was on my chair by the time i got home from work that day.

i may still be a novice at creating my own light, but i will never in a million years be able to make my own heat. luckily he has that covered. but you know, he brings a lot of light in addition to heat to this equation. it has always made so much sense to me that we celebrate our beginnings on the day of the year that the light starts returning.

love you now and forever, rich. happy seven years!

~rainbow mondays~ winter’s threshold

rainbows abound! i think i must have accumulated an ideal level of foggy grime on my phone camera’s view finder, because it keeps manifesting this tricky rainbow effect lately.

i’ve also manifested the neurosis in my son of needing to have a picture of a thing; the above photo resulted from his disappointment that we didn’t get a shot of the sunrise before dropping him off at school. as i approached my work, sunrise was done, but the sky still looked pretty cool, so i snapped this for him.

rainbow veggies for thanksgiving, to offset all the meat and potatoes!

red: while we’re on the subject of thanksgiving color to accent the beige foods, 2018 will be remembered as the year i dumped fresh local raspberries into the cranberry sauce!

orange: fungus among us beneath a cedar of the dragon house.

yellow: the gentlest hue of winter afternoon sunlight

green: the wedding trees, a view of which i will never tire.

green: this little guy with his jade feathers all puffed up on a cold, bright day.

blue: sunny fall days prior to thanksgiving, motivating me to prepare pie crust and filling ahead of time. the sun electrified the blue chairs, overflowing the visual sense so you could almost hear their electrons hum.

blue: the magical edge, where air, water, and land caress, tickle, and tumble with one another, the sunshine superimposing the sky onto the wet sand, creating confusion about which element you’re beholding.

blue: and purple and green iridescent bubbles in the surf.

purple: or shall we say violet? my sweet husband pointed out these late season bloomers to me.

red violet: borrowing a quote from gratitude 2017:

“it is not coincidental that this little harbinger of joy is returning to my awareness today. while i have a tendency to let thoughts weigh me down, these tiny beings show me how they alight here and there, without all that heaviness. they change direction as often as needed; they remind me i always have a choice to redirect towards joy. they guard fiercely, but dance joyfully, and choose to drink in sweetness. they surround themselves in flowers, hovering amid beauty, embodying lightness of being.”

red violet: as always, i am grateful to these tiny birds for their ever-present reminder to look at life through my red violet heart-shaped lenses.

~rainbow mondays~

a splash of color on monday

a photo study documenting the colors of the spectrum: the balance points between light reflected and light absorbed

~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ math goblins

we had an eventful weekend of pressing apple cider and playing with friends on saturday, and then attending a very exciting gender reveal party for quinn’s step-niece! he has been elected as future babysitter already for this new bundle of joy, coming to our family in march.

once he handed in his historical interview, his overall grade in social studies went from F to B, and it was a lovely piece!

he got to choose a book for blackout poetry in language arts, and he picked anne mccaffrey dragonsong. he is excited to create poetry in it, but also to now read anne mccaffrey. his friend l got him into a game concerning the warriors series about cats, so we were off to the library to collect some supplemental reading beyond the math textbook variety. (we ended up with the next rick riordan installment in the trials of apollo as well.)

this age is the odd juxtaposition of hearing him obsess about a crush on a girl, to waking him up in the morning and having him say to me, “you find a planet” and being requested to carry him while spinning (he was orbiting me?) and set him in his chair for breakfast. my completely oblivious to time/date son, knew the date of the first middle school dance. i knew i’d have to remind him to put his shirt on frontwards, but he was already committed to going. probably even with deoderant on. sheesh!

we had another parked car meltdown of a similar theme as last month; “pressure” and school sucks and everything is bad in middle school and “i just want my old life back.” it ended on a pep talk from me about how it’s really normal to feel like so much has changed and to want to go back to your old life, and feel overwhelmed a lot, and have a lot going on, as a brand new middle schooler. i reemphasized the “This Is Super Normal” part several different ways. at one point he was angry about the president. he was in tears over it, as though the angry apricot is somehow responsible for putting quinn through middle school. i tried to reel him back in to his immediate self and stop trying to take on unfortunate political officials, and he came around in the end. it is normal to not want to do your homework. and feeling pushed is normal. even if mama isn’t trying to push but just support. and i stated that and he agreed he feels i do support him and he does want me to remind him to do his homework. there was no actual problem i could put my finger on besides emotional overload, and once he got it out of his system he went and cheerfully did his last 5 problems (verbally while writing his answers… which helps him get it done faster).

