Thursday, 29 October 2015

October - taking stock...

Mrs Woog - WHERE would I be without you some days...? I've had a huge list of writing to dos, and top of the list has been paid work, so that had to come first. now I'm left with a backlog of blogging that has to be done. So, to kick start that, I'm taking the 'easy' way out and pinching this idea from Mrs Woog again - I did one of these a while back and found it to be an interesting exercise. Feel free to pinch it from me, and also to drop some of your stuff from the list into the comments - sharing is caring, and all that know...!

Making: A new dress for the first time in absolutely forever. It's cut out and ready to go.
Cooking: Lots of different vegetable dishes - tired of salads all the time.
Drinking: Monkey 47 Dry Gin with Fevertree tonic. AWESOME.
Reading: Second Half First, Drusilla Modjeska. Actually, just finished it, now going back and rereading bits. Look for a review on Books Anonymous soon...
Wanting: More new books by Drusilla Modjeska, and to meet her again (bucket list item).
Looking: At my list of things to do - I wish someone could explain to me how lists just keep growing...
Playing: Scrabble on Facebook! So much fun.
Deciding: That I really do need to start de-cluttering instead of just thinking about it.
Wishing: That the de-cluttering fairies would come and do their magic so I don't have to actually DO the de-cluttering!
Enjoying: Writing blog posts where I don’t really have to think to hard, like this one! Thanks Mrs Woog! (Stole this response too...)
Waiting: To move to Melbourne - been waiting for a year's getting old.
Liking: Balmy days with a crisp breeze.
Wondering: How my eldest will go in his first full length triathlon this weekend at Noosa.
Loving: Dragon Dad. Yeah, I know...mushy moment.
Pondering: All sorts of weirdly existential things that I can't put neatly into a line or two.
Considering: Different ways to build Dragon Mother...
Buying: Books.
Watching: The new season of The Good Wife, and enjoying the change of pace.
Hoping: The games will stop and Dragon Dad will be able to move the business forward to the next stage without any more of the turkey cock posturing that's going on...
Marvelling: That the road toll isn't considerably higher, given some of the stupid things I've seen people doing on the road lately.
Cringing: The bright young things with their bottoms hanging out of too short shorts - HOW is that attractive?
Questioning: Why so many people I know seem to be going through such a hard time lately.
Smelling: Freshly mown grass - they must have just done the lawns in the park across the road.
Wearing: Best $100 I've spent in a long time: THIS
Following: SciBabe - new Facebook page that pokes at all the 'woo' out there - the anti vaxxers, paleo nuts, etc... Brilliant - sarcastic satire.
Noticing: How much thinner my hair is getting, and that the grey hairs aren't blending so much into the natural streaks as much as making a definite statement...
Knowing: The hair loss is the bloody disease and accompanying drugs, and I can't stop it.
Thinking: I really need to clear my desk - it's seriously messy.
Admiring: The spirit I see in so many people fighting serious illness.
Sorting: Books - they're all over the house again. I swear they have legs...until it's time to get back to the shelves...
Getting: Very tired of being sick and needing to be MORE inspired by the fighting spirit of other people with chronic disease so I can find my mojo again.
Coveting: More of the range from the boutique at Double Bay I love...
Disliking: Getting in the car after the stepson has driven it and being blasted out through the back window by the volume of the radio!
Opening: The front door which the stepson keeps dead bolting when he comes in late - heaven help that we have a night time emergency!
Giggling: At the antics of my cats - they're good for a few laughs every day!
Feeling: Weary. The disease seems to be changing again and it's wearing. Either that, or the drugs aren't working any more...
Snacking: Grissini - NOM!
Helping: A few people I know who are battling at the moment - at least, I hope I'm helping!
Hearing: Lots of music I used to play in orchestras when I played French Horn - I miss it.
Needing: A HOLIDAY! Seriously - it's been two years since Dragon Dad and I last got away.

I remember, last time I did a post like this, finding it an interesting process, and being surprised how long it actually takes to work through a list like this! I'll be interested to hear from any of my readers if they do one - and what it might look like...

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Growing out of tantrums

Cartoon by Basley

Today, I caught up - on the phone - with an old friend that I've not spoken to in ages. Way too long. She's known my kids since they were small, so there were lots of questions and fillings in about where they're at and what they're doing these days. And also a lot of reminiscing about different stages we went through, the kids and I, and the involvement she had with them - an un-asked for loan helped me get No.1 out of the school where he was unhappy and into the university school for his final year, and that couldn't have happened without her help. 

She made me realise, in the telling, that if anyone asked me for my parenting philosophy - which I'd not really considered in any containable way - I'd have to come down to it being all about logic. This wasn't something calculated. Definitely not something I sat down and thought about before I put it into action. It was something I arrived at by accident, often when I had my back hardest against the wall when they were trying something on and I was desperate. 

Logic takes a lot of the angst out of dealing with tough situations. Allowing for the fact that most kids will keep arguing long after it's sensible when they're trying to prove a point or really want something, it also robs them of fodder for most arguments. 

For instance, No.2 was a hard nut to crack with acting out. Unlike No.1, who's a bit of a control freak, No.2, when his dander was up, really didn't care what anyone thought, so was eminently capable of acting out no matter where we were. The horrors of the public toddler tantrum are all too well known to most parents, and we had more than our fair share of those. I did walk away and leave him writhing and screaming on the floor in supermarkets when he lost the plot - many times. I endured the 'bad mother' glares that were shot at me at point blank range by the holier than thou bystanders too. The reality was, as long as No.2 had me engaged, he was going to keep going - while his vocal cords lasted! Walking away becomes the only defence. There comes a point though, when that all changes. 

I remember the occasion - in yet another supermarket - when he lost the plot over something - what it was, I can't remember... He must have been 9 or 10 by then. I was aware of the looks - hard not to be. But I realised that the condemnation wasn't being directed at me. It was landing fair and square on HIM. I had an epiphany that day, and had the presence of mind to deliver it to him. Speaking VERY quietly - because that's all they hear when they're sounding off and kicking the trolley - I got very close to his face and informed him that if he thought he could shame me into doing what he wanted by chucking a tantrum in the supermarket then he needed to do a very fast rethink. He wasn't getting ANY sympathy from passers by, because I was getting all of that. He was too big for me to be blamed for his bad behaviour at that stage. He was clearly old enough to know much better. Having told him that, I grabbed the trolley and moved on. He was VERY shocked. I remember that. He shut up fast too, and scuttled after me. 

Did it stop the tantrums? Not straight away. He was too much in the habit of them, and too darned stubborn to give them up straight away. But reminding him that he was creating a situation that got ME a lot of sympathy, while he gained nothing, did cut them short and slowly they lessened. It got so that I could shoot him the death stare - Dragon Dad calls it my 'school teacher look' - and he'd swallow down whatever was about to erupt. 

Cause and effect. Consequences. Hit them with logic. It's really hard to argue against clear logic. 

You want a note for the teacher to excuse the homework not having been done? Really? And WHY wasn't it done? Oh, that's right, you decided, despite reminders, that playing cricket with the neighbourhood kids, followed by mucking around in your room instead of just getting it done was a better option. You'll get into trouble without a note? I'm sure you is that MY problem? It's not my problem, it's your problem. YOU didn't do the homework. I didn't do anything to stop you doing it... YOU made that decision. So YOU need to tell the teacher and deal with whatever she decides is an appropriate consequence. That's not fair? HOW is that not fair? YOUR homework, YOUR decision, YOUR consequence. 

Logic. It's a beautiful thing.