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Mostly today I was distracted from facilitating the education of my glorious boys. Aside from some ongoing extended family issues that are sad and annoying, I had a doctor’s appointment that went on forever as they added test after test. I had left the oldest in charge of the youngest at home and I was texting with them all through my appointment. It looked like I was going to be sent home with a heart monitor so I joked with them about having a bionic mama. (Their response: “Cool!”) I love that we all work so hard to make each other laugh. Dinnertimes are often a competition to see who can get the loudest laugh out of the others. I have a completely strict, thoroughly enforced rule that there are NO PUT-DOWNS in our humor, nothing mean or gross or off-color, and I love what the boys come up with. I hope that when they remember their childhoods they will remember us all cracking each other up at the table.

Terran (7) texted with me all by himself for the first time today. I was reminded powerfully of the letters Thomas Jefferson’s young daughters wrote to him (having been a Revolutionary-era geek myself years ago). Children are so much the same across the centuries, no matter what media they use to communicate with their parents.

Before I left for my appointment, Verdi (12) worked through some initial problems with his persistence of vision kit, composing an e-mail to a mentor about his issues after doing a bunch of research online.

Bear (10) taught Terran to use Scratch, a programming language that is designed for use by children. Bear reports that he spent most of his day programming games and working on his own website.

Terran thought up a housewarming gift for a young friend who is partially moving into a new home with her newly divorced father, assembling an arts and crafts kit for her so she’d have craft supplies no matter which parent she was with. (He’s a veteran of the living-with-two-parents deal, spending exactly half his time with me and half with his father.) Bear got into the spirit and made our young friend a notebook, using OpenOffice to design the pages with a blank box for illustrations and some lines for writing. He assembled the resulting personalized notebook with staples and his usual panache.

The boys went on a walk (in the rain, yet, sweet boys) to meet me as I was coming home from my epic doctor’s appointment.

Verdi read some, more of his latest copy of MIT Technology Review, a piece about companies that are very innovative, and some in the Dungeons & Dragon’s Player’s Handbook. He is perpetually designing non-player characters, which I guess at least involves a good amount of arithmetic to develop their stats. Bear finished Life of Fred: Elementary Physics today, all on his own.

Oh, and I guess Verdi cooked for the younger kids, which is a skill he pretty much has mastered but it counts towards the “practical skills” requirement in our state education regulations. He made soup and bagel sandwiches.

Normally I’d have made them get into bed for their mandatory hour of reading about two hours ago, but the two little boys are so sweetly collaborating on this programming project and I can’t bear to interrupt it. It does my heart good to see Bear teaching Terran and my heart could use some good after the stress of today. Right now, they’re recording songs for the game characters’ voices and they’re actually harmonizing and improvising and creating this incredible vocal collaboration. Gosh, I love them so much. I wonder if they’ll ever know how much joy watching them grow and learn together has brought me.

Despite all that, I think I have to call today a lost day. Yeah, they were being creative and geeky, kind and helpful, and they did get outside some, but this is my personal bottom minimum of acceptable. I wanted to do lessons today. I don’t think I’ll get to do any tomorrow either, but maybe I can get some work on math and writing into the morning before I have to run out to consult with a lawyer about the aforementioned sad and annoying extended family drama. Sigh.

I am so, so, so blessed to have this wonderful home and these fabulous children. They keep me happy even in the hard times.