One of the most intense parts about deciding to home school-- and actually doing it for the past 2 weeks-- is the focused one-on-one time with the older 2 girls. They are besties and over the summer they spent the better part of every day just hanging out and playing while I did house stuff or took care of the 2 littler ones. Their relationship, and not wanting to separate them, is a big part of why I am home schooling, among other things.
Ever since Naomi was born I have treated her like she is older than she is, and with Bernadette being only 18 months younger and always eager to keep up with Naomi, she gets pretty similar treatment. I feel like I am constantly saying something to the effect of "you are the older ones, you have to set the good example!" or "act your age" (which is absurd because they are 6 and almost 5). But they are the 2 oldest and so the way that I see them is as the older 2, I rarely see them as what they are: a 6 and almost 5-year-old. Still so small!
On Monday of this past week they were making me crazy: I'm talking tantrums, whiny meltdowns and fighting galore, I was really questioning the schooling decision, despite the great start to the year. I just couldn't figure out why the 2 oldest wouldn't just act older! Be more helpful! Take responsibility! Clean up after themselves! Not be annoying! As I sat on the couch almost in in tears, little Lucy came and sat on my lap and asked to watch Kipper, but instead I grabbed my lap top up and pulled up a bunch of videos of the girls as babies and toddlers, this is the one we watched over and over again:
SDC13330 from Ana Hahn on Vimeo.
The thing that hit me so much in the little video was their sweet little baby voices. When they were that age I KNOW I did not stop and listen to their voices and appreciate how cute and mousy and simply adorable they sounded. I am sure that I spent more time being stressed out by them and wishing that they would quiet their little vocal chords for just a few seconds to give me a little break.
I got really sad about how much I took for granted when they were that little, how mostly stressed I was at each turn in their life. Right now is no exception, even though I am excited about this home schooling gig, I would say that the majority of the day I feel like I my head might implode. It's just really intense and on days like Monday, it's really hard.
After I watched that little video, for the rest of the day I just told myself to see their little baby features in their still-small faces, and to listen to the remnant sounds of their little baby voices, and it actually helped me to be less stressed and more grateful. Regardless of how old I say I want them to act, and regardless of how old I treat them, they are still little and their voices each still have little traces of the mousy cuteness that was once dominant. And I will mourn the day that their smallness goes away altogether, so on the days that they are driving me the most mad, on the really rough days I am resolved to watch some baby videos of them, listen to their sweet little voices and try to hear them as the sweet little girls that they still are.