This last week saw the sudden drop of temperatures around here, bringing us to that time of year where we wake up to a 45º F morning that requires heavy sweaters and coats, and later discover ourselves overdressed as we trudge home in the warmth of a 65º F autumn afternoon. It’s why layering was invented, and because my sons have the cutest school uniform sweaters to wear over their shirts and ties, I don’t mind it at all- love the preppiness!
This year we dropped some after school activities, some of them after we started them, because we found ourselves so incredibly overwhelmed with so much to always have to do. I realized that we weren’t having any fun, we had no down time at all, and I could see the burden of rushing from 6am until 9pm was weighing down a great deal on the boys. So much so that they started to snap at each other, and were constantly distracted. I decided to just take a sledgehammer to our schedule and break it down to the barest elements- school, piano, Sunday School, and Greek school, and was surprised to find that cutting out half of our normal activities still left so much.
But, I’m not willing to let go of language studies, and my older son adores playing the piano (and is amazing at it), so here we are. And it’s amazing to see the results of a schedule that lets them just relax and play at home more. They are happier, they actually enjoy being home, and even though it really stung me to drop Boy Scouts for the year, they took it in stride, with the knowledge they can always sign up again next year. My little guy can read Greek pretty well, and is increasing his vocabulary (mainly nouns) so that he will ask for things in Greek now. He just learned Θέλω ψωμί, which means “I want bread”. It’s so cute to hear him say it 🙂
The gift of a close-in-age, same gender sibling
Because the boys are the same gender, have the same interests, and are close in age, they are wonderful playmates. They have friends in school that they like to invite over to play, but both boys play with the invited friends. My younger son is included when his older brother plays with other 9 year old boys, and my older son is happy to play with kids younger than himself as well as his own age or older. They don’t exclude anyone because they are the wrong age or grade, everyone is welcome!
I noticed my friends with boys would schedule play dates with other boys very often, or would sign up their sons for multiple various sports and activities, and I was incredibly impressed with their ability to navigate the extracurricular and social activities of multiple children so well. I didn’t know how they managed it, but one day it occurred to me that none of these boys had brothers, and that probably accounted for some of this. My sons have so much fun together that they don’t want to be signed up for many other activities just to play. They ask for activities they want to learn, like swimming and piano, but these aren’t exactly group, social activities, and it made me feel lucky that they have so many of the same interests and are pretty close in age. They always have someone to have fun with right in their own home.
So, what else have they been up to? Well, we discovered MEL Science, a subscription box for monthly science projects that come in kits that are extraordinarily high quality and fun, and teaches my sons about chemistry in a very fun way. They’ve been playing with this lately, and I’m hoping it inspires a continuous curiosity about science for them throughout their lives.