Monday, October 15, 2012

Never say never

Several of you have asked how the school year is going so far with Precious Jewel now that we have brought her home. I thought I'd give a little update.
When we went into this endevour, I was terrified. I was terrified of it ending like the last time when I felt like a complete failure at the end of her kindergarten year at home and put her and Mr. Smiles into school the next year. I was afraid of the intense emotions that I had experienced last time with feeling like I had to meet every requirement and need. I was afraid of her losing the new friends that she had finally made in the last couple of years. She had been so lonely the first year of Public School because all her pre-school/Kindergarten friends were homeschoolers and she never saw them anymore. She constantly asked to see them and I had no answers for her. I was afraid we would repeat that and that the homeschool group would already have their friends and she would spend another year alone.
See? Fear. Fear is my biggest obsticle to anything. Fear of failure. Rejection. Getting it Wrong. Ruining my Children.
Fear is what God has been hammering away at in my heart in the last 3 years since we started in Public School. I have learned (in a very short synopsis) that the only thing I need to fear is what God thinks of me and to throw out what the world thinks (a very tall order for an ENFP person). I really haven't arrived yet, but I am not so crippled as before. God has shown me that no matter what others think (and there is always someone who is not going to like me) my husband and I are our children's parents and we are the ones who will have to answer to God for what we do with them. He is the one I need to please and not others opinions.
We struggled for over a year on whether to bring her home. She wasn't very happy. We were losing our connectedness with her and beginning to see her trying to separate herself from us in order to fit in with the ever-changing rules of the girl world--an impossible achievement. On any given day she could be dubbed as the "cool girl" or find her name being passed around in the "dumb girls" list. She would be "let in the circle" on the playground one day and then chased away another. My heart broke for her.
Her values in life were beginning to change and not for the better. Here she was...only 3rd grade and asking me if she was fat, did she need to lose weight, why was her nose so big, why was she so much taller than everyone else, why she couldn't throw out her dolls so that no one would make fun of her, why couldn't she wear the slutty looking clothes (that's what I called them) if that was what would help her fit in. We were seeing our sweet daughter totally demoralized before our eyes. Gone was our confident sweet girl and she was increasingly being replaced by a sullen, tearful, angry and belligerent 3rd Grade!
After the Eye Doctor told us that he thought the root of her eye issues were stress, we decided to take the leap and pull her out.
How has this year gone? Well, the first couple of weeks were difficult at best. She was obsessed with what they might be doing in school at this time or at that time. She complained at the work I was having her do at home. (She is very bright). She was begging to see her friends (on an almost hourly basis). Then things began to settle down a little more and we began to get into a groove.
I also tried keeping her extremely busy. We went to other people's houses....during the day; where, even though all my friends have kids at least 2 year younger than her, she got to play and just be a kid...something I think she'd forgotten how to play when trying so desperately to fit in.
We've done schoolwork in the park, on the hay bales (when baby is napping), on the swing set so we can swing little brother. We've done a lot of reading aloud and Science projects with her brothers when they've come home from school. This has given them all a chance to be a part of each other's days since they are in school. She's helping them with their homework at the end of the day.
The clincher for her being happy at home though was the Secret Keeper Girl Conference we went to at the beginning of the year. At that conference I got to see on her level the struggles she has wrestled with so intensely the past 2 years. We cried, we laughed, we got angry together at what the world was telling her what she should be when it was in direct contradiction with what the Bible says and what we have taught her. She seemed for the first time to be able to breath and put a finger on what was making her so angry and unhappy. It was then that I also became determined to start a Bible Study with other mothers to encourage her in who she was and that she is perfect the way God has created her. She doesn't need to try and change herself to "fit in."
We are still trying to find friends in the homeschool group. I am afraid that friendships are always going to be difficult for her. She has become so shy when she is around others girls. As her mother, I want other girls to like her, but I am also learning that this year, this season, our friendship as mother and daughter are being deepened. She is coming to me more and more with questions and becoming more and more bold in what she thinks. She is learning to re-connect with her brothers and I've seen hers and her daddy's relationship deepen. She is also more content on the days "we just stay home to school."
Our whole goal with bringing her home is to give her a year of rest. We will re-evaluate when the year is over and see what comes next. I am now much more open than I have been in several years to keeping her home if that is what we feel best. I am learning to never say never because that is exactly where God might lead you and it has been a wonderful things.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Surprise! Surprise!!

