Chat on *Being* with kids

from Wednesday, April 1, 2009

BEing with Children
How to foster and enrich the parent/child connection for people who don't seem to know how... for one reason or another.
For parents who feel most comfortable alone or who haven't had much to do with other than their own children thus far, unschooling requires a different kind of relationship and more involvement. Here's a chat on connecting more with our children, and creating a strong bond after infancy when the relationship changes and children's needs expand more and more into a wider world.

Having more ways to tap into unschooling success can mean avoidance of school, and most important, avoidance of developing a distance between parents and children. So if you can share ways of relating better with your children or if you're a person who wants to know more, come help in this chat if you have time.

SandraDodd: So the topic today is what's meant when unschoolers say, "Just be with your kids a lot" and what does it look like, and how can someone who's not naturally of an inclination to "Be with" ease into it?

katherand: I wonder if people are like and have lots of maybe "training" or conditioning to value adult ideas of things to do if people are like *me* .. I meant to say

Guest16: it seems that is how our education system is set up. hence, that is how it forms us.

RVB: Yes, like playing is "kid stuff." I had a bit of a hard time with that.

katherand: I watched a TED talk today about play which Bonnie posted

CherylEtzel: yes, hi!

katherand: Did anybody get to view that TED talk.

RVB: Not yet. I will, though.

JessicaSexton: I bookmarked it, katherand

katherand: I thought it was very interesting and it helped my thinking a bit

CherylEtzel: I have to use Firefox, afterall, to see anything on your webpage - but check later for the email I sent...

JessicaSexton: Can you summarize the TED at all?

CherylEtzel: Firefox for this chat, too.

katherand: Sure hang on...

JessicaSexton: (Hi, by the way! Jessica here, 1+ year AL devoted lurker)

SandraDodd: What notes and what email access issues?

CherylEtzel: I sent it to your chat yahoo group. It was about the problem

katherand: here's the TED talk summary they put up

katherand: Dr. Stuart Brown came to research play through research on murderers -- unlikely as that seems -- after he found a stunning common thread in killers' stories: lack of play in childhood. Since then, he's interviewed thousands of people to catalog their relationships with play, noting a strong correlation between success and playful activity

JessicaSexton: I have a really tough time with imaginary character play -- Sandra, I remember you talking about the ways in which you dealt w/your aversion to Barbie play w/Holly...

JessicaSexton: Thanks katherand!

GabiNM (Guest88): Sorry I'm a newbie, what is TED?

katherand: One of the comments he made was about rowdy play... that the physicality helps people to understand social relationships

SandraDodd: TED isn't about unschooling so it's not a newbie situation. It's a thinktank kind of sort of [conference, sort of, short talks, videos available freely]

katherand: GabiNM, TED is tedtalks.com

GabiNM (Guest88): Oooh, is that Stuart from NMSU?

MaryK: Hello everyone.

GabiNM (Guest88): Sorry Dr Brown

RVB: TED is held in CA every year. The talks are the keynote speeches.

SandraDodd: Jessica, about Barbie.... I would find people to play Barbies with Holly!

JessicaSexton: Rowdy play is not only tough for me to step up to energetically, but it's hard not to worry that my 4yo boy can't separate what's ok in play from what's not ok in non-play situations.

GabiNM (Guest88): I did the same thing with my daughter, she has an aunt who will do Barbie with her

katherand: Yeh my back sometimes springs out if I roughhouse with Karl, and we have been cooped up because we're a one car house at the moment.
Sword play I can do and I need to get me some new because our old ones are broken

JessicaSexton: Sandra - yes, I remember that - I am trying hard to find play partners for Michael (4) but we are currently somewhat isolated from likeminded playmates.

SandraDodd: Jessica, I think kids who don't ever get to play rough will be more likely to play inappropriately

JessicaSexton: Sandra, I'm sure that's very true.

SandraDodd: If I couldn't have found Barebie partners, I would have had to play Barbie myself, because Holly clearly needed to do that.

GabiNM (Guest88): So this means I should stop giving my hubby a hard time when they get really rowdy

SandraDodd: I would have PAID someone else to play with her.

katherand: :-D

SandraDodd: Your husband is playing rough with his own sons and you're giving him a hard time

JessicaSexton: LOL! I would pay someone to be the voice of megatron for hours/day!

SandraDodd: ? Are the kids not wanting to play that rough?

katherand: We have a Megatron toy that does the voice

GabiNM (Guest88): No, they just get really loud and I have three daughters, no sons

SandraDodd: Is it happy loudness?

katherand: It's a helmet meant for the kid to wear and it turns their voice into Megatron

GabiNM (Guest88): Yes, I usually send them outside

SandraDodd: You "send" your husband outside?'
Why don't you go outside? I'm seriously asking.

JessicaSexton: katherand -- WOW! I am so putting that on my wishlist when we're back in the land of the dollar.

SandraDodd: If the family has any "us" and "them divisions it makes things less peaceful.

GabiNM (Guest88): Actually we all usually end up outside

SandraDodd: If the majority wants to play loudly maybe the minority should find a quieter place.

katherand: YEh... it's $30 so depends how worth it is to you

JessicaSexton: I need a mama-sized helmet, I think.

SandraDodd: It's different for apartment dwellers who might really have to be quiet or they're violating courtesy and lease agreements.

katherand: It'll fit you if your head is my size and I'm not a small woman

GabiNM (Guest88): yer right next time I'll send myself outside where it's quieter

SandraDodd: Rough, squeally loud play is normal and useful play, it seems.

MaryK: We have a lot of rough play here at our house. The dog usually gets in the middle of it too.

katherand: I hope you can get it in Ireland.... try Amazon.com for a used one maybe

SandraDodd: As to whether they'll know when it's not appropriate, what do others think? Do you have ways to indicate "not now"?

MaryK: If someone is sleeping, we ask them to go outside or calm down until later

SandraDodd: I used to tell Marty to be like a burglar, at night.

katherand: When dad's sleeping it usually means moving Karl to the other room or playing in his room or in the art room.

SandraDodd: He couldn't figure out how to get quiet.

JessicaSexton: For the rough squeally play -- how can I help a 4yo boy understand that I need breaks? He is not yet capable of taking that into consideration, but I get sensory overload BIGTIME. And it's me he wants to play with, always.

MaryK: LOL..My fifteen year old sleeps in the mornings though

GabiNM (Guest88): Usually ours is soon after Dad gets home we have a big rumpus in the living room, pillows and blankets often get involved

JessicaSexton: k - we are moving back to CA in July, we have a big Amazon wishlist going for our return!

SandraDodd: so I'd say if you're going to close a cabinet or get something out of a drawer or close a door, do it like a burglar.
Jessica, it's not as loud outside as in.

katherand: .8-) Jessica

MaryK: IF i dont want them to roughhouse with me, I let them jump on my bed

GabiNM (Guest88): I do the bed thing too

SandraDodd: Maybe if you whisper he'll meet you halfway.

CherylEtzel: I like that, but since Natalie loves Get Smart & secret agents, I'd use "secrent agent" instead

reneecabatic: or spy!

GabiNM (Guest88): I also understand the sensory overload, that's me

SandraDodd: When Kirby and Marty were little, in the 4,5 range, I'd try to get to a park with a playground every day or two, and encourage them to run until they were really tired. They were quieter at home then.

MaryK: Jessica, do you just have one child?

JessicaSexton: Sandra, at what age do you think kids are able to temper their, um, exuberance if circumstances so require? Sometimes it seems Michael (4) is trying but just can't remember, other times he doesn't want to try.

CherylEtzel: I do too. but it's easier for me to get some space with only one child.

JessicaSexton: MaryK, I have a nearly-11 mo old too. That makes it tougher. Plus it has been too cold here to be outside for the past 6 months, but that is juuuuuust starting to change, thank goodness.

