Thursday, December 16, 2010

Wish List

This morning I took the boys to meet Carol. She's a Waldorf-trained Early Childhood Educator. I feel as if I'm drowning and have been in uncontrollable tears more days than not lately. The boys are feral monkeys and I'm a sleep-deprived zombie with all the patience and nurturing of a sack of rocks. It's a wild time of year, there's crazy energy in the air and the boys are broadcasting all my negativity back at me at twice the volume.
I needed help. Carol's Calm Parenting approach appealed to me. Her home sits in a beautiful historic area of the city. It's all hardwood floors and clean lines inside. Very soothing. It felt homey and comfortable and smelled fresh - lavender and other herbs lightly scented the air. I never wanted to leave. Her playroom is on the third floor; a sunny and bright space with quietly tucked away baskets of toys - which the boys dumped out unceremoniously into a huge pile. My favourite was a large felted turtle with a pocket on each end that contained a total of 4 baby turtles. There were hand-knit animals: lots of cats, ducks, geese. And adorable crocheted farm animals. And lots of wooden cars, trucks and trains - "Made with homemade wood, mama!" Elliot exclaimed.

The boys played and discovered, giving Carol and I time to talk. When I told her I was in school, working, and running my own small business in addition to being a mom and housewife (I like that term, so sue me!), she put down her notebook and gave me a long look. And I cried. We watched the boys play and soon enough, they began to fight over the same basket of toys. Before I could drum up the energy to step in, Carol quietly asked me to simply observe for a few minutes.

Elliot exerted his authority. Felix whined and screamed and followed his big brother all over the room. I was on edge and Carol remarked that yes, it was a highly annoying sound! She made gentle comments: to Felix, "Yes, you do really want that toy, I can tell", and to Elliot "He really wants to play too. What can we do?" Very quickly, Elliot came over to me and spread out a small red blanket that was in the basket and then set up for a picnic. Felix whined louder but came over to investigate when Elliot out out a dish for him. And just like that, the tears were gone and we were having a nice picnic together. Eventually, Elliot went to play with something else and Felix climbed over our 'table' and claimed the bowl of felted fruit for his own.
The Felted Pear
They actually solved their own issue. When I told Jay about it tonight, he pointed out that it was over an easily shareable toy, which was lucky. The other night, when Elliot was playing with his Lego and Felix wanted a closer look, Elliot became so enraged he got in Felix's face and bit him on the bridge of his nose, breaking the skin in 2 spots. Which nicely matched the scrape down Felix's cheek from Elliot's fingernail when they fought over a Christmas decoration the day before. I want to let them figure things out on their own, but 1) Felix has got the "Someone broke my puppy!" scream and tears down to a science and 2) Things escalate quickly and seemingly without notice.
The Wood Garden
My homework is to start a notebook chronicling altercations the boys have with each other or with me and to exam what was happening at that moment - was I on the computer? Off my game due to exhaustion or hunger - or were they? Were we just coming home? Getting ready to go out? Rushed? Late? Whatever. I know many, if not all, of those situations are the hot button times around here, so I will be watching for them.

Additional homework is a change in how we come home on the 3 daycare nights per week. Usually, I pick them up at the last possible minute, bringing a snack for them with me. We get home, undress and then they watch TV while I get supper ready. The new routine will be similar, but instead of a full snack when I pick them up, they'll get something much smaller. And then when we get home, we'll just sit together, having another snack or tea or something for 10-15 minutes, and then I'll slip out to get supper ready. With their help. Setting the table, whatever. This means I'll need to alter my timetable a bit, which is possible, and I'll pick them each up a bit earlier so we don't end up eating supper at bedtime. Meal planning (which we already do) will be key.
Oh, and I'm going to drop my lone winter course that starts in 3 weeks' time. It's an unnecessary stress, since I have to admit that I can't be superwoman and do everything at once. There. You've got it in writing. I may never admit that again. I will be going back to class full time in September, and that one measly little class will just have to wait until then. As soon as she suggested it - and it wasn't even a suggestion, just a subtle questioning of my need to take that course right now - and it felt like the right choice. And Jay wholeheartedly agrees. I'll be working 3-5 full days a week from January-April, so I don't know why or when I thought I would fit in school. Plus my business. Since I have a small client base, I should be able to handle that. As long as I don't take on any new clients.  Or any extra businesses. (I've recently become an independent Epicure Selections consultant. I loooove their product but doing home parties kinda scares me. Maybe over the summer I'll jump back into that??)
Green Mountain Wee Woolies
The next step with Carol is a home visit. See the boys in their natural habitat. We're going to look at toy cleanup - so should probably schedule this meeting for after the holidays as I know there will be a huge pile o' loot for them to sort through. I've been trying to guide gift-givers towards more natural toys. Handmade. Wooden. Things that have a story to tell and can have many purposes. Toys that have been lovingly handcrafted. Or at least look that way. I'm tired of all the plastic and battery operated crap we have. They're becoming more and more hard and ugly and loud and toxic. I want gentleness. Calmness. Whirled peas. I really wish I could put into words how I feel. I did a ginormous toy purge not that long ago and tried to explain to Jay why I wanted to get rid of the ones I did. And what I wanted to replace them with. Less commercial, more love. Words fail me, but I'm just trying to get some happiness. And being at Carol's today, watching the boys play with those beautiful and graceful toys, that's what I want. Right there.

Wish me luck. Send me tips. Wanna join a commune with me?


ixBeths said...

I want a commune! This sounds great. How did you find this person? I want something like this!

Rainyday said...

I kinda stumbled upon her - she came highly recommended by my naturopathic doctor, as well by the owner of the cloth diaper store nearby.

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