Adventures in Unschooling

Archive for August 2009

What a topic. I started reading a book by the Tavistock  Clinic called Understanding 4-5-year-olds. It has helped me out a lot.

I see that my son’s tantrums are a perfect opportunity to show my son love. He needs to know that even thought he is angry that I still love him and that he still belongs in the family unit.

I also see that when they ask me to stay home everyday that I have horribly altered their routine. I thought it was enough that their loving father was home with them but I guess there’s no warm body like mommy’s. I see that in Anna more than anyone else. She just adores me even though I am gone all day. I would not give up breastfeeding because I think that that has been a crucial bond for her and I to maintain. No matter what happens she still loves me because no one feels, smells and tastes like mommy does.

But back to the boys.

I won’t be going back home for a bit. Maybe in December but that’ll depend on who gets the better job offer until Kev’s next “career” takes off  (A side note on that. He is still studying for the entrance exam and when he passes that then the rest should flow pretty nicely).

But I see now that I will have to make an extra effort to spend time with just them alone. They need some real lovin’ from mommy. I have been satisfied doing family-based activities but they need time with just me more than ever these days.

The book also reinforced for me that I need to stop profiling my kids. I know it’s wrong and I don’t mean too but I can’t help myself. Trey is my smart child. He catches on to things quickly and he is athletic and coordinated. Joel is clumsy but but he is a great cuddler and ever so gentle in spirit. Joel is also our goofball.

These “profiles” don’t seem very harmful but they probably will be. If Trey is smart then will that make Joel feel like I think he is stupid? Or will Trey feel like he doesn’t have the capacity for deep emotion?

Neither of those is true but I can’t control how they’ll interpret these comments so I really need to keep these to myself. They are both wonderful and I want them to be who they want to be. Not fulfill what I see in them. 

I am learning a lot about my own childhood too. For example. I had lots of constipation and hernia problems growing up. I thought that that was a side-effect of my eating too much animal based foods. While that very likely played a role as well, this book states that constipation in children is a sign of a problem in a parent-child relationship. Woah! That blows my mind.

I had a father that used to pick on me relentlessly. I was always too something for him. Some days I was too attractive, some I was too chatty, some I was too learned, some I was too mean or too bossy with my sister, some I was too lazy, some I was too independent or free-spirited. I am sure he would deny this but I know that it’s true.

I remember my sister calling me in tears when I was in college because my dad was yelling at her now that I was gone. She had always been shielded by my presence but with no one else around for him to attack he turned to her. 

I always felt like being around my dad was like being around a ticking time bomb. He’d blow up for a plethora of reasons. And I never felt like he loved me unconditionally. I always felt like I needed to earn his approval. I took to not speaking around him in case something I had learned at school might set him off. I also loved spending time in my room reading, writing, listening/signing to music and dancing. Likely because I was safe there and I could be who I really was and express how I really felt.

I was also incredibly clingy as a child. I would ask my mother about ten times a day if she loved me. I think I needed extra reassurance of her love for me since I didn’t feel like I could turn to my dad for comfort. Whenever I got hurt or did badly my dad’s reaction was always bristly. “Get up and stop being a baby…why didn’t you work harder, you’re grounded so you can study more.” Even when it was him that hurt me he still wouldn’t apologize.

I used to have dreams where he would be trying to kill me. And I had other troubling dreams where I would try to save my sister from raging baboons and stuff like that. It’s amazing how telling dreams can be. I seldom find real meaning in the crazy array of dreams that I have every night but I think the memorable ones do mean something.

Now that I am happily married I feel safe from negativity and I seldom have nightmares. I remember having had only one or two in the last six years. Not bad overall.