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Plague Parenting

I’ve been with my kids perpetually since March. Which means I have been their sounding board, their punching bag, and their home base. To maintain our family’s equilibrium, and my sanity, I’ve had to get even craftier about my parenting.

Buying them things sometimes brightens the mood. Restricting screen viewing works occasionally. But what I’ve found is very effective is installing a carrot that you can yank whenever they get used to the taste. Bwahahahahah!

My son is just about driving age. So physically learning how to drive is the obvious carrot. Meanwhile, he’s been such a slovenly lay about in the house that I am beginning to twitch every time I see his computer in a new place or his shoes out on the floor. So this is what I decided to do.

I told him to go and get me ten fancy dice, the ones he uses for Dungeons and Dragons stuff. And this is the contract I created for him and me. He needs to pick up his shoes, put his dirty dishes in the dishwasher, and pick up after himself. Essentially, for every infraction he gets a die taken out of the jar. He can earn them back for thoughtfulness and initiative but so far, he’s not figured out this bonus. This lasts from Monday to Friday night and if there is one die left in the jar, he gets to go driving with Dad.

Eamon’s Ten Dice Jar Rules

There will be 10 dice in the jar at the beginning of the week.

If there are any dice left in the jar by the end of the week, Friday bedtime, Eamon will get some driving practice that weekend.

One Die will be taken out of the jar when one of the following occur:

  • Leaving shoes out of the shoe place

  • Leaving computer, cord, or gaming equipment anywhere but designated spots.

  • Not putting dishes into dishwasher after making them

  • Not making bed on weekdays or when asked

  • Leaving couch a mess

  • Not putting away clothes on the same day as laundry done

  • Not following through with a request within a “timely” fashion especially at dinner time

  • Leaving trash or dishes around sitting spot for longer than a half hour

Dice will be given for initiative taken according to the importance and impressiveness (taking care of your sister, helping in the kitchen without being asked).

Dice will be taken away if super dumb choices are made according to parental discretion.

I agree to these terms…

My son looked at me and said I was so smart.

The first week, he had ten dice in the jar. He ran though them pretty quickly. He had one left. And I warned him, if he runs out, that’s it. He had one left Friday night. The second week I had 8 in the jar. And I post-it-noted his infractions onto the dice in case he wondered what they were for.

Developing good habits, considering the people you live with, and earning a privilege. These are the lessons I am hoping to teach my children. And people tell me they’re good kids. Boundaries for me and for them helps us all not feel resentful while we are trapped in here together. We’ll see if the week to come solidify these habits.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Mothering For the Long Haul

I get the feeling that in the old days, people had kids to add more hands to the labor pool. The more bodies, the better to help plant, pick, and pickle. And yes, they were all jammed into small cabins on the prairie or in the hollow much like we are today. Welcome to our ancestral American Roots where you were lucky if you survived bizarre daily accidents and went on to procreate yourself. Mothering for the long haul on Shalavee.com

Fast forward to modern day 2020 and we have all been reduced to huddling in our prairie huts with our families riding out the viral storm, living the past in the present Laura Ingalls Wilder style.. This occasion gives the thinkers like me time to stop and consider who we are and what we think. And what I discovered about myself is that I am foremost, a mother. The well-being of my children physically and mentally is at the top of my everyday priority list. Yes it’s nice if they can haul in the groceries and unload the dishwasher but their mere existence is joy enough for me.Mothering for the long haul on Shalavee.com

So in the first couple weeks of our lock in, I was acting much like I did when we would take them as young children to the beach for a couple overnights. I’d end up worrying all night about if they were getting enough sleep and I’d get no sleep while they’d sleep like the babies they were. 

These first couple weeks of seclusion, I wanted to help my daughter to feel safe. I wanted to be there for her and lighten her load and not add to it. As Moms around the world were doing, I was thinking of the children first. Because I understand this better. Because I remember what it was like to not have my feelings be prioritized. Because I esteem them so that they will esteem them.Mothering for the long haul on Shalavee.com

But I also learned that they needed to grieve for the loss of their normal. They eventually would grieve in their own time and their own ways and I had to step back and be present and allow for this to happen. I can not take away their pain. They are entitled to it. It is theirs. But they also turned to me to feel safe to feel this grief. And that’s truly all we can do for our family and our friends, just witness all the craziness with them and know that soon, this will all be a nightmare.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

 

Parenting Keeps Improving Me Despite Myself

There are days with these junior people that are trying as in, I’m trying not to be irritated or sarcastic because I’m tired and so are they apparently and nothing good can probably come of our interaction. Mornings when I can not wait until Fiona has gotten on the bus so I can sigh for the relief of no more drama to deal with. Nights when my son just won’t go to bed and leave me alone. Life is composed of day upon day and never is that more felt than in a parent’s life.

They ask you to rise with all the kindness and humanity you possess. All the humility, dignity, and patience you were sure you did not possess before you were a parent. Because a part of you gets born with them. A person who can no longer ignore your impact on the world’s footprint. A person who wants to model self-pride and self-acceptance. A better parent to yourself in the end and you know parenting is always do what I do, not just as I say.

