Thursday, March 6, 2008

Cheaper, but nowhere near a dozen

We're almost finished reading one of my favorite books as a read-aloud: Cheaper By the Dozen. If you've only seen the Steve Allen movie by the same title, I have to tell you, you're missing out. The real story revolves around a real life family with a dozen children, run efficiently by a loving mother and father whose standards are high, and whose love is strong. Jo especially has gotten a kick out of this particular story. Don't you love it when you get to share a beloved book with your children? I find myself reading it a bit more carefully this go-round, and feeling inspired by what one family accomplished with far more children than I've been given.

Execution of plans seems to be this family's strong point. Not so here at Casa MG. For example, the "big kids" (which now include Logan, who prior to Oliver's arrival was not a member of that exclusive club) did a bit of schoolwork today. We experimented with Oliver being a factor during what has always been independent schoolwork time and found that nope, that's not gonna' happen. He's more than content for me to read aloud to everyone while he roams and plays, but bring on the math work and he is none too cooperative. That alone was enough to motivate me to revisit the idea of scheduling in blocks and rotating said "big kids" through playtime with the new baby brother. While I don't see a need to assign buddies to my four children, I am definitely seeing the wisdom in making sure that things are plotted out more clearly than they are in our current way of working.

A new wrinkle came to light last night. Atticus was delighted to hear that his baseball coach called to inform us of practice times. I was breathless when I realized that we now have a Monday and Friday evening obligation from 5:30-7 p.m. Since we already have a standing AWANA night from 6:30-8 p.m. every Thursday, that means a grand total of three nights a week when Oliver will not be getting to bed at a proper time. That doesn't factor in Logan's t-ball practice, which may very well kick it up to four nights a week. These plans were all made before a certain 15 month old little boy came on the scene, of course.

I'm sitting here asking myself what people with Cheaper By the Dozen families do when it comes to scheduling this kind of thing? Many, I know, forgo outside activities all together. I just can't see doing that with my brood. My husband and I both participated in organized sports as children and found it to be a valuable experience. My husband actually still plays in an over-30 men's soccer league. Sports and activities that allow children to follow their individual interests are a very big part of our learning philosophy. I just don't know how we reconcile that with a little boy that's bound to be cranky more than half the week because he's missing his bedtime so that his brothers can swing a bat.

As I've been saying all week, I know that we'll get it down to a science. I'm not worried about that. I'm just wondering how we make sure that none of our experiments blow up in our faces!


Joyce said...

I've enjoyed catching up on your adventures! :)

As one with dc at the other end of the spectrum.... re: school & visits: this too shall pass. Your dc are young. They ARE learning.

You are a wonderful mom! :hug:

Bev said...

Can you convince him to sleep-in in the morning? Because I used to work full-time, I always let my little ones stay up until I went to bed. They got used to sleeping later in the morning. It worked for us. Remember, every child is different, so just keep trying until you find something that works for your family. Congratulations on your new addition!