I Miss the Village by Bunmi Laditan. If only life was still that simple.
And if you haven’t read her blog, The Honest Toddler, DO IT.
Any blog post that compares a day with kids to “a huge goat rodeo” is gem. My house has felt like a goat rodeo all summer.
Goat Rodeo days. These involve multiple kids, all mobile and past the napping years, seemingly bent on devising complex plots to undermine your attempts to even start any item on the day’s to-do list.
On days like this, I can’t wait to hit the Sweet Spot. When the kids are old enough to entertain themselves. When no one needs me to give them a snack or a juice, or a band-aid, or even a hug.
We’re not there yet. I yell a lot. I have butts to wipe. I hear mamamamamamamamama ALL. DAY. LONG. And sleeping through the night means I fell asleep putting the boys to bed and decided not to bother getting into my own bed.
But all these things that drive me bananas mean that they need me. And someday they won’t.
I realize it’s been forever and a day, but there is so much truth in this post from Glennon Melton at Momastery that I had to share:
If you’ve read my older posts, you know that my kindergartener had a sh*tty teacher for the first half of the year. His new teacher is fabulous — caring, calm, the right kind of stern at the right times, and she knows how to get through to the kids. She started 2 months ago, and everyone in the class has come so far in that short amount of time. They are writing, sounding out words independently, counting, and understanding numbers, but most of all, they are enjoying themselves in school! Here they are at pajama day today:
I had such high hopes for my family’s involvement with BPS. I wanted to be that parent — going to parent council meetings, making brownies for bake sales, selling raffle tickets and what-have-you to raise money for art/music/gym programs, doing craft projects with the kids at afterschool, telling everyone I met to give public schools a chance. I wanted to be part of the system working to improve the system for everyone’s sake. His school is wonderful in so many ways, and is getting better every year. There is a strong sense of community, a very active parent council, diverse student population, and an amazing principal who is clearly committed to the kids educational experience.
But we’re leaving BPS.
Last December, I was so fed up with the school situation that I had to look into other options. In addition to researching home-schooling, I applied to just one private school. I was not expecting anything to come of it — there were 5 slots available and 25 applicants. I said, and I believed it, that we’d be happy staying put if we didn’t get in. I was in shock when we got the call this week that he has been accepted, and they are giving us an aid grant we’d be crazy to turn down.
Our public school experience has been a roller coaster ride, and seeing my child completely petrified in his kindergarten class was the lowest low. As much as I would like to follow Gandhi’s directive to “be the change you want to see in the world,” I am a mother first.
The ultimate shopping faux pas: pooping at Anthropologie. We’re at the local mall where there’s a playspace. I was hoping to get some design inspiration; instead, I have a grunting, stinky two-year-old. He’s telling me to go away (he likes his privacy for a #2). Next time I won’t let him eat an entire pint of strawberries for breakfast.
Thanks to my network of amazing moms, I came across this NPR story from 2008: Old-Fashioned Play Builds Serious Skills. Listen to the original airing of the show here. Researchers say that unstructured play not only helps children develop creativity and imagination, but also self-regulation.
It turns out that all that time spent playing make-believe actually helped children develop a critical cognitive skill called executive function. Executive function has a number of different elements, but a central one is the ability to self-regulate. Kids with good self-regulation are able to control their emotions and behavior, resist impulses, and exert self-control and discipline.
I’m a huge fan of giving kids space to do their own thing. Coming from a family who restricted my activities to avoid injury, failure and conflict, I want my boys to have more freedom than I did. Freedom to play, imagine, invent, make messes, be loud, and yes, to fall.
One of the best parenting books I ever read is The Blessing Of A Skinned Knee by Wendy Mogel. Whenever I see H doing crazy things like hanging upside-down on the monkey bars, I remember this book. And I remember that these are things I never had the courage to attempt as a child.
On this particular day, I fought against my over-protective mothering instincts and encouraged H to let go of the bar with his hands so he could just hang by his feet. He didn’t want to because it was too scary, but he said he’d try it when he’s 6. Whew, was that a sign of self-regulation? Maybe I’m doing something right as a parent.
Blankie, lovey, comfort object. In my family, it’s called a “bappy.” That was H’s pronunciation of “blankie” when he first became attached to his. At age 5 1/2, after a day of attitude and back-talking, he still cuddles with Tiger Bappy every night.
We have quite the bappy collection, all from Angel Dear with the cute animal heads and little nubbies on the corners. A blue lamb is the original bappy. We stocked up on two more of the same once I realized he could sleep anywhere as long as he had Bappy. Within a few months, we rounded out our menagerie with a Monkey Bappy and Tiger Bappy, emergency purchases made when we forgot to bring one with us. And so, the three lambs became known as Sheepie Bappy. They were more or less interchangeable, until H developed a preference for Monkey at around 2 years old. And for some unknown reason, he dumped Monkey for Tiger later on. I got him a second Tiger so that we’d have a spare, but he always knew which Tiger was The One, so Tiger Two was shelved along with the other cast-offs. In case you’ve lost count, we own six in all.
When D came along, I thought we had this bappy thing figured out. We didn’t buy him his own (bad mama!), we just used H’s old ones. We consciously kept them all in rotation so that he wouldn’t develop a preference for one over the other, and they got loved and laundered equally. What ended up happening? Just before he turned 2, he came to the realization that Tiger, Monkey and Sheepie were different. He now sleeps with all three…
Oh well. It is what it is.