Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Directions

Last Friday I had a coaching session with Tara and it was great.  Not only is she super comfortable to talk with, but she "got" me and my struggles, I think.  She had a couple of really great solutions for me to implement, not only did she validate some of the things we already implement, but she also brought up things that are semi-related and ideas for solutions.  Yay.  :-)

First on my list : Fight for my kids.  This doesn't, obviously, mean go out and kick ass in their name.  But, it does mean if I'm embarrassed to do something they really feel they need I need to identify and get over what it is that embarrasses me.

Example : Zane has been continuously asking me to call his girlfriend and invite her for a playdate.  I've been embarrassed, as we've already called a couple of times and been rejected.  I don't want to seem rude, pushy, or like an idiot to her Mom by continuously trying.  But, why not?  Cause I'm afraid of what she'll think of me.  Why do I care?  I dunno.  Habit, I guess.  Why shouldn't I let this bother me?  Zane needs to see ME pushing for HIM.  Not for my own humility.  So, we called again.  And again.  We haven't heard back.  I've just decided that when he wants to call, he can call.  If they respond, great.  If they blow us off, he'll figure out it's her issue.  But, he'll know it's not ME standing in the way.  Good stuff.

Second on my list : Listen to what HE wants.  Don't get me wrong...  I'm not to any point of wanting to give him everything he wants.  That is NOT what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about LISTENING to him.  So often, I don't.  I hear him request something and I don't listen to why or what.  He is intuitive as well.  In fact, it's long been my belief that all children are immensely intuitive, but are trained by us to not be.  We want to tell them what they need or what they want or how they feel, starting right away.  When infants cry we say to them "It's okay, you're alright."  Guess what...  If it's okay and they're alright they wouldn't be crying!  We tell our toddlers they don't WANT to walk off the edge of a porch.  Yeah, they do.  They want to find out what happens.  Rather than hold their hand while they walk off and help them if they fall or startle we tell them what the hell they want.

Example : Zane wanted to camp in the backyard a few nights ago.  I'm all for it generally, but that particular night I didn't want to camp out, so I told him no.  He was quite persistent, but always in a respectful manner.  I explained to him that I didn't want to camp out and what does he come up with?  "I can camp out by myself."  Now, this is a big deal because he's at the age where quiet night time is intimidating to him.  He feels alone.  Not so much scared of monsters or the like, but just a fear of feeling alone at night.  I asked him if he was sure and he insisted he was.  I finally agreed and set up his tent.  I didn't believe he was going to do this, I just didn't.  But, I didn't tell him that.  I was totally supportive TO HIM and let him know if it didn't work out for whatever reason he, obviously, could come in at any time.  I left the back patio light on and poor Rootie had to spend the night outside to guard Zane.  I read him his bedtime story, as usual, but in his tent and hoped for the best.  That child slept out there all night long.  I couldn't believe it.  I still barely can!  He wakes up pretty frequently needing help getting back to sleep in his bed but he knew that he was ready to do this really big thing and thank goodness I listened to him, because he felt SO good about himself in the morning the pride was nearly spewing from his pores!

Third on my list : Say YES!  I've been working on this already, for quite some time but there's always room for improvement.  It's a big habit.  It's a bad habit.  It's a way of parenting.  You ever notice how a LOT of parents get really frustrated with THEIR parents for saying "yes" to the grandchildren so much?  This is what I think...  I think grandparents say yes because they realize in their grandparent-wisdom and experience that they said "no" to their kids too much when they were young.  They were worried about wet floors, muddy shoes, hyper kids and in the end of it all when their nests became empty what makes their hearts sing in memory is the time they said "yes" and they had fun with their kids.  That's what I think.  I'll let you know in a couple decades (or less!), but that's what I get from it.  This goes hand in hand with both number 1 and number 2.  It ties into so much of our experiences and I am thoroughly looking forward to more yeses!  Most kick-ass thing happened today, too when I said yes.  Zane TURNED DOWN A PIECE OF CHEESECAKE!!!!!  Usually he eats any dairy he can get his hands on, because he's very restricted on it.  But, he turned it down.  AWESOME!  AWESOME!  AWESOME!

