I don't feel quite comfortable yet being mama-teacher. The priorities of those roles are different, and it's hard when I am in a position where I choose serving one over the other. Still, occasionally I'm not going to be able to easily avoid having the boys with me while I work up at church. I plan things I hope they'll enjoy, and introduce them to other kids I think they'll get along well with, but I try not to hold on to an outcome.
Our old Doberman Brodie is having trouble with his back again. We took him in to get painkillers and muscle relaxers, and while we were there we learned about bones and cartilage and looked at a couple of x-rays. In the x-ray room, there was a big cage full of puppies. Fox literally lost his breath, and was fully ready to spend the entire afternoon playing with them. The puppies shared this expectation, and whined terribly when it did not come to be. Fox was surprised at how they sounded, "like little pigs!" he said.
We made mullein-garlic eardrops this morning. I collected the mullein from the side of a dirt road in the fall of last year, and the garlic we harvested this past summer. The mortar and pestle were fun for the boys to play with, but they have been busy this week with knights and pirates in various combinations and settings around the house, so herbs didn't keep their attention long.
Fox took my favorite necklace from the bathroom and tried to hang it from something in the kitchen. He dropped it on the tile floor and it broke into four beautiful pieces.
The next part was a huge success for me: I sighed, told him how sad I was to see it broken, and then shrugged it off. He apologized sincerely, twice, helped me find the missing pieces in case it might be glued back together, and then went off to play, undamaged by my reaction.
A couple of years ago, I would have hit the roof over this as a first--though not favored--response. (I would have felt guilty about blowing up, and would have apologized afterward, and been mad at myself for snapping at one of my children.) But I am taking the calm I felt as evidence that the work I'm doing to pause and breathe in the face of big emotions is working. Maybe those qualities increase with practice the way lung capacity or blood oxygen do for long-distance runners as they train.