They hatched! The Guinea Babies hatched sometime today while we were at the 3 soccer games plus a Health Fair. (For those that don't know and because I've said nothing via blog, we have a Guinea Hen who has been nesting for 3 weeks now. We have no idea if we own a male (apparently we do) and we've just been waiting to see what she would do. She smartly built her nest in my squash patch in the garden where the dogs and goats can't get to her).
I told Luke just before dinner that I wanted to make sure the momma and her nest were covered properly before the storm hit. I honestly wanted to see if we could simply move her and her nest because there is hail and isolated tornadoes predicted. She is extremely wild, so the moving her was slim at best, but I wanted to try. When I got out there, 6 of the 7 eggs had hatched!! These tiny little balls of fluff were peeping madly and darted into the tall grass when we bumped her off the nest. I shrieked in surprise and yelled for Luke. We were able to easily scoop them up and the little nest she had built (I think because they were so little) and Luke brought over the nesting box we were borrowing from a friend for a different hen. (Who, by the way, had not hatched her eggs due to her nest being raided by our stupid Lab pup).
We tried for over half an hour to get her to go into the box. Her little babies were peeping at her from inside and she kept circling around and around the box. Finally, one too many lightning flashes later, we headed for the house with me praying all the way that at least they would stay in the box in the downpour that was about to commence.
After the crazy amount of rain and lightning stopped, I begged Luke to look at the radar to see if the storm was past enough for me to go out and check and see if they were still alive. The radar showed that another, much larger, front was on it's way but that we had a short lull before it was to hit. I ran outside. The now soaked mother was still running in circles around the nesting box and all 6 of her babies were peeping at her (dry) from inside. I hollered for Luke and we just scooped the whole box out of the garden and hauled them to the garage. I feel bad for the momma hen. She is frantic. But everything I have read says that mother Guinea Hens are not very successful at raising young. Mainly because their nests are out in the open in the elements and babies often drown when it rains. They are now tucked neatly in the same nesting box in the garage with a heat lamp and I am going to google how to care for Guinea babies. Any suggestions?

                                         Good Lookin' has a little friend spending the night who
                                         was excited to be part of the discovery.
                                         Captian America excitedly holding the chick.
                                                    Where's momma?!?!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Soccer Season

I've been staring at this screen for some time now. I sit down. Get up. Walk away and then come back. Something about having a bazillion pictures that my lens has captured and yet having no coherent words by which to pen down a single word, leaves the blog page empty.
In reality, I am just really really tired.
This past month has been all things soccer. All 4 kids said they wanted to play and we insanely said yes. Whoever said 4 kids in soccer would be a good idea? But at the same time, it has been a ton of fun. All 4 kids have learned and accomplished so much.

Nater Mater's idea of Iddy Biddy Soccer has been the most entertaining. Thank goodness it is only Saturdays or I think I may have been more tempted to let him quit. Most of their games and practice time overlap and it can get tricky trying to keep track of practice times and game schedules and who is on what field, but it has been great watching them learn something new.

The child's idea of soccer has been more about rolling around in the grass in refusal of kicking the ball or outright running off the field when his coach tells him to do something. Fortunately, many of the other parents of the 3 and 4 year olds are also seen coaxing their little ones back onto the field.
He did run happily for the end of the month trophy though!

Mr. Smiles has done awesome for someone who said he hasn't wanted to play the last 2 years.
                                          (He's the kid holding his hands up against the sun)
His coach's main goal for him: Aggression. Go figure. He is the same child we had to tell, "hit him back!" when his little brother continued to blindside him with matchbox cars. It took several months, but after just a couple of good whacks back, his brother quit hitting him. Whenever did I think that teaching aggression would be a good thing?!

Then there is Good Lookin.' Aggression is NOT his problem. We still have to discipline him to not hit, grab and run or sideswipe someone. I would have thought that this would aggression would have carried over to the soccer field, but no. I actually offered to pay him a quarter every time he kicked the ball in his last game. Once that was out on the table, he actually stopped running alongside the ball and the opposing teammate and tried to kick it away from him. He earned a whopping 50 cents for that game! The joys of a soccer mom.

Then there is Precious Jewel. She had eye surgery again this past week. She is so in love with soccer that even though she has never played before  (before the numbing shot wore off) she wanted to go see the rest of her game that she was missing for the surgery. I took her home and put ice packs on her face instead and by then, she was grateful I had ignored her pleas.

She is one I was most surprised at wanting to play soccer this Fall. She's never expressed much interest before, but said this summer she wanted to play. She has thrown her whole heart into it and isn't too bad for never having played. Most of the other girls have already been playing for 3-5 years. We've been proud of her. She has asked for extra practice and coaching to improve and be a better help for her team. She has always loved running and it seems a good fit for her.

I have tons more I want to write but for now I'm heading to bed. It's been a crazy 2 weeks with an eye surgery, 1 boy sick and then I got sick this past week and haven't fully recovered. I've been falling asleep with the kids by 8 or 8:30 the last several nights, but tonight I begged Luke to wake me up so I could get some stuff that I needed done around the house...laundry, dishes, mail, blogging...I pretty much just did mail and blogging. The rest can wait until tomorrow.