Thursday, December 20


Funny, since starting my journey to respectful parenting, I'm far less horified to hear my mother's voice coming from my mouth (rarely even hear it anymore) than to hear MY voice coming from my *children's* mouths. Those moments that stop me short as I incredulously ask myself, "Did I SAY that?" or "Do I sound that awful??". Apparently, I'm not noticing the early signs before I hear those things coming from my kids, but it is definitely a 4-alarm warning when I do.

Then, too, its nice to see those positive reflections-afirmations that we *are* on the right path and we are definitely making progress. Today, as I rushed upstairs to get to Storm's side as he awoke crying for me, I hurried too fast and slipped on the stairs, banging my shin pretty good. I made it up to the bedroom and as I leaned on the bed dealing with the pain, Wyl asked me what was wrong and since I explained to him what happened in a strained voice, I guess Storm didn't hear me, because he asked me several times after I told Wyl. I finally got the point across to him that "I hurt my leg" and he *jumped* out of the crib and dashed out the door before I realized he was out of the crib. I asked him where he was going-he was by now out of the bedroom, and he came back to open the door and tell me, "I going to get a bandaid". I heard him dig around in the drawer, shut the drawer, shut the bathroom door and after he shut the bedroom door, he stood there by my side, his little 3-year-old fingers struggling patiently with the tricky, tiny pull-apart wrapper, carefully handing me each side of the paper wrapper, struggling mightily with the coverings of the sticky part-trying ever so hard not to touch the pad that covers the wound (did he learn that just from watching me??) and handing me those parts to throw away... and handing me the bandage to put on myself. I was struggling to hold back tears at this gently, thoughtful gesture. Bandaids make his boo-boos feel better - he had just told me that the night before as he put one on a scratch himself. Here, I had not been expecting my respectfulness to be repaid (at least in care-taking ways) until I was nursing-home age or otherwise incapacitated, unable to care for myself... and yet, here it was; proof (however small) that respect isn't just something you give out to your kids, it comes back to you full force in unexpected ways.

I love these little moments.

Tuesday, December 11


Another one of those moments...

I was reading an interview of Eva Longoria and read a bit about her mother being non-judgemental and always wanting whatever made her kids happy. I know this. I've wanted this as a parent, too. I *thought* I was "there" until I read this paragraph, set the paper down and nodded my head saying, "Uh huh." and then something clicked.

All those times I kept getting frustrated when one of the boys was doing something that I didn't "get". Something I saw as more mess to clean or whatever and I asked why. Why was he doing that thing?? And my frustration just increased when I heard, "I don't know", "Just 'cause" or "Because I like to". I guess I need one of those Star Trek every-language-interpreters, because what it was translating to me was something along the lines of "I don't have a clue but I'm going to keep doing it anyway, even if it does bug you". But for some reason, that one small bit of an interview in that magazine helped me translate those comments! Suddenly, it was clear!! They were saying, "It makes me HAPPY"!!! I was stopped in my tracks momentarily as this realization struck me. A figurative slap to my forehead and a resounding, "DUH!!" thundered through my head. Obviously, I wasn't "there" - I wasn't living my life without judgement, I wasn't 100% at "whatever makes them *happy*".

Does RU make you appreciate your kids more? Does RU make you appreciate being a parent more? All I know is that if I had stayed on the traditional parenting path that has so much less challenges than RU/respectful parenting, there's a lot I would take for granted and much less I would find to appreciate about our lives, about our family.

I used to think I was NOT one of those people who said, "We unschool except for... (math, science, etc.)". But what I've recently come to realize is that I'm a person who unconsciously says, "We unschool except for tooth brushing/a few rules/occasional no's." But I'm working on that. :~)

Friday, November 30

Funny how your kids' desires so easily become our own...

Storm has been asking to go to Green Island (Discovery Channel kid's science-themed cartoon "Peep") all week. I kept meaning to Google it-I figured there was a Green Island SOMEwhere, but kept forgetting. He said it again about a half hour ago, as I sat at the computer. "Oh, yeah!" I said, pulling up a window and going to Google. As I scanned down the page, nothing really looked good until I hit Wikipedia. Love wikipedia! So, what does Wikipedia say? Only a list of 31 Green Islands, all over the world! Excellent! Now I'm starting to perk up. Oh, wow-four under Canada! "Peep" is made in Canada-maybe the "actual" Green Island is! OHIO! Oh, boy!! Now, I'M excited!!! I read off the entire list to my family, half way through, I get to Green Island, Ohio!! (Though at this point, *my* vote would be for the one in Jamaica-LOL) So, after I finish reading, I google Green Island, Ohio. Not only is it *in* Lake Erie (about 50 miles from us), but it is just off Sandusky-*where we are going for the WWUG gathering in January*!!!! It takes me several tries of Google before I finally find a few details and a *map* and I'm hopping in my chair, babbling excitedly because maybe-just maybe-I can give my 3 year old this wish that must seem *so simple* to him. After all, Quack just "floated" Peep and Chirp over to it, right? Its on our t.v. about once a week-easy and simple, right? Well, I found what I needed: -it even has a lighthouse. Oh boy-now I'm disapointed. The lighthouse and grounds are closed-it is a wildlife sanctuary. A bird sanctuary. I break the news to Storm, "We can't actually go *on* Green Island, honey. It is only for birds." What is my kid's reaction? "Oh. Yeah." In the tone of voice that says, "of course. Only birds. That makes sense." LOL I tell him that some day we may be able to find a boat where we can drive up to Green Island and *look* at it, but he's really not interested any more. The birds have an island that is just for them and that's how it is.

