THE BROKEN PLATE

sage with ship

'But it's still nice outside' pleaded Cinnamon as she and her sister asked to play outside. With a high of 26C today, she was right. It was nice enough to go outside for a while. I was worried about Cinnamon's cedar allergies as it affects her as it does me but she insisted. I told them they could soak in the tub afterwards to wash away the pollen. They were excited as this would be the first bath they have enjoyed at this place.

Sage wished not to go outside so we spent the day indoors whilst the girls ventured out in the front yard for an hour. He wanted to work on math and reading in addition to continuing work on his Lego model. We started with his reading the last chapter of the Mouse Soup book before moving on to Penrose the cat's next adventure - fractals.

We covered both branching and spiral fractals as found in nature and reinforced this learning with animations of the Mandelbrot set on YouTube. Sage requested to watch the 'backwards fractals' as he recalled Penrose's encounter of the fractal dragon and Penrose shrinking him by reversing the rules. I was glad to see the spark of excitement in his eyes as we moved on to videos of the Eiffel Tower.

Later in the afternoon the girls requested I read something with them as they saw my attention turned to Sage. I told them I would be glad to sit with them and read about the artists we started to read about yesterday if they would be able to sit focused long enough for me to get through at least one artist. Saffron had a brief lesson on Pantone's colour of the new year this morning along with an article on fashion.

'I want you to read about the one with the ear cut off' I heard Cinnamon say. One of the gifts I gave the children yesterday was an art card game I bought in Galway this past summer at the unique bookshop. The accompanying book included information about Van Gogh and other impressionist artists. Yesterday's attempt at reading the book was short lived so today we made it through all of the section on Van Gogh.

The last lesson of the day stemmed from a salad plate's untimely demise amidst the loud complaints surrounding the time of dinner, the refusal to eat the potato leek soup on tonight's menu, and my not spending even more time building the Lego set with Sage. It was dinner time and the day was making way for the night. The plate split into five large pieces with two pieces having ended up on the floor. 

I had intended on simply banging the plate on the cushioned coffee table as a call to an end of the demanding chatter, but the plate landed a bit harder. It was something the children would not have expected just as I did not expect the plate to break. But it did. I gathered the five pieces and placed them on the kitchen counter to be used for a mosaic art project sometime in the future. Then I continued on to dinner by serving half a ladle of potato soup into three large ramekins for the children.

Cinnamon was willing to try the soup whilst Sage stared at the soup in front of him for a long while. Saffron learned she liked the soup as she learned last night that she now likes shallots on her pizza. She even asked for a second portion of soup after she had already brushed her teeth. When they finished the small amount of soup, I gave them quesadillas which I knew they would eat. Sage ate all of the soup though he thought it was 'gross'.

At the table, I explained to the children that their clamours of the evening caused my breaking of the plate and that they would have to replace it with their allowance. As we sat eating our soup, I navigated to Crate and Barrel's website on my iPhone and showed them the cost of the salad plate. '$7.95 is not a lot!' exclaimed Cinnamon. I told her that after taxes this would be close to nine dollars which meant each of them would have to pay three dollars from their allowance. I let them think about this as we finished dinner.

As I brushed my teeth and got ready for tonight's continuing mystery of Salim's disappearance on the London Eye, I heard a knock on the door. I told them to wait but when I reached the door I was surprised at what I saw. Saffron was the first to hand me three dollars from her allowance followed by Cinnamon, then Sage. I would have expected more protests, especially since I had also taken away tonight's movie night privilege, but it seems we all learned important lessons today.

Each day provides us with the opportunity to do things better than the day before as we learn from our past mistakes. Nobody is immune from making mistakes but we all have a chance to improve. Though parenting is life's greatest challenge it can also be life's greatest reward when we learn how to navigate the trials which come our way each day.