Design a site like this with WordPress.com
Get started

Posts

The Warrior’s Way As It Pertains to Teaching

I once read about the warrior’s way. It was explained that a warrior doesn’t fight willy nilly. He chooses not to fight if there is another way to come to an agreement with someone. He is always ready, but he looks for the right moment to strike. He waits for the world to line up…

Cooking With Kitty

Six-year-old Kitty will occasionally cook with me and, although we both enjoy the food we make, I think a real barrier to Kitty enjoying cooking has been her own inability to physically do what she wants to do (stir, mix, roll things out). In addition, Kitty has a fairly limited attention span, so being able…

Parenting

“Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.” ~Shannon L. Alder

After Holidays Homeschooling Math Update

Math has been hard to teach. We were working on helping Kitty learn her addition facts by heart by playing games before Christmas, but it was getting harder and harder to gain Kitty’s buy-in. Because of that and the ridiculous amount of time that Kitty spent at Jack’s place over the holidays watching Jack play…

Dark Fiction

I have eclectic tastes as a reader. Because I am always learning, I read non-fiction for the most part. There’s just so much to learn about the world, and new discoveries are being made all the time. I read about so many fields and subjects, it would be hard to make a list. Sometimes, though,…

Reading my Shadow

I just tried to read a novel with a special needs, possibly autistic, child in it. By the third or fourth scene however I had a bad taste in my mouth because of the way the mother of the child behaved.  First of all, I don’t believe that parents are solely responsible for how their…

Love

“You need power only when you want to do something harmful. Otherwise, love is enough to get everything done”–Charlie Chaplin “Love without friendship is like a kite, aloft only when the winds are favorable. Friendship is what gives love its wings.”–Sherry Thomas

I’m Finally Learning English, My Native Language

I’m reading (studying) a book called Uncovering the Logic of English: a Common-Sense Approach to Reading, Spelling, and Literacy, by Denise Eide. She gives 31 spelling rules (although because some of them contain multiple rules, it’s more like 43 actual rules). I am learning so much! I was taught to read in school by the…

Narrative and Developing the Will

There is a book by Gabor Mate entitled Scattered Minds: The Origins and Healing of Attention Deficit Disorder in which he explains counterwill. Mate writes that counterwill is an instinct that is triggered by perceived coercion, and that, in fact, those children who are most defiant seem to be willful but actually have no will.…

A Perfect Advent Calendar For Kitty

Ever since Kitty turned 3 I have been looking for an advent calendar that would be suitable. There were some pretty strict requirements. I remember when I was a child the paper ones with a little picture behind a door were a little disappointing and I didn’t want the calendar to be something we would…

Teaching at the Speed of Love

This is a bit of an update on homeschooling, but I wanted to use a different title for once. With handwriting, Kitty is still learning to copy (around 4 words a day, plus an occasional numeral), but she’s starting to “get it”: she copies more quickly and with more confidence. The most exciting thing was…

Musings About Holidays

Holidays bring up lots of emotions, good and bad, for everyone. They are milestones and we can compare the past and present and even to a certain extent judge if we have achieved what we wish to achieve. I’ve always found holidays a bit stressful but in the past decade they have become particularly difficult. …

The Emotional Hijack Revisited

Recently I found a previously unpublished post that I had written over a year ago about being emotionally hijacked by Kitty. I posted that here. In Recovering From Emotionally Immature Parents: Practical Tools to Establish Boundaries & Reclaim Your Emotional Autonomy, by Lindsay C. Gibson, the author explains that emotionally immature people basically hijack other…

Wisdom

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.” –Confucius

Fyodor Dostoevsky Quote About Lying

“A man who lies to himself, and believes his own lies, becomes unable to recognize truth, within himself or in anyone else, and he ends up losing respect for himself and others. When he has no respect for anyone, he can no longer love, and in him, he yields to his impulses, indulges in the…

October Homeschool Progress

I feel like I need to update my last update because, as usual, things are changing. In the last update, I mentioned that Kitty wasn’t actually using her reading skills to read for pleasure: that has changed! She still wants exclusively to be read to most days, but she discovered by accident that she can…

Halloween Is Coming!