They teach me something new every day.

Sunday, September 30

Giving what we didn't have

Funny how some of these feelings/thoughts just kind of sneak up on you and then you're smiling and fighting back tears...

Storm was puttering around the bedroom today near the box fan that is always in the room when he suddenly turned it on. Now, he's done this before in there and other areas of the house, but when he first started I was really concerned about him putting his fingers in it. And, he hasn't done it for a while. A lazy thought crept into my mind that I should have him shut it off (gee, when did that instant, knee-jerk, "NO!" fade away??) and while it was wondering around my mind, I heard him start talking into the fan. Boy, that sure makes an interesting sound! I smiled, thinking of how he must be enjoying it (I couldn't actually see him from my vantage point) and my mind wandered like it does...

I thought of how *my* mother, first off, would never *allow* us kids to *waste* electricity like that (it costs *money*, you know!), nor were we allowed to actually turn a fan on by our own decision-if a parent told us to turn it on, we should do so and as quickly as possible-but we were just *children* and couldn't possibly know when it was hot enough to turn the fan on. Then, I felt sad for that child (who really didn't know what she was missing out on) who was so restricted and controlled-yet at the same time, I felt a swelling of happiness and joy that my kids COULD turn on a fan and "ya ya ya ya" into it, squirt bottles of tempura paint all over the porch in swirly, splotchy, bright colors, could borrow one of mama's pots and mix a concoction of ingredients in that mama and that kid went to the store together to specifically buy for that purpose, could get muddy, could share their opinions and true feelings... well, could be free to be who they are. Such an odd mix of feelings and yet... it was *good*.

Speaking of that trip to the store... Funny, how shopping with both boys is an experience to *avoid* at all costs, but with each of them individually... such a great time together! I just love Wyl's sense of humor-he can sure make me laugh!! :~D He's clever and quick and I never know (unless I remember hearing it before-which is rare) if he's made it up or gotten it from a book, magazine, show, etc. We were at Mustard Seed today in the aisle with the free coffee dispensers and went to get himself a cup. There was a couple there (late 40s? early 50s??) and, as usual, Wyl went right up and struck up a conversation about the coffee, which containers were cream and soy milk, the flavors, etc. I was so pleasantly surprised to see and hear the couple treat him as a person!! They didn't talk down to him, look at me in askance, brush him off, etc.! They just chatted with him and when Wyl talked about the flavors Mustard Seed carries, the man thanked him for the information. Not only that, but apparently he went to look for some Hazelnut (which Wyl also likes) and couldn't find it, and came back to our aisle and said something like, "I'm sorry, I guess I didn't go to the right place, because I couldn't find the flavors" to Wyl!! I had no idea where they were, not being a coffee drinker, myself, but Wyl said that they were right in the next aisle, so I suggested he go show him where they were. As Wyl was coming back into our aisle, I heard the man thank him and Wyl sing-songed "you're welcome". Either the guy didn't hear him or didn't understand because he made a point of coming back into our aisle and making *sure* he thanked Wyl face-to-face!!! I just wanted to thank HIM! Maybe I should have... I didn't want to make a big deal out of it in front of Wyl, though... So nice, tho', since our experience with how folks treat younger people hasn't been very positive, lately... I think as he gets older (closer to teen years), people get distrustful... :~( That stinks.

I just can't explain how much fun Wyl and I have driving to-and-from shopping, and to a somewhat lesser degree, shopping. It actually struck me today, that some of the silly things I do in the car (cranking up the radio, finding empty parking lots or backroads and swerving the car back-and-forth, "dancing" the car by tapping the breaks to the music, helping Wyl safely hang out the window on slower, back roads or parking lots, etc.) are things MANY teenagers do. But, teenagers are doing them partly because a parent would be horrified or demand they not do it, plus, if its a car full of teens, the driver isn't very experienced-certainly not 20+ years of lots of driving kind of experience! I don't know how that will affect his driving/riding in 8-10 years or so... It just really struck me today. Its so GREAT to be friends with your kids!!!!! ...and I don't think it ever struck me until just now that I AM friends with my kids.......

