Tuesday, January 10, 2012

a day in the life

so things started off badly. perhaps because it was 12:40 and chana was up at 8:30 and i felt that having over 4 hrs to do whatever meant she wouldn't need a big head's up for chumash, and chana felt differently: that she wants warning. we both got annoyed. i said how about 20 min, she said that's not enough time, i got thoroughly annoyed, she got upset at my tone, i backed down but she began complaining i'm not speaking nicely...

btw, do not think that this is a homeschooling issue. moms around the US are bickering like this with their 10 yos in all areas.

anyway, i was overcome with extreme anger about how we always get sucked into this dynamic and i walked a little away to be furious by myself. suddenly 20 min seemed like an ok deal to chana. however, when we reconvened in 20 min she was sulking. i thought to myself of the many many times i had gotten into this dynamic. not just with chana, but with sarah. i think it must have to do with the energy i give off about wanting to get chumash done asap. instead of giving off energy about how delighted i am to relaxedly sit and work with them on chumash, with no agenda other than to enjoyably work through some chumash and rashi together. i hope i continue to make strides in this. i think this is an example of how i (or any parent) can use different tools to handle different conflict situations, but essentially a lot of issues dissipate if the parent can identify the core conflicts or energy that s/he is bringing to the interaction and work through that.

anyoo, so chana is sulking and i'm having visions of how we always get entangled like this. first the negotiations about when we will do it. we used to have a lot of negotiations about how much we would do, but i've eased off a bit plus chana's skills are better plus we just are happily generally on the same wavelength at the moment. so after negotiations are done, chana is generally unhappy and worked up and we haven't even started! (it's not always like this. often it's quite pleasant. but this is definitely not rare).

so i'm searching for a way to get positive. because when chana starts sulking and speaking nastily, although i personally feel i deserve a medal* for not rising to the provocation and yelling, chana still objects to any slight indication in my voice that i am unhappy at being spoken to that way. i exasperatedly said, "are we going to be in this mood during chumash?" and she said she doesn't like my tone. and i said well, i don't like her tone. and she said but she can't control herself. and i said, "why do you think that i can control myself?" (points for me for giving off the impression that adults are expected to and can control themselves). i said, "don't you think i'm trying too? don't you think it's hard for me, too?" i don't know how much that got through, but since larry cohen is my book of choice these days, i held up my pinky and asked her if she wanted to make a pinky pact. she smiled but she also felt that was weird. and she said, "pinky pact?" and it sounded like piggyback so i asked if instead of a pinkypact she wanted to do a piggybackpact and she asked what that is and i heaved her up onto my back and pledged to try hard to speak nicely and asked her if she would try to speak nicely during chumash. she thought i was very silly. she said afterwards, "other moms would not do that." i said, "is that good or bad?" and she said, "um..." and i laughed.

anyway, thanks, larry cohen. we did rashi pretty intensely for 45 min. 7 rashis. i had nothing else to do, and the boys had friends over and aharon was just rambling on the floor, so i was relaxed. at one point she was telling me a long and detailed dream and i kept having thoughts of "we are in the middle of the rashi" but then i realized that i often wish she'd share her thoughts with me and she was sharing them. then we got back to rashi.

then we talk a 5-minute-play-with-jack break. then instead of doing chazara inside, we reviewed outside what happened. chana likes that because it's easier; i dislike it because i feel it doesn't help with vocabulary. then we finished the aliyah. didn't do the new rashis. but she put in a lot of work today.

chana did ask if yaakov just rebuked yosef to calm the brothers down, if he actually was waiting to see what would happen.
* i just want to say that as much as i say "i deserve a medal," what actually happens is more fundamental. i reap what i sow. the more i behave with self-control and wisdom, the better my relationship is with her and the fewer long term emotional issues she has. so in reality it's all about the natural consequences. if you think of it as hashem designing the world with cause and effect, and things having consequences, i do sort of get a medal. kind of.

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