SandraDodd: Different kids different ways? But it seems that the more parents share with kids what the expectations are where they're going, the better.
Some parents just make rules, like "outdoor voice" and "indoor voice"
but weddings and funerals are both inside and they need different "voices"

reneecabatic: we go out to the trampoline when we want lots of big physicality--even when it is cold--we take sleeping bags out and pretend to be caterpillars

MaryK: That does make it tougher with a little one too.

GabiNM (Guest88): hah We were caterpillars the other day

RVB: I found it was easier to be happy with loud play if we had friends over. Somehow, for me, it was better than getting loud myself. We're pretty quiet people in our day-to-day lives.

MaryK: We have a trampoline too, but right now it is down for repairs,. So we have to find other outlets

JessicaSexton: (p.s. Sandra happy belated anniversary!)

RVB: Yes. Twenty-five years!

reneecabatic: on the sensory overload question--my dh wears earplugs at parties and gatherings to reduce the intensity ofthe noise

MaryK: The couch cushions get thrown on the floor and my 5yr old wrestles a big giant bear

SandraDodd: Thanks!

RVB: That's a good idea, Renee!

CherylEtzel: Oh, my. Congrats!

GabiNM (Guest88): I'll have to remember earplugs

JessicaSexton: I have been thinking about the earplugs for playtime, actually!

CherylEtzel: Earplugs work for me, too. A LOT.

reneecabatic: Congrats Sandra!!! And Happy April 1st!!

MaryK: Yes, we use earplugs too. Hubby is a welder and gets them free from work.

CherylEtzel: They allow me to keep my thoughts in order. I do forget to use them, though.

JessicaSexton: Especially for big lego crashes or nerf guns that need lots of pumping.

RVB: My daughter often uses her iPod to block out too much noise.

GabiNM (Guest88): It must have something to do with being an auditory learnier

MaryK: Congratulations Sandra!

CherylEtzel: Plus they make my ears itch.

RVB: Or easily overwhelmed, auditorally.

JessicaSexton: Well, I do need to be able to hear/interact, since I'm the playmate!
But maybe wearing just one would help.
They certainly help me get to sleep but again I just wear one since the babe is in bed with us.

RVB: I find you can hear what you need to hear with earplugs and they block out the extraneous stuff.

CherylEtzel: If I find certain games that both Natalie & I like, I have no problem *being* with her. We both like board games, playing catch, computer stuff, oh, there's a list. But the pretend play is hard.

SandraDodd: So perhaps this leads back to the topic.

CherylEtzel: You can still hear with them on...just muffled...nicer.

SandraDodd: Maybe if the mom is being with the kids and doing something really interesting and fun, they won't go into kid-only crazy-loud mode.
Not always and forever, but sometimes.

JessicaSexton: I am very easily overwhelmed auditorally, visually, informationally -- and yet quite good at organizing. But when the chaos surrounds me and it's not something I can "fix" (i.e. loud play) it is hard for me to cope.

CherylEtzel: If I can squeez in 5 min pretend play, (which usually ends up being 15min) that feeds her for awhile, though...

RVB: I wish I'd paid someone to play with Playmobil, earlier on. I would sometimes lay down on the carpet and doze off mid-play. ..:-(

GabiNM (Guest88): Pretend play gets easier the more you do it, my 2yr old was making lunch today, blocks were cupcakes and ice cream sandwiches

SandraDodd: Jessica, does it help to find ways to calm yourself rather than get resentful and wind up bigger and better?

CherylEtzel: Pretend food usually leads to real life kitchen play. ..:-)

SandraDodd: (I was talking to Holly and got confused. Wait.

JessicaSexton: Sandra, that is my goal right now.

JennyC: Sound used to bother me more than it does now

SandraDodd: What I meant was... figure out how to extend your range, It's easy to stay right on the edge of irritation so that everything is the last straw.

RVB: On Always Learning, Sandra had mentioned playing with things in the "right way." I had that to get over, too. .
Especially the making a mess stuff. I really had to look at what was behind that and relax.

JessicaSexton: I can certainly come to the play expecting the play, and that helps. But I have trouble when the play continues longer than my ability to be present with it, and there's no way to extricate myself to recharge.

SandraDodd: Adults are surprised sometimes at the "rules" they have inside them, involving costs and purposes, if they start looking at them.

JessicaSexton: RVB - oh yes, I'm learning leaps and bound on that one myself these days.

SandraDodd: Especially Americans raised protestant. .
FILLED with guilt bombs.

RVB: Yup or Canadians! .
And military.

JennyC: sometimes all it takes is doing something side by side, not necessarily the same thing, but in the same physical sphere

SandraDodd: OH YES, military, because they have not only the voices in their heads .
But the real immediate fear of inspections

GabiNM (Guest88): I actually used to be better at noise (5 younger brothers) not sure why I cant deal as well now

RVB: And British.

katherand: Hmmm... I bet a lot of my not being able to play is the fact that when I was a kid it wasn't much allowed... and messes, Robin, those were always a BIG deal

RVB: Yeah.

SandraDodd: Brits seem laid back to me, about more things than Americans.
Kinder to children.
Not spanking machines and "shut up" machines

RVB: I think it was the combination of military Britishness.

GabiNM (Guest88): Ya my dad still gets freaked at the messes I "let" my girls make

Guest73: Good morning :0)

SandraDodd: And I've never known any Canadians who were fire and brimstone snake-kissing faith-healing loonies.

SandraDodd: Sorry. Can't say "loony" and "Canadian" together.
CAN, but not about being nuts. :-)

JennyC: Well, their country has officially stated that spanking is wrong

RVB: True.

JennyC: the UK, i mean

NOTE FROM SCHUYLER WAYNFORTH, inserted by Sandra later, for the transcript:

I wish I could have been there for more of the chat. I came in briefly and then left at Linnaea's need and the keyboard stopped working on the computer and lalalala. It looks like it was a good chat whatever my lalalala issues were.

There was a bit about the the Americans in childcare approaches and I think it might not be quite accurate. Children in Britain are spanked, even though the UK may have said it was wrong. The government has backed down on some of their statements about when and who and how old. There have been recent findings by some public interest group showing that British children are among the unhappiest in the Western World.

Britain and US: worst places for children

Looks like the U.S. is right up there as well.


CherylEtzel: someone's posted to Always Learning recently about how they label those economic *losses*, but in a positive way. I liked it, kept it but can't recall it now.

RVB: Canada has outlawed it in schools.

JennyC: If spanking is officially wrong in a nation, then other things can be examined too

RVB: Heh, heh. Loony Canadians!

JessicaSexton: Yes but the UK does have supernanny sending all those kids to their naughty corners, when they're not being a "good boy/girl".

SandraDodd: Yes. And in a nation that officially won't sign the rights of the child statement, it gives parents the go-ahead for bad behavior

JessicaSexton: Ireland is very much like that too.

JennyC: right, but it's a step above hitting

GabiNM (Guest88): But the Super Nanny on TV does get some results

SandraDodd: Uh... yeah, but the U.S. has supernanny. .
Maybe they booted her out of the U.K.

GabiNM (Guest88): haha

RVB: No Mary Poppins, she.

JessicaSexton: more market opportunity to sell books in the U.S.

JennyC: I never ceases to amaze me how badly parents treat children, and in public no less. what people do in public is usually better than how they behave in private

RVB: Ugh.

katherand: UK doesn't spank much so SuperNanny effects are probably diff there than in the US by longshot where spanking is pretty rampant... in the South at least

SandraDodd: So what do we need besides seeing things in a new light, trying to be more understanding about noise and mess, and being our children's partners? I mean tools for moving toward being with children in new ways?

ShellinNZ: ignore the mess? just be

JessicaSexton: I especially need tools for in-the-moment, when it's hardest.

SandraDodd: Maybe LOVE the mess
See it as evidence of health and joy and learning, and then it's not "mess," it's proof.