Thursday, September 27

Happy and wistful...

What a day. Doesn't seem much out of the ordinary until I sit down at the computer and my mind starts going back over things...

Wyl focuses largely in my memories of today... Where have the years gone??? It just
seems like a week ago that he was Storm's age, snuggling with me, easy to toss and tickle, so uncomplicated... I see flashes of ages in Wyl constantly. Rarely, I can see that wee one, and often he is truly an 8 year old boy, but every once in a while, I can glimpse the man he will be someday, and more and more often, I can see the teenager in his face. I can also see the teenager he may become if I don't get my Ps and Qs in a row in our respectful parenting!! There are definitely times he is surly and almost belligerent. And while that seems so monumentally huge in the moment, there are little things that just wipe that away...

Like today, before I took Storm up for nap, Wyl said he was going to make a "4 meal sandwich": he was putting something from breakfast, lunch, dinner and desert into one sandwich. The beginning of the sandwich was whole wheat bread with cottage cheese and baked beans. Interesting. I told him that when I came back down from nap, he'd have to let me in on how it tasted. By the time it was done, it looked like a Dagwood and also had beets, wax beans, whipped cream and a waffle-I didn't ask what else there was... LOL He was very proud of his creation as he carried it in while we were going up, and later, I was amazed to see he left no trace of his meal prep!! I didn't ask him to clean up or not make a mess or anything!!

Apparently, he was in high spirits while we were upstairs... When I sat down after the boys were in bed and checked the voicemail, I found a silly, fun message (prank call?? LOL) from Wyl that was about a minute long-ending with, "Is your toilet running? *giggle* Then you better go catch it!!!!" with laughter trailing off into the distance as he hung up. :~D

It was a great cap to the evening, as I was in high spirits from his choice to lay down with me for a while before bed instead of watching Power Rangers!! We haven't lain down together in probably 2 weeks, and we certainly haven't had more than 5-10 minutes in... gosh, a long time.

So, as I lay thinking, I started realizing that I really lost "track" of Wyl about the time Storm was born. I don't know if that is a "common" thing, but it made me sad. In so many ways. I don't know if its all "divided time", all "growing up", or a combination, but I feel like I don't know him as well as I used to. I wondered if it might have been better not to try for Storm and aim for Wyl being an only child. (Not that I would change having Storm for the world! He makes our family complete... I just miss having Wyl to myself, IYKWIM) I thought about asking him if he thought having a little brother was a good thing over all, or a not good idea... but I really didn't want to hear the negative answer, so I didn't ask. Not that I regret Storm at ALL! Just that I wish I had longer life and longer time to be a mother, so that maybe I could have had them 10 years apart-or maybe longer... And still, I think I'd like one more... Parenting is hard in so many ways I could never have imagined. Sometimes I wish I could slow time. Or pause it. But that's a selfish wish... a hug/snuggle pause would be nice, though... Or being able to somehow bottle it, or fold it up and tuck it away with the soft cuddly blankets so I could take it out at a later date when I'm feeling in need of "Mama love"...

I know. I'm silly. Must be where my kids get it from. Come to think of it, it *has* to be where they get it from, because Dave is *not* silly. Fun, funny, happy, joking, yes-silly, no.

.... I guess I just have to be creative and figure out how to find more time to spend with my kids. Good time. Quality time. Do-it-now-'cause-they'll-be-gone-before-you-know-it time.

Monday, September 24


I'm stressing (again) over jumping on (breaking) furniture/beds and sugar/pop. Funny how these things seem to almost have a rhythm to them, a pattern, like the tides. Is it me or is it the way of the path of RU?

I know there are things that if I focused on them, I would obsess, stress or freak-so I tend to ignore those kinds of things. Funny-I seem to generally be an "all or nothing" kind of person. Take my house. Please. Ba-dum-bum--tssss.

But really, there are weeks where I'm calming Dave, telling him its deschooling (or de-pop-ing?), that every comment he makes adds time to the "gotta have it" mindset. Then there are weeks that I want to take every last crumb of anything that could be vaguely considered candy and throw it far, far away... pour every drop of no-nutrient drink (koolaid, pop, etc.) down the toilet with relish!! Truly, there are moments when I literally have to stop, figuratively get ahold of myself, wrestle with my better judgement in my head and slowly, reluctantly, T-E-A-R myself away from the room/situation and go wipe my brain of any traces of candy and pop. Then I'm back to blissful oblivion. Maybe that's my problem. I can't actually go into full, 100% acceptance that this WILL eventually balance out (I have faith, but is that the same as belief? or maybe its belief I have and am lacking faith...???), so I go in tides of ignorance and fearful muteness...??

