Wednesday, November 01, 2006


So my son's regressing.

He's having a hard time in school. Not with the schoolwork, per se, but with the discipline and accountability he needs to succeed in this classroom.

He's reverting sometimes to baby talk. Plus his selfishness has bumped up a notch.

My daughter's retreating.

She's getting quiet and introspective, hiding in her dolls and her books.

They've been through quite a bit in the past few years. As have I.

I spent a lot of time in the past week or so reflecting on these behaviors, and on my reactions to them. I've snapped at my son. I've ignored my daughter. I realized I've been regressing and retreating myself. Into my work. Into political discussions. Into various groups. Into the computer.

I decided steps must be taken.

I had a whole 'pep-talk' mapped out in my head for my daughter. I had a stern 'talking to' set to deliver to my son.

Then the most wonderful thing happened.

I said to myself: Fuck that shit.

Tonight, we went to a mexican restaurant. We laughed. And talked. We talked about our favorite songs. We talked about our favorite grains. Really. My son's partial to rice. I favored corn. My daughter's all about the triticale.*

Then we came home, and played Michigan Rummy, and drank apple pie milkshakes.**

Then it was time to brush teeth, a quick snuggle with daddy in his bed, and off to their own beds.

Will my son wake up tomorrow and not be selfish and frustrated with school? Will my daughter come out of her shell?

Possibly. Probably not. Maybe a little. Who knows?

I do know this: There's a better chance of it with constant love and gentle, positive parenting than there would have been with me just sitting down and yammering at them.

There's much more to parenting than just lecturing. In fact, if it gets to lecturing, then I need to re-evaluate what I do.


*No, not really.
**My own invention (I think). Blend 2-3 scoops of vanilla ice cream with 4-6 oz apple cider and 3 or 4 shakes (about 1/8 tsp) of cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg (optional). I'm thinking it might taste good with a jigger of rum poured into it as well, but I don't have any rum in the house, so that's just a guess. Besides, my kids only drink tequila.*


Blogger Åsa said...

Balloon Pirate: not having any children on my own, I’m not the appropriate person to give parental advice. Since I once was a child however, I do want to say that I think you are on to something though. I do believe that the healthiest thing a parent can do is be an example of a happy and content person. That way the children have a good “road map” to follow in life. What child REALLY listens to what grown-ups say? They watch what we do and follow our example – regardless whether it’s good or bad. Hanging out with your children, doing stuff you guys like, caring for each other, accepting the differences: that’s what will make them secure in them selves, for them to know that they are important. Still to this day I sometimes feel that it would be easier for me to be happy if my parents where happy and made healthy choices – today you know. Show your kids that it’s ok to be happy, healthy, creative, interested an all those other cool things. Sounds like that’s what you are doing.

3:55 AM  
Blogger Madame X said...

I never lecture my children either because quite frankly that's when they shut right down. You could se it in their eyes!

I agree with everything you did except the apple pie milk shakes...that's just gross

7:31 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Actually, the mikshakes are excellent. They taste just like apple pie with ice cream.


12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on man, keep up the love, that's all that counts.

2:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i like your approach.

and i want one of those shakes! the adult version, natch...

4:49 PM  
Blogger Heidi the Hick said...

You know, sometimes kids just get fed up too. We're all stressed out. I think it's great that you took the pressure off them. You know what? I bet you needed it too. Good for you.

And pie got Jethro thinking. He's wondering if they'd be good with real apple pie squashed up in there....

11:18 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

A footnote that references a prior footnote, so lovely and postmodern.

11:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was a great choice. I'm sure your kids just needed a break from the pressures of life. Cranky mentioned the other day that he wants us all to go do something fun when I get home.

Those milkshakes sound yummy. My kids love it when I get out the blender and mix up some type of smoothie or milkshake. I'll put that on my list for when I get home...

1:17 AM  
Blogger mal said...

Some times it is so hard.

Stay engaged, never quit, make the world as predictable as possible.

You are doing all that. The rest will some how take care of itself. They will know you love them

you are a hero


6:42 PM  
Blogger Colleen said...

i think that is the best philosophy. i mean, what is it my mom says? you catch more flies with honey? if you sit down and talk to them about it and have a good time, then things will happen. if you make a federal case out of it, it may get worse.

7:11 PM  
Blogger cadbury_vw said...

excellent approach

live the lecture

teaching by doing

good job in a hard situation

8:44 PM  

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