All-School Sleepover

School is over. I walked down at lunch on the last day to share in the traditional community potluck, and got to see everyone enjoying their last hurrah for the year.

A few weeks before, however, the kids had an All-School Sleepover. This doesn’t happen every year; the kids have to lobby for and organize it, and they have to do it with enough time to bring a vote to the community meeting (all schedule changes are voted on by the community) to make the day after the sleepover a non-school day. The staff flatly refuse to stay at school for 32 hours in a row, which seems entirely reasonable to every adult member of the community.

I signed up for the early shift on the day after the sleepover, which meant that I dropped the kids off the previous evening and then showed up around 5:30 to see how things had gone. I discovered that both of our boys had gone to sleep at a decent time (around midnight), unlike some of the other young kids who were still going strong. Only a small handful of the students made it all night, though; most had succumbed at some point, and lay huddled in clusters around the building. Usually they had managed some kind of blanket or sleeping bag; only occasionally were they sprawled in a chair.

The adults who’d been on duty had obviously not slept, and I found them talking quietly to each other, with long pauses, in the manner of thoroughly exhausted people everywhere. For almost two hours very little occurred, with the exception of an occasional die-hard child suddenly becoming still and quiet on the floor, as though a switch had been flicked. Then, as we approached breakfast-time, the building began to groan quietly to life. More volunteers arrived to begin cooking; students staggered into the Great Hall, bleary and disoriented.

By the time I left breakfast was in full swing. Both my boys were up, though they looked a bit the worse for wear, and other students had begun to gather their things and trickle home. Gathering reports afterwards, I understand that the sleepover was generally considered to be a fantastic success.

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Just Some Pictures

Parkour

Recently Ryan started going to parkour classes. It’s something that both boys had been interested in trying for a long time, and when we finally did it, Ryan loved it. (Nathan found himself less interested.) We’ve been going back nearly every Saturday since then.

If you aren’t familiar with it, parkour is about moving around a series of obstacles in a skillful and efficient way — it’s like the obstacle courses you did in grade school, taken to a whole new level. In Ryan’s classes, the instructor generally introduces a couple of moves and has the kids practice them for a while. Then he sets up a course for them, where they need to vault, jump, balance, and roll their way around the various obstacles. Sometimes he’s trying to tag them at the same time. There are frequent breaks for water, where Ryan comes up to me, flushed and sweating, and tells me about how much fun he’s having before he heads back for more.

The persistence we’ve seen in Ryan (which, in some contexts, has felt infuriatingly like stubbornness) really shows in these classes. When he decides that he wants to do something, he keeps at it — if he needs to go back to the start of a tilted balance beam five times, he will do it, until he gets the result he wants.

It was very tasty!

Recently, the morning after a rather hectic day, I messaged Dave the following:

Not sure if you noticed, but I brought home a little treat from Missionary Chocolates last night.
It’s in the paper bag on the small counter.
Save it from the children, please; it should be doled out and savored.

Dave wrote back almost immediately, and much of his response was a real-time transcription of Mica’s words:

Mica found it first.
She tells me “It was so low I could reach it”
“I got it by sneaking. I tricked you.”
“I only ate one.” As she holds up a finger.
“It had a marshmallow in it!”
“It was very tasty!”
I found the bag under the kitchen table.

Fortunately it turned out that she had only eaten one, and the rest of them could be appropriately doled out and savored.

In Love

I was hanging out with the kids the other day, and at one point alluded to my wedding and gestured at the wedding pictures on the wall. The boys took that in stride, but Mica looked at the picture as though she’d never seen it before and then turned to me.

Mica: (gasp) Were you in love with that guy?
Me (wondering where that analysis came from): Yes, I was. Do you know who that is?
Mica: No!
Me: That’s Dave.
Mica (in even greater astonishment): You were in love with Dave?!

This blew her little three-year-old mind…

Just A Picture

Always A Surprise

In yet another turnaround, the boys recently started asking to paint

Mica likes to paint, of course. But it’s been years since I could entice the boys to paint, and I can’t remember when they last asked for it. I suppose it’s related to their recent interest in drawing; Nathan in particular has been creating drawings with surprising depth to them, and experimenting with facial expressions.

We spent some time — weeks, perhaps? — with this as a regularly-requested activity. And now it is gone again, no doubt to resurface again in future.

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