Very important to note!!!  I feel it imperative to the publishing of this post to say that these are all examples of things I've found myself to need help with.  This was inspired by my coaching with Tara, but not direct instruction from her.  Should you feel you want to begin unschooling or even want to speak with someone about issues you have, regardless of time spent on your journey thus far, please, PLEASE contact her for a coaching.  During our conversation my brain just opened up to all sorts of solutions and even problems I didn't think I was having.  This post is not intended to advise you on anything you should choose for yourself or your family, but rather to share what we're experiencing and inspire you to become self-aware and a conscious parent.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Unspoken Lessons

I encounter the same thing that I'd imagine a LOT of unschoolers encounter.  Supportive yet unsure family members.  Since I have very little biological family and a few less active in my life I don't even count "Jon's side" or "my side."  I'm super blessed to have awesome in-laws who have actually gone through difficult times with me with more respect and love than my own family have.  So, to separate them, to me, is useless.  No one has said they disagree with what we're doing, but I'm fairly certain most of them aren't really buying in to it and that is fine.  Everyone's being lovely and open-minded, at least in their communications with me.

So today during a Skype call, my father in law asked me(or Zane, but he was in hyperactive mode so I think it was for me), "What've you done in school today?"  My "deer-in-the-headlights" and "super cautious about this whole thing with you cause I'm not sure what you are expecting or hoping from it all" response was "Nothing, we took the day off."  But we didn't.  We just didn't learn things that I think he wants to hear about.  Rather than telling him and feeling insecure, I didn't tell him and felt insecure.  HA!  Silly me...  Good news: This very way of not standing up for one's self to an "authority figure" was a lesson for Zane today.  Read on...

I've been looking for a pretty cheap, but smooth, level, and even pool table for Jon for about a month on Craigslist.  I finally found one this weekend that looked like it'll be perfect.  It was in the basement of their house and had been purchased by Mom for the hubby and kids to play with.  Many a beer had been spilled on it and nicks all over the wood.  BUT, it was level, the felt was in good condition aside from the stains, and all the pockets were in good shape.  So, we went to pick it up today.  We loaded it up (arrgghh!  hear me roar!!), said our thank-yous, Zane got bit by their effing dog, and we went home.  We took it down from the truck bed and, with my super-nose, I smelled cat.  Bad.  Now, I smelled it while we were in their garage too, but they had an outside cat and I just figured the poor thing pees around the perimeter of the house and maybe in the garage.  I asked Jon if he smelled it too and he said yes, so we proceeded to sniff the whole thing out to distinguish if this was the smell of stinky-outside cat or cat pee.  Most was stinky-outside cat, but Jon was the lucky one and stumbled upon the pee. Damnit!  We made a quick decision to NOT keep the table and loaded it back up on the truck to bring it back to the folks who left out this major downside to their item.  Grrr.  My point?  This type of thing is VERY hard for me to do.  I struggle when speaking to any superior, be it an older adult, a parental figure in my life, a boss-man, I even get the SHAKES when pulled over by the police and I have a clean slate!  But, I took it back and I did not hesitate and I did not get scared and what the hell does this have to do with teaching Zane a lesson, you ask?  He asked why we have to go back.  I told him about the cat pee.  We got there and when the neighbor said "hi" (who he had spoken with while we picked it up) his response: "They sold us a table with pee on it."  Atta boy!  Lesson: speak up with confidence and pride when you have been done wrong.

Getting back to the dog thing...  Zane also learned that you don't go near a dog with puppies, because they are protective.  And, no I don't mean he learned this by cause and effect (duh, Shannon...can't count that as any unschooling lesson.)  When it initially happened I was upset, obviously.  In fact, I was pissed.  I was mad at myself for allowing him to stay inside the door and look at them after I told him to come out and I was mad at the people for allowing their dog to get close enough to him.  I was mad at Zane for not coming out with us when I told him to.  I was even mad at Jon for letting the kids trust dogs so easily (I am afraid, by nature but Jon'll pretty well let any dog lick either of the kids in the face and it drives me NUTS!)  Mostly, I was mad at myself.  So when it happened, my disappointment came out to him, "Honey you can't go close to dogs when you don't know them without me." We finished loading quickly, and while I was driving home I realized how crummy I had just been to him.  As soon as we got home, I asked him to come to the porch with me and put it simply, "When you got bit by that dog I think you really just needed a hug from me and I chose, instead to try to give you a lesson in dog safety, which was really bad timing.  -grabbed him for a hug-  I'm sorry you got bit.  Was it scary?" "Yeah..." "Did it hurt really bad or did it scare you more?" "It scared me more; a whole lot"  "I'm so sorry Zane that she bit you."  Simple.  How many times a day do YOU look over the lesson of love or compassion with your kids?  Is there really any lesson more important here on planet Earth?  Not only was this here, but because I chose it poorly and I failed at my first opportunity another lesson was given: You can mess up and think about it and come back and do it right.  And NOT cause anyone made you do it.

