A Friday ritual inspired by SouleMama. A single photo – no words – capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.
I am battling a pretty nasty cold this week and yesterday it stole my voice. I was forced to govern my home with whispers, and this taught me a few good mom things.
My home is full of people, and therefore, it is also full of noise. Two people are giggling on the couch, one is singing while she plays on the floor, The Boy is a sound machine hovering over the lego mess, the baby is babbling, and usually we have music on as well. All lovely and pleasant sounds mixing together to make the cacophony that is my life. Normally, I just compete with all of this by speaking at high volume. “OKAY, GUYS! LET’S CLEAN UP AND GET READY TO START OUR SCHOOL DAY.” I am not angry, just trying to be heard.
Me without a voice was interesting. “okay guys. let’s clean up and start school,” I whispered, and it wasn’t working.
I had to go right up to the person that I was speaking to, get his/her attention and then speak.
The affect was amazing! Suddenly I was being listened to! I got quieter and they listened better!
I have known for awhile that we had some issues with paying attention here, and I have been working on teaching them to listen. We have even been calling them to “ATTENTION” drill sergeant style and having them line up as if we were the Von Trapp Family (all in fun, of course, and there are plenty of giggles as they stand at attention to listen to me). This has been helping, but it is still loud. So, when a croaking throat forced to me to speak to each kid close up, one on one, and in their face (because otherwise they couldn’t hear me), I saw that there is another angle.
Communicating with the herd is often just that. I shout out directions that are intended for the whole crowd – “Everybody clean up!”, “Let’s get ready for bed!”, or “Get in the car, it’s time to go!” Whispering is for the individual. Speaking quietly means I am face to face with my child, looking into her eyes. Yesterday, I learned not only the value of that, but also the effectiveness of it. So, while there will still be plenty of times that I throw out commands for the whole crew, I will be looking for opportunities to whisper.
May you and yours be blessed this holiday season and in the coming year!
I promise that as soon as my camera comes back from the repair shop I will show you all the wonderful things I have been knitting, sewing and needle felting (and there are a ton!). Until then, you’ll have to put up with more parenting/homeschooling posts. 🙂
“Mama, where is my ______?”
“Have you seen the _______?”
“I can’t find any ________?”
So the chorus echos in my house day after day. Ninety percent of the time the sought after item is right there. Granted, I may have had to lift something to find it, or perhaps looked behind something else to locate it. But it is almost always right where I said it was.
“Look in the drawer,” I say.
“It’s not in the drawer,” comes the reply.
So I trudge up the stairs, open the drawer, sigh hugely, and pull out whatever was lost.
Sound familiar? Really, I can’t be the only one.
Being a homeschooler, though, I figure I can fix this. So I did some brainstorming for fun ways to strengthen my kids power of observation. Here is what I have come up with so far.
“I Spy” books and the like – You know the ones I speak of. There is a picture cluttered with all sorts of things and you have to locate certain items in the mess. It is fun, the kids love it, and the library has all different ones. There are also “Do You See What I See?”, “Where’s Waldo?”, and “Seek and Find”.
Find the Thimble – My grandma taught my sister and I to play this charming game when we were young. You take a thimble (or other small object) and hide it in plain sight. Then everyone else tries to find it while you use clues like “getting warmer” to help if you want to. Whoever finds it first gets to hide it the next round. The only rule is that it has to be seen from the middle of the room. This game is a huge hit with my kids and full of nostalgia for me!
Practice Following Directions Game – (I need to come up with a better name for this one!) A kid is given a set of instructions: “Go in the kitchen. Open the cupboard. Pull out the big pot. Look inside.” And there in the pot is something fun (or more instructions for the next clue). All the directions are given at once and can be simpler or more complicated based on the kid. Once they understand the game, they can send you on a hunt.
The Baby Shower Game – If you have been to as many baby showers as I have, you know this one. You place a number of unrelated items on a tray. You let the kids look at it for a short amount of time (say 1 minute?). Then you hide the tray and see how many they remember. This can also be done with pictures, a poster, out the living room window, driving down the street, coming out of the grocery store, really anywhere that there is anything to be seen. “Who can tell me ten things they saw in that store?” “As we drive down this street, see how many things there are…… Okay. What did you see?” etc…
Well, that is all I’ve got. I would love to have some more fun ways to teach this valuable skill. Do you have any suggestions?