Crap. There's days when I feel we are SO RU... that we truly GET it... that we are well on our path to respectful parenting... Then I'll read something or some ugly "old tape" kind of thing will rear up in my head and I'm back to square one, thinking, "We did all this hard work, twisted our brains around all this stuff and we've not gotten ANYWHERE?!?!" Ugh. I wonder if any of my mentors go/have gone through this kinda crap-does ANYone else take this annoying, self-defeating, frustrating, hills-and-valleys (pits??), potholes and lovely scenery kind of path?! Are we the only ones who are doing this in what seems like The Hard Way??

I know a lot of my problem is that I come from years of "rules and regulations", "step-by-step instructions" and its hard in something that is THIS important to guess and figure which bolts go in what holes and how many washers to use with what kind of nuts... Dave likes to put things together like that. I like to play video games like that. But for IMPORTANT stuff, for expensive stuff, for stuff that a misstep could ruin the whole thing, I like, I *need* step-by-step instructions-preferably with diagrams and pictures. Sigh... I don't know if I can ever see my relationship with my kids & effecting their young lives as fun and carefree as a video game... its just too important, too easily mangled and deformed... That delicate bubble too easily popped.

Saturday, September 22


Some of my favorite threads on UD and AL are the connection ones. Funny, but I never make that *connection* when we have them here!

Wyl asked me the other day what "star bird" meant. "Star Bird??" I asked. "Yeah, I heard it on SpongeBob the other day." LOL Ah, starboard. So, as I begin to explain that it is one of the 4 sides of a ship (one of the 2 sides, 2 ends??), I am explaining I can never remember which is left or right, so I offer to Wiki it. I will take *any* excuse to Wiki!! Yes, he says, but not now.

I tend to go overboard with info I find on Wiki... information overload for Wyl. He often has to tell me "Stop, Mama! That's all I want to know." And so I shut my mouth, but I continue reading and making connections.

So, the next day or the day after that, I remember and I look it up while Wyl is sleeping. In my previous explanation to him, I had mentioned "fore" and "aft", but in reading through the Wikipedia page, I saw no mention of these, but I saw "stern"... So, after I read through starboard, I plugged in aft, figuring there would be less choices than if I tried "fore". Jeeze-all kinds of cool stuff, and now I will definitely remember left is port!! In that page was an offshoot connection to the Vikings, for which we all have a fondness for here. And then, popping up today in Power Rangers was a reference to Loki, the God of Mischief! Which reminds me that we can't find our awesome book of world mythology, so maybe I will spend some time searching for that this weekend. At any rate, all this reminds me of the *too* awesome video from years ago... I'm not sure what the exact name of it was, but we call it Viking Kitty which had a pre-YouTube video(?) of two kittens with viking helmets sailing in their viking boat to the tune of Led Zeppelin's Immigrant Song. Gotta go look that one up.... and the connections continue...

Ah! Found it!! They are sooo cute-for those kitten and/or Zeppelin (or just plain odd stuff) lovers out there:

Wednesday, September 19

Things That Make You Go Hmmmm...

It was very easy for Dave and I to see and adjust our thinking in regards to the "educational" aspect of Radical Unschooling (RU). However, the parenting aspect is so much more difficult for us. While many people (it seems, though I haven't taken a poll or done any studies) seem to come to RU from an Attachment Parenting mindset, Dave and I were raised quite the opposite, and from my very first imaginings of having a family, the only thing I was really going to do differently (from how I was raised)was that I wasn't going to spank/paddle/hit my children. Before Wyl was born, I planned on sometimes needing to punish my children, that I would be strict but fair, no kid was going to "walk all over me", homeschooling horrified me, and I hadn't a concept of "organic foods" and never thought there was a choice when it came to vaccinations. We were fairly mainstream. When I was pregnant with Wyl, I studied, I read, I researched and I learned so much. Although I never went "100% crunchy", I am certainly 180 degrees different from what I was before hand-and still learning and growing.

Though the concept of "learning from life" is kind of "out there" for mainstream folks and yet it was an easy grasp for us, I can still understand (to a degree) how parents can find that concept frightening and hard to grasp.

Maybe *because* I come from a "traditional", "mainstream" background, I have serious problems understanding how and when parents go from AP, crunchy parents who trust that their child knows his body enough to know when he's hungry (and thus not have a "feeding schedule"), know when he cries, he instinctively knows he needs something and crying will get the people who love him to come and help him (and thus do not let him "cry it out"), snuggle and love him and wouldn't DREAM of punishing/yelling at him for expressing himself leave that behind as their child gets older.

