Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Beekee’s Day Out

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Beekee never gets to go out.  For one reason or another, he’s always the one that’s stuck at home.  When I go on walks to the store I bring Corde because she’s the most helpful.  She’s also the one all the relatives want to take out.  When Oz walks down to the gas station to pick up a few things he takes Sander.  Luca pretty much rides along everywhere I go.  Beekee doesn’t make too much of a fuss and is always so chill about everything that he’s often passed up when it comes to special treats.  He’s the one that’s always left at home.  He’s the one that’s most likely to go without when it comes to shopping for needed things because he never lets us know he needs anything.  The only reason I ever know when he’s outgrowing his clothes is by looking at him and noticing his pants are looking a little short, or his shirts are getting a little tight.  He’s such a mild-mannered boy that he tends to fly under the radar.

Even on this blog my focus is mainly on Corde.  She’s the one doing all the big, interesting things.  Part of that’s because she’s the oldest and has the most to say on everything, but a lot of that is because of the way she acts.  She’s always in my face and very bold.  Beekee is much more reserved and keeps to himself.  He’s a lot more timid and that means he’s less likely to share his opinion on anything.  Sometimes the greatest challenge is getting Beekee to answer the question in an way that makes any sense.  Sometimes he’ll answer, but his answer only really makes sense in Beekee logic.  If you can understand the way he thinks and can follow his train of thought, it makes perfect sense.  Otherwise it sometimes seems like his answers come out of left field.

Today was Beekee’s day.  I wish I had gotten some pictures, but the camera on my phone wasn’t an option.  I forgot to plug my phone in last night before bed so it had barely any charge when I left this morning.  I needed it on in case Oz had to get in touch with me about Luca.  This was his first time being home without Mommy for longer than about two hours and we weren’t sure how he was going to handle it.  I was leaving Oz with milk on hand to thaw and feed, as well as plenty of clean bottles, but he might have completely rebelled and refused to use them.  We had no idea what to expect.

On an average day I would have opted not to go at all.  Beekee would have gone with Oz and I would have stayed home, but this was going to be a big day.  Beekee and I were going shopping.  Oz’s aunt and cousin had to run into town to take care of some errands and offered to take us with.  They just moved into the trailer park.  His aunt, cousin, and his cousin’s little girl now live on the end of the street two streets over.  It’s kind of nice to have family.

Now, to give you an idea of why this aunt is so cool I’d have to give you an idea of what she’s like.  She hates the public school system.  Her kids went to charter schools.  She completely supports us in homeschooling the kids.  She thinks it’s great that the kids watch so many documentaries.  In her opinion kids shouldn’t be told what their gender identity should be simply because they happen to genetically be a boy or a girl.  She doesn’t understand why it should be okay for a girl to wear boys’ clothing and play with boy toys, yet it’s not okay for a boy to tiptoe into the territory of girl clothing and toys.  Best of all she’s confirmed a lot of the things Oz had been trying to push to the back of his mind about his own childhood.  She’s helped Oz realize that his dad isn’t the good guy he keeps wanting to believe he is.  She even gave Oz a lead to pursue on finding out who his real father is, and has cleared up some confusion about what happened when his mom left his half-brother’s dad.  She’s just the kind of non-judgmental people we needed on this adventure.

Today’s adventure began with a frustratingly necessary trip to turn in our re-application for SNAP benefits.  Let me tell you, I hate this process at the best of times.  I was given a ticket and had to sit and wait a stupidly long time.  Oz’s aunt was filling out an application as well, so I didn’t feel too bad about making her wait.  Beekee wasn’t too bored.  We played I Spy for a little while.  Then we went to check out the informative posters on the bulletin board, which really weren’t all that informative at all.  He asked why they even bother having these posters if they don’t have useful information.  I was inclined to wonder the same thing.  The office in the last place we lived had a lot more information out and available.  If nothing else you could peruse the informational brochures while waiting for your number to be called.  Beekee pointed out the smart use of technology with using the television screens and the numbers above each booth with the ticket number that lights up underneath.  He and I talked about the RMV back home showing commercials while you wait for your number to be called, and the lit bar style sign that would have information scroll across.  I was proud of him.  He didn’t get too terribly bored.  He’s got a great way of always keeping himself entertained.  We talked about cars, math, all sorts of things.  In the past trips to renew our benefits seemed like a colossal waste of time.  With Beekee it wasn’t so bad at all.

