Where are you, Orange Pear Apple Bear?

Orange Pear Apple Bear book cover for a child

“We have ‘Orange Pear Apple Bear’!” a child shouted from behind the green easy chair where the books pile up at the foot of the little bookcase overflowing with picture books. By accident, it was not returned in the last batch of library books, despite child-driven reports to the contrary. Excitedly, I called my son over to sit and read. We sounded the words out. I explained a little, I nudged a little, I urged a little.

So, technically, he read it.

But I tried to force the moment. I grew so excited about how this was a momentous occasion with all my children that I was determined it would be so for him.

Ever been there before?

All in their own good time. Fruit, children, wildflowers. They all bloom in their own good time. And we have to wait. With bitter, gnawing patience, we have to wait.

As a mother, as a homeschooling mother, it’s so easy to fall into the trap of forgetting to give them space, to let their little personalities and brains develop according to their particular path and timeline. We want to have control. We want to make a plan. The beauty of these opportunities comes in the perennial reminder that we have less control than we imagine and oftentimes, that’s okay.

To move our bodies during this latest blistering heatwave, we made a mid-morning swim outing. That event was not the perfect success I imagined. If we finished a handful of subjects, left at 10 a.m. swam for an hour, returned at 11 a.m., ate lunch, showered, had a break, then resumed school at 1 p.m., that would work so well. But as you can see that plan with four children was doomed from the start, if only for the reason that it did not account for seat-belt buckling and transportation times.

We returned at the time when they usually sit down for their lunches and the toddler usually naps. Hungry and tired, I trudged in, while those little ones came bounding behind me, delighted with the event. It was outside my control

So then what?

I can let it rattle my bones, bug me to no end, and seethe in irritation because I came back hungry, and tired, and we still had more school work today.

Or I can let it go. Do what I need to do, in this case, eat and hydrate myself, and move on. I know to stop myself from talking too much when I’m hungry or tired, although I am not always successful.

It is amazing how the little things can irk us.

Can you identify those things that make you particularly more irritable? That is my project for the week. Tiredness, hunger, and being altogether too focused on what I want to get done later that I am impatient with what I must do now. I started to wonder if social media scrolling might be affecting me as well. Studies show, yadda yadda yadda.

I identified a lack of focus in myself, usually due to scrolling. So it’s time to work on that.

This is the project. We fall back into bad habits, realize we’ve fallen back, consider what went wrong, identify what we need, and take steps to make it better. If we are alert enough to engage in this project of growing, we circle upward along those stages of change, each time growing a little more. Little things or big things. Growth in the little things trains for will for the big things.

So onward!

After the gushing reflections on educational glories, I’m back to my humble position of knowing it is more for me to help usher the child forward than make the victory happen. I can and I will marvel at what he does, but only if I cool it enough to pay attention. Another lesson for the books.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

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