The Children Spring 23

April 9, 2023

Taylor and the kids have been enjoying church a lot lately. Taylor is getting involved with classes and the kids are going to choir and Awanas.

Anna June is still being a challenge these days — seems like I write that often! She asked me recently to tell her all the Spanish words I know, so I’m trying. She wanted to know how to say ‘I want to go outside’ — which I think is something like Quera vas campo… maybe? I guess I need to break out the old Spanish books.

April 12-13, 2023

Spending the day with Marvin today, as Taylor and Anna June are on the Turtle Center field trip. We’ve had a good day, though Marvin is still sick.

He’s thrown up, had an earache and going to the doctor. Anna June is sneezy and coughing, but seems okay.

She keeps asking me about “patterns” and asking if things are a pattern. She seems to be very good at seeing them. She truly fits the descriptions I see online of “the sensitive child.” Lots of empathy and responsiveness and imagination is part of that personality, they say. She’s that.

The other night as I was sitting on her bed at story time, she noticed me rolling my head uncomfortably against the wall, so she got up and got me a big pillow for my head. So sweet!

We keep talking about homeschooling, as we have since before Marvin even started school. Maybe soon, or maybe next year. Maybe a group thing? Lots of possibilities.

April 14, 2023

The doctor ordered an x-ray of Marvin’s chest. It’s very concerning, so we’re doing the nebulizer treatments and an antibiotic… he seems to feel okay today, but no school.

Turns out it’s pneumonia! So we’re treating them both for that.

April 16, 2023

Kinda returning to health and happiness now… but too sick for school. We are seriously considering not taking them back, since they seem to get sick again every time they go back. And they’ve missed so much school.

April 21-23, 2023

A shooting in the Food Lion parking lot has us worried about taking the kids anywhere! The world is going crazy!

We’re definitely making the move to home school. The kids seem happy to be home, so it’s going well so far.

A great day with the kids yesterday! We played with them a lot and had a fun time inside and out! Working learning into the fun is the main idea of this approach to school.

Marvin spontaneously wrote a big sentence on the sidewalk when we were “chalking.” Then he had a meltdown because June altered one of his letters!

Taylor took a very calm and constructive approach to his fit, and he got over it quickly. I need to work on being more calm in the face of their outbursts.

April 27, 2023

Marvin asked, “What is infinity?” Mom and I both said, “I don’t know.”

Anna June said, “Infinity is forever!”

Astounding! But this homeschooling may be a challenge! Child-directed learning.

May 4-7, 2023

June still wants to resist anything she’s asked to do. Otherwise the homeschooling is going pretty well. We’re trying to do something good every day, and we’re working out a schedule. Lots of exploring so far.

Marvin was in a play/musical at church this morning, so we had a nice family time! He did great, though he said he hated it. June wanted to be in it too, but not old enough.

She sang Jesus Loves Me for Granny today, and her voice was so beautiful! She was really trying to impress Granny! She gets all the nuances of the melody and the emotion!

She said she wants to be a rock star. And a princess.

Hope I live to see her grow up!

The Children, Winter ‘23

Winter 2023

November 2022

June was holding a pretend meeting with someone, though it was not clear to me who was involved. She was very serious about it all, and at some point, she said to the imaginary group, shrugging her shoulders, “All the boys are so stoopid! They don’t like their wives!”

I didn’t ask what she meant by that.

December 2022

We have all been sick a lot as the weather cools off. But we’re decorating for Christmas and visited the Live Nativity, which the kids loved, especially the animals.

And Christmas was good! Excited, happy kids all around! A new trampoline was the big gift, and they’re excited about that.

Had a great visit with John at the Sikes family gathering and oyster roast! So good to see him! He even came by on his way home and we had lunch together.

And had a great visit with Gene! We spend about three hours talking about all kinda stuff, reminiscing, talking about the world. We’re both feeling our mortality deeply these days.

January 2023

The kids are ever-challenging! June is not responding to our best efforts to get her to obey without threats of punishment. She just cruises above it all… wide open all the time! Bedtime is usually hard, sometimes impossible. But her potential is still shining through. She’s so engaging and so smart! How to keep her and everyone around her safe and within reasonable limits without crushing her spirit is the challenge.

I’m going through a bunch of old photos of some of the older times with family — not easy task.

February 2023

Another interesting story from June during some phonics activities… the word “backpack” somehow prompted a story of some animal friend of hers named Dory, who’s a tiger she met when she went to the jungle with her “sisters.” When I was shocked at the idea of a tiger, she hugged me and said, “She love everybody!” And she has a sweet tiger family.

