Daily Life: For the Birds
Lucia climbed up into this chair all by herself today. Twice. Doesn't she look proud of herself?
Lucia climbed up into this chair all by herself today. Twice. Doesn’t she look proud of herself?

Another late morning, even though Lucia slept all night in her own bed. She woke at 6:30 and we both fell back asleep as she nursed. I sat up at about half past seven and said the first half of Morning Prayer in my bed. Then I got up to get the kids breakfast. Bagels and cream cheese for the girls and adults, bagels and jam and frozen blueberries for the boys. Lucy, who didn’t get up till almost 9, had frozen blueberries, gluten-free bagel, and banana.

I said the second part of Morning Prayer sitting at the table after I ate and Sophie and Bella joined me. I read them the daily readings and we discussed how the antiphon for the Benedictus (Canticle of Zacheriah), which Sophie had noticed repeating itself as I read, is from today’s Gospel. Then we read the saint of the day, Isidore of Seville, who I think would make a perfect patron saint for students who struggle and for those with learning disabilities. He was a poor student and one day got so frustrated that he ran away from school. Resting in his flight at a roadside spring, he observed a stone which was hollowed out by the dripping water. This decided him to return to school and by hard application he succeeded where he had previously failed. Even as a youth he was one of the most learned men of his time. And he was declared a doctor of the Church within sixteen years of his death.

Bella did her copy work, using tracing paper to go over a passage from The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe I’d written out for her: “Once a king or queen in Narnia, always a king or queen.” Sophie picked a new board book to copy from, one about firefighters, from which she copied two sentences.

Sophie read me a board book while I changed a diaper. Then for math she filled in her calendar and estimated the number of tiles in a container and counted them to check her estimate and we played a game of dominoes.

During the dominoes game I had to entertain Lucy by giving her Sophie’s container of tiles to play with. I had to break to bandage Bella’s toe which she injured while taking a break outside to swing and run. She can’t get through reading, writing and math if I don’t give her breaks to run around. Sophie needs no such breaks.

Then Sophie ran outside and I did Life of Fred with Bella (pausing to take care of a temper tantrum with Anthony who refused to wear any jacket but the one Ben had on.) Much wailing and weeping because of the wounded toe, but we got through it.

Then I picked up the Handbook of Nature Study and read her the chapter about robins. We discovered that robins will occasionally winter in the north if they can find a swamp where they can find nourishment. That explains our January robins. There are plenty of swamplands nearby. Bella wasn’t interested in making a robin notebook as suggested, but Ben was. So I drew a picture of a robin and folded the pages while Ben watched. We listened to the robin calls in the Bird Songs book and then watched a fortuitous robin hopping about on the front lawn.

My robin. Ben colored the blue sky for me.
My robin. Ben colored the blue sky for me.

Bella has been fascinated about the goose she saw with a band on its leg at the park on Wednesday. She asked me again about who banded it and why. So after floundering a bit with an explanation and seeing it was unsatisfactory, I decided to look it up. We discovered that researchers have to have a federal permit and sometimes a state license and that bands are issued by the Bird Banding Laboratory. We read the history of bird banding– excited to recognize the name of Audubon and learned about all the various things scientists learn by banding birds, including the regulation of hunting permits for game fowl. She asked about why hunters need permits and this led to an interesting discussion about game management and species extinction– a new concept for Bella. We discussed passenger pigeons and dodos and other extinct species. And the need for conservation and good stewardship and current zoo management practices. I can definitely check science off for today! I wish there were a good picture book about passenger pigeons.

Lunch was the usual ad hoc affair. I can’t believe there are people who cook lunch every day. We do sandwiches, cheese and crackers, tortillas, and leftovers.

Afternoon story time: Anthony requested Frog Went a-Courting. Sophie wanted The Gingerbread Baby
With Bella: from Medieval Tales we read Robin Hood, The Island of Lost Children, and The Werewolf. Then we read about Saint David in Our Island Saints. A chapter on the Resurrection in The Life of Our Lord for Children. And finally Henry V from People in History. Then we listened to Kenneth Branagh deliver the St Crispin’s Day speech (naturally) and then You Tube suggested a documentary on the Battle of Agincourt and we watched that until we had to break to make dinner. It was really good: Hundread Years War: Battle of Agincourt- Bloodiest Battle Ever.

Dinner was pan-fried “tilapia” which was actually sole, but my kids will only eat it if I tell them it’s tilapia. Also potato wedges and butternut squash.

Bedtime stories: Gingerbread Baby– yes, again. And Tear-Water Tea.

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