After all this we got lunch at Jack in the Box.  I hate that company, but everyone takes Corde out for pizza or burgers.  Poor Beekee’s been left out.  We didn’t have many options, but Beekee was pretty happy.  Not only did he get a kids’ meal with whatever kind of soda he wanted (he mixed strawberry and orange Fanta), but he also got to have brownies.  Oz’s aunt reminded him of the whole list of things he couldn’t have because he’s got problems with dairy, and I felt a little bad.  We hadn’t gone full elimination on him yet, but he didn’t seem to care.  He just took it all in stride because he’s a mellow kid like that.  If it were Corde I fear we would have had a full-scale revolt at his age because she wanted things she simply couldn’t have, but he just kind of shrugged it off.  I have a feeling we’re ready to take the next few steps in making him dairy-free.

Our next stop was Family Dollar for some errands that Oz’s aunt had to run for their new apartment.  They had a few things to pick up.  While I was there I tried desperately not to worry about how Luca was doing at home.  Beekee wanted to hang out with Oz’s cousin, but I convinced Beekee to come with me as I went to pick up some underwear for Sander.  I wanted Beekee to help me figure out what Sander would like, since this would be Sander’s first big-boy underwear.  He’s been going commando or naked to this point because it’s just easier for him to manage, but with having a little girl over the house whose mom is very particular of what’s appropriate for little boys and little girls, I thought this would be a good time to start introducing underwear.  He decided he wanted to get some boxer-briefs like Oz wears because he wants to have big-boy underwear.  He’s not a little kid anymore and he needs something other than the standard boys’ briefs with characters on them.  He got to pick out two candies because normally Sander gets donut holes every time Oz takes him to the store and Corde gets gum, candy, or a drink every time she goes to the store with me.  It was Beekee’s turn to get spoiled.  Of course, he got the candy for him, but got home and shared it with Corde and Sander anyway.  That’s just the kind of kid he is.  Even trying to spoil him don’t end up as spoiling him!

The last stop on our trip was to the thrift store, the whole reason for bringing Beekee along in the first place.  We went to the local thrift store.  Beekee has been in desperate need of pants.  The 4T pants he’s been wearing for the most part are getting much to small for him.  The size 5’s and 6’s he’s been wearing  are great, but he’s only got a couple of pairs and the knees are starting to wear out on the jeans.  I wasn’t going to have him wearing pants that were all ripped up and steadily getting too short, so it was time to take him to buy new pants.  This would be the first time in almost two years that he went shopping for his own clothing and didn’t just get hand-me-downs and gifts from the family.

I have to admit, I didn’t set myself a budget.  Beekee needed pants desperately enough that I set myself a limit on items, and I probably could have bent that rule a little, but since I wasn’t watching the dollar signs and instead was watching the item number, I didn’t want to risk breaking the bank.  At first it didn’t look like this would be too hard.  The selection of cloths we found early on just didn’t interest Beekee.  It wasn’t until I kept wandering, swearing that there must be more kids’ clothes somewhere that we hit the jackpot.  The clothing we came on first seemed like a generic enough mix that I didn’t even stop to think that they’d never have boys’ and girls’ clothes mixed in together.  A majority of the clothing was pretty girly, but it didn’t dawn on me until later that the clothes were all girl clothes.  We ended up with quite the collection.  Since we were limiting it to seven pairs, it meant cutting out a small handful.  The teal one with the chihuahua didn’t make the cut, nor did the bright pink ones with the rhinestone button.  Two boyish ones with a nice brown corduroy material were tossed back too.  I have to admit that a part of me did emit a silent sign of relief as the ones with the chihuahua and the bright pink ones didn’t make the cut.  I liked the pink ones well enough, but I knew it would be pushing Oz’s limit for tolerance on Beekee’s choices.  Oz has a much harder time accepting Beekee’s gender identity choices than I do.  The chihuahua ones?  I just hated those, even though they were my favorite color.  The chihuahua looked kind of tacky, but I had to point it out as a feature because Beekee could have found that a selling point.  I didn’t want to influence him by my decisions.

It was after this culling process that we went over to the boys’ section that I realized they must have.  I found one pair of gray denim pants that I thought Beekee would love.  The first thing he wanted to do was feel them.  He’s always been very big on how his clothes feel.  He nodded approvingly when I asked if he wanted them.  Then I had to give him the bad news.  He would have to put one of his previous selections back.  We could only get seven pairs.  He hemmed and hawed over this for some time, then decided (much as it broke my heart and I almost bought them anyway) to do without and stick with his other choices.  Of course, the reason it broke my heart was a reason I couldn’t expect him to understand in a million years.  It was a pair of H&M pants.  I loved shopping at H&M when I lived back home and I would have loved to see him carry on and love their clothes as well.  It would certainly make shopping easier if we could ever afford to buy first-hand brand name clothes again.  I had to resist the temptation.  What kind of message would it send if I told Beekee I had changed my mind and just allowed one more because I really wanted him to have those pants?  What kind of message would it send if it was all because of the brand name?  What if HE decided that having just one more meant he should go back and pick up one of the previously discarded selection instead?  I couldn’t exactly say no at that point, could I?  Sure, I could have told him that the price tag was the reason I was willing to compromise on the number.  It was less than a dollar.  At the same time I didn’t want to bribe, coerce, or otherwise convince him to take the pair of pants I wanted him to get for some really stupid reasons.

