Monday, December 7, 2009

December Day with the Gertzes

December 7, 2009

Believe it or not, Ethan is still not completely weaned. He'll be three in 2 weeks, but this morning wanted to nurse in my bed. For the past year, I've been torn, not knowing whether I should be glad or annoyed that he loves nursing so much. Nursing a pre-schooler is so unusual that my biggest fear was what others thought of me if they found out. Most people probably don't even know though.

In the last month, he's begun to taper off, and at times I even thought we were through. So I think the end is in sight. But this morning, I enjoyed cuddling with him in my warm bed.

I heard that the other kids were up so hauled myself out of bed at about 8. In an effort for more breakfast diversity (we'd eaten cold cereal for the past few days), I made oatmeal and flavored it with maple. Yum! We had no trouble finishing the entire pot! Following breakfast, we spent some time cleaning up the living room and entryway, particularly vacuuming. It was long overdue.

As my Christmas concert is just 6 days away, and my last regular rehearsal was to be tonight, I decided to spend some concentrated time on trouble spots in my music. Josiah was working on his Arabic, using the Rosetta Stone computer program. He's on a lesson about the numbers 1-10. Naomi colored in a new coloring book. After 20 minutes, I had them switch. Steve also contributed today with a 15 minute lesson on the first few letters of the Arabic alphabet.

It really helped me to go over my music. I'd gotten a piano keyboard a few weeks ago from someone on Freecycle, but didn't yet have the correct power supply for it. I finally found one at a charity shop last Saturday, so was able to bang out the notes that have been giving me a hard time.

After Arabic, the kids and I read from our "One Year Bible for Kids." We're just at the transition of leadership from Moses to Joshua. Today we read Moses' song of praise to God, as well as God's words to Joshua in Joshua 1. What a great way to start the day!

Then we did spelling. We use a spelling curriculum called "Spelling by Sound and Structure," and today we began a review unit. The kids and I looked at the past 5 weeks' worth of words, reminded ourselves of the various structure patterns, and focused on the tricky words (head, said, front, son, catch and wash). Josiah loves spelling. Later in the day, he opened his workbook to a future lesson and began doing it just for fun!

After spelling came math. The key principle of "Math-U-See" is that kids should "build, write, and say" as they learn their facts. It's a hands-on approach, using colored blocks, and today the kids used the blocks to show me their "+2" facts. Ethan was at the table, too, drawing while we did spelling and playing with the blocks while we did math.

I made pasta and chicken for lunch, and then we read some books. Though our new furnished flat included 2 black faux-leather love seats, we also decided to keep a couch that friends had given us. It is long, soft and perfect for winter reading. All of us cuddle together on it and try to ward off the cold. Reading is our favorite thing to do together!

Ethan went down for his nap, I washed dishes and did some more music practice. My intention was to do more school with the kids, particularly beginning a book called "Sarah Whitcher's Story," but I got too sleepy. I sent the kids to various rooms to do quiet activities and fell asleep on the couch.

Naomi and Josiah have apparently just realized how close Christmas is. They got super-excited today and spent half of the afternoon making and wrapping gifts for family members. I have no idea what they made. Guess I'll have to wait until December 25! But the presents look gorgeous, nicely wrapped, complete with bows and labels. Very cute...

I lazily made frozen fish, chips, and peas for dinner, but did make homemade applesauce for dessert. I got ready for choir while the kids were clearing the dirty dishes and emptying the dish drain. This meant collecting my music, bike helmet, bike lights, gloves, reflective shoulder strap, check for my choir fees, and debit card to use later at the grocery store.

It takes me just over 10 minutes to get to choir rehearsal, but I also add in time on both ends for getting through locked gates and dealing with my bike. I cycle through our tiny village of Iffley, then onto busy Iffley Road which leads straight into city centre. Though many bicycles travel that road and technically there is a cycle lane, the road is narrow and it can be a little scary to share it with buses and rush-hour traffic. Still it's better than bussing or walking!

Choir rehearsal was fun. It's great to be this close to the concert and hear how far we've come in just the past few weeks. I'm getting to know another new choir member (a fellow Californian!) and tonight we had a good bit of time to chat. After rehearsal (over at 9:30), I cycled to Tesco Metro on Cowley Road. I wanted to get a few things necessary for making Christmas cookies and eggnog. I used the self-checkout line and packed my groceries in my backpack.

I got back home by 10:20 and have been cleaning the kitchen or on the computer ever since! Another day in the life...


ErinOrtlund said...

I am also nursing my almost-three year old! I really believe they will wean when they're ready. Plus my boy is so very picky, I would really worry about him if he wasn't still getting perfect nutrition a few times a day. Don't worry about what people think--if you think someone would be judgmental, no need for them to know. Weaning at 1 is such a cultural thing-for most of history and still in many cultures, nursing is a matter of years not months. I bet Mary nursed Jesus for quite a while. Way to go!

Lisa Gertz said...

Thanks for that comment, Erin! I'm glad I'm not the only one ;-) I guess I've also been afraid that I'm doing something wrong, or keeping him from growing up, or something. And upon hearing of a friend nursing her daughter 'til age 5 or 6, worried that I'd be in the same spot myself. But I'm sure you're right -- that he'll wean when he's ready and that our western culture is the odd one out!

ErinOrtlund said...

Definitely! I don't think you need to worry about either of those things. I think that the more you meet a child's needs, the more independent they become. It's sad when you see adults still trying t get childhood needs met. Also, about nursing till 5 or 6. I figure if Will has not self-weaned and I get to a point where I've had enough, I'll just wean him then. It has to work for both of us!

Mike Blyth said...

Thanks for describing your whole day so well! It's nice to read about what you did, and to be able to picture it since we visited you.