The past week or so John and I have been driving the kids crazy, saying things like “Check your weather,” and “I see a storm cloud,” whenever they are in a bad mood. We’ve also been talking a lot about sorting rocks.
Okay, okay, so I know it sounds completely cheesy, but for real we have been spending every other Thursday night attending free “7 Habits of Highly Effective Families”classes at the elementary school. Sure, we could have just bought a book, but this seminar has been sort of fun–I’d much rather discuss things in a group setting anyway. Also, we felt like it was time to do something cheesy as a family.
It’s been great, though. For one, we’ve learned all the things we are already doing right, like family dinners and putting our marriage before our children (for the record: it’s super easy to put your marriage first if you routinely hide from your kids.) We’ve also picked up a few catch phrases to drive our kids crazy with over the next few years:
Check Your Weather: Simply put, we all make our own “weather” and we need to recognize that only we can control our responses to external events and other people. Need inspiration? Think Victor Frankel and his amazing response to time spent in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany.
Put the Big Rocks in First: So if you put a bunch of small rocks (inconsequential things) into your jar (life), you might not have room left for the big rocks (important things). In other words, put first things first. That means sucking it up and waiting until I’ve met deadlines and cleaned up the kitchen before I go online to read my fan fiction. Sigh. Grown up decisions suck.
Anyway, last Thursday, the discussion turned to taking one-on-one time with our kids, something that John and I admittedly never do. I mean, there are three of them, so even if we divide them, two are always together. Usually Henry and Cate are a package deal. Anyway, on Thursday they had the kids working in another room writing down what they would like to do if they had “one on one” time with a parent.
Thomas’ paper was a short dissertation on how he would like to spend the day in a tree. (He hangs out in a tree in our front yard pretty much all the time…) I know he purposely picked this because he’s going through some phase right now where he doesn’t want to have anything to do with us, and he figures we are unlikely to climb a tree to hang with him. Well, he’s wrong. As soon as it’s warm enough, I’m climbing the damn tree to sit with him. Henry and Cate put down normal things, like go to a park.
So I was all about this one-on-one time with the kids and by the weekend I was ready to give it a shot. I took Henry with me on Saturday to drive across town and run some errands. I am not joking when I say that the child did not stop talking–did not even take a breath–from the time we left our driveway until the time we pulled back in two hours later. I realize, of course, that I am the pot calling the kettle black here. Yes, he gets it from me. Still, I’m NOT completely sold on this one-on-one stuff.
That’s about it. I’ll let you know when we’re featured on Parenting magazine for being the best family. I’m just kidding. This Thursday thing is a nice reminder of what we should “try” to do, but of course no one ever gets it exactly right.
Need proof? Just stop by my house one afternoon around 4pm. You’ll find me sitting on the couch blogging away, anxiously waiting for John to come home, my house completely trashed and my kids either running screaming wild outside or glued to the computer playing Minecraft. I can’t remember which day I washed Cate’s hair and I completely forgot to move the wet laundry to the dryer two days ago. If I’m lucky (and I don’t get too distracted on Tumblr) I’ll meet all my writing deadlines, most likely at the last minute–as in sometime near midnight. Then I’ll get up at 5:30 the next morning and do it all over again.
Still, we’re all warm and well fed and we’re happy together….Actually, the weather has never been better.