A Literal Comparison Between Parenting and Writing

chocolate milk bubbles

This has no relevance. I just like it.

Writing.

Sometimes the words work.

Sometimes they don’t.

It’s like saying please when you ask nicely for something. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don’t. There’s no rhyme nor reason when it will work and it when it won’t. It either does or it doesn’t.

I’ve sat down at this keyboard a dozen times today wondering what to tell you fine readers. I know you’re itching, on the edge of your seats, pacing the floor just waiting for my next bit of wisdom like we did before The Force Awakened. Here it is. Prepare yourself.

Writing is like parenting. Sometimes you play, sometimes you discipline. Sometimes the play is fun, sometimes the discipline doesn’t work and you sit and wonder why you even bother.

death starBecause hindsight is 20/20 or better I only recommend looking back when you’ve put enough distance between yourself and the last time you looked. Otherwise it’s like trying to see how big the Death Star is while piloting the Meridian Trench. You need to give the patterns time to develop, time to extend themselves. Why didn’t a “time out” work that time? It worked last time. Why weren’t the ideas flowing that time? They flowed last time.

Because a five year old’s mood is a trampoline. Up down up down up down. We could be
doing flips and twists and pikes and pucks on a toddler’s mood. Good luck reasoning with them after you put their chocolate milk in the red cup instead of the blue one. Because the muse that moves the words from mind to fingertip is as touchy. She (I’m wholly convinced it’s a she, but not because of the moods) can dam the flow of ideas like the great, industrious Canadian Beaver. Then your writing is damned. You’ll be left staring a blinking cursor. I’m telling you man, every third blink is slower.cursor1

Because when you feel like you’ve got nothing right as a parent, you wonder why you even wanted to be one in the first place, you just need a vacation from those energy siphoning parasites. After they’ve been at each other’s throats all day, when one even goes so far as to bite, you know it’s time for a throw down. The gloves come off and heads will roll. You throw a Hail Mary in the final seconds and pray it works. You sit them side by side and you start yapping, hoping what you’re saying is both making sense and sinking in. Verbal diarrhoea. Suddenly you’re up to 502 words and kind of like what you’ve managed to come up with for not being able to think of anything to write. Suddenly it’s bedtime and you kind of like the sweet silence because it means you earned a reward for adulting; second dessert that you don’t have to share and a bottle of wine because you didn’t kill the kids today.

Congratulations on not killing the kids. Enjoy your reward to its fullest.

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Santa Stress

It happens to at least one of our kids every year. It has happened in previous years with Crash, and now it happens to Bang.

Santa stress.

When our Christmas tree first went up the boys knew that was the signal for Woody and Elfis to return. They were looking forward to their return. There was a very distinct change in Bang’s attitude and behaviour. Before the elves arrival, if he got frustrated with something – it could have been anything from the wrong color bowl to the way his socks fit to the zipper on his jacket – he would stomp and growl/scream. He wouldn’t ask for help.

He didn’t want help.

He’d stomp and then carry on trying to do whatever it was he was trying to do. However, after our elves returned, his stomping and growling stopped instantly. He would calmly ask for help. It was bliss.

For 12 whole days.

Now, he’s seen Santa three times in three different locations. We discovered he’s now scared/shy of Santa. Crash never was. Bang just developed this phobia. Not once has he sit on Santa’s lap to tell him what he wanted for Christmas this year. Only once did he approach Santa. But that was because he was passing out presents (coloring books and markers) to Bang’s class.

*Side note – He was upset upon opening his coloring book and markers because it’s not what he was asking for. It wasn’t a combine harvester. However, he now has nearly every picture in his book colored and his markers will often travel with him.

Anyway, Santa was in his classroom for a quick visit last Friday. When we went to school today, Bang broke down in tears on our way in.

“I don’t want to go to school.” he told me.

I held his hand and continued walking. When he covered his mouth to hide his crying, I clued in that he was scared of something and that something could only have been Santa. Normally, he can’t wait to get to school. He loves it. I carried him into class and one of his teachers talked to him to find out what he wanted to start his day doing. Turns out he wanted to play with the glitter.

“I’m happy, now” he told his teacher after many glittered ornaments.

Remember I mentioned Santa stress in the beginning? Bang is officially tired of being “good”. The stomping and growling has returned. One can only be on their best behavior for so long. With everyone asking him about Santa coming, asking him if he’s being good, the anticipation of Christmas morning, it’s all become just too much handle any more.

It use to happen to Crash, too. So many people would ask him if he’s ready for Santa, if he was being good, he would go into melt down mode for the last week and half before Christmas.

This would be one of the disadvantages of starting the Christmas season too early.

 

 

 

Battle of Wills

While I was trying to force encourage Crash and Bang to help me clean up their toys this evening I had an epiphany. An enlightenment. Or at the very least an interesting thought.

