The days the Boy and I have together vary wildly. There are days of high productivity and intense learning experiences. There are days of fun and excitement. And there are days of grueling boredom, apathy, and unfocused minds.
Some mornings, after dragging the boy from bed, he is entirely unable to focus. A small set of math problems takes him two hours and numerous and lengthy bathroom runs, while I know there are no dietary or digestive issues. Reading a book consists of flipping pages and claiming he read the whole thing. Playing trombone is 30 minutes of putting it together, adjusting it and squinting at the music, until i tell him how much I really want to hear him play.
Then there are days when daddy skips the morning workout and immediately starts imagining what it will be like to go back to bed for the next 48 hours. On these days, the easy path is taken. A handful of math problems I know he can do in his sleep; having him read aloud to me to work on enunciation; maybe a trip to a park where he can swing and I can half doze with a cooling cup of coffee in my hand.
And then there are days like today. After a lovely breakfast with the boy, we loaded up to take care of some of my friends critters. AB and JR are out of town for two weeks, and the Boy loves watching their three cats, two rabbits and two guinea pigs. Also, they have a wide variety of Calvin and Hobbes books as well as a collection of SciFi and Theatre books.
After a good forty-five minutes there, playing with the animals and reading, we headed to the library, with a plan. There were some books due, and we wanted to get out some new things. A chapter book of his choosing, a book on composers and then anything else he liked. Usually I find something as well.
The boy is working on searching. The first time I told him to find a book on a certain topic, he just looked up and down the shelves at random. Now he uses the computer (I miss card catalogs) and will politely and clearly ask the librarian for assistance. And we do love the librarians!
On the way home, we pulled over to say hi to another home schooled friend we saw. This evolved into a conversation about personal space. When the object of your affection is pulling away from your firm embrace, you may need to take a step back, and not say that next time you are going to kiss her.
Then home again for math and trombone, both at this point done with utmost attention and perseverance. After lunch, we headed up to the basketball court – we couldn’t stay in on such a gorgeous and unusually warm autumn day – where he beat me, legitimately, at HORSE and we discussed the meaning and thoughts on Thanksgiving. He has a head for the dates, but a spotty idea of the reasons. Something about Pilgrims and Indians sitting around eating turkey…which I guess is what we all learned in school. Only later we would we get some of the more gory details.
We wrapped up this idyllic day sitting on the couch reading, he from a book on careers for people who love nature and animals, I with nothing quite as ambitious. And then the Boy was off to play with his BFF.
So what did Dad learn from this? Not much, really. Tomorrow could be a marathon day of frustration over math, prodding him to practice, or searching for the cup of caffeine that will actually jump start the neurons. But today, and days like this, we embrace the joy we have with each other.