September 28, 2005
Before jumping into our home school beginnings, I thought I would take some time to post some fun tidbits about each of the children who will at some point be characters in that narrative. Usually I start with Charis in our updates, but this time I'll begin with our youngest, Arden Daniel, who will be 2 years old on October 18, 2005.
From the beginning Arden was a blissful, happy child. It warmed my heart when he began saying, of his own free will, "Nigh-nigh, lub-boo," (night-night, I love you) when we would tuck him in (around 18 months). His smile of delight and mischievous grin rocked my world. He was so easy going, a true blessing after dealing with our more difficult child, Tobin. I was beginning to think we should have another child...
And then, without warning, changing literally from one day to the next, our sweet little toddler became a Terrible Two, and this at only 20 months! Granted, we were preparing for a major move, and Daddy spent some time away staffing a youth camp In Idaho and then house hunting in Las Vegas, so the family stress may have played a role in the personality change. But we are now fairly well settled into our Nevada home and have been here over a month, with a fairly predictable routine to boot. And the Terrible Two-ness has a death grip on Arden!
The latest battle has been Bib Wearing. For some reason he has decided it is NOT cool to wear a bib. (I can't blame him, I guess, though the tiger bib does have a higher coolness factor than the handmade towel bib). I would gladly yield on this issue if not for the fact that we do wash our clothes instead of replacing them. Still, one can't help but wonder whether it wouldn't be better to scrub jelly and tomato sauce stains rather than struggle with the tantrum that comes when he realizes meal time approaches and he's going to get The Bib put on. At this point it seems to be a matter of principle--obey Mom and Dad and put the bib on, or else forfeit food. This has worked fairly well, since Arden does love to eat. If anyone has any better suggestions, feel free to send them our way.
Other than mealtime struggles, there are the usual toddler screams of "NO!" at any given inappropriate time, the constant pushing of buttons (Mom's included, but I'm mostly referring to anything electronic), and the determination to stand on every piece of furniture in the house. Furthermore, he is also picking up many bad habits (sins) from watching big brother Tobin. All of this makes for a challenging time of training up this child in the way he should go.
But those difficult times, I am pleased to remember, are not the whole of Arden's character. Even though we are daily involved in the struggle for independence, Arden's sweet spirit remains. I love to watch him bow his little head and close his eyes tightly as he grasps our hands in prayer. One of the highlights of my day is singing "The Wheels on the Bus" with him and watching his pudgy hands do the motions as he giggles in delight after singing "all thoo town." (This song was not my choice for nap time and bed time, day after day after day, but it is, at present, the Number One Song on Arden's short list of preferred tunes. Thankfully he doesn't seem to mind if we only do 3-4 verses instead of all 100 zillion. For awhile, when we asked him what song he wanted to sing, he would say, "Uuuhhh, BUS!" as if he had to think about what his first choice was. Now we don't even bother asking.) He loves to snuggle up and read stories, and he so wants to be a helper like Charis and Tobin. (Anyone need some clean silverware put away? Arden is all over that!) He adores hearing Bible stories at lunch time and always begs for more, more!
He loves anything cute and fuzzy, and he has a distinctive way of letting us know he has seen something of that description--he points and cries, "Ahhhhh!" (It's difficult to imagine if you don't have the right inflection...the noise is similar to what an adult would do when cooing over a cute baby, but this is more of a stretched-out grunt of delight.) A couple of weeks ago I heard the familiar I've-spotted-a-cute-critter cry and turned around to see Arden heading for me with a huge (dead) beetle in his hand. Apparently no one told him that bugs are NOT cute and furry. Charis and Tobin have picked up on this sound, so now, as we are driving through town, when we spot a dog, cat, horse, etc., we must listen to a chorus of Uhhhs and Ahhhs. Sometimes it's difficult to tell exactly who has spotted the animal first, because Charis and Tobin do a fabulous Arden impression.
And Arden does his own impressions of big brother and sister as well. He's a regular mimic, sometimes to great comical effect. He adds new words to his vocabulary every day...not that anyone at church ever hears them. Every time we pick him up after a Sunday morning or Wednesday evening service, the workers always ask us, "Does he talk?" He never says a word there! I presume he will begin chattering away if we just give him some more time to get used to the people and environment.
People ask how I can think about home schooling when we have the two younger boys. "What do you do with them?" I am asked. First of all, I have to say that we "only" have 3 children; I know other families who are home schooling and have 4, 5, 6, 7, and even more children. So I don't really view myself as some super-home-schooling mother or anything, especially since we are simply doing kindergarten! It's more fun than work! But to answer the question about the younger ones, every morning after breakfast Arden has room time. Actually, today was the first actual Room Time...previously we have been doing Playpen Time, which has worked very well, but as he is nearly 2 years old, I felt he was more than ready to move from the playpen to the room, especially since his preferred play activities (like puzzles and Lincoln Logs) are beginning to take up more space. When isolated (meaning there is no Tobin around to bonk his head), Arden plays very well and has great focusing and attention skills. I put on a CD, sometimes kid music, other times classical, and he plays quite happily for up to an hour or so. This gives me a lot of freedom to work with Charis. I am giving Tobin opportunities to "do school" if he wants to (workbooks, coloring, etc.) or letting him play outside or with some school toys. Then, too, Arden still naps consistently every afternoon, so if need be, we finish school activities then.
Well, thus endeth the Arden update. Tomorrow...or whenever I write again...the Tobinator!