The One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Chart (Spurts)

October 31, 2014

By Ekta R. Garg

Enjoy these Spurts from the last two weeks, readers!

Last week as we rode by one of the large crop fields close to our home, we watched a combine make its way in even swathes back and forth to raze the field and prepare it for winter. Another large farm vehicle waited at the edge of the field to pick up the clippings.

“That looks like a 10 horsepower,” Eight said, watching the combine.

Uh…what?

“Actually, it looks like a mommy truck. It’s probably a 25 horsepower.”

Okay, this time I had to ask.

“What’s a mommy truck?”

“Do you remember when I went to that farm on my field trip and brought home sunflower seeds? Well, they talked about daddy trucks and mommy trucks. The daddy trucks are 50 horsepower, and the mommy trucks are 25 horsepower.”

Huh. Did not know that. And it almost sounds accurate.

***

On Tuesday I noticed that the faucet in the kids’ bathtub had started leaking so I called our property management company and asked for a maintenance call. That afternoon our maintenance guys stopped by to check it out, and between letting them in and keeping track of a pressure cooker that had decided to act finicky just then my laundry folding kept getting interrupted.

Now, you have to understand, that I practically bow down to the entire idea of multitasking. So while I folded laundry that day I sat and watched Six practice her guitar and kept an ear out for Eight as she practiced the violin. When Eight finished she came into my room and listened to her sister, matching socks and folding them for me.

The pressure cooker started hissing one more time and I trotted down the stairs. I’d already folded most of the laundry by that point anyway—I just had to do the kids’ socks—so I just had to put everything away. I went to the kitchen, fiddled with the pressure cooker, and came back up.

“I put away the kids’ laundry,” Eight announced.

The pile of the girls’ socks had disappeared too. “What about the kids’ socks?”

“I did those too.”

My heart melted, I have to admit it. Since Eight’s birthday this summer, I’ve started encouraging (or harping, take your pick) her to take responsibility for tasks around the house. When you finish a job early, I tell her, look for another task where you can help.

You know how you say something to your children about nine thousand times, and you feel like it floats into the air every time? These are the moments where I get reassured that at least a few of those times my words have stayed here on the ground.

***

When you keep house you replace some items on a regular basis—light bulbs or double-A batteries. Other items, like pillows for the bed, get replaced less frequently. When you  move as many times as we have in the last 11 years, those bed pillows get dragged from one home to another and are often neglected until they’re flatter than paper.

Now that we’ve settled down in Illinois, however, I can start thinking about replacing household items. Like those pillows. So I decided to start with the pillows on Six’s bed, because they were the flattest.

Earlier in the week I met a friend for lunch and had just enough time before school pickups to make a quick trip to the store for some non-grocery items, including a pair of pillows for Six. I spent a considerable amount of time in the pillow aisle comparing thickness and firmness. I hesitated but finally picked out a pair that I thought would work. I didn’t know if the pillows I’d chosen would be too thick, but I decided to risk it.

That night I put one of the new pillows on the bed and left one of the old pillows there just in case the new one turned out to be too fluffy. When I went to say good night to her Six sat up, her grin illuminated in the semi darkness by her night light.

“Thank you for my new pillows, Mamma,” she said. “It’s so fluffy!”

One point for me; I guessed right.

“Do you know why I like it so much?” she asked.

“No, why?”

“Because it’s like a hotel pillow. When I lie down on it I feel like I’m lying on a cloud. When are you going to put the other new pillow on my bed?”

I reassured her that I’d do it the next morning. I’ve shared here on Growth Chart just how much Six loves hotels. I’m glad I can give her a little hotel luxury at home (and for a lot less too!)

***

Eight and her classmates have spent the last few weeks studying the westward expansion of the country and following the Oregon Trail. To build on that concept the teacher gave the students an assignment to explore the idea of expansion on a larger scale. Start with an idea, the teacher said, and see how it illustrates the idea of expansion.

After chatting about a few ideas, Eight picked the Endangered Species Act. Specifically, her question was, Did the Endangered Species Act help animals? The project started with presenting her topic for approval. After receiving approval on it, she had to print out a couple of articles to show that she’d done some research. Then the teacher asked all the students to write a short paper on their topics.

Eight and I received the assignment on Wednesday and had to turn the paper in yesterday. So after her music lesson and after she finished the rest of her homework, we sat and expanded on the research she’d already done and made a few notes on the new research. When Eight was ready to write, I suggested that she dictate and I type what she said into a Word document. Then she could copy the Word doc by hand onto a regular piece of paper and submit it.

She worked hard before and after dinner to copy her words, and as she read through them one last time she smiled with pride. She put her paper in her homework binder.

“Mamma, I feel like I was writing like a grownup,” she said. “I feel like I was at least 15 years old.”

I think I should hang on to this paper and show it to her when she does turn 15. It’ll be interesting to find out what she has to say about it when she becomes a “grownup.”

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