I'm so baffled by what seems a 180 degree turn from AP, that I don't know if it is a gradual kind of transition or if it is sudden. Does it have anything to do with school age? Where does the thinking come from that says, "Yes, you know when you're hungry, thirsty, need comfort, are cold, but at this point in time, your parents are now going to tell you what to eat, how much, when and you *will* follow what *we* know your body needs (even if your body is telling you differently-you don't know any better, NOW.), then you will be punished."? And, "You will wear a coat because *I* say your body will be cold in this weather without it."? And, "That's a fake cry. I refuse to respond because you are trying to manipulate me."? At what point does it become manipulation? Is it age? Is it maturity? When do parents decide these kinds of things?

Problem is (at least here), we can "see" and understand how much sense trusting one's child(ren) can make and how *respectful parenting* can, really, make a *world* of difference in not only the family relationship, but also in the development of that little *person* into a wonderful adult, but it is such a foreign-or maybe just such a *new* concept that it is difficult to implement. Especially with no examples to go by-just words on Unschooling boards and blogs-which seem more like vague general concepts of the idea rather than "instructions" or something closer to "having lived the experience".

Which makes that AP transition to punishment, distrust and more mainstream relationships all the more mind-boggling to me! How can you *be there* and leave it? Is it a society thing? I can't imagine that could be it-these are the people who defiantly have nurse-ins and tend to make a point of deliberate difference, thrilling in the lifestyle that is so obviously different... How does a mama who is derided for "spoiling her child" by friends and family for picking up the baby when he cries make that change to judging mamas who are working hard at learning to *listen* to a child's self-knowledge as "letting them walk all over" or "manipulating"? How do they go from having that newborn baby (who would *seem* to have no wisdom or knowledge-or *certainly* less than a toddler) "chose" when he is hungry, when he wants to be fed, when he needs cuddling, when he needs to sleep next to his parent(s), to the point where he now has most of his choices revoked? When their paths diverge from other AP-from-birth mamas who continue to trust their child, why is the still-trusting mama said to let their children run wild or letting their kids "walk all over them"?

Along *with* the bafflement over *when* this all takes place, I'm also hard-put to figure out how these choices are dolled out. Why is it okay for a 1 week old to nurse until they are finished/full, but a, say 3 year old, have to finish their carrots or drink at least half of their milk, or not get a cookie if they didn't eat whatever the parent deems "right" or "enough" of a meal? Why does a 1 month old "get" to sleep when he deems he is tired, no matter how much or how little actual time that is, but a, say 4 year old, must have a bedtime and it must be followed without fail? When did this child LOSE the ability to know when he is full? When he is tired/sleepy? I know Wyl has trouble with this because we didn't know about the respectful relationship that *could* be had, but he is learning. Storm KNOWS when he is hungry, what he is hungry *for* and when he is full and has no hesitations about letting us know. He also knows when he is tired, and 90-95% of the time, will take the steps/routine that we have worked out together by trial and error that help him get what he needs-sleep. He has had that trust, that respectful relationship-if not from the *very* beginning, from *very* early on. I can't see finding a time that he is "old enough" to "revoke" his ability to chose-and after all that I've learned, I truly believe I will take away his ability to listen to his body's needs if I try-actually, quite the opposite... I see that finding the peace in my heart to *accept* his ability to know himself and make the right choices for himself and his body will get easier as he gains knowledge and gets older. What I don't understand is this apparent *need* for mainstream-ish parents to find a point where they *remove* that knowledge and ability so that they can *train* the child in the way the *parent* thinks the child "needs" to know their body and themselves....

I know, this probably didn't make a whole lot of sense, but it doesn't make a lot of sense to *me*, so I have a hard time expressing it. Maybe some day I'll be old enough, wise enough, and have enough experience that it *will* finally make sense to me. I wonder if I'd understand it if *I'd* have been respectfully parented and trusted to know myself...?

Off to mull and ponder...

Tuesday, September 18


Jeeze-has it really been almost 9 months since I blogged?? I knew it had been a while, but I didn't realize just how long it had been...

There's been so much that has happened in that time... Not "big" stuff per se, but big steps (for us) in the RU department. I can't possibly fill it all in now, but I will put a doozy in, since that's what brought me back to my blog tonight.

Tooth brushing. Teeth. Oral health. I thought I was on the right track with it... Coming from where I do...

My mother has worked on and off as an orthodontic employee since before I was born-teeth cleanliness was highly important in our house while I was growing up. I don't remember anything stressful about it, just that we brushed 2-3 times a day. Always. My personal experience has been that I was cavity-free until I was about 17-19. I grew up with fluoridated water and toothpaste, my mother has "brittle" teeth, when I started getting independent time away from home, had my own paper route and thus my own money I spent it on candy and sweet drinks and along with that, my toothbrushing declined. Unfortunately, this coincided with having braces and when my braces came off, I had 8 cavities and some ugly scarring on my teeth. My tooth health never really returned to that "optimal" state and until I delved into my history, Dave's (dental) history and the concerns some folks have about floride and amalgam fillings, I blamed the "poor choices" of my teen years. Now, since the delving *and* with what I've learned from RU boards, I'm more of the school of family history and floride exposure, as well as diet to a lesser degree (healthy diet, not "candy" culprit).

