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A Little Extra Good for When It's Oh So Bad

3 years ago

944 words

Photo: Brioche and apple butter for my pastor, and also apple butter for my friend and for the teachers at school. I was up at 5am with every intention to set that Brioche for it’s (3rd and final) rise, get the apple butter into jars and then get some writing done. Didn’t quite happen that way, but I’m getting better at our new schedule.


I was standing outside of school on Monday with a friend and we were lamenting about the crazy school transition. Children are taking their time getting used to the new busy schedule, they’re tired… they’re falling apart over the little things right now. Sometimes, they’re just mean. I told her about Major’s rough week and the boundary pushing, and she said something to me that has got me to thinking.

“My friend told me that I should try to say 5 positive things for every 1 negative that I say,” she told me.

Immediately, I was thinking to myself, wish that boy could do 5 positive things in a day.

She confessed that she thought the same thing at first. “But I really thought about it, you know? How would you feel if all anyone said to you all day long was redirection, directives, instruction or whatever. If all [they] hear is negative stuff all day, it’s no wonder [they’re] cranky.”

I thought about leaving this for my Quiet Thoughts, but it’s sort of an urgent thing that has been in the forefront of my brain all week. I like this strategy because it’s not telling me to not redirect (because believe me when I tell you, there are advocates out there who think a single negative utterance will scar a child for life!) but to instead over-balance with positive afterward. Think about the message and tone of the day. Make sure that positive is amply sprinkled in. The truth is that Major and Minor both do a lot of good things all day long. Their days are majority good days. It’s just that when it’s bad… oh my Lord, it’s so bad. Also, when it’s bad, that’s when we’re talking. Because, when it’s good, they are playing and having fun and I’m doing the things that need to be done! Basically, this strategy means that I need to build in the time and opportunities to give the good, because the bad is inevitable and has to be dealt with when it comes up.

This is really great advice for right now while the boys are transitioning to our new schedule, but it’s also going to be great to remember when we get into the winter months and the house feels smaller because the boys can’t use the playroom (not to mention we’re always in the house because of the non-stop snow from January to April).

It was also a great reminder to stop and look for opportunities to say nice things to my child, even when I’m tired or peeved about a challenging day. Major came into the living room after dinner last night walking backwards. Matter of fact, as he did so, he sang, “Backwards walkin’! Backwards walkin’! I’m backwards walkin’!” It was adorable. Just of moment of gleeful silliness. So I watched and chuckled and told him that I liked that he was singing and walking backwards. He came over to give me hugs and kisses and it was like… yay. Good job. Good family moment.

About 15 minutes later, he was jumping on me with his full body weight and then became pissed at me when I told him multiple times to stop.

*sigh* so it goes. I’m still sore, too!

It’s a good strategy, despite the learning curve. Even if I don’t always hit that magic 5, it’s nice to have a call to balance.

Well before our briefly happy moment, the boys and I (along with their classmates) went on a field trip to a local farm for apple picking. I’ll write about it more on Friday, but it was a fantastic trip. Minor, especially, got really into finding the most ideal apples and placing them in our bags. We ended up with a whole bunch, which turned into exceptionally good apple butter. You MUST try this recipe. My mother sent me a wonderful crock pot for my birthday and it came in quite handy for making this. I added cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg to mine, and if I did this again, I think I’d reduce the sugar by a cup. I used Macintosh apples and they came out beautifully. I made enough to be able to give 3 jars away and keep one for myself. This might turn into Christmas gifts this year!

I’m going to cut this post a little short today because I, too, am still trying to find myself in our new school schedule. School time is being taken up by coffees, appointments and errands. My 5am time is being eaten by baking, cleaning or The Husband’s workouts. I’m only just trying to reinstitute the afternoon nap, but it works maybe 40% of the time! My knitting and my fiction writing are suffering. That’s a huge problem because I started a big knitting project that is a gift, so it’s on a deadline… and NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, so I’m supposed to be outlining Meadowlark II.

There is, seriously, not enough time in the day. While I am a master manipulator of space and time, there have just been too many variables to really make this magic happen! So, off I go… to get something done.

Quiet Thoughts, about nature and junk, on Friday. Until then, Dear Reader, stay productive and take care.

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