Yesterday evening before dinner I asked Charis to set the table--she's our dinner helper this week. She immediately got a frumpy look on her face, and I assumed it was because she didn't want to do her work. She had been resistant the evening before as well, which is quite unusual for her (unless it comes to cleaning her room--THAT chore is rarely met with joyful obedience!). She had just said goodbye to her friend Addie who is coming over on Tuesday afternoons while her mom helps lead a financial class at church, so I wasn't sure why she was so upset...it's not as if she were in the middle of playing anything.
Thankfully, instead of lecturing her about having a good attitude, I sat on the floor with her and asked her what she was feeling. She started crying for a bit, and I could tell she was trying to formulate her feelings into words. This is a fairly recently developed skill, and it is wonderful to be able to talk on a deeper level with her. It was worth the time to be patient and listen to her. When she was ready to talk, this is what she said:
"Every day is the same. We wake up, we do school, we do our chores. We don't do anything exciting anymore. Ever since the Brownies left [our good friends who moved a few months ago] we just do the same thing every day."
I thought for a minute. Obviously, it's not entirely true--in the time our friends have been gone, we have had a fun trip to Idaho, a trip to Colorado, and a variety of other "exciting" things happening. However, I have to admit Charis was right in that I have not gone out of my way to put much variety in our days. When Sarah was still in Las Vegas, it was common for one of us to call the other and say, "Hey, we need to get out of the house! Want to meet us at the park?" or some other such suggestion. I've been so focused on getting us on track with a school and chore schedule that I have not made fun a priority--except on the weekends when Daddy is home from work with us.
Charis and I also talked about the fact that she's just plain missing her friends Hannah, Mackenzie, and TJ. She has friends, but as far as another family that has children the same age for us to get together with, we haven't really "replaced" the B family. (We could never truly replace them, you know!!)
I told Charis she was absolutely right: We HAVE been doing similar things every day. I'm thankful that she still seems to enjoy school--at least she wasn't telling me every day was completely boring! With Kenna in the picture, too, I've been even less inclined to leave the house spontaneously. But I can definitely see Charis's point, and I probably would be feeling the same way if I were in her shoes.
So, we are officially taking a break the rest of the week. We've been doing great with school, and since our only official breaks were times we have been out of town (not entirely a BREAK, if you know what I mean with the stress of travel and then catching up upon returning home), we can really use some good old-fashioned down time. I'm taking the kids to the home school co-op's Park Day tomorrow, and then we'll be at our fall kick-off picnic Friday evening (also the home school co-op). Hopefully these two events will help Charis and the boys to find some other kids they can connect with as well as serve the purpose of incorporating more fun into our day.
In the future, I plan to add some sparkle to our days--I'm getting some great suggestions on the Sonlight forums, and I hope to add some fun activities that won't even take away from our schedule! ;-)