 

on his last day with me of the two weeks, there was a day off from school, so quinn participated in a theatre workshop that was being offered (and had a great time performing in his group’s skit) and then he and i spent the remaining afternoon hours on the beach, something we haven’t been doing very regularly as of late. once again, my big huge middle schooler revealed the little person still inside, as he scampered around on hands and knees, re-enacting cat battle scenes from the warriors book he had just finished. then he buried my limbs in the sand.

after a week away, quinn came back to me on friday, the last day of his first 6-week term, and although he handed in a few things at the very last minute, there was only one assignment that was left incomplete. the assignment was an autobiographical “my name is” poem for language arts, but since that was worth 50 of his 250 points for the term, it meant the difference between a 94% A and a 81% B. he had 2 lines of the title typed into the google doc, after two full class periods of work time, so at least he’s using his class time efficiently. it was due thursday, and at that point, the teacher entered an F, and quinn despaired and didn’t communicate or finish (or really even start) the work.

 

until he got home to me. after a brief discussion, he stated he did want to try to finish it and hand it in, and we both suspected it may be accepted for a grade if it was done by midnight. i sat him down and filled him full of food, then encouraged him to do a verbal brainstorm of what he wanted to write. he jotted a few words on a list that he wanted to include, but what finally got him going were my outlandish examples of imagery and sensory details. after one descriptive phrase about slaying orcs in a tunnel of trees in a forest (vs. “i kill orcs”), he jotted down “tunnels” and in the end, he crafted his whole poem as a d and d adventure, taking along his band of merry elves/dwarves/rogues. (the teacher’s instructions for the poem were “Peel the onion…you have layers.  You have MULTITUDES. This can include your hopes, dreams, fears, talents, family, personality, history, future plans, and ideas. Use imagery.  Make me see and feel your poem.  Show me your life.  Show me who you are!”

he wrote (crew names changed to pseudonyms by mama):

Name: Quinn

Date: 10-17-18

Period: 2

 

My Name Is Quinn

My Favorite Color Is Green

My Favorite Animal Is An Owl

My name is Quinn

I am a dragonborn wizard

I have a pet owl

My crew of adventurers is strong

We have me

Aragorn the human fighter

Legolas the elf fighter

And Gimli the dwarf rogue

We walk in diamond formation

On a quest to find the ancient mithril drum set

We have a map to show us the way

To the treasure

A dragon will be guarding the other treasure

The mithril drumsticks

They are required to play the mithril drum set

I alone can read the map

It leads us through the forest of Everygreen inhabited by ninjas

The tunnels of Diamondrain inhabited by ninjas

And the Skytrayl of the high mountains inhabited by ninjas

We reach the dragon and it’s ninja minions

They are very powerful

But we defeat them

And gain the mithril drum sticks

We now possess limited but large power

After we find the mithril drum set we will have unlimited power

Our journey was difficult

But we return home with both treasures

The mithril drum sticks

Whose power is to play the mithril drum set

And the mithril drum set

Whose power when played remains unknown

Who knows

Maybe one day

All mithril instruments will have been found

 

he doesn’t know what happens when the mithril drum is played yet! it remains unknown! i told him it keeps it very mysterious and he agreed. it makes us all want to know, and sets up for sequels with these other mithril instruments! i loved his requirement for all of the place names (diamondrain!) to have unconventional spellings so google docs would red underline them. hence skytrail became skytrayl.

on saturday i worked farmer’s market, and left him pancakes and bacon for breakfast. and a couple of haikus (they wrote some in language arts, but apollo also begins each chapter with a haiku). he sent me one in response, via text:

my life as it should

be. nothing to do but what

i want. thank the gods.

when i got home on saturday, quinn and rich were watching monty python and the search for the holy grail, after quinn’s social studies teacher used clips of it to elucidate economics principles, and quinn came home quoting them, with a perfect accent.

in between resisting math homework, it was a weekend full of finding him on page 503 of his advanced algebra textbook, asking me for more logic puzzles, and asking me to play “guess the function” with him. i made up functions for him to guess, after he gave me an example because i didn’t know what he meant (or what fred meant). his example was:

dog 4

cat 4

human 2

fish 0

bird 2

the function is “number of legs.” i was making pancakes while he was asking me so i gave him:

pancakes 3

pizza 4

cookies 2

biscuits 1

playdough 1.5

the function was “number of cups of flour” and even though he knew it had something to do with ingredients, it took him a while to get it. it’s so clear to me that he digs math, and yet resists it so strongly when it is “forced” as he believes of the homework.

good old fred.

