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Posts tagged ‘Child’

Raising resilient, capable children without the bubble wrap

Bubble Wrap

Image via Wikipedia

I have watched my children do some really amazing things and  I am often suprised by how capable, resilient, funny and loving they are and then I remember that it is not by coincidence or magic that they came to be this way.

This caused me to reflect on why my children, in varying degrees, are the way they are; critical thinkers, problem-solvers, ‘doers’, funny, loving and emotionally resilient. This is, by no means a how to, more of a how come post.

My comedic family

DO NOT ENTER WITHOUT A SENSE OF HUMOUR

That about sums up the way things are here. Self  deprecation, dry wit, nonsense talk, family language, inside jokes and general goofiness is all part of the atmosphere at  Chez Vix. Laughter, humour and fun are a magic recipe for developing self-esteem. It’s even better when you can laugh at yourself. If not, there will always be someone here to do it for you. The key here is finding the right balance so that no one feels like a joke but are rather part of the joke.  The children never stood a chance.

Working  it out

I figured the best way to teach my children was to let them work things out for themselves with guidance. How do children learn and master skills if they don’t get to ‘do’. My father used to admonish me for the things I let my children do but I refused to mollycoddle them. Bubble wrap belongs at the post office and messes can always be cleaned. Master 6 used a knife from a young age. They have all used a screwdriver to take apart objects and see how they work. Master 6 made me a cup of coffee for the first time last week. Bieber can chop vegetables like a pro. The Princess has been cooking, without supervision, for the last two years ( she just needs to work on the cleaning up part of the process!) and loves to mow the lawn. Red has performed many science experiments (today was build a sparkler bomb day – my only advice –  someone please film it). All children should climb trees, ride a bike on the road and jump on a trampoline. It was interesting to see the trampoline inverted one day and the boys launching themselves against it. There have been numerous obstacle courses, dubious structures and elaborate game play. The children have always tested boundaries and their own limits but they have learned a hell of a lot along the way. I have taken my part as safety monitor, mediator, facilitator and paramedic. Yes, there have been some injuries but everything is dangerous if you don’t have the necessary skills or mind-set to ‘do’. See 50 Dangerous Things (you should let your children do). Not for the faint-hearted. The important thing here is; children are allowed to make mistakes, learn from them and try again.

The Rubber Band Theory

Emotional resilience – the ability to bounce back from the situations that life presents. My children are rubber bands. I don’t know how they came to be this way, but I’m guessing that stepping out of the picture and giving them the dialogue to negotiate problems and situations for themselves has probably been the contributing factor. I love that they get angry at each other, it’s healthy. It’s even better when I hear this, ‘See this? This is my angry face. You wanna piece of this?’  My father passed away in September, 2010. That was a big test, for all of us. It still is. We just talked our way through all the hurt, upset and anger. The Princess and Bieber have experienced bullying at school and while that breaks my heart for them, I had to overcome my own feelings and help them work out strategies to deal with it. The princess adopted the ‘delete’ technique where she deleted negative people from Facebook, her social set and most importantly, her mind. Bieber took the ‘ Emo/Shuffle, water off an ignorant duck’s back approach’ where he would hide under his enormous fringe, turn his back and shuffle. He completely ignores any person that is not worthy of his attention. I noticed this odd behaviour at graduation but trusted his judgement. He only allows positive people to enter his ‘mental domain’.  My children all have their own interests and strengths as well as their foibles. Each child is valued and respected for what they can and can’t do. However, do expect a good-natured ribbing (please refer to My comedic family) with the underlying message of ‘we love you for you’.

English: Rubber bands in different colors. Stu...

Love happens

I believe that it is not enough to tell your children you love them. You have to show it. Maybe that is why my children are the way they are. The power is in the ‘doing’ not the ‘saying’. My husband is not a big one for expressing his emotions verbally but there is not one person in this house that would doubt his love for them. The rough and tumble play, the joking and the ‘being’ is all part of the recipe for love. I had a secret giggle when I overheard my husband on the phone to his boss telling him that he hadn’t had a sleep (shift worker) because he was cooking naan bread with The Princess. One rainy weekend minus the shift working husband we were all a bit deflated. The Princess pulled out a 1000 piece puzzle and we all took turns adding to it throughout the day. 14 hours of love in that little display below.

14 hours of love in this thing

There were actually two more people under there!

I have realised that children don’t care what they are doing as long as they are doing it with you.

The Princess gets a birthday hug from Master 6

Love helps children develop good self-esteem. They learn where they belong in this crazy world and find ways to connect with others. It’s healthy. Our refrigerator is full of love. Photos, paintings and inspirational quotes that fly off when the door opens. I really need a cork board.

As I am writing this, I have just been handed a cupcake with Love written on top in pink icing. The Princess is busily cooking in the kitchen. I have just been handed another and couldn’t decipher the pink icing word on top. Happens, The Princess tells me, rolling her eyes. Love Happens.

Author: Bagande

Image via Wikipedia

It all comes down to this

Put on your Mother Shield

Shield

Today was one of those days.  If ever I needed my mother shield it was today.

