23 February 2012

not a born juggler

There is is a large denomination one mile from our home that has a vast array of community-welcoming activities.  On some of these, I have mixed feelings about how much it meets a spiritual need.  But there are many others that I believe serve a useful purpose for drawing the hearts in this town.

One of these is AWANAS - this is the second year we have had Little B and Miss C in Awanas, and they are blessed by the consistent pursuit of memorizing verses, forming new friendships, and finding leaders who care about them in personal ways.  I am blessed as an indirect result of this.  A few weeks ago, we allowed Baby J to start going to their Cubbies program since he is finally staying in his own class on Sundays and typically staying in his own bed at night (our two requirements for joining Cubbies).  He could seriously pop the proverbial buttons with all that pride!  The one downside to Baby J going now is that we have to stay on campus, unable to go out on a mini-date or make a grocery run.  And that means entertaining Bitsy as well.  But, we're making do.

Another opportunity they offer is Karate.  I have found multiple reasons to like this.  First, the men and women in charge speak English.  I mean absolutely NO disrespect to the amazing instructors in traditional programs - I know they work hard and do a fabulous job.  But I do not do well deciphering heavy accents, which I hear a lot in do jos.  Next, they close in prayer.  They might open in prayer, too, but in our 4 free classes so far, I'm not sure we've actually been there right in the beginning (ahem).  Third, the atmosphere is clearly about character training and good exercise, but there seems to be a slight balance to the strict regimen I've seen elsewhere - they really like the kids in each class and it shows.  I love that this is an opportunity for character training - it makes my day!  I also love the most amazing budget-friendly pricing of their karate school - there is not way we could do this any other way. There are two times available on each of the two nights, which helps make it more convenient as well.
I do not, however, like juggling that many children back and forth three nights a week to various activities.  I am just not that mom.

We told Miss C she could do the karate program.  But when they said we get 6 free classes to make sure she loves it first, well, we took them up on it.  After the first 3, we all got nasty colds, so our pretty faces were not in class for a couple weeks.  I took her back Tuesday night while John took Little B to his basketball practice (just one more thing to juggle this season - oi! - and he gets to do karate when basketball is over).  Tonight, I simply could not get my ducks in a row and asked that she go back next week for her last free classes.  She's upset.  I understand.  But there is this little matter of loving to have her friend from up the street to play in the late afternoon and evening time (said friend was still here eating homemade pizza before we realized we just were running too late).  And after a day of driving and doctors and half naps and not enough night sleep - well, surely you understand....

The thing is - my daughter needs an outlet like this for exercise and structure.  It will be so very good for her.    And I know Little B loves it and wants to do it also.  But Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday are all suddenly nights that make dinner feel impossible (yes, I need to get the crock pot in better rotation), bedtimes get later, and mommy feel like juggling the little ones is maybe not worth it (Miss C is not able to let me leave during karate at this time....think impatient 1 and 4 year olds).  That's pretty much half the week, people!  And I feel passionate about not being the mom who has her kids in so many activities that there is not time for friends on the street or nearby.  (A pet peeve of mine - a big one!)

So, since I am not born a juggler, I am having to find a method to the madness right now.  I know it will come.  I was hoping Miss C would wait for basketball season to end and just sign up with Little B to keep our lives simple, but that does not seem to be headed in my favor.

Arranging dinner time better - and decent dinners, not throw together dinners - is my first step.  Figuring how to return a neighbor girl to her home in time for us to leave when I have no contact for the non-English speaking mom and the brother is somewhere with the boys down the street and I have 3 kids that have to walk up the hill and back....might not be so simple.  Having John home in time to do karate duty - also not a guarantee.  Somewhere, there must be a way, though.

Hey, at least Baby J can buckle his own seat belt finally.  Definitely a step in the right direction!

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