Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Falling Barometer: Just One of Those Days

Last night while our class was discussing the Brown v. Board of Education decision, it did it again! It started snowing. By the time I reached my truck after class, it was starting to stick. By the time I drove through the canyon and started up Via Sedillo, I was slipping and sliding. That part of the drive seemed surreal because the snowflakes appeared to be forming a tunnel in front of the windshield as I drove. I did not need my wipers!

This morning we woke up to an inch and a half, and Bruce decided to shovel the driveway path. He shouldn't have bothered, it has all been covered again as I write. This morning, though, there was a great deal of wind and the clouds were racing across the sky. We thought that it might be frontal weather indicating clearing, but, alas, it was only the storm front for a second wave of snow.

N. woke up with more energy today, but he was still coughing. He was not motivated to do any work, but I made him do some anyway. We read more of Coolidge's The Golden Age of Greece . He didn't mind that so much, because we cozied up on the couch under a down comforter (my Australian friend over at the Homeschooling Aspergers calls it a doona). Then I suggested he do a picture from the book and write a short explanation with it. He was not thrilled to do the picture, but he took his board into the living room and did it. I showed him how to lay out the caption: Title, date, short explanation. He waved me away and I went to prepare the next activity--Brain Engineering exercises--while he actually wrote the caption.
When I checked his work, he had run several words together and misspelled others. So I told him that he had to correct it. Oy vey iz mir! You'd think I'd asked him to go to work in the salt mines. He muttered that I was making him into a Helot (the Spartan term for slaves) and clattered his pencils around, giving me a truly thunderous mad face, as he did the corrections. (I am glad he remembered what a Helot was). He was mad at me all through the Brain Engineering exercises--which involved finding hidden pictures and identifying what is wrong in other pictures. He was still mad through the memory exercises that went with it. He was really mad when I started to fix lunch and asked him to fetch apple juice from the garage.

I admit it. I let his mood affect mine. I snapped at him and banged a few plates around myself. When I got a grip, I checked the barometer. Sure enough, it was It went down several hundreths of an inch in less than an hour. Kids are little barometers! I noticed that when I was teaching high school science--the whole class would suddenly become cranky in my chemistry lab, and I knew, with no window, that a low and a storm was coming in.
Come to think of it--I am a barometer, too. The sudden sense of frustration came to me from a sudden physical discomfort. The pressure change. As an adult, I am the one who had to identify the problem and deal with it--even though I really wanted to bang around more plates. So I forced myself to breath s-l-o-w-l-y in and out ten times. Then I explained to N. what was happening and showed him the barometer. I told him that I was sorry I snapped and that his behavior does affect others, as does the weather.

We ate lunch. We cleared up. I gave him some free time so that I could prepare for Neurobiology class. But I never did go to it. That falling barometer was a harbinger of more snow. It started snowing hard as I was getting into the truck. The temperature fell to right at freezing. I ended up pulling the notes off the class website, and by looking at the power point as well, I think I have a reasonably good understanding of Action Potential.

But I did take this picture this morning from the kitchen window. A raven was being blown before the rotating storm clouds. The bird very gracefully changed directions and moved across the flow of the wind. Beautiful. "To live with grace, to ride the swell, to yet be strong of will..." The balance can be difficult.

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