Thursday catch-up

September 24, 2015 @ 8:21 pm | Filed under: ,

Emily meets Frida

Whew! We moved Jane back up to college over the weekend and then, back here at home, got to spend an extra day visiting with my parents, who had come to stay with the rest of the gang while we were away. And then it was hustle-like-crazy to catch up from being gone. Which is to say, business as usual.

It’s too late in the day for a nice coherent post, but I wanted to toss down some stories I’ll otherwise forget. Huckisms, mostly…he’s been on a roll. Tonight he wanted me to take dictation for his Christmas list—no moss growing on this kid. I dutifully wrote down his three longed-for items and he leaned over the page, frowning anxiously at my cursive. “What if Santa doesn’t know this fancy writing?”


This morning I read aloud from Child’s History of the World—our tried-and-true first history book for the younger set. Today’s chapter was about Sparta and Athens (mainly Sparta, with a thorough description of what a young Spartan boy’s life might have been like). Huck listened intently to the plight of Spartan seven-year-olds—an age only months around the corner from him—and had lots of interjections to make along the way.

After the chapter, I asked him to narrate in the casual way I generally begin with around age six or seven. Not casual enough. He instantly froze up. My kids have been about half and half with narration: three of them taking to it like ducks to water, and three feeling shy and put on the spot. Huck is one of the latter. He actually ran out of the room and had to be coaxed back by a big sister. I cuddled him into my lap and told him not to worry, it wasn’t a test, I was just curious to know if anything in the story jumped out at him.

Huck, scowling: No.

Me: Do you wish you were a Spartan boy?

Huck, galvanized: No! Because they had to leave their moms when they turned seven, and—

—and he was off, chattering away for a good five or six minutes about all the details in the chapter. This is the way it normally works with my reluctant narrators, and I smiled secretly into the top of his sweaty little head.

Suddenly, mid-sentence, he broke off and reared back to look at me, laughing. “Hey! You tricked me! I just told you all about it!”

We all melted with giggles. He was so honestly amused. All the rest of the day I was cracking up over the shocked, almost admiring tone of his “HEY!”


The other thing that happened this week is that Rilla invented a board game. It’s called “Elemental Escape” and involves players representing Fire, Water, and Electricity (twist!) racing to the finish on a track filled with monsters. She drew a game board and mounted it on cardboard, and the game pieces are all Legos. Pretty fantastic.

board game by Rilla

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8 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. tanita says:

    I want you to know I forward your blog posts about your children to Tech Boy, because Huck – and all of your kids – are like characters in a McKay book, and I did a lot of reading paragraphs aloud to him when I was reading The Exiles series, and smiling. You did good, Teacher Mom. May we all be “tricked” into putting our best foot forward in such a loving way. That story is pure gold.

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      Aw, thank you! As I sit here eating my breakfast and catching up on blogs, Huck, aka “Little Dragon,” is un-making my bed with a vigorous activity I’m informed is “fight training.” The game, it seems, is Dragon Thief, and his objective is to protect my bed from some dastardly robbers. Whether or not my bed will survive these protective side-kicks and tail-swipes remains to be seen. 🙂

  2. monica says:

    tell Rilla that my toddler girl is eagerly awaiting her line of dresses with pockets. i want to see her on project runway soon! 🙂

  3. maria says:

    Like! l
    Lots! 🙂

  4. Melanie Bettinelli says:

    “Hey! You tricked me!” So cute!

    I need to master the art of asking good questions to trick my reluctant narrators. I am finding the The Hobbit it irresistible. They all need to tell Daddy about it at dinner. Somehow history stumps me, usually.

  5. sarah says:

    Awwww. Love the way Huck warmed up to the narrating. It has really been a mixed bag at our house, too. Awesome board game–love the Electricity, Water, Fire theme–clever girl. Hugs to all—-Sarah

  6. theycallmemommy says:

    Funny story about your son’s narration! 🙂