we went to a midsummer night’s dream because once quinn heard that his friend l was in it, he stated “we’re going.” his friend was one of the little goblin-minions of puck in the play, and had quite a few lines and some great action. she is in a lot of quinn’s classes, and has played magic with him. the play was great, lots of 80’s references and songs, quite a few kids with real roles, and a great balance of making you like shakespeare while also poking fun at shakespeare. (the funny rhyme stuff… with characters correcting each other on pronunciation followed by “but that doth not rhyme” and so on. also song lyrics changed by varying degrees, but always with “you” changed to “thou”. “every step thou take, every move thou make, i’ll be watching thou.” when we got home quinn asked, “so are there any plays coming up?” and i think his lapsed interest in participating in one at some point might be rekindling.

he wanted to go back to the green room to talk to his friend, and they gushed at each other with thanks for coming and what a great job she had done. rich asked if he got all the 80’s references in the play and he said um, no. none of them.

i rolled up strips of dinosaur kale into mobius strips that i held together with toothpicks… hoping to get him to eat raw kale. and he totally did! and called them mobiosaurs. then he took the toothpicks, stuck them between his fingers, and said “i’m freddy kruger.”

me: what?! how do you know that 80’s reference?

q: “everyone knows freddy kruger, it’s not from the 80’s.

(i told him to ask rich, who proceeded to read him the copyright dates for the entire nightmare on elm street series.)

he also made me chuckle with his use of the word “litotes” which i recall learning in maybe 9th grade enriched english. litotes means understatement; he likes to announce overstatement with “‘hyperbole” so when i said something that was an understatement and he said “litotes” i said, “what? how do you know that?” (i seem to say that a lot.) that one came from life of fred. more than just math in there.

he sat on my lap (painful torture and laugh therapy all in one) and we were covered with the blanket and lisa decided to sit on top of him on top of me for a few minutes one morning. he’s a confusing mix of big and little and clueless and know it all right now!!! knows exactly what pokemon he wants to dress up as for halloween (rowlet the owl) and exactly how many components of his costume to wear to the dance to be extra quull.

i mixed up cookie dough sunday night after dinner and stuck it in fridge, so i was baking the cookies monday morning while i made breakfast and packed lunches. when i woke him up, i told him pancakes for breakfast and a cookie for breakfast dessert. that got him out of bed on a monday morning.

after his pancakes, he chose a cookie, and i got out a plate for him to catch crumbs. i came walking back into the kitchen and he was at the sink running the water, and i witnessed him wash his plate without being asked! then when he put it in the drainer, a jar lid fell into the sink, and he rinsed it and put it back in the drainer! when he turned around i made a super big deal hugging him and fake-sobbing about what a wonderful thing i had witnessed.

while sitting in a boring monday morning meeting, i jotted ideas on a sticky note (i have no idea where quinn gets his distractedness!) about how to make math homework more playful and less torturous. i decided to try making it into something of a d and d game…

  1. he has to roll the d12 to see how many goblins are attacking.
  2. for each problem he completes, he gets one chance to attack them, and
  3. if he completes the problem in under 3 minutes they don’t get to attack back (surprise bonus).

i had already tried giving him one of the egg timers from a game, to show him time passing while he did math problems, and it was just a distraction, something to fidget with. i had tried using a stop watch while he did problems and giving him his lap times as he finished a problem, which only seemed to make things more stressful, and made them take longer. i have had 4011 versions of the logic of time management conversation with him. if quinn had 35 math problems to do and each problem takes him 1 minute, how long does his homework take? what if he takes 10 minutes per problem? etc. the resistance is strong. i was hoping to use the game idea to bring him more awareness of time passing…. or connect it to his reality in a way he could actually embrace.

the game worked like a dream. he slayed all the goblins for days. he wanted to add features to make the game both more fun and more mathy, such as renaming it integers and irrationals. he built a table of goodness knows what, and all i know is it involves pi, tau, and wau, and other irrational numbers!

he was excited when he saw my rules sheet (complete with pi rats/midsummer nights dream slant rhyme/vi hart dragon dungeons proprietary mama inside joke blend) and then spent 10 minutes creating his grid of wonder. something about upgrading from level 1 to wau?

i eventually just said ok, time to roll for your goblins!

he did most of the problems in under a minute.  some were done in 15-20 seconds. we adapted rules as he played, such as allowing 2 attacks for problems completed in under a minute. he has added different enemies and when he had a problem or two left in a section but had already defeated the enemies, out of nowhere a couple of pesky twig blights would swoop in and attack. a clever mama always keeps a couple of twig blights up her sleeve.

of course it worked; he is the kid who couldn’t get in the car; but he could get in the batmobile.

i told him he could do this for his homework any time he wanted; with any work he “has to” do. there is usually a way to make it fun. there are always choices.

i guess that goes for parenting as well. thankful to be remembering these lessons a mere 6 weeks into middle school.

there is almost nothing easy about the steep learning curve of embarking on a middle school journey. except for, in quinn’s case, probably figuring out the slope-intercept equation for said curve.

