Monday, December 17, 2012

In the Wake of a Tragedy...

What happened on Friday is about every parents worst nightmare realized. I'm not going to get on some soapbox or talk about gun control or anything. I do just want to open up about how this affected me. I'm not prone to too much emotional sway when it comes to dismal stuff on the news....but this got me. I heard about it and panicked. I heard more and it made me sick. I saw the pictures of the lives that were taken and I cried. It was like someone grabbed my guts, twisted them, and shoved them back into an empty cavern.

People want to blame someone...and I get that. I see people posting in the social media about gun control, mental health funding, equipping our schools with metal detectors. I don't think any of that could really prevent such a tragedy. This weekend I talked to my kids about what happened without being panicked. I told them simply, monsters exist. They are real. They are walking around out there only they don't look like we've been taught they do. They look just like you and me.

My son is a little young to grasp anything that happened. My daughter is also, but I tried to apply it to her world just so she understood the magnitude of something so horrendous. I don't want to scare my kids, but I do want to prepare least a little. I told her if she ever heard something scary happening at her school or sounds out of the ordinary, she needs to look and be aware of three things:

1. A great hiding place. I told her if it's at all possible, get into a cupboard or a trashcan or someplace no one would suspect. I told her to hide until all the scary sounds were gone and she felt safe.

2. I told her to look for someone helping. Look for someone you know or is familiar who is helping people if a hiding place isn't possible.

3. Be aware of anyone littler than you looking for help or that seems lost or scared. Help them get somewhere safer.

She's a smart kid and I can tell my words hit home. I can't imagine ever losing my kids in a tragedy like the one on Friday. My heart breaks for those parents and families. There aren't always answers or resolutions for the horrible things that happen in this world. There is nothing we can say or do to bring those kids and teachers back or ease the grieving. This world we live in is equal parts horrifying and majestic.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Being a "Yes" Mom

I have been trying out a new parenting tactic lately. I call it Permissive Parenting, or being a Yes Mom. Did you ever notice as a kid that your mom always said no to almost everything you wanted? At least it seemed like it. Well, my recent theory is that we get told no all the time in life. It sucks. My kids will have plenty of time to hear no, so I'm learning to say yes to pretty much all their requests (within reason) and it's been not only fun, but hilarious!

"Can I have a cookie before dinner?" Yes. "Can we paint today?" Yes. "Can I stay up and watch the end of this movie?" Yes. "Can I wear flip flops to school?" Yes! I am allowing all of this. I'm letting them choose things for themselves, yet I am explaining possible consequences of their actions. For example, "You can stay up and watch the movie, but you have to get up early and you will be awfully tired if you don't get enough rest." Sure enough....within ten to fifteen minutes the kid is heading to bed.  Flip flops in November? Sure, but only if you wear socks. Now THAT is pretty fun to watch.

I've given out more treats, cleaned more messes, and had a more rough time in mornings than usual this week, sure, but I've also read more books at bedtime, wrestled and chased them more, played more board games, broken up less fights, and listened and laughed more than I normally get to. I'm loving this experiment so far and have no plans to discontinue it. Kids come up with great ideas and instead of thinking that perhaps your time will be too strained for their proposed activity, it's pretty easy to shuffle things around to accommodate it. I say try it, what do you have to lose?