Wyl was an easy kid with the toothbrush-well, with pretty much everything until 4 years old. He let us brush easily. For a while, we had a year or so of trying out different toothpaste flavors, but no real "big deal" kind of things. Now, however, we are having a bit of difficulty.

Storm was okay with our brushing for a few months, then it was... a bit of fussing but allowed, then it was *no way*. He didn't want anyone touching his mouth, getting a toothbrush near it (in our hands), getting a washcloth near his mouth, looking at his teeth. I started to panic briefly, but calmed myself with the thoughts of his good diet, things I was reading on Always Unschooled and the thought that they *are* baby teeth. Then, I just started putting the gel on the brush and letting him have it, which he took right to. So, for the next 1 1/2 to 2 years, that worked well. He went with us to the bathroom and when we brushed (especially his hero, Wyl), he dug his out of the toothbrush drawer, asked for help with the toothpaste and "brushed". I put that in parenthesis because he really doesn't have much contact between the ends of the bristles and his tooth surfaces-but I wasn't much worried about that, since he was building good habits and routines.

Then, more and more, he started saying, "No." when asked if he was going to brush his teeth. Fine. He still brushed a few times a week. Then the frequency declined even more. His eating habits got less varried. He started eating candy more and more (Wyl eats lots of candy, therefore it is something Storm must do ;~) ). It became more and more difficult for me to shrug things off and let it all "roll off my back" as it were. Finally, when 10 days had passed with no brushing or any desire for brushing I decided I couldn't let it "go". It might be different if he would eat some of the foods that would be a good compromise to brushing, but for now, he won't. He used to eat everything, but all those good things are off his "list". I tried everything else I could think of: having him brush my teeth, using a mirror so he could see me brush his teeth, trying every (non-floridated) flavor toothpaste I could find, having Wyl brush where Storm could see, talking about "buggies" on teeth that we needed to brush away, trying to brush his teeth while he slept (he's too light a sleeper for that, fingernail cutting, hair combing-anything!) and probably half a dozen other things. Eventually, I figured I could live with once a week brushing, and I told Storm that Tuesdays were my day for brushing his teeth. Now, I'm pretty happy that Storm is a person who knows his limits and is not hesitant about saying "no"-at least to his immediate family. But today...

Today was the wrong Tuesday, apparently. The two times I mentioned toothbrushing during his bath, he was quite certain in his "no". I figured I'd do some of my usual joky, funny, singing/rhyming stuff about buggies and brushing and I'd cajol him into allowing it. Sigh... no, after I dried and dressed him, it was a horror. He refused to allow me to cajol him into it. He cried. I begged him to brush them himself so I wouldn't "have" to do it. He said, "Nooo!" I managed to get the top ones done, but when I went to do the bottoms, he was still crying and glued his lips shut. I lay on the bed next to him, pleading with him to open his mouth so I could finish while he cried and pushed at my hands. As I held the toothbrush at his lips, waiting for the briefest opening, not able to use that thumb on his chin to force his mouth open, watching the emotions pass on his face... the desire to make the mama he loves happy, the extreme need to not have this *done* to him, the word "r.a.p.e." filled my mind. That's what I imagined he must feel like! So, here I am, lying on our bed, cradling my arm around his head, crying, toothbrush wavering near his mouth, and I feel like some horrid caricature of a cartoon with the angel and devil on the shoulders, only these were looming in front of me on my left and right. On one side, I have one of my 2 (for the last 8 years) horrors of my adulthood, the specter of Children's Services... looming large and dark... menacing to take my children away for neglect... On the other side are my RU mama mentors, halos shining, their voices in my head forever peaceful, calm, quiet, gentle... telling me not to use force... that I'm destroying the trust in our relationship... to honor his decisions for his own body... So, here I am, torn, crying and feeling like the biggest cop-out in the world when Storm takes the brush from me and crying, finishes brushing. Why?? Why do teeth loom so large for me? Why is the merest *thought* of dentures (for myself) enough to make me shudder in horror?? I can remember telling Dave that I didn't care if he lost all his long, thick glorious hair and went bald, but he'd better take care of his teeth, because the thought of kissing someone with no teeth made me nauseous. I snuggled Storm and appologized for a long time, explaining that this is as good as I can manage at this point, but that I hated doing it and I was trying to find a better way.... Man, I thought I had the whole tooth thing under control...

