Today was one of those days when the conversation just had to happen.
My son has been tired lately. A gift of a Game Cube got him into a bad habit of waking up even earlier than he normally does, and normal is 6 a.m. The boy is a child that just needs his sleep, I’ve mentioned that in another post.
As a result, he’s been not his best self. And his behaviour has been unacceptable. Yesterday he really disappointed me with his actions.
Then today I was on the other side of the city block exiting the school when another woman and I paused. We could hear children screaming. And my heart sank because those were the voices of my children. I did not hurry home.
Then there is my daughter. Her behaviour is not acceptable either. She is a quiet child. Outwardly she is quick to respond when I make a request. She does appear to most to be a very compliant and well behaved child. But she is a manipulator and is very quick to craft very hard to capture lies. She is actually the one that keeps me on my toes as a parent. My son keeps me in headaches with his energy and volume. My daughter provides the stress and doubts because I never know if she’s telling the truth or not!
The screaming, it turns out, was the result of my son tackling his sister off the top of a small landing. She, in turn, bounced down the 4 wooden steps and received a large bump on the back of her head. The only part not protected from snow gear. She then picked up something handy and whacked him. I came home to find them rolling around stuffing snow down each other’s snow suits.
I made lunch and I tried to think of how I could communicate my frustration and disappointment with out slipping into anger and rage.
Finally I started and the conversation went something like this while they sat at the table eating their lunches.
I asked, “Who do you think is smarter? Eric or Karryne?”
Well he’s older so he just knows more.
“How about between Mommy and Eric?”
Well, because your taller. [huh?]
“Okay, because I’m older than him and have had a lot more time to live. Mommy has brothers. Mommy went to school. Mommy has had lots of time to learn things, right?”
“See this? This is my mountain. [I held up my two hands. My right hand was nearly vertical and my left hand and arm were straight and made a very gradual horizontal slope. ] If you were a freckle and had to climb my mountain, which side would you pick?”
My son picked the gentle sloping side, my daughter picked the vertical side.
“Now, what would it be like to go up the mountain alone?”
“What if you were on the mountain, would you like someone to walk with?”
“What if that person didn’t know how to get to the top and was just like you?”
“Now, what if that person was someone who already walked most of the way up the mountain and could help you get to the top? Which person would you pick?”
“Now, what if that person that knew how to get to the top told you that sometimes you were going to have to walk around the mountain to the steep side for a little bit? Would you choose to listen to them?”
Varied answers. My daughter basically said that she would really want to make sure that the person knew what they were talking about.
“Okay. So you are going up this mountain. This mountain is called growing up. [the cliche is a little obvious to you and I] Mommy’s been up here. Guess what, Mommy decided to walk back down the mountain and come and help you guys up the mountain. Mommy wants to help you skip some of the nasty parts that Mommy fell into. Mommy wants to help you up the mountain. I want us to get to the top of the mountain together. But I can’t carry you up the mountain. You’ve got to climb the mountain. You’ve got to choose. You can choose not to listen to Mommy. And sometimes there’s hard bits and easy bits. Sometimes there are bits where you might fall into a hole and Mommy can try and help you out but you’ve got to get out by grabbing on and listening.”
I then went on to explain to them how their actions have been lately. I ended up having to grab a close by electric pencil sharpener that had a great mountain like shape. Because my daughter was struggling with the 2 dimensional shape in her mind. She actually ran to get pen and paper and sketch out the image. So the image really started to work when she could turn that pencil sharpener around and imagine climbing.
Anyhow. I was rather happy with how that came out. It was one of those moments where I was just glad that I was at home with them. Which is saying a lot because until the Spirit put those words and illustrations into my mouth there was not a lot of joy in my heart.