Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Kirby. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Kirby. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Priorities, influence, reading

A story from when Kirby was in his late teens:

Kirby was reading aloud the other night from a gaming manual to that big batch of guys who went to see Pirates of Penzance with us. Kirby and Marty really wanted to go to the play. As things turned out, three unexpected others went with us. That was fine. They went because they were involved in a roleplaying game, and wanted to continue it later, and because they trust Kirby and Marty's judgement about what's cool.

They had fun, and came back and played several hours longer afterward. But Kirby, one of the youngest of the seven there, and one of the "least educated," was reading difficult material aloud to attentive others, one of whom... has a college degree, one of whom has two years of college, and none of whom had any reason to say, "Let me read that." He could've been reading it for taping, or radio. Expressive, clear, no hesitation.

He's confident in his skin, in his mind, and in his being.
He's not afraid of his parents.
He goes to sleep happy and he wakes up glad.

My priorities could have been different.


Kirby is in his 30s now, married, and reads each night to two little girls. I wish I could hear it sometimes.

SandraDodd.com/priorities
photo by Sandra Dodd— not of that night's game, but there's Kirby in black to the right, and Marty in green, with other unschoolers

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Kirby is married

Kirby, our oldest, was married October 14, 2016. The wedding was in the foothills of the Sandia. The reception was at "Event Palace," a rental facility, but the party (with karaoke) moved to our house and is still going on while it's time for me to create this post. So I will report a new daughter-in-law, many compliments tonight on Kirby, Marty and Holly all, and gratitude that Kirby's new wife loves him.


SandraDodd.com/gratitude
photo of Kirby and Destiny singing "A Whole New World,"
with her sister listening
by Sandra Dodd

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sweetness in teens

Once upon a time, in 2006...

A story slightly involving allowance, but a snapshot of how kids who aren't desperate for money can act:
Two of Marty's friends were going to pick him up to go run around, but they ended up staying here. Then another friend came over to see all my kids. Then a friend of Kirby's from work came over. I hadn't met her before. She was nice. So my three (14, 17, 19) plus four more (17-21) were all having a great time laughing and looking at stuff on Kirby's computer and around our house, and Marty's big Lego Viking village, and so forth.

They decided to go out for ice cream and then to see "Over the Hedge." I asked Holly if she needed money, and she didn't. (She saves her allowance up.) Every other person there has a job. Outside of Kirby possibly having an interest in the girl from work, there were no couples. Two of those kids do have steady others, but didn't bring them over. So it was four teenaged girls, four teenaged boys, no romantic tension (unless Kirby and new-girl; didn't see any).

And here's the big success part. They asked Keith if he wanted to go. I didn't know they had, when Marty came and asked me if I wanted to go. So they would have taken me, or Keith, or both of us, with them.

We separately thanked them and declined and found out later they had asked us both. Pretty sweet!

We didn't "teach them" to invite their parents to the movies. One advantage of our not going was that then they could fit into the big van and didn't have to take two cars.

SandraDodd.com/math/allowance
photo by Sandra Dodd,
whose kids are not teens anymore, but are still sweet,
of a movie theater in Austin, unrelated except for the movie part

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Sunday, June 27, 2021

Like fireworks

When Kirby was seven and eight, I used to see others his age who were pulled out of school already knowing how to read and write and think wistfully that maybe that would make everything easier.

In the longrun, it didn't. Those kids have issues about that reading and writing that Kirby doesn't have. Their handwriting is prettier, but their spelling isn't always better, and their ideas aren't always better. But Kirby has a poise and a confidence that I think school would have immediately begun to dismantle and scatter. So it did take him longer to read, but in the meantime he was learning like crazy, like fireworks.

Teaching very little, maybe even nothing (last post there)
photo by Erika Davis-Pitre—not of Kirby, but of his daughter
(used once before, with different text)

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Courtesy, and teens

I posted this story in 2006 when it was six years old.
Now it is eleven years old. Our family looked like this, when the story was new:



A story slightly involving allowance, but a snapshot of how kids who aren't desperate for money can act:

Two of Marty's friends were going to pick him up to go run around, but they ended up staying here. Then another friend came over to see all my kids. Then a friend of Kirby's from work came over. I hadn't met her before. She was nice. So my three (14, 17, 19) plus four more (17-21) were all having a great time laughing and looking at stuff on Kirby's computer and around our house, and Marty's big Lego Viking village, and so forth.

They decided to go out for ice cream and then to see "Over the Hedge." I asked Holly if she needed money, and she didn't. (She saves her allowance up.) Every other person there has a job. Outside of Kirby possibly having an interest in the girl from work, there were no couples. Two of those kids do have steady others, but didn't bring them over. So it was four teenaged girls, four teenaged boys, no romantic tension (unless Kirby and new-girl; didn't see any).

And here's the big success part. They asked Keith if he wanted to go. I didn't know they had, when Marty came and asked me if I wanted to go. So they would have taken me, or Keith, or both of us, with them.

We separately thanked them and declined and found out later they had asked us both. Pretty sweet!

