Monday, July 19, 2010

Anthropology and Home Life


This block, I signed up for my general social issues requirement. All of the classes sounded super hard except for the anthropology one, so I took it! I'm finishing up week #3 and am actually enjoying myself. For the most part, the material is quite interesting. I wouldn't recommend the teacher to anyone with a brain... or even a pulse, but I do enjoy talking about different cultures, people, traditions, etc. It's all very fascinating! This brings me to the point of my blog -- diversity and tolerance. Since it is the Summer of Diversity, it is only fitting that I'm learning about the study of people. I find that I have a lot to talk to the kids about and, hopefully, we can learn and recognize our own quirks and traditions.

This week, we're realizing how different we are from our friends and family. This may be embarrassing and I hope I don't regret blogging about it... Oh, who am I kidding, I'll just privatize the thing. Anyway, in our family, we have some definite traditions. We were thinking of them over the last few days and listing them off. They started out quite ordinary and predictable, but progressively got weirder and weirder.

Here's what we have so far:
1. We value the time we spend with one another and create many opportunities to participate in family activities together.
2. We make the most of the extended family we have in the area, and consciously work on maintaining lasting relationships with them.
3. Trust is something that is earned, but also practiced.
4. Respect is never expected, but is given liberally.
5. Punishments are determined by child and parent on a case-by-case basis.
6. Apologies (given by child and parent) are sincere -- not, "I'm sorry you took it that way."
7. We have rules set up for equality among each other. (If you knew me as a child, you knew this one was coming...)
A. Birthdays and other special events are celebration for everyone -- presents are given to each child and appreciation is given to both parents (not Santa or the Easter Bunny!).
B. If one person is working on chores, everyone joins or suffers consequences.
C. Fights are two-sided and, therefore, no one will receive a harsher punishment for continuing the dispute.
8. We tend to sleep in the same bed -- okay, now we're weird.
9. The driver (usually Mom) is the last one to buckle up in the car. (Reasoning = if someone's going to die, the driver should die with them. Creepy? I know, this one's all me.)

I am mostly proud of the things we've accomplished with the kids. We have continued (even through incredibly busy moments) to work on our relationships/bonds with them and each other. I can see that we have a lot of work to do when it comes to hypocrisy from our parenting, but I think everyone is prone to being a hypocrite. All we can do is apologize and continue to do our best.

Now, I feel like I need to address the shared-sleeping arrangements. When both kids were born, I was too emotional to fight with them (Ferberize) about sleeping in their own room. I felt like they were attached to me for nine months and I couldn't listen to them scream when they were ripped away and shut up in a big, dark, cold room. Too dramatic? Sorry... I'm sensitive when it comes to my kids. So, instead, we set up a bassinet next to my side of the bed and tried to get them to sleep there. Mostly, it didn't work, but we kept trying. Ultimately, the kids would get to where they could start the night off in bed and then wound up in our bed half-way through. I could live with it because they were little. WELL! Now, that they're 7 and 5 and still doing it, it's rough. We've tried everything to keep them in their own beds, but we can't follow through with anything. For example, we've talked about it... Telling them to stay in their beds is easy, but they don't want to, so it's a waste of time. We have threatened them, but I honestly think they'd rather sleep with me then play video games any day ... and I'm actually happy about that. We've tried locking our door (can't lock theirs because they may need to use the bathroom). This was the best bet, but with summer weather and being in the hottest room in the house, closing our door is OUT OF THE QUESTION anymore. So, we're back to square one. They are very good kids and losing a little sleep so that they can feel connected to us shouldn't be a bad thing.

I am grateful for their presence in my life and the relationship that we have. I think the Summer of Diversity is good for the kids, but very beneficial for our family life. I hope that they can look back on their journals and appreciate what we are doing.

PS -- Thought I'd show you what my freakshow of a professor looks like. Her hair seriously looks like this every day! Only in real life it's like orangey-yellow and flatter on the sides.