Not Quite Pączkis Without Raisins

Like most siblings, my kids are opposites. One is seriously an extrovert and one is very introverted. One started reading very early and one started very late. One loves mushy foods and one is pretty grossed out by them. And as I recently discovered, one tends to hum and sing and explain out loud what she’s doing while doing math homework and one prefers silence.

Anyone with children knows that this translates to a fair amount of refereeing by mom. Add into the mix that we live in 900square feet, that the kids share a room, that the only proper workstation is the kitchen table, and that we had our ‘soft launch’ to our homeschool year a couple weeks ago and you can quickly surmise that this dynamic of noisy vs. quiet is a recipe for disaster. If I had a nickel for every time I heard or said, “Delia be quiet” over the last two weeks I could probably buy a bigger house. While I do, of course, believe it’s important to teach my daughter to be quiet during work time and my son to be able to work with some background noise, today I hit my limit and decided that this particular hurdle was going to make the adjustment to homeschool more difficult than it needed to be. We had to make a change.

Unwilling to, you know, sell the house and move, I pulled all the books out of the kids’ bookshelf. Then I swung the bookshelf around to the adjacent wall, managing to even skim a few titles they’ve outgrown for an upcoming garage sale.  I vacuumed and cleaned and then I enlisted the help of my kids and hefted a special table up from storage in the basement. I grabbed a kitchen chair that was not in perfect health and patched it up with some duct tape. Yes, duct tape. Because I’m classy like that. And voila…

20140806-132230-48150389.jpgA little workspace in their room. Complete with duct tape on the lower right there.

There are very few ‘things’ to which I’m attached — I’ve always been someone who views places and things as transient, it’s the people that matter to me.  This table, though, was my dad’s mom’s and she was a very special lady. We visited her a lot when I was little and this table reminds me of how grandma made sure there was white bread and creamy peanut butter for me when I came (I was a picky eater). This table reminds me of her making pączkis on Sunday morning and how she always left the raisins out of a couple for me (again, picky eater).  My grandma passed when I was pretty young, but my parents hung on to this table and eventually gave it to me. And now, this special table and not-quite-perfect chair are going to be there for the next generation.

More than just a table & chair, this set-up has memories. And even if it isn’t the perfect fit for the spot, it’ll do. It’s not quite pączkis without raisins, but right here, right now it’s a pretty big deal.

10 responses to “Not Quite Pączkis Without Raisins

  1. I can so relate to the children with opposite personalities, as an introvert myself I understand the frustrations of my quiet child. Cool work space with a great story to boot.

    • My daughter is actually the only extrovert in our little family, so most of the time I feel like she has it harder. I am glad I could put something together for them to keep the peace and let them both be comfortable. The shift to homeschooling is pretty big, so I just want it to be as easy as possible.

    • LOL! You know, as long as they can function in their chosen workplace and are respectful of their friends, family, & coworkers, I couldn’t care less what kind of environment they want to work in. I’m 34 and I still struggle if there’s a lot of background noise if I’m trying to learn. To each his or her own — I’m just glad this had a relatively easy fix!

  2. Hooray on the homeschool start! I’ve been easing Coralee (my oldest) back into it by starting math last week. It is always a challenge here to find the right set-up for her to work. I haven’t started the bulk of my planning for this year yet–August was supposed to be my planning month with a post-Labor Day start, but it is sooooo easy to just enjoy the summer & let it unravel as it will….too easy!

    So great you have something to remind you daily of your very special grandmother & that you have given it new life! I have a pair of wooden clogs from mine & her birding Life List.

    • It is a challenge to find the right set-up – I totally envy folks who have room for a ‘classroom’ in their house! Our planning is mostly done, but I owe that to my husband who put a lot of the plan together (he’s the planner in our relationship, while I’m much better at day-to-day ‘operations’.) Nothing’s set in stone, of course, but I put together a little schedule for each kid and I have all the materials I need for at least the first half of the year.

      I totally agree though – I was going to get ahead on reading the kids’ lit books and have completely not gotten there… I still have a couple weeks, right?! We are shooting for that post-Labor Day start, too, so I have time… … Yep, too easy!!!

  3. As a mother if six, we had every personality under the sun. When we homeschooled, my hubby built a free standing divider so they each had their own ‘cubby’ while at the table. It worked quite well for 6 years : )
    We had regular breaks, but I was a stickler for quiet working times. Enjoy your days

    • Wow! What a great idea! My daughter talks herself through EVERYTHING. I think most of the time she doesn’t even realize it! With no magical divider though we’ll keep working on it – for now with them in separate rooms. Lol! We’ll all get there eventually!

  4. Sounds much too familiar. Weve started homeschooling.. and I hear my eldest saying “BE QUIET!” about a zillion times to her younger sister. Its hard when they both want help, and you dont want to be dancing between rooms/spots, but sometimes you just have to do it, hey?!

    • Lol! Apparently I am not alone! I’m going the road of ‘work through as much as you can on your own in the first run through your homework and then we’re go after the challenges together’. So far, so good! Also, with a house this small running between spots is nothing!

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