The crazy this time around has been fueled by a sweet little choleric named Mary. And I'm not joking when I say sweet. She is a dreamboat most of time. She is better than me with the little ones. More engaging, more cheerful. She is creative and funny and a poet and a songwriter and will still crawl in bed to snuggle me in the morning for as long as I'll stay. She's also got the worst temper I have ever, ever encountered. She cray. She be cray.
Did I ever tell you about when she learned how to drop an F bomb from our sweet little neglected neighbor boy? Well she did. When she was 3. And she would scream it at us. I mean scream. Hammering the walls with both feet while on time-out "I FUG YOU! I FUUUUGGGGG YOU!"
I remember looking at Kirby and saying, "Oh my God we are THOSE people. How did we become those people?? We are a nice, happy family!" I imagined getting a call from a sweet homeschooling mother of zillion letting me know what Mary just taught her children. Humble pie in a triple dose.
Thankfully, she eventually stopped that and forgot all about it and no innocent children were harmed. But her crazy is always a little there. And lately it's felt more explosive and rash than ever. She has yelled hurtful things and WWE'ed her brother (jumped through an open window to beat him up!) and even smashed her sister's piggy bank with a broom stick. G A N G S T A. She has been... special. And as frustrating as it is, I love her for it because I see her really struggle. Things are not easy for her and she knows it and everyone knows it. She is very self-aware and even while firing a streak of accusations at others she can still communicate how when she feels mad she's like a match that is uncontrollably ablaze in a split second. She can also apologize, she can really, really apologize. After she has had some time and some space to gather herself, she will march right up to whomever she hurt and tearfully and heroically say she is sorry. She will give you all her money for a new piggy bank.
Anyway, we are working hard over here despite things feeling a bit fragile. Mary and I went to go see Annie live down in LA two weeks ago and that was super good for us. I am making sure to grab her and nuzzle her and talk it out as much as I can and things are getting better. Best of all she is learning how to reign it in. Which is like, the entire goal of my parenting right now, before she goes out into the world and tears shit up.
As you can imagine, Fike Academy of Awesome has suffered. The girl has been argumentative and stubborn (choleric mom + choleric daughter + school =
Side note but they are ALL asking if I'm pregnant again yet and I'm like YOU JUST RAN AWAY 3 TIMES AND OUR LIFE IS IN SHAMBLES HELLO!
About a month ago, I had an epiphany while pulling pee-sheets off of someone's bed in the morning. I was yanking at the fitted sheet and quickly bundling up the wet blanket while simultaneously hollering at someone else to grab their grammar book and begin at the table when it hit me - there are mothers in the world who JUST have to wash the pee sheets. They just wash the pee sheets and they DON'T teach grammar at the same time. It's like I had never considered this was a thing before.
And for the first time ever, it sounded really, really nice.
Two weeks ago I met with the principal of a local parish school and we are headed for a mid-year closure of Fike's Kinda Sucky Academy. I'm not mourning it at all. I really thought I would but I'm not. We had a really good run. I feel really ready to be mom-who-doesn't-teach-you-phonics-rules for now. I'm sure we will wrestle with a million other things but one of them won't be school. And I think it'll be a welcome change for everyone.
The girls are PUMPED. It's kind of everything they've always hoped for so don't worry. I think Mary will be less resistant, more excited, more compelled to be awesome, and all the other good things. It's not a you are having a difficult time so I'm shipping you away type of thing. It's more of a man, this is very stressful every day and all the toddlers do is watch cartoons while I beg you to do one math page type of thing.
Which, you know, sucks.
Anyway, will you pray for me as I sort this out and make big, final decisions? And pray for my Mary, too, as she is sorting out her little 7 year old universe.
I know she's gonna kick ass as a grown up if we could just not all keel over and die in the meantime.
I'm so curious to know when and how you felt like your homeschooling days were over, if you have. Please share!