I’m the one who wanted it clean.

Why am I getting angry at the kids for something I want.

They clearly don’t want a clean room as much as I do. Really, I’m nearly convinced they’d be okay with a mess like Dresden in February of ’45.

Dresden After the Bombing

Is it possible that he doesn’t even see the mess? He looks at the basement area and there are toys everywhere, but to him it’s not a mess. It’s just toys all over. That can’t be, right. Because after we clean it he says, “Wow, look at the space. That’s a lot better.”

I’m the one who wants it clean, so why do I lose my patience when they won’t clean it?

It comes down to a battle of wills. I can lead him to the mess, but I can’t make them clean it.

If Crash isn’t around, Bang will normally help DW and I clean. He’ll vacuum the floor. He’ll vacuum the doormats. He’ll put some toys away. He’ll put the cushions back on the couch. He’ll help load/unload the dishwasher. If Crash is around, he assumes his big brother’s attitude.

What a bunch of chaches.

So it’s time for some lessons in being less selfish and more selfless. Just this morning, I told him it was time to pack his backpack for school and reminded him to fill his water bottle. I kindly asked him to fill his brother’s as well while I ran upstairs to get dressed. He whined about it! “UGH, you’re always making do stuff and I have no time for anything!”

Anyway, that’s for another time.

Consideration goes a long way. If you make a mess you clean it up. If you turn the light on, turn it off. If you open the fridge, you close the fridge. If you backtalk and get saucy, you get a swift reminder to watch your tone and what you say.

So, I want them to clean it because I want it clean. I want them to respect their belongings. I want them to respect me. Thus far, he’s only like this at home.

He’s been asking to start a YouTube channel so he can show people how to build some of the Lego stuff he creates. He loves to watch others build so now he wants to do that, too. Not that I want him on YouTube at the age of 8, but I suppose there are safe ways to do it. Some of his stuff is pretty neat – like the dog he made. Plus it would be his creative outlet. Maybe we can do a bit of negotiating. If he keeps areas clean and helps, I’ll help him make his videos. He wants to do stop motion videos with his Lego people, too. Should be interesting.

Sorry for writing  more about the frustrations in cleaning. I’ll have something different for ya tomorrow.

There, that’s 517 words.

Two Faced Kids

In the span of 30 seconds I can see four different moods in one kid. Laughter turns to frustration turns to screaming and stomping turns back to happy again. It happened just this morning over a pair of socks.

Bang woke up after a restless sleep (he’s not feeling well and has been running a low grade fever for four days now). He came downstairs to the kitchen to greet us then headed back upstairs to change out of his pajamas. He returned fully dressed then realized he had forgotten socks. He laughed about it then headed back up the stairs.529603

From the kitchen, and probably within a three mile radius, we suddenly heard him stomping and crying. Knowing he wasn’t hurt, I went up to see what was wrong. Any guesses? Did you guess he couldn’t find his grey socks? Yep. He had the basket of socks dumped all over the hallway floor looking for his grey socks. The black and red ones just wouldn’t do. This frustration prompted the stomping and crying complete with crocodile tears.

He turned the tears off upon my arrival. We’ve been trying to teach him to ask for help nicely instead of this stomping and crying. It’s a work in progress. Mostly work, not much progress. Anyway, after a quick look in the laundry basket (instead of the sock basket – we get a little lazy when it comes to putting socks away) I located his grey socks. He put them on himself (naturally inside out because that’s how he rolls) and the crises was averted.

Crash can do the same thing. Except, now that he’s eight he doesn’t use the tears anymore (usually). Like when it comes to chores he can growl and complain that he doesn’t want to do them. Hell, he’ll even go as far as ignoring me. This morning I asked him to round up the garbage cans from upstairs so we could take the garbage to the curb this morning. Instead he sat himself in the living room chair to watch TV with his brother. HA! Nice try chach (after reading this definition we realized it fit Crash and Bang perfectly).

So my kids are two faced. Not so much bipolar, because they can change their mood like a light switch. I know it’s mostly all for show. It’s how they put up their fight. It’s how they let us know that something is bothering them. Unfortunately, their form of communication leaves a bit to be desired.

I’ve explained to Crash, often several times a day, that he has to do chores. He needs to help out around the house. Yesterday, I went as far as telling him that any mess, any garbage, anything of his that I have to clean up, I’m going to put in his bed. I’ve explained to Bang that he needs to use his words, not his feet and scream, to let me know he needs help.  I’ve even praised him for doing so. Hence, it’s a work in progress.

Much like the soft clay of pottery needs to be shaped and fired so too do our kids. We form them with gentle hands to create gentle humans. We hold them in the figurative fire, temper them with strict rules to make them respectful humans. We drink heavily after they’re in bed.

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