Saturday, October 21, 2006

Playing In a Cloud

When I woke up yesterday, it was dark outside, the sky was covered in dark clouds and it was raining. The wind was blowing. We are at the peak of the fall foliage now and the leaves were falling down like large orange snowflakes. I decided to let the kids sleep late as we had no appointments until the afternoon.

Through our busy-ness I continue to try and slow down and am making a concerted effort to spend even more time with my children when we are home and not dashing about. I am letting some things go, spending less time at the computer and trying to listen more. I am trying not to cram every spare second into multitasking and am trying to slow down in between doing this or that and to just have some relaxing time with my kids. I am trying to talk with them casually more often and to look them in the eye when we speak to each other. Sometimes I realize I am trying to do so many things at once that I don’t even make eye contact with them, and that is not good.

Later, while we were having breakfast with my children, my six year old son looked out the French doors and commented about the heavy fog. He then asked what fog was.

I paused as I pondered launching into a long correct-fact filled scientific explanation. Isn’t that what good homeschooling mothers are supposed to do?

Before I could decide how to answer my nine year old son blurted out, “It is a cloud.”

My younger son laughed in a dismissive way and asked, “No really, what is fog?”

My older son repeated that indeed it was a cloud.

I explained that fog is a low cloud lying right over the land. I searched my brain for the proper terms, trying to remember the names of the fog that happens when the air is warmer than the ground or vice-versa. But before I could even ponder that, I realized that my younger sons face was all lit up.

(You must understand that this all happened very quickly. Writing it out and reading it takes longer than the entire exchange.)

I cannot describe the pure joyful expression on my sons face. He dropped his spoon into his cereal bowl and said in a loud and gleeful voice, “I want to go out and play in it! I want to go run in it and see what it feels like on my face!”

I told him that he could indeed do that but could he please wait until after he finished his cereal lest it get soggy?

He agreed and quickly ate his cereal. Then he asked me what it felt like inside of the fog cloud. I explained that sometimes as you move, you can sometimes feel tiny droplets of water on your face. He was so excited!

I just cannot explain the glee in his voice and his innocent joy over thinking about actually being inside a cloud and running through it.

That is what I want my children to have--that joy of wonder, to have those innocent desires like wanting to play inside of a cloud (fog). I want them to find joy in the simplest thing. I want them to feel free to talk about those things, with no fear of being ridiculed for such ‘silly notions’.

Immediately after the cereal was done I granted permission to don rain boots with his pajamas and run around the backyard feeling the cloud on his face. I decided not to delay his gratification and didn’t make him put on real clothes first.

But the poor thing ran on the wet wooden deck and fell, landing with his spine hitting the deck stairs. After being comforted by me and after deciding to walk on the wet deck, he returned outside and carefully walked on the wet deck then when he reached the grass he was still walking carefully and slow. I opened the door and urged him to run, that it was okay to run on the grass, it wasn’t slippery like the deck. And he ran and felt he what it was like to be inside of a cloud.

Ah, the simple gratification that a child can find!

I decided to withhold the full facts on cloud formation, different kinds of fog and all of that academic stuff for another day in the future.

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1 comment:

Mrs. L said...

Congratulations - home education at it's best!