Vacations have this mythology of being stress free and completely rejuvenating. When I was single and had no constraints, that was probably more true. I took months long trips through Europe and the US. Now, however, there are children to wrangle, logistics to arrange, and a partner with whom to partner. Before, I would not have gotten up pre dawn unless I was trying to catch the sunrise or I just stayed up all night. Now, the idea of staying up all night is funny and my wake-up is often dictated by my son who precedes the sun. This is all more work, but it is also very rewarding to see the joy and shared experiences that help form the core of family stories.
Category Archives: Communication
Sunday evening was a case study in the less constructive tone of voice issues that my children and I bring to the table. My son is experimenting with a forceful “No.” My daughter is experimenting with things she is getting at school. I add in an angry and frustrated tone when I reach my point of overwhelmed. Together, these tones mix to create a lot of hurt feelings. I really need to work on mine while helping the kids out of theirs. Hard work!
One of my biggest take aways from the faculty and parent meeting at my school was that it forced me to realize that my daughter would be entering school with students whose parents had not sheltered them much or at all from the recent events. As Friday unfolded, it was clear that my wife and I were preoccupied with the news. It was an amazing blessing to have my mom here to help during the day of lockdown that ensued. We spent the entire day inside as tweets and facebook posts kept us updated on the search and the status of friends in the area. When my son went down for a nap, my wife and I talked with our daughter about Monday and the events going on that were keeping us inside on a perfectly nice spring day. She listened and asked good questions, and she expressed her upsetness at someone making such bad choices and hurting people. As expected, she also had a lot of difficulty with the 8 year-old boy’s death. Friday’s conversation is, of course, only the beginning of helping her deal with this situation. She will process and react. One of the hardest conversations to date with my children. I did go through this with my homerooms during both 9/11 and the Haitian earthquake. This post is not too coherent, but that is a reflection of this last week’s events. I am thankful for the friends and family who have kept connected during this time. I am so thankful for my wife and that my mother is here in town. I am so thankful that my kids are awesome and wonderful and alive.
Friday, I got home from the crazy commute to and from work on a snowy day. I was in one piece, though a little ragged around the edges. As wearing as the day had been, I knew that my wife was probably at the end of her rope with the kids. Her school and my daughter’s school were both cancelled, so she was home all day with bouncy but too ill to play outside kids. Also, my wife had really hoped to get into her school to pick up some things. I knew I was probably walking into the crazy that would make my school day look like a calm picnic in the park.
And I did. My daughter was bouncing around the house, and my son was crying whenever my wife got out of range. We worked together to get through dinner and bed time. In these moments, as challenging as they are, we do get a peak into how our relationship is doing. When we are not doing well, these moments are absolute torture, but when we are doing better, we can support each other and make it through together. Friday was one of those instances. Neither of us wanted to deal, but together we made it work.
My workflow for this blog has been to write a post scheduled to post the next night. I do this from my desktop computer. Unfortunately my home network is flaking out. I’ll bust out the iPad if I can’t solve the problem tonight, but this is from my phone. Not sustainable.
My son has an emphatic, “No.” It starts high and moves down but maintains a full volume throughout. The effect is clearly, “What a crazy idea that you have just proposed, and thanks for never wasting my time with it or anything like it ever again.” He has worn that word out for everyone but, apparently, himself.
Just a few days ago, he finally figured out the yes word. His yes includes that hard to pronounce s. It is very clear and even a little elongated. Yess. Not a snake hissing or evil villain, but very clear. He will even correct my yeah to a yes. He genuinely seems to take pleasure in saying the word. It comes with a smile. I am not sure he could ever wear out this new-found word.
My daughter loves to talk. She talks to people, to things, and to a host of imaginary children and students. For all of that, communication is still a fledgling skill.
On Wednesday, there was some miscommunication between my wife, my daughter’s teacher, and my daughter. Being told that Mommy was picking her up at the end of the day by the teacher, my daughter was fairly upset to find that it was her regular carpool. With awesome support from the kids and adults in the car and some pretty hard work on her part, she managed to turn it around and inundate me with stories as we drove to pick up her ill brother.
I am confident that the immense volume of language pouring from my daughter’s mouth and her intense desire to direct it at others will transform over time into clear and balanced communication.