Monday, April 26, 2010

Book Sharing Monday

Just finished a fantastic book that I had to share, Bloodroot by Amy Greene. This is one of those rare books in which the characters and the setting are so vividly drawn that they seemed real to me. It's a multi-generational family saga that takes place in the Appalachians. The author grew up (and still lives) in East Tennessee, and her love for the area comes through loud and clear in her descriptions of Bloodroot Mountain, the physical heart of the story. 

The novel is told in the first person by six different characters, each with a unique voice, each connected through blood, love, or violence--sometimes all three. Is there a family curse, or is it just the curse--and blessing--of being human? This is one of those novels destined to win awards for its first-time author, and will probably show up on the big screen before too long. As I read it, I couldn't help thinking about which actors should be in the movie! It will stick with me for a long time.

Friday, April 23, 2010


I found this great blog earlier, 1000 Awesome Things, and Logan and I spent a very pleasant hour reading some of the entries together. Then we were talking about writing, and blogging, and he decided he wanted to start his own blog, so with no further ado, here is Logan's very first blog entry--about his latest passion, Pokemon--at Logan 101. (A title he came up with, by the way!)

More awesomeness: Yesterday we visited Wheaton Village with our wonderful homeschool group, and got to see a glass pitcher being handblown right in front of our eyes, as well as over 7000 pieces of glass in the museum! The museum lady almost had a heart attack when she saw how many kids there were, but they were all very respectful and interested. (Of course, they're homeschooled!)

Logan's favorite part of the day was watching a man make a clay pitcher and a bowl on a pottery wheel. It was very cool. He made it look so easy! They teach classes there. I think we'll definitely be looking into that.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Love Them Like a Rock

Earlier today, Logan was NOT happy. We had been on a homeschool outing with some other families, and we had just stopped at a restaurant to eat. He was tired, hungry, grouchy, upset that we didn't go to Friendly's, and frustrated that his DS froze up on him. He was taking it out on us. When we settled into our booth, he was rude and surly, refused to look at the menu, refused to talk to the waitress, threw a coaster at me, and was just generally unpleasant.

At that point, Ely and I had a choice. We could parent him the conventional way, using some combination of reward and/or consequence. I work in a restaurant, and so I see this form of parenting every day--threaten the kid with leaving, or with no dessert, or yell, or bribe. I've waited on many, many families sitting in stony silence because of the parents' reaction to their kids' behavior.

Or, we could love him like a rock. As my boy sat there and huffed and sulked, I had this vision of myself as a solid unshakeable rock, being buffeted by a storm. The rock isn't affected by the storm, the rock can't be hurt. The rock is simply the rock, before, during and after the storm.

We were our usual cheerful selves. We didn't ignore him, but we didn't make a big deal about his mood either. I offered to order for him if he didn't feel like talking to the waitress, and he tearfully agreed. We ordered his favorites. We suggested that he take a break from the DS if it was upsetting him so, and he threw it across the table. I calmly picked it up and put it in my purse with no comment. I pointed out that it must suck to be so miserable, and I reminded him of one of my core beliefs, that he could simply decide to be happy if he wanted to. He could let go of the bad mood.

He wasn't interested in doing any of the puzzles on the kids menu, so Ely and I started the word search by ourselves. Well, before long, he wanted to do it with us. By the time the food came, he was back to his old self. He had decided to let go of his bad mood. We jokingly asked, "Hey, what happened to that other kid that was here??" Logan answered, "He ran away to Arizona," as he happily spooned up his mac and cheese.

After dinner (which he didn't finish, by the way) he had a sundae, because we always get him dessert if he wants it, no matter what. (He didn't finish that either.)

As we left the restaurant, with Logan's bad mood all but forgotten and with our happy family feelings intact, I couldn't help but think of all the parents who would have handled that whole scenario very differently than we did. I am so grateful we discovered unschooling, which has helped me unearth my inner ROCK.
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