Later, we both proved the value of that event.  UN-intentionally!  Zane was playing Lego Star Wars on the computer and having a really hard time with one specific thing, which he did fine on the XBOX.  He was crying and semi-yelling about it so I came to see what was going on.  He told me what he was struggling with and I suggested he give it a break.  Nope.  He didn't want to.  He was sucked into it.  I offered my help.  Nope.  He didn't want that.  He wanted to "get better at it by trying."  So, I marched my bootay up to the kitchen, grabbed two popsicles from the freezer, and marched my bootay right back downstairs.   I sat down, half across the room with them in hand and while he was still engulfed in the game, I gave this totally rockin mini-speech:  "Zane, you know... sometimes I'm having a really hard time with something, but I just KNOW I can do it and even though I know I should stop and take a break I refuse to, cause I really, REALLY want to get it right.  Sometimes, I'm so focused on that one thing it seems like there's nothing better to do anyway.  I wish that when that happens someone would bring me a popsicle so I could just get away from what I'm doing."  Of course, at popsicle, I had his attention.  "Come over here, let's eat this popsicle and talk about dogs."  He came.  We talked a bit about dogs and their body language.  We sword-fought with our popsicles.    We enjoyed our popsicles and our time together.  And when we were done, he got back to the computer and chose a different level to play.  I NEVER MENTIONED EVEN A MERE SUGGESTION TO THAT WHILE WE ENJOYED OUR POPSICLES!!!  I was only there to distract him and enjoy him.  And he got it!  He took care of himself and made a choice to do something positive for himself and I had made the choice to parent consciously. It was a beautiful moment.

Much later, after our Skype session with Grandpa, Zane had become way overstimulated and had a rough time for probably about half an hour.  During that time he said some things, didn't listen, told me he's the boss, etc.  A general fit.  I disengaged and waited it out while doing something else until I was ready for our walk.  We started walking, still with very few words being exchanged, and about 5 minutes in or so I hear from behind me "I'm sorry for being mean and not listening and saying rude things."  "Whaddya mean Zane?" (I don't accept lip service; I want to know if he's "saying sorry" or recognizing his mistake.)  "Well, I should've listened when you told me to stop jumping around and I know I shouldn't have thrown the marbles across the room.  I didn't go upstairs cause I was too mad and then I tried to be the boss."  "Thanks Zane, that means a lot."  -hug-  "I'm really proud of you for sitting back and thinking about what happened and I'm so glad you wanted to come back to me and make it right."  Done.  Onto sticks, chipmunks, cacti, and dinosaurs.

There was even more thrown in here today too.  But, these were the big, meaningful super lessons from today.  It's really ends up being one long, all day lesson.  Which is the very point of doing all of this.  Most of us don't take the time out of our day to interact with our kids enough to see what is happening in the big picture and draw lessons from that.  We're often too busy with telling them what to do all day so we can make it through our days.  Me too, by the way.  I'm not up on a high horse telling you why you suck!  I'm telling you what I think I do that sucks and why I want to change that.  My kids matter and I want them to know that.  We can learn it all, together.  I'm really looking forward to talking with Tara on Friday and getting some help with a couple issues we've been having, including my hesitance in talking with potential nay-sayers.  I usually LOVE causing a ruckus and speaking freely about why I do what I do, but I'm having a tough time right now.

By the way...

