Monday, April 20, 2009

Monday, April 20, In London

It's been a gentle, delightful day.  With much, much trepidation, Rocio and Adriana left me with Grace (5) and Joshua today for a while as Rocio needed to work and Katie needed to get her eyes checked.  We know there is no way Samuel will stay happily with me, but I told them I'd be fine with the other two.  The three of us had a great time and learned the "no smile" game which just delighted both of them (look at each other with frowning faces and insist that no one smile).  Later, Adriana came back and then left me with all four children (thankfully, Samuel was napping) while she got some desperately needed time alone and to do some shopping.  Katie, Grace, Joshua and I headed for the garden and began to work on the vegetable bed.  Actually got very little done, but we all had a blast anyway.  

Grace continues to scold me for not studying Spanish, and Joshua continues to try to please me by working very hard on speaking English to me.   Clearly, he understands every word I speak to him, but has to work on responding back in English.  However, he is making great progress and is very proud of himself.  I'm really touched by his eagerness to work on this.

The housekeeper was here today, bless her heart, so the house was being cleaned from top to bottom as I played and dug with the children--and as we kept dragging dirt back into the house.  Adriana came back after a couple of refreshing hours for her and here is where I saw the immediate contrast between her style of child-rearing and mine.  Both are clearly good and effective, but, oh so different.  

I had worked on calm and harmony, teaching the children about gardening and encouraging them to work along side me as we dug out spaces to put heavy ceramic stepping stones to define the flower beds.  We talked about sharing tools and freely handed them back and forth as we needed it.  We talked about the difference between the weeds that needed to be pulled and the plants that I thought we should keep and I told them it wasn't the end of the world if they accidentally pulled one that was a keeper.  They wanted to know, "What does the end of the world mean?" and we had a philosophical discussion on the meaning of the phrase.  

It was a quiet, peaceful, adult oriented time.

Shortly after Adriana got home, everything changed.  Because it was another warm and sunny day, she also wanted the children outside, so she set up a small portable bounce house and sent the children out to play in it. Later, she brought out a pile of play dough and was going to have the children use it, but they were too busy by then playing creatively with the then collapsed bounce house and making up stories about it.  Totally child oriented, much, much higher energy.  Both effectively teaching the children, but doing so differently.

Tomorrow, I'm going into London with Jonathan in the morning and then shall somehow figure out how to "catch the tube" to another train station (Kings Cross) and pick up a train to Doncaster where I'll spend 24 hours with a friend of mine before catching another train to London, trying to figure out how to transfer to the station where Jonathan will be, and then riding back from London with him.  I keep telling myself, "they speak English here  Someone will help me.  I can do this."

I may not be able to write again until Wednesday evening, so may not post anything for a for a couple of days.

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