Thursday, September 24, 2009

Messy, Messy, Messy!

I woke up to popcorn all over the living room floor.

Boy #4, apparently, had saved his popcorn from last night for an early morning snack -- except that, from the looks of it, less than half made it to his mouth. Before I'd even popped in my contacts, I was down on my knees, scraping popcorn leavings into a pile.

I swept the pile into my hand, headed toward the garbage can -- and passed a pile of cat puke. No, wait. Make that two piles.

The wailing erupted just as I was grabbing some paper towel. Remember Boy #4 and his early morning snack? Turns out he'd poured himself a glass of milk as well. You can see where I'm going with this, right?

(Forward to moment 1:39)

Parenting boys is a messy business, in more ways than one. There are the obvious messes (does anyone else's bathtub resemble a beach after the boys have bathed?), and then the not-so-obvious ones. Check out this excerpt from Scott Noelle's parenting newsletter, The Daily Groove:

"Even if you're a 'crunchy' parent who's not afraid of nature's messiness, there may be other kinds of messes you abhor, like the messy ways children learn, explore, and process emotions."

Boy learning is not a straight forward kind of thing. Rarely do boys start in one place and progress neatly to the desired end point. Learning, for boys, is a series of tangents, of stops and starts. To learn, they need permission, time and space to explore, to question --and to get messy.

The same holds true for emotions. While I thought it was a great idea to sit down and discuss how to turn crisis into opportunity, my boys did not. For a moment, I was frustrated, but then I remembered that my job as a parent is to support my boys in whatever ways they need. I will remain available, but I need to give my boys time and space to process their own emotions.

As Scott Noelle says, "Get over it! Life IS messy!"

1 comment:

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