I mentioned last month that I would start reading chapter books aloud to the kids. I began with A Bear Called Paddington, not because I had ever read it, but because it was on a list of books to read with the kids that I got ideas from. Come to think of it, I see it's not on that list and I don't know where I found Paddington after all. But I do consult that list. I quickly found out that Annie was not at all interested in listening, and would frequently interrupt; but Delaney listened patiently. I did not like this book much at all, and sometimes I wondered if I were to read the White Pages to Delaney, would she like it just as much? (She is a VERY polite listener!)
I read the Little House books myself when I was about 10, but I have many fond memories of read-alouds with my mom long after I learned how to read. We really enjoyed Cheaper by the Dozen, for example. We would take turns reading to each other. She was super busy with all of us kids who ranged in age from baby to middle school, but she would carve out the time here and there. We would sit down on the front porch in the evening, just us. I think it's so important to make time for stuff like that. I was thinking to myself the other day (as I was finishing up a good grownup book, What Alice Forgot), I don't ever want life to get so busy that there's no time for slowing down and enjoying a good book together. Or a meal. Or a conversation. No matter how big, busy and independent these kids get, I hope we always have time to just be together.
The girls went to Vacation Bible School last week, from 8:45 to noon every day. It was Annie's first experience of any kind of "school," and I think she liked it, even though she had a strange way of showing it. On the last day, all the parents came, and we had Mass and then lunch together. When the kids all sang a song together, Delaney participated, but Annie hid behind the other kids. A little while later, Annie was making goofy faces at Timmy in the stroller when one of the teachers came up and said, "Well, that's the first time I've ever seen her smile!" Sure enough, I was given two photos of Annie taken there at different times, and she was pouting in both. But she talked about it happily all the way there and all the way home every day.
One day earlier in the week, I came to get them, and Annie was holding a tray that had a chair on it that was constructed of graham crackers, Tootsie Rolls, frosting and sprinkles. It was a pope's chair, and she'd saved it just to show me. All the other kids, including Delaney, had eaten theirs. That was their morning snack. Annie was proud of her chair, and wanted to take it home, so I let her. It sat in the front seat. When we got home, I let her eat it right away because what was the point of withholding it until after lunch, when Delaney had already eaten hers? I said to the girls, "I'm going to stop calling it 'bible school' and start calling it 'ruin your lunch school.' Every snack they served involved frosting and sprinkles, nothing remotely nutritious.
On the plus side, I thought the volunteers who taught bible school were very sweet to the kids. On the second morning when we arrived, Annie was feeling a little timid, and she gripped my hand tightly as we walked into the school library where everyone was congregating. Her teacher said, "Hi, Annie, it's nice to see you again!" and put the green bandanna Annie had decorated herself the day before, around her shoulders. I don't know if these kids learned anything at all about the Catholic faith, but they sang a lot of songs, played a lot of games, and ate a lot of sweets. I think these people really tried to teach them, but at this age, the kids don't remember much. I asked Delaney what she learned about St. Peter one morning, and she told me, "He was grumpy." She didn't know why.
|Waiting in line for Sno-cones on the last day of VBS. Annie likes waiting in line about as much as I do, as evidenced by the scowl on her face.|
|I'd be driving these kids around all day if fuel wasn't a factor!|