Parenting Keeps Improving Me Despite Myself on Shalavee.com

You will also discover your limits and their limitless trust in the relationship you forge from the cosmic nothingness of childbirth. We can hope to give our children more than we had, make up for our childhoods with better ones for them.
But in the end, they love you no matter what you do with that forgiveness that you seldom afford yourself.

I am in awe and ever grateful for these gifts that keep on giving back to me, my children, the tall one and the small loud one. Eamon and Fiona are the most wonderful pieces of universal creativity I will ever have a hand in. And I am grateful on a daily basis for their ridiculous gift of my appreciation of my existence before they were here.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Value the Heck out of Our Good Educators

We have our kid enrolled in a public school. He’s a super smart kid, scores ridiculously high on those school standardized tests, and we’d absolutely go into debt to pay for a private school if it was the right thing. But he’s a musician and the music program at his school is marvelous. The reason the school’s music program is so very good is because of one teacher. One amazing dedicated inspirational teacher.

He’s the guy who was a music nerd in school just like my kid. He’s turned Eamon and his classmates on to Jazz and Buddhism and a number of wonderful things that would have meant nothing coming from me. And he hears and sees each of those kids. And they feel heard and seen. They feel like they belong there in that class. In a time when we are fast becoming cogs in a giant wheel, it is more important than ever to acknowledge our children as the people that they are. They need to know they belong somewhere and are not just being asked, nay commanded, to fit in.Value the Heck out of Our Good Educators on Shalavee.com

So imagine our outrage when the mandate got handed down that the 8th grade middle-schoolers in Maryland would have to fulfill a mandatory language credit for one half of the year instead of having band. So for one half of the year, band and choir and art students all had to give up their sense of belonging to complete a credit of something they’ll get plenty of in high school. He was unhappy and so my son passed around a petition to these children which they all signed because they thought maybe their disappointment would be heard.

The story will continue to play out. These children will not get that time back to be seen and feel good about themselves being who they are this school year. And sadly, the program in high school isn’t the same and many of them will drop out. Not my kid but for many, this is their last chance before life continues its artistic oppression.

So on behalf of Eamon’s music teacher, and for all the teachers who deserve the credit we keep forgetting to give them, write a thank you note to one you appreciate. Gush if you can. Because they deserve to hear our appreciation for the mostly thankless job they do. Their administrators just don’t get that it’s truly about the students. Their advocacy, their support, and their chance to be seen for exactly who they are.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Belief

( Enjoy this post From 2015)   Belief is the word of the week, of the season. Wrapping up the year, this concept means the most to me now. And so I will start and end on what the word belief has meant to me recently in hopes that I can both make sense and find closure in the way I see things to be now.

I believe in the wonder and joy of the spirit of Christmas. That the generosity and kindness of man and womankind can rise us above our basic tendencies of smallness to bring about great moments of small humanity. That is what Christmas is to me. But to a child, the season is Santa. And the wonder and miraculousness of his visits is a gift every child should be able to enjoy until it’s time to move upwards. Eamon and Santa from 2007 on Shalavee.com

I had the tragic privilege of robbing my eldest of his belief in this magic a couple of weeks ago. He kept asking me and asking me, was Santa real? And finally, when he said he was going to make an addendum to his Santa list when I’d already shopped, I told him…

He cried the biggest crocodile tears for the longest time. And as I watched the big beautiful bubble of belief disappear after several outbursts of tears and “no no nos”, I doubted my decision to have done this but alas, I could never take it back, could I ? He declared he’d prove me wrong. I certainly hope he does. And then I told him to talk to his Dad about the tooth fairy.Fiona on the green on Shalavee.com

We believe what suits us don’t we? If our beliefs perpetuate a certain end or means to that end we can’t comprehend being without, we’re tethered then to our beliefs. We’re invested. We’re living in our belief suit. Until someone rips it off of us.

I found my esteem feeling quite naked after a recent incident robbed me of my self-belief. I was left wondering if I was in fact a talented designer. If I was worthy of the accolades I’ve ever received. If the inkling I keep having that maybe I don’t suck was true. Comes down to what I really believe is the truth.  love yourself on Shalavee.com

I believe that I have a light that shines brightly. That that light is different. And that it’s meant to keep shining so that others can benefit from the hope that it brings. Because when they’re ready, anyone can join with me in the belief that their creativity and voice can make a difference. I believe my belief affects other people’s beliefs. And that is nonnegotiable.

I make happen what I believe possible. So that is what I am going to focus on. Shifting my possibilities to believabilities. And relying a little less on what I think might be the awful truth and more on what I know to be true. I’ve got talent in spades. I just need to figure out where I’ll be appreciated and believed in and mirrored back safely. Christmas tree on Shalavee.com

Merry Christmas to you all. May the magic of Christmas renew your belief in yourself and in humanity. I’m taking a holiday hiatus and will return in a week. Love to each and every one of you my dear dear readers.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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