Taylor and the kids are going to church pretty much every Sunday now, and they seem to be enjoying it. It’s a bit hard for me with my background with Southern Baptists, but they seem to all be very good folks.

February 17, 2023

June’s prophecy:

Documenting here that last night, June predicted that, in 100 days, Screven would have a “really strong storm” and we’d better make our house strong enough not to get blown down! (That should be about May 27 or 28…)

March 2023

I got to see my dear cousin Marilee and her husband, Bob, recently, and Taylor and the kids met them. Was so great! Family connections!

Then we visited with Linda and John on the way home and that was great too!

Then on Sunday, Stewart and I went to see Gene and Sarah. Really good visit, though he’s still not doing very well.

Marvin and June seem to be doing great in school, liking and getting along well at home most of the time! Though June has been on a stubborn streak all week — nothing terrible, but she just wants to resist everything!

Spring is here, tho cool weather still in store. We’re thinking of adding a deck.

Things are going well with the kids, though Marvin is having some issues with anxiety and various complaints about things physically wrong with him — his gums, his head, etc. He talked to the school counselor about and we’ve talked to her. She seems not overly concerned, but she asked about deaths or other trauma in the family. It could be related. He is still sad about Bob’s death.

June’s just wild! Hard to reign in. And she want us to have another baby.

My health issues continue, so that may not be a possibility!

I do hope we’re raising some strong children, as it seems as though the changes in the world are going to demand much of them. Maybe they will be “the generation” — the one who actually stands up to the authoritarian trends this world is facing.

Children raised to treat all others with kindness and respect is truly how we extend ourselves into the future.

We’ve all been sick a lot lately — seems the kids just keep picking up things at school.

Bad dreams

It was the Winter Solstice. June was almost asleep, but she looked up at me and said, “Daddy. I been having bad dreams about people getting dead.”

I tried to stay calm. I said sorry, and tried to comfort her, but I was shook. I asked her what people, and she said, “Everybody. Even you.”

Again, I tried to comfort her and stay calm. Then she said quietly and very seriously, “ Did you know that your grave is beside mine?”

I said no, and tried to continue to comfort her.

I remembered that early the day before, she had said something about having a really bad dream. She didn’t say what. I didn’t ask. She’s an old soul whose awareness penetrates the veil in both directions. She remembers past lives and sees our future.

The Family, Fall 2022

[Continuing as chronological, tho already blogged much of this as current… hope this not too confusing.]

July 23, 2022

Oh lord! June’s pretending to talk on a phone (one of her dominoes), and she tells me that her pretend brother called and wants to go on a date. I tell her she can’t, because she’s too young, plus no dates with her brother! She calls him back and says, quite emphatically, “I’m not going!” Then she tells me that he’s not happy and is threatening to have her arrested! Oh lord. She’s four.

Aug. 2022

The kids are in school now. Things are going well so far, though the run up was hard! Getting ready and being emotionally prepared has been stressful for us both. June was doing “pretend school” tonight, and came out of her room in a skirt and wearing her backpack. She struck a pose and asked, “Don’t I look cute!!?”

June has been sick and missed a few days this month … we’ve all been sick off and on. I guess stuff they’re picking up at school. I got a negative on a COVID test, so I guess it’s not that. June is loving school and Marvin’s hating it. Everyone else seems to be doing okay, though I don’t hear much from the other kids. Lucy went on a tour out west with a circus group, had a great time.

Sept. 2022

June continues to amaze us with her learning — and drive us crazy with her stubborn willfulness. She loves playing with scrabble letters and dominoes and is learning letters and numbers. She also has the concept of adding! She loves trying to write her name, and other letters and numbers. She uses very advanced words and phrases such as “a gust of wind” and “illness.” And she’s forever asking “Why?” or “What does that mean?”

October 2022

June and Marvin loved our Eden family gathering at Gene’s. Baby Hugo was the cutest thing, and June and Sophia loved playing with him together. Eight kids in their generation there.

November 2022

We were playing with the TicTacTony toy, which has red and blue discs. June arranged them as a flower and said, “It’s called the red and blue flower, written by James Carolina!”

A weird comment from the girl: “ All those boys are so stoopid! They don’t like their wives!” Shrugs her shoulders. (As part of some fantasy play with a pretend meeting- June on her “phone”!)

She’s learned the concept “equal.” And, amazingly, she read correctly all the numbers in the table of contents in one of our books! I had to help her a bit with 109, but she got the other hundreds correct.