~a month in the life of a lifelong learner~ middle school debut

~august 23 – setpember 23, 2018~

i picked quinn up from his dad’s, and received the tour of his self-built kayak, including the original concept drawing, the official plan drawings of the eleven, and the 11-foot-long boat itself! quinn explained the parts he did himself, including drawing the centerline, and then taking measurements off of centerline from the plans and inscribing them onto the plywood. he showed me his favorite power tool, the screw guns, and performed a paddling demonstration. by the end of the first week of school, they had it finished, painted, and varnished, and had launched it for a maiden voyage in beaver creek.

  

 during our final week of summer vacation together, quinn and i attended family boating for the final two sessions of the season. we had the family of aragorn over for pizza and trampoline fun. quinn also ran one unofficial cross country practice, culminating in the 3 kids who ran tossing blackberries into each others’ mouths. i walked up to the middle school with quinn to get his schedule sorted out, but also to practice walking up, making sure he knew where to go and helping him feel confident it wasn’t too long of a walk.

quinn’s first day of middle school arrived! i delivered his laptop to him, hugged him and wished him luck, and snapped a photo of him distracted by the spider web behind him on the bush. “spider math!” he sang, and marched up the hill to sixth grade.

right after practice on friday there was excited/happy talk about school, schedule, classes, lockers, friends. after cross country we headed to the karate party centered around dessert and jump tag. quinn took me step by step through his day: he has first period spanish, second period language arts, third period math, fourth period band, then lunch/recess/homeroom, fifth period social studies, sixth period p.e., and seventh period science. he has been eating lunch with the fellowship.

everything he said was upbeat. he got his locker combo down by day 2, is getting to classes on time, and knows what to drop off and pick up and when. he likes every single one of his teachers, his language arts teacher being his favorite.

lots of games of jump tag and several cookies later…. he had a fairly extreme meltdown as soon as i parked in our driveway. the floodgates opened and he had a lot to say, and a lot of emotion to emote. we sat in the car for maybe 45 minutes while he poured it all out.

a predominant theme was that he was lied to, he was told his friends would be in classes with him. he only has legolas In one class, p.e., and zero classes with either gimli or aragorn. middle school is basically the worst place he has ever seen. there is almost no time for lunch, and even less time for recess, because all you have is the time leftover after you eat. he only has aragorn with him for cross country after school, and that isn’t even very fun. he feels like he is slow and the last one to finish every time, and hates when they clap for him coming in last and would prefer no attention at all. he doesn’t want to do activities where he isn’t going to be pretty good at them by maybe the 3rd or 4th practice. he feels like maybe he has signed up for more than he can handle. he needs at least a one month break from everything, and especially from middle school, which he would actually like to just drop out of completely.

i tried not to problem solve any further or argue any of his points right then, but instead told him it seemed really normal to be quite overwhelmed after his very first week of taking on so much new stuff. middle school and cross country basically in one week. a new school building, 7 teachers instead of 1, 7 different classrooms instead of 1, figuring out a locker combination, being in an upper level math class with a teacher giving lectures about how she won’t slow down for them. (never mind that he doesn’t need her to: the class is pre-algebra, 3 textbooks of which quinn read to himself this summer. he began reading the first algebra text in the life of fred series at the time he started middle school, because by golly he is in a hurry to get to geometry. the boy can solve for x. there is no issue over content or pace.)

he calmed down a lot after he got to vent all of it, agreed not to try to tackle it all in one sitting, and agreed he wanted to keep trying. it was time for a bath and bed. once he was in bed, he talked to me more, and was back to happy and positive. he has a crush on a girl, and he was happy about having a couple classes in common with her.

“can i ask you some advice? i mean, you were once a girl. now you’re a woman but… what i’m wondering is how do i even approach her?”

he’s absolutely right, i was once a girl. i told him not to put any pressure on himself in this area of his life. i said girls are just like boys and all they want in a friend is to know someone cares and is listening. you pay attention to things she says until a natural common interest comes up, then you strike up a conversation with her about that topic, with good reciprocity. i said it’s realistically going to look pretty much like a friendship at this stage/age in his life, so not to worry too much about gf/bf stuff right now. i also told him about a friend of ours refusing to date his good friend freshman year, because (even though they are of an age to realistically go on a date) he didn’t want to damage their friendship by dating, and then maybe breaking up and not even being friends anymore, as he had seen other friends do.

he also asked me at one point whether i would be volunteering in his class? “there is a science class, you know.” so he still wants me around.

quinn interviewed grammy and grampy and made an outline to remember what he wants to write for the historical interview assignment. (watching astronauts hit golfballs on the moon!)

