Friday, December 23, 2011

Gratitude Not Attitude

From Pre-Thanksgiving

Holidays are always very special, but extremely hectic for me. Its a time where I can share with my family a great meal. I always work too hard, this time of year especially. Most often I take for granted that I'm very lucky to have the ability to wake up to the people I love every day. Instead of sitting down and appreciating the company of my family, I run around making sure there is an abundance of food, and things are clean. I process and can all through summer and fall, I over do the holiday meals. I forget to sit down, and rarely sleep. I am working on writing my cookbook, (again) I HAVE to keep up with Neo-Homesteading. With homeschooling, potty training, doctors visits and housework.... I am just teetering on bat shit crazy. 

Although Riley's homeschooling isn't without hiccups, overall he is happier and kinder than most kids I know. Without a doubt he will not be bullied, he will not have a substandard education. As selfish as it may sound, I truly feel under valued. Not long ago I made the mistake of asking Riley what he would eat if I were to die tomorrow. With a glimmer in his eye he said CORN DOGS! (As if he were anticipating the moment.) I very often wonder if everything I do actually matters? Why not just give them the corn dogs and chicken nuggets they want? So I created an activity that encouraged everyone to show gratitude instead of attitude. Make paper your place mats and encourage everyone to write 10 things they are thankful for. Sharing with my family my stories and meals is a way I'm trying to share with them my "10 things" every day. To them I feel I have to force the subject but it is worthwhile. I was surprised to find out that both Stephen and Riley really do appreciate the things I do. They both included things like family, home cooked food, raw milk and of course me! 

It kills me a little each day to work myself to the bone, so while most people are setting resolutions to lose weight, or quit this or that. I am telling myself that next year I will try to relax more. My lack of patience doesn't help anyone, the clean floor doesn't make my kids feel loved and the date and raisin cookies no one eats, well they sure don't help me out in the "appreciated" department. If I were more patient and calm, we would probably all be happier. So needless to say this week and next, I'm chilling out. Riley has limited "schoolwork" and the bulk of my housework and writing will be done with limits attached. Stephens Genius Idea: Work for -x- amount of time and sit the F* down. What an idea! I'm looking forward to not doing dishes at 1 am.  

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Your a Mean one... Mr.Grinch-

Homeschooling has been a continuous struggle. Every day feels like walking a mile up hill on nails. I'd like to say things have gotten easier but for every great day we have, there are 4 that suck twice as bad. The holidays have been crazy. We welcomed Kimchi, a 12 week old elf-sphynx kitten to the family. In retrospect I probably didn't need one more thing on my plate with homeschooling and potty training, but he has definitely brought sunshine to our world. Riley is a very bright young man, his major flaw being his iron will. Under no circumstance will he be respectful, and at no point is he willing to adhere to any structure. 

Mini Mr. Grinch

Essentially he has become my Mr. Grinch. I say I love you, he say's "that's lame." I understand that eight is the beginning of a difficult age bracket. With homeschooling, his happiness is my burden, and mine alone. I try, try, try. I cry, cry, cry. Every single day I wake up and sing to him, (You are my sunshine!) every day I'm faced with a sour puss with a grumpy face. It breaks my heart, but although I'm typically fairly self-defeating I'm trying. I know that homeschooling is going to not only give him the best attention he can get, but it allows him to not deal with the public school drama. Frankly speaking, from our previous experience I doubt I could pay them a million dollars to even think about tolerating him. These people are paid to deal with kids but rarely treat them as children at all. He's my "problem," and I realize this. It's the way it should be. Too many people send their kids off expecting the schools to turn them into well adjusted adults. Honestly schools have become institutions where dreams, happiness and personality go to die. (insert rant here.)  I love him dearly but his angry ways are killing me. 

This is what "hard work" looks like. 

When he's not  deliberately trying to be mean he is a really delightful and beautiful soul. He's nurturing, caring and absolutely funny. Although his humor is often entirely inappropriate, I can live with it. Quite often his dark humor shows a sign of intelligence. We are about half way through the curriculum we got from the school. I'm thinking I might buy some first grade work books as filler to make his second grade work seem less heavy. Last week we were set back with a nasty flu, so far I'm the only one who's been un-phased by it. (knock on wood) Riley was in the ER getting an IV drip, last year the poor kid had pneumonia, the year before tubes were put in. 

Every Momma knows, when you want to get something done... Leave Bait. 

Every day I see homeschooling blogs that seem to all paint the prettiest picture. Happy, healthy, non grumpy kids that are just dying to learn. Although I can't avoid thinking the grass is so much greener, I'd like to think there is a huge benefit to having such a willful child. The bright side of the dark side is that one day maybe my willful child may grow to be a willful adult that can make a change. Being different in the face of adversity has done well for me. I'm pretty happy being pessimistic, intelligent and out of the ordinary. 

Am I "happy?" No, not by normal standards. My glass is, and probably always will be half empty, but it gives me the drive to hope for a glass that is full. Day after day I ask myself this: Is he happy? Would he be happier doing something else? The answer is always the same. I know without a doubt that this is the right choice. Homeschooling both of my boys will result in a better education because they are getting one on one care, and they are not being faced with bullies. (young and old) The answer to their hyperactivity will never be to shove a pill down their throats, and I will never point and laugh and call them fat, pimpled, stinky or dumb. They are given the opportunity to think freely. Raising free thinking individuals is hard, VERY hard. Trying to put them into a little box of "should be," just doesn't work out for anyone. Would I prefer Riley took the stick out of his ass? ABSOLUTELY, but being a Grinch.... I guess I can live with it. Not that I have a choice..