The Children, Winter 2022

January 7, 2022

Our fifth Christmas together was wonderful, very sweet with lots of visiting with family. The Woodards at Granny’s Christmas Eve dinner, John and Manna and family came for a visit, and the kids got along great! Also a visit to Marvin’s family in Cherokee! Wild and very fun visit, lots of cousins and most of Marvin’s dad’s family. Though Marvin was pretty sick after we got home.

January 15, 2022

We’re putting a playground swing/slide together, and June is actually being very helpful. She can put the washers on the bolts, hammer in the T-nuts (she’s quite proficient with a hammer!) and screw in the bolts. She even knows which way to turn them to go in or out! I noticed when I asked her to take some out that she intuitively knew which way to turn them! Pretty amazing! Lots of adults don’t know that. In addition, I was very impressed with her work ethic! She made sure those T-nuts were hammered all the way in, and she kept at it even when she was tired. She really wanted to be helpful and not just play, she followed instructions and was very cooperative!

February 3, 2022

We were sick much of January, though didn’t seem to ever be the Omicron- though we were worried.

I’ve tried to get in touch with Liana a lot recently to no avail— am a little worried an not sure what to do. So hard.

Trying to get the kids moved into the other bedroom. Things are up and down, sometimes I’m just hanging on by a thread…

February 27, 2022

Juney continues to spout amazing stuff! Says “ actually” a lot! And this morning over something she said, “What are they damn looking for!?”

March 5, 2022

March has started off well! June continues to amaze—playing in the sand, making castles and telling elaborate stories about the people who crash them down! She likes my “talking stories” at story time, and now she’s making up her own! What a trip! She’s very involved in them lately, suggesting topics from her imagination and then correcting my efforts to turn them into stories.

Challenging! And her Why? questions! “Why do we have bones? Why do we need walls?” Almost anything that occurs to her, she asks why we need it. Challenging to find answers! I wish I had a list of all her questions!

March 11, 2022

June learned to pump her swing yesterday! I had tried to get her to do it several times before, she kinda got the idea last weekend. Then yesterday she was begging me to push her, and I just started saying “Pump, pump!” In rhythm with her swinging and she got it, started doing it. She was so excited! Screaming and laughing and saying “I got it!”

No sick kids the past month, so we’re happy! And they’re in their own bedroom! They were fine by themselves all night, so all good!

March 20, 2022

Everything seems to be back on track now! We survived a late freeze last week, the yard looking great. The kids are getting along well most of the time! More outside time means a happier Juney! Marvin is pretty addicted to the TV/tablet stuff!

A big breakthrough! Talked to Liana for the first time since the Bob Memorial. She had heard that Stewart and Julian are selling Mom’s house, so we talked a good bit, and agreed we needed to talk more often. She told me more about her medical issues, which is very worrying to me!

Also saw Lucy a few weeks ago! She was on the way back to ATL from a visit to St. Pete. So good to see her! Life has gone so crazy! The split, the move, the virus, the world! Never see anybody! Sad! Maybe things will get better this summer!

Brother Gene is not doing so well lately, but we’re hoping for a sibling reunion this summer. His issues are spreading, getting treatment. Very worried. Also worried about Stewart since he’s moved to Brunswick and I never see him! John and Manna and the kids seem to be doing well! Hope to see them soon!

March 25, 2022

Marvin can read! And June is potty-trained!

And June told me, “ Dad, one of these hippos doesn’t work properly!”

Wild kids, Fall ‘21

September 16, 2021

Miss Anna June is wild lately! She and Marvin have fun, and they’re not fighting as much, but they ARE wild! Loud and running around the house on these rainy days! They need outside time!

June and I walked to city hall today, and she liked that! A bit shy of Barbara though. She’s learning so fast and remembers everything! Her language skills are over the top, and she’s very print-aware. Be reading soon! Still a big fan of Doc McStuffin!

September 26, 2021

I talked to everyone but Gene on my birthday. These talks seem so much more poignant since Bob’s death. Time is short for all of us. Everyone seems to be doing well, though Liana is sick. She said she’s tested negative twice so probably not the Rona. Scary. I am so ready for this Trump and his effects and Coronavirus to be gone from our lives! The two most destructive events in our national life in my 3/4 century of living.

October 17, 2021

I had a long and difficult talk with Liana this afternoon— bad news about her possible RA diagnosis. Lots of pain in her hands for a week or so. She’s delaying g her plans with Dani, and she’s not coming to Bob’s memorial in Dixie. So the chances of seeing her get slim. Maybe I can go to Atlanta, tho it’s a hard trip for me now. She’s also still pretty hurt over everything and it’s hard to know what to say to her other than that I wish I had handled things differently. Regrets are bitter medicine, and no amount of sugar makes them go down any easier.