This year I asked Kitty what kind of treat she would like to help me bake for Halloween. She decided that gingerbread cookies are her favorite, so we plan to make gingerbread cookies on Halloween–in costume! I loved making my own costumes as a teenager and it’s even more fun to make them with Kitty.…

Evading the Emotional Hijack

[Note: I wrote this piece over a year ago and just found it again the other day. Kitty has matured a lot since then, but she does still try on the hijack from time to time–and I still fall for it sometimes.] Yesterday evening, Kitty ran up to me and yelled, “Someone closed my curtains!…

Aaarrgh! My Homeschooled Child Is Choosing to Be a Hermit

There’s a lot of worry in the homeschooling community–and rightly so–over the stereotype mainstream society seems to cling to that homeschooling doesn’t provide room for socialization. In fact, pretty much every book, article, and blog I’ve read about homeschooling has addressed this issue, demonstrating that the vast majority of homeschoolers are provided with vastly more…

Can Perfectionism Lead to Nihilism?

A while ago ago I realized that Kitty’s lifelong perfectionism was paired with an equal feeling of not mattering. Although she wants everything she does to be perfect and is very unhappy when it doesn’t measure up, there is also the problem that if everything she does is perfect, then nothing she does really matters,…

Self Compassion

I have been thinking about an emotional phenomenon that I have experienced since breaking up with Jack. I will discover that I’m experiencing an emotion that I don’t enjoy and then realize that I have been dealing with it in one of two ways. I either tell myself that I don’t really feel it or…

Dark Days

I know that dark days are part of life and that they are when we really do our growing, but honestly I’m tired of them. I keep thinking that it would be nice if there was a little break to feel lighter, a vacation if you will, where the threat of Jack stealing my child…

Another Update on Homeschooling a Six Year Old

Mostly everything is a mixed bag anymore, including homeschooling. At the same time that it is awesome to watch Kitty learn and take things at her own pace (i.e., either breakneck or snail), there are lots of days where Kitty sabotages herself and whatever is on the table to be learned. On the one hand,…

Wow!

Six months ago I wrote a post wondering if my child would at some point start to mature emotionally, having witnessed that Jack, a man with 4+ decades of opportunity, has managed not to. I reread that post today and realized that my daughter Kitty has been busily maturing in every way, including emotionally. She’s…

Helping a Child Cope With Anxiety

Several years ago, my mom and I identified anxiety as the motivating force behind a great deal of Kitty’s puzzling behavior, especially her efforts to manipulate us and her negative reactions to requests and obligations, and we have been addressing specific anxieties as we identify them. In fact, for quite a while I limited Kitty’s…

An Ordinary Day With Kitty

I took Kitty camping, saving the surprise for late in the day. She loved it all, even though there was some unforeseen thunder and lightning and rain. She slept like a log until an airplane swooped low overhead at 5:45 am. As usual, she woke up grumpy and immediately announced that she wanted to stay…

Co-Regulation

I have finally found a name for a thing that I have been having difficulty doing well with Kitty: co-regulation.  Have you ever spent time with a small child and rolled a ball back and forth between you and them? It’s fun right? There’s a joy in connection. You smile at each other, you roll…

Sound Bites

“Social Engineering – The art of replacing what works with what sounds good”–Thomas Sowell

Learning and Co-Regulation

It can be challenging to scaffold with Kitty because one of the steps involves doing things with her. Kitty actively resists doing things together (and any type of co-regulation), and even if she participates in an activity she will deliberately sabotage the tempo of anything and everything she is involved in.  During her reading lessons…

Puzzles

A few years ago my mom and I noticed that there was a large puzzle section at the dollar store. Neither my mom or I had ever been particularly interested in puzzles, but we both were drawn to a round 350 piece puzzle featuring a particularly beautiful, brightly colored painting of a chameleon. We figured…

Kindness

Having a soft heart in a cruel world is courage, not weakness. –Anonymous

Demand Avoidance, Anyone?

We recently ran across a blog post that talked about homeschooling being good for children with PDA. I wondered what PDA stood for and looked it up. Imagine my surprise when I realized that it perfectly described my difficulties connecting with Kitty. The core features of PDA, or Pathological Demand Avoidance, are: An overwhelming need…

Anger as Poison

“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”–Buddha

Can She Do It Herself?

