Filed under: Uncategorized
This blog has moved. You can find us at …
It really is a balancing act ~
The red head boarded his red wheels with his black helmet and looked at me to zoom and zap him into the natural dexterity required to take the handles and soar towards independence.
And so I held on ~ let go ~ felt an impending crash ~ held tighter until the request came ~ “I am heading inside to watch ninjago.”
Filed under: boyd, brothers, fighting, Life, parenthood, parenting, Uncategorized | Tags: brothers, fighting, parenting, velcro
Velcro ~ it holds the dust ruffle onto our four poster bed, and sticks the nametags to the desks in my fifth grade classroom, and the bodies of one four year old to another eight year old as they watch television, sit in the pew at church, or pass each other in the hall. The force is strong and immediate, as if when in each other’s company there is simply no other course of action but to throw one’s body wildly onto the other while peering over the shoulder ready to throw up hands in utter exasperation and proclaim “_____ stepped, slapped, scratched me” ~ accompanied by a look of outraged suffered from this complete and unsolicited indignity. And so I send them both to their separate rooms ~ a consequence whose effectiveness resides within the margin of error ~ but accomplishes an air of peace and allows me to reconsider the benefits of getting my own apartment down the street (which I am still thinking is an excellent idea!).
Filed under: academia, Aging, Children, Family, Life, old houses, parenthood, parenting | Tags: children, gusto, parenting, sword fighting, television
There are those among us who proclaim the perils of the sedative existence of a T.V. watching kiddo. These people are of course the folks who reside outside of the house of a boy who each day rolls up a legal size piece of paper and pops in Narnia in preparation for an all out epic battle of wills – likely concluding in an older boy grabbing his head and shrieking “Mom, Charlie is a sword fighting again.” And as I peak around the corner ~ the battle commences with jabs, and jolts, and leaps that could only make our one hundred and fifteen year old house feel like it just might not make it to the next century. Thus one not worry that these altercations are reserved for the T.V., I assure you that they rage at nap time as Charlie leaps upon his bed and peers into the mirrored wardrobe impressed by his dexterity, and in the grocery store as I ponder the advantages of fettuccine over rigatoni, and as one waits for our free Subaru oil change in the company of those who really just want to know the latest on the Casey Anthony trial.There are even little twinges of it as Charlie walks back down the aisle after attending children’s chapel, and though there are parts of me that are reluctant to claim the weapon wheeling bandit stalking the sanctuary ~ the one who corrected me yesterday when I said “Charlie, don’t you think it is a beautiful day?” To which he responded, “Mom that is something only princesses say ” ~but truth be known, I sure do love the gusto of boy who is willing to take on his world.
Filed under: parenthood, parenting | Tags: behavior. control, literacy, parents, reading
“If you can get your PJs on and brush your teeth, then you can go play video games.” “If you read for twenty-five minutes, then you can watch T.V.” I have found myself on more than one occasion uttering these PARENT MAGAZINE statements in an effort to offer pretend choice, elicit compliance, and get me some buy-in. BUT, as I peer into that reflective mirror called hindsight and enter the room where my gut tells me the underlying plot line, I know this really comes down to a message of win/lose – extrinsic reward – and covert control. AND – I absolutely hate it. It doesn’t fit with my being. Why do we need conditions, why do we need the IF?? I don’t want someone to say to me, “Doro – if you do the dishes, then you can watch TV” or “If you take the trash out you can have dessert.” These conditional relationships miss the point, and they make me feel as if the relationship itself has criteria ~ like just maybe my husband is going to walk out if I don’t fold the damn laundry correctly (believe me there are far better reasons). Is this the message we want to sell to our children?
So my experiment begins (This is what happens when you have a writer/researcher mom. At least I am not investigating the benefits of shock treatments). My older son Mac is 7. He likes to play soccer. He likes to play video games. He likes to turn any miscellaneous object into a gun. He does NOT like to read. I have tried the IF – the condition, “Mac –if you read for 20 minutes, you can shoot up the living room.” And it half way works – bad ideas often work. That’s how publishers make money. But – the question here really isn’t if it works, it is if it fits with the person you hope someday to become and the philosophies that are tightly packed into her camper.
And so last night I thought first and spoke second. Profound. My internal dialogue and twitching began with the facts: I love to read. I teach reading. I would prefer to read a book than be with most people I have met along the way (I need to hang out with new people). Books are a central part of my existence. To borrow from NPR, “This I believe” = Reading is more than words, it is power. So – this is what I say: “Mac – I am going into the living room to read. I would like for you to join me.” “But I want to play video games.” “And, I want a Hawaii vacation – but reading is about power and options and who the hell knows – if you keep going at it you might just dig up a tad of enjoyment.” And ~ together we walked into the living room and read, and when he turns 16 and still prefers to play video games, I will love him the BIGGEST anyway – no conditions or IF attached.
Today is Sunday ~ Our new associate rector has just arrived. If I was to thin slice our hour together, I would say we got ourselves a home run. She was casual, thoughtful, and had something to say ~ an unusual combination in today’s culture of altered “reality” TV shows and shock jocks. Her message today was the wait and the rub. She talked about this is the context of prayer and positioning. There are times when we position ourselves in authority and ask God to lead us to and through that promotion or book deal, assuming that which we know, see, and want are reflective of our purpose. Then there are times when we cease prayer, exit the relationship, and assume full responsibility for what is and might be. And then she talked about the wait ~ equated to chess playing ~ as we are staring across the table waiting for our opponent to make the next move, as if she forgot and needs a nudged reminder. And it is in that silence and wanting that we lose faith in our ability and His ability to see us through. But perhaps, it is in that very silence that God is saying ~ “hey – I got this but you are not ready for it yet and this silence and suffering and waiting and uncomfortable hum is necessary to take you to what you will later see as your proper place and home. So perhaps, the universal prayer is not one of asking or expecting but a request for a partner who will sit with us in the silence and help us wait for that calling who is coming around the distant corner, an unexpected arrival that would never have made Sunday’s prayer list.
I unlock the back gate. Peer in. Certain of a crime scene. A glance to the left, right, behind the fountain, and a peer into the monkey grass. Clear? Could it be? I stroll up the stairs with a mild, smug smirk of victory creeping out of the left side of a grin and crap. No literally – I mean CRAP. There it is. Right past the door towards the back of our upper patio. We have a basset hound. Her name is Sydney. She likes to crap on hard surfaces – like the sidewalk in front of the neighbor who just admired her supreme longitude or in the alley – next to the sign that says “no dogs allowed” but most often – strategically upon my patio in distinct places that make unbeknownst guest swear we have acquired modern art due to it perfected placement. I have hosed water, sprayed chemicals, and sprinkled pepper as blogger 227 suggested, but still she stands her ground and soils mine.