Thursday, September 16, 2004

Disco Dancing

My daughter could put John Travolta to shame. She has an innate talent for disco dancing. She bounces, jives, shimmies, raises her arms, one at a time, over her head. Her fingers are pointed and a small smug smile lights up her face. The twins put on music just to watch her dance--it's actually some kind of contemporary Christian music, rappish in nature, which makes me say "turn that down!" I am such a sorry old fogey. But my daughter--she is a dancing fool!

There are three toddlers sitting on my couch at the moment, eating dry Cheerios. Barney is on the television. I have an extra toddler to watch while her 9-months pregnant mother has a telephone interview for a job. They are feeling the pinch of living on one income and think there is no alternative but for her to work.

Yesterday was busier than usual. My twins worked on a math during the morning and then did a lot of reading. I did not torture them with writing assignments. Only one more week until the curriculum is supposed to arrive.

DaycareKid's mom called to say her sister would be picking up DaycareKid. We talked about what time it would be and she mentioned that her sister would be a little earlier than usual because she'd pick up her kindergartener and be right over. That's when I remembered that her kindergartener has been longing for a "playdate" (his word) at my house. I suggested that maybe Auntie could drop her kids off here (kindergartener and 3 year old sister) and run an errand or something until DaycareKid finished his nap. Sure enough, right at 3:30 p.m., she dropped off her two kids, so at that point, I had seven kids at my house.

They left at 5:00 p.m. and in their place came the two neighborhood boys who like to play Nintendo here and watch television since they have no cable at their house--thus, bringing the total number of kids in my house yesterday to nine.

My midwife in Michigan was the mother of nine children. They lived on a dairy farm in Amish country (they weren't Amish, though) and the five oldest children were girls. She once told me, "I thought I had parenthood all figured out and then I had a son." Anyway, the first day I met her--I was already in my second trimester--serenity filled her house. She was also pregnant, three months further along than I was, and her rosy cheeks glowed. Straight bangs, a cherubic face and a thick braid hanging down her back made her seem younger than she was.

I only saw one of her children that day, a messy-haired blond girl, but during the course of my pregnancy, during my check-ups, I'd catch a glimpse of her industrious, obedient girls, and I'd hear them at the piano, competently playing classical pieces. Her kitchen always shone with cleanliness and the long solid wood kitchen table gleamed.

She homeschooled all of her children, although her mother-in-law, a former schoolteacher, taught the youngest children. She also said everyone should have a newborn and a teenager in the house at the same time. She grew her own vegetables and a lush flower garden. She sewed and I'm not sure, but I think she spun straw into gold.

Anyway, I'm not that kind of mom, even on days when I have nine children in my house. I did manage a turkey and mashed potato dinner last night (thank you, Crockpot), but other than that, I just tread water, do what has to be done. Moms like the homeschooling farmer's wife in Michigan make me feel inferior, like I've obviously done something wrong along the way.

On the other hand, my daughter is a disco-dancing fool, so I must be doing something right.


Blogger Judy said...

I SO admire women like your Amish farmer's wife friend. But, I admire them from afar. I'd rather spend time with someone who screws up from time to time and freely admits it. Parenting is SO hard, I just feel happy to have survived it. My kids seem happy, what more could I want?

Enjoy your dancing disco babygirl! My daughter sang before she actually talked. It's the only way I ever knew what she was thinking. It was hilarious.

2:38 PM  
Blogger G~ said...

Hey, I bet that woman's kids couldn't disco.

To each his own, right? :Þ

IKWYM about those kinda moms making you feel incompetent. I only have two kids and they're all I can handle sometimes!

Some of us were just 'wired' to handle a larger family, I guess. I too feel blessed just to survive and have kids who don't have police records, right?

;) I homeschool too, btw. 10 years now. I can't imagine living any other way! Don't sweat the curriculum not being on time. We use whatever's useful to use these days, altho I had my share of 'curricula dependance' (meaning you feel as if you NEED the curriculum!) in the early days. It's a learning process in more ways than one. Just enjoy the time with your kids!


3:52 PM  
Blogger MP said...

"On the other hand, my daughter is a disco-dancing fool, so I must be doing something right." I think that sums it up.

5:35 PM  
Blogger Tracy said...

Perhaps your midwife had a picture perfect family, but could her kids give Mr Travolta a run for his money? I bet not!

7:40 PM  
Blogger QQ said...

Your midwife sounds like an amazing woman and mother. She makes me feel inferior. I don't think I like her now ;)

6:18 PM  
Blogger Tina said...

In many situations, I ask myself.."What do the good people do?" You know, those moms who make everything look fun, easy, or they are so organized or they look great...and this list goes on. Anyway, then I get discouraged and just do the thing my way. I think the kids will live and everything. Yours will not only live, but happily dance around as well!

7:04 AM  

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