And what’s to be done about it all now? It’s a hard conversation to have. I think we both feel a little better after talking. I hope so. I need to communicate somehow.

November 21, 2021

We had Bob’s memorial service last Sunday. Powerful and hard, but a great family experience. I think everyone appreciates the family more now. Taylor loved the family gathering and loved everyone. I think they all loved her too. Though there was some negativity.

November 28, 2021

Things are going so well lately, so sweet! The kids are doing well, bedtime has finally settled into a new routine for them, story time is good, no fighting or difficulty over it. Marvin usually goes right to sleep, June is going to sleep fairly easily with me, no crying for Mommie or getting up and down now.

They’re getting along better usually, tho June can be a stinker sometimes! And I’m a happy man!

December 5, 2021

Things continue to go well! The kids are still trying at times, but overall that’s better. June has been really stubborn a lot, but she’s also very sweet, too!

Marvin learned to ride his bike without training wheels yesterday, so we let him ride to the playground today and he did great! He was very responsive and good, able to manage the bike well! June’s frustrated because she can’t keep up on her little trike, so we’re gonna get her a bike. She’ll be riding in a year! Bedtime has been a little harder lately, but still okay. Christmas decorating is under way!

December 18, 2021

Things continue to go well on most fronts… June is being a trial lots of the time, but we are dealing with it. Marvin is doing well in Kindergarten, maturing well!

No movement on the Liana front— the other kids seem to be doing well.

No more mamas…

August 4, 2021

So mommy’s been gone two days, our first overnight without her, and things went great! Amazing ! (Taylor took Marvin to Atlanta for his big heart checkup prior to the surgery to fix his leaky ventricle… June hasn’t ever before gone to sleep without nursing, so I was not sure how she would do without her “mamas.”)

I’m so proud of her! She cried a bit last night a few times, but she got over it quickly, never was distraught, and she went to sleep by 10:30 or so. She slept all night, though she was a little upset and looking for Mommy a couple of times this morning. But we had a fun day, walked to the store for milk, and she was so good! Very sweet and cooperative, enjoyed the walk.

Mommy should be home soon, so it’s been good, very bonding! Of course, she needed 100% engagement! I did get some things done for work—a few phone calls and texts—but mostly locked in on her. We swept and washed dishes and scootered and had lots of fun!

After some comment I made about her not really needing “mamas” because she could eat stuff, I got silly and said maybe she could go out in the yard and eat flowers and bugs. She stood right up in front of me, shaking her head and wagging her finger, and said very sternly, “I don’t eat bugs!!” It was too cute!

Her vocabulary and sentences are so amazing now that it’s beyond remembering all the cool stuff she says. And she understands so much about personal interaction that I truly don’t know where it all comes from! (And she knows right/left hand!) She’s very print aware and is always asking about letters—and she can count to 10 perfectly.

August 19, 2021

In the good news, Marvin’s checkup went well and his procedure will be soon. In our life, it has been a hard month. Bob is about to die of COVID, Gene has prostate cancer, I may have it, and things seem to be going to hell on all fronts. Walking on eggshells.

June has been alternatively charming and maddening of late! She is developing so fast I can’t keep up. She talks about doing things “carefully” now, and she said “someone is in there” about a picture of an apple helicopter. She’s doing lots of watercolors the last few days, most of them butts, she says. Also turtles and snakes. She likes to be bad just so we’ll chase her, probably she likes it when Marvin chases her — which she knows exactly how to provoke him to do! But she is very entertaining and very loving — and challenging!

The Children, 2021

Posting this on February 5, 2023, based on journal entries from 2021.

January 29, 2021

New sayings from June: “O-Tay!” like Spanky. And “Oh my!” Lots of complete sentences, like: “I used the blue scissors to cut it in half.” And lots of bring a stinker! She has such definite ideas about what she wants and what she likes!

Marvin and June did very well at the doctor’s office this week. No crying, very cooperative!

For June now, everything is “super!” Super hard, super cold, etc. Marvin has been very sweet with his babies lately— the stuffed Fox and kitten. He’s feeding them and keeping them covered up in a little bed at night.

January 31, 2021

Playing on the porch, Duney presses the button on the strap of the old high chair, then points at the porch screen and says to me, dramatically, “Watch the show!” She narrates as we watch a show of clouds, rain and trees … then it’s Blippy, Baby Shark and Paw Patrol. Very imaginative this child.

Also — “I have to use my powers!” Said about stopping the rain.

February 11, 2021

Playing with my screwgun bits, Duney holds up one with several others dangling from its magnet and says, “It fits perfectly!” At 2-1/2 she’s got that ly adjective form articulated perfectly and so clearly!

