Amelie is reading these days. A lot less sounding out, a lot more easy reading. Right now we are aiming for reading small, manageable bits, consistently. This week, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, in two two-page spreads per day.
We are really enjoying Dick and Jane. For some reason Dick and Jane have been sorely misaligned. They are just perfect for my early reader and the classic illustrations keep me entertained, too.
Levi caught the sounding out bug early this year and helped himself to letter-learning and letter-writing and letter-typing. He often refers to himself as “L-E-V-I”, all spelled out. Kiri and Lia and Devo, likewise. Those of us with longer names just get called as usual, no spelling.
I had been watching his skill-building from the corner of my mind as I worked with the others on spelling and reading and writing. I offered him help and new materials when needed, but it was his thing and he was happy and I was happy. This week he read his first BOB book. Not too shabby for a little peanut of a three year old. He has a knack for remembering the sounds he just sounded out and smooshing them quickly into a word. Helpful knack, that.
So the other week was communion at church, which means foot-washing. Which means, in our church, small basins of water and thick paper napkins.
Church day continues to be a rigorous day for me, worthy of marathon status, surely, herding my small flock hither and yon and up and down, to class and muffins and cups of gold fish and the bathroom. And all in heels.
I really must get flats. (Side note – don’t think I haven’t tried to get in on this wondrous proliferation of cute flat shoes that fashion has been so kind to bestow on us. For some reason, my heels slip out of every single ding dang pair of flats, regardless of size. It doesn’t matter if it’s Target or Nordstrom’s or Clarks. Pity me. I do.)
But on communion day, it was cold, so I was wearing my Uggs and tromping around lithely and blithely and warmly.
(Really, you can’t imagine how much extra effort heels and a skirt requires over the course of a morning/afternoon at church. Or maybe you can.)
I thought we could swing foot washing with three big kids and one toddler and one experienced mother.
Things did proceed fairly smoothly, right until I took off my own shoes (lead by example, right?) and was standing in the church with one sock on and one sock off. Diddle diddle dumpling, my son John.
It must have been then when Kiri dumped over the basin of water as I vainly grabbed for her, because I distinctly remember that my toes were cold and wet, and I couldn’t figure out if it was more important to put my shoes back on (I know some people have a serious problem with bare feet in church) or make a barefooted dash to the table with all the paper napkins to mop up the water beneath my partially stockinged feet.
And then Kiri took a look at her handiwork and plopped herself down in the middle of the spreading sea. (How can an inch of water in a small basin make such a large puddle?)
This was a first for me, I realized. Eight years and no one has ever dumped out the foot-washing water. With our odds, that’s rather remarkable, I’d say.
Cue out-of-body experience. I see myself mopping on my hands and knees (in skirt) and trying to keep hold of wet child and coaching the bigger ones through the drying of feet and the donning of (frilly) socks and shiny shoes. Some hissing of orders to take the other basin, navigate crowd, and empty it. Carefully!
And I see the other people around me, so very very close in proximity. Are they oblivious to the small but desperate drama happening two feet away? Or are they politely not seeing? It’s too bad if they are being polite, it’s definitely worth a chuckle. And maybe a napkin.
There was no pious post-foot washing prayer that day. It was more like a rout and dripping retreat. In bare, wet feet.