Now, as certain as I am that I am sliding down in "respectability" in so many people's eyes, I feel I HAVE to post this... I just have this feeling that some mamas, some parents SOMEwhere will get something (I have no idea WHAT) out of hearing this... I haven't "solved" it. I haven't come to terms with it. I have no answers. But maybe, just being able to see the struggle will help someone else find *their* answers, come to terms with *their* stuff, find their path a little farther into respectful relationships because of it.

Signing off, waiting for the rotten produce to start flying...

Tuesday, January 30

Mini Connections

Funny how reading on the post boards makes me think of little blurbs I should be putting in the baby book or on the blog... Today it was several things about Storm. And a few about Wyl.

I was just realizing how I used to offer to Storm "Here is the trashcan if you wanted to throw that away" and now he's actively searching for the trash whenever he has something that needs thrown away... And how important it is to him to find SOMEthing! LOL A likely looking box, bag, bin-putting it in the fridge or even finding a more "grown up" hand to toss it for him. And heaven forbid someone offer to throw it away FOR him-most times he is adamant about doing it himself. Will I always compare my kids? I'm thinking its likely. Wyl was *told* to put trash away, given reasons we "should", etc. Of course, he was willing at 2 also... is it an age thing? Is it a personality thing? Is it a change in parenting thing? Probably questions that will never really be answered, but it doesn't keep me from asking them of myself, sometimes. Maybe I could use something more benign with Wyl and his wrappers, like "My, you must really enjoy that gum! I see you've had quite a lot of pieces today!" Or maybe not... that doesn't really sound genuine to me... I just have a hard time seeing how he's going to *see* that I pick up his wrappers if he is so absorbed in something that he's oblivious and really not aware of dropping the wrappers in the first place....

I was pleasantly surprised by Dave today, and how far he's come in his parenting concepts and control. Storm had wandered into the kitchen while we were watching a show in the living room-I didn't think much of it, since he often goes and grabs a drink or a little something to eat. After a while, we realized how much time had passed (longer than drink-getting LOL) and how *quiet* it was in the kitchen... Dave got up to check on him and I hear Dave say from the kitchen, "Oh, STORM!!" with an awed horror in his voice, and I'm knowing that there is going to be a big clean up of something-I'm picturing milk all over the floor from Storm having tried to pour himself some... Then I hear Dave say, "Oh, well... " in a half hopeless, half amused voice. Then he related that Storm had gotten our brand new container (opened today) of Quik (chocolate powder to mix chocolate milk with), opened it, and poured it all over the floor-where, I might add, the boys had been playing with dominoes earlier! He had buried some of the dominoes and was taking some and "driving" them through the powder, making neat tracks and patterns. Dave left him to finish playing with it (which is odd enough in itself, since he almost never plays alone and doesn't like to be in a room separate from anyone else-much less TWO rooms away! LOL) and came back to watch some more. A little later, I heard grunting and panting from the kitchen (not really alarming in itself, since he does seem to like to use noises like this quite often in his play), looked in to see him swinging his arms in an odd manner and coughing. I asked if he was okay, but got no reaction as he continued swinging his arms oddly. When I went to look in to see if he was okay, I saw that he had been throwing handfuls of chocolate powder into the air and had a lovely, even dusting in his hair and on his shoulders!! LOL Believe me, you'd cough too if you were breathing in a Quik dust-cloud!! Then he proceeded to grab handfuls and put them into the laundry basket sitting beside him. As I protested half-heartedly, "Oh, Storm, not in the laundry, please..." I realized they were dirty clothes and turned away to go back to the show, saying, "Oh, he's going to have to have a bath tonight!" LOL Soon after, he came trotting in, covered in brown and smelling wonderfully!! LOL Clean up was simple AND Dave got to use his shop vac, which is a rare occurrence and something I think he looks forward to. Dave grumbled at one point that it was a "waste of five dollars", but I told him that was an experience well worth $5! Guess its time to see about getting a tactile table together, eh...? Maybe rice instead of flour or sand, though... that kid gets enough stuff in his hair! :~D Maybe we'll do flour outside this spring... Or sugar in the bathtub! Maybe a container of granulated sugar and one of powdered...

Funny, its getting to the point that whenever I sit down with Storm or hug him, I feel like I'm neglecting Wyl. Its not anything Wyl says or does, I just feel guilty for not spending that kind of time with him any more (not that he needs it as much as Storm or as often, but he still needs it). I feel I hardly spend much time at all with him any more. Sigh... its even harder now that I've changed my schedule around (I think) for when Dave goes on the road again soon... I don't get to read to him any more and we don't have a lot of opportunity for snuggling together. We used to do that after Storm (and sometimes Dave) was in bed, but since I've been falling asleep about the same time as Storm, and Storm's up before Wyl... I'm going to have to find a solution to that. Maybe Wyl can help me brainstorm. I feel like I complain to him too much, too. He's so "on" and full-blast, too... so much... it can wear on a person. And it doesn't help that Dave expects him to be "quiet" (relative term) 90% of the time. Its just a huge release sometimes, I think, when Dave is gone on an errand and I can say, "Go for it!". That will come more easily and more often when Dave's off on this new job.