In the end Beekee walked home with only the items he wanted.  I was proud of him for choosing what he liked, even though I cringed at the idea of showing Oz’s aunt and cousin his selection of only girl pants.  At the same time I wanted to show them off because he got some really cute stuff!  I also picked up a pair of 4T pants because Sander is just starting to fit into Beekee’s old 4Ts.  I have no idea what kind of mutant child those pants were sized for, but that’s not 4T in comparison to the other ones we have!  Beekee could probably still fit them.  I might give him the option of borrowing them until Sander grows into them.  Corde came home with a pair of maroon flair leg pants that reminded me of something Julie would have worn.  I’m already starting to think about patterns and the right material to make her a tunic, then picking up a turtleneck for her.  It wouldn’t be just like Julie’s outfit, but it would be close enough.  The only one who got nothing is perhaps the one most in need of clothes, Luca.  I didn’t realize until he started outgrowing his last set of clothes how little we saved of the larger sizes.  Right now we’re making do with things that are too big, but I probably should have picked up a few things.  Thankfully he’s generally happiest as a naked baby and we don’t have many reasons to take him out.  It may not be easy, but I can manage to keep just enough clean outfits to manage through our necessary outings.  Once summer hits it will be back to bare minimum again and we’ll have an easy time of that.

So what did Beekee come home with that he loved so much?  The number 7 slot was taken by a pair of brown corduroys that look pretty neutral, if you don’t consider the fact that they’ve got flowers on the buttons and rivets.  The number 6 slot was taken by a pair of creme colored pants with butterfly embroidery on the right leg that can be rolled up into capri-length shorts with the little button keepers.  He liked them because they were like my maternity capris. In the number 5 slot was a pair of teal velvety looking pants in the styling of a straight legged pair of jeans.  These are perhaps my favorites on him because they look great on him!  Or maybe it’s just that they’re one of my favorite colors.  Oz can’t help but agree.  Number 4 goes to a pair of pants Beekee spent a good five minutes investigating the color in the store, only to determine that yes, they were indeed purple and not just your average gray.  These were also determined to be a must because they were such a decidedly good shade of purple.  The 3rd favorite was a dark purple pair of pants with a subtle purple lace trim around the pockets and waist band and cute little embroidery at the cuff.  Number two were a pair I had secretly hoped Beekee would select, purple and white plaid pants.  I have since dubbed these the John Lennon pants…and I have absolutely no idea why!  Now my next mission (since Beekee has become obsessed with glasses) is to find him a pair of those round colored glasses that’s so associated with John Lennon…though something as outlandish might just be more Elton John…  And in the number 1 slot, the top ranking pants out of all the thrift store had to offer (and my personal favorite!) the “carnival of color” pants.  These pants have white, pink, purple, blue…  They’re mostly purple by Beekee’s assessment and they’re a lot of fun.  I had secretly decided that if Beekee didn’t get them I would buy them anyway and cut them up to sew patches onto a pair of my own jeans.  Thankfully the moment Beekee caught sight of what I had just checked and started to pull off the shelf, he snatched them out of my hand and said he had his pants and we were going home.  He didn’t care if we got anything else, as long as he got those ones…that boy’s totally one after my own heart!

Can’t picture them by my descriptions?  Don’t worry.  I’m sure you’ll see them soon enough as they end up caught in photos of the kids here and there.  Beekee loves his new pants so much that he decided to wear every single pair of them at some point today, and not just when he was trying them on.  He had to wear each of them for at least twenty minutes, then move on to the next because he couldn’t decide what he wanted to wear.  He was so excited.  I’m just glad I accidentally found the girl’s clothes first and didn’t think to look at the boys stuff.  I’m glad I didn’t send Oz with or he would have checked the boy’s stuff and probably forgot all about the girl stuff, or wouldn’t have pulled half the cool suggestions I pulled for Beekee because he wouldn’t feel comfortable buying them for a boy.  Then again, half of everyone called Beekee a girl today because he was wearing a purple sweatshirt with the hood up, and Beekee didn’t correct a single one.  Actually, he ignored them all.  I’d say he’s going to be just fine.

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Author: Fox

With four kids in the house, who has time for much? Well, we're trying to make it work, trying to get as close to our unschooling roots as we can while state restrictions and family pressures try to stand in our way. Every day is a new adventure.

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