Thursday, January 31, 2013

From the child's perspective

Being a child is a confusing time  as the child does not know all that we know about the consequences of actions. Even we don't recognize those consequences in the heat of the moment with our own actions . We may feel justified in being angry and acting upon that anger. We say idle things and don't stop and think. Then there are  of course things we say which have no evil intent at all and the receiver doesn't understand where we are coming from and they get hurt, angry etc. That has been my experience anyway. dealing with my kids I think on their station in life.....children. They act like children. They push our buttons. They are not patient in waiting for attention. Yes,  I send kids to their rooms. I even ignore some behavior as I know they are just trying to get my attention. It is hard to explain. What I can explain is that when there are times of calm, I try to engage the child in conversation of how things are going for them. "So.....Ingrid. How is that screaming thing going today?" "So....Stefan, how is that provoking your sibling to anger thing going?" Seriously. When I talk to them in calm times, their consequences make more sense to them as they have had the opportunity to discuss their struggles with sin in a calm, safe environment. I don't dwell on their action as I wouldn't want anyone dwelling on my sin, but we do talk about it throughout the day. The focus then really is on their repentance and taking charge of their actions some themselves. I am not a huge spanking person myself but there is a time and place but it seems to me that spanking should be very infrequent.  That is a whole different topic for another day.  

 If there are fits about food, I have them leave the room to their roomI might take their food into the kitchen and tell them they can eat there when they are in control of themselves. "IF you can pull yourself together darling, the food is here and this is all there is to Your choice dearie. Screaming and fits are not welcome at the dinner table darling. They give me indigestion and a headache."

 I do think children are often times viewed as non people.  Taking time to look into their eyes and ponder what is going on on the other side of their faces helps me to consider their perspective on the world. They only have their experience to deal with thus far in life and they are attempting to make sense of their world and the rest of the world's response to them. It can be a lonely time really I think. Most of society views children as things and not people. This is my soapbox and sadness for children really. It is perhaps just another take on approach of childrearing. We are NOT their friends and I do have to remind them of this from time to time, especially the older ones, and it also turns into an opportunity to review their Catechism.  

Dwelling on their sin.   Well, I have witnessed this to mean that the adult carries on and on about the child's behavior and thus give the impression that the child is not understanding their actions and it is necessary to fill the air with their sin and....go on and on about it.    Going on and on about a child's actions out loud in front of them might be helpful to the frustrated parent but it really is not helpful to the child.   In this case too I try to picture how I feel when someone goes on and on about some offence I have committed.   It doesn't help and in fact alienates.   

Considering the child's perspective has been one of the most helpful thing to me as a parent and a human being.   This applies to all people and not just children.   Perspective helps all relationships.  It takes effort but it is worth it.   

Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Well, I guess mom-in-law has a UTI.   I thought I had heard of almost every symptom to everything but this was new to me.   Confusion and loss of appetite.   Who knew?   It looks like they have things under control.   I am tired.   I don't think I know what to write about anymore.   There are a few topics which I have chuckled at on another site but explaining my thoughts on those matters seems sort of challenging.  

Praying for several little ones struggling with various challenges.   Sigh.   Waiting for news on one is hard but I know God knows what is up with her.  

Patience with elders

I received a call this noon that my mother-in-law was having some sort of episode.   She seemed confused and was refusing to eat.   Naturally I went to see what was up and was thinking perhaps she had a stroke.   She clearly wasn't her normal active self when I got there.   I am one to observe what in the world is going on so took several hours of talking with her and the nurses and she seemed to actually perk up and then was willing to eat.  There is a call into the doctor and so we are waiting for guidance.  

The fact that she perked up speaks loudly to the importance of communicating with our elders and assuring them we care.   I am not patting myself on the back, it was just interesting to see the transformation from the quiet scared woman to the more relaxed and willing to work with us woman in the course of a few hours.   I am grateful she will listen to reason with persistence and grateful she does not appear to have had a stroke.   We shall see.

In the meantime I am just tired.   My youngest had strep and bad ear infections this week.   The older ones have been strongly urged to persevere in their schooling and hopefully they did while I was away this afternoon.   I haven't circled the wagons to see if that is true or not.   I did have the smarts to call in reinforcements to help with dinner at church this evening.   Hopefully I can get to church later but in the meantime will probably slug around.   The phone has not rung for the doctor report while I can.  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Critical thinking

Overwhelm.   Keep plugging along.   One of my older kids is weak on critical thought.   I suggested to him that he read mystery books and work himself up to more difficult reading.   I started this post before he tried a mystery book and now I can see where the book I chose was too difficult for him.   So basically methodically building up his stamina is yet another item on my tick list to keep chasing after. I can also see that my random self needs to work on preparing some activities ahead of time for kids to work on.   The amount of time wasted being interrupted by kids who need my attention can be down right maddening.   I know I would make a terrible classroom teacher as preparation for cute activities kills me.   But my kids love them just like the rest of the kid world.  I need to do this.  

