Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where is spring?

I can't believe February is close to over and there has been SNOW in the south! I'm irritated by the fact there may be more tonight. Coming from a land where snow is an everyday winter reality, the fact that life essentially stops because of the stuff is annoying. The boys have lost their spring break to snow make up days. One day we got the phone call school was cancelled at 7:30 am as we were on our way to school! I'm longing for green, redbud flowers, daffodils, and all those little yellow flowers on the forest floor around here.

This year is looking pretty eventful: the boys will officially be teenagers in a couple of months and it's Chicky's last year of elementary school. All of a sudden this parenting thing has a different meaning. The foundation has been laid for the people they will become. I see glimmers of their future selves along with all the confusion of being mired in their present anxieties. I've taken a long look at my parenting skills and found them wanting so I'm back in Educate Thyself land. First off, children can be frustrating. I've got a pretty short fuse some days. After dealing with children under three during the day, coming home to three ten and over "tweens" with their quick-witted verbal (and sometimes physical) spatting can put me over the edge. When the kids were little I read, Nancy Samalin's book Loving Your Child is not Enough and I found it helpful. I'm not sure why she left my resource list, but she has another book Love and Anger: the Parental Dilemma and it has helped immensely. Somehow, I carried my work role as teacher over to my family and I have interfered too much in the kids' arguments and haven't let them handle it themselves. Now, I confidently walk out of the room when the squabbling starts and since they see no one gets much of a reaction about the name calling it stops. I have also tuned out the Universals (i.e., "you always say that to me but you never do her!"), the "it's not fair!", and my need to reason with people that are not reasonable. I'm sleeping better, so it must be working.

My lover teases me for the number of books on my nightstand, which is usually telling about my current emotional crisis status, to wit: Game Change by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin, but I know how it ends so while it's interesting, it's not pressing; The Secret Lives of Girls by Sharon Lamb; Reviving Ophelia by Mary Piper; Getting it Right with Teens by Madelyn Swift (I've seen her a couple times at NAEYC conferences and she is smart, funny, and practical);Lost Boys by James Garbanio, Bryan Peterson's Understanding Photography Field Guide; and Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater. Can you tell I'm feeling unsettled about this newly paved portion of life's highway? I gave Shiver to Chicky for the winter holiday and she liked it and thought I should read it too. I do like to read what the kids are reading and I spent a good part of January reading The Last Olympian series and enjoyed the characters as much as Harry Potter. I thought it was brilliant that girls kicked ass and there weren't lots of long drawn out boring bits like house elf sub-plots or a never ending quidditch world cup.

I've also been playing around with my camera more - new lens means more practice needed! And I'm currently debating how to work photography and my need for exercise into some cohesive doable, enjoyable thing. I'm thinking hiking is my only option here. Resistance bands and a camera aren't going to work and trying to hold a yoga pose while focusing isn't good either. I've been doing a bit of ice skating since December (I got a pair of figure skates as an early birthday present!) but I fall too often to be out there with a camera. I saw a woman fall and heard her camera SMACK the ice. Very sad sound indeed.

Oh, I'm also the mother of boys who throw balls and catch them with sticks. Yep. Lacrosse. So far they think it's more fun than soccer and wondered why they haven't been doing it longer. I can tell them why - it's more expensive.

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