paring pears

i was distressed about leaving town for 2 weeks having only had 5 days of his first month of middle school to cram in all the logistical skills (which browser to use to get connected to school wifi?) and coping skills as he makes this enormous transition. he had a sleepover with aragorn the day we left for oklahoma, and ran in his first cross country race while we were gone. i received photos from camp boss/stand-in mom (there’s a reason why she’s my emergency contact) of both his start and a strong finish! he was pleased to not be last, though we’ve talked about it not being about rank/placement, but about your own process of improving and strengthening, challenging yourself to complete a race and accomplish inner goals.

during our drive home from oklahoma, there was a text marathon between quinn and i, mainly concerning the procedure for charging his computer. apparently, he wasn’t as competent on that as i thought, so i walked him through finding the charger, plugging it in, and waiting an hour for it to be ready to try to turn on since no one had charged it in the ten days since i had last done so. while he waited the hour, we played emoji chess. i had a sinking feeling about what i would find when i got him home.

after the two weeks at his dad’s, quinn brought home zero materials and a completely drained computer, having quit the cross country team. he had an F in math and a slew of missing assignments. i only found that out the day before he came back to me, when i hacked into the school’s gradebook interface. the school has yet to mail out the log in info to parents of new sixth graders as of december, but i found my id number on school registration papers, and i did an end-run around by claiming i forgot my (never issued) password, and miraculously, i was emailed a link to reset. so i did. and then i promptly went to visit his math teacher, who reaffirmed his belonging in this level, and was very open to hearing what strategies i felt would help her help him.

he got to decompress for a little while, then started at square one on the math homework on friday night. sometimes he was in good spirits, other times were more angst-filled. he finished block 1 sunday afternoon, and he got started on block 2. we went over some of the questions he had been psyched out about (“i can’t multiply decimals”) until he was comfortable. both rich and i reminded him of how “i can’t read! i’m never going to read! reading is impossible!” turned out for him in the end. once he regained confidence, he started blurting out non-obvious answers left and right.

“Ivan has a board that is 5/8 yard long. He plans to cut the board into smaller boards that are each 5/32 yard long. How many boards will he be able to cut?”

almost instantaneously quinn said, “he gets 4 boards.” then it took him around 10 minutes to write out the problem and show the work to solve it. we discussed strategies for types of problems, like identifying the operation to perform based on key words in the word problem. none of this is new, but he hasn’t needed to think much about it yet. his learning style is such that he goes straight to the 100th story, then has to build the 99 floors underneath his levitating self. another strategy that seemed helpful was verbally articulating the steps to someone else who doesn’t automatically come up with answers like he does… how would you say this to a kid if you were their teacher? i think he likes to fancy himself in the teaching role, so that perked him up in between bouts of grumbling.

then i found him reading his life of fred algebra textbook in his bed tent. (an excerpt below in case anyone is curious about fred.)

he came to the kitchen later in the evening and asked, “do you know carl gauss?”

“um… well i think he died about 2 centuries ago but i know who you mean….”

“well, he was a problem for his teacher because he was bored, and the teacher sent him to the corner to add 1 through 100 including 1 and 100. the teacher came back later and gauss was just sitting there, not doing anything and the teacher accused him of not working on it but he said, ‘i’m done, it’s 5050.’ and the teacher went to the board and began doing the equation and it took a long, long time and sure enough, it was 5050 but he didn’t realize the way gauss did it was to add 1 and 100, 2 and 99, 3 and 98 (all = 101) and quickly realized that would happen 50 times, and therefore multiplied 101 times 50 to get 5050. and that was how he did it so fast. he was such a funny guy, carl gauss.”

special thanks to vi hart for telling him that story. also, why are we fighting about you being able to do math homework, son????

also from vi this month, quinn became obsessed with scutoids, the latest and greatest new geometric shape. vi’s video introduction to scutoids was as engaging as ever, and complete with a paper pattern to download so you could build your own pair of scutoids. he got out his sharpies and tape and set to work. the video featured pomegranates, and the way their seeds grow in the shapes that they do, and the fact that indeed, some of them grow into scutoid shapes, to fill the space as efficiently as possible. some of the seeds may be underdeveloped, so some of their neighbors may have 5 instead of 6 sides, to accommodate the spacing, whereas in other sections, 6 sided arrangements may pack together nicely. vi mentioned wanting to learn more about the way the scaffolding inside the pomegranates develops, and how the decision process for seeds becoming who they are works. i couldn’t help but see a metaphor in the intricacies of development and scaffolding and how they become ever more fascinating, the deeper you look.

