"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

signs-of-SPRING mission: accepted

I've been lecturing. Raising my voice. Losing my cool....a lot lately. One of my kids, who shall not be named, has been going through a tough time. He's testing me. He pushing boundaries. He's yelling. He's being unkind. This is not something we have not been through before. It seems every six to nine months or so, Evan just Can Not Deal. (Whoops. Looks like I named him. But you were going to figure out which one it was anyway in just a minute...)

Sam and I have slowly come to realize (over and over and over again, yet somehow, it seems as though for the first time every time) that Evan needs to be in control of his world...and that's pretty hard when you're only seven and people are telling you what to do all the damn day. 

So, control we will give him...when we can (non-negotiables, of course, will include school, health/hygiene, safety, and how he treats others). We're not really going to be giving him more control, because we already run a pretty loose ship around here when it comes to the little stuff. But we're going to be making all of those little choices he does make every day blatantly overt: "Evan, where would you like to sit to eat breakfast?" (Even though he's sat in the same damn stool at the counter for breakfast Every. Single. Day. since we've lived in this house.) "Evan, what clothes do you want to wear tomorrow?" (Even though he picks out his own clothes every day anyway.) "Evan, would you like to do your homework first or play Minecraft?" (Um? Hmmm....I wonder...)

And, so far, it seems to be working. 

It's working so well, in fact, that today, when we were outside enjoying this glorious spring day, hanging out with our wonderful friends and neighbors, I did something that I don't always do: When he came up to me (though I was just about to engage in a long-overdue catch-up chat with my friend) and asked, "Mommy? Will you play Crusades or Viking Warriors with me?" I said "Yes."

[I mean. Seriously. Could the kid have picked a WORSE game for me? I don't even know what the Crusades were except for the fact that it somehow involved King Richard...and I only know that from Robin Hood (animated version, naturally). And war games? Ugh. Fake battles and shouts of "Man down!" and "Get my artillery guys up here, stat!" I mean, what? Where does he even learn this shit?]

Yes, Love. We shall play Crusades. I would be happy to. Unless...........maybe I could distract him from the Crusades with a different, even MORE awesome idea!

"Or, buddy...Do you want to go on a mission? Take my phone and explore the whole yard in search of signs of spring! Take pictures of every sign of spring you see and report back to headquarters!"

"Um. No. I want to play Crusades."

"I want to go on a Signs of Spring Mission!" piped up Max, from across the yard.
"Yeah, I want to, too!" said his sweet friend.
"And me!" chimed in me-too Molly.

Well, looks like those three will be occupied....I guess Crusades it is.

After a solid 20 minutes (though it felt much, much longer...you know what they say, Playing War is Endless. They say that, right? Never mind. Playing War is Endless TM. There, now it's a thing.), Max and the Spring Sleuths came back with their findings...and they're awesome.

Unfiltered, un-retouched, un-photoshopped...these are Max's original Spring Mission Photos:


...and then about 30 more, too. Which, I think, confirms it: Spring Has Sprung.

Thank god.

Oh, and the Vikings won the Crusades. But they got help from some back-up troops (the Americans, the Italian Alliance, the French, and the Romans). So...you know. God Bless the Church of England. Or whatever.

Lesson Learned:
Breathe deeply. Say Yes. The kids will be alright. 


  1. Our nine-year-old is something of a control freak. You've got some good ideas here that we might have a try with. There's something Daphne said to Niles in Frasier about giving him "the illusion of control" that contains a valuable lesson in parenting.

    Thanks for the images of Spring, too. I hadn't noticed until now, but Spring is definitely beginning here and not a moment too soon.

  2. Thanks for that! I hope that you (and we!) find success with some of these strategies. I love that bit from Daphne...I totally agree!