Friday, January 19, 2007

Life, the Universe and Everything Redux



It's almost 11:00 p.m. and I'm in bed, propped up by pillows, television on in the background and a post in the works. Friday night and all is well.

It's been a busy week with meetings and walking and talking and not-cleaning. Cold, static-filled air, bright blue skies and wispy white clouds kept me bundled up and moving quickly.

Paul got a call last night asking him to play bass at an 11:00 p.m. show. He declined until a second phone call, 15 minutes later. No other options were working out, would he reconsider. No problem. So, he's out tonight, helping out a friend at The Gypsy Lounge. He's good that way.

I watched the kids for our small group while the adults met at another house. Ten kids, ages 3 to 11, for a couple hours remind me of that joke about the guy who kept banging his head on a wall. When asked why he kept doing it, he answered, "Because it feels so good when I stop." The kids actually are pretty well behaved but there is a dull roar that is constant with a group that size and the silence that follows their departure is a blessed, blessed thing.

The main hang up was my own kid. Because Colin and Marley are 8 years apart, they don't have to share many things. When other kids come over, my possession loving, never-can-have-enough-stuffed-animals girl has a hard time sharing. She inevitably ends up spending a portion of the evening in her room alone. Within a couple of years, she'll be past this stage, but it is harder on her than anyone else. I wish I knew the magic button which would make sharing pain free. But alas, I have never been able to find that pesky control panel with all the buttons that would make that happen.

the Universe...

Two boys begin life after... after being kidnapped by Michael Devlin--one after four days, another after four years. They will attempt to live through the ravenous appetite to know anything and everything about their ordeal which is currently at its peak. The normal protections which provide anonymity for the victims of sexual assault don't work for abducted children. Although nothing has been confirmed, there is little doubt that the older boy at least was subjected to some form of sexual abuse. Of course, this is all being played out in the national news. I wonder how much more difficult it will be for the two boys to travel down the road of healing and recovery with all the attention being paid to them. I pray they will both be given the time, space and resources to make that journey.


I'm reading a parenting book which talks about "response flexibility." Essentially, response flexibility is the opposite of a knee-jerk reaction. According to the authors of the book, it is a necessary anchor point for successful parenting, along with being mindful, lifelong learning, mindsight and joyful living.
Under certain conditions response flexibility may be impaired. When tired, hungry, frustrated, disappointed, or angered, we can lose the ability to be reflective and become limited in our capacity to choose our behaviors. We may be swept up in our own emotions and lose perspective. At these times, we can no longer think clearly and are at hight risk of overreacting and causing distress to our children. (Parenting from the Inside Out, Siegel & Hartzell)
Well, clearly someone has 24-hour access to my parenting and decided to write a book about it. At least now I know how to be a better parent: never get tired, hungry, frustrated, disappointed or angered. No problem, right?


Alpha Dogma said...

Why were they on Oprah?! That just seemed wrong. Also wrong: the fact that I watched it on Oprah. Why? What was I thinking? For about 10 minutes I watched with a knot in my stomach. Then I went off and hugged my kids.

I still don't share well. I was getting a bit better. I leant some books to a friend. She called last night to tell me she'd accidentally given them to the Sally Ann. I'm going back to my hoarding way. Hoarding! I said hoarding. Nothing sinful about that!


PS - I love the candle graphics for your SWB post. Just beautiful

meredith said...

I've been thinking about those two boys, I pray that they will be well.

Looking at the list of things to avoid in order to keep our ability to be reflective parents, well, that explains why it's so hard sometimes.

Beck said...

I believe that quote from the parenting book was written about me, not you! :)
Sharing is such a hard thing to learn - we let our kids put away anything really treasured, so they can share communal toys with a good spirit.

Julie Pippert said...

Somebody alert the news: when you aren't FEELING your best, you won't ACT your best!

I know this about myself. I also know this applies to my kids. If we are tired, hungry, sick, or stressed in some way, our behavior goes downhill fast.

I'm pretty sure every parents knows this.

I wish I got paid really well by a publisher to state the known and obvious.

Wait wait wait...I KNOW!

This idea came out in 1943 when Maslow published A Theory of Human Motivation.

Yeah, once our deficiency needs are set we can work on the self-actualization and self-transcendence needs.

Except life is dynamic...dratted thing just will *not* stand still.

So we have to keep taking growth need breaks to work on those pesky defiency needs.

Still, the book is on the right track, sounds like.

I have to ask though, how practical is this? How ultimately helpful are you finding it?

IME most self-help books are heavy on art (statement of whys and obvious) and light on the matter (constructive suggestion for implementation). I always end up feeling let down after reading these books.

But not useless, don't get me wrong. The more you can recognize---and be mindful---the better you can get about that knee-jerk reaction.

bubandpie said...

Not on topic, but I wanted to let you know that I was out shopping for a birthday present for a friend the other night and I picked up My Sister's Keeper for her. I haven't read it myself, but I figured a blogger reco is just as good!

Em said...

Parenting books tend to rub me up the wrong way... easy to read and agree with, hard to apply in real life (in my experience...)

chickenone said...

I've thought about those boys, especially Shawn, every day since I heard about them being found. It sure puts life in perspective for me.

Julie Pippert said...

Hey...just saw the Lorem Ipsum Generator link over there. Cool!

Are you a Fforde fan?

Mary-LUE said...

Julie, I am definitely a Fforde fan, although I haven't yet gotten my hands on The Big Over Easy. Those books suit my sense of fantasy perfectly. After reading about the adventures of Thursday Next, I always expect to see Will Shakespeare machines on the street corners and Dodo birds, etc. If only...