Thursday, 25 September 2014

My spiritual guides

Last night when I told Deaglan it was time to turn his TV off, he lost his mind. He wasn’t tired, he insisted and besides his friends at school had been discussing this very thing earlier in the day and they all get to stay up later than him.

I asked for specific examples.

“Brandon gets to stay up like really, really late,” he said.
“How late?”
“12 hundred o’clock.”

He was completely serious. I bit my cheek and added telling time to my mental checklist of things I needed to teach this kid.

“I’m sorry buddy, but you have a hard time getting up in the morning and your body needs a good amount of sleep to be healthy.”

“I hate you!” he said, “I’m not going to fall asleep. I’ll stay awake all night in the dark.”

“Listen, I get it. I remember how much I used to hate having to go to bed when I was a kid. It did seem unfair. I especially hated it when I was in the middle of doing something. (I figured this was not the time to tell him I didn't have a TV in my room until third year university) But I’m the Mom and it’s my job to take care of you.”

“But I’m not tired!!!” he yelled.

“You will be once you lay your head on the pillow, I promise. It's time.”

I left the room then.
He was forlorn. He cried out of sheer frustration. He was a kid with very little control over this circumstance. I sat in my room and wondered if I’d done the right thing.

Five minutes later he was sound asleep, snoring softly, long limbs askew. Relieved, I patted myself on the back for handling it the way I did. I didn't raise my voice. I  didn’t react to his anger the way I typically might. I’d taken a deep breath and found a way to connect with him.

I’ve been practicing.

In the Conscious Parent  Shefali Tsabary says there is a way to be firm with our kids without getting caught up in the drama of the situation. “As much as conscious parenting is about listening to our children, honoring their essence, and being fully present with them, it’s also about boundaries and discipline.”

It’s a beautiful book.

There’s such goodness and wisdom on every page. I’ve underlined and asterisked something in just about every chapter. I’ve wanted to call each and every single one of you with kids in your lives to say OMG, you have to read this book.

It’s that good.

One of my favourite things she says is that although we believe as parents that we hold the power to raise our kids, the reality is that our kids hold the power to raise us into the parents they need us to become.

I find this profound.

For me, parenthood has been deeply satisfying. It’s been hard at times but so, so fulfilling. I do believe what she says in her book that our children are spiritual guides put into our lives to teach us to become our best selves.  

This morning my little guides were doing a lot of teaching but I was in no mood to learn a thing.
We all slept in. I made the lunches and fed the kids breakfast to help Shaune get out the door sooner. He was grateful and asked if there was something he could do to help before leaving. 

"Dress Naveen" I said without hesitation. 

It's the part I dread the most every morning. He's very particular about what he will wear. His most favourite outfit is a vivid green ninja hoodie paired with a pair of Disney-blue sweatpants, a hand-me-down we received for Deaglan several years ago from a co-worker of Shaune's a few jobs ago.

They have the word DINO written down one leg. 

I've let him wear this get-up at least three times each week since school began but have had to put my foot down the other days simply because it was filthy and I hadn't had a chance to do laundry. He refuses to wear most of the new clothes we bought him for school.

Shaune wasn't successful with the first or second outfit he suggested. I could tell he had to go so I offered to  take over. 

A lot of crying and angry words ensued. We finally settled on some old worn shorts (I thought I'd gotten rid of these ages ago!) and a hand-me-down red Lightening McQueen hoodie. He let me know a few times that he really dug this outfit. 

Great, I thought, your teachers can continue to think I found your clothes in a dumpster.

I know there is a spiritual lesson in these morning struggles somewhere but as a fashion-conscious soul, I am very resistant to learning it.

When I got home, he'd ditched the T shirt underneath and was just Marky Mark-ing it. I'm definitely getting him some white Calvins.

The move and all it entailed did Shaune and me in this spring and summer. I've taken no pictures to show you the new house. I wrote no posts to tell you how we're settling in. A sad state of affairs!

Here's a few pictures I found on our camera. The kids love the pool and despite the crummy weather we had all summer, they used it all the time.

By the end of the summer, Deaglan was swimming without the floatie. Swimming lessons courtesy of Dad.