Thursday, February 25, 2010

What do you mean " I have to"?

Medication for pinkeye sucks, at best. An ointment you apply in a "ribbon" across their eyeball? Come on.

I've been creative (and very very patient) as I'm sliming this crud into both Iggy and Ooky's eyes.

* Creative in telling them the medication is Will Turner and Jack Sparrow Good Goop, fighting the Davy Jones Bad Goop. And that the resulting sting and tears is just leftovers from the battle inside. I have also bribed them with Wii...and dark chocolate from my candy stash...and countless other things I have pulled out of my bag of tricks.

*Patient...well, because one (or both) of my children might have a tendency towards dramatic behavior...and a tube of medicine coming at your inflamed eye is just reason #475 to kick the dramatics into high gear.

Medication goobering is not necessarily the highlight of my day, but its getting better. Oddly enough, the whole thing got me thinking about how this relates to school. Or maybe...that much loved and hated label of unschooling.

Ooky has pink eye in both eyes. The medication is slightly more than annoying. He doesn't want to take it. The Idonwannas are in full swing when the tube of goop comes out.

This is not unlike his reaction to certain things that might be beneficial for him to learn, but are of absolutely no interest to him. You know, like anything having to do with math. Or reading. Or anything that isn't swordfighting.

Now there are a couple different ways to deal with this - medicine, or school. I can #1: scream and yell and threaten and freak out until we are both angry or sobbing or both. (Operating under the "because we absolutely have to do this this way and right now"!) Or #2...we can work around it. I can acknowledge that medicine or certain subjects just aren't a bucket of fun. I can do whatever is in my power to make medicine or certain subjects more fun, interesting, creative, off the wall...whatever works.

What isn't an option, however, with certain subjects or medicine, is not doing it.

Now, anyone who knows me or has read this blog for any amount of time knows that I'm not referring to duct taping my kids to a desk and having them write out worksheet after worksheet after dry and ridiculous worksheet on subjects that are outright insane and unnecessary. But I do think there are things kids need to know. Real life things that help them get along in the world. Iggy and Ooky have a lot of freedom in what they learn and how they learn it, but I'm not going to blindly assume that by me opening the door and letting them run in the backyard, they are going to learn everything they will ever need to know. Is it creative, freeing, and inspiring? Yes. But is it the complete answer? No.

If you want to read a great post on the difference between unschooling and unparenting, check out On Bradstreet. Really, I couldn't have said it any better or differently myself. So much of my frustration with parts of the unschooling community is there are parents out there who have taken themselves out of the game in the name of granting their children complete freedom. There are no longer expectations, responsibilities, etc...because they are somehow evil and crushing to a child. The middle ground, which I believe most of us lie in, has apparently been erased. You're either a "tyrant" of a parent who expects your child to work from dusk til dawn with unreasonable expectations, or you're a "freak" freethinking gypsy imposing no rules, no responsibilities and no worries upon your children. My gosh, we can't have middle ground, can we?

There are members of the unschooling community who would think it terrible I have expectations of my kids. Iggy and Ooky have responsibilities around the house, and consequences when their behavior is ass-hat like. I have occasionally heard that if my dear child has no interest in anything resembling math, why would I try to sneak it in? Just let them be, girl. It will be a.o.k.

So my question is, while I'm gooping more gloppy gunk into Ooky's eyes...what happens when your kid has to take medicine they don't want to take?

Do you say "Its ok, you don't have to take it."
Do you say "That's fine honey. Eventually you will feel sick/bad enough you will decide to take it"...after infecting everyone in the house.
Do you rationalize with your child and whole-heartedly believe they will absolutely agree with you?

A lot of people talk about how what goes on in public school isn't "real life" and they enjoy that by homeschooling, their children can experience Real Life. I'm just not so sure how it is that being respectful to people, helping out around the house, or learning the best way to spend your allowance became a bad thing to learn. Aren't those important parts of Real Life? I agree that respectful kind behavior needs to be modeled for children, but I am also a firm believer that as fantastic as the Golden Rule is, its not infallible. There are plenty of people who know what right choices should be made, and just don't do it (for whatever reason). Don't expectations come into play...somewhere?

As much as I'd like to continue on this one-sided discussion, I have to go. Because right now there's a pink eyed child staring at me knowing its just about Goopy Ointment Time. He doesn't want to do it. And I get it, because I'd rather not be shoving a tube of goop in his eye either.

But the thing is, we have to. ;)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Before the flood, there was Lego Soup

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Call it wanna-climb-the-walls boredom. Or maybe it was if one more person in this house starts shootin' pinkeye goopish snot from their eyes, I'm gonna spit fire. Or maybe it was frustration at the Spring season which seems so...right...there...but its just a big fat tease.

Teasing sucks.

Anyhow, today it seemed like as good a day as any to make some Lego Soup. Which is a creative way for MamaTea to say Iggy and Ooky, you are sick with way too many things, and we now probably have Ebola or Mad Cow growing on the heck. Let's wash them.

Sidenote: I'm not a germ freak. I'm the person who laughs at friends of mine who may grab a case of Lysol to de-germ the house at the slightest case of sniffle. But between the children's eye snot, the vomit, the ear pain, the my-bones-hurt-like-I'm-dying, and whatever else of the past week has melted away into the recesses of my brain...even I was up for a little toy sanitizing.

Anyhoo, so Lego soup was on the menu and it was to be served in the laundry room. Because there is a sink and a tile floor. And you can't hurt it. Can you?

Lego Soup Ingredients

* Two tubs Legos, possibly infected with viruses or bacteria you're so effin' tired of dealing with, you just want to drown the little plastic pieces of creative crap.

* A hefty squirt of soap. At this point you don't care if its organic or plant based or is so full of chemicals that it incinerates the plastic pieces of creative crap upon contact.

* Hot water. H-O-T.

Mix until bubbly.
There. That's nice.

And see how much fun we are having? We are washing and rinsing and laughing. And no one is fighting. Its like a giant Lego Car Wash except there aren't any cars built. And there's no scary brushes or dryers that you think might blow your windows out...

I left the boys to their fun.

Everything was going great.
Like I said, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
And then...all of a sudden, the stars got all out of whack and the planets tipped out of alignment and I was overhearing someone say "Gosh, that's a lot of water..." followed by "Well, when I realized I wasn't a very good aimer when I was pouring..."

I'm not sure what possessed Igg and Ook to pour whatever (full) bucket or tote of water into another (full) bucket or tote of water. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact they realized this was not Lego Soup, but Mom's sneaky little trick to get them to do work again...and they wanted to get it done fast. Why not combine all the tubs of water?

I stood at the laundry room door.
"What happened?"
"I dunno."
"Well, I guess math didn't go so well today."
They both stood there soaking wet, "Huh?"
"A full tote of water into another full tote of water?"
They looked like two deer stuck in the headlights. I wasn't sure if they were trying to figure out why I wasn't yelling...or were stuck on what the heck a flooded laundry room had to do with math.

Well, at least the Legos are clean. And if there happened to be any pink eye, Ebola, or Swine Flu lurking on the laundry room floor, that's gone now, too. :)