ShellinNZ: yeah :0)
or stick it all in a washing basket so you have space to play

JennyC: I read something today, that explained that kids adapt to physical harm, such as spanking, so easily, that the punishments have to be upped, and can degenerate quickly into outright abuse

SandraDodd: Jenny, that's scary

JennyC: yes

RVB: Find something you both *love* to do together. For us it was reading.

reneecabatic: Or don't even see a mess---XuMei says it isn't nice for me to call her "projects" a mess... she is right

SandraDodd: I've seen kids just absolutely stonewall parents and not give them the satisfaction of seeing them cry, and it pisses the parents off.

GabiNM (Guest88): So my daughter's messy room is proof of learning, er that's a tough one

SandraDodd: I used to yelp and whimper right away

katherand: I'm finally able to see that much of the "mess" part of Karl's play is accidental and that horror at accidents is where my immediate reaction.

ShellinNZ: RVB..great idea...my dd and I love to walk to the supermarket, lol...and draw together

JennyC: Margaux and I just spent about 2 hrs playing Nancy drew pc game

socal77: I try to contain the mess; I placed a small wicker wastebasket next to the computer desk for wrappers

ShellinNZ: my mess is mostly toddler-related

GabiNM (Guest88): My 11yr old's room is the biggest mess

JennyC: Sandra, my sister was that way. She came to the conclusion that she should've been spanked more

SandraDodd: If anyone hasn't read about the chores ideas on Joyce's site lately, that could be a good reminder.

JennyC: That's what doors are for right?

SandraDodd: (Jenny, your sister is having no children I hope)

JennyC: she has 4, and yes, she spanks

reneecabatic: what if it isn't mess...what if it's..... life?

JessicaSexton: Can anyone help me figure out a good ergonomic setup for playing computer games with a 4yo who is constantly moving? My wrists are bad (repetitive stress injuries), I try to keep him on my lap so we can both use the trackball...

GabiNM (Guest88): The door is mostly closed

SandraDodd: Should Mom have to do everything? (on Joyce's site)

JessicaSexton: ...but then his head's in the way, and he doesn't really stay in one place

GabiNM (Guest88): thanks for the link Sandra

RVB: Life was different for me growing up (and dh). There was no mess that shouldn't have been cleaned up - now!

ShellinNZ: Jessica- what about one of those big exercise balls

SandraDodd: Renee, that's a good point. If we call it "mess" we've defined it in a too-negative way.

JessicaSexton: (that should read 'his head's in the way of the screen')

GabiNM (Guest88): We use two chairs side by side w/the two yr old

SandraDodd: Holly sitting next to me typing and talking and playing music

ShellinNZ: ok, life then...I like that...my "life" right now is a disaster area... I turned off the computer to go deal to it, then remembered the chat :0)

JessicaSexton: ShellinNZ - I need a stable chair for my own support but perhaps he could be on one next to me?

CherylEtzel: I liked this recent post to Always Learning:
"A sunk cost is a cost that can't be recovered--that time, money, energy, or capital is gone, and it's not coming back."

SandraDodd: I'm not "being" with my kids so well.

ShellinNZ: yeah, why not? Is there room?

SandraDodd: "Sunk cost"! That was the term.

CherylEtzel: She talked about letting go of sunk costs - you're forced to eat the cost, anwyay, so either enjoy the time or force kid to be miserable, lol
Made me feel better about letting go of those costs

reneecabatic: sunk cost--awesome idea--very helpful to my thinking

JessicaSexton: I liked that term too

CherylEtzel: And feeling better about sunk costs makes me more present

SandraDodd: The dozen donuts example.

CherylEtzel: donuts?

socal77: one of the economic concepts I took from college and applied to life

SandraDodd: If a donut is 50 cents but a dozen donuts are $3, woohoo! Half price!
But then what?

JennyC: yes, it does extend to food

SandraDodd: Are you going to "have to" eat them all?
Just because they're paid for?
What if someone sold you TWO dozen for $3?

CherylEtzel: Oh my gosh, yes...

SandraDodd: or a truckload?

RVB: I'd have to eat them!!!

CherylEtzel: I get that.

GabiNM (Guest88): Freezem?

JennyC: either way, it can go in the toilet, or in the compost or garbage

katherand: LOL

reneecabatic: YAY--truckload of donuts!

MaryK: I would give them away

katherand: Eww

CherylEtzel: I'd try to eat them. I'd freeze them. then revel in my savings. So protestant is my youth.

RVB: Donuts...mmmm.

CherylEtzel: mmm

RVB: Sorry, I digress.

katherand: LOL

reneecabatic: SO many choices!

MaryK: My kids have donuts right now!

SandraDodd: Eggs are cheap enough to play with and to throw for fun,

ShellinNZ: I missed the start...I thought the best way to be with children is to always say yes (or some form of yes)

katherand: What if you were told you "had to eat a truckload of" whatever... .sounds similar to having to clean up all your messes pronto.

SandraDodd: But lots of people will die inside to see a kid playing with a donut.

LATER NOTE: I really think I meant to say "an egg," but we had this visualized truckload of donuts.

JessicaSexton: Reminded me of 'opportunity cost', which is the cost of *your time* when you spend it on a task, and whether it's worth not doing something else with that time (you can either pay someone else to do the tasks, or stop doing them entirely). Clear as mud?

JessicaSexton: Sandra, I loved your story of making the disposal of a rotten egg a fun destruction mission w/Holly

SandraDodd: Opportunity cost is too hard for me.

JessicaSexton: lol

CherylEtzel: Oh, someone mentioned using baskets to organize. I try to find all those round laundry baskets because I can *use* them for laundry, they STACK away nicely with very little space, and they come in handy for just tossing toys into and clearing space in all areas of the house
They don't look pretty, but they work.

SandraDodd: But it's mostly my controlling nature. If I'm doing a project I like to do all of it my own self.
MY way. ME!

JessicaSexton: memememmeme!
but there's only one me. I'm pretty much completely used by my two kids. (back to topic! )

GabiNM (Guest88): I've tried to explain the opportunity thing to hubby too, but yah, must touch and do

JennyC: I love doing puzzlers with Margaux, because she ALWAYS does it differently than I would've

reneecabatic: Xander and I planted 25 seeds about a week ago, all but 2 molded. I was dissappointed but Xander was thrilled! He said , Now we know we watered them too much!

MaryK: I use those big blue storage containers to put toys in-then labeled them for my husband so he would know what goes where

ShellinNZ: Sandra- the chores link was brilliant...I've read it before, but i needed it this morning :0)

GabiNM (Guest88): We love baskets and such too and labels (I'm not controlling at all right?)

ShellinNZ: The baskets are great- at least you can vacuum..right now I can;t because of approx. 2 million rice bubbles spread from thekitchen to the study

CherylEtzel: Dh bght colored storage bins too from ikea. Those I try to use for real organizing, but the baskets are for when I dont' want to thhink about where to put the toys.

JennyC: I've always prefered clear tubs to labels!

reneecabatic: blue bins with duct tape labels--stack easily in the garage to clear floor space--brilliant

JessicaSexton: MaryK/GabiNM, I used to organize the toys by type, but only found myself frustrated that kiddo didn't keep them that way, so stopped trying.

CherylEtzel: Oh, we use plastic storage IN House!

MaryK: LOL..the labels are only for him-because he can't remember who belongs to what

CherylEtzel: But smaller and uncovered

ShellinNZ: I just throw it all in super-fast...then sort it in to piles when my toddler isn't around to career through it all

JessicaSexton: JennyC - clear tubs are our route too.

socal77: opportunity cost is the cost of the next best altenative ex. from Wikepedia:A person who invests $10,000 in a stock denies herself or himself the interest that could have accrued by leaving the $10,000 in a bank account instead.

CherylEtzel: I've not been very successful in making cleanup a game, so I just do it myself about once a month. :/

reneecabatic: Just have fun while doing it yourself--soon it is a game

socal77: the opcost is the value of the interest

JessicaSexton: thanks socal77!

