Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Spirit and logic

On Friday evening after dinner, I sat outside watching my kids draw with chalk in the driveway. A little boy Lyra’s age who lives a couple of houses down came running over to join them, and his parents followed (and even brought me a glass of wine because my neighborhood is awesome). We began chatting about a parenting lecture on “raising your spirited child” I’d gone to at the library last week that neither of them had been able to attend. I hadn’t actually gleaned much new info from the talk, although it had been nice to be surrounded by a bunch of other stumped parents.

“It was mostly just talk about personality types, structure and choices, logical consequences, all the usual stuff,” I told them. I said that, honestly, everything the expert had described as a “spirited child” basically just seemed like normal kid behavior to me, though I did appreciate the framework for thinking of personality types to help me understand the two different personalities I’m dealing with every day.

Then the subject changed to summer plans, while we corralled the kids and helped the younger ones negotiate taking turns on the swing in another neighbor’s yard. And it never occurred to me that Adriana had been paying any attention to what we’d been talking about as she drew rainbow after rainbow after rainbow.

Yesterday afternoon I was in the pharmacy with both girls. While we waited Lyra proved how much better she was feeling by climbing all over the chairs in ways that didn’t seem safe at all. My limited success in distracting her was hampered further as Adriana egged her little sister on. I finally apprehended Lyra as she scaled the back of a chair (what spirit!) and turned to Adriana in frustration, declaring that if she kept encouraging Lyra’s mischief, I wasn’t going to let her have dessert after dinner.

“That doesn’t sound like a
logical consequence to me, Mama.”

Friends and I have been joking all along that the problem with parenting books is that our children don’t read them, but now I’m tempted to send Adriana to the library's next parenting lecture on her own.

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