Saturn has no hard surfaces to stand on.  Crazy cool, huh??
Giraffes are transported in custom-designed trucks that have adjustable roofs in the back to make room for their necks.  They drive and just before going under a bridge the driver has to pull over, crank the roof down slowly which gently forces the giraffe to lower their head, drive under the overpass, pull back over, crank it up to allow the giraffe to stand straight again, and on the story goes until the final destination.
Sedating a giraffe will cause it to die because it's neck head will be down to long.
Giraffes sleep standing up
A food web is different food chains intermingled in any given ecosystem
Photosynthesis (which Zane sounded out while reading!!!!) is when a plant turns sunlight, water, and air into food
Plants have the highest concentration of energy out of any living thing

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lazy parents we are not. :-)

I don't tout myself as an amazing parent and I question what I do almost daily, but I do think that overall I do a pretty good job.  I think I'm so very inspired to do that because of the lack of parents that I had, the lack of parents I see a lot of kids have, and the difficulty in the beginning of my relationship with Zane.  There's a lot to make up for and I guess ultimately what it comes down to is if I'm going to do this (raise kids) then I'm NOT going to half-ass it and I'm going to do my best to not screw them up to the core.  You see I wasn't sure I'd be raising Zane myself until very late in my pregnancy.  I was almost completely certain he was going to be adopted and I knew who would be adopting him and so much of that was the simple fact that I don't know how to raise kids.  I was 19, drunk, and high on whatever I could get my hands on when I got pregnant.  Fortunately for the both of us, I've always been able to know right from wrong, especially when it came to other people, so the drugs and the drinking stopped as soon as I knew.  I couldn't wait to get them back, since that's what I knew and what I was good at.  The concept of teaching someone life was beyond untouchable.  So, when the potential adoptive family pulled out, I freaked!  I hadn't let any of my family know that I was considering adoption yet, because I knew they'd all be disappointed and mad at me or worse, want to raise him themselves.  All of a sudden I found myself in a foreign country.  I was against the whole idea of putting him up for adoption to someone I couldn't know, because my thought process was "I'm doing this so someone can do a good job.  If I don't know if they will, then isn't it at least better to end up with your screwy biological parent rather than your screwy adoptive parent."  This meant I was keeping him all to myself.

I think I did a lot of things terribly wrong during the first couple of years.  In fact, I didn't become a conscious parent until a while after I met Jon.  Some things about this man and this boy tell me that God is with me and every decision I make no matter what.  Jon was the first person in my life to love me FULLY and show me that I rock (which I still don't fully believe, but regardless...that's what he's showing me.)  That, in turn, has inspired me to have the belief in myself to be the parent I know my kids deserve.

So when I get questions or hints at the thought that maybe I'm a lazy parent I get equally mad, sad, offended, unsure of myself, confident, and excited to keep on doing what I'm doing, which is constantly self-analyze and evolve right along with the kids.

Having two lazy parents myself, I know good and well that the LAST thing a lazy parent wants to do is spend time with their children.  To think unschoolers could possibly be lazy is crazy talk.  This is a fuller-than-full-time job.  And, I know.  I've worked full time while raising Zane and I've stayed at home both while Zane was a baby for a short time and now that I have both kids.  Being home with kids all day, every day is more demanding than anything I've experienced before.  Rest assured.  :-)

Adding the full responsibility privilege of the children's education on your willingness to LISTEN to them is no easy feat, my friends.  What was easy was waking up at 6am every day, making breakfast, making lunch (keeping in mind we don't really do packaged foods, this is all FOOD being made) packing some papers into a backpack, rushing Zane through his morning routine usually involving some sort of meltdowns, coming home to spend time with Stori and Jon, volunteering many hours at the school, juggling nap around school-out time, picking Zane up from school, forcing him to do homework even though he just finished 7-ish hours of schoolwork, making snack, resting for a bit, making dinner, family walking, spending time with Stori while Zane played with friends or games or whatever else he wanted to, baths, showers, put Stori to bed, listen to Zane read me a Story, read Zane a story, supplements, goodnights, relax.  Repeat.  That was easy because it was monotonous.  It's easy to do the same thing over and over again.  It's annoying, frustrating, and BORING too, but easy no less.

What's not easy is keeping our brains active and going without forcing the issue.  It's not always easy to inspire a child.  Much easier to "make" a child (do this or that).  Not easy to find all the answers the child wants.  Much easier to let the teachers do it for them.  Not easy to decide what you're doing out of habit and programming and what you're doing intentionally from a conscious decision.  Much easier to do what the magazines, books, masses tell you to do.  Not easy to teach lessons from all things that happen.  Much easier to yell when children don't do the right thing and then spoil them out of guilt.  Not easy to face the scrutiny of people who think you're lazy.  Much easier to go with the flow and hide in it.