JennyC: clean up doesn't have to be big

GabiNM (Guest88): Jessica the toys rarely are in the labeled bin, I accept that and am just happy I tried

JennyC: it can be small 5 min pick ups right before kids get up in the morning

ShellinNZ: Jenny, there is nothign small about the pick-ups in my lounge, lol

socal77: no worries, sorry for thedelay

JessicaSexton: All the teeny tiny pieces...I want to keep them with their mates, but have just started keeping all tiny pieces together in a bunch instead.

JennyC: it helps to have a place to put them, like before mentioned tubs

RVB: I think the "toys by type" was for me, not Michelle. I didn't expect her to do it. But because I did it, we could find stuff better.
I liked to sort!

katherand: That's the way I do it, RVB

JessicaSexton: Hard with a baby to keep things safe in shared spaces.

socal77: when Drew was little, anything with pieces was immediately transfered to a ziplock bag

JennyC: For large messes with little pieces, we often lay out a sheet first, then pick up is very very easy

RVB: Good idea!

JessicaSexton: socal77, didn't he didn't just dump out the bags? That's what mine does. I tried the sheet, but no way does Michael stay in one place long enough...would have to sheet my whole house, lol!

ShellinNZ: Jenny- we do the sheet too, for lego...it's amazing...just scoop it up and thorw it back i nthe container

katherand: Karl doesn't clean up really and he accused me yesterday of hiding his toys. I explained that I was saving them from being lost all over the house

ShellinNZ: Jessica...us too wiht my toddler...but my big kids keep it mostly on the sheet, with their own little stash off the sheet :0)

CherylEtzel: But if I am having trouble getting out of MY needs to BE with my daughter, I give a lot of words to my thoughts. That seems to have given NATALIE words to say to me when she wants my attention...because she repeats

JennyC: i've come to accept that Margaux strews the house with little treasures to be found later

strawlis: I think it's hard for some adults to let go and have fun, be present... be like a child...especially if they have baggage

CherylEtzel: my words, it seems like I'm shaken into the present, more easily.

socal77: we still have pieces around, and he loves his misc boxes, but it did help with kits and puzzles that didn't reseal once opened

ShellinNZ: strawlis...I do...I find it really hard to relax and play a boardgame for isntance, whe nthe hosue is a tip

CherylEtzel: If I'm not easily shaken into the presnt, I know things are screwy with me.

RVB: Yes. It's like we've been expected to move on from childhood, so it's a shock to be right back in it.

reneecabatic: sing while you pick up, use a plastic claw arm, move super fast or suuuuupppeeeerrr sloooow, --I sort legos by color just for my own entertainment--some ideas

katherand: I don't mind JennyC and it was funny that Karl fussed at me about it. S'ok now.

JennyC: I've said on a few occasions, that I need to do a quick pick up in order to fully relax and play a board game, or clear a space for it even

ShellinNZ: Yes, me too :0)

strawlis: Yes...alot of time it just a matter of not thinking and just jumpin in...for me a tleast

ShellinNZ: I want to be like that...something is stopping me

katherand: So what are you all's ways of BEing with your kids that you've found helpful?

ShellinNZ: eye contact
walking somewhere
taking a bus

JessicaSexton: Michael steps on everything, on purpose. It's like he needs to be fiddling with things under his feet all the time. I am trying to let go of my igrained "feet off the toys!" and check first to see whether it will really break the toy to be stood on.

strawlis: Stoping my mental tape...and just get down a play....

ShellinNZ: s'ok, I'm all over the place :0) or maybe chase them outside...to play, not to have them gone, lol

RVB: Listening. *Really* listening has been helpful.

JennyC: I've glanced at margaux every few seconds, just to gage her body language and possible need for attention

JessicaSexton: BEing ... letting go of finishing any one type of play before moving on to the next.

ShellinNZ: my chidlren love me to be the kissing monster, or the tickling monster or the exploding robot, lol

katherand: Ah... JennyC that's something I don't do enough of. Thanks good reminder

SandraDodd: It's easier for me sometimes to focus on someone when we leave the house. Walk to the store, go out for a snack, take the dog for a walk.

ShellinNZ: rvb...and when I wasn;t fully listneing, aplogising, looking at my child and saying "I'm listening now- I really want to hear what you are saying"

RVB: Yes, exactly.

reneecabatic: BEing flexible

ShellinNZ: Sandra...me too :0) Less distractions

SandraDodd: Holly asked me a minute ago if I know how cheese is made. And that RIGHT while I was totally overwhelmed trying to catch up with the chat.

ShellinNZ: and my 10yo ds still holds my hand! (Sometimes)

JennyC: Chamille definitely does better with that kind of attention

RVB: My 14 year old, too!

JessicaSexton: I try to periodically cuddle Michael. With full attention and love.

SandraDodd: I was a little impatient. FIRST reaction was to explain all I knew about cheese, and the second one was to tell her to leave me alone until after the chat.

ShellinNZ: RVB..woot!

RVB: W00t! It's great.

ShellinNZ: Sandra...that happens to me too...then I feel terrible about it- like I have just said...I'm sorry Darling, you are not as important as the computer :0(

JennyC: We have a cheese factory nearby that gives tours and free samples

ShellinNZ: we have a lady that teaches peopel to make their own cheese! I'd love to try it, very time-consuming apparently

katherand: Anything else that helps with BEing with our child/ren?

RVB: And I've had the reverse, Shell. Michelle's computer is more important than me at times.

strawlis: I need the less distraction route myself...and yes redo, do overs when I've not been able to be present

ShellinNZ: RVB...same :0)

SandraDodd: Hey, Holly's 17 years old. She can wait. Seriously.

ShellinNZ: I love the idea of a re-do...haven't pulled it off yet though

CherylEtzel: To be with her, I have to let go of whatever project I'm doing that is contrary to being with her

ShellinNZ: I know :0)

RVB: Yes.

reneecabatic: I find it helpful to not be looking for a "finished" product.....

SandraDodd: That's true of anything. Whatever's contrary to being, is the not-being.

CherylEtzel: Natalie is only 6, she can't wait, though I still sometimes try

strawlis: Try-it— it-s great...kids love it

SandraDodd: So it's always in the moment.
When my kids were little I hardly ever sewed because I didn't want to drop a pin a baby could find.

ShellinNZ: My children are like that when I am on the phone...I am hardly ever on the phone, and they just bowl up to tell me all sorts of stuff...and the other day I said, "Honey- can you not see that I am on the phone?" One said, "No- had no idea! Sorry Mum!"

JessicaSexton: What helps when even your child seems to have trouble knowing what they want? I am trying to clarify how to ask that question.

RVB: And as they get older, you can ask them to wait. Sometimes they will, sometimes not.

SandraDodd: So if I wanted to sew for the babies, I would get the stuff out quickly when they went to sleep, sew like crazy, and then put it all away.

mindyh: sorry for the late arrival..again...but i wanted to add that I have to really stop myself from my knee-jerk reaction to get my "to-do List" finished

SandraDodd: But now, I can leave it all out. It's not "how do you sew," it's "how do you protect the kids"

ShellinNZ: Put "Play with child" on the list!

JessicaSexton: Protecting the kids from each other too, Sandra.

ShellinNZ: works for me :0)

SandraDodd: If the sewing were my priority, the kids would be in the way.

CherylEtzel: Put "play" on the list... that reminds me

SandraDodd: If you make the kids the priority, OTHER things are in the way, and that makes your decisions easier.

JessicaSexton: Not from malicious intent, but from difference in age-appropriate activity.

ShellinNZ: I foudn I wasn;t reading to my little ones, and I put it on my list...it got done :0)

CherylEtzel: When I tried out my first chat, Monday

mindyh: before I do whatever it is they want/need me to do....like play

SandraDodd: Jessica, there might be ideas on the boredom article sandradodd.com/BoredNoMore I think

CherylEtzel: It was the first time (outside a few usborne chats) that I had to meet a schedule for an event that occurred on the computer

SandraDodd: Not sure exactly what the question was and it's scrolling out of the chatroom window...

