Thursday, 22 September 2011

This is how things sit

I am no good at 'sitting happiness in'. This, I read, is an old Manchu custom of Imperial China.

Basically, 'sitting happiness in' is the etiquette that requires women to sit motionless for hours and shut the fuck up. By this method, they can reveal their tranquil loveliness, show their inner calm, and demonstrate the dignity to be had with absence of restlessness. Hmm.

Well, I'm trying it. It's making my legs ache, my stomach tighten, and my backside go numb. If I don't move soon I may lash out with the only things to hand. Half a pack of Philadelphia and a discarded banana skin.

I did not start this out of choice. I have now foolishly shifted our style of home ed from me running about outdoors, yattering on and on about everything, to me sitting still at the dining table, alternately emailing assignments to little grits, discussing whether you can put a valve on a straw, and watching videos on population.

So I am struggling. With both the sitting still, and, um, the happiness. And we have been less than a month on this model.

The children, by contrast, are not struggling at all. They are happily sitting down and shutting up for hours. All of them, at this moment, are enthusiastically at work on a design project to create a drinks carton that contains a handle and a sealable straw. Even Squirrel now says the new weekly assignments system is good because she has freedom to control her own stuff and go to the library when she wants. She only intermittently breaks this pattern to enjoy dramatic fist fights with siblings over a set of pink pencils.

But it is hard on me. I feel restless, even though I am required to seek solutions for intricate design problems to do with straws. I swear, this would tax Mr Dyson. But really, today I want to be on a tram or a boat or up a mountainside looking at bugs.

Maybe I can hope. Maybe the next stage of this educational model a la Grit means I can pass over the assignments on Monday, stash food in the fridge, put fifty quid on the side, and leave them all to it until next Sunday.


Retiredandcrazy said...

I think your last paragraph absolutely nailed it grit. Go for it!

sharon said...

Now's your opportunity to complete a Doctorate on the Free Range Educational Practises of the Non-conformist Parent. Or, alternatively, you could just go walkabout ;-)

Nora said...

Maybe hope is just a delayed disappointment.

Grit said...

R&C, you are a role model and a source of inspiration for this sort of thing, so one day i might follow your example!

sharon, i would like to complete that thesis! the fundamental problem there is that i am an idler.

nora, i agree. hope is one of the most horrible forms of cruelty. i think it takes away or gives up on autonomy, action, strategy, clear thinking, planning and decisiveness. generally, i do not hope. but we have to laugh about it, right?!

kelly said...

I will post you a three year old who loves bugs...i have a spare.