What, I hear you ask, is a mother shield?  My Mother Shield is that little invisible force field that fends off

all the awful things that my children say from time to time when they don’t have the words to vocalise how they feel or what is upsetting them and it just comes out like a diatribe.

Here are some of the things my mother shield has had to deflect today and the proper translations:

  • Mum, I hate you…… Mum, I am so angry with you
  • You’re so mean…….I am angry that you won’t let me play with my remote control car outside in the street when it’s dark
  • I’m not ever going to cuddle you again, EVER………I am upset now and need to calm down
  • You are the worst mother ever……….Why can’t I stay up late when I am rubbing my eyes, whining and can barely stand up?
  • I’m finding another Mummy………Please see previous attack
  • You never play with me anymore, you should leave………I would really like  you to play with me like we did yesterday. Right now.
  • Why don’t you just find another little boy to be mean to……….Again, the remote control car issue ( see previous)
  • You don’t understand me, go away……..I’m really upset that you’re not taking my side and you should really be speaking to The Princess now about what SHE did
  • You never listen to me, EVER……..(See previous)
  • I don’t want you, I want Daddy…………Maybe if I ask Dad, HE will let me

Sometimes these little attacks do chip away at my Mother Shield and I have to hide my face away for a little tear. Some days I hide to giggle. It all depends on how stressed I am or what is happening at the time.

You see, I must have my Mother Shield on….because I shed all the Mother Guilt and I need something to absorb all those angry words floating around out there.

 

 

No Xbox today for ye have sinned

Xbox logo

There are times, as parents, we need to give  our children consequences for poor choices. This might include, but is not limited to: the withdrawal of privileges, the good old-fashioned “you’re grounded” or a time out.

In my home, the Xbox is the first sacrifice of battle. If you don’t do your chores, there is no time for playing just as if Mum doesn’t do the grocery shopping we don’t eat . Hitting your sister will get you a stint on your bed, thinking about why that is not such a good way of dealing with issues followed by a discussion on the right thing to do after you have calmed down. Going to the park without telling your mother and giving her an ulcer will guarantee you don’t go anywhere for a few days plus a lecture from Mum and a stern warning from Dad. Everyone has their assigned ‘corners’ in case a wrestling match begins that would rival any WWE event and I cannot physically referee said event at the time.

English: World Wrestling Entertainment Superst...

Our house at 6pm every night

My children have handed each other consequences for what they consider inappropriate behaviour in what can only be described as Judge Judy meets The Super Nanny.

Judge Judy

It's getting like that here

These are some of the questions I have asked myself since I saw this strange phenomena appearing. How do you argue with that? Actually, is that right? Is that normal? Will that damage my children’s relationships with each other? Here are some of the behaviours I have observed this week alone:

  • Master 6 emphatically justifying why he had to take the Xbox cord from Bieber ( who is 12)
  • The Princess (11 years) telling Bieber he needs a time out to calm down ( and then proceeds to tell him he needs more sleep – it will improve his mood)
  • Bieber telling Red (who is 7 years his senior and has just moved back home) that he should get a full-time job or Mum and Dad will cut your internet – “that’s the way it works around here you know”
  • The Princess explaining to Master 6 that he needs to stop running in the house because he’s going to hurt himself or –  “you’re going to your corner”
  • Bieber telling Master 6 that if he doesn’t hurry up and take his bath then he will miss out on the family movie and go to bed early

I’m just starting to wonder if they are going to set consequences for me soon.

Why I won’t be nominated for mother of the year

We are well and truly in the thick of school holidays here, in Australia. I am a mother to Master 6, The Princess, Bieber and Red. I am also studying my bachelor degree in education and have an essay, an Eportfolio and two other assignments due in three weeks. My husband works night shift. It is two weeks before Christmas and we have a guest arriving from overseas on Monday that we haven’t seen in two years. These are the makings of some fairly weird, ill timed and poor choices in parenting at the moment. We have no routine, bare cupboards and children coming and going in all directions. It is complete and utter mayhem.

I am pretty certain I won’t be nominated for mother of the year. Here is why:

  • Our Christmas tree has been sitting bare for two weeks and was only assembled because The Princess dragged it out of the garage and put it together. We decorated it yesterday and afterwards decided it looks like a dog’s breakfast. Red arrived home from Rockhampton last night, took a brief look and said “Tree looks good”. I said brief
  • There is nothing under the Christmas tree except for three skipping ropes, unwrapped. I have not done any form of Christmas shopping, baking or decorating except for the tree ( and we all know how that turned out)
  • Actually, I lie…there is an advent calendar I made for the children. It is missing days 16 – 21 because Red and my husband ate the treats when I was making it. I bought more treats but never got around to make days 16-21 and the children ate the treats this afternoon when all their friends were over.
  • We have been staying up watching movies and not taking notice of the time. My husband got home from night shift at 2am and we were still awake. The children were hyped up and we were subjected to animal noises and giggling until 2.30am
  • It has been 3.5 days since my children ate vegetables

    This looks about right

Image via tumblr.com

  • Getting like this

...and this

...and almost as bad as this

  • I let my children stay in their PJs until the afternoon, sleep in and eat chocolate for breakfast. So did I.