JennyC: sometimes when vacuuming is my priority, the kids are in the way, or rather, I'M IN THE WAY

ShellinNZ: What if we say, "I'd like to play with you right now before I do the washing/dishes/tidying"

CherylEtzel: and since I'm on the computer often, and that is part of my projects and work (I daytrade),

JessicaSexton: Thanks Sandra, will check after chat

CherylEtzel: It's sometimes hard for me to finish up with something and come back to it later.
But when I had a scheduled chat at 1p
I KNEW i had to be off the computer a couple hours, at least to recharge.

katherand: question was: IDEAS for BEing with children... or that was *my* question. .:-D

CherylEtzel: So I SCHEDULED

SandraDodd: I used to run chats for AOL when my kids were little.

CherylEtzel: play with natalie at about 11am
It worked great.

ShellinNZ: Do you know none of my children have ever said they are bored?

SandraDodd: I hired someone to play with them. A homeschooled girl from up the road, and gave her $3 an hour to get them water or snacks or whatever during the chat time.

ShellinNZ: I know there are times when it looks like they might be getting so...but then they think of something else to do!

SandraDodd: Two hours a week.

JennyC: chores and projects and anything related to household, is ongoing, so there isn't a time frame to get it done unless you have dinner guests coming

CherylEtzel: Now I'm thinking I should schedule play each morning, no matter how busy I am with daytrading

PamSoroosh: my kids have said they were bored - but they were pretty analytical about why they were feeling that way. "I feel bored. I think I need to get outside." Stuff like that.

JennyC: 10 min of devoted play goes a LOOOONG way

SandraDodd: Cheryl, someone needs to be with the kids all the time. If you can't, you should find someone to be with them until they're older.

Schuyler: Linnaea has said she is bored. The kind of bored makes a difference. The fidgety, itchy want to move bored, or the idle, zoning, looking for something new bored.

SandraDodd: Or at least set out things they could play with, find a new movie, make playdough, bring out puzzles... Set it up like a fancy layout of a school on parent visitation day or something elaborate. That might hold them for a few hours.

JennyC: setting kids up with projects that they can do side by side whatever you are doing is an easy way to connect while getting work done

RVB: Michelle has said she was bored. Same kind of boredom as Schuyler described.

JennyC: and don't forget the food and drinks

GabiNM (Guest88): Well, if I have to do something it waits until they are sleeping, which is why now i am only half here as the one and two yr old are awake and helping me type

JessicaSexton: The toughest times for me to BE w/Michael is when he needs me the very most. Lately he really really NEEDS me. He has said he wants to be with me ALL the time. He would crawl under my skin if he could.

SandraDodd: -=-question was: IDEAS for BEing with children... or that was *my* question.-=-
I'm bringing this back before it scrolls off. Can you expand, Katherand?

CherylEtzel: Natalie is an only child - when I'm on the computer she's either playing elswhere, or behind me on her computer (as she is now)

Schuyler: When I'm BEing with Simon and Linnaea it is important not to be aware of time or schedules or to do lists or anything else.

ShellinNZ: I know what you mean Jessica...I have a 28 month old who feeds all night. Every hour, but for the hour atm...it's insane

CherylEtzel: So she is not getting enough attention, then...

katherand: We're getting lots of ideas, Sandra. I'm just letting it roll.

CherylEtzel: I need to either change my activities, or hire someone.

ShellinNZ: Hi Schuyler...agreed.

JessicaSexton: I have to fight hard not to push away from that intense need. I am meeting the needs of a 11 month old at the same time and it is emotionally hard to be needed that desperately by both boys all the time.

SandraDodd: Some parents try to scrimp on the time they spend unschooling.

katherand: It's helped with doing this chat to stop, look around and connect with Karl myself. Usually he's the one to reach out when I'm on these things.

ShellinNZ: I find it hardest with three children (10, 6 and 2) that I can't be with them all at once when they are in separate rooms

Schuyler: Sitting and chatting with them as they wake up for however long they want me to is more important than any particular activity

SandraDodd: But usually one kids needs you most, and the older they get the less they'll need you so regularly.

ShellinNZ: and when they're falling asleep, when possible...I'm often asleep before my older children

SandraDodd: When one of my kids needs me now, it's usually intense and sudden. Marty really needed to talk to me yesterday, and he knew how to make that known.

katherand: Karl is way more likely not to "need" me intensely now that he's 5 almost 6.

PamSoroosh: Cheryl - maybe more scheduling of play dates would work - I mean, another kid in the house can be helpful. But maybe NOT with other kids who need lots of your attention, if you know what I mean.

CherylEtzel: Natalie and I have chatted several times, moved about the house, throughout this chat, though. That has helped us a lot, Pam

socal77: yeah, I can usually tell whether Drew needs to talk now, or if can say hold on a moment...I have to make sure to give him the moment though

CherylEtzel: in the past.

katherand: When Karl was a toddler he needed me pretty much continuously.

CherylEtzel: Especially when older kids come to play

katherand: I needed him too come to think of it... still was nursing.

PamSoroosh: Yeah - I don't think every time you want to do something on the computer, she needs other entertainment.

CherylEtzel: Finding the right playmate and then getting them over often is par to fthe challenge. I'm lucky that Jayn & Natalie have hit it off, what a great friend.

ShellinNZ: katherand...that's me now, but I have two other chidlren who need me too...not as much, but they do still need me. The eldest is 10, and he waits far too long for me some days

PamSoroosh: Just if you're working and really need to focus on that.....

SandraDodd: Holly's talked to me nearly non-stop during this chat and it shows (in my typing) that I'm not as here as I usually am.
She's talking about whether she could make schools better.

CherylEtzel: And Natalie's best friend is also a great playmate, as is her brother. But still more needy at this time because of their age.

JennyC: I filled Margaux up before I got on here to chat, but even then, I've gotten a snack, a bandaid, and some baby doll clothes, all seperate things

JessicaSexton: It is tough for a 4yo to understand that sometimes the baby's needs are more pressing. He has a lot of anger around my being anywhere but with him at the moment. So it is hard to stay present with him in the way he needs me to.

RVB: Michelle's asleep!

katherand: Well Sandra.. that's not surprising... you started out wanting to teach in schools.
ANd make them better

RVB: Like John Holt!

SandraDodd: genetics. Damn it.

Schuyler: Linnaea's sitting next to me and on my foot at the moment and reading the chat and chatting a little. She says she's not really chatting. But she is really on my foot.

PamSoroosh: Some playmates are more trouble because they need you to be even more alert to what's going on. But there are times that playmates means the kids go off and play happily for a long long time - you might check up on them occasionally, but don't need you.

ShellinNZ: I'm making porridge, have breastfed 7 times, got a banana, cut up an apple, and chatted to my toddler over and over :0)

JennyC: I experienced that last night Pam

JessicaSexton: So true Pam. We need more of the latter type of playmate!!!

GabiNM (Guest88): am nursing and setting up 2 with colors

ShellinNZ: Iwas always amazed when my son was little that I could get more jobs done, *and* be with eh kids more if I just had someone over to play!

CherylEtzel: Yeah. I do like the older playmates - Natalie is 6, so older girls seem to be able to lead the play, well. At first, I do check on them a lot, though, to make sure that they're compatible...

ShellinNZ: Oh, I really am sorry for my typing!

SandraDodd: I remember being four and hating my baby sister and my mom along with it. STRONG emotions--abandonment and betrayal

CherylEtzel: I think I will start planning more playdates I can only imagine how painful it must be to *lose* mom to a sibling.

JessicaSexton: Me too Sandra - and being completely discounted. Told I didn't HATE my brother. I DID!

CherylEtzel: Hopfeully the siblings become closer to make that difference.

SandraDodd: I was always surprised that adding a kid to the group make it easier and not harder.

PamSoroosh: Cheryl - if you hire an older kid - maybe a 10 to 12 year old, one nice thing is that their mom is usually willing to bring them and pick them up in a couple of hours. So you have a specific time slot.

CherylEtzel: What's a good pay, though?

