Friday, July 12, 2013

Waiting for Our Green Light

There is an intersection where reading, and researching, and attempting, and, tweaking, and innovating, and failing all sputter out, and you find yourself just waiting.

This can be a seriously annoying and anxiety inducing time. Kind of like when you've been on a long drive and the baby is asleep, but as soon as you stop at that first red light, you are overcome with anxiety because the change in movement and sound is likely going to wake the baby who can't wake up because you're not there yet!!

On the flip side, it can also be really refreshing. Like when the kids all fall asleep on a car trip, and the only sounds are those of music or adult conversation, and while you know that it's temporary and they will soon wake up and create chaos once again, right here and now in this moment all you have to do is drive.

We are in that place. We are currently waiting. For several things. For evaluations, on waiting lists, for cooler weather, for answers, for therapy, for call backs, for the cleaning fairy, for lots of things. Some will come sooner than later, some will be much later in their arrival, and I'm pretty sure that cleaning fairy is a permanent no show.

Some days are nice, just throw out any expectations, let the kids veg out in front of screens and eat junk food.

But most of them have that don't-wake-the-baby feel. An ever present, though subtle anxiety that everything will just completely fall apart before you are in any position to intervene. Wait...we are just not there yet!!

Hopefully, we get a green light soon, and can get back on our way to steady, even if it's slow, progress.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: PERTINACIOUS

Welcome to Wordy Wednesday!

Todays subject:

PERTINACIOUS

I found this word while I was searching for a better word to describe a particular characteristic of Grace's. Because stubborn just didn't seem to cut it. And lo and behold, I stumbled upon this gem of obscure English adjectives.

Definition: (via dictionary.com)

pertinacious[ pur-tn-ey-shuhs ]

adjective

1. holding tenaciously to a purpose, course of action, or opinion; resolute.
2. stubborn or obstinate.
3. extremely or objectionably persistent: a pertinacious salesman from whom I could not escape.

That could very well simply read Grace, Grace, Grace.

That's not to say at all that she isn't charming, and sweet, and thoughtful, because she most certainly is. But, she is also, sometimes more often than we appreciate, pertinacious.

Let's face it. Artsy people can be very moody people. Notice, I'm not saying that ALL are, just that some, even perhaps many, can certainly be...passionate.

Well we are a house full of artsy folk. And this can sometimes lead to...umm...hiccups. Yeah, hiccups along this long and twisted adventure.

Well, Gracie and I had a big hiccup last week. Major indeed, for her and I.

It all started with a bird.

I was happily snuggled on the couch with Kit watching Signing Time for about the gazillionth time. Grace had been occupying herself at the table, painting.

She came and showed me the picture she just completed. A watercolor of a bird surrounded by dots of the principle colors of the bird.

It wasn't just cute. It wasn't just a typical seven-year-old's squishing a brush around. I saw more. I was amazed at how my eyes were so intrigued by the colors and flow between the subject and background. It was like a visual vacation to me.

I told her how much I liked it, highlighting a few of the features I really liked.  She was bouncy happy and told me that she had made it to practice her birds, and that she was thinking of giving it to a friend, but since I liked it so much, that I could have it.

A little while later, she's back and telling me how much she now really does want to give it to her friend. I let her know how much I appreciate her giving it to me and that I really do want to keep it. We go back and forth a bit. Finally she says that she can make another one just like it. I tell her that's fine and she can give the next one to her friend since she already gave this one to me. She skips off to paint another.

Now I rarely intervene when it comes to my kiddos giving away their art. And they are generous. But this piece "spoke to me", as they say.

Grace couldn't see it. To her it was a bird and she had added dots. No big deal. Well I saw a lot more. I saw her using water colors in a truly illustrative way, they brought the painting personality. Her precision,  visual depth of field, and not-so-subliminal influence by some angry birds, to me were reflective of many parts of her. Her style, her mood, and her skills and abilities right now. She wasn't painting like this a few months ago, and she will be painting differently a few months from now.

