What a lovely day it has been. We had a really nice Christmas Day. Some Jews get a little morose, depressed, and whiny around Christmas because everything is closed and there's not much for the Chanukah celebrating folk to do. I suppose this is really changing with the advent of superconsumerism in this country; while we were out today we saw that the movie theater was open and several restaurants that were either open or going to be open for dinner, but that's not really here or there. We decided not to sit around the house today, we decided that we were going to take advantage of the beautiful weather and do a day of caching! Last night Adam and I made a delicious picnic lunch and this morning we got up and headed out. We had a GREAT day! (Well, Talia did fall down and smash up her face something terrible. She was walking with her hands in her pockets and, in true Talia style, fell down and crashed her forehead and cheek into the pavement. But that happened on the first cache and she got calmed down pretty quick and had a great day after that.) We did a couple cache and dashes (where you do a quick grab) and some more take-a-walk-to-find-the-cache caches. There was a playground near one cache, some historical stuff near another and then we had our yummy picnic lunch at a fun amphitheater type place. It was a beautiful day and we had such a great time hunting our caches and being a family. After we were finished we came home and the kids had enough energy to go ride bikes on the sidewalk out front.
"When you are wearing *shades* that means you look cool. When you don't look cool they are just called *sunglasses*." - Isaac
Yesterday we had a quiet morning. I'm not really sure what we did. Oh yeah, Adam took the kids on some errands, I exercised, we did some laundry. In the afternoon we took a nice long walk. Elie rode her bike and the other three rode in strollers. We went and did the first stage of a multi cache. I think we walked about 2.5 miles. By the time we got home Elie was saying how much her legs were shaking. But she is really doing well riding her bike. She was starting herself very consistently and even took the bike down a couple of big hills. Last night Adam and I admitted that we were both a little nervous about one of the hills, but Elie just took it in stride and headed down with nary a blink.
On Saturday night we had some people we know over. I find it hard to qualify them as friends because we just know them, we aren't really involved with them. Does that make sense? Anyway, they also have four kids - three girls and a boy. There are twin girls who are in second grade, the boy is 3.5 and a little girl who was born in February. Their attitude toward parenting is, well, different. And it isn't the different parenting that bothers me, it is that the parenting is creating children that are downright unpleasant to be around. Now, I like this couple well enough. I could see Adam and I hanging around with them on a regular basis and having a good time. But I know that I will never have them, with their children, in my house again. The boy is absolutely out of control. He hits, bites, spits, smacks, pulls hair, punches and is physically violent towards just about anyone who attempts to get in his way. He punched Elie several times in the stomach when Elie was trying to get him to stop playing with the lights. (As an aside, we are still working with Elie to just come get help when someone is doing something that is unacceptable/harmful/against our rules. I'm not sure why she just can't ask the person to stop and then come get us if they won't. Of course, when it is just her and her siblings we can't get them to moderate their own disagreements. shrug) After that I spoke sharply to him and told him that hitting was not acceptable in my house and if he hit one of my kids again, he was going to answer to me. Following that he just hit his sisters. Part of the problem is that the parents are totally inconsistent. There is absolutely zero follow through. Part of the problem is that I am SURE that is the example he is getting at home; when they don't like his behavior, I am sure that they are physical with him. In addition to the boy and his extremely violent behavior, the older girls are whiny, rude, and extremely disrespectful. There were several instances that just left me with my mouth hanging open in disbelief. The mother kept saying how she didn't like her house and she was so tired, so worn out, how she just doesn't know what to do anymore. Well, I can see why she doesn't like her house. I didn't like having them all over for a few hours, I certainly wouldn't want to live there all the time. The worst part was, after they left, I felt all ratcheted up and tense. I felt like yelling, even though there was absolutely no reason to yell.
Truth is I'm tired and worn out a lot. But I LIKE my house. Adam and I work hard and make conscious decisions to parent in a way that, hopefully, will guide our children to behave in a positive manner and help create adults that we like and want to be around. There's a lot of thought that goes into that and sometimes we go down the wrong path and have to backtrack. I'm trying not to be judgmental, but I just can't imagine living in that house. I know that everyone parents differently and everyone has to figure out what their priorities are, but I just don't understand that family. It bums me out because I like the parents, but I don't want to be around kids like that. Which brings me to one of the hardest parts of being a parent and having other parent friends. Sometimes the differences in parenting styles are so vast that they just cannot be overcome. No matter how much you might like the other parent, the experience that your child is having and behaviors that your child is being exposed to and will try at home all makes a difference. It's a bummer, really, but there have to be limits.
Anyway, enough of that. I hope that you had a Merry Christmas, if you lean that way. I didn't blog much about it, but we had a lovely Chanukah with lots of latkes (potato pancakes), light, and love. I always love seeing the Menorah with all the candles, glowing so brightly in the dark. I'm looking forward to the New Year and all the adventures it will bring. Merry Family Days!