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Thursday, 31 March 2016 08:30

The Internet

There are times when my life throws sticks and stones in my direction...

And there are times it throws grenades

Then, in the stillness, when the dust is falling around me

I find myself sinking and unable to see through the haze

Sinking into a sadness, a numbness, that I can't escape

I try to speak, I need to speak, to ease this burden

but you seem not to understand

I hear my words being twisted around me, until I can no longer remember what I said

Why would you assume the worst?

I have life weighing on my shoulders, the masks of all the roles I play

And on top of that, in the casual quiet conversations

I must be afraid

Afraid that each word I say will be seen through your eyes

Eyes that search out constantly, reasons to find offence

I try to speak, I need to speak, because I'm sure I'm not alone

I hear sad voices joining mine, and maybe together we can become strong

And even when I speak words that aren't your words,

With views that you don't see

Can we find that we are all hurting, put down our defences, stop trying to be offended

Learn each others lessons, and be kind?

 

There's my attempt at poetry for today... anyway, I have been debating getting more into this blogging thing. Blogging more regularly - I do love writing after all, and I have been feeling lonely. A lot is going on in my life, and I'm honestly struggling emotionally with a lot right now. Being an extrovert who NEEDS people in my life, I find talking through things therapeutic and helpful, and I need to hear about others' lives and struggles to keep mine in perspective. So much good in the blogging community for someone like me...

But today, as I was perusing some of the blogs and sites I haven't read in months, I was reminded of another beast - commenters. Commenters who show up just to tear down the words you have spoken or written, just to cut you down. Commenters who seem incapable of putting forth a respectful disagreement, but must - at best - quip passive aggressively, somewhat sarcastically - or, at worst - insult you completely.  I would suspect that most of us who write about our lives feel sad and lonely at times, and even self-conscious and worthless at others - WHY do they come just to kick you when you're down? 

Why do so many people online seem ready and willing to be insulted and offended by everything? Can we please, just sometimes, try to assume that a blog post we read - or Facebook post we see - was posted by someone who is sometimes sad, and lonely, and who cries. Picture a sad lonely puppy if you will, before you choose your response. Even puppies bite sometimes, but they usually have a good reason. 

Can I get past this? Can I become ok with the fact that there will always be some who will not give me the benefit of the doubt? That there will be some who - instead of choosing respect and honesty, will choose anger and bitterness and to hurt back.

There is NO ONE I would ever deliberately hurt or offend. I will assume the same of you, internet user, until you prove me wrong. Typically, that means you have to choose meanness repeatedly, because the first couple times I will be confused and saddened by your responses, assuming myself to be worthy of how belittled I feel. You have power, because I want to choose to be kind - and to expect kindness from you. 

Can this naive little Saskatchewan girl handle the big kid playground that is the internet...? I'm not sure. 

Published in Blog
Tuesday, 29 March 2016 21:28

Excavation Fun!

When it comes to planning homeschool science activities or experiments, I have so far proven to be quite terrible at planning ahead. This one is super simple, though, and when I got the idea I set it up - even though I had no specific plan to do this activity with the girls - and it was ready when I wanted it!  I got this idea from Lemon Lime Adventures , and I love their use of a lego man in an ice column. My girls aren't so into lego, however, so I thought gemstones would work fine!

Materials: 

  • Empty plastic containers in which to freeze water
  • Small toys, stones, or marbles to freeze into water
  • A tray or plate (Ikea child's plate) on which to conduct the excavation
  • Digging utensils - I used a tupperware orange peeler and spoon
  • Additives - I used warm water coloured red with food colouring, and salt
  • Tools to add additives - I found the pipette really helpful for the water, but a spoon would work also, and I just put a small spoon in the salt

I used small plastic apple sauce containers to freeze, and I'm glad I did - my girls don't have the longest attention span, and any more ice would have been more than they would be able to remain interested in. I had two each for back-up, but one block of ice was more than enough for each of them for one day - and I did a fair amount of prompting and helping.

I froze the stones in layers - first filling the containers with a small amount of water and freezing solid, adding a stone and then a bit more water, freezing again until solid and repeating until the container was full and had 4 hidden trinkets. Then I saved the completed blocks in my freezer until I was ready for an impromptu science lesson!

Clara took to this a little easier than Audrey who needed more help and prompting. Occasionally I would jump in and add a considerable amount of salt and say 'see how that works' and let them continue. Once they had extracted their first stone, though, both girls became increasingly interested in unlocking the others!

I must remember that part of planning ahead should include assembling the materials - and setting up, like I did here - because I find myself reluctant to come up with an idea AND implement it on the same day. And since I enjoy the planning part most... often things just don't get done. Having these at the ready gave me no excuses - I didn't even have to think! 

The finished product - each girl unearthed four stones, and learned a little bit about how ice reacts to salt and warm water. 

Published in Blog
Monday, 21 March 2016 22:25

I Won't Be Your Friend Anymore

It happened one day, as I was blissfully believing my children would stay young forever. I hear "I won't be your friend anymore!!" screamed across the downstairs playroom, followed by more unintelligible screaming and a sudden clamor of feet stomping up the stairs. 

"You WILL be my friend!!" I hear my 5-year-old daughter scream. Followed by "Don't tell on me!!! AAAAAHHH!!!"

I understand as a parent, that there may be times when you prefer your child to stop spending so much time with a particular friend - they may be a bit too bossy, or a downright bully. Or, maybe they just have a negative influence on your child that you would prefer to minimize.  The difficult part of understanding this - is understanding that someday that could be MY kid that another parent would prefer their child to avoid. 

My daughter is bossy. And selfish, although that seems almost universal in young children. It is a bad combination, though, because it means that she frequently wants all the things, as well as wanting everyone around her to play her games in EXACTLY the way she would like. 

This is another one of those character traits that I thought I had possessed because I was an only child (and Grandchild) for the first seven years of my life, who was a tad bit spoiled... evidently that is not always the reason children are like this.  

We are working with her on this - not that we have any real clue how - by talking her through the 'whys' of everything, and trying to make her empathize by turning the situation around and asking how she feels about it. It doesn't seem to work, but my parenting experience so far has told me that doesn't necessarily mean it isn't.  So we press on. 

In the meantime, how to deal with the 'I'm not your friend anymore!' concept? Thankfully, the mother of the child who yelled this at my daughter shares my view on this and we have told our daughters that this is not something you say to a friend - it is just simply not ok. As for my daughter - I try to make two things clear to her. The first is that friends fight, and that even adult friends fight - but it doesn't mean you are not friends. In fact, the closest friends are almost guaranteed to fight sometimes, and it is in the weathering through this that friendships become even more valuable.  

*I should note that by 'fight' here, I do not mean throwing punches, but rather frustrating disagreements that are not always as civil as you'd like to admit the next day. 

The second thing I would like my daughter to understand is that her actions are what makes her friendship desirable. Certainly not everyone is perfect and pleasant all the time, but it is important in a relationship to give back sometimes and not always be taking from your friend. This is a good thing for me to remember, as I write this, it seems to be just as fully an adult friendship issue as a childhood one. I want her to understand that meanness and bossyness WILL eventually make her friends prefer to spend time away from her. That although I can tell her that SHE is not allowed to end a friendship because of a fight, I can't control what another friend or parent might do - and at that point, it will be too late. I want her to know in her attention-challenged childhood that even in the moment, kindness really matters.

We had a number of discussions with her after a week of incidents similar to this one, and I think things have improved since then. Has anyone else encountered a similar situation? How did it turn out? How did you handle it? 

Published in Blog

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