that saturday i had farmer’s market, and left him a jellybean fraction multiplying problem and had him do a few problems before we went to the farmer’s market crew party where he had a lot of fun playing with magnatiles. he wanted me to play d and d with him during his “breaks” between doing homework all weekend, and sunday as he was waiting for me to play he sat contemplating his 20 sided dice, and realized “i know how many sides our magnatile creation had on it now!” because his 20 sided dice was the same, made of triangular faces that come together in sets of 5.

we also took a bayou walk and played his version of outdoor pokemon. we walked around and he told me what pokemon i could find and catch. we saw some actual wildlife so it made it more fun to say what pokemon they represented; i caught an ekans (snake) a kabuto (we saw a spider; kabuto is a fossil of some kind but he said it looked the closest to him) a poliwag (frog), a pidgeotto (hawk) and a caterpie (dragonfly).

that weekend also included me finding an egg (which hatched a triceratops).

i ask him if i can peruse his binder, and he says yes. some of his “just write” entries for language arts:

monday morning i had him write himself a post-it note listing what he needed to do that day: hand in math homework, schedule test retake, bring home music books and binder/planner. also, text mama if retaking the test after school that day. having him come up with the things needing to be on the list was pulling teeth, but he got there eventually.

he is going to work on keeping his planner filled in (the two weeks were pretty sparse), and told me of difficulties with that in some of the classes, for which we discussed solutions. he also had missing assignments from spanish and social studies, including his historical interview write-up.

that day of the sticky note, he completed every step of the to-do list, up to and including send me the text! we have been working on establishing some two-way communication via phone, so this was a win. when i picked him up after his retake, he was all smiles. carrying his binder, he hopped in and said his day was, “great!” i asked whether he felt that he and his math teacher had turned over a new leaf together and he said, “well, it’s more like it’s the same leaf, but less brown. it’s kind of light green now.”

he told me he went in after school and “she gave me a brand new test and i just did it all!” and i asked if he felt confident he knew how to do all the problems and he said, “yeah, it was like almost all fractions.”

um, yes my young genius, i know that, i just spent the entire weekend making you do the homework on all the things to do with fractions. he is such a wonder. later while taking a bath, he refused to close his book because, “i’m right in the middle of fred solving some fractions!” totally a reason to let your bath water get cold.

he felt great about it all, told me how he got his whole planner filled in with no problem, and immediately opened up the seaweed snacks i had bought while at the grocery store and devoured the whole package. we made sweet tangerine positive energy tea and he ate 2 more boxes of seaweed snacks. i figured he’d finally get over his cold.

we drank our tea and played d&d. he is taking me through an adventure (celvin, a dwarf wizard and starlefea, an elf cleric are the characters he is having me play) and i get to listen to him say lots of pretty phrases, “he regained his feet…” and pretty words “burnished, escarpment, cistern” etc. some of it is by the script from the book, but it’s a lot to keep organized (sort of choose-your-own-adventure on steroids) and yet he weaves it all into a story with appropriate inflection, and enough specific details to verbally orient you in the dungeon physical space and tell you how many doors go off in which directions and what your options are… he’s fun.

sometime during the evening, i logged onto the grade book and sure enough, his math teacher had already updated his grade. 37% F went to 88% B, quite literally overnight.

middle school operates on 6 week grading periods to give the kids a chance to get the hang of it all. he is not the only one to ever struggle with this transition. in order to minimize stress, there is some flexibility with retakes and grace periods with due dates. and also, a chance to start fresh if all else fails.

i feel it is important for team quinn not to encourage or feed into the negativity that he can sometimes default to, like any of us, when he is hungry/tired/thirsty/overwhelmed. he does not need help developing negative storylines he can latch onto… such as “he feels like he is being treated like an object and expected to perform.” “he feels pressured” was mentioned so many times with respect to cross country and math, and i believe he was encouraged in feeling that way and jumping to an extreme “solution” of quitting to alleviate it, rather than allowed to endure a small amount of positive encouragement to persevere aka “pressure”. i think quinn needs guidance from people who care, who know his goals and have his happiness in mind and his well-being as our most important priority. i am visualizing being a container for quinn to help keep his river in the proper channel and help it keep from spilling out over the banks or getting all dammed up. it’s a balance of not being too rigid, flexing enough so he cannot be bent out of his own shape by the “pressure”, but firm enough to keep him from spilling out and abandoning his own path.

another day when i picked him up, he was in a bad mood. “i know more about science than my science teacher. and i have lunch detention tomorrow.”

a kid in the lunch line said that day’s lunch detention was canceled and would be happening wednesday instead, and that quinn was also in it. and quinn believed the boy. i explained that only a teacher can tell you if you have lunch detention,  not another student (it took a while to establish that no teacher told him he had done anything wrong, nor had he had 3 tardies or whatever else you can get detention for… and knew of nothing he had done to earn a detention) and i said i thought the kid was messing with him. “ohhh.”