Recently I have had to have meetings in person with Jack again. It is a long and horrible story and the meetings are weekly and equally horrible, but I have realized an important fact about myself: I am a fixer and Jack plays me like a violin. All he has to do is put on…

Relationships

“There is a depth to life which only comes from our connection to other people. However, we have to find it without becoming a prisoner.”–Donna Goddard, (Waldmeer) I have always loved connecting with other people.  I have many wonderful memories of meeting new people and talking with them and learning new things about myself and…

Masks

After two years with masks being required everywhere, we are finally allowed to go without masks in most circumstances. The mask requirement was horrible for all three of us.  For my daughter, Kitty, it interrupted her ability to learn social skills. She doesn’t know how to read faces or to smile at people or what…

What Is True?

“There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.“ – Sören Kierkegaard

Being An Adult Is Hard

None of us is always an adult. Our inner child is always clamoring and creating chaos in our world. I’ve seen people that look like they are completely adults. They seem to have it down pat.  Watching them parent or manage their finances is like watching a professional play tennis and it makes me feel…

Homeschooling Update

Summer is nearly here and it seems like a good time to take stock–not so much of how Kitty is doing with her schoolwork, but more precisely of how my teaching approach and curricula choices are, or aren’t, working. One of the things I’ve learned by trial and error is: never skip a day. This…

Frustration As an Agent of Change

I’ve been reading a book called Rest, Play Grow in which the author talks about frustration. It’s not my favorite emotion; in fact, I have always thought of it as a “bad” emotion. As a child I described myself as having a low frustration level. I still experience frustration from time to time, but I…

Can You Be Friends With Your Child?

“Friends are the people who pick you because they want to. They accept you for who you are, not what your relationship with them might be.”–Nathan Lowell Every article about parenting warns against being friends with your children. I have gained the impression that what they mean by “friends” is a relationship where the parent…

What Are You Able to Do?

There’s a lot of talk about responsibility in our culture. It’s suggested that people don’t take responsibility for things they should. There’s also a suggestion that taking on more or too much responsibility is good for the soul and it’s a moral failing not to. Saying no is not encouraged, especially if you are a…

Villains

To Jack I am a villain. Every time he contacts me he shares his poisonous worldview with me and I shrink a little inside. I feel defensive and I know intellectually that I haven’t done anything wrong but of course part of me worries that he is right. It’s difficult to move forward sometimes. The…

Skewed Thinking

“Sometimes when your worldview becomes too skewed from reality, it’s difficult to realign what you think you know with what is real.”–Nathan Lowell (from In Ashes Born)

Choosing Curricula for Kitty, Part Three: History

For history, we wanted something that would give Kitty a timeline as a way to understand history in context so she can build a mental model off of it. Structure helps her so much in other aspects of life and learning; we figure that history will sink in better with more structure. I had very…

Choosing Curricula for Kitty, Part Two: Math

We wanted to find a Math program that had structure but also had fun in it. Something like All About Reading but for math. We found very little. Many parents complained that there wasn’t enough structure for children in many programs, so we avoided those. The ones that seemed to have structure seemed dry and…

Choosing Curricula for Kitty, Part One: Reading, With Handwriting and Spelling

This post talks about reading, spelling and handwriting curricula that we have chosen for Kitty. It isn’t an endorsement or criticism of any particular curriculum, but an examination of how we are working to match various curricula with Kitty’s individual needs. I learned to read late. The school system used the “look/guess” method to teach…

Don’t Run, Don’t Panic

Stay calm, stay still, don’t try to leave the room, for if you do you’ll lose everything. I want nothing more than a break from this adrenaline-induced nausea, a break from trying to anticipate where the safest place to crouch or stand is. T. Kingfisher wrote a book I read recently and in it the…

Will My Child Grow Out of Emotional Immaturity?

