Finn and computers

A year into diving in to my children’s interests, and we got a deeper glimpse of what connections my oldest Finn has made. It’s been exciting for me to see more than the tip of the iceberg. 😊 Finn has spent a good amount of time playing and watching others play games. When he’s not doing these things, he is usually making up his own games in his head. He often tries to get others to play, and I find it challenging from time to time, as he’s got a whole world that he understands, and I/we don’t!

When he watches YouTube what I see is him interested in all sorts of aspects: game play, the storyline and game theory… sometimes he’ll watch a run of games that are pure entertainment (anything that makes him laugh). The types of games and gamers of interest have been all over the map. There have been times along the way where I’ve been fretful, like what is really going on? He’s had a recent dive into horror games, specifically the lore around them; I will not touch the horror genre with a 10 ft poll, so I *really* had to work at being okay at this. So he’s been content with all the games in his head; occasionally he’ll draw out the maps and then is underwhelmed by them. We’ve brought up roblox studio, but for some reason Roblox has not grabbed his attention.

I ran across a Scratch programming for kids book and did a little research. I passed it on to Michael our IT person, and last night he programmed a short game to show the boys. Finn was *elated*. He and Michael proceeded to collaborate on making it more like Finn’s ideas. Finn was so clear in communicating how he wanted it, and was patient with the whole process of coding his thoughts. His ideas were intricately detailed. He was surprised by how much thought went into his short game. There was so much there that he was drawing from, all from the games he’s studied. I’m not sure if this will be a blip of an interest, or an ongoing project that will be a big party of his path. Either way it’s been so cool to see this part unfold. ❤️

Our abundance child

Bowie has been a joy to watch his relationship with food grow over time. The first foods he started asking for is salt and pepper “spicy” chips, chicky or meat, chocolate and ice cream. He first asserted himself one day by opening the freezer and exclaiming “there you are, ice cream!” He reached in, grabbed himself a silver bowl and spoon, sat down at the table and dug in.

He’s in a fruit phase where he asks for a bowl overflowing with raspberries, strawberries or grapes. He delights in ripping off the tops of the strawberries slowly, or putting raspberries on each finger. He’s been watching YouTube videos of the fruit farm to table process. He enjoys sharing his beautiful fruits with everyone in the family.

My favorite abundance story is his desire for an overflowing bowl of “three by three milk chocolate!”. He gets out a silver bowl, then grabs a couple chocolate bars and brings them to me to open. He unwraps the whole bar and carefully breaks it into rows. He asks for more until he his bowl is completely full. He then begins to enjoy his favorite candy. Over time he has eaten less of it, happy to tuck the bowl away into the drawer for next time. He eats it over a span of days with the help of the rest of us. Sometimes he fills his bowl without eating a bite, he just likes the process. Once I asked Bo how his chocolate tasted, and he said “chocolate one thousand points!”. Our abundance child.

Easter egg hunt

Today we had an upstairs Easter egg hunt, with eggs full of jelly beans and stickers. It was over in a flash, as Finn and Rhys went back to video gaming while chomping on their loot. Bo was excited by the counting and aquiring of the jelly beans, although less enthusiastic about eating them.

Later in the evening Bo wanted to find more eggs. Rhys jumped in and hid the eggs and walked Bo to the hidden egg hotspots. He delighted in watching his baby brother find each egg. It seem he’d in that moment they were best friends. I will always remember the smiles they exchanged to one another.

Snuggle bug

I was so tired during the day, but I also stayed in bed later with Bo. So when Bo went down to nap, I laid on the sofa to be near the older two. Rhys came and snuggled with me for a long while. It was heaven, his little body curled into mine. I now treasure every single moment I get snuggle time with Rhys. They happen less often these days, so they are all the sweeter.

Taking care of each other

Bo has been having a really hard time letting go of his tennis shoes he has had since he was one. Yesterday was the day where his foot grew so big that I couldn’t even get his heel in his beloved sneaker. We talked and talked, he tried on all of his brother’s shoes, and we lined up several pairs for him to try next… But he was not budging. We got as far as coloring a gray pair with a pink marker, but even with his chosen color he still refused.

