Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Going Out is Hard To Do

The kids and I spent a large portion of the day out.  We ran some errands, visited the library and stopped in to join the local Boys and Girls Club.

For some reason today I really registered how complicated being part of our family is. 

Several of our tasks included meeting new people, which meant introductions.  Over the past few months I've developed a very clear introduction line.  "I'm Sara.  This is my son Theo and my daughter Rosie." The special emphasis is important both because Theo wearies of being called a girl due to his long hair and because it is helpful to avoid the potentially hazardous line of questioning around how Rosie fits into the picture because she doesn't look like Theo and me.

Time at the library and the Boys and Girls Club involved people trying asses what level the kids would be at.  "What grade are they in?" seems like a reasonable question.  Except as homeschoolers, we don't do grade-levels and my kids are somehow averse to the whole concept.  Usually answering sidewards with their age does the trick, but the Club really wanted a grade. Because Theo was 8 the woman declared him a 3rd grader.  Which technically would be wrong since he was 7 in September.  But depending on whether he needs social or academic maturity he might fit better in 2nd or 3rd.  I really wanted to start a long conversation about why she wanted to know and what answer would best serve him, but there were 10 kids waiting for her to check them in, so I didn't. Sigh.

Especially around groups of kids, I notice our family being stared at.  We got long looks and lots of pointing at the club today.  As usual, I had no clue if it was because Rosie looks different than us, that my 8 year old boy has long hair, that I'm that freaky attachment-focused mom trespassing in kid-land or if I had spinach in my teeth.  I try not to take the stares personally, but I wonder what it is like for my two kids to always be on display.  And how hard is that on them when they are at their most unsure and shy in a new environment?

Today I am aware that growing up as one of my children is not an easy thing to do. In the long-run, I hope our children find that the benefits of our very alternative choices out-weigh the costs.

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