JennyC: it depends

CherylEtzel: I'd have to balance my work earnings - might be cheaper for me to just alter my daytrading if I'm not earning enough, kwim?

SandraDodd: $3

CherylEtzel: Oh, that's easy. Plus, I am getting better at it, so the potential to make more is getting better.

SandraDodd: Half of what a real babysitter would make while you're not there, when you are there (I think) and find a kid who's advantaged by getting out of her own house! Win/win

JennyC: without a parent there, it would be somewhere about $3 per child, with a cap for several kids

PamSoroosh: yeah - really little. Especially if you're paying a 10 year old to play with a 6 year old.

JennyC: $3 seems fair with a parent there that's nice change for going to the mini mart

SandraDodd: More if it's an older kid who has actual expenses in her life and could do more things with the kids.
If it's playmate/mother's helper, $3 seems okay.

katherand: Brian's home early and Karl has been wanting to go out for a while. The car's here! Wasn't expecting that.

socal77: Drew just came in the room...he needed me right now as his tv was working funny; I checked it out, determined that it was fine and he was satisfied, he said bye newb, and returned happily to what he was doing before....

SandraDodd: Will Brian take him or do you need to go?

CherylEtzel: So - options:
1) curb activities to have more time -she's still too young to be on own sometimes
2) schedule playtime
3) hire older kid
4) Or just have more playdates

PamSoroosh: LOL - you guys have no idea what babysitters get around here. A LOT. Cheryl lives near me, that's why it seems it might be too much to her. But, really, just for a couple of hours of a 10 yo being a "mother's helper," and having fun - ...not much

SandraDodd: Holly made $7.50 and hour for watching two kids at their house, last year or whenever.

JessicaSexton: In San Francisco $15/hour is bare

PamSoroosh: Sandra - no kidding. Rosie gets $20 per hour for two kids and a bonus added to that, usually.

CherylEtzel: with easier kids
oh I dislike that word "easier", we love all our playmates!

PamSoroosh: She doesn't ask that much - that is what people pay her.

JennyC: some parents are more grateful than others about decent sitters!

JessicaSexton: oops bare minimum. For one kid. Usually $20 though.

SandraDodd: Some people have more money, too

PamSoroosh: It is okay Cheryl - some kids are most definitely easier than others to have over as playmates.

katherand: Sandra.. Brian is tired from work and extra side jobs on others cars so he is fixing to nap.

SandraDodd: So I started to write something and maybe people responded and I missed it but unschoolers should plan to spend at least four or five hours a day with their kids and REALLY with them.

GabiNM (Guest88): The going rate is $10 per hr around here

SandraDodd:If they aim for that, they probably will get off easier, but if they aim for less they'll have needy kids.

CherylEtzel: Rosie is out of my range! Maybe once in a while, though... it's nice to know that someone like her is watching our kid - there's absolutely no fear, all contentment

PamSoroosh: LOL - she'd babysit Natalie for almost nothing, I think.

CherylEtzel: Awww...

PamSoroosh: 4 or 5 hours probably sounds like very little to some poeple who DO have very needy kids.

SandraDodd: It's rare to see a mom truly attend directly to her children for five hours.

PamSoroosh: It is rare. More like minutes.

CherylEtzel: 4 or 5 hours?

JennyC: it doesn't have to be all in a row!

SandraDodd: I see a lot of people being near kids and trying to see how much they can ignore them and still look like they're being attentive parents.
Being all distracted and "that's nice dear" doesn't count, and the kids know it.

strawlis: I think some need to here that concrete..."put on the list"... 5 more hours, of true one on one..it's a great tool

CherylEtzel: I missed what Pam meant by her orig statement, did someone mention 4-5 hrs previously

JennyC: I tend to do 1/2 hr and hour chunks of time

PamSoroosh: The interesting thing is that when 4 or 5 hours sounds "good" to a parent, it probably means they need to relax and "be" more with them.

SandraDodd: Some people think unschooling takes no time and no money If they're cheap with their resources of materials and time and attention, unschooling won't work.

strawlis: Yes, and that a shame

JessicaSexton: JennyC, how do your kids understand that you need a break periodically? (I forget how old they are, sorry!)

SandraDodd: And kids need/require attention from adults or older kids.

PamSoroosh: Sandra said unschoolers should aim to spend 4 or 5 hours a day with their kids, really with them.

ShellinNZ: I need to relax more, and spend mroe time with my kids...they don't need a gigantic chunk all at once...they get the giggles if I chase them for 10 minutes...and then they are busy with their own things for a spell so I can work on what I want to do

SandraDodd: If they were in school, the attention they got would be diluted and sometimes hectic and rough, but still.... six or seven hours.

PamSoroosh: If they don't spend that much, they will have needy kids.

JessicaSexton: (By break, I just mean things like peeing without company!)

SandraDodd: If parents think they can unschool and not spend that kind of time doing things for an with their kids, school would be better.

ShellinNZ: Wow- I don't think I even come close :0(

PamSoroosh: I said, some people will think 4 or 5 hours sounds like very little. They feel like they have very needy kids and spend almost every minute with them.

JennyC: yes, and kids that are needy will "feel" more time consuming

SandraDodd: I didn't get enough showers when my kids were babies and toddlers. Just the time for a shower seemed like a huge luxury

JennyC: Yes, it was

ShellinNZ: showers...me too...though now Tommy lieks to get in, and suddenyl it's easier :0)

mindyh: Yeah...it makes it seem a bit rediculous when I can't make the time to play a game, or sing a song, or read a book, or whatever because I've got some "job" to do. Hmm....I like that...black and white...4-5 hours

JessicaSexton: I feel like it is a lot easier when I have only one kiddo w/me, but it's tough to be really truly present w/both simultaneously (for now).

GabiNM (Guest88): Oh to get a shower today

ShellinNZ: it's not really that much with 16+ hours awake, lol

CherylEtzel: Natalie doesn't feel very needy to me. I mean, it doesn't seem that hard to get stuff done AND be with her.

SandraDodd: that's my statement for the purposes of this chat. I think it's a light estimate, but I don't want to scare people off.

JessicaSexton: Ooooh a shower. We don't even have one - I rush through quick baths, lol!

JennyC: I said something to my husband about it being my job to help Chamille navigate unpleasant people, even when I didn't want to.

CherylEtzel: Except when my stuff is feeling more pressing - like right now with the financial situation

JessicaSexton: What should have been, Sandra? The true time commitment?

CherylEtzel: Most of the time, it's the little stuff - like I hate being stopped halfway done with something because I have a hard time starting back with it when I return to it.

PamSoroosh: Cheryl - could you send her off to park day with someone and then have a really long block of time to do a lot of work?

SandraDodd: I made a graph.

JennyC: Well if you think about the actual waking time that you have, 4-5 hrs is a really small chunk of that

ShellinNZ: I sometimes feel like I am hanging washing alone, and my kids are in a differnt world...I prefer it when they are nattering to me, or passing pegs

JessicaSexton: I know the graph!!!

CherylEtzel: Maybe, if I can find someone to pick her up. Otherwise the trip there & back, twice, would feel like a big timewaster.

SandraDodd: sandradodd.com/howto

strawlis: I have that graph on my fridge....I need the visual

CherylEtzel: There are a couple families that live close enough, though - if we could work it out...

ShellinNZ: Cheryl...it's none of my business...but do you *have* to work?

SandraDodd: Cheryl and everybody, stop . Don't post.

SandraDodd: Cheryl, how far is this trip to thepark?

CherylEtzel: About 25 minutes.
Maybe 20

SandraDodd: Wouldn't your daughter be in the car with you half of that time?
How could that be a time waster?
That would BE the time you were with her.

CherylEtzel: Ahh...I see...
OH my god.
Having a revelation.

SandraDodd:And the time she's not with you maybe you could spend listening to recordings from unschooling conferences.

JennyC: while getting work done

SandraDodd: Okay other people can noise-back-up. Thanks. I knew Cheryl was about to have a revelation. Go about your business here

CherylEtzel: lol!

