Academic Leigh Speaking

A professor, four kids, and a crash course in work/life balance

Independence March 26, 2016

Filed under: Family Life,Growing up,In My Neighborhood — leighj @ 3:21 pm

Well, in case anyone is wondering, I am not on maternity leave. I’ve not been in the classroom the last two weeks, thanks to my great colleagues who covered 3 of my six class sessions, the magic of the internet which covered two classes, and MU Film Fest which covered one. I’m still grading, responding to email, plugging in data for meetings, and more. However, it is fun to know that when I go back into the classroom here in a week or so, my students will have still had meaningful learning experiences this semester, perhaps more meaningful in that I’ve had to be really mindful about pre-planning and not shortchanging their learning. They have had to be a little more independent in their learning than I would usually require.

And speaking of independence, Patrick cleared a path through the back to the bike trail. Seamus and Gilbert are now allowed to ride their bikes in a loop (they never have to cross a road), but they ride out of our sight, armed with their two way radio, and we watch a bit anxiously until they come back. They love being independent, but it is hard when Gilbert rides off with a cheerful, “I won’t get hit by a car!” and I get flashes of fear. I’m over my Gilbert-is-drowning-dreams, but the other night, right after Harlan was born I had a fire-in-the-house-dream that was very anxiety provoking. The steps to independence are important, because at some point, we have to trust them to make their own decisions about college, friends, mates, food, work, everything. And maybe it’s easier to let them drive after seeing them ride a bike responsibly? I hope so.

Porter also wants to be independent. He put on his own shoes to go outside yesterday, and then today, he threw a fit because his shoes wouldn’t fit on over his PJs. He also is learning to jump, which makes him very proud of himself. He’s working hard to solve his own problems. He can get a tissue, blow his nose, and throw it away (although, admittedly, sometimes he rips it up instead of throwing it away). He tries to climb in the car by himself, and he always, always wants to be on the step stool if something is going on in the kitchen, whether it’s cooking, laundry, dishes, or cutting up bread.

Harlan’s  not very interested in independence at the moment. He’s still pretty sure he and I are one.

I also realized that I have a post about getting your old life back after two kids. I wrote it when Gilbert was 2.5…so I guess I just have until September 2018 to go!


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