I think when people think of us as lazy it's because we allow our kids to learn what is appropriate for their brains and hearts to handle at any given time.  I've just recently heard about this and haven't read too much into it yet, but am super drawn to the idea that we learn different things and different ways at different stages in life.  I've thought that myself and am so turned off by the ideas of teaching babies to read, toddlers their ABCs, or preschoolers math.  That may LOOK like we're sitting back and not doing anything when in all actuality there's a LOT of observing, thinking, planning, and dialogue going on.

Ultimately, I think the whole thing comes down to being symbolic of a language barrier.  There are parents who hover and are on top of everything their kids do and there are parents who observe and are into everything their kids do.  These two types tend to butt heads a lot because both have their filters through which they see the others and since both parties ARE conscious parents and both parties are trying to do things RIGHT but both parties are doing things in opposite ways; they tend to believe they can't get along or even accept what the other is doing.  When in all actuality these two forces are just part of the symbiosis of basic physics.  For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.  We are all doing the same, opposite thing.

That being said, I'll make you a deal...  I'll recognize and embrace the fact that you have a story and a reason behind what you consciously choose to do without looking at your choices with disapproval and you reciprocate that for me.  Game on??  ;-)

Monday, June 7, 2010

It's like diarrhea...

A friend-ish of mine said that to me a few months back when we were talking about my anxiety at the time and how I was going through some emotional turmoil.  Since I was "in it" I found it frightening to think that it may not fade away.  She, like me, sees the world energetically and was giving me the reminder that all this was was a heavy energetic cleansing happening in me and that afterward I would feel so much better.  Like diarrhea.  Sucks when you're having it, but when it fades your body has been cleansed to a degree and you feel so much better after your body has fought off the cause of it.

The past couple of weeks have been like diarrhea with the food thing, the processing, the fits, etc.  Transition, ugh.  Anyhow, last night I realized that we have gotten off of our most successful path of guiding Zane which is our point system.  Now, I knew we had because at the end of school I brought it up to Jon and said we needed to come up with a whole new tally for the system now that school won't play a part in it (this would be happening even if we weren't transitioning to unschooling, just like our budget-it takes an evolutionary path.)  Well, we didn't do it, and we hadn't done it, and I just didn't want to do it by myself.  I like that a lot about Jon and me; we really like to be on the same page with parenting and the kids.  So, to do it myself just didn't feel okay and we both were avoiding it day in and day out.  We decided last night that we'd do it together and today we did.  I typed it up, printed it out, slipped it in a plastic cover that his school gave me an award in and called it DONE.  Whew!  Now, we observe it and decide over the next week or two if we need to make any adjustments in it.

The simple act of DOING it made me feel tons better.  Sharing it with Zane and discussing parts of it with him to get his input while we were doing it felt great.  Everyone checking it out at the end and agreeing that we were all happy with it made it done and I am glad.  Now I feel like I still have some direction in what we're doing and how we're managing every day life and I wonder if Zane has really gotten so used to it that he felt that too, as this was a pretty darn great day.

I had diarrhea in Target a few days ago and it wasn't nearly as comfortable as when I'm at home.  It's nice to have something familiar, especially when cleansing!  Now that we all have our familiar "bathroom" hopefully we can continue back to the way things have been here for months which was much more peaceful, a greater sense of partnership, and a bit of a closer bond.  Now that you know a bit about my digestion as of late I hope you sleep well.  ;-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Terrible, Wonderful, Kinda' Good, Weird, Odd Day

At about 5-ish this evening I thought, "I can't WAIT to blog about today, it's been such an AWESOME unschooling day!"  I felt like we were being really successful with some hands on stuff, I was really tuned in to what Zane's needs were and able to "walk with the wind."  I was PUMPED!