“I’m not happy with the way you’re treating me!” Kitty screams at me when I gently remind her to put her coat and boots away.  I want to defend myself to Kitty because this really hurts when I work so hard to stay calm, be fun and thoughtful, respect her growing autonomy, and treat her…

Dipping a Toe into Popular Culture

My mom’s family didn’t have a TV when she was growing up in the 1960’s, and when they did get one, she wasn’t impressed, so she didn’t watch much. Her family went to plays and concerts, but not the cinema, so when she met my dad, she’d seen 4 movies total in her life. My…

The Present Moment

All of my reading has led me to the conclusion that in order to recover from the abuse that I suffered at the hands of my ex I need to become more mindful and spend more time in the moment. This helps the mind and body to calm themselves and to retrain the fight or…

Gray Rocking It With Jack

I needed a way to respond to Jack without letting his words provoke me into saying something stupid. Advice about dealing with toxic people usually includes using the “gray rock” method. Essentially, it is a technique that involves imitating the most boring thing possible (a gray rock) when communicating with emotionally immature, abusive or manipulative…

Kitty Takes Another Step Toward Reading

The other day, Kitty chose to read aloud a significantly harder book than she had chosen previously. It’s rare that she wants to read. She doesn’t like our reading lessons, preferring to jump around and pay no attention. In fact, anything the least bit difficult she seems to avoid. So her choice of a harder…

“F” Is For Favorite

I want Kitty to have joy in learning and the will to learn new things. It makes sense for her to have her own internal purpose and reasons for learning rather than be dependent on me to motivate her, to be intrinsically motivated, eventually, to do what she wants and needs to do on her…

Connecting With Kitty: The Daily Challenge

It is usually easy for me to connect with other people. My mom calls it my “superpower”. I can connect with people of all ages, from newborn to ninety-nine, most religious and political persuasions, and regardless of sex, race or native language. But not my own kid. It’s ironic that the person I most need…

Timing and Learning

Timing is crucially important with Kitty, especially in learning–as it is with a lot of other things in life. Take, for example, the teasel. The teasel is a biennial plant. In its first year it is a green rosette that looks like a flat lettuce or primrose. It squashes competition from plants around it by…

When a Man Sees a Woman

I recently read a scene in a book in which a man came into a doctor’s office for treatment. The doctor, a beautiful, well dressed young woman of color, was polite to him, and the man interpreted her basic courtesy as a come-on and went way overboard hitting on her, until she had to call…

The Surprising Secret to Sound Sleep

My Meemaw (now deceased) was diagnosed with asthma in her eighties. I was surprised, but now that I know a bit more about asthma, I can see how it could happen. Even when she was much younger, every physical effort she made was accompanied by a great deal of grunting, sighing, and gulping air. If…

The Ex Who Tried to Steal Christmas

Each year, my mom and I invite Kitty to play Santa with us by helping fill the stockings for each other. She helps me pick things out at the store for my mom, then on Christmas Eve she helps me fill my mom’s stocking. She does the same with my mom, shopping for me and…

Word Salad

When we were still seeing each other, Jack would often confuse me, making it seem that my words had not made sense to him. I would get flustered, thinking that I hadn’t expressed myself clearly and I’d try to explain myself again, to no avail. After several years of this, I realized that he either…

Tidying Decisions and Emotions

I have been trying very hard to do some tidying in my house. It’s been a very slow process but more successful than in the past and because of that I have been thinking about why. Why I tidy and why I have objects and where they fit in my life as it is now,…

From the Outside

It is really really hard to understand what is going on inside of another person from the outside–even if that person can tell you what they are feeling. Even when we do understand somewhat, it’s hard to know how to respond in a way that makes the situation better instead of inflaming it. Often, I…

A Time For Anger

Anybody can become angry – that is easy; but to be angry with the right person, and to the right degree, and at the right time, and for the right purpose, and in the right way – that is not within everybody’s power and is not easy. Aristotle

The Magic of Lemon Balm

We’ve been using alcohol free lemon balm drops for Kitty’s anxiety for about two months now. We saw that they helped almost immediately, and it is clear now that they continue to work.  Kitty enjoys putting the drops of lemon balm into her smoothie or juice each day (I never gave her juice before because…

