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I spent most of today doing laundry. Really, like, all day. Fun! I did take a break from that to set up our garden exchange, and was pleased with the outcome. We have been paired with a punk-y kind of neighbor who is happy to include Terran (7) in her gardening. (A garden exchange is when someone else is going to come over and use our yard, since we’re not making much use of it.) She wants to plant tomatoes. That’s about as much as I know right now. I’ll get her a key on Monday and then we’ll see what she does.

Terran did some math today at my insistence, working on solving problems like 10+70= ____, 20+30=_____, etc., all meant to get him doing mental math quickly by using what he already knows. I got distracted and he did three pages of drill — about 150 problems — before I remembered to tell him to stop. He didn’t mind though. Later he told me how he had figured out that three days is 72 hours by doing the math in his head with a combination of addition and multiplication. He is definitely growing by leaps and bounds in the academic department.

Bear and Verdi worked on Dungeons & Dragons campaigns most of the day. Bear made this family tree for his character. He can tell you (and will if you can stand it) all the backstories. This conversation began with, “Mama? Have you heard the phrase ‘metagaming’?” Oh yes, son. Yes I have.

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After a simple dinner (peanut butter and banana sandwiches on gluten-free vegan bread and soymilk stirred with raw cacoa), we left for the Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensellaer Polytechnic Institute. I had told the boys we were going to a symphony, nothing more. They were all dragging their heels, expecting to be bored. When they discovered (one at a time) that the orchestra would be doing all video game theme music, they perked up and got very interested. They were a bit bummed that the Angry Birds theme was included, though. “Angry Birds is an insult to classical gaming,” Bear said. But he thought the rest of the show was grand. I had to point out to Terran that the music he was hearing was coming solely from those people standing on the stage with those instruments made of wood and strings — no electronics or recordings involved. Once I did, he said, “WHOA!” He laughed out loud with excitement when the Mario them began.

We saw a bit of Civilization (the RPI choir did a powerful rendition of Baba Yetu), sparking a discussion of the relative merits of history books vs history games. The boys want me to assign them to play Civilization for history lessons. I think that sounds like a perfectly good idea and matches my recent vow to start collecting Ticket to Ride maps for geography drills.

It was a pretty simple day, and boy did it go by fast, but we made each other happy all day. Occasionally with force. Since I have begun intentionally keeping them together more than they are with other kids, they have started to enjoy each others’ company much more. Bear and Terran began collaborating daily almost right away. Now they play whole games together and a fight never breaks out. Today I overheard each of them say kindnesses to each other, comforting each other, and state back then, “That was nice. Thank you.” This is so much better than where they’d been before. Image

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