Mondays are the only day of the week I do not teach yoga and so it's a very low key day. The older kids went to school, I stayed home with Tori and Mari's mom who is living with us now. Nothing extraordinary or worth bragging about happened. But in that absence of the big, I noticed the small. And the small is amazing. The tiny little moments.
Like when we slipped on Tori's shoes to go outside, and she started tapping on the floor with the soles. The hard rubber on laminate drummed as she stomped. I started stomping in my shoes too. It was fun because that sound, in that second, was all we needed to smile.
Every day is new with her. Like yesterday she was going to breast feed her baby. As I fixed dinner she brought a plush baby doll over and handed him to me. I hugged and kissed him then folded his stuffed hand shut with my fingers, "Milk, Milk," I said, pretending like the baby was making the sign for milk. She looked at me and then looked at the baby, smiled and reached for the bottom of her shirt. She tugged on it with her fatty little fingers, started to pull it up, exposing her chunky baby belly. She grabbed the baby out of my hands and hugged him. She was going to nurse her baby doll.
Today Nala's teacher sent a note home saying that she caught her looking up one of the words during a spelling test. I really like how Mari and I handled it, and I know that our stint homeschooling inspired our approach. We didn't tell her that she was in trouble or order her never to cheat again or even tell her that she did anything wrong. First I asked her if she thought it was wrong. She said, "Well not really because it was just one letter that I didn't know from one word."
I told her that looking things up is a great thing to do if you do not know the answer. We talked about the different resources: dictionaries, google, spell check, etc. And then we talked about how what the school is doing is helping you to remember things without having to look them up, and the tests are really tools for her to use to help her understand areas that she is having trouble remembering. The purpose of the test is to help her know what she remembers. So there is no point in looking up for the test. We told her that she'll never get in trouble for wrong answers and she shouldn't worry about how she does on the test.
We've gotten beyond tight with our finances lately. Tighter than ever before. At first it was scary, stressful and saddening to not buy things that I have been used to buying. But now I notice that by not looking to external goods for enjoyment, it feels like we are looking and working together more internal. And I'm grateful for that. Grateful for this reminder of what it feels like to be simple.
Tori asked for me to turn on the music by pointing at the speaker and cooing. Nala picked the songs and we danced in the kitchen while dinner cooked. After 7pm I demand all the electronics are turned off and the kids start chasing each other around the house. It's like a train, first Kaio runs by pulling Nala on a ride on, Tori toddles as fast as she can after them and Vovo follows, spotting Tori. They round the kitchen island. Each time the house shakes like an actual train and there are so many giggles. I look at Mari and smile.
Smile because they are loud and silly and rambunctious and I love it. Smile because we somehow created this.
This is a stage in life where I notice that I'm contemplating life and existence on a daily basis. I know it's normal at this age to wonder if I'm living fully enough or if I'm on the right track. Yesterday I got to listen to Mari's mom for hours telling stories of her family history back in Brazil. They all grew up on a river island at the mouth of the Amazon. I worked out that there are a couple things that seem like they have been important through the generations: being fed and being educated. Food for the body and the brain, simple as that, seems to be the recipe for a happy heart and full life.
Seeing Kaio all grown up in comparison to Tori is such a trip. I look at her and remember him, his cute little actions that were mischievous but well intentioned. Her drive and bravery matches his. I just pray that I can be the mom that he deserves and support his spirit in a way that helps him to thrive. Unfortunately I think he was practice parenting, where I learned how to be the mom I really want to be by making mistakes in the beginning. Now I'm trying to make up for all the yelling I used to do.
He doesn't like to let me take pictures of him but I just have to, he's so beautiful.