Recognizing Covert Abuse After the Fact

Jack has been a wake up call for me in many ways. Until I broke up with him and he stopped covertly abusing me and became overt about it, I was unaware that I was being abused. If he had remained covert about it I would never have figured it out. I really want to…

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is about letting go of revenge. It is being capable of holding two contradictory emotions inside and choosing to live in love rather than drown in hatred We are told that forgiveness is good for us. We are told to forgive those who have trespassed against us. To turn the other cheek. But I…

Genuine Apologies

I believe that every apology needs to be the beginning of a new chapter in a relationship. It can be– if it’s a genuine apology, so we need a working definition of the term “genuine apology.” An apology can’t be genuine if the person apologizing hasn’t first accepted the reality of the situation, both inner…

Infusing Kindness

“To hold our tongues when everyone is gossiping; to smile without hostility at people and institutions; to compensate for the shortage of love in the world with more love in small, private matters; to be more faithful in our work; to show greater patience; to forgo the cheap revenge obtainable from mockery and criticism– all…

COVID Comes to Our House

Monday night Kitty started feeling unwell. This isn’t unusual: Jack has her Saturdays and Sundays, so usually Kitty crashes somewhere between Sunday night and Tuesday morning. She holds everything inside until she feels safe enough to let her emotions show, which can take a while after she gets home. Sometimes this manifests as a meltdown,…

Monsters Help Kitty Stay On Track Crossing the Street

Kitty has lots and lots of fears, so I would never have thought monsters would be an ally for parenting her: They just seemed like another thing to fear. But Kitty has a very clear understanding of real versus pretend and has from a very early age. We didn’t even try to pretend that Santa…

Do Scented Products Affect Kids’ Brains?

Nearly everyone we meet is drenched in strong perfumes. What if those scents are harmful? When Kitty was younger, a strange thing would happen after we visited my Meemaw, who lived in a care facility. Kitty would start spacing out, her speech would drag and slur, and at the same time her energy level became…

Comparisons in Parenting: Helpful or Harmful?

For several years, we had a neighbor with a little girl about 2 years older than Kitty. I’ll call her Tara (not her real name). She and her mother, Linda (also not her real name), came over frequently, and Kitty and I would visit them, too. After a while, we exchanged the occasional afternoon: Linda…

A Happy Moment

Last night I told my mom about something that had happened that day and we laughed. It was the first time in years that we’d laughed so hard our cheeks hurt and my abs got a workout. It felt so good that I went to bed happy for the first time in a long time.…

“My Choice Is Not a Criticism of Your Choice”: A New Plan to Defend Against Certain Conversational Attacks on Boundaries

The query: “How can I find you on Facebook?” My answer: “I don’t have a Facebook account.” The attack: “Really? I thought everyone was on Facebook. I couldn’t keep up with my friends/business without it!” The query: “So, how do you stay busy if you don’t work?” My answer: “I’m raising a child and homeschooling…

“I will never eat chocolate again if you don’t give it to me now!!!”

30 seconds before serving dinner I hear an imperious voice from behind me, “I want chocolate!” Never mind that I have quietly reminded Kitty thirty times today to say “please”. Never mind that the dinner I’m making is one of her favorite meals. Never mind that she ate something not fifteen minutes ago. I try…

Addressing Externalizing Thought Patterns in a Child

In this post I talk about trying to apply what I’ve learned from a book called Problem Children: It’s Not Always the Parent’s Fault, by Dr. George Tucker. I have another post, Extreme Thinking in a Child, that talks more in depth about extreme thinking. To recap, Dr Tucker has five general suggestions for dealing…

Communicating With a Toxic Person

So much of what is presented on the internet about how to deal with a toxic person ends up blaming the victim. All the talk of ‘self-love’, ‘boundaries’ and ‘being authentic’ is often a way of throwing the responsibility of the fact that you were targeted back onto the victim. Basically, the prevailing wisdom is…

Keeping a Child Mobile After Surgery

There are several priorities to juggle post-surgery, including pain management, maintaining connection with the child, and encouraging physical movement to avoid prolonged inactivity. This post is about meeting the challenge of keeping Kitty moving. At first we used the wheelchair the hospital provided for the first two days while Kitty was loopy from the pain…