Although... I just don't know what is going to happen with Storm... He's so used to having Dave around... going a week without him was going to be hard enough, but since they moved his training too far for us to drive to see him, its likely to be 2 weeks before we see him... Dave's been home for as long as Storm can remember-he's had his Daddy 24/7 basically, except for the occasional trip to the store or out job-hunting. He can't even remember being 9 hours away from him before Dave was injured at worked when he was under a year old... He is so attached to Dave, I can't imagine what he's going to go through and how this is going to affect him. All we can do is keep telling him that Daddy's going but he'll be back and make sure he talks to him on the phone as much as possible... It makes me teary and so sad to think how this is likely to break his little heart. :~(

We had quite a good time swimming Saturday, though! It took Storm almost an hour to acclimate to the water, but he didn't want to get out once he did!! Wyl and I had fun playing around and Wyl had a great time showing Storm the ropes-he can actually CARRY Storm when they're in the water! Wyl carried him everywhere after he figured that one out! :~) :~) I got kind of nervous when I lost sight of Wyl-not that any of the water was over his head, but he gets it into his head to be adventurous and just GOES for it, without looking for us to make sure we can see him or who or what is around him that he might get hurt on-or hurt. He seems to be needing more space to be on his own, though, so I tried to keep an eye on him from a distance to keep my peace of mind and to let him have his space.

Oh, yeah-Storm recently discovered video tapes and that he can put them in and chose what he watches! He takes advantage of this several times a day. Bummer our VCR is on its last legs. Sometimes we have to take his tape into the other room to watch. Not as autonomous as he'd like, but he still gets to chose. Hopefully soon, he'll be able to "get" how we handle DVDs and not fingerprint them up, toss them around and SLIDE them across the crumb-strewn floor!! :~O We didn't have DVDs when Wyl was little, so I haven't any idea what age this really "happens"...

Sunday, January 21

Little Surprises

I'm thinking this is one of those pages I'm going to have to revisit and edit. I've tried e-mailing notes to myself about little ideas to expand on in the blog, and I just keep forwarding them to myself. SO... I figured since I'm online, have the Explorer window open and could take a few minutes, I'd jot a little something that crossed my mind today.

Wyl got out and set up the Pixar Monopoly today while I was helping Storm get to sleep (Dave may be getting a traveling job again soon, and we figured I'd better start participating in the sleep ritual!), and the 3 of us sat down to play when I finally made it downstairs. He paid and made change fairly well with bigger denominations and things in denominations of 5 and 10, made a couple small errors (mostly because of excitement and hurrying :~) ) that were easily and gently fixed. Then came up something where he had to give me change from an odd amount that involved ones-I think the change I was supposed to get was 28-and as I considered whether to offer to help, wait to see if he asked or see if I could define that very fine line between concentration and frustration to jump in and offer help or give the answer... and before I could even get this fully expressed in my brain, I watched him quickly count it out and hand it to me! No debating or concentration needed! LOL I didn't realise he could subtract so quickly in his head.

4:36am - Sheeeesh! It took forever for me to figure out the new Explorer and how to move around my links AAAAND how to edit this page! I forgot to mention that The boys all had a BLAST with a balloon kit Dave got a couple weeks ago. A balloon helicopter, 2 rockets (and squealers in them as they go! LOL), a balloon pump, and balloon animal balloons AND book on how to make them! Kept them busy for hours! Oh, and along the same lines as "air-filled latex".... Wyl got a self-filling whoopie cushion for the holidays and Storm discovered it yesterday. Sigh... sometimes the fart jokes and potty humor REALLY make me wistful for a gal around here... LOL

January 22, 7:42am - Gee, should I just start another page? LOL I just remembered: a week or so ago, shortly after Dave and I were talking about whether or not to buy another bottle or nipple for Storm (how long ago did we accept that he would not "need" to be weaned from a bottle??) Storm refused the bottle Dave offered him! I had been offerring a choice occasionall for a week or so, and once or twice he took the cup, but mostly still liked the bottle. Dave was kind of hesitant, due to the cost of the bottles (Avent), and the fact that Storm doesn't really USE them as bottles in a "nursing" way, but chews on them until the holes are broken open and they're more like a big straw. Anyhow, that day, Storm was adamant-shook his head "No." Dave offered the cup and he was very happy to be able to have his desires understood. He's never gone back. Man, this letting the kids decide when they're gonna grow up at the rate they decide is tough! (joke)