Because of all of that, I felt an over powering urge to hold onto this little piece of right-now.

Well after a little while, she comes in more adamant than ever that the original must be given to her friend and that I keep the new one. The new one was cute, but in her efforts to improve the things that bothered her about the first, she took away the things that I so loved about it.

The argument reinssued, and this time Grace couldn't keep a cap on her emotions. She exploded into a full on meltdown. Pertinacoius.

After she calmed down we went to her room to talk. I asked her when was the last time I insisted on keeping one of her pictures instead of letting her give it away to whomever she wishes.

"Never."

"That's right. Don't you think then that maybe I have some really good reasons and really strong desire to keep it?"

"No. Because it's my picture." (Pertinacious)

"But if I've never begged to keep one before and I'm begging now. Don't you think that I love it so much that I really appreciate it?"

"I don't know. I guess so."

"You also already gave it to me. Now you are trying to take away something you gave, to give it to someone else. That's not kind. Doesn't that hurt your feelings if someone does that to you?"

"Yes. But you can keep the other one."

"That's not the one you gave me, and is not the one I love so much. If you give the first one to your friend, I know she will like it. She might put it up on her wall. But eventually, it will probably get replaced, or damaged, or thrown away even. Because it's not as likely that she will like it for the same reasons I do. I want to put it in a frame and keep it for always. Because I appreciate it because of all the ways it makes me think of you. You can give her as many pictures as you want. I'm only asking for one. Is it really that unreasonable?"

"No. And yes, because it's my picture." (The P-word!)

By this point, I'm getting really fed up. It's clear she is not capable at the moment of being reasonable. So I finally give her a choice.

"Well, I'm ready to be done now, so here is your choice. The picture already belongs to me, since you gave it to me. I AM keeping it. You can choose to accept it, and have a cheerful and kind attitude toward me, or, you can choose to continue to treat me disrespectfully and unkindly. Choosing poorly means that you will lose the privilege of spending the night at a friend's house tonight, which means your poor choice of behavior will punish her too. Either way, it's up to you."

She pouts for a moment, then decides.

"Ok, I'll be happy and nice, Mommy."

"Thank you."

Half an hour later, she was totally over it. When she came home from her friend's house, her painting is framed and beautifully adorning our living room wall, along with another one of her paintings, a cool abstract by her brother, and her little sister's foot print art. She told me the arrangement looks pretty.

It's certainly not about to sell for millions, but I happen to think it's some of the best art I've ever seen. But, of course, I'm biased. I am the artists' mother, after all.

All of which now and again are very pertinacious!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Little Life Lessons

Well, he finally did it!

A few weeks ago, Zak became the official owner of an iphone 3gs. And while that sounds very fancy, it won't sound so by the end of the next paragraph.

First, it doesn't operate as a phone. We have no plans to activate it any time soon to enable it to make or receive calls. Second, we also have no plans to activate any sort of data plan on it any time soon. We have Wi-Fi here at home, but if there's no Wi-Fi, there's no internet. Third, he still has to earn electronic time in order to use it, and like all the rest, he must ask permission first.

So he pretty much has a four year old ipod. He made a deal with his dad that he could buy it for forty dollars. When he finally earned it, we explained to him the above rules. And we pointed out to him that he was already using the phone in this manner. So we made it clear to him that he could save his forty dollars, and still continue to use the phone as he had previously been.

He was adamant however that he wanted to OWN it. We reminded him one more time that it took him quite a while to save up the money, and that was not cheap to simply pay for bragging rights. But he plunked down the crumpled bills in front of his dad with a smile from ear to ear. He had achieved his goal.

"I bought an iphone," he loves to tell EVERYONE. Which makes me cringe and immediately feel the need to list the above stated restrictions. And I have with a few people.

But there, in the background, is that little voice in my head. It tells me to bite my tongue. To just let him share his excitement. Let him be ten. It's no big deal.

And so I'm trying. This post not withstanding.