RVB: I love revelations!

PamSoroosh: LOL -- also - Cheryl, you could work at the Starbucks right by the park.
Go work for 2 or 3 hours - go back to the park to hang out.

CherylEtzel: good god she's a witch
what starbucks?

PamSoroosh: 2 or 3 hours of totally uninterrupted work would be worth a lot to you, I think. There are three Starbucks within less than about 3 minutes from the park.

JennyC: it's worth way more that 4 or 5 of interupted work

CherylEtzel: I've actually dreamed of working at a coffee shop...mmmm coffee. I never have been to any of them near the prk because of the afternoons..

SandraDodd: Cheryl: sandradodd.com/truck

ShellinNZ: :0)

PamSoroosh: (Sorry to those not local - but maybe you're getting ideas?)
PamSoroosh: Okay - one last local thing.....
If you buy a Starbucks gift card and put some money on it - that you can then use to buy a cup of coffee for $2.00, you can have 2 hours per day of free wi-fi at any starbucks for 30 days. To renew, just buy another cup of coffee for $2 for 30 more days.

CherylEtzel: trying to skim throught he link - will wait and read it carefully

ShellinNZ: the graph is brilliant Sandra, absolutely brilliant

PamSoroosh: I wanted to bring up a different point about being with our kids.....

strawlis: Do you think that one hang-up is letting go of control? being caught acting childlike

CherylEtzel: OH, I thought you meant get a job at the starbucks. Still I'd like that... but working on my computer there makes more sense, of course. Daytrading occurs between 6:30am -1:30 p.

SandraDodd: that truck article is about the value of talking when you're side by side, like riding in a car

JennyC: oh no, you're way better off keeping your own hours!

PamSoroosh: I think if people do it halfheartedly then it isn't fun and satisfying. We hear people say, "But I don't LIKE to play Barbies."
Cheryl - again - think of solutions. People want to go to the park earlier - start getting people to go earlier - at 11 am. ."
Natalie can play with them while you work your two hours.

CherylEtzel: Pam, I've found that when I play games I like, I'm fully there

JennyC: I've learned how to like aspects of playing with Barbies. I'm not good with the pretend play, but I like dressing them and setting up their houses

SandraDodd: Shell, thank you (for the graph comment)

ShellinNZ: I've just sent the link to our local group :0)

RVB: Yes, JennyC. I could set up Playmobil scenes and dress American Girl dolls.

CherylEtzel: The side by side comment reminded me of Pam's saying, once, being next to people, vs across from them

PamSoroosh: It just seems like saying, "But I don't like to ..... whatever," is such a lame excuse for not being with kids.

JessicaSexton: Pam, I so agree. I cringe when I read the author of 'Playful Parenting' say that he dealt with his dislike of Barbie/whatever play by being really sarcastic about hating to do it...WHILE DOING IT! Seems really passive/aggressive...or just aggressive?

socal77: Pam and Cheryl, are you going to the park today? Sorry for the local sidebar ..;-)

CherylEtzel: I'll look into earlier parkdays

JennyC: well, it's not solution oreinted

CherylEtzel: I am, yes...

RVB: Maybe it's years of being forced to do things you don't like. Now you have the opportunity not to and you want it. ."
While whining, of course.

SandraDodd: Hey, Holly told me when she grew up she was going to always use a clothesline. ."
I said "prove it--use ours"

strawlis: Yes control..giving it up

ShellinNZ: I think some people want parenting to be easy- they want to be able to do what they like with a token "gift" of time for their chidlren...and when the childrne intrude on that, they get annoyed

SandraDodd: She said "But I like you doing my laundry!"'

Lissa: Hi, all.

CherylEtzel: I do force myself to do pretend play...and it's definitely not very satisfying, but it usually goes much longer than I intended because I try ver hard to get into it. With my backgorund, (as an actor) it's supposed to be easy y

PamSoroosh: My 18 yo, Rosie, is off getting a massage from her boyfriend's mother, at her business. He gave it to her as a valentine's day gift.

SandraDodd: (this all happened a minute ago)

PamSoroosh: I'm wondering what the mother and Rosie and talking about right now.

SandraDodd:and I said I had to use a clothesline when I was a kid so I don't want to now.

CherylEtzel: The more time I take to myself, the more selfish I get with my time.

JessicaSexton: (Hi Lissa)

SandraDodd: We were laughing about the realities and emotions about clotheslines!

CherylEtzel: So I have to find a way back.

JennyC: I like using clothes lines, but i can only use them in the summer

SandraDodd: So she wanted me to ask you all how people in places like Seattle would dry clothes if they had to

JessicaSexton: Cheryl, I feel that way somewhat too.

JennyC: and then during the rest of the year, everyone gets accustomed to soft clothes

RVB: We hang 'em inside.

SandraDodd: I said no, it would mess up the flow of the chat, but you're talking about the avoidance what "no choice"

PamSoroosh: I had clothesline envy - we had the regular 3 long straight ropes one - but the neighbors had a round one that turned.

JessicaSexton: Sandra - In Ireland, it's clotheshorses next to radiators

SandraDodd: I told her about the drying closets I saw in England

JennyC: or in big bathrooms if you have one

JessicaSexton: We have a drying closet too - it's called a 'hot press'

ShellinNZ: Pam- my brother used to swing out little brother round and round on our spinning one :0)

JennyC: i had a really nice clothes rack for a while but I had no place to put it in this house, so I gave it away

Lissa: I love how the comedian Craig Ferguson says that in Scotland, "damp" is a color.

JessicaSexton: Racks set up over the immersion heater (which has to be manually turned on 1/2 hour before you want any hot water in the house)

CherylEtzel: I wonder if there's some pendulum thing that occurrs when kids are babies to 6 or so. As babies we're there 24/7 no space. Toddlers as well. But somewhere around 4-5 (depending on kid) we get more space. Then the pendulum swings, so we're trying to ge get back, etc

SandraDodd: Thanks. She's looking at clotheshorses on google image.

JessicaSexton: After the chat I can send you a couple pix of our hot press & clotheshorse ..:-)

SandraDodd: cool!

Jessica's photos:

CherylEtzel: When I first started taking more space, it was like I was really hungry, lol - that "lack" thing, maybe.

SandraDodd: Okay, back to being with kids.. sorry
(I was being with Holly, but it was kinda disruptive of the chat maybe)
Holly loves Craig Ferguson.

JessicaSexton: I feel hungry all the time. That's the problem too. I feel just as hungry for me as Michael does.

strawlis: Unschooling,,,IRL ..:-)

JessicaSexton: OK, just had my own minor revelation!

SandraDodd: Tell it, Jessica!

JessicaSexton: Now how do I live with it? LOL!

SandraDodd: Find ways to do things that "feed" you both. It's part of being partners.

CherylEtzel: being side by side....?

JessicaSexton: That's what I'm seeking. Absolutely.

GabiNM (Guest88): I loove cooking with my kids, mess and all

SandraDodd: When people talk about "compromising" it sounds like two people not doing what they want to do, but it's easier to find something mutually interesting

GabiNM (Guest88): when they wander off because their attention is done, I wish they were still there with their messiness

JennyC: Margaux and I have our Nancy Drew games!

JessicaSexton: He wants me doing his thing with him, not my thing next to him. I am still looking for that 'together' thing. Even things we both like, he does so differently that it's really hard not to get annoyed (embarassing but true).

SandraDodd: Do you have examples?

JennyC: it's engaging for both of us and we do it for hours, easily

SandraDodd: Maybe we could find ideas.
Have you looked through some of the music/art/history/strewing pages for ideas? Maybe the two of you could explore some new things so that it's neither yours nor his.

JennyC: what about things like riding bikes

SandraDodd: Some new "ours"

Lissa: I have interests I wanted to pursue and found that each of them appealed to some of my children, and have turned into good connections for different assortments of us. Gardening, sewing/quilting, drawing.

JessicaSexton: I think I will dig for new ideas.

