Christopher is in North Carolina getting EFX bracelets on professional golfers and NASCAR drivers. I’m shuttling the kids around to school and the playground. The weather is cool enough to make soup, which is my favorite thing to cook. Benjamin and Megan are almost well again, but I think his runny nose and her cough will last for a while.
Megan’s growing intelligence is both astounding and delightful. She is so helpful and fun to talk to I hate to send her to school. When she was three and four, I thought homeschooling was a fate worse than death, but lately I have been thinking more about it, and it’s something I will seriously consider as the boys get older.
Some of our recent conversations have been about market share, inventions, and French cooking. All were initiated by Megan. I love that I can explain things to her in the same way I’d speak to an adult, and she almost always understands.
“Mom, why do you keep buying Up & Up brand? If people buy the Up & Up brand, Johnson & Johnson will go out of business.”
“Well, Megan, Up & Up baby wash smells as good as Johnson’s, and it’s cheaper. If Johnson’s doesn’t want to go out of business, they’ll have to price their soap more competitively.”
Later, getting a vanilla cone at McD’s…
“Mom, McDonald’s sure is selling a lot of different types of coffee.”
“Yes, they are trying to take some of Starbucks’ market share.”
“Starbucks is a coffee shop…”
“I know what Starbucks is, Mom.” (rolls her eyes)
“Right. Well, market share is the amount of customers you have. McDonald’s is trying to take their market share by getting people to buy coffee at McDonald’s instead of Starbucks.”
“Oh. Like Up & Up is trying to get Johnson’s market share.”
“Mom, I want to learn about inventors, like Thomas Edison. I want to learn all about inventions and how they changed the world so I can invent something that will make my future a better place.”
“Uh, okay, Megan.”
We go to the library and check out every book they have in the juvenile non-fiction inventions section. She pores over them and tells me all about the invention of the locomotive and Coca-Cola. I am surprised to learn the brasserie was invented by a woman.
Switching over to Gavin, this kid is intense. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a poem that describes him in all his four-year-old glory:
There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid.
Except that he’s a boy. But you get the general idea. It’s going to take a lot of work, love, and patience to mold this little guy. To teach him to use his powers for good, not evil.
I see the spark of brilliance in him, as well. My goal, in educating my kids, is to teach them to love reading and learning and thinking, and then turn their little minds loose.
Tonight–and any night Christopher is gone–Gavin would not go to bed. And I wanted to read. The solution? He lasted through four pages of Orson Scott Card’s Xenocide, during a treatise on philotic connections and the metaphysics of the human soul. Occasionally he pointed out a word, like “stop” and “can.”
Then he fell asleep. I think he just likes the sound of my voice.
And Ben? Well, this kid is hardly any trouble. He eats. He plays. He sleeps. My lips are permanently attached to his chubby cheek. He watches his brother and sister constantly and you can tell he can’t wait to run around with them. In the meantime, he’s happy as long as he can be a big boy and drink out of his sippy cup.