motherhood

My thoughts on the question "should kids read silly books?" by Lauren DeMarco

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We took the kids to see a little local performance of Junie B. Jones at the library and got talking about the Junie B series, and other silly books like Captain Underpants. Should we let our kids read these things? The language is often improper and the themes a little gross at times; they are certainly not my beloved Charlotte’s Web but I loved Junie B. as a kid…

I think that kids should read whatever they are interested in. I think that if they are bright enough to read and understand the text that they will be able to recognize the errors as such. My theory is that this type of writing is a good example of poetic license and can help them learn to be more daring and creative in their own writing.

I want reading fiction to be fun for my children. I want my children to be curious and use non-fiction books as resources as they grow up. I want my children to read about other people lived experiences through their memoirs to help them become empathetic adults. All of these dreams start with fostering a love of reading!

Louis is 4 months old! by Lauren DeMarco

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We’ve made it through the first third of our first year together!

He loves it when his sissy plays rough with him, he loves when we change his clothes, and he loves getting his hands washed! His smile just melts you into a puddle.

We love you so much, Cubby and are so excited to have a front row seat while you grow up!

My ideas on guiding a little one through a challenging project by Lauren DeMarco

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Helping/guiding/mentoring my daughter through multi-step projects or projects which are a little advanced for her skill set has been a work in progress. I have thought about this a lot and try to practice what I preach. Nowhere near perfect, of course, but here are some of my ideas about this…

  1. I always consider what she is developmentally capable of; her fine motor skills, her attention span, and her ability to follow the step-by-step instructions with help/direction are my main considerations. This is important because it helps me with my own patience and expectations. I want to know her limits so I can push them, just a touch. This is how I believe I am helping her grow.

  2. I try to gauge her level of interest at different phases of the project. For example, she will be highly motivated in the beginning because I am paying her full attention and she is excited about the supplies. She will put some effort in, maybe run into a few problems, get through them, and then mentally check out after a few minutes. I tend to continue to model the skill for her as long as she wants to continue to observe me but stop if she physically gets up and walks away. I am sure to check back in on the project later with her, letting her watch if she wants or contribute. I try really hard not to abandon things completely, (again, why #1 is important) she could be developmentally only capable of spending 10 minutes on the type of task at hand but the project could take 30 minutes in total. Would just take 3 sittings instead of one; careful not to confuse expired attention capability with lack of interest.

  3. Troubleshoot out loud as you go; my theory is that this will help her learn the language of problem solving. It also normalizes and provides multiple examples of failures/missteps/mistakes. We push through them together, survive most of them, and learn when quitting is the best choice.

  4. When Chi observes something and then expresses it out loud I try very hard to pause and then come out with the most helpful response. She often observes when my technique is more neat or accurate/idyllic and will say “your’s is better”. I take a moment and say “Hmm, yes my stitches (lets say we are sewing) are more even, I have been practicing for a long time. But see how your stitches are still holding the two pieces of felt together? That means your stitches are doing their job. And they will be more neat and even the more you practice”. I believe that if I say “no, your’s are better than mine” or “no, your’s are just as neat” I am losing her trust. She can see with her own two eyes that my stitches are neater. If she doesn’t trust me she will give up sooner. She needs to keep going, witness her own progress, and talk nicely to herself while she creates to build her own confidence. Which brings me to #5.

  5. I try to model positive self talk throughout the process of making. I will say things like “Wow, my stitches are coming out nice and even like I wanted them to” or “oops, I made a mistake there. Oh well, I can fix it because I am a good problem solver.” She doesn’t find this to be strange and she can really take away some great habits for her future crafting self!

I struggle with grit and longevity as a multi-passionate adult, I enjoy trying to help my kids combat some of these challenges as they develop.

Everything the Light Touches, a metaphor by Lauren DeMarco

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You know that scene from the Lion King when Mufasa shows Simba his future kingdom? There is “everything the light touches”, but then there are those “dark shadowy places”.

I think of this scene as a metaphor, when I look back at my childhood, I don’t remember all of the small details, it’s more of a glowing joy over the whole thing, with just a few “dark shadowy places” representing what I considered harder times. I think part of my job as a parent is to do my best to make their childhood mostly glowing with the fewest “dark shadowy places” as possible.

When we got home last night from this little festival, I morphed into the i’ve-had-a-long-week-at-work troll, was selfish and irritable and impatient. I lost a few nice hours with my babies because I couldn’t fully morph back. And when it’s over I get sad and scared and mad. I don’t want these times to collect and become “dark shadowy places” that they remember. But also, I can only do my best. I can apologize to them when that happens, it’s good for them to see me as a human who makes mistakes.

We wake up, God willing, and get to try again the next day.

When you look back on your own childhood, do you think those “dark shadowy” spots came from these types of things? Am I crazy for processing things this way?

Working Mother Truth--First day back to work by Lauren DeMarco

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How is this for some truth:

I 100% need to work because raising children costs dollars. I can’t live in a safe town AND have my husband home on holidays AND shop at Target for Christmas decorations to make our home feel more magical AND have health insurance AND go to DisneyWorld once every couple years AND buy shit at the craft store to make homemade birthday gifts with my children for their friend’s birthdays if I don’t have dollars.

My children do not need a mother who is impatient with them because she is so exhausted from resisting that which she can not control and that which gives her the dollars, every weekday, for 8 hours, times eternity. Seriously.

And I earned this job. By making tough choices and real sacrifices. And now, I can barely accept, let alone embrace this role as a nurse because I am arrogant enough to think that my presence alone is enough for my children? Ego check, Lauren, just breathing air in the same room as your child because it hurts too much to be away from them is not enough. They need to be taught about sacrifice by example because it’s a part of life that we cannot hide behind these tiny squares. Every single thing in life costs something else. Every woman who stays home with their children is sacrificing something painful to do so.

As much as I want to believe it’s not my choice, I am consciously deciding to sacrifice 40 hours away to make real dollars and to secure a pension for our future because in my personal case I am privileged enough to have my own, healthy, also amazing example of a woman for children, mother to care for my kids during the day.

Accepting and embracing my “though-is-doesn’t-feel-like-much-of-a-choice” painful choice has been deep down in my psyche making me feel like I am pulling a sliding a scale away from being a quality mother but just the opposite. Accepting and embracing my choices shows my kids how to accept, embrace, & OWN their choices, no matter how others may perceive them.

I will need to come up with a little, 1 sentence mantra to remember this truth during the hours away from them, when the pain feels too sharp. I choose to give that energy them not to the pain