Thursday, July 18, 2013

Getting Dirty

When my hubby and I first decided that we were financially and emotionally prepared to have children (it makes me laugh to think I could ever be "prepared"), I imagined idyllic days spent with children who were pretty much exactly like me.  At the time, I confess I never even thought about homeschooling as a lifestyle choice.  I simply imagined spending time with them reading, discussing ideas, and enjoying each other's company.  And after the typical period of time, my journey into motherhood began.

The first child, a boy, pretty much satisfied my assumptions about mothering.  Outside of a massive case of reflux, this kiddo seemed to appreciate the same things I did.  He enjoyed my music (of course he was only a few months old, so he didn't have much say in the matter), and was perfectly delighted with spending copious amounts of time in the glider reading Goodnight Moon, The Big Red Barn, and pretty much anything by Eric Carle.  He was a quiet, introspective little boy, and I knew with certainty that I was an excellent mother.

A few years later, hubby and I were ready for another baby.  After all, we had already demonstrated that we had done a pretty good job with the Baby One, and couldn't wait to have another opportunity to have another.  Almost immediately we found we were expecting, and I excitedly counted down the days until our next precious arrival was due to arrive.

Arrive he did.  Late by one week, he burst his way into the world lustily crying and weighing in at a respectable 9 1/2 pounds!  It truly was love at first sight, and I couldn't wait for the brothers to meet.

Over time, I found that while my new little guy enjoyed books, he really enjoyed playing with them the most. Once his brother would go into his room for afternoon quiet time, I would pull out those well-loved precious volumes to share with baby brother, and he would happily listen, but not for long.  You see, this guy was an EXPLORER.  Not content to sit back and passively receive information, my little guy learned to move early, I think just so he could savor more of life!  And while he was a better napper than big brother, I suspect it was primarily so that he could store up extra energy for his hands-on learning activities.

This little guy happily helped me reorder my CD collection (all over the floor), He loved to sample robust flavors (his favorite food as a little one was calamari and avocado).  And he liked to make noise.  Lots of noise!  Needless to say, it was clear pretty early on that this little guy had a personality much different from me!

This has been a continuing challenge for me in more ways than one.  My learning style is totally different than his.  My boy craves hands-on experiences.  Not content to just do basic school work, he is always questioning why something needs to be done and what relevance it will have to his future life.  More than once, I have been stymied by his questioning and unable to give him an answer that would satisfy.

Frankly, stymied is a word that describes our relationship a lot of the time, even today.  As an active 13-year-old, this child wants to DO and EXPERIENCE.  Not content to listen to lectures, dissatisfied with meaningless (to his way of thinking) school experiences, and frustrated by the slow pace (at least to his eyes) of life, I am torn at providing what I feel is a strong foundation in the "basics," and allowing him to "specialize" to his heart's content.

This is the kid who wants to work in fiberglass, own a 3-D printer, get a welder for Christmas, and start a business via Shapeways.  He has picked up more ancient computers at the local thrift store than I can count, and loves to upgrade them and bring them back to useful life. He taught himself Java, and I can't even begin to keep up with him in the subject of programming or computing.  While I'm the sort of gal who likes to dip her toe into the waters to see if the temperature is comfortable, he's the type to want to run and do a massive canonball splash into the water, yelling "Cowabunga!" the whole way down!

It has to be terribly frustrating to be a 13-year-old entrepreneur living in a home of 9-5ers, but he manages it, and gives me grace daily. But this week, this week is DIFFERENT.  You see, this beautiful boy of mine is staying with another like-minded soul who gets what he wants and needs. This week, my boy is with Grandpa!
Yep, the boy is welding!
Grandpa totally gets this mystery child of mine. He knows he needs to experience life in a meaningful way, and thanks be to God, he's helping him to have these tremendous experiences I could not provide for him here. Not only has he been welding, but he's managed to do many other "real-life" shop experiences as well. And he's having the time of his life!
I have no idea what it is, but isn't it awesome?!
Grinding away...
No idea, but it looks like he's having a grand time!
Seeing all of this fun my boy is experiencing seriously makes me want to chuck the whole city life and move out to the country, just so I can have a big shed and fill it with experiences for my kids.  As that is unlikely to happen any time in the near future, I am so thankful my dad is there to fill in those gaps.  Seriously.  I get teary just thinking about it.

So what's next on the agenda? According to the guys, it's some fishing later on tonight.  Perhaps tomorrow they'll be able to drive a tractor out at a friend's field.  Or maybe they'll have another opportunity to hang with Norm and his fellows out at Dauer Welding.  Or perhaps drive the Polaris.  Anyway you slice it, it's going to be fun!


  1. He is a fantastic kid! I love how well you put into words that struggle to truly appreciate our children who differ from us so greatly. Hubby and I discussed this tonight with my most challengingly different child. I know that a large portion of our discord is because we are so different and I imagine the same could be said for the discord between the children as well. Something we can work on. Anyway, so glad he has this time with Grandpa!

    1. I'm glad you also think he's pretty fantastic! He is a joy to love and a privilege to parent. I am a deeply blessed woman.

  2. I bet he is having the time of his life! Do you think he will bring home that welded metal piece as a trophy? I think he should. My kids loved fishing off a dock. Fun!