I’m kind of sorry that I’m so late reading this. A truly superb post by an excellent writer. With ASD.
This blog post asks some tough questions. I worry about my boys, and whether they’ll find healthy ways to find risk and danger before they hit teenage-hood and drivers licences and kids they know at school who can get them drugs and alcohol.
I’m looking into sending Mr 9 to Scouts (Cubs, at his age), so that someone else can be teaching him responsibility and how to light fires and taking him tramping and hopefully that way he can get the urge to leap off things and break limbs out of his system under adult supervision, and particularly, not mine. (I have no problem with him breaking limbs, I just don’t want to watch and be the one feeling guilty. I think that possibly makes me a bad mum, except that as my friend says, “I’m not a bad mother, bad mothers hit their children with hammers”.)
I’m hoping Mr 7 will use up all his crazy energy in sports – soccer, running, gym – and eventually music. (I know he has musical talent, and I assume that one day he’ll realise that playing in a band is just as much fun as playing with a ball.)
I remember when I was a little girl my (feminist) mum sighed because I would only wear things that were pink and shiny, and my dad rolled his eyes because I would always have to introduce some irritating little girl character into whatever pretend games my brothers were playing (which tended to involve exploring the galaxy or the South Pole or Alaska, I think). Now I wonder what was so wrong with those things. And my daughter now does something very similar… but if the boys join in with one of her games, very quickly some character starts misbehaving and violence ensues.
You see, I also wonder why every pretend game the boys play involves explosions, weapons or travelling at high speeds. (Preferably all three. At once.) My brothers were less obsessed with fighting (or “versing”) than my sons are, possibly because we grew up without a TV or any videos, while my children watch a DVD or play on the computer every day. (We did have a computer from when I was about 7 or 8, with such exciting games as Battleships, Othello and Chess, and Dad wrote us a drawing program which I mainly used to draw contour maps of imaginary islands.) I don’t think the boys are more competitive innately than my daughter and me, but they definitely play conflict more often.
I really really wish I could see the future. I find it impossible to imagine what my children’s world will look like, because of the rate that technology is changing. In the meantime, I kind of let them find their own way, mostly, in terms of their playing. “If you want to fight, go outside!” for example. And try and make sure they all get the same responsibilities at the same ages. Lets hope it works.
We had boys’ night / girls’ night in our house tonight. Dad and the boys drove across town, picked up fish ‘n’ chips and took them to the park, where they ate them in the herb garden. Then Mr 9 wandered about picking herbs while Mr 7 and Dad played football, and then they all went for an explore. Miss 4 and I had pikelets and fruit salad for tea, served on a tablecloth on the living room floor with my best china – I even got the beautiful cups and saucers down from the display shelf above the sink – and then we baked biscuits, the kind where you cut out shapes.
I have no problem with some forms of gender stereotyping. Miss 4 refuses to wear trousers. (Tearfully: “Then no-one will know I’m a girl!”) The boys leap around the house roaring at each other and every game involves fighting in some form.
Here’s the question, the can of worms I like to open: Is there anything wrong with this?
Is it enough that I encourage all my kids to do whatever they want to do and treat everyone with respect? Or should I be making more of a stand against cultural norms and in favour of equality?
What does equality actually look like?
I grew up with my mum working and my dad staying at home with us, for a few years. He said to me that those days looking after my little brother were some of his happiest times. And yet, he has ended up feeling like his life has been wasted, that he is of no worth because he has never found a job that would allow him to be the provider.
How many women feel like that?
I went back to work after having children not because we needed the income, but because I hated being stuck at home with babies, who are (a) hard work and (b) boring. I was going crazy. I still feel a little guilty about this sometimes, though less than when I regularly faced Facebook posts and links from my homeschooling friends. I don’t like my kids enough to want to spend all my time with them. I suspect the feeling is mutual. Does that make me a worse person than the homeschoolers?
How many men feel like that?
(By the way, I don’t actually think I like anyone well enough to want to be with them 24/7. Sorry dear.)
What do you think?
I’ve had this discussion with Miss 4. “I think being a princess would be boring,” I said. “All you get to do is wave at people and smile. Is that really what you want to do?”
She’s going to stick with the original plan and be a doctor.
By the way, the tile question has been answered. We found a nice grey with ginger flecks that blends nicely with the green carpet with ginger flecks. And bought it. A small pack of eight stone floor tiles is so heavy I can barely lift it.
I have been astonished at the pace at which this wood-burner addition has been happening. Last week DH rang the bank, and we’ve found that because we have been paying more than the minimum on our mortgage, we can still afford it if we whack the burner on it.
Monday the fireplace installer arrived, EXACTLY on time which is something I have NEVER seen before in a tradesman, laid duct-tape to show where the hearth will go, cut a hole in the ceiling, and informed us we would not need a new hot-water cylinder, they can just put the wetback on the existing one (which already has solar water heating connected). Hooray, that just saved us about $1500!
Yesterday DH cut a sample piece out of the carpet, we went to look at tile samples and ended up bringing the new ones home, as the ones we liked happened to be in stock.
Today the handyman who also happens to be my step-father-in-law is shifting the door that will have the flue running up behind it upstairs at mum and dad’s place.
Tomorrow the tiler is due to arrive at 8.30 am.
At this rate, the fire will be here on Friday, we’ll get the trees planted in the weekend and it’ll be all working by this time next week.
I was very pleased to see a link on my facebook page (yes, I still have one, but only one “friend”, and that’s the way it’ll stay) from the University of Otago, saying that 14 Research Centres have been given funding for the next five years, including the Brain Health Research Centre which sounds like just my cup of tea.
I must get round to contacting StudyLink.