Thursday, December 06, 2012

Special Circumstances

Trying to pack and make Christmas gifts with all four children awake- kind of purgatorial, although I'm not sure anything but my temper is burning away.

I think there's this tension between rule-making and what is actually enforceable that Geoff and I both have internal conflict about. I'm laisez-faire and then have tantrums about what the children have done, and Geoff wants to set things up so there are lots of good rules and the children know all of them and follow them. Neither method works.

 There's so many things that seem like a great idea but are nearly impossible in practice, like, "Don't let the children play with things that aren't toys", or "If they're going to misuse the taps they can't be in the bathroom".  What do you do with toilet training or handwashing? How do you make it accessible for the allowed things but off-limits for the flooding of bathroom via toilet because of the rolls of toilet paper deposited therein? Yes, I do actually talk like this in real life.

I don't know where the middle ground is- it seems a bit like the difference between mortal and venial sin and acts of virtue: what is important to tackle because of safety, what are the intentions, how much can habit be an excuse? What am I too tired to police right now? What should I focus on, and what is worth my energy?

There is macaroni and cheese all over the floor and I should clean up, and get off the computer, but I wanted to write out what I'm pondering.

1 comment:

Steph said...

We try to have mostly just a few generalized rules, like must not hurt anyone, must clean up if you strew anything, must not break things, must stop XYZ if mommy says to, must not get too far away when out, or run into the street. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I start to wonder. I try to find a safer alternative to whatever they want to do, and provide that instead... For instance, we have a shallow plastic tray I put in the sink, so he can play with water sometimes... And towels on the floor. But he has to stop if it starts to get out of control. I imagine the amount of supervision you are able to provide for each of your kids is probably a factor. We have a definite advantage with just two. (Not that I'm any kind of super parent myself).