So… it snowed again last night and is thawing again today, for the fourth day in a row. Fresh snow in March means fresh mud. It has been three days of fresh mud, and I am going to go out way, way on a limb here, and suggest that the air in the house may be getting a little stale. Unless we want to live in mud, however, we have no choice but to live in our house. Probably for me the itchy feeling is amplified, because Gabe had to be in Pittsburgh for the first three days this week, doing a critical care course.
I think one of the main perks of homeschooling is that you get to spend life with your children. I also think one of the main downsides could be that you spend all of life with your children. 🙂 After so much rubbing shoulders, of chairs pushing after you wherever you go in the kitchen, of people everywhere, with pressing questions about their math lesson when you are in the bathroom…well, ordinary things just start to chafe.
It is my firm conviction that our need to be liked is just as strong as our need to be loved. They aren’t exactly the same, you know. Love is the abstract idea to a child… my parents will take care of me and look out for me, even at great personal cost. (Well, they don’t seem to have much conception of parental sacrifices, but you get what I mean.) “Like” is when a child knows that my parents enjoy spending time with me. They take pleasure in who I am. They notice me.
So here is where I am going with this: Days and days together where the “like” is getting thin. The atmosphere definitely needs an airing out.
So it is time to hit the reset button. It has really helped me to concentrate on what I like about my children, especially the one who has been in a lot of trouble lately. Sometimes I have to go back a little while to think of something 😉 but it is important that it is something specific. Then I call the child to me, get onto their level, smile into their eyes. “Do you know how glad I am that you are my son? I just really appreciate (insert appropriate praise).” It just restores fellowship immediately, and we like each other again.
For the occasions where a little child has been failing repeatedly and cannot seem to break out of the pattern of naughtiness, I say, “You know what? I have loved you from the minute you were born and I saw your little red face, all scrunched up.” And I launch into a story about when they were a baby. All of my children love this retelling of funny things they did or said. My parents did this for us a lot. It made me feel that they liked me, that they noticed me, and remembered the interesting things I did. I am sure that is why this works as a reset button for a little tyke. They get their mind off their obsession with pulling all the folded clothes out of their drawers and onto a better track. That is not to say that they don’t sometimes wander off into more mischief, but they tend to be more tractable when they feel liked.
Here are a few more things we do when we all feel crabby and housebound:
- have an impromptu tea with the China cups and a couple of candles lit
- bake cookies, chocolate chip cookies, to be specific
- assign everyone to a personal space on the couches, with no touching rules enforced, and listen to an audiobook
- clean up, each person picking up ten things, then rewarding ourselves with candy 😉
- comb hair and wash faces… my mom often said, “Go comb your hair. You will feel better.” It’s true.
I asked Gregory for three suggestions of what to do today, and here is his list:
- have a cleaning bee
- reeurange (sic) the house
- be lazy after work
I am sure some of you have excellent ideas for cheering the space where you live, cheering the people you live with. I would love to hear them!