Image via millionlooks.com

Just like this

  • The Princess has become a better house keeper than me
  • I have not cooked a family meal in 3 days
  • Bieber had a friend over this afternoon and I forgot to shut the bathroom door. That was very nearly a horrific moment for all of us.
  • We missed our craft activity morning at the library because we stayed up, danced to music and watched movies together
  • I have not read a book to Master 6 in 7.5 days
  • We ate meals at 8pm 3 days this week
  • Bieber actually did a little shuffle on stage at his graduation ceremony after he received his senior award. I believe this is because I did not give him a pep talk beforehand and I don’t bat an eyelid when my children shuffle : in the library, car park, grocery store, hospital waiting room or wherever they feel the beat. Threshhold of acceptance = high. Setting of boundaries=low
  • Master 6 wanted to know why his clothes drawers were empty today
  • I did not know it was Friday today. All day.

OMG

Image via sodahead.com

Image via fondosdibujosanimos.com

Not me

I had no clue what day it was!
  • I let The Princess talk me into letting her watch a horror movie  and then she was so scared she slept in our bed. She has not done that in 3 years.
  • We are running out of essentials. We never run out of essentials. I could not run the dishwasher tonight because there were no tablets left.

The funny thing is…I do not feel bad. I do not feel guilty( see my post Mother Guilt).  The children are smiling, laughing, enjoying themselves and pitching in with things around the home. They are capable, smart, creative, polite and respectful. My husband is not admonishing me but supporting me.  Things are not planned, regimented, ordered or even done around here. I’m OK with that.

Not me

Not me

Image via barnados.org.au

Mum, you’re a toolbox – thanks for the memories

Tonight,I decided not to do the dishes or the laundry and ignored my dirty floor. Instead, I played with my son.

I love the nonsense times, the uncontrollable giggling and the ridiculous words that ensue. Tonight was no different.

Nonsense

Master 6 is still young enough to enjoy the silly use of words, nonsense rhymes and a good old tickle session. I know that perhaps by this time next year, he will not. Sitting on the couch tonight, we were making up ridiculous names for our body parts. With each new expression came loud bursts of laughter and goofiness and some of it was him too. Our legs were labelled body-transporters, our arms became go-getters, our bellies were described as recycle bins and our bottoms are now affectionately called waste disposal units. Ears are earba speakers (he used to say earba when he was a toddler, instead of ear) and eyes are radar readers. Utter silliness that probably doesn’t sound all that funny to you, dear readers but, to us, we were absolutely the next best thing in comedy.

But wait. Master 6 points to his head and asks, “What do we call this Mum?”  “Hmmm”, I said “That is your toolbox”

“You’re a toolbox, Mum” he said to me with a huge grin and eyes fixated on mine. He may as well have told me I was the best Mum in the whole world because at that very moment, when my son told me I was a toolbox, he told me how much he loved me.

Playing with your children and making memories. That’s just about the finest moments parenting offers. When your children grow up they will not remember if the dishes were done on time. They will not remember how dirty the floor was some days and nor will they remember if laundry was sitting, waiting to be washed ( please, please don’t read Mother Guilt now). Children remember stories told,fun times, adventures taken, great memories made and they should all involve you. It is not too long before they get older and don’t want to be around you that much. They grow up and spend less time at home and they move out. Then they come back.

Mother Guilt

Mother Guilt. Come on, you all know it. That little voice inside our head. That running commentary. That ability to go from super-mum to beating yourself up in five seconds flat.It might sound a little something like this:

Have I spent enough time with the children today? Should I feel guilty for taking that half-an-hour bath listening to screaming and arguing outside the closed door? Am I a horrible mother because my kids didn’t brush their teeth/have a bath/eat vegetables today? I’m a working mother and I can’t attend all the school functions/help out with tuckshop/take a place on the P & C. I don’t make play-dough for my children, they’re ruined for life. There are no clean clothes in my children’s drawers. The house isn’t super clean because I watched a movie and ate chocolate. I was late for parade and missed my daughter’s band recital. I couldn’t afford to send my son to school camp this year. Is a hole going to open up and swallow me because my children aren’t in a routine? My children are still in their school uniforms at 9pm dancing to party Rock Anthem in the lounge room and (I am videoing it). We had dinner at 8pm tonight because I was tired and hadn’t done the grocery shopping. My daughter is struggling at school because I don’t spend 1.5 hours a night helping her with her homework or have a tutor.I have done these things and lived the guilt. I have had mothers come to me asking advice. I have heard all the mother guilt. It has to stop.

The truth is…so what. Do not compare yourself to Mrs Got It All Together who lives at number 49 down the street. Don’t compare yourself to Mrs Just Woke Up with a Latte in my Hand Perfectly Made-Up Designer Clothed Pram-Pushing Everywhere at the Right Time Routine is What It’s All About What’s Wrong With You? from Play Group.

Embrace the mother that you are. If your kids are laughing, learning, happy, growing and have friends…you’re doing something right. Children are flexible. Children will forgive small transgressions. Love them, play with them and have fun. The rest will take care of itself. Stop feeling guilty. I did and it was wonderfully liberating.

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