Thursday, May 24, 2012

Summer is Coming Soon

School is winding down for our bunch. The Montessori school year is over, although the girls do additional study in the home environment. Or perhaps I should say, three of the girls study. And in fact, Teresa (pictured there at the school) needs lots of encouragement - sometimes all through the day - to get her tasks done. She is bright, though. Sometimes she will ask a question about God or the world, and we will have an interesting conversation. But I'll save that for another post.

Josefina is now something of a free agent. She has a whole shelf full of her own activities, and she continues to learn to read and write. But right now she has more "Daddy time" than ever. I won't exactly say that she thinks the purpose of my existence is to provide her with entertainment (when she feels like it). She does many things on her own, but of course she always wants me to see her accomplishments. Several times a day she comes fluttering over the space that I call my "home office" and says, "Daddy, what are we gonna do?" My nose is deep into some book, trying to pinpoint how Ratzinger/Benedict understands the communion of persons, and how it enters into the relationship of the human being to God. She certainly keeps it all from becoming too abstract. But I do need to dedicate some time to the mental work.

Me: "Honey, I need to work on this right now. We'll do something later."

Her: "Can you read that book to me?"

Me: "You won't like this; it's hard to understand."

Her: "Will you read me childrens' books?" She is very persistent.

Me: "I'll read to you later in the afternoon. Find something to work on right now. Make one of those puzzles."

That often works. Josefina can't always have her way. She's already spoiled enough. But she's also very resourceful, and never really has a reason to be bored. And she certainly doesn't lack attention from me. Of course, she misses her friends from school.

I miss the school too. I miss the rhythm of the week, the interaction with Eileen's class and with the other great people on the John XXIII Montessori Childrens Center staff (check out the website if you want to get some idea of the program[s] at the Center: I feel like a part of the Montessori Center; I am participating in this educational adventure that really has something to offer. I can see its impact on my own kids and others. Its a beautiful thing. When I'm in my wife's classroom (which is elementary level), I feel like I myself could spend hours working with the materials and learning new things.

Meanwhile, John Paul is still in school until the beginning of June. He has to take his final exams covering the whole ninth grade year. Gosh, I don't remember finals in ninth grade. This is the beginning of a short but very intense period for him. So far he's met the challenges, and we are confident that he will come through this just fine. And now, Agnese is applying for Chelsea for next year. She has graduated from the elementary level Montessori. I was proud to see her maturity and leadership by example in the classroom this past year. Lucia still has another year in the elementary program. I love to watch her use the math resources. She's very good at math!

We have some fun plans for the summer, and also some time for Mommy to relax. Meanwhile, we have to wrap up the school year, find homes for the kittens, and get ready for John Paul's 15th (!) birthday.

And everyone needs lots of love. Sometimes I have to correct Josefina, and I can't always hide the impatience from my stern voice.

Her: "Don't be mad at me."

Me: "I'm not mad at you, but I want to make sure you understand that what I'm saying is important" [said in stern and slightly impatient voice].

Her: "You're a little bit mad at me...."