Monday, May 25, 2015

My work here is done

Last night I heard this:

Sonia: Mom, can we have dessert?

Jack: Sonia! No, we had two treats today. We can't have dessert.

This is the first time in 8.5 years I have felt like my parenting had some positive effect.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Co-parenting with JK Rowling

Around 2 years ago we started listening to the Harry Potter series. We have now listened to books 1-6 together. We have heard each book AT LEAST 3 times. We all love these books. I've decided that next to Anna Karenina, JK Rowling's creation is my second favorite in all of story-telling. One of the reasons I love the series so much is that it helps me explain difficult things to my kids. Here are a few examples:

1. The kids started talking about what they'd learned about Martin Luther King in school. I talked about the parallel between Dumbledore's battle and the battle for civil rights. I even addressed the idea of benign evil using Cornelius Fudge, the minister who desperately wants to deny the truth so he spends a lot of energy hiding it.

2. They were very sad when Sirius Black was killed. They understood that it left Harry more alone in the world and wondered why Sirius died. I explained that some people feel so strongly about fighting for a cause that they are willing to die for it. My dad felt this way. They see the greater good as more important than their own lives. Many great leaders die for their cause as do many warriors.

3.  They had lots of questions about why Prof Lockhart was such a douche. They didn't use that word although Jack has picked up the swear word 'damn' from Arthur Weasley. We had long discussions about how he is self-centered, acts only when it benefits him and doesn't mind harming others in the process. They get that Lockhart is not inspiring.

4. In The Prisoner of Azkaban, Prof. Lupin teaches the students how to fight a bogart. A bogart takes the shape of your greatest fear. You must shout 'ridiculous!' and focus on transforming your fear into something that makes you laugh. Bogarts are far less frightening in groups because they can't find a definitive form amidst many people. Also, we learn that the way to deal with the after-effect of a soul-draining Dementor is to eat chocolate.

5. The most repulsive characters in Harry Potter - the Dursleys, the deatheaters and Voldemort - are those who hate. The only time Dumbledore yells at Harry is in the 6th book when he explains that love is why Harry will win and has already won. He tells him that love will be Voldemort's downfall because he doesn't understand its power. As the book has progressed we talk more about the power of love and compassion and the way it helps Harry through his journey. For example, the house elves save Harry's life and sacrifice their own simply because Harry has been kind to them.

Jack, especially, seems uninterested in talking about the real world so in discussing the plot of Harry Potter I feel like I get to talk to him about the real world through that magical one. This will likely continue for years and I am so grateful to JK Rowling for opening this door for us.
We were very excited to find a horcrux yesterday. The kids touched it to see what happened. 

Friday, May 15, 2015

Not knowing

This week, I decided I would stop nagging Jack about brushing his teeth. I tell him if he doesn't brush his teeth, he doesn't get points. He gets a lot of points for brushing his teeth. Without these points, he doesn't get much screen time that day. Knowing this, it seems Jack is having an internal battle. In the morning when it's time to go to school, he has not brushed his teeth. He then proceeds to become enraged. It's quite a scene. I've decided to stop punishing, yelling and in general, reacting, to these scenes. It is his choice. Usually, after school, he will brush his teeth.

What am I doing? 

Jack needs to brush his teeth. I am not going to restrain him to do it. He needs to be motivated yet the choice I have given him causes a great deal of rage. At this point, it seems I have to accept the rage. It's trying.

On a side note, when Jack does finally brush his teeth, he hums. Every. single. time.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

I decided I'd like to visit the Olympic National Park for Mother's day. We drove to my mom's then, Saturday morning, up to Port Angeles and the park. It was a warm, beautiful day. We hiked to a waterfall and played in the nearly-freezing water along the trail.  Then we walked on to Lake Crescent where we lounged by the lake. We ate lunch in front of the water and mountains and hung out in adirondack chairs.  We drove on to Sol duc hot springs (disappointing.. imagine a poorly-maintained public pool with too many people. I was also reminded of something a friend said about Great Wolf lodge "it's lucky that diabetes is not contagious).  We headed back to Port Angeles for dinner. The kids did great and we were all really tired.

It seems no vacation is complete unless Jack vomits so sure enough, at 1030pm, he woke up and with no warning threw up everything he had eaten. I cleaned it all.  No one else realized what happened. He seems fine this morning.

Happy mother's day.