Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Unconditionally Bad Parenting Day
Look what Ranger has chewed up, lately. Today it was the tips of the sprinkler. Last week it was the iPod of the Princess. That's right. She has re-joined the hearing world. No buds in her ears. She is like a newborn baby. She's like, "What's that beautiful sound?"
"That's a bird, Ellie."
"But it's not playing Coldplay."
"No, this phone just makes a ringing sound."
"Interesting. What is that low, grumbling sound?"
"Your brother's voice. He has armpit hairs now, too."
"Oh my God! I've missed so much! It is a beautiful world. It truly is! Thank you, Ranger! Thank you for chewing up my iPod and opening my eyes..er....ears to the beauty of God's creation!!"
OK - so that wasn't even vaguely paraphrased. She could probably sue me. Oh well. She already gets everything we have.....I was proud of her. She really didn't have a cow over it. And it is the special edition "Red" iPod that supports Bono's poverty campaign or something like that. She had it engraved with a Gandhi quote.....So in a minute I am off to buy another sprinkler before my lawn dies. Don't know what Ellie's going to do about the iPod.
Ellie is at camp, Jeff is on a business trip, and I am single-parenting without the assistance of free child/teenage labor. Well, I do have one teenager left in the household, but he is of the grunting, mumbling, "huh?" variety. So yesterday was not a good day and today will hopefully be better. Yesterday Jasper destroyed a shrub in front of our house. A big shrub. Completely destroyed it. Why? He doesn't know. And because I was trying to get some writing done, the little ones also destroyed the house. I have to get a handle on that. I need to figure out how to keep them from doing that when I am too busy to give them my full attention. They are 6 and 4 years old, so it isn't as if I'm talking about toddlers, here.
We try to practice Unconditional Parenting (see http://www.alfiekohn.org/) but yesterday I found myself using threats and just being unconditionally mean. Camille has a Girl Scout field trip scheduled for tomorrow and I told her we weren't going to go if she didn't pick up some of the destruction - especially in her room. I HATE that. I want her to be able to govern her own behavior without threats. I need to read the book again; not because I've forgotten what it said but because I need to be inspired to be a better parent, again. So we will see about tomorrow. She doesn't believe that we won't go, of course. And I'm not sure I do, either. She is in there cleaning up right now, but she comes out about every minute to tell me something. Actually, I don't think she has gone more than 20 seconds without coming out to tell me something. And when I say "coming out to tell me something", I mean in the finger-wagging-hands-on-hips-mouth-just-a'flapping-telling me something. This is also a big problem in getting my weekly column out...it would be easier to be a family humorist without the actual family.
Let's see...other big irritant in my life? FACEBOOK! Ellie and I have Facebook pages. We were competing for friends but she quickly blew me out of the water with that one. Anyway, I was into putting these cute little pins on my cyber-bulletin board and now I can't remember how to do it! I found a bunch of Orlando Bloom pins I want to put up.....Orlando as a pirate, Orlando as an elf (I especially like him as an elf with his unending quiver of arrows). Last year my adorable husband gave me a birthday cake with Orlando's face on it. Jules was like, "Mommy? Are you going to divorce Daddy and marry Orlando Bloom?"
Good Lord. The things I have to comfort these kids about. I reassured him. "Of course not. You know Mommy could never go out with someone who weighs less than she does."
Anyway, I wasted about 30 minutes last night trying to get his pictures up on my bulletin board. And Ellie isn't here to help me. Just one big serious moment after another...