Wednesday, September 12, 2007

On what if feels like to have fourteen children

When you don't have to live with them 24/7? It's nothing short of amazing.

---On Names---

The youngest girl, about 2, has recently been referring to everyone as "mother." She's also learned my name, and alternates between "Aunt Jenna" and "Mommy Jenna." It's entirely too precious!

---On Education---

I am helping A- with homework again today. Whoever thought the music major would someday be a math tutor for a 5th grader?

He gives me a sly look and asks, cool as can be, “Jenna, what’s the name of this subject again?”


He gives another all-knowing grin and goes back to his calculations…

What a punk! This is one smart, sassy twelve-year old! Yesterday, he spent several minutes correcting my pronunciation of the word…and makes sure to sneak in pop quizzes today to see if I’ve learned it correctly.

He’ll make a great Portuguese teacher someday!

---On Art---

The children at the home have given me several hand-drawn portraits. Two details stand out:

blond hair (I am a brunette to Western eyes)
high heels (I guess I use them more than I thought!)

---On Discipline---

Tickling works wonders on five-year old girls who think they're teenagers already. It is not so recommended for hyperactive seven year old boys. Just so you know.

---On Dog Biscuits---

If your child has been eating dog biscuits since he was a baby, this is not an indication that you should continue to allow him to do so now that he is able to distinguish the difference between a hard bacon chew toy and a chocolate chip cookie. Mothers who don't understand this also do not understand why they have difficulties with discipline. Imagine.

---On Jealousy---

"Tia Jenna! The baby can't sit on your lap! Dona D- doesn't want him to be held by anybody..."
"Yeah. He's too big to sit with anyone anymore. And he might poop."

-Comments made by the seven and six year old, respectively, as they threw very unhappy glances at the fact that the child in question was taking up every available inch of lap space...and were, perhaps, afraid that the said lap would soon be contaminated with poop...

---On Attention Spans---

When trying to instill the love of literature into children, it is recommended that you not begin with a book that has ever been made into a movie. They will not be captivated by your voice. They will attempt, valiantly, to suppress their great desire to inform you of all the ways that this story got the details wrong. They will humor you for about three minutes. And you should be thankful for those 180 seconds...

We are averaging four paragraphs of "Matilda" each reading. At this rate, we'll finish the second chapter before Christmas. Even so, they clamor for it every time I show up at the door. Is it really Dahl's phenomenally caustic style that they're falling for, or just a chance to cram around the couch and cuddle?

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