Monday, September 19, 2011

Chalk board Wall and Glass Calender: Finding the Laughter.

Sometimes, it is hard being mother, teacher, and friend to my kids.
 (Schoolroom before this wall was painted.)

Growing up at a camp,
I got to work in various positions,
one being a cabin supervisor,
whicn I never much enjoyed.

I was shy:
I don't like to lead people around, make decisions,
and have a  hard time prioritizing or making timing judgments
(a fancy way of saying I'm always late).
I dread confrontation.
Supervising ten pre-teen/ teenage girls from the city,
when you're as niave and young as I was,
also being a teen from a much different world than they,
I spent my days doing those things listed above
that I so disliked.
 (After being painted with chalkboard paint on the bottom,
and a purplish gray hue on the top.)

I prefer to laugh, to have fun, to be creative and guide rather than teach.
I loved working on the horse farm,
in the kitchen,
in the craft room.
There's plenty of room for fun in those positions.

A mom has the necessary position of filling
lots of different roles,
often at the same time, balancing it all
so that it doesn't come tumbling down like a house of cards.
It's tricky and quickly can turn stressful,
especially when the mother has a hard enough time
going to town with her own shirt being turned right-side-out.

Add to this the role of teacher
to a child who says she doesn't like school,
no matter how you try to make it fun and creative,
and it makes for furrowed brows,
heavy sighs,
and sour expressions.

I often feel like I've taken on the role of camp supervisor
in a full time position.

Some days I have to remind myself
that a smile will relax the muscles in my jaws.
 (Framed glass calendar needed some change.)

But I don't want it to be this way.
I want our home to be bubbling with laughter.
I just need to find out where it is sometimes.

But this year, as Violet has gotten older,
I think we've grown to understand each other better.
We're finding a place that I like much more.
(Paris Grey chalk paint,
clear and brown wax.)

 She has initiative and tries to go the extra mile for people.
She's learned pretty well how to control her attitudes
often better than I do.

She's also come to the age
where we actually think a lot of the same things
are fun...

and funny.

(Orange paper background will be fun for fall;
we can change it to winter paper when winter arrives.)

Last night Levi began his usual episode.
He is quiet and a daydreamer by day,
but something happens when we all head up to the bedrooms:
I'm not sure if the quiet from us all being tired
sets his brain surging and his jaw muscles loose,
but he goes into full discourse about chambered nautiluses,
arctic squid,
and the spiders in the barn.
His speech and vocabulary during these lectures is hilarious
because it is almost book language,
larger words in full sentences,
dictated in a monotone reading voice.

He demands an audience,
if he thinks his dialog is being ignored
by the father behind the Lancaster Farming Newspaper,
or the mother collapsed across the bed trying to find a second wind,
he will repeat, verbatim, whatever paragraph he's just recited.

Tonight I flopped onto Violet's bed,
disappearing from Levi's continuous verbiage.
He had found his way onto our bed with a favorite book,
and his dad was the recipient of the discussion of it.

My farmer decided he'd better get a shower before sleep overtook him,
leaving Levi alone in our room.

Levi, however, was not done with his daily talk.

"Tonight the spider did not want the cricket when I gave it to him.
He scrambled from his hole,
touched the cricket,
and then scurried back to hide in his hole.
Suddenly he changed his mind,
raced from his hole,
snatched that cricket,
and disappeared back inside of his hole to enjoy his hearty supper."

I peered over at Violet, wondering if this talk emerging from my room
was meant for us,
or for the father who had now turned on the shower.
(We love Levi so dearly,
and his prattle just makes his personality
even sweeter.)

She and I grinned,
knowing what would come next.

Levi repeated his tale,
again from his perch on my bed:
"Tonight the spider did not want the cricket when I gave it to him.
He scrambled from his hole,
touched the cricket,
and then scurried back to hide in his hole.
Suddenly he changed his mind,
raced from his hole,
snatched that cricket,
and disappeared back inside of his hole to enjoy his hearty supper."

Violet and I looked at each other
and giggled.

And, again, about a minute later with increased volume,
the story came out.

A pause followed this third telling.

Then we heard feet hit the floor,
the expected pattering of them going toward the hallway,
and then four precise knocks on the bathroom door.

"What?  Who is that?"  we heard from within.

I then quietly stated to Violet
in my best Levi imitation,
"Tonight the spider did not want the cricket when I gave it to him.
He scrambled from his hole..."
as I continued in his story,
we heard Levi join me,
as if he was taking my cues from off-stage.

Violet and I burst into laughter.

At Levi's conclusion,
we heard the Farmer on the other side of the bathroom door ask,
"Is that you, Levi,
I didn't hear you.
What did you say?"

Now practically rolling on the bed,
Violet and I were lost in hilarity.

And it felt good.
It was shared and fun.

I felt like a friend.

Linking up to:

Shades of Amber 

Hip Homeschool Hop Button


  1. what a fun and fabulous post. i was practically giggling along with you and violet. sweet levi! and what a great chalkboard wainscoating!

  2. Nice post...honest...and I did actually go out with my shirt inside out.......and walked around for quite a while before anyone in my family realised....I was so a mother you are so busy getting everyone else ready, that sometimes, I get left last on the food chain...and I was sad no one noticed before I actually left the house with was a long walk back to the car and a quick change back to the right way..I can laugh now, but I actually cried that day...mother hood, a roller coster ride for sure.x

  3. It looks super!!! What a fun school room! That was hilarious. It is hard to balance being those three all at once: mother, teacher, and friend.

  4. What a cute story!


    PS. I am always amazed at homeschooling mothers. I could not have done it. Seriously.

  5. I love the framed calendar! The wall is an awesome idea.

  6. My Jo is like your chatty! I love your calendar. How did you do it? Do you just write the dates on the outside of the glass? What is the grid made with? I have been looking for a good way to do a calendar, but nothing has seemed to fit yet. Do you use this calendar just for the schoolroom and have a different family calendar? I am having such a hard time this year keeping up with everything! And I love your chalkboard wall. I have the paint, but haven't found the wall upon which to apply it yet, and our house just seems to keep getting smaller and smaller!

  7. I absolutely love the chalkboard paint on the wall and your calendar! You are SO creative! Could you please come visit us down here for awhile? :-))))

    Levi's story had me giggling right along with you and your daughter! What a wonderful moment that you shared with her. It's makes all of the rest worth it, doesn't it?

    Many blessings,

  8. I agree this is a cute story! Really like your blog and am glad that I have found it!!

  9. Great post! What a fun room. The little one is adorable. Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  10. stopping by from the Hip HS Hop. We have chalkboard paint on the lower parts of our hallway (along with some of the entry way and kitchen areas). We use it all. the. time. So simple, yet useful! Great minds must think alike!

  11. that's awesome! What a great story, and will make for a sweet mother daughter memory!
    Love your chalkboard wall, and Levi sounds like a sweetie:)


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