quinn disagreed with things his science teacher said about the water cycle, and he refused to fill in the worksheet because he wouldn’t write things he didn’t believe to be true, and he would get an F if he didn’t, so it was all bad. i talked to him about focusing on what he did believe of the article, or writing “according to the article” and giving the answer the teacher wants, even if according to you it’s a little off. (the article was not inaccurate but was oversimplified, and quinn is very strict about abiding by the laws of physics and logic… he just doesn’t apply it in every situation, such as when a kid tells him he has lunch detention.)

he listened to some sparkle stories to unwind, had hot dogs, cauliflower, kefir and bbq potato chips for snack (hangry much?) and did a few math problems before karate. when we got to karate i went on the back mat with him to try to help remind him of techniques he was fuzzy on from being away for 2 weeks, and he wouldn’t do it, and said, “it’s just… the math. you’re not listening to me. i can’t do it, i shouldn’t be in the class, i should be in the other class…” all over again. we argued about that for a bit, then he joined his class as it was starting.

stalling and complaining notwithstanding, he had no trouble with the second homework on integers and finally ended up blazing through the last page of it and going to bed to read… math. specifically, the quadratic equation. he didn’t need to “study” or do the even problems this round, as there was nothing he “didn’t know” how to do on this whole assignment. at one point i made up a harder problem to enable him to articulate the steps to “someone” because he couldn’t explain how to add -6 +2 other than saying “‘you add 2 to negative six” so i gave him -1694 +252 and then he could say, “subtract the smaller number from the bigger number and assign it a negative sign because the bigger number is negative” because then there was actually enough to justify an explanation. again, he was saying the answer immediately as he got done reading the questions… and then had to write out the “work”.

the math class was still being debated. it is hard for him to hear from me that the other class isn’t the answer to his woes, that it would require just as much busy work on his part, (it’s still a middle school class), but it would be on topics he already knows and would get bored with.

“buddy, do you want to spend a whole year getting to this topic you’ve already mastered??? you’re ready for the pythagorean theorem.”

“i already know the pythagorean theorem,” quoth he.

gah!

i asked him to trust me that i know something about what goes on in middle school classes, and what the options are, and why he was placed this way; to trust mrs j from last year, trust mrs z (current teacher), because all of us are saying you belong in this class right now.

i tried to give him perspective that it would soon feel less overwhelming, since he had just done the first month of math homework in 4 days. i gave him kudos for working hard to get caught up, but also the assurance that doing one assignment every 10 days or so will feel a lot more doable.

when i asked him about his unit 2 math test after school, he told me he probably got a perfect score. he hadn’t seen his grade yet but she had told them it would be on the gradebook already so we could look it up. 100% on the test, 100% on the homework, and now a solid A at 94% overall. he grinned when i showed him. i said, “are you convinced you’re in the right math class yet?” and he said, “you know i am.” i took that as acknowledgement that i had believed in him even when he doubted. i am hoping we can put the “i need an easier class” argument to rest now for good.

rich teased him later, “i hear you’re going to change math class after all… to college math.” it was one of those moments where quinn was confused briefly (“you like spicy food, right?”), then caught on. still the same boy. he took his bath then put on his hexaflexagon shirt backwards. i found him still wearing his glasses in the morning when i went to wake him for an all-day outdoor school field trip on the beach. he had stayed up late and finished his algebra textbook by firefly jar light.

archive update ~ quinn age 3 ~ haul away on the one unbroken line

over time, i have filled in gaps in my blog, and the final frontier that has been awaiting its day is the time between quinn’s third and fourth birthdays. i established the blog just after he turned 3, but was not posting thorough updates again until just before he turned 4, when i posted the first ~a month of unschool~ post, which technically covers “quinn’s forty-seventh month.”

in the spirit of honoring my story and attending to its integrity as one unbroken line, i have recently revisited that time period in my off-blog archives in an attempt to weave a splice joining the two dangling ends of the line. whereas the age 1 and 2 update posts filled themselves in relatively easily via mostly unedited text grabbed from emails to lau and piles of toddler photos, turning 3 was a time that i could just tell i needed to spend some more time and energy unpacking. i was attempting to define some independence for myself, and my parenting journey was particularly dramatic around that time. turbulence on many levels may be what has kept me from grappling with this chunk of my storyline up until now, but i have been rewarded for summoning the courage. the twinkling sapphires i am unearthing from the larger pockets of darker stuff reveal more wealth than i remembered. i am allowing myself to savor the quickly typed emails and simmer them down into their essence this time around (read: i tried to bridle the verbosity). i allowed myself to write from both perspectives, to acknowledge the time and distance from which i am gazing upon the artifacts, but allowing them to glimmer for themselves as well.

