What is “Their Level,” anymore?

August 12, 2010

I’m going to try desperately to catch up with Kristen on the Better Parent Challenges.

Her Day 4 was to “Get down on their level.”

See how easy this is?  I was sneaky on this one — I just waited for them to grow to MY level.  Lemon is 5’3″ and a half, and Mouse is just about 5’1.”  I’m 5’6″, so it’s not quite eye-to-eye, but it feels like it.  I do remember, though, being conscious of this when they were young, and staying conscious of it with my very young niece and nephew.  I think it does make a big difference to the little tykes.

Days 5 – 8; Easy as Pie: Take a Break From Your Kids!

Snarkily, I say, “getting a divorce makes this one easy!”  Which is true.  When they girls were young and first started traveling out of state during the summer, I really treasured the break.  But as they got older, those longer breaks were harder.  I had less benefits with them gone – since the older they get the more we can do with them – and I just missed them.

Other than sharing them with the Ex, I get a lot of “breaks” from my kids.  Lemon is 14 and makes her own plans.  We have to reserve space on her calendar for family-time these days.  Fortunately, she doesn’t kick or fuss about it.  And Mouse isn’t far behind.  She was home for one week between the Middle of the Country and camp, and she had plans every day and her phone was constantly buzzing with texts and invitations to do more.

And because we live in a place where they can easily stroll across the street or around the block to friends’ houses, the pool, the park, the pizza place … them doing things doesn’t even require our participation.

And now we have to focus on the opposite.  Making sure that we have time together.

Day 9:  Find your triggers

I don’t think this is any different for teens than it is for younger children.  This one’s all about the parent, isn’t it?  It is probably true that – at least for me – I had more triggers when they were toddlers than I do today.  They don’t tend to shriek at the top of thier lungs for no reason anymore.  Or wet their beds.  Or cry for an entire car trip.  But there are some left:

  • Sibling fights.  They make me mad.
  • When I’m trying to focus on something and they want me to do something else.  Sometimes this is selfishness on my part.  I don’t want to deal with them, I want to play Mah Jongg.  But a lot of the time, it’s because I’m doing something work-related.  I do not work at home on a regular basis, but sometimes i have to bring work home with me in the evening . This helps me to leave the office at a reasonable time in a field where very few of my colleagues eat dinner at home on a regular basis.  And it happens so rarely – I just think that 12 and 14 year olds should be able to understand and give me a bit of latitude.  But thinking about it as a trigger makes me think I should clean up my half of WD and my shared office and set it up so that when I’m doing real WORK, I can take my computer in there and close the door.  That would be a clear signal, and hopefully avoid the pressing of that button.

Those were the quickies.


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