Wednesday, December 31, 2014

v'shinantam l'vanecha v'dibarta bam

I've been feeling like I'm constantly trying to keep up this last couple of days.  I've had lists with things like "go down to basement and get wipes" because I'm too tired to run down and get them, and have too many details on my mind to remember that I want wipes upstairs until I walk into the bathroom and see streaks on the walls where someone wiped his finger.  Today's to-do list had 18 things on it.  For me, that's a lot.  Before this week, I had about 4 things on my to do list.  One of them is make salted caramel hot chocolate.  That's still on my list.  Just not today's list.

Being so whelmed, I started a post a couple of days ago full of anguished self-flagellation about how can I unschool if my son comes over to me and I can't give him attention because I'm working or with a sibling.  Because then I'm missing the windows of learning opportunity.

What I like to do with these anxious moments is, rather than beat myself up, take it as something that my binah yeseira is alerting me that there is an issue, and try to pay more attention to that in the future.  So I decided to try to pay a little more attention to Elazar's needs for attention and to make sure to try to be available if he is seeking connection.

Tonight, instead of doing my thing while he does his thing and then rejecting his desire for connection when I send him up to bed at 10:30 and I am fried and don't want to snuggle and connect and talk, I pressed pause and asked him to sit with me on the couch for 10 minutes at 9:30 (this was before Chana and I had done Chumash yet.  Playing catch up all day).

He was all excited about whatever funny thing it was he was watching.  He was paying attention to what I was saying, and I think he even comprehended it.  But he was jumping around a lot, and he kept telling me funny things he had seen.  We were continuing in Shema, and I was doing v'shinantam l'vanecha and I asked who his banim were, and he said he doesn't have any, and I asked who my banim were, and he recited them in a revved up singsongy voice.  And we talked about v'shinantam and shnei and shinayim (teeth) and it means teach your children and speak about Torah when you are sitting at home.  And I said what are we doing now? And he realized we were sitting on the couch at home learning Torah and that was exciting.  And I asked him if we ever learned Torah while we were going on the path, and he couldn't think of a time, so I said we should try that out.  And when we go to sleep and when we wake up.  I'm not sure how much he got of that because he was wiggling and jumping.

It turns out my brother helped me figure out minecraft on the current computer, which is good, because the idea of a siyum is completely not on Elazar's radar.  He's not motivated by it, it means nothing to him, and he's perfectly happy to learn not for the sake of a siyum.

But as much as I dragged him and myself through that little lesson of explaining those pesukim in shema, and as much as he even grasped it and it might stick with him...  It felt like I was trying to coax him and like I was dragging him through learning what I wanted him to learn and which he was receiving.  It is not the same type of learning as when he is the one dragging me over and begging to learn or to understand or to know.  And I don't think it affects his heart and his soul the same way, either.

Part of Torah is mitoch shelo lishma, ba lishma.  Not everything has to have that passion.  Skills and learning can be something a person drags through because it's important to acquire knowledge and skills.  I hear that and I accept that.

But it feels like I'm slogging through mud.  It's inefficient.

If I'm finding 10 minutes a chore, at least he enjoys it and can tolerate it.  I cannot imagine him in school.  Well, I can, but it involves imagining my sunny-dispositioned, energetic child being in trouble a lot and chewing his clothes and having horrible eczema.  I'm so grateful we fell into homeschooling.  

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