I am on Spring Break this week Hallelujah! What a relief to have made it to this point in the year! I am so glad to see spring coming and the bulbs coming up and trees in bud… And so, so happy to have some time at home. Buster is on a college visit with his dad today and I took Buddy Boy to daycare as usual so he could play with his friends. It is just Punkin and I here at home and we are lovin’ every minute! Since he came home last June we haven’t had many days when it was just the two of us and I feel like this is our honeymoon or something. I have to admit a little sheepishly that when I get vacation I don’t think about going away somewhere, I just look forward to playing SAHM. Maybe that’s pitiful, but it is such a luxury to have to do only one job – mothering and housework- instead of rushing around like a chicken with my head cut off commuting and dropping off and picking up and squeezing in shopping and Dr. app.’s and still putting in a full work day. I don’t know why it is that even on vacation there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to do everything that needs to be done!
Well the high point of this day is that I get to be the one to take Punkin to Babies and Books at the library, instead of my mom taking him while I’m at work. It feels like such a treat! (Usually it’s the school librarian’s child being taken to another librarian’s story hour by grandma cause momma is reading to other people’s kids…).
Mr. Jim, the children’s librarian at our public library does such a wonderful job. He really gets a kick out of making silly noises and working the crowd with puppets and songs as well as stories. The parents have as much fun as the kids. Today he read one of my favorites; Piggies by Don and Audrey Wood. What a delightful, mischievous book! We have the board book edition, which Buddy Boy received for a first birthday present. The piggy illustrations are so silly and full of personality. These are some passionate, vibrant, juicy pigs! Mr. Jim also read a Maisy book, by Lucy Cousins. I am not crazy about these books because they seem too simple to me, but my sons love them. We have Where Are Maisy’s Friends?; a lift-the-flap board book. I think it’s the lifting the flaps that the kids like. Since I wrote last week Punkin has discovered lift-the-flap books, and they entrance him. Shouldn’t be a surprise, since he loves to open and close so much of course! His other current favorite is the Lamaze Itsy Bitsy Spider that Buddy Boy used to love. Again it has flaps. I am amazed at how much Punkin has gotten interested in being read to, just since last week. My mom told me on the phone yesterday that this week was the first time he would sit still and let her read to him, which is just what I have found. I think he has made a cognitive leap in the past few days and something has clicked. He is at the peek-a-boo stage where that game always brings a smile, and he has just started waving bye bye so I guess it makes a lot of sense that he loves turning the pages to look at pictures, follows a story progression a little bit, and is amused by lift-the-flap books too.
I have also been reading some more of the Jonathan Kozol book Ordinary Resurrections. He is describing the children in the after school he visits. He tells little stories about their families, their pets, their homes. The chapter I read last night he was telling about the public school he visited where some of the kids attend. It is heart breaking to read about. This is in the south Bronx in the late 90s, so it is real life right now. The school is understaffed and under-funded, and the teachers and administrators there are trying to do the best they can but they are frustrated and overworked. He describes sitting with the kids he is friendly with while they wait to go to lunch. They start down the hall at 12:15 and finish up recess (and a fire drill) at 2:00. In all that time they spend about 15 minutes eating and 15 minutes running around at recess and the rest of the time waiting. The teachers are just herding and managing them all this time. The halls are crowded and noisy and there are so many kids in the school the cafeteria can’t seat them all in a reasonable time. No kid should have to spend their time like this when they could be learning to read! This is an elementary school and Mr. Kozol also talks about where the kids go next. It turns out the middle school is even worse and their chance of getting into one of the good city high schools is minimal. Out of something like 1300 high school students around 65 graduate from the school most of them end up at. The rest give up in despair or think they can do better on their own without school. It is horrifying to think of what these kids are loosing, and all of us with them as they miss their potential to contribute and create and solve problems. I have taught really poor kids and really rich kids and it just kills me to see and know the difference in opportunity and resources available, depending on your economic class.
The Bible readings for this week that I am doing are from the prophet Habakkuk. He is asking God why a loving, good God can allow oppression and abuse to happen to his people. I am finding it fits right in with the Kozal book, as I wonder the same thing.
I am Habakkuk the prophet. And this is the message that the LORD gave me.
Our LORD, how long must I beg for your help before you listen? How long before you save us from all this violence? Why do you make me watch such terrible injustice? Why do you allow violence, lawlessness, crime, and cruelty to spread everywhere? Laws cannot be enforced; justice is always the loser; criminals crowd out honest people and twist the laws around.