Here’s the song reference.
We homeschool year-round, taking breaks of a week or two when they seem warranted. Quite honestly, when we try to take longer breaks, Beanie gets weepy and starts asking when she can have her math time again. and Bugaboo develops a profound case of Notgonnadoit Syndrome with respect to pretty much everything. We had been on a bit of a break through most of May, but in the early days of June, it became obvious that it was time to do some formal school time again. Out came the math and penmanship books, but no more than that. It is, after all, summer, and one of the more important lessons they’ll learn is the glory of a summer’s day, and the value of time that has only minimal limits.
I do, however, make it a point to have a few things lying around that, should any pint-sized personages complain of boredom, can be immediately placed into their waiting hands to relieve that dread malady. Most of those things are of the printed matter variety. As it happened, today’s selections were a book of traditional children’s games and the Wee Sing children’s songs and fingerplays songbook. Since none of the tribe slept especially well last night, I declared universal naptime at noon, immediately following lunch, primarily to prevent bloodshed.
Beanie and Bugaboo, even on the rare days when they do nap, don’t sleep long during the day. When they tumbled downstairs to see what wonders the latter part of the day might bring, I first offered them the opportunity to straighten up their room. There are times when having taught these children logic works to my short-term disadvantage, as was the case when our daughters brightly informed me that the picking up and storage of Legos results in a decibel level that is nearly certain to awaken their little brothers, both of whom happen to be nursing summer colds. To their credit, they did wash the dining room table and put the books back on the shelf in the playroom, since they agreed that a chore or two would be in order.
Since Mr. Man and Baby Guy were still sawing logs when the girls completed their labors, I handed Bugaboo the book of children’s games and Beanie the songbook, then suggested that each might choose something from her book to learn today, to teach the rest of the tribe. Since both of them love to be placed in charge of almost anything, my recommendation was met with the quiet rush of two pairs of bare feet scampering off to preferred reading spots.
While the girls were weighing their gaming and musical options, Baby Guy shambled down the stairs, arms laden with toy cars and mumbling something about needing milk. As I filled his cup, Beanie skidded into the kitchen, waving her songbook, and Bugaboo bellowed from the downstairs that freeze tag looked like great fun. We play regular tag, but she had been hitherto unaware of the freeze variant. Beanie had found a song she found enchanting, but needed some help figuring out the tune. Off to the family room couch we four went, Baby Guy dripping cars as he walked, Bugaboo loving her baby brother by gathering them as they fell, so he would still have the full complement when we arrived.
After a moment of figuring out the melody to “Three Blue Pigeons” and a quick round of practice, Bugaboo suggested we sing and play tag outside. Mr. Man, who has the worst of the household summer cold, was still peacefully sleeping (he ended up taking a four-hour nap). Allowing him to continue in that state seemed advisable, so, after a quick drink of water to combat the heat of the day, we found a good singing spot in the shade of a grand magnolia. Little pigeons flew and landed, with a madly grinning Beanie conducting our little chorus. She tried ever so hard to convince Smudgie that he should be a pigeon, but he was far too interested in chasing us to sit nicely on a wall.
Once we’d tired of playing at being pigeons, and run out of Mo Willems references, it was time to play freeze tag. Mr. Man was still comfortably snuggled up on Daddy’s pillow, which led Bugaboo to declare that she would give him special freeze tag lessons once he was feeling better. A noisy, merry chase around the back yard ensued, with Smudgie being declared the winner of our game of freeze tag; any time anyone started to run, he or she was immediately tagged by a cold, wet nose. Among our other discoveries were Sal’s excellence at sprinting off in random directions but utter inability to freeze, the blissful cool of a light breeze in the shade when we’ve been running, and the softness of grass (relative to dirt) for cushioning high-speed falls.
Today’s prayer: Lord, thank You for summer afternoons, and for the gift of a big back yard where Your blessings can safely revel in them. Thank you for the ability to read, for those who taught me, that I might later teach Your blessings, and for all those wonderful people who committed their childhood memories to paper that we might learn new and hilarious ways to enjoy Your creation. When our calendar gets crowded, Lord, and I get cranky over the amount of work to be done, please keep me mindful that what I do, I do to serve You, and the greatest service I give You lies in the time I spend loving Your blessings instead of video screens and telephones. Help me to cherish these days when playing tag and singing silly songs is my most important labor, and give me the wisdom to always teach Your blessings that we rejoice in each day You send.