Then dinner happened.  Firstly, for the past 2 weeks or so this has become a really weird ongoing battle.  Zane doesn't want anything I make to eat and I don't want him going behind me in the kitchen all day trying to feed himself as he has a really hard time accepting responsibility and cleaning up messes after himself. BUT, I don't fall into the category of parents who are okay withholding food from their kids.  I think since I grew up so hungry I've just always had a problem with that.  If you're going to have kids, you ought to at least feed them, ya know.  But, I digress...  So, what has been happening is I've been cooking for everyone; he rejects it.  I get upset and tell him he doesn't need to eat until the next meal time, then I feel bad cause it's wrong (IMO) to do that, then I let him put something together to eat, then he's really responsible about it, then I still feel like crap.  I feel rejected in some way.  :-/  And I feel like I'm SO failing at teaching him anything about consideration or the idea behind a family being a unit since he ends up not eating with us.  Plus, I HATE watching my 7 year old make his own food.  It makes me feel like a TERRIBLE Mom.  Like, I'm not making him meals.  But, I am.  He just doesn't want them.  So, anyway...  UGH...  Tonight, dinner happened.  Poo!  I'm really at a loss for this one.  If you have a suggestion please let me know.

Back to my awesome day of unschooling:  Today we went to the zoo to get our membership and for Zane's first "lesson."  We prepared his lesson a few days ago when we first intended to go to the zoo, but found out we were too late.  We sat at the table and I asked him what HE wants to learn about snakes.  He came up with these questions:  Why is their tongue sticking out?  Why don't they have legs?  Why do King Cobras have big fat ears?  Why do snakes have venom in them?  How can dancing cobras dance?  What is the top of a snake called? (The rest of these I came up with; I'm having a hard time deschooling myself, as I can see)  Do any snakes live and stay awake in the cold?  Are snake skin boots legal?  If so, why?  Why don't pet boas squeeze their owners?  The zoo trip was a good one, all things considered.  Firstly, we got ZERO of our questions answered and there were only 5(if I remember correctly... Zane could name them off for me, but he's asleep) snakes there.  So, we stayed in the building that had the snakes and just explored after we read all the snake info.  We got to watch the zoo keeper train the raven to take washers and rocks out of her hand and drop them in a cup, take food as treats, go to the bedding in his home and bury the food in it, and come back for more "tricks."  She was a really beautiful bird and while the glass is pretty clean she was so much prettier without a barrier (or maybe that's just symbolic...  I have a love/hate thing with zoos that maybe I'll get into sometime here.)  We also got to "pet" a turtle.  Lastly, Zane got to help feed the bats.  He put the fruit pieces on the skewer-inspired feeding rods, then he got to go with the other zookeeper to the bat closet, go IN it, and hang the skewer from one of the ropes in it.  In addition to the closet, they have a wire cage they get to fly in and he got to go in there and hang the other skewers.  It's not every day you get to actually help feed bats and he was pretty stoked about it.  Of course I didn't bring my camera because I "knew" it'd be a quick trip to the zoo and we'd just be checking out the silly snakes who are almost always laying around... :-P

We came home and after I put Stori to sleep Zane and I sat on the internet and answered some of the questions from the lesson.  After quickly researching 3 questions, Zane started fidgeting and lost interest.  I was really proud of my ability to recognize that and ACCEPT it just as I intend to do.  He went to play and we'll answer a couple more tomorrow.

After writing it all, it doesn't seem as spectacular as it felt earlier, but that's okay.  It DID feel great and that's what matters.  Like I said we are de-schooling right now and part of that is for me.  I've got to practice going with it all and feeling the waves of the day to follow them.  Now, if we could only make our 4 meals a day work better...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Attachment Challenge: Day 7

I need more practice.  That's my decision from this week.  I need to get better at it and I need to follow Christine's advice and deal with my own shit.  Which I have been and I probably always will be.  But, I definitely need to keep practicing this challenge WHILE dealing with myself.  Cause at about 8:30 tonight, half hour before bedtime, I told Zane, "I quit, I'm done, I'm not doing this challenge anymore and we only have 30 minutes left of it, but I'm DONE."

This is TOUGH!  I'm doing my best to not make this post into an all-out tourette's attack.  This was one of those days where I could have just SCREAMED and run away.  Good news is that my lack-of-Mom did that and so every time I fantasize I actually know the REAL pain of being that kid and the fantasy doesn't last long.  But, damn it hits me hard on these days.  There was yelling and there was running away and there was a dog who ran over my foot with his super sharp ass nails and later stepped on my friggin' head. U.G.H.