JennyC: or playing video games that are multi player

GabiNM (Guest88): Gardening is a good one for all ages

SandraDodd: We've already dug some up.




strawlis: I spent hours yesterday playing in the mud with the girls

JessicaSexton: Thank you!

JennyC: or going to walks to the the mini mart, and getting yummy treats

SandraDodd: that history page has a link to a museum in the UK somewhere that has put up videos of antique toys in action. That's cool.
And it doesn't take an investment of time at all.

Lissa: Oh yeah, treats! We once got on a Mentos kick and drove all over town looking for new flavors.

SandraDodd: You could look at one or ten of them.

Lissa: Found the coolest flavors at the Japanese grocery store.

JennyC: children's museum are good for engaging parents and kids

SandraDodd: And maybe make videos of some of your own toys that way.

JessicaSexton: I tend to want to delve into things and he is more of the 'catch a glimpse and move on to the next thing' type.

GabiNM (Guest88): We were watching videos of horses running on Youtube the other day

JessicaSexton: LOVE youtube!

SandraDodd: I'm planning to videotape my mom's music box. I've never heard the tune anywhere else and when I've played it for people nobody's ever named it. Technology is catching up with my curiosity.

Lissa: Animaniacs clips on YouTube. And Electric Company.

strawlis: Invest time in their play..it fills their need tank

Lissa: Ooh, Sandra, how intriguing! I bet you'll finally find out!

Later note: My mom's music box, and how I found the name of the song.

JennyC: I'd be willing to bet that if my dad heard your music box, he'd know what it was

JessicaSexton: I've been looking for 3-2-1 Contact

SandraDodd: Sometimes the "Being" is not nearly so physical as it is being with them emotionally.

socal77: Drew likes the shamwow song, keeps us laughing everytime

JessicaSexton: my baby waking upstairs too - but I will try to be right back. leaving window open.

strawlis: Yes, back to the side by side, listening, hearing

SandraDodd: Be joyful about their discoveries, and sorrowful about their unhappiness even if your first thought is cynical or dismissive.
It's part of respect for the child, to consider that if he's unhappy it's the real unhappiness of a human, not "just kid stuff"

RVB: Yes.

SandraDodd: Being his dependable, compassionate partner is not what our culture wants you to do.
Really, if ONE mom is saying yes, it makes the rest of them look bad.

Lissa: Right, you're supposed to teach them to suck it up. .. 😕

SandraDodd: If one mom lets her kids come home from school, the other kids might expect it
So once we're already bucking the traditions, might as well go all the way and do it really well! 🙂

RVB: This is part of our World of Warcraft experience together. Sometimes it makes Michelle so happy she could burst.
Other times, she's very sad. I could dismiss it as "only a game" but it's not to her. It's part of her real life and her real learning.

JennyC: and some parents like to point out how terrible that "yes" is and try to prove dire consequences and fear of consequences that will likely result from that

SandraDodd: Maybe we need a slogan, a jingle. Something about if you're going to go against the flow, don't do a half-assed job of it. 🙂 If you're getting out of the mainstream get ALL the way out.

RVB: I don't just swim against the current. I step right out of it, onto land.

SandraDodd: I'm not jingle minded at the moment, but some people seem content with "different" even if different isn't sufficient to have a different outcome

JennyC: our school motto in highschool, was "go with the flow and rise with the tide". I came home and told my dad, and he said "any dead fish will rise with the tide and go with the flow"
mindful really says a lot

socal77: I got distracted, I had to go listen to the shamwow song ...funny everytime

SandraDodd: Jenny, your dad was a smart guy.

JennyC: he still is
even if I disagree with him
not about that quote, but other things

SandraDodd: We had a California Highway Patrol officer tell us to "go with the flow" when Keith was passing cars coming out of San Francisco going east at 6:30 a.m. "Go with the flow" was our official warning.

strawlis: I've been accused of 'Living for my children" ...it always makes me smile...yes...I'm happly sharing my life with them. and feel so privileged to have been chosen.....I wouldn't have it any other way

CherylEtzel: I'm absorbing a lot right now. also, was thinking about your 1/2 way thing. one foot in the box, one foot out... the more I'm half way, the less ability I have to think creatively. Not sure why.

strawlis: So jump in

JennyC: because you aren't focused on one direction

CherylEtzel: straddling a box isn't exactly comfy
maybe it's restricting free flow

RVB: Takes practice to be out of the box.

JennyC: you're still living two different directions

CherylEtzel: I was really really really struck by that conversation on AL when the gal couldn't see options for the kid with cleft palate
I read her post and thought, gee she's stuck

JennyC: sometimes when people are in the middle of their crisis, they can't think or see things clearly

CherylEtzel: but I wasn't IN her crisis & still got stuck. all the sudden the options were flowing. Creativity of thought was so easy for everyone, but for

Lissa: Up above, people were talking about solutions, looking for solutions. When my big girls were little I would always say, Don't cling to the problem--look for the solution.
And the 3yo started saying, "Wook for da tawooshun!" So now we look for "tawooshuns" around here.

CherylEtzel: I guess the solution is looking for ways to free up creativity

JessicaSexton: I have a fun deck of cards called the 'Creative Whack Pack"

RVB: I think parents of kids with challenges get told what to do by a lot of people with "authority." It makes it harder to think past that, when authority might be respected instead of one's own gut feelings.

JennyC: right, but you have to know which direction you're going

CherylEtzel: So finding ways to step outside the box more often - not straddling - can free up creativity

strawlis: tools, help, find ones that work for you...Sandra's site has hundreds

JessicaSexton: When you're stuck on something you can pull a card for a "whack" to your thought patterns

SandraDodd: And sometimes the solution is to forget about the larger problem and be physically comforting to your child right then, that moment, and smile and sit in a rocking chair or something.
Enough sweet little moments like that, and "the big problems" don't seem so big.

RVB: Helps the parent, too.

CherylEtzel: stepping outside the box - yes, being with the child is the easiest thing that comes to mind when it's a situation that feels really *serious*

JennyC: yes, it diminishes crisis mode, to sit and really BE with your child

CherylEtzel: comforting, playing, etc

JessicaSexton: Rocking really really helps my guy

SandraDodd: Yes. When you touch them gently, you're experiencing gentle touch yourself.
Rocking helps ME
One regret in my life has been not living where porch swings are.

RVB: Mine is in storage. No room. Wah.

SandraDodd: Thank you all for being here. I'll save it up and edit it down to a few good parts.

The same week as this chat on being with children, there was a topic on the Always Learning list called Balance. Caren/dharmamama1 wrote wonderful responses to the comments in boldface below, and I thought anyone interested in the topic above could use these thoughts too:

I realize she didn't really need help but just wanted my attention. Between my other obligations and my personal feelings at the moment I just wasn't able to give it to her. I did spend some time with her it just wasn't as long as she wanted.
Caren: The word "just" here popped out to me, as if you were dismissing the need for attention. Your attention is YOU. By your attention, you are giving yourself to your daughter, which is what she needs to thrive. I had some old thinking to get rid of in this area, as well—my Mom's generation was taught that it's harmful to pick up a crying child, and "too much attention" is a very bad thing to give your baby (or child). It didn't take me very long after my oldest's birth to realize those beliefs were b.s. - but it took me a longer to implement the new belief in my actions. "Oh! I have to give *of myself*?" Scary, in some ways—but OK!

I've come to realize that my kids need ME, not just in the same room, not just nearby, but by my attention and interaction—my full self.

I specifically designed my business so I could be with my children. I feel like they have benefited from me doing this even though it means I can't always give them the time and attention they want.
It's not want, it's NEED. And, you've stated clearly you're not *with* your children. You're occupying the same space, but YOU - your attention, your energy - are not with them. You spend time each morning and evening and at naptime - but if you are not available when your child needs you (as determined by your child, not you) - you're creating mistrust.

I believe you believe you're doing the best you can, but awareness that you're making these choices is very powerful.


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