February 18, 2021

Playing with some old Tarot cards of Taylor’s, Duney looks quizzically at me and says, “I don’t understand what this is all about!”

May 1, 2021 (Beltane)

My brothers Bob and Stewart came to our house for a visit not long ago, after Daniel’s wedding event, and it was great! Juney loved them both! So wish she could get to know all my family, and them her! She’s such a joy!

May 16, 2021

She continues to amaze us with her cuteness and smartness! She’s been at Granny’s for two weeks now, ( all of them have) and though I see them often, it’s so hard being apart! I miss them so much I can’t stop crying. June has been so sweet to me, tells me she misses me and gives me hugs and kisses. I don’t know if she understands—I don’t. “Don’t worry, I got this!” is her favorite thing to say these days.

June 20, 2021

After six weeks at Granny’s they’ve come home. June can’t stop hugging me and smiling. I think she’s happy to be home! A happy day for me for sure! And she’s three now!

June 2021

Rapprochement is. June seems to be doing well, tho she is constantly testing the boundaries, trying to see how much power she can wield. Following instructions is a problem. Stubborn. But overall good. Progress on all fronts. Love is growing, each day sweeter. The June-Marvin conflict seems to be escalating.

July 31,2021

June’s language development is pretty much over the top now. She also still says all these funny, unexpected things often. She continues to be a great joy for me — but still a stinker a lot too! She loves to torment Marvin because he reacts so predictably—can’t seem to see that by making it fun for her, he ensures it will continue.

Penetrating the veil

Dec 23, 2022

This youngest daughter is an unusual child. A conversation several nights ago continues to come up in my thoughts and push me Into consideration of things I’m not sure I understand.
Just before she went to sleep the other night — it was the night of the Solstice — June turned and looked at me, then said, very seriously, “Daddy. I been having bad dreams about people getting dead.”
I tried to comfort her, and asked her, “What people?”
“Everybody,” she said. “Even you.”
Again, I tried to stay calm and comfort her.
Then she asked, quietly and seriously, “Did you know that your grave is beside mine?”
I swallowed hard and said no, trying to be comforting and not asking more questions.
She didn’t say more and went to sleep pretty soon after this. I remembered then that she had crawled into bed with us early the morning before and said she was having bad dreams. She didn’t say what and I didn’t ask.
As I think of the conversation in light of her frequent stories about her “sisters” and her “first family,” I get this strong feeling that she penetrates the veil in both directions, seeing her past lives with her “fairy sisters,“ as well as the future. I get an image of her seeing our graves side by side. It’s chilling.
What can this mean?
How should I talk to her about these things?

The Children, 2020

Posted November of 2022, based on journal entries as dated below. Trying to catch up.

November 26, 2020

I had a real good conversation with Liana today. Our first since she called on my birthday. So wonderful to talk to her! I worry about her and the rift between us. We were always so good, so close. It’s been hard to be estranged!

We have messaged some the last few months, and she said we could talk. We did get into some real talk, and I feel better about how she is doing in general. She is talking about leaving Georgia, which is hard for me to think about… ugh. I think there are lots of painful times coming. To be expected, I guess.

She also told me some disturbing things about Lucy, so I need to talk to her soon. Life is complicated. I feel bad that I get so focused on my own issues that I don’t reach out to them.

In the home front—June is continuing to spout new words, sentences even, and her grasp of emotional nuance is truly amazing. “It’s just me!” she shouted to Marvin tonight. And she’s been saying, “That’s mean!” We spend a lot of time together, and she can be so sweet and sensitive to my emotional state! I put on the nice Guatemalan shirt that I seldom wear. She looked at it intently for a moment, then said, “I like that shirt!” She sounded just like her mom.

December 4, 2020

June loves “fly-flies.” Her name for butterflies. She’s been catching the slow o es for a while now as they feed in the flower garden. We try to get her to let them go quickly, and I don’t think she’s hurt any. Now it seems she’s into bees! She had one light on her finger briefly, and Taylor told me today that she coaxed one onto her finger and fed it icing from her cake! Pretty astounding! Never saw a kid play with a bee!

Her sentences are too many and varied to keep up with now, and they are getting longer and more complex. “Wait here, I’ll be right back!” is one of my favorites. She is really excited about the Christmas tree!

December 15, 2020

Tonight in the bath, June said, “I can swim! Check it out!” She also asked for a washcloth and soap to wash her face, which I usually have to persuade her to do. Another perfect sentence, with perfect diction and construction: “Mommie needs to use your knife.”

We had a great and happy Christmas season!