We had a pretty busy weekend, but it was SO MUCH FUN! Our softball team SPANKED our opposition on Friday night. We won like, 31 to 15 or something. So, so, so good. I freakin' love Friday night softball so much. I just love competitive sports. The dark side of this was exhibited during the badminton tourney/bbq at Lolly's house when I turned into a crazy angry-dad, psycho weirdo. Poor Uncle Jesse (my partner). He was being SO GOOD about it! Like being such a good dad to me. While I was total Select Hockey in North Bay Angry Dad to the max. What is WRONG with me?
Waldorf-y and hippie, but if you know anything about me and the Dotytron, it's that we kind of lean that way, anyway. Basically, the idea is that we overstimulate and over-schedule kids and it creates anxieties for parents and kids and families. One of the biggest things the author advocates is reducing visual clutter in the home and particularly in your kid's room, by getting rid of toys and books. He says that you should halve your kid's toys, halve them again, and then halve them again. The Waldorf-y stuff is the emphasis on on wooden, "natural" toys (ie. non-branded, less plastic crap). Toys should be grouped into two categories: active toys (toys you use to construct/build/create with - blocks, play dough, etc.) and receptive toys (toys whose only function is to receive imaginative play - like dolls, stuffies, etc.) This way, it allows your kid to play deeply and nurture their imagination. The author also thinks it's okay for kids to be bored and that the silence that boredom allows is an opportunity that pushes children to listen to what's going on in their own heads once the clutter is gone and also allows spaces for creativity. Reducing the books is counter-intuitive (for me anyway), but again, it picks up on the natural tendency of children to want to deeply explore ONE thing (the same impulse that makes kids want to read the same story or do the same thing, again and again and again). Each repetition the kid is exploring more deeply, becoming attuned to nuances, subtle differences, etc.
Another thing was to build in repetition and rhythms into your family life cycle. Dinner at the same time, breakfast at the same time, we do this at this time, etc. Another thing was letting your kid decompress at the end of a day by having a conversation that's structured so that the kids' fears/anxieties/troubles are "sandwiched" by good stuff (so you begin and end with highs/positive reinforcement).
In a way, this book validated our personal parenting style - most of the points were things/beliefs that we already were doing or subscribed to. One of the big takeaways for me was the over-scheduling thing. Reading the author's perspective made me realize why the Dotytron puts up so many objections when I do try to commit us to too much. The Dotytron is generally much more attuned to the understanding that moments of quietness and stillness and rests and pauses are restorative and necessary, for imaginative, creative, intellectual and emotional growth. I'm going to try to be more mindful of that in the future.
The Dotytron's Nany's 90th birthday party was on Sunday. It was great seeing all the extended Doty clan and cousins and kids of cousins. The oldest (second?) cousin in the Big Yam's generation, who is 3, took the Big Yam under her wing. She called him "Chico" which was hilarious. I think we missed an opportunity there.
I applied to graduate today. Kind of a big deal. 2 years devoted to this degree and it's only like, 5 weeks away from being over! I can't believe it.
Tonight's dinner was pesto, spicy calabrese, spicy genoa and provolone stromboli. With coleslaw.
My tranny kitchen helper - making coleslaw.