A Day of Wonder

by Paula L.

I wondered if I should pick up the puzzle pieces from the carpet, since the puzzle was mostly ignored. Maybe it was too hard for my 3-year-old.

He started messing around with the pieces and excitedly fitting them together. He asked for my help and we had a blast finishing it.

I wondered if I had too many alphabet letters on the fridge. Maybe the jumble was confusing rather than inspiring.

He looked at the letters and said, "Hey, Mom! Here's an I, and down here is another I, but it's smaller." Then he spelled the longest word in the universe and joyously added letters and made me pronounce the word over and over each time.

I wondered if he would mind me organizing his playroom a bit more so we could walk without tripping.

He suddenly said, "This room needs to be cleaned up a little. There's too much stuff in the middle of the floor." I cleared some large spaces for him and we were both happier.

I wondered if he could handle the big scissors, since we couldn't find his little ones.

I sat next to him and he carefully cut strips of paper, smiling with pride.

I wondered if I could find something interesting for him to do in the kitchen while I sorted bills and paperwork.

He stood on an overturned cooler at the sink and washed dishes, and experimented to see what floated and what sank, and poured from one container into another, and pretended the faucet was a water fountain so he could practice drinking from one.

I wondered if paint would mess up Hotwheels cars too much.

He dipped car tires in paint and made tracks across the paper. He dipped bulldozer treads in paint and made more tracks. And used more paper. And I washed all the paint off the vehicles, no problem, after he told me he was done. He was so happy he made up a poem:

     Red and blue and orange and pink
     Noo noo noo noo na noo nink.

And I wrote it down and read it aloud and danced to it as he laughed.

I wondered what he wanted THIS TIME when he shouted, "HEY MOM!" from the living room.

I patiently called, "Hey what?" He shouted, "I LOVE YOU!"

I wondered if he would rest when he started rubbing his eyes and getting frustrated with everything.

I said, "Your body seems to be overwhelmed right now because it's tired." He said, "Can we chill out on the couch together?" We watched a video and I rubbed his back. Fifteen minutes later he sat up. "I'm awake again." He hopped off the couch with renewed energy.

I wondered if I'd get any laundry done when we went down to the basement together, or if he'd insist on checking out the model trains the whole time.

We checked out the trains first, for as long as he wanted, and talked about them. Then he happily helped me put laundry in the washer.

I wondered if he would let me read some of my own book in peace for a while.

He saw me with my book and came over with his book. I read to him right away, and then he played with his cars for a while while I curled up and read.

I wondered if he could unwrap the tight lollipop wrapper by himself.

Instead of just doing it, I handed the lollipop to him. He got the wrapper off with a proud grin.

I wondered if I should wake him up long enough to brush his teeth when he fell asleep at the table, lollipop clenched in his fist.

I gently wiped his sticky fingers as he slept, then lifted him onto my shoulder and carried him to his warm nest of blankets and stuffed animals on the bed.

I wondered if the day could have been more magical.

And I knew the answer was no.

~Paula L

(This beautiful, lyrical account first appeared on a now-defunct message board on November 24, 2003)

Here is another of Paula's days.

Other typical unschooling days