My blog has moved! Redirecting...

You should be automatically redirected. If not, visit and update your bookmarks.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Don't Just Do Something; Sit There

Just a couple days ago I read this quote from my favorite magazine, "Don't just do something; sit there." It is of course a twist on the old challenge to get off our rumps and get going.

The quote was part of an article on how to deal with significant change in our lives. The author had recently lost her job and put together a list of suggestions for others navigating the choppy waters of transition.

I jumped on this article, because our family has been going through so much change this last two years. We've moved twice. Dwayne's gone back to school. We've had a daughter. And in just six short months, Dwayne will graduate and we will be moving again. This time to a destination that we can't even begin to guess at. We could move to another part of LA, or we could move out of state completely.

The options are limitless and while this uncertainty does inspire a certain amount of excitement in me, it also inspires the low pitch rumble of anxiety, churning and rolling like molten lava beneath the surface.

I don't want to loose more friends. Will I be able to make new friends? Will I like the new community we live in? Will I be able to continue my work? Will I be able to find a writing community? Will I be able to raise my daughter with out ANY family around?

The article talks about how in the midst of change we often spin out in a tizzy of activity, trying to create some sort of routine or sense of purpose for our lives. The result is exhaustion.

This part of the article put words to my experience. Since moving to La Verne, I've felt myself reaching out for all kinds of new commitments. I should join a Mommy and Me Class. I should volunteer at the Ruth House. I should start a mom's group. I should join a small group. I should, I should, I should, and all of these "shoulds" are wrapped up in the knowledge that in just six months, I'll be gone again.

All of these are feeble attempts to feel connected in a time when I feel so disconnected. And also an attempt to silence the voices in my head telling me that the answer to my sense of loss is to serve, serve, serve.

What a relief to be reminded that it's okay to let the terrain of my being lay fallow for a while. I need time to put roots down.

Of course, in the silence, there's no escaping the creeks and groans of uncertainty. Being still allows you no distractions, just the pain of healing.

Friday, November 06, 2009

The Perils of Learning to Speak

Yesterday, Noelle walked into the bathroom with her little car saying, "Itsa f**k. Itsa f**k."

What she was in fact trying to say was, "It's a truck. It's a truck." But the "tr" sound is a bit difficult when you're just barely two. For instance, she says the word "three" as "fee."

"That's a car!" I corrected.

She toddled back out of the bathroom. I continued to get ready.

A few minutes later she walked back in going "Itsa a f**k. Itsa f**k."

"It's a car, sweetie," I said trying not to laugh.

"No!" she insisted. "Itsa f**k."

Hmm. The dangers of learning a new language.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Lessons In Reasoning with a Two Year-old

Last week, I decided to try an experiment in discipline involving explaining to Noelle why I do or don't want her to engage in certain behaviors.

I'll begin this follow-up post with a quote from the comment section of the last post:

My friend and pseudo-big sister Erika Hettinger wrote, "If I may suggest...The true power of these conversations is having them BEFORE the behavior occurs. So, having the same exact same conversation that you had about Baby E~, but on the WAY to Baby E~'s house..."

Yes, yes, yes, yes! That was a major part of a two part discovery in this one week experiment.

On Monday morning Noelle, Dwayne and I sat around the breakfast table talking. "Noelle, guess who we're going to see today?" This is the way I start every Monday before we visit Baby E and his big brother and sister.

But that morning I wanted to remind her of the conversation we'd had last Monday about sharing. So I broached the subject. I reminded her about sharing with Baby E. She made the same irritated faces (Dwayne is witness to these expressions!).

"And if big brother takes a toy away from you, just let his mommy take care of it, okay? We don't need to throw a tantrum and cry. We just find a different toy." Yadda yadda the conversation went along like this for just a minute.

The result? Playtime was much more enjoyable this week! At least I felt alot more at ease. I sat next to Noelle and when Baby E took a toy I reminded her to let him have it. No tears.

The critical moment came when the big brother, a year older than Noelle, took a toy out of Noelle's hands. Last week this resulted in the worst tantrum of all, Noelle on the floor bawling, red face, big angry tears.

Immediately, Noelle screeched and started running after big brother "wait, wait!" she said in a little voice. I crouched down beside her and said, "Noelle, let his mommy take care of it," and I could say this because thankfully C-'s mommy is right on top of things. This makes my job with Noelle easier. I'm not sure what I'd tell Noelle to do with children who grab things at school or the playground, but for this situation, in this home, it's nice to know that my friend and I are on the same page.

Noelle stopped and looked at me. "Let's find another toy!" I chirped and she moved on. She was like, "no big deal." Tantrum evaded. It was a really exciting moment for me.

Okay, so my conclusion is exactly what Erika said: explaining before the behavior occurs seems to be a really powerful tool.

Conversely, I ran across a situation last week where explaining in the middle of the behavior did not go so well.

Cut back to the high chair at dinner time: Noelle was back to her old tricks throwing food off the tray. I took her out of the seat, told her "no." Said that I did not want her to throw food on the floor and why.

I put her back in the seat, gave her the food back, she looked at me and quick as a flash threw her sippy cup on the floor.

"Oh no you didn't!" I said staring her down. She promptly went into time out.

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Unforgiving Redemption of Teaching

So here's the latest post on Open Salon. Teaching is perhaps on of the most searing ways to learn about yourself, but the experience is redemptive if you have the courage to face the reflection of yourself in your student's eyes.

Please swing by, take a look and enjoy!

Very soon to come: the results of my experimentation with explanation! We went back to our friend's house today to play and I have much to tell you about the experience.

I hear Noelle in the background, just woken up from her nap. Alas, the writing must wait! But I will return as soon as I can! :-)