When My Child Visits My Toxic Ex

My boundaries are not just being transgressed, they are being obliterated by society’s expectations and norms Each week my daughter has to spend time alone with my toxic ex. If I had my druthers she would not have to do it because I don’t believe that he is good for her. But because of a…

Growth Spurts Are Hard

It may or may not be obvious by now that parenting Kitty is a challenge. She has many fine qualities and she can be sweet and loving; however, she also does things that would try a saint. During a growth spurt those trying behaviors become much more pronounced; in fact, I would go so far…

Extreme Thinking in a Child 

I worry about some of Kitty’s behaviors and thinking patterns, especially the ones that resemble Jack’s patterns.  I recently found a book that addresses this very thing, entitled Problem Children: It’s Not Always the Parents Fault, by Dr. George Tucker. It’s short and to the point, and I was able to finish it in a…

Pain Management for a Child Post-Surgery

I’m not going to pretend here: Kitty can’t deal with pain AT ALL. We were given three ways to address pain: acetaminophen, ibuprofen and oxycodone. Yes, an opiate. When I saw the prescription, I almost panicked: if they were prescribing this, I knew that Kitty was going to need it and the pain was going…

How to Prepare for Surgery for a Child

There are lots of surprises when it comes to surgery and perhaps doubly so when it comes to surgery for children. My daughter Kitty is five and I was informed she had to have what the doctor termed a “simple outpatient procedure”. Thus began a medical version of bait and switch.  I’m hoping this post…

Tidying Decisions Require an Integrative Mind

In her two books about tidying–Spark Joy and The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up–Marie Kondo emphasizes two opposing ideas: First, she talks about the necessity of going through your things quickly so as to not lose momentum when cleaning out. She speaks of getting rid of twenty bags of things in a day and cleaning…

Counterwill in a Five Year Old

Everyone experiences counterwill, at least from time to time. If someone tells you that you’re wrong, wrong, wrong, and that you have to do it their way, you will likely feel the need to defend yourself and you probably won’t be looking with interest or enthusiasm at “their way.” This is human nature; we are…

Using Reusable Bags to Organize My Freezer

We bought a chest freezer about 10 years ago because we like to buy our meat straight from the farmer and that means buying a lot at once and storing it in the freezer. A chest freezer is really energy efficient and keeps everything really, really cold. The only problem is trying to find anything…

Are Some Human Societies Like Canadian Geese?

Western culture today resembles the flight patterns of orphaned Canadian geese, with people zipping about with great determination and noise, but as a group we lack clear direction. Every winter we see flocks of Canadian geese flying about with great noise and ceremony but no actual direction. They honk a lot and generally make a…

Does My Child Have Developmental Delays and/or Disabilities?

Maybe, but I’m pretty sure Kitty just needs more time. She’s making strides forward and it’s likely that in a few more years she’ll be completely “caught up” in the lagging skills without any need for intervention. I’ve read that most, if not all, children who suffer ACE’s (Adverse Childhood Experiences) will have developmental delays.…

What Happens in the Prewriting Stage?

When we started exploring reading with Kitty, she didn’t even want to try to draw or color with a pencil or a pen. I don’t want to teach her how to write yet because she’s not ready, but I do want her to develop hand-eye coordination, which she can’t do without practice.  Some sources say…

A Five Year Old Reads Aloud

Exciting times! Yesterday afternoon I’d left to run an errand and when I came home, Kitty was reading a book to herself in the armchair while my mom rested on the couch. My mom says that Kitty just chose to read to herself. She didn’t ask my mom to read to her and my mom…

The Collection Connection in Action

An example of how not to do it, and one of how to make the connection. Last week I wrote about how a “collection” connection can help a child to deal with separations from her primary attachment figure. To illustrate the concept, I will share an example of a transition from car to house that…

The Collection Connection

Children can experience separation any time your attention wanders away from them. It’s important to reconnect frequently. Both Deborah Macnamara’s book Rest, Play, Grow and Gordon Neufeld’s book Hold on to Your Kids speak of something they call ‘collection’. This is a connection obtained from a child before asking for a behavioral change. If that…

Loading…

Something went wrong. Please refresh the page and/or try again.


Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s