My other activities for critical thought include cross word puzzles, word searches, riddles, and other strategy games.   My biggest challenge is NOT getting overwhelmed by it all and NOT getting distracted by other temptations.
At least three of my kids need total silence and no bouncing, screaming children about.   I can keep the oldest kids on task for at least several hours working on writing, grammar and instruction.   When we break apart to work on separate levels of math, life breaks down here.   My energy lasts only about one more hour and then it is a push to get anything else accomplished.   I suppose I need to just be happy with whatever extra school work gets done in the afternoon.  

This is all rambling on teaching and endurance with bunches of kids in toe.  

Monday, January 21, 2013

More on simplifying

Can I make life any simpler or do I make it more complicated???????    Nine kids.   God has given nine kiddos to the hubby and I and each one of them would like some of my time usually every day.   Staying home as much as possible is my new reminder for myself.   If I lose focus by having tons of appointments etc., then I can't stay home and focus.   They are mostly all on different levels.   My mind keeps a tick list of their strengths and weakness and I try to help each child  keep their focus on them.   I am surprised my brain doesn't blow up on some days.   

When the older kids were young, I had all of these awesome ideals of my hopes and dreams for homeschooling my kids.   Many times I wanted to throw in the towel.   Throwing in the towel amounted to having several days or weeks of discontent and then figuring out how to get everyone back on task, my mind to quit obsessing and feeling sorry for myself, and.....stay home.  There would have been nothing wrong with throwing in the towel btw, but our options here are pretty limited.   

One child has piano.   Two boys have Boy Scouts.   Several have Catechism classes and I do not compromise on church as there I find peace and hope in Word and Sacrament    This leaves little to no time to socialize or go to do much for fun.   I can either gnash my teeth and lament how I can't have 'fun' or forget that and carry on.     It just isn't fun to come home to chaos.   These are the kids God gave me and the hubby and home and this is what I do.   My advice to self is to run away from this computer as much as possible, get up and do what I am given to do and try not to make my life more complicated.   

We do occasionally do fun things but they are usually with part or all of the family.   We went skiing two weeks ago.  The kids go to friends homes to play and goof off.    I went to a symphony concert with my mom in Chicago last Friday.   We had some friends over at various times over the weekend.  One set we see once a year and the rest were children who......played with the kids.    It seems spacing out fun and having significant chunks of hunker down time is the way for me to actually be half way successful at doing this mom and teaching thing.   Then clinging to Christ and the forgiveness of sins is of course the most helpful......but I have to remember that fact too.....thus church is a priority.   Onward.   

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Visits with in-laws

My in-laws are now good and settled at the assisted care living facility and all of their kids seem pleased with their living situation and how things are going.   I would love to be able to visit them more often and squeeze in some quickies here and there.   They are very delighted to have visitors and the atmosphere is much more pleasant as I am visiting them and not living with them.   There is a difference.

I get a quick picture of the reality of life when it isn't the life I am living now.   All of these older folk and  handicapped folk living their lives and routines and how they are not much different than me.   I have routines and ups and downs and surprises which occur.   I feel like I can talk to my mother-in-law in a comfortable way knowing that we both are challenged by goodies, both forget a lot of stuff, and I can kid her a little about her challenges of stepping away from the deserts and the sweet tea.   It is pleasant.   It is also a nice switch from my own routine as the older people there are much more delighted to see me and have a friendly hello than the people I live with as those people I live with see my face a lot.  

Visiting my own parents happens from time to time too.   My mother and I are going to Chicago on Friday to explore and go to a symphony concert.   I did that with her last year around this time.   It should be fun.   I am curious as to what my reaction will be this year.   Taking in live concerts is dreamy and too few and far between.   I find watching the attendees pretty fascinating too the same way it is fascinating to visit with the residents at my in-laws place.   They all have these lives they are living and it is just a curious thing to watch them and listen to them if we have a chance to talk.

One woman I saw yesterday is the wife of one of Charley's ex co-workers.   She was hospitalized last month with bacterial pneumonia.   Yikes.   The infection started to invade her body as well.   So I listen carefully to her story and give her hugging eyes and understanding and it is a sweet conversation.   Her husband is totally incapacitated and she does everything for  him so it was hard to be sick and wonder how he was doing.   The sweetness of her concern.   Sigh.  

Now back to my regularly scheduled program of trying to get something graded, making sure daughter dear practices, and using house cleaning as another method of exercise.   I have to look it that way as the house makes me nutty.   Back to the laundry........

Sunday, January 13, 2013


My head is wrapping itself more and more around how exactly to teach the kids writing skills.   I peaked at my last post months ago and saw immediately that I failed in proofreading and I am sure there are more mistakes if I looked hard enough.   So now my goal is to have the kids write a response to a question every day, when we can pull this off, and for me to write with them.   It worked beautifully last week and they are eager to write.   They also looked astonished at my responses.   A musician learns much from example as do artists and of course mathematicians.   Even my own lame attempts will give us all something to share together.   The anticipation on their faces of reading and hearing each others writing was sweet.   If I had my way I would work with the kids like this all day.   I wouldn't go to appointments or worry about what was for dinner.   It is awesome to connect with their thinking and think together.   The older students writing requires stating clear reasons and backing up of their thinking in their writing and not making assumptions.   The process is harder.   I hope that we can spend this spring hammering away at this.  Sigh.