Thursday, March 09, 2006

Hugging Snow

Today I Hugged the Snow.

It doesn’t usually snow much in Vancouver. And it rarely snows in March. But today, it snowed.

Coram was home with me. He broke or sprained his thumb on his writing hand, so was home with me yesterday and today. No sense sending him to school in pain, and with a huge splint stopping him from doing any writing or colouring. That’s just a recipe for disaster. So he stayed with me.

And it snowed.

It was snowing when we left to take Lucas to school, but nothing was sticking to the ground. It snowed more heavily on the drive home. When we came inside, there was a thin layer of snow covering the grass in the front lawn. Coram asked if he could go out and play. I reminded him he has a big owie on his thumb, so he asked if he could just go out and walk around. It sounded fine to me, so we bundled him up in boots and a jacket, and off he went.

I decided to snuggle up in a blanket on the couch and watch him through the window.

He walked out, and stood very still. He looked up at the sky, letting big flakes of snow land on his cheeks. He had a wide, joyous smile on his face.

He spread his arms wide, wider widest…stretched as far as they could go. He took two steps forward, then wrapped his arms tight, tight around himself. He looked up at the sky and puckered his lips and let snowflakes fall on them.

He looked back at the house and saw me watching him. Bright eyed he ran back to me and said through the window, ‘I’m hugging the snow mom! And kissing it! Can you come out with me?’

So I took the camera and got my fleece wrapped around my shoulders, and went out to hug the snow.

Coram and I took pictures of each other hugging the snow as it fell from the sky. He took a picture of our feet, and of the neighbour’s dog’s water bowl.

We got cold, and we came inside. We snuggled under the blankets together and watched a show.

When we left a few hours later to get Lucas from school, it was a beautiful sunny day. The sky was clear and blue. The grass was green. There was no indicator that it had snowed any time recently.

But Coram and I know that it did snow. We had hugged it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Money, Honey.

Recently we started to give the kids an allowance.

I used to be completely opposed to giving kids allowance. I thought it would give them the wrong idea of self-discipline. If they only behave because they will get money, they will never internalize that one behaves just because it’s the right thing to do.

We have a couple of trusted friends who started giving their child allowance. These are intelligent, educated people who share a lot of the same ideals as us. That made me pause and think.

Then I came across a really good chapter in a parenting book about allowance, and I changed my tune.

Each of my boys now gets $5 a week. The stipulations are as follows:

A minimum of 10% must go into long term savings
A minimum of 10% must go into short term savings
A minimum of 10% must go into charity
A minimum of 10% must go into spending money

After they have done that, they can choose where they want to put the remaining money. They can decide to put more in spending money, short term savings, or wherever. Mostly they choose to put it into short term savings.

Short term savings is for thing they want, like new books, YuGiOh cards, game cube games, etc. Long term savings are for retirement or buying a house one day. Spending money is for when they want a pack of gum, or some other treat at the store. Usually these are the things they whine at me to get them on a daily basis.

Now, when we drive past 7-11 and one of them pipes up, ‘ Can you buy me a slurpee??’ I can tell them they can buy it with their own money if they want it. Most of the time they don’t want it that badly. I end up sending far less money on them this way.

Recently, the Scholastic book flyer came home from school. As usual, the boys had long lists of books they actually wanted. I asked them if they wanted to spend their money on them – and to my delight, they did! They both dug deeply into their short term savings (which they had been saying was going to game cube games) and bough themselves a big whack of book! I was all warm and fuzzy inside, that they would make such a choice. And, I didn’t have to spend lots of money or argue with them about which books I was and wasn’t willing to pay for.

Soon, we will be deciding what charity we will donate their saved charity money to. Since they each get $5, they each set aside 50 cents a week for charity, and they decided to wait until it ads up to a decent sum before we donate it. I have started to collect flyer and information – I think they might like to donate to the SPCA since they both love dogs, but I also think they might like the idea of sponsoring a child. I can’t wait to see how they light up at the thought of helping the helpless.

Monday, March 06, 2006

The beauty of song…

I love it when my child sings.

I like it when they do cute little concerts at school. Coram is currently practicing for his school concert which is coming up in April.

‘I am just an ordinary Star…
Nineteen millions miles from where you are…
But I’m hot to the core…
I have helium galore…
I am just an ordinary star!’

His class plays the sun, in case you can’t guess.

I like it when they sing along to songs in the car. I listen to rock music, which Coram loves and Lucas hates. Lucas wasn’t me to listen to hip hop. Gag.

Coram sings: ‘I hate everything about you, why do I waaawaaaaa…

But what I really love, is when one or both of them are playing quietly, and they just start to sing spontaneously.

Lucas is building with Lego. He has his door closed, because he is working really hard on it and doesn’t want to be interrupted.

And he’s humming the tune to ‘Moulin Rouge’

(Which, BTW I have no idea where he heard LOL)

It’s just such a true sign of contentment, to me, when a child is occupied and just starts singing.

His tune starts to wonder…it’s no longer recognizable. Now he’s inserting words about what he’s doing…what he’s building, what character will live in the house he’s creating. He’s keeping himself company with this birght, cheery little song.