A better week but still not easy. One bright spot? This NPR interview with Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day author Judith Viorst. Like all the great children’s books there are layers of meaning that can aid both adult and child. One of the reasons I love this book is that there is no judgment of Alexander’s behavior.
As a Dad, I often to want to correct things or make things better for the girls. That’s not always possible as Alexander reminds us. And that’s OK. Sometimes it’s good and necessary to just sit with our emotions. The current always-on, look-over-here, life hack culture makes this difficult (by design). But it’s important to remember that you don’t always need to immediately fix something and that having a bad day is a (necessary) part of life.
The girls had a half day of school on Friday. Cecilia walked to town with friends for lunch and shopping. Typically the shopping involves Starbucks, candy, and random…trinkets (trying to be generous) from the local bookstore. This time was much the same, trinkets included, but she also bought a book. On her own. With no prompting or side eye parental guilt. My hope is that my long twelve year quest to raise a reader is starting to bear fruit.
Lewin’s equation states that behavior is a function of a person and their environment. Our habits and actions are largely determined by our surroundings. So to build a reader, surround them with books. Show them you’re a reader. Celebrate libraries and bookstores. If they aren’t surrounded by books, how else could they possibly become a reader?
It’s not like flipping a switch but, shhhh, I think it’s working. Continue Reading
I like routine. I find comfort in a to-do list. I drive Michelle crazy by asking about dinner plans over breakfast.
This parenting gig isn’t easy. If fact, it’s pretty terrifying most of the time, so if I can get an edge through routine, I’m going to take it. There’s a reason so many Saturdays revolve around the sofa, vacuuming, the transfer station, costume changes, and show tunes.
It’s mildly deranged, sure, but it works, and the repetition actually brings some stability. Anything to get through 2020.
Routines are a parents friend and don’t let anyone tell you any different. Now, on to the couch… Continue Reading
As we prepare to make the transition this week from school to summer, we started talking about a specific superpower. There’s definitely been an uptick in sister-on-sister violence in the last few weeks. I think they are feeling the strain of all the togetherness, but unfortunately we still have a long camp-less summer to go. Everyone is spending unprecedented amounts of time with people whom we may love but still have the ability to make us upset.
But wait? Can they actually make us upset? What if we all had a superpower to stop it?
They can try. They can provoke you, intended or not. But whatever the other person did is on them. Whatever your reaction is, that’s on you. No one can make you angry, only you have that power. Someone can certainly say something offensive or stupid or mean, but no one can make you upset. That’s your choice.
For a more peaceful summer, don’t give away your power over yourself. You can’t blame your sister if that happens. Continue Reading
Just about a month left of homeschooling. Hooray! Maybe? I’m starting to worry about the summer. There are certainly a lot of challenges to remote learning but it has provided a structure to the weekdays. Yes, it’s sometimes chaotic and stressful, but it has given a definitive shape to our days where we can count on at least four or five hours to tag-team our day jobs.
How will we handle the transition from teachers to camp counselors? Camp Cul-de-Sac may not hold their attention for more than a week. Zoom canoeing seems…terrible. What then? There are only so many times I can sell washing the cars in their bathing suits as a fun activity.
I think we are going to seriously test the theory that curiosity and imagination blossom from boredom. I’m thinking one part free-range parenting, one part planned activity, one part Netflix, 6 parts grapefruit shandy (for me, not the kids). If they aren’t bleeding, it’s all good.