So very random

The flowers in our yard have started blooming and we have a lot of butterflies. This morning I found two of them sleeping in my yoga room. They have been coming into the house for the last 3 days.

Yesterday our furnace arrived. The delivery man didn’t help bring it in but left the enormous packages on the slope of our driveway. The furnace (at least one part) is 129 kg and taller than I am. Sam was home but it was not easy moving it and getting it up the stairs! It was also slightly terrifying.

I am having intense neck and shoulder pain today it has actually been a long time since I last had it. I have tried the heating pad but it didn’t help so I may have to endure a massage. I hate massages.

Isadora struggles in gym class. She seems to have inherited my poor coordination. When she was younger it didn’t bother her so much she was happy just to play. Then the kids started to tease her a bit for being such a slow runner and that made her feel self-conscious. She continued to enjoy gym anyway but this last year she started to dread going (and even tried to get out of it a few times pretending to be sick). Today we went running together, 1 km and I let her set the pace. She completed the full kilometer and she was so proud of herself. I was proud of her too! At school they have to run 2 km so I thought we’d build up to that so she can conquer that hurdle next year. I want to help her to meet her basic fitness goals as required by gym so that she won’t feel so intimidated by gym class.

As a parent one of the things I feel is absolutely crucial is that Isadora can come and talk to us if she has made a mistake. Like most of us, admitting to mistakes has proven very hard for her but yesterday she came to me and said “Mommy, I was playing with the salt shaker and I made a big mess.” I was so proud because usually she would wait until I found it and then begrudgingly admit to it, make up some implausible excuse, or feign ignorance out right. She also admitted something else about herself today she said “I complain a lot when you brush my hair.” She was talking about someone at school that hates having their hair brushed and admitted that she is the same way. In the past she has always been more like so and so complains a lot but I never do that.

One thing I, as a parent, need to work on are my listening skills. When Isadora was young she had a very hard time communicating her feelings. Part of the problem was that she was learning two languages simultaneously and was behind her peer group in communication. Part of it has to do with her being very sensitive and emotional. And part of it probably has to do with her being very compassionate by nature and not wanting to upset others. We did a lot of different exercises using colors to represent her feelings. I would ask her tons of questions to try and figure out why she was upset. For a long time I was the only one who really could figure out what was bothering her. Now that she is older she is better able to express herself, she still struggles because feelings are tricky but instead of spending so much trying to solve mysteries I need to get used to listening. I talk way too much!

And last but not least why I am against spanking. Spanking is illegal in Sweden but in North Carolina, my place of origin, it is a wide spread practice. During my elementary school years you could even be paddled in school! I am glad Sweden doesn’t allow it. First let me begin by saying I do think discipline is important. I believe natural consequences probably work best. For example if Isadora leaves her toys outside overnight and they get ruined I don’t replace them. If she wants to replace them she has to use the money she earns doing chores to replace them herself. Alternatively she can accept the loss. We have house rules. If I find she is continuously breaking a specific rule like sneaking food. Then I evaluate the situation. Is the rule something an 8 year old can reasonably be expected to follow and how can I help her succeed. With the sneaking food I have made healthy snacks easily available for when she gets hungry. I realized that kids naturally eat small frequent meals and that trying to force her to eat three big meals was not working so I decided compromise was the way to go. Whenever I see other kids at the dinner table I realize how much less picky she actually is in reality she eats better at meal times then most of her peers so why was I freaking out?

I personally don’t think physical discipline works, maybe through fear but I don’t think fear is the best method for instilling morals. Fear might result in obedience/compliance but it doesn’t teach the difference between right and wrong, it doesn’t teach children how to listen to their inner voice. I don’t want Isadora not to steal to avoid the punishment. I want her not to steal because stealing is a shitty thing to do to another person. I want her to learn compassion so that she will treat herself and others with respect. I don’t want to crush her spirit and force her to conform (how will she ever deal with peer pressure if I do that?) I want her to have the strength and conviction to listen to her own inner voice and do what is right.

I am trying to do that anyway but I have a lot of room for improvement.

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