Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Little Boy's Pockets

He has myheart in there, right next to the bottlecaps.

I was speaking with a friend the other day, who has a 4yearold little boy, and she was telling me about how her son always has his pockets full of thingsthingsthings he’s collected.

Wow! Did I smile and suddenly love LITTLE BOYS -- 10times more than my already 100x100 times. These littleboyquirks are completely new and wondrous to me. I grew up with girlsgirlsgirls – we ruled.

Desmond P. Jones, is a voracious littleboy collector. His eyes are constantly probing the ground for the precious things he knows it will yield. Recent finds have been: a broken Mickey Mouse alarm clock, used notebooks, empty matchboxes, rocks, pinecones, plastic bags, clothespins, playing cards, broken toys, fireworks casings, and, of course, bottlecaps — he even harvests other kids’ drawings from the garbage at school. When we were in Philadelphia for a month last summer, we began scheduling treasure hunts. Our neighborhood, in East Falls, has very grand old houses and on garbage day the things waiting on the curbs will make you sparkle. Des simply exploded. Every Monday, we would leave after breakfast with our bags and race against the trucks for the cast-off goods -- I was hoping for old furniture and books, he would take just about anything.

To emphasize the limitless possibilities of people’s trash, we went to a gallery on South Street that was filled with sculptures made from refuse – toys, electronics, furniture, etc. – we were in there for over an hour and Des was COMPLETELY inspired. Ha!

I secretly hope all this will refine into a passion for flea markets and yard sales and that we will be antiquing buddies all over the WORLD!

Happy Earth Day!
Go raid/recycle some garbage.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Geeezz. . . it's like pulling teeth to get me to blog these days?


I don't know if I have an answer to that question.

Thebabes&I had two weeks together due to spring break -- Nooruz -- Persian New Year. We don't live in Iran or anything (yet) but the Kazakhs dig the holiday. Similar Muslim roots, I suppose.

I was nervous about it. Spending all that time with mybabes
, I mean. I know I just spent two months with them, out of school and bouncing all over the land, and survived. I wasn't really nervous about it in anticipation either. But I worried about this 2week break because I'd gotten some freetime to myself again and it's hard to let that go. Mostly, and maybe it's related, I don't like the part of me that hollers instead of talks, or to put it poetically, gently persuades them. Hollering is much easier and when my mind is numb, I holler.

Mybabes are really cool and I don't want them to think hollering is what you do to cool people.

Cause it's not.

Sometimes I like to tell myself that I see them first as people. And that comes second to seeing me as mother. I've tried to think about this a lot and this is what I mean: They are people first, independent of me as their mother. It's like, if I wasn't their mother, Des&Zoe would still be people, sentient beings.

This makes total sense, right?

Well, it does for me and so when I let myself really go with this idea, and here's my point, I treat them differently. Because they're people, not just littlechildren who annoy me sometimes and don't know anything about the world adults created and frankly aren't learning quickly enough. I see them growing up into adults with MEMORIES of these littlepeople moments with me and I want them to remember how well respected they were, how they were guided to see the possibilities within themselves and the duty they have to live with purpose -- and it makes me feel responsible to their adultpeople selves.

How can hollering convey all that?

Anyway, I really don't like to holler.

Oh, so if you can indulge me some more on this ___fill in the blank___ thought (I could suggest *insightful* or if all this is a great bore, though you're still reading!, *self-indulgent*)

I came up with a family motto, challenge, path -- if you will.

{so let it be written}

I have not read any parenting books so this might all be wrongwrongwrong per conventional wisdom (discuss this with me backchannel) but I wanted to inspire our littleforevergroup with some family principles. Yes. Finally.

Here they are -- The P's of PURPOSE

*Planning - Family Councils every Sunday night to review the below principles and inspire each other and schedule/plan our week.

*Points - Behavior Enhancement they earn points when they self-activate -- *remember and do* -- the pre-recorded messages I've declared since forever -- things like all the morning steps of makingbed, brushingteeth, gettingdressed; in addition to little courtesies like taking their dishes to the sink when finished, flushing the toilet, keeping toys off the floor, folding their clothes and putting them away, etc. I was getting sick to my stomach at the thought of spending two weeks in perpetual repetition of said steps&courtesies. When they remember these things, without me reminding them, they get points toward computergametime. 60pts=30mins // 120pts=60mins. Desi finally tallied 60pts on the final day of springbreak! Zoe was still 15pts off.

*Possibilities - To recognize the possibilities in our lives and set goals to achieve them. For example: Desi wants to learn how to bounce/dribble his beachball more effectively. Zoe wants to finally wipe her own bum. I want to read my scriptures every day. Nathan wants to find a job.

*Projects - Discuss and plan service projects and fun activities together.

*Progress - Temporal & Spiritual learning and growth. Setting a high premium on knowledge and obedience, education and meditation, and on living an examined life (I've been listening to Socrates:))

*Provident Living - Financial Management and Ethics. Boy oh boy, is that ever something we need to recognize as relevant in our lives. Darn it. Why does money have to be so important? Blech!

*Pure Religion -- Acknowledging the goodness of God and our relationship with him and
our duty to love as he would love and live as he would live.

(Lots of biblical bits
in John, 1st chapter, pulled all these together for me.)

The end.

p.s. A few pics below

Happy Easter!
{I love eggs with the coup still clinging to them}

This is Genia and I at the St. Patricks Day celebrations at Samal School. We were helping my Peace Corp friend Shannon with her little party. The Samal School is for disabled young adults. Genia is from Pav but spent the last 2years in NYC with her husband&son, who is Zoe's age, and it's oh-so-nice to have someone who can relate to living outside ones country.

This is Desmond's schoolfriend, Tanamirzah. They are great buddies. We've dined at their house -- great Kazakh food -- and eaten out in a pizza restaurant (Tana's mother, Fatima, ordered *4* pizza's for she&I&our 3children!) and hung out with them at our place. They even want us to do banya with them. Isn't it cool how friends get together and bathe?

This is the playground right outside our apartment building (shown in background, on right side). This was taken two weeks ago, the snow is melted now and thebabes can't get enough sunshine -- they want to be outside all the time.

This is Zoe with Fatima when we were at their house for a Kazakh Food Fest! Fatima is lovely, she was Miss. Pavlodar once. She taught me how to cook this really great chicken and potato dish that they served us that afternoon. She found herself in my kitchen a couple of weeks later and suggested we make it together. SO FUN.