Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Off Topic - Crib Notes - Schools of Parenting

News flash: I'll be putting together a collection of crib notes as an e-book and am looking for a review or two. If you're up to it, drop me a line. In the meantime, here's what's going on in our end of things...

Schools of Parenting

We walk a fine line in parenting between two schools of thought. One is the if-you-leave-them-alone-they-will-work-it-out. The other is the sometimes-you-have-to-kick-them-in-the-you-know-what.

To the outside observer I’m sure it looks like we’re vacillating wildly from one school to the other. To those of us on the inside, it feels the same way, only with whiplash.

For example, let’s take the chore of loading and emptying the dishwasher. At first I was fairly certain that unloading the dishwasher was a task that could happen with little to no supervision. After all our children have lived here for their entire lives. Surely they have noticed where the bowls, spatula, and various eating utensils are stored.

Little did I know that everything that takes place in the kitchen is actually completely invisible. Apparently food merely floats out of the cabinets and lands on the table, completely prepared, distributed by fairies who have nothing better to do than spend three hours looking for the measuring cup!

But I digress.

After a few weeks of utensil chaos, I realized it was time to get the other school of thought in gear and we had kitchen boot camp. By the end of it, every plastic storage container had a lid. We had spoons again. All the cartoon glasses were back on their shelf.

The problem with the kick-in-the-you-know-what school is that while it delivers results, it is exhausting to maintain. It’s the kind of school of thought that does not tolerate any slacking off. Nor does it handle a healthy sense of humor well.

Which is why I have no hope of ever maintaining the necessary discipline around here. Pretty soon the kitchen fairies are back to rescuing the measuring spoons from the regular spoons, and the bowls are a leaning tower of mismatched soup, popcorn, and salad bowls.

Then again, the let-them-figure-it-out school has produced all the best memories in our house.

Like the time I let Sierra figure out how to use her new paint set and came back to find her with a completely blue arm.

And the time I suggested Mireya amuse herself and when I came back she’d set up an elaborate western scene, complete with horses, cows, Indians on boxes (clearly planning an ambush), and unsuspecting cowboys in round up position. This authentic western scene came from the princess in her Disney heels.

So I guess we’ll keep both schools up and running. That way I can both find the steak knives and, periodically, bits of wonder.


Mikey said...

Lol, can you tell me where my spoons go? Somehow they disappear around here with regularity.
I try to balance both ways. My nearly 7 yr old can do the dishes, do laundry, vacuum the house, clean the couches, windows, tv, etc. I preach "There is a place for everything!" Not that it always gets there...

Kids are hard to raise, but they have their moments :)

BrownEyed Cowgirl said...

Ooohhhh....I soooo hear you on this.

A Work In Progress said...

My kids are still too young to help without supervision, but I already know there is no hope for them. Their father is in his thirties and still can't put the dishes away properly! It's like a scavenger hunt trying to find things after he's unloaded the dishwasher!

Maia said...

You are a wonderfully witty writer and congrats to you for putting together an ebook.