Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Water Wall

Alright, so my last post was reflective, but this one is just fun.
I saw the idea the other idea on Pinterest for a water wall.  I hadn't seen this before, and Isaiah happened to walk in as it was on my screen and was very curious about it.  It seemed like something we could modify and actually pull off here, so we decided to go for it.  Isaiah loves projects!

So, a little glimpse of how this plays out differently for us here...
There is no Home Depot or the like here, but there is a small hardware very close to our house that happens to sell mostly plumbing supplies.  So, we went to pick out a few pieces of pipes.  It's a small place, but you kind of just have to ask the owner for what you want, which was a bit challenging because I didn't have a specific pipe in mind and just wanted some "interesting" pieces of pipes.  Even if my Nepali language was MUCH better, there is still no way I could have explained this in a way that made sense to the man.  He was super nice but seemed quite confused at our process and lack of clarity on what we "needed."  Behind Isaiah in the second picture was a big tub of various PVC pipe pieces, so we sort of dug through that and chose a couple.  When we picked out a couple pieces, the many told us we needed washers or some various things to go with them, and most of them were super cheap, so we didn't argue or try to clarify why we didn't need those things.  Note:  Isaiah is in the same chair in both pictures, so you are basically seeing the entirety of the store.  

Zip ties seemed unavailable (or at least beyond what my limited communication skills could connect), so we bought some form of plastic thread stuff.  We also bought a stretchy, bendy pipe that reminds me of a vaccuum cleaner hose, and is actually what would be used on a lot of sinks and such here for the plumbing.

We took our wares home, and Isaiah was eager to dig in.  The process of assembly, however, seemed much more feasible while Little Man was napping, so we waited for afternoon.  I also cut the top off of one 2-liter bottle we had saved and the bottom off of two other soda bottles of different sizes.  On the one that I cut the top off, I also poked holes (with a knife--not a recommended strategy for the safety-conscious in the first world) in the bottom so that it would come out like a shower.  Isaiah directed the set-up of where he wanted each piece, and I tied them on with the plastic thread.  They don't seem quite as steady as they would likely be with zip ties, but they have all stayed in place now for nearly a week.

Isaiah was proud of his design!

Water is a bit of a valued commodity here, so you'll notice that I put buckets under the items to catch the water so that we could reuse again and again, which seemed at least a bit less wasteful.  The water was pretty icky by the end, though.

These are fastened on the gate at the edge of our yard/driveway which opens onto the common driveway for our colony, so I'm pretty sure the neighbors have had conversations about yet another odd thing the foreigners are doing with tying pipes and trash up to our gate!  Ha.

Zeke just goes for it with this kind of thing, so it didn't take more than a couple minutes before his shirt was soaked, so we just let him to without one.  He loves pouring right now, so this was really exciting for him.

The boys (and the neighbor girls who ended up coming over) had SUCH a great time with this!  Zeke has had a bad cold the past few days, so we haven't done it again, but maybe in the next few days as his cough disappears, we'll have to pull out another bucket of water and enjoy the fun again!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Big Yellow Bus Moment

I am seeing lots of pictures on facebook right now of friends' kids heading off to their first day of school for the year, and I have quite a few friends who are sending their little guys and gals off to their VERY first day of school for kindergarten.
I remember the excitement of starting school.  Dressing up in new clothes for school, posing for cheesy pictures, and riding the school bus.  I only rode the school bus one way because we still had half-day kindergarten back in the day, but I am from a very small Midwestern town where one school (though not one room, contrary to my husband's jokes) housed all the grades K through 12, so I stepped onto that big yellow school bus with high-school kids that first day.
I have a son starting kindergarten this year, but it's different for him.  There won't be a big yellow bus; he'll just walk upstairs, and we'll begin.  I am so thankful for this homeschooling journey, but as I see my friends' photos, I can't help but feel like he's missing out on something.

Something big.

He won't know about recess or cafeterias or clubs (both the kind organized by the school and the kind you make up with friends).
Yet, as I sit here and really think about those school days for me, there were also a lot of big disappointments.  I loved learning.  Still do.  But, if I'm honest, even with a host of really incredible teachers and a really great school, I really didn't like school.  I felt like I should because I excelled in school.  But, the truth is that I didn't.  I had some down-right painful years, like first grade when my teacher told me I wasn't old enough to read chapter books yet and would not allow me to bring my beloved Beverly Cleary cooks to class.
I had some amazing teachers as well and some wonderful memories, and I know that for as long as we are on this homeschool journey, we will need to work hard for the boys to have the opportunities they need to grow socially and participate in things like sports or other group activities and even learn to interact well with other adults.
But, I am also thankful to be able to give my sons things that I missed out on in my educational experience--freedom to explore and continue to love learning and discovering, freedom to finish work for the day and have plenty of time left to just play and be a kid, and freedom from the pressure to fit a specific mold of learning.

So, yes, there are things that he will miss out on, and there are amazing things he will gain, but what I don't want to miss is that no matter the form it takes, this season is significant.  We won't have the external things to mark those.  There is no yellow school bus to usher him into this season, but I don't want to let it go by without markers of our own.  We'll figure out what those are.  We can still take pictures and have special breakfast and wear special clothes.  Heck, one of the advantages of homeschool is that he can even wear his full Superman suit, if he wants to!

But, beyond the physical markers, I need to mark this time in my mind and my heart.  He won't have that step of independence of waving goodbye to me as I try not to cry, and as much as I'm glad to avoid that on some level, I know it is significant.  I am glad for the opportunity for my boys to not have to grow up quite so fast as kids often do in just the mass of hard things they are exposed to and expected to do at such a young age, but we aren't homeschooling to shelter him from things.  It is what fits our circumstances and life right now, and it's a blessing, but I don't want to somehow cling too tightly just because I don't have to send him physically away for this step.  The past few days, Isaiah has come out from midday quiet time and practically run out the door to ride his bicycle around our little neighborhood.  It is very new for him to enthusiastically dash off to do something without asking for me to come with him.  It's not the same as sending him off on that big bus, but I feel that mixed wonderful, joyful aching in my heart.  And, yesterday, as I watch him run out the door, this little boy who has suddenly come into a new confidence and independence, I stopped to mark this moment in my heart, to wave goodbye to the, in our case metaphorical, school bus and try to bravely smile through some tears.  Even though he'll be right next to me most days, I'll try to learn what it means to let go and let him grow and say goodbye to my little guy who has disappeared into this growing boy.