Social Activities: We have met a few other homeschoolers, but getting together has been hard. Most are in charter school, so they have their own charter school activities. Several live out of town and we don't have a car right now. Our main place for meeting people has been the library preschool story time, so most of those kids are between 18 months and 4 years old.. E is one of the oldest ones there and L is happy to be in the vicinity of people whether she actually interacts with anyone or not. We've made a few friends, several prospective friends and the girls get to socialize at the library, with neighborhood kids, at dance class and as we are out and about running errands. It's not so much a lack of socializing, as a lack of community.
My Tendency to be Verbose:
Sandra Dodd recently made a comment on Always Learning about excessive "cutie-poo mom noise." That cracked me up! She was referring to the constant barrage of high pitched, baby talking questions, suggestions, and exhortations made by well meaning, but insecure moms to their annoyed kids who just want them to shut up. I don't fall into that category exactly, but every time she talks about it I'm reminded of my own tendency towards not high pitched and not cutie-poo, but obnoxious and sometimes constant barrage of noise. I want to be understood and make sure I'm understanding and have apologies and clarifications and explanations all around with a plan laid out for how to handle future similar situations. I'd probably make a great mediator between warring countries or nasty divorces, but it's just not necessary when my 5 year old and 3 year old have a spat over a toy. Their eyes glaze over and they just want to give me the right answer so I'll STOP TALKING. And the last thing I want is for my kids to feel like they have to give me the "right answer," for them to feel like they can't communicate honestly with me, so naturally, I tell them that and continue talking rather than just SHUTTING UP.
Yes, I've been making rules lately and I'm not liking it. When E was about 2-4 years old I focused a lot on trying to provide information rather than telling her what to do. I tried to focus on principles rather than rules. I got pretty good at it. But as L has gotten older and Z was born and we moved and have had a lot of changes and stressors, I've resorted more to rules. I'm a little torn on the issue. On the one hand, I don't have rules about so many things (food, tv, bedtimes, cleaning) and I do take into consideration what the kids want to do and try to find ways for everyone's needs and wants to be met. So part of me just doesn't feel one bit bad about saying things like "No water on the floor, I don't want to deal with the mess," when a year ago I would have allowed it. For the most part, the few rules I have are based on principles like safety and respect (like no using the shower curtain as a spiderman web and swinging from it). Also, for the most part, the kids don't balk at the rules too much, so I think "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." I've also starting just telling them what to do more than I used to and I've told them if they don't like what I'm telling them they can ask me to work with them to find a solution and I will, otherwise just do it.
On the other hand, I know I'm resorting to these things because they are easier, require less of my mental and emotional energy, and because I can just be "mom" without being their partner. The firm and kind mom isn't a bad thing. It's "good parenting" and it's a million times better than hitting and yelling. But I want something more in my relationship with my kids. I want to be their partner and confidant and mentor and I see the way I'm acting is moving me further away from that, not closer. Not that I'm giving up firm and kind, just that I need to put more emphasis on providing information and "working with," not "doing to."
My Expectations of L:
In some ways it's so obvious that L is still just a baby when compared to E, but I still tend to think that she is capable of doing everything E is. I have to remember that she does not have the same impulse control, maturity, forethought or skills as E, because she is 2.5 years younger!