We didn't "teach them" to invite their parents to the movies. One advantage of our not going was that then they could fit into the big van and didn't have to take two cars.

The van they went in:



SandraDodd.com/math/allowance
Sweetness in Teens
The photos are links.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Proxy baby

When Kirby was a baby, about ten months old, I was at the library with him. A woman whispered questions to me, in the shelves of books (the stacks). Her daughter had married a foreigner and moved to Denmark. They had a baby she hadn't yet met. She was asking me how old Kirby was and whether he was average size and what size clothes I thought she might send.

She was sad and said by the time she saw her grandson, he would be walking and she was missing all the baby days. We were nice with one another, and said bye, and I walked away.

But after maybe five or six steps, I turned around and hurried back to find her. I said "Do you want to hold him?"

She got tears in her eyes and nodded and she hugged Kirby with her eyes closed and rocked him a little bit, kind of got the feel of him, and the smell of his head, which wouldn't have been as good as her own grandson's, but it was better than nothing.

When she handed him back she seemed much calmer and better. It was therapeutic for her. And I've always been glad that I thought of it before it was too late.

SandraDodd.com/kirby
Keith probably took this photo.

For the record, this happened in the stacks by the north wall of what was then called the Wyoming Branch library, behind Hoffmantown Center, in Albuquerque. It was surrounded by rose gardens. Now it has been renamed the Tony Hillerman Library, but in 1987, it wasn't called that.
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Friday, September 4, 2015

Happily, with a purpose

Once when a new video game was to come out in three weeks or so, I overheard Marty and Kirby discussing at length and without any frustration all the different combinations of ownership and funding might be possible for them to put their allowance together and buy it. If Kirby contributed as much as Marty's allowance, they could be co-owners, but wouldn't have enough to get it the day it was released. Could Marty owe Kirby, and buy in up to 50% later? Should Marty just own a lesser percentage? I think they were 9 and 12 or so. It was complicated math, with all those percentages of increments of age times .75, but they were doing it, and just in their heads, and happily, with a purpose.

They didn't think to ask us for help. They didn't feel they needed to.



SandraDodd.com/money
photo by Sandra Dodd, of my kids playing Zoombinis,
not a Nintendo or Playstation game,
but their ages match the story above.


NOTE: I hope your family can afford more, but our kids got seventy-five cents per year of age, weekly. So in the example above, if they were 9 and 12, Marty was getting $6.75 and Kirby was getting $9.00. Console games were $50 or $60 in those days.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Lucky Kirby!


Kirby, my oldest, was born in 1986. I went to La Leche League (LLL). There I learned a crucial concept: my child and I were partners, not adversaries. What was good for him was good for me. At that time I had been going to Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings for a little over a year, and there I learned that we need to avoid repeating our parents' parenting mistakes, and that by raising our own children gently and respectfully, that we would heal our own hurts.

Lucky Kirby!

SandraDodd.com/unschoolingworks 2002
photo by Ester Siroky
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Tuesday, February 9, 2021

A choice is always better

When Kirby was offered a job in another state, including an allowance for his moving expenses, I wanted to be encouraging without seeming to push him out and shut the door. So we promised to leave his room available for
a year, in case he wanted to move back. He had taken the furniture and much of his belongings. The room became a video games room for the rest of the family, but it was still "Kirby's room."

I felt better knowing he was only tentatively gone. It might have helped him to know that it wasn't "do or die" there, in Austin. He was able to decide whether he liked it enough to stay there, knowing he did have the option to return to his own room at home.

A choice is always better than "no choice." We were able to cushion his leaving with a real fallback plan.

The Big Book of Unschooling, page 308 (or 267 if your book is old)
photo by Destiny Dodd, of Kirby a dozen years later

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

A quiet, soft place

What kind of partner did baby Kirby Dodd need? He needed someone to pay attention to him if he was uncomfortable, and to make sure he was safe. He needed someone to help him access the world, to see it, to experience it safely. He needed a quiet, soft place to sleep. Maybe it was on me or on his dad, in a carrier of some sort, or a sling. Maybe it was right next to me in the bed.

SandraDodd.com/babies/infants
photo by Sandra Dodd, of art on the wall outside Bhava Yoga, in Albuquerque
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There is another baby Kirby now, Kirby Athena Denise Dodd, born July 3, 2018. She's at our house three or four times a week, lately, and we help her see things, and help her sleep sometimes.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Just life

Kirby bellydancing with Michael's mom


When Kirby was 13 he was asked whether he liked homeschooling better than school. Most 13 year olds asked a question by an adult will look down and mumble "It's okay," or "I like it." Kirby made eye contact and said "I've never been to school. I have no basis for comparison."

So with no basis for comparison, my kids have just life.

(writing from 2004; can't find to link)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Arrivals and departures


I was asked in an interview recently whether I missed Kirby when he moved out. He knew he was moving just before he turned 21, and moved in August soon after his birthday.

