Monday, September 25, 2006

A busy day, but no cold showers needed

O.k., so this is my blog and I must vent and gloat a little. Yesterday was quite a day! I needed to clean the van out so we wouldn't be incredibly emabarrassed when we put the antique tub in there. Please see our other blog, "A Bus 4 A Bus" about the tub, for more about that. That lead to Cliff and I cleaning out the garage. We tossed a bunch of junk and swept and Cliff organized. We may actually be able to park the van in there this winter (if we're here).

The day was not terrible but the past few days have been busy and my nerves were a little on edge too. Partially from a bad nights sleep the night before. And poor Camden is really cutting his two year molars and he has been an emotional time bomb. He has started protesting a lot of things and becoming his own little person. For instance, if he wants something like a power drill, or anything else he gets very upset if he can't have it. He starts to cry and scream and a trade item does not always work. Destraction doesn't always work either now. It was a trying weekend to say the least. Our gentle parenting is being tested TO THE MAX.

A little bit later I saw a Nintendo game system and three games being offered on our county list. I was excited because I have been generous to this Freecyle group and this person and I had exchanged a few items recently. I wasn't sure she'd give it to us but I knew there was a good chance she would. So I was happy when she emailed me back that she'd be in town in the afternoon and could bring it by since she knew where we lived. Plus we have an old standing kitchen cabinet and a book shelf we have been emailing back and forth about that she wants to come see.

In the meantime Camden took an early nap as usual and Cliff and Holden went to the grocery store. Cliff bought a light for our front porch since we didn't have one anymore and we needed a new one with dark evenings coming. We remembered how hard it was last spring when it was dark to find the keyhole to unlock the door at night. It made going out and coming home at night a hassle. The other light was 30 years old, and we tossed it last winter instead of reinstalling it.

So Camden wakes up from his nap and we rush off to Des Moines in two cars to get the tub because the van has no extra seats for us to make room for the tub. We get there safely and on time. I was very excited! I even remembered to take the little Matchbox bus and my camera. Mike and his boys were ready to help us load the tub. They are very kind and sweet folks. Camden and Holden loved the Lauer's beautful and huge 12 pound rabbit who has a fenced running area out by their garage. All went great and then we took off in our two vehicles.

When we got home I was able to take more photos of the tub and post them on-line. I had hoped to get dinner started and just relax, nothing else as I was tired. In the meantime Cliff decides to install the light on the porch. Oy. This is where my gentle parenting will be tested again. Both boys want to watch him in the front yard. Camden is running all over, including the street, and I can hear Cliff getting frustrated. So I hurry up with I am doing on-line and watch Cliff drill a hole in our siding and help with the boys. He can't find the wire and between the kids running all over and Camden getting into everything outside and in the garage and then Holden wanting to help Cliff it was quite crazy. Then Camden had a meltdown because he was tired and hungry. I got him calmed down with some gentle loving/cuddling. Then I cooked dinner and waited for the woman with the Nintendo to come by while Cliff was in the attic looking for the wire he needed to connect the porch light to. All I really wanted to do after all Camden's crying and all the busy-ness was crawl into bed for the night (at 4pm)! My sister, Heidi (in Texas), calls and we talk a little on the phone while I am making pizza bread. She can tell I am stressed! We have a few laughs while kids run all over screaming (a neighbor friend who bounces off walls and is very loud is at our house too). I feel like my head will explode by now.

Next we send the friend home and quickly eat dinner and then look for the wire again. We aren't sure we'd ever find this wire. Soon the lady with the Nintendo shows up and I am a little better after dinner, but still on edge after chasing Camden all over and mothering the boys' endless questions and a headache brewing. We thank her for the Nintendo (which I later see doesn't have hand controllers...oy) and I make the mistake of mentioning Camden is going thru a tough screaming stage and his molars are coming in. Some would refer to this stage as the onset of the terrible twos, but not me. She (is a school teacher) tries to console us by sharing about her son when he was almost two. She took him to a psychologist and he asks her to keep track of what the baby eats and some other things. She instead gets advice from the school counselor where she works to put her son in a cold shower the next time he has a screaming fit. She said she only had to do it twice and that was the end of that. She said it did not hurt him and he is 11 now and fine. He was in their car and I doubt he is fine. Detached and angry maybe? I hope not but I know a lot of very angry and misunderstood and depressed kids. Gee, I wonder why they are angry and depressed? Parents with little compassion, support, and lack of helpful advice from other parents when their kids are truly upset and SCREAMING wouldn't have anything to do with it? Would someone have done this to her best friend or aging mom or a teen? Just because a child is two doesn't mean they are not worthy of some understanding when they are angry, afraid, or acting act. It makes me wonder what their parents did to them. I know I wasn't always parented with respect and I have had my share of not so perfect parenting which I am not proud of. I am lucky I found many moms who are learning how to parent gently and not cruelly and that has helped a lot.

I was cringing during this whole situation and said I wouldn't do that to Camden because he has a very strong sense of self and I wouldn't want to break his spirit. It was an awkward situation to say the least. Out of the corner of my eye I could see her boyfriend (or husband?) motioning his eyes to her to leave. Anyhow, I am truly sorry I mentioned Camden's screaming and can only imagine how many people will have to hear this story now. And how many people will she tell and they will think she is so smart for what she did to her son? I know some many people will agree with her. Cringe...sob...enough venting.

Soon after they left Cliff found the electric wire, with Holdens help--yay! And then Holden and I had a talk about forcing cold showers. He said that would be a mean thing to do to anyone. I am glad he has so much common sense!

By 7:00pm I get my wish to crawl into bed. Holden, Camden and I are sawing logs by 7:30pm. And Cliff is enjoying some solitude. It was a very busy day, but thankfully we won't be taking the cold shower advice! I am feeling much more rested today and feeling grateful for a community of other moms who get why forcing a cold shower would be cruel! I'm sorry for all the kids and parents who don't have these moms in their lives. I hesitated to share this story, but maybe a mother will read it and it show some love and compassion to their child(ren). Or maybe a mom will seek out friends who support gentle parenting. We can all make a difference somehow.

The photos are obvious. Last one is of me, Camden, Ana--our friend Rachael's daughter...Spring of 2005.


zamozo said...

Geesh! I fantasize about telling that woman that she ought to try taking a cold shower herself before inflicting it on a two year old! I'm glad you're feeling better and rested today.

The Brown Family said...

Thanks for reading! It felt good to vent about this! I don't want people to hate her. I just want people to know there's other options to parenting. We don't have to be choose control and violence. Of course, I know you know the other options and do many others, thankfully. It frightens me when I hear about schoolteachers who parent this way. I met a school teacher once who told me she works because staying home is too much mommy time. What???