So, I guess I failed the challenge.  We did our 20 minutes of Zane time today which included sword fighting out front and I hugged him 7 times by the time I quit, but didn't do attachment-inducing fun.  Of course I have a serious problem going to bed on a sour note, so we spent the last ten minutes of the night playing Uno before our bedtime story and "goodnights" were given.

But, that "fail" is only a mere technicality.  Cause I'm going to do it again and next time my chart will be complete.  No matter what.  Cause you know why?  Cause I'm the grownup here and I can MAKE it happen.

I think the reason this challenge was so hard for me is because I take things personally.  When I make a meal and Zane refuses to eat it because it's not what he wants not only am I frustrated because he used to not be picky AT ALL, but because I know the life of not having regular meals and dammit I wanted them!  When I want to walk with him and Stori to the playground down the road and he'd rather play with his friends it hurts to feel rejected since I was so rejected by my own parents.  I'd have LOVED the opportunity to play with my parents.  Just me and them.  I wonder if the guilt story of many decades was actually true somewhere along the line, "I walked to school uphill both ways with no shoes in the snow."  I really wonder.  Because I think most of us parents do try to do better for our kids than what we got and when our kids push that away I think all of our inner-children throw tantrums inside our hearts.

Anyway, I'm glad this challenge is done.  And, I'm more glad to take the lessons I've learned from it and prepare for the next challenge and a change in my every-day parenting.  You can NEVER give enough hugs and no matter how many it felt like I already gave to my kids, neither of them were getting 10 every single day.  Which meant not only were they missing out on ten, but I've been missing out on TWENTY!

To end this on a positive note and stop the mope-fest I'm gonna put up some photos of times that I've been EXACTLY the Mom I'm meant to be, I want to be, and I think I should be:

We made donuts on Easter morning

Rather than yelling I grabbed my camera

I let Zane make his own cake recipe and bake it

I said, "Why don't we dip our toes before we go?"

and I thoroughly enjoyed mud play

So there inner-child Shannon.  You're an absolutely kick ass Mom and you can just carry on the way you carry on.  Good night!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Attachment Challenge: Day 6 & update

Whew!  My intention was to do this daily, but that clearly didn't happen.  Life did though!  :-)  Monday, to put it simply, I was pooped.  The end of Memorial Day weekend and I was not about to sit here and type.  Tuesday, I was still pooped.  No other reason than that, but here's what's great.  We've completed everything on everyday except yesterday.  Yesterday was really really rough and when it was all said and done I missed two hugs.  Totally my fault, totally my doing.

To sum things up:  We've been doing lots of pillow fights, some sword fighting, lots of Jedi practicing with force pushing, force choking, etc.  We've played some Mario Bros Wii, we've read some books, we've played tag (and that, let me tell you, is a WORKOUT with a 7 year old boy for 20 minutes straight, whew!)  We've hugged and hugged and he's asked for a couple of those hugs.  Overall~it's been really nice to dedicate this time to him and to me.  It's obviously been kind of annoying to play the SAME thing day after day, but all's fair, right?

I was completely inspired and have decided one of the weekly assignments for Zane to do is send mail. :-) One of the things lost in school is connection. Even high-fives are restricted in a lot of schools, so clearly forming strong bonds between people isn't one of the priorities. I wasn't raised to keep in close contact with my distant family members, let alone friends, and I want to do the opposite for Zane. He has so much family everywhere and we have so many friends everywhere there's no reason for people to be left out just because they're not on Facebook or readers of my blog. So, every Wednesday SOMETHING must go out in the mail to someone we know. Period. Handwritten from Zane and decorated and happy! This week, we sent a quick note to Mamaw, as she was most recent to send a letter to him. Excuse the pennies on the envelope. That's my super-high-tech way of covering our addresses. At any rate, I look forward to doing this. Spreading happiness rocks!!

Thanks to wonderful grand (and great-grand) parents  our family's cost for an annual membership to the zoo has been reduced by 85%!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  The kids and I will be going tomorrow to get our membership and we'll have a first zoo lesson.  I'm really excited and couldn't possibly be more grateful for the help we've been given!