Thursday, June 23, 2005


I watched a boy today who I had not taken care of since almost a year ago. He had changed so much since becoming 6! And it was such a pleasureable day. Just my two girls and two visiting boys (the 6-yr. old, and a 2 yr.-old). So laid back, it seemed to me.

It started out with just Isaac (the 2 yr. old). The house seemed so empty that I dragged the 100-lb. benchseat out of the garage and installed it in my van so that I could go and pick up Aaron (the 6 yr. old). Once I had them all playing in the backyard, everything seemed to fit just right. Elizabeth had her older-male playmate over by the baby slide, and Grace her older-male playmate over on the swings. I sat back and took it in.

I am looking forward to baby #3.

The reason why it seemed empty is because for the last three days I had:

a 7 yr. old girl Brooke
Isaac (2)
Grace (my daughter, 4)
Lizamae (my other daughter, 1+1/2)
Colette (my niece, 3)
Emma (my other neice, 1+1/2)

And then each day I had Jillian (7), Rebecca (7), Anna (7) and David (5) playing all afternoon in the yard and house, Those are the regular neighborhood kids.

Colette still wets her undies all day long, and so I'm working with her to train her to stop through rewards, remindals and punishments. Grace, on Monday and Tuesday, was fighting constipation in so much pain that I held her on my lap for about 48 hours straight. Liza and Isaac and Emma are always fighting with each other, needing naps and bottles and get jealous when I pick up one in exception to the others. Emma is also particularly difficult because she is a big pooper and when she does I often have to change her whole outfit. One of these days I got a stressful phone call from my dad and put off changing it, when Brooke led little Emma back to the door showing me her poop-covered right hand--she was being a little scientist. Cute. Grace has become a little whiner, mostly because she isn't getting enough sleep and I need to think more about how to resolve this. The other main challenge is teaching them all about better eating habits. The three toddlers will not stay in their chairs, and Colette won't eat anything.

And then there is Brooke. There is nothing extraordinary about her, except for her talents and compassion and advanced social skills. It's just me--I don't know how to deal with this age group very well yet! All day long, Brooke wants to talk. When she is doing anything on her own she wants me to give her some imput. And she wants to eat more often than any of the babies do! Wow--after the summer of watching her everyday, maybe I'll understand young girls and their needs a little better.

So the way I figure it I can handle:

4 kids, 3 and under
3 kids, 4-6


4 kids, 3 and under
1 kid, 7

But my sister is pregnant (another niece/nephew), Aaron's mom is pregnant, and I want to be--there's three more little babies!

Seven kids seems to be the magical number. When I have six, I still have some free time in a day. But when there are seven, that's pretty much it, at 6 o clock, I'm wiped out.

If I can do seven, then I think there doesn't become much of a difference after that. I've had enough afternoons with 10 + kids in my house/yard that I know that it doesn't make too much more of a difference.

It's my attitude I have been paying close attention to since considering trying for baby #3. Am I acting resentful about the kids, or am I still gracious with them? My ways and attitudes have only been becoming more calm as I go. I'm figuring out how to train the kids, I'm figuring out when to spank, when to corner, when to stop what I'm doing and listen. This is the sort of thing which makes me feel qualified to continue on in keeping kids in my care.

Liza also learned a new word from something and I called Ben on the phone so he could hear it for the first time; "but(t)." "But." She says it so decisively. I think it's her version of "button."

Grace still, even though she just turned four, says "hold you, mama," when she wants me to hold her. What a sweet baby she is.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Feedback on Simmer; Putting Dance in the Wok

While I wait for more feedback (or the chance for it), I'd like to write about something more fun. Dance.

How is it a mental thing, an acquaintence asks?

Well, if I had a certain thought in my mind, and I then used my eyes, face and body to transfer the thought to your mind, we have then just communicated. Nothing was spoken out loud, yet something was just experienced, or just learned. That's mental. At least that's my idea.

The next TV show or movie you watch, try this: try to gather the character interaction as portrayed by the actors, during all the filmed moments where *no words* are spoken. Does this sound dumb? The movement of the eyes, shoulders, the direction of attention all say so much--they fill out so much meaning. In fact, just as there are things we can say in speech that can't be said in body language, there are many things that can be said in the body that cannot be expressed verbally.

These little things... the eyes, the posture, the expression on the face-these are the smallest kinds of dances. If there is any artistic element in speech, then there must also be an art form in body language. Have you watched a professional dance? Say, the Nutcracker. True, the sets and costumes say much. Take these away, and would you still be able to gather a story from the movements of the dancers? Yes. Tschaikovsky wrote music to compliment the artistic story-telling performance of a dance.

Now just because we dance to words does not limit the range of artistic freedom in expression. I don't have to work so hard to transfer what is in my mind, to your mind, quite as much. The words of the song, and the tone in which they are sung, can take you most of the way there. I am actually more free to spin my own interpretation and my own emphasis on the words of a song. This is more interesting, to me, than the performance of a dance without any words (although being able to do both are important).

Let me see if I can give an example.

Here are some lyrics to a favorite song of mine from the 80s:

"Till now
I always got by
On my own
I never really cared
Until I met you

And now
It chills me
To the bone
How do I get
You alone?"

Okay; now I am going to try to use WORDS to express what I might choose in DANCE....

Do I express this with anger? How about anger with a sense of fear, or else anger with a sense for loss of hope? How about starting off with a sense of anger twinged with fight, and then throw in a picture of a revelation half-way through, transitioning into straight fear?

Do you see how the word "anger" or "rebellion" is a good start but simply is outdone by what my body language can say? There is so much richness there that no words can ever capture. And I can variate the point meant to be taken by switching up the body language of my choice.

I hope I can shed some light on how awesome it is to dance. Yes, there is the flexibility, the coordination, sense of rhythm, mind for choreography, etc., which are necessary and variate in talent from person to person, but my favorite practice is in relaying the messages I choose to send.

I take so much delight in dance. Isn't it awesome??

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Not now

I had a couple of great blogs in mind, but I feel the command to be patient over it right now.

So I'll have to wait.

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