Kirby is 24 now, and here was some of my response to whether I missed him:
No. I thought I would, but it's fine. I like to see him being so independent. I enjoy the excitement in his voice when he shares his firsts. First big purchases, first moving from an apartment to a house. He said he really appreciated that we always had milk and toilet paper, now that he sees that it's something someone has to think about and do.
. . . .
I think when the child leaves naturally and positively, for a good reason, and the parents were willing to have him stay longer, there are fewer regrets and frustrations than under other circumstances.
The rest of that interview is here: Feather and Nest Interview

photo of baby Kirby Dodd, by Sandra Dodd
a long time ago

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Say "okay" in a timeless way

little Kirby, with the fridge open, looking at the camera

When I said "okay" to Kirby I was saying okay to the little Sandra inside me who might otherwise have built up some jealous resentment about this new kid getting to do things I never got to do. It was healing to imagine that if my mom had been fortunate enough to have other influences and better circumstances maybe she would have said yes to me more often too.

SandraDodd.com/youngadults
photo of a little Kirby Dodd in the refrigerator,
by his mom, Sandra Dodd, back in the '80s

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Thursday, January 11, 2024

Learning what they know

"How do you know they're learning?" The people who ask that question are looking at the world through school-colored glasses. Those same parents knew when their children could use a spoon. They knew when the child could drink out of a cup. They knew when walking and talking and bike riding had been learned.

Here's how I learned that Kirby knew about the Huns: He was waiting for me to give him a ride, while I was talking on the phone to a local mom who was considering homeschooling. We were discussing unit studies, and I said they weren't necessary, that people just keep learning their whole lives. "You can't finish China," I said, and Kirby commented dryly, "The Huns tried that."

So, on my mental checklist, I note Kirby identifying the Huns, using the word in a sentence, knowing a dab about Chinese history. But was I testing? Was he reporting? Neither. He was just making a joke. And it was sufficient for me to discover what he knew.

SandraDodd.com/playing
photo by Jihong Tang

Friday, April 7, 2017

Confident, happy, glad

I wrote this of Kirby, in 2005 when he was 18 years old:
He's confident in his skin, in his mind, and in his being.
He's not afraid of his parents.
He goes to sleep happy and he wakes up glad.

My priorities could have been different.


Kirby is 30 now. Yesterday he contacted me about plans for adopting his wife's daughter, who is eight, so her name will be Dodd, too. They recently signed a mortgage on the house where she has her own beautiful room.


Context for the top quote about Kirby is in a story here:
SandraDodd.com/priorities
photo by Rachael Rodgers

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Twenty-five and twenty; tired and happy


I've been a mother for twenty-five years. I've just come to my room following Kirby's birthday party, which involved a ton of shopping, rearranging, cleaning, cooking, and then ten hours (so far; I clocked out at ten) of guests and activities. Rock Band is still going on in the den; Marty's there. In the library, Kirby is talking to friends. Holly has been asleep for a while. Keith's been asleep for five hours.

I'm in the quiet after the colorful, laughter-filled storm.

Twenty years ago this summer, we did not register our five year old for kindergarten; we registered him as a homeschooler. That's a long time. No wonder I'm tired!

The Big Book of Unschooling
photo by Sandra Dodd (click to enlarge)
That's Kirby in the red shirt on the left of the photo; Holly in shorts.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Much more than half

I've given this advice to newlyweds, and to my oldest child the first time he had a roommate:
Don't aim for 50/50.

If 50% is right, then 49% is wrong, and 65% would be something get angry about.

If you both aim for more than half, you'll meet around the middle, around half the time. If you want the other person to stick around, "around" is the goal.

SandraDodd.com/peace/mama
photo by Sandra Dodd

P.S. Nearly six years later and three houses later, Kirby still lives with that roommate, who is engaged. He and his fianceƩ custom-ordered a new home, designed to accommodate Kirby comfortably.
Don't measure.

2020 update: Thirteen years later, Kirby is married, with three children, in a house in Albuquerque. They all get along sweetly.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Three children


Writing from early 2002,then 2012:

And now I have three children who are 10, 13 and 15. They have never been to school. They have never had a math lesson. But today Holly asked me to help her with 7/18 plus 5/18, for a video game she was playing. Kirby has a job and will do his income taxes soon for the second year. Marty was discussing odds and probability earlier with three other teens and his little sister.

Ten years and some later, Holly's about to turn 21, Kirby has done his taxes for years, and all three have taken math classes as young adults, for fun.

SandraDodd.com/unschoolingworks
photo by Sandra Dodd, of three fleeting flowers
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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Growing up

I have been as solicitous of my children and their needs and feelings as I could be, and in turn they have grown into generous, kind adults.
SandraDodd.com/partners/child
photo of Kirby Dodd, probably by Kirby Dodd

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Getting to Peace

There is a solidness in being in the moment, and in being at peace.



This moon and the note below are from last winter. Kirby was twenty-three, and the gate was built after he moved away from home.
When I saw Kirby in September even though it was a very busy several days, there were a few moments when I stood touching him or held his hand, or leaned on him, and felt how strong and grown he is. I smelled his hair and loved him, even though he's not a little boy anymore. I was at peace with my son. We got to that peaceful place by not screwing it up. We got there with love.
Peace, and Whether I Exist
photo by Sandra Dodd