i back-dated each individual post, so they are less likely to turn up in your current blog reader feeds or emails (though if you did catch them, let me know through what venue? i’m curious…). here is a compilation of links to those ten posts comprising the splice in the line, one snapshot and text excerpt per post to hint at what you’ll find there. in case anyone is up for another blog binge-fest!

i feel a deep sigh of relief, gratitude and contentment to have this gap filled.

quinn’s thirty-seventh month (february 23, 2010-march 23, 2010) into the heathers of the waters

“three was a time of still needing to figuratively crawl back inside the womb and reconnect with mama regularly, interspersed with bouts of shoving off the mama dock and paddling the canoe of his person purposefully away with equally great frequency and intensity.”

quinn’s thirty-eighth month (march 23, 2010-april 23, 2010) long, long ago, in the great days of the grass sidewalks

“during that trip, quinn just kept walking and walking, an impressive distance for such a small hiker. he was filled to the brim with enthusiasm, fueled by easter eggs and the promise of treasures along every stretch of sand. on one of our beach hikes he told me, ‘those two seagulls are having a bath! i’m amazed by it!'”

quinn’s thirty-ninth month (april 23, 2010-may 23, 2010) melody, harmony, rhythm

on mother’s day, we cuddled in bed, then after a lazy bagel and granola breakfast we played a game of soccer-on-the-stairs, risking life and limb to toss the ball up and down, quinn at the top, me at the bottom. he would laugh hysterically every time the ball made it past him and hit the washing machine, making a gong sound. an audio recording of his laugh reverberates across the years that have elapsed, reminding me in one more sensory modality of just how much he has grown. his voice plays a deeper music now, and is on the very cusp of plummeting yet another octave, accompanied by the background refrain of time whooshing past.”

quinn’s fortieth month (may 23, 2010-june 23, 2010) rebirth

“the recollections from this month that don’t read like a report on our saturdays at the farmer’s market, read instead like a menu of the food i prepared from our first csa boxes, our garden, and the wild.”

quinn’s forty-first month (june 23, 2010-july 23, 2010) now i’m free!

“this was the month i was establishing this blog, this glass bowl into which i began attempting to place some small portion of the petals as they fell, realizing even then that this, too, is all going to pass away, but knowing that it will always be worthwhile to cup a petal in one’s hand and contemplate it for a time.”

quinn’s forty-second month (july 23, 2010-august 23, 2010) blackberry blueberry peaches

“pancakes from scratch, sweetened with honey and applesauce. (another beginning whose future  importance i can now see vividly through the wide-angle lens of time, from this point onward, not only did pancakes earn the favorite breakfast title and become a staple in his diet, but other loved ones have been folded into our lives to whom we refer as pancakes, based on our sunday pancake tradition and their sweetness.)”

quinn’s forty-third month (august 23, 2010-september 23, 2010) untamed wildness

“i would find ropes and strings secured to all manner of objects throughout the house. in one image a string was tied to the step stool, with one of his toy boats tied to the other end. as much as i celebrated him becoming himself, i hoped he would remain this tightly secured to me as he grew.”

quinn’s forty-fourth month (september 23, 2010-october 23, 2010) storm season

“storm clouds were gathering in the mama realm as well. the mountain of my ideals promised of a rain shadow, but i was still climbing up the other side where the moisture piled up, sliding back down in each deluge, unable to bridge the disconnect between what i believed i ought to do, and what i was actually doing.”

quinn’s forty-fifth month (october 23, 2010-november 23, 2010) hard-won

“dried plant skeletons withered in the fog of the autumn marsh. blackberry vines had turned a deep merlot, surrounded by brown of every shade. there was still so much green, only now with ecru lace (dried angelica) and beaded silk (spiderwebs collecting droplets of fog) woven throughout. the change of season kept me mindful that all things pass, and that winter storms would come and scour the landscape, scrubbing it bare and making space for new growth come spring.”

quinn’s forty-sixth month (november 23, 2010-december 23, 2010) stirring the pensieve

“by this magical age of three, many of the most quinn-ish aspects of quinn-ness had emerged and i was starting to observe and take notice of them. the blog has been a bit like dumbledore’s pensieve in which i have been able to store memories, and at various times revisit them, swirl them around, and discover connections among the memories and the present days’ events, coming to understand both more fully. i find it incredibly fitting that the memories in the pensieve seem very much alive, as though pulsating with bioluminescence.”

~~~

best served with tea and small oranges!