Finn and Rhys were watching Bo slowly getting more upset about the situation today. Finn exclaimed “I know! Let’s get him a stuffy like the YouTube video that he watches, where the mom puts shoes on the teddy and sings a song!” Tired and relieved by a new idea, I fully embraced the plan. Finn grabbed foxy, one of our many stuffed animals. The He said “look Bo! Foxy wants to wear your old shoes!” He started making up a song about putting on one’s shoes. I chimmed in, “look, Bo, those are foxy’s shoes now!”. He was into it. He grabbed a pair of sandals and put them on foxy’s other two feet.

Finn was beaming. I hugged him and gave him a little shake. “That was genius Finn. Thank you for talking care of your brother”. Finn and Rhys ran off to the yard, and Bo stay behind for a couple more minutes with foxy. Then he quietly let me put on his new pair of half grey, half pink shoes to join his brothers.

Sibling love

Tonight while getting ready for bed, Rhys came in to the bathroom with Bo and I. Bo was a little fussy during his diaper change, so Rhys said “Mommy, I can sing a song to Bo to help calm him down. Twinkle twinkle little star….ah I forgot the rest of the words.” I was beaming, and said “Wow, that was beautiful Rhys. Thank you”. Bo repeated “That was beautiful”. These moments of siblings caring for each other are everything to me.

Getting out of the house

Getting out of the house is not my strong suit, nor is it anyone else’s in the family, but a shift has happened recently, where everyone does what they need to do to leave without being told (??) It’s definitely a new development.

Over this past year I did not push much for going anywhere; all three boys were in some form of agreement to leave, but that still meant me doing most of the directing and helping.

Yesterday Finn announced he was ready to go outside, and got his socks, shoes and coat on before anyone else had started getting their gear on. He asked us a few times to follow suit, as he was itching to go. After awhile he said he was frustrated that we weren’t moving forward.

I acknowledged his feelings of frustration, and offered a a stragedy that may help us all now and future outings, which is coordination. But the real gem of this experience is kids are capable, and when they are given the chance to do things for themselves on their own timetable, be they do it! Maybe not as soon as I’d like, but I wonder if me pushing all those years before has caused the timeline to lengthen. I wouldn’t be surprised as I was notorious as a child for slowing things down when I felt under pressure to “hurry up.”

Learning on their timetable is both important for their synthesized understanding of how to be self motivated, but it’s also really fun to watch them “get” these life skills by living and doing life at their own pace!

Learning by watching

Finn loves watching others play computer games on YouTube. The amount of patience he displays as one of his current favorite personalities plays rounds of Feed and Grow fish is amicable. I notice how he studies the strategy and incorporates it into his gaming methods.

I have started to take a page from his playbook and watch walk throughs on games both of us are interested in. This is easier, and also much more fun for me to learn in this way.

Watching them grow together

Finn has been excited about surrending time with Bo the past couple days. He eagerly follows Bo from sofa to kitchen, entertaining his ideas of racing, followed by trucks and cars, followed by by more chasing each other.

As he was playing we exchanged glances a couple times, and he’d gingerly explain he is acting like a little kid, and trying out playing the way Bo plays. He fell over with laughter a couple times upon witnessing Bo’s sheer delight in a dump truck, or making silly sounds to garner more laughs from Finn. It’s these times that I believe they are learning all they need to know to be a genuinely decent human in this world. But at the moment they are experiencing the best of what it means to be in a relationship. And that’s where the gems of unschooling reside: in each one of us and how we choose to interact in the world.

Riding the wave

Rhys feels emotions deeply at times. Today was one of those days. He and his older brother were trading spars about each other’s abilities at playing computer games. Finn pushed Rhys aside, signaling he had had enough, and Rhys was extremely upset by this. He cried and yelled. Finn explained to me that Rhys kept telling him he was bad at a certain game, and that hurt his feelings. All Rhys could do was cry. I could see he was wrestling with feeling mad, ashamed, and sad all at once.

I tried to hug him, console him, and just sit with him. He really wanted none of those things. Instead he lay under a pile of covers in bed. I sat next to him and told him I could see how hurt he was, and how feeling misunderstood feels bad. I told him I feel like no one understands me at times, and that makes me feel sad. He sat under the covers quietly, maybe contemplating what I said. Or probably just enjoying the moment to let his mind wander without input from his brothers.

And soon after the two were back, play fighting with swords, joyous laughter trailing after them down the hall. Rhys’ ability to forgive and move on is inspiring.