Bowie is a lover and a fighter. He often comes to me with outstretched arms, looking for a full body pick up hug. They melt me every time. In the mornings when he’s not ready to get up he wraps his arms around my neck and says “yets do hugs.” My favorite way to start the day.
Last night after dinner, Finn, Bo and went for a walk in the drizzling rain. Bo happily peddled and steered his tricycle, as I pushed him along. Meanwhile Finn was deep in discussion about his best guesses of when all the Mario Bros. games were released, based on graphic quality. I made it an extra long walk for both of them. Rhys and Dadoo got some much needed time together, playing Mario Maker 2 and relaxing. I love these moments where we can meet everyone’s needs at the same time.
Today I gathered a few melons, oranges and grapefruits for some process fun. Rhys *really* likes to destroy things. He loves a chance at breaking open a melon apart with tools or by throwing it high for an impactful landing. Bo will always follow what Rhys does when it involves mess.
We took our fruits to the deck and the two of them immediately got to work. Rhys tried throwing the melons up for awhile, and proceeded with stomping on the battered fruit until it split open. Bo did the same, but soon tried his hand at stabbing oranges with the screwdriver. He made a “happy face” with poked in eyes and a mouth hole.
Rhys wanted to scoop out the insides of the melon to make a helmet. He decided it would be more fun to smash it with a hammer instead. The whole ordeal lasted about 10 minutes. I think they could have demolished fruit for hours if we had a giant mound of fruit to spare.
A string of nights at the park
Summer made an appearance around here, and for the past six evenings straight we have gone to our local playgrounds. After dinner we have all been working together too get out the door and make a small drive or walk to our destination. These outings have felt dreamy.
Everyone is filling their cups together on these trips: Michael and I get outside and change up the routine; Bo gets a little drive and plays on the big circle slide; Rhys gets to run and roughhouse with a playground to ourselves; Finn gets to run for an hour straight and play quality tag (as opposed to tag in our bedrooms, which is fun, but we’re all growing out of it). I really missed our playground time.
A few days ago Finn was playing Mario Maker, and I asked him if he was planning on making changes to the level to make it easier to pass. He said “No, I don’t think so. I don’t want to defy the physics of the game.”
Today Bo fell asleep on my lap in the living room. I reminded Finn and Rhys to stay quiet while they were near Bo, and a minute later Finn began asking our Google Home to play a song. I immediately shooshed him, directing him to the other speakers in our house.
Surprisingly he kept at it. He got closer to the speaker and tried whispering, but I interrupted him a couple times, assuming he was ignoring me pleads. I was confused and frustrated. I grabbed his shoulder and asked him what was going on? He sheepishly replied that he was putting on a lullaby for Bo and I. I became instantly ashamed for getting frustrated so quickly.
I apologized and told him I thought he was ignoring me. And he said “Yeah at first I was going to play something for me, but then I thought of you and Bo.” He and Rhys wandered upstairs as I sat basking in the beautiful music and thoughtfulness my son had for me and his brother. It was the highlight of my day.
Sand in the sunroom
Least night Bo was up late and wanted to play in the sand outside. We did for a couple minutes, but I soon grew impatient with playing with his excavator in the dark.
I suddenly remembered a bag of kinetic sand we had, unopened. I ran in and set it up in the sun room for us to play with. We ended up playing for close to 3 hours, mostly dumping and refilling his dump trucks. It reminded me of Finn and Rhys’ truck days.
Today Rhys found the kinetic sand, and soon came up with the idea of throwing balls of the sand up in the fan to see if he could get the blades to chop up the ball. Finn got in on the game, and soon we had three kids tossing up kinetic sand, which quickly covered the floor and surfaces. They were having an absolute ball. Michael and I were doing our best not to intervene.
Finn and Rhys have been inseparable for the last year, mostly due to lockdown. Rhys loves being with his big brother. Finn seems to enjoy having his younger brother Rhys with him for much of the day, but Finn is working though how to get space when he needs it.
I think an arching theme for both of them is figuring out how to be individuals and be in relationship with one another. I see Rhys as a good advocate for himself, willing to do what Finn wants in exchange for time together, and a live for being really goofy with Finn.
I see Finn as being patient, a deep thinker who takes his time finding the right words to say, and a willingness to work with others in exchange for allowing his ideas for games and play to go first.
I say exchange, but what I mean is they have figured out what aspects are important to them as individuals, and areas they are willing to give for their brother. I’ve been watching them figure out the ins and outs with each other. It is the area where I’ve seen them grow the most since we started unschooling.
As much as I love witnessing their process, I’d say it’s been equally challenging. First I had to learn how to back off and allow them to define their relationship to one another. Second I had to allow some very uncomfortable arguing between the two of them. Third, I had to keep the long game in mind as small shifts occured over the span of several months. These changes were small and oftentimes went unnoticed until I was able to look back and connect the dots.
I think they are at a point where they are beginning to appreciate their own differences. I am both so proud, and a little surprised at how much work it took for them (and me) to get here. It’s the perfect reminder that life is not about the end goal, but the journey.
Tonight Michael came downstairs and apologized to Rhys for hastily telling him to stay quiet upstairs when Bo is asleep. Finn came down after him and said: “It’s okay dadoo, no dadoo in the world is perfect, but you’re perfect enough.” Hearing that made me feel like we are exactly on the right path.
Thia morning started a little hectic; we had someone coming into our home to install a fan, So I had to wake up Bo and myself early to be out of the area they would be in. It caused a bit of commotion with Finn and Rhys, but they reluctantly went downstairs.
I turned on our Amazon tv, and several kids shows popped up that the boys hadn’t seen in awhile. Rhys cheered when we came across “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” We watched a few episodes together. It was lovely.
The boys turned out off when they were finished, and they got into all sorts of new stuff: playing with new toys on the ping pong table, Finn and Rhys making their own “homes,” which led to them playing “store,” where they made signs for their sale items. It was unique play that I haven’t seen in awhile!