what we don’t talk about.

the following happened before noon today:

I looked out the window to see an otter playing along the ice of the river, the first we’ve seen in the five years we’ve lived here.  all six of us hurried to the window to watch him dip into the water, playing, & then leisurely make his way back on to the ice.  the sleek little guy entertained us a good while.  I was sad to not see him slink back up onto the ice.

then andy suggested javin look up what otters eat.  (turns out they’re rather carnivorous.  Kieran asked if we should feed him meat. . . .)

the fermented bread dough popped its jar lid coming to room temperature fresh out of the fridge while I was frying eggs, sending the thin dough out through the miniscule crack between lid & mason jar.  we had a literal dough volcano in the kitchen.  I called the kids over, of course, to see our dough monstrosity, to which i received a resounding, “ewwww!!”  (after my last instagram/facebook post about being non-sciency & completely unable to perform a volcano experiment, I must’ve given God a good chuckle.)

thalia found pinto beans in the fridge, pulled out the small cast iron she bought with her own money, & began refrying the beans.  this lead to andy’s teasing her in fun about being part Mexican (which she is:  andy is half Mexican, a fact that was of unbelievable allure to me when we were dating.  i’m not sure why.  sorry, digressing. . . .).  to this Kieran, the next in line at 5-years-old hollered, “what part am I?”  “you’re part Mexican, too, Kieran,”  andy answered.  “i’m MEXICAN?” Kieran replied, pure disbelief written all over his face.  at which point I realized two things:  1. we obviously could use a booster in ethnic heritage & 2.  (this isn’t new, but I need to relearn it often.)  learning is organic.  we went from refried beans on cast iron to my five-year-old coming nose-to-nose with his heritage.

somehow we got on the topic of handwriting toward the end of breakfast, which led to a demonstration in my best third grade handwriting of capital letters.  a capital “J” is very fun to write, in case you had forgotten, & the kids argued about whose names had better letters for cursive.

since they’d been at the chalkboard door, after breakfast the older kids invented a spelling competition to take place there, me giving the words, they making up all the rules.  this evolved to include math questions & a category similar to “the family feud,” if you can remember that Richard Dawson gameshow.  (I was reared on it.)  they played this for the better part of an hour & a half.  I was exhausted.

: : :

I don’t often write about my kids’ education, partially because it feels so un-mainstream (which it is), & partially because it is theirs & not mine.  temper that with a hefty swallow of fear-of-what-you-will-think, & we have a story i’m not keen to share.  but I vowed to be more brave in what I write about here.  plus, there’s something wonderful about being known.

so, if you’re curious about how the learning goes around here, please know that it isn’t always this measurable, & it usually involves a child screaming (you’ll remember the two younger boys).  but it does go on, regularly, in fits & spurts, sometimes in bursts.

&, like much of life, it is quite astonishing.

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