Skip to main content

Confessions of a Couch Shouter

I confess. I have become a couch shouter. My brother-in-law, Rob, created this term after he spent a deafening week with his extended family.

Couch Shouter
noun
1. One who parents from the sitting position. A parent who sends her voice to do a job that she is too lazy do herself.

Lately, too much of my parenting has been done from the sitting position.

I sit with a child for school. "Claire, you read this paragraph. I'll read the next one... Charlie, don't take Faith's Polly Pocket... Try that word again, Claire. Remember what does ou say?... Charlie, give Faith's Polly back to her. " I listen as Claire finishes her paragraph... "Charlie, do you need a spank? Give the Polly back!" And on it goes.

I am amazed at how the lack of discipline has crept in and taken over. The scales tipped toward justice at the beginning of this parenting journey. These days, grace and mercy are the tools I reach for. Justice has been stuffed in the back of the closet. To parent well, I need to use all three. I've let a lot slide this year. No more!

We are reclaiming lost ground...starting with Charlie. A timer and a stool sit in a corner of my bedroom. The timer is set for three minutes...ready for the next infraction. The seat is warm from one little backside. He has visited this cozy space for spitting... screaming... swinging a croquet mallet at his siblings. (He's got great aim. He took out three of them with one swing.) It's sinking in. "Hitting is naughty, Mama...I'm sorry for spitting, Faith...Don't bring me to time-out. I won't scream."

The sound of the drill rings in the playroom. Stuart is putting a lock on the entertainment center. The television is at the far end of the house. This allows for quality conversation in the main living areas. Unfortunately, the kids have been making the trek to the other end of the house on tiptoe. Animal Planet has set up shop in their playroom way too often. No more!

Four mason jars line the counter. Children are rewarded for jobs that are done efficiently and with excellence. Nickels and dimes clink into the jars throughout the day. This is Family Chore System 506. No more of Mama carrying the workload of seven people.

I need to parent with action... not perfection. I need to watch for when we start to veer off the road...get back on and keep going.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Spelling Wisdom

One day while skipping around the internet, I came across these:




And when I clicked on the sample, I knew we had to change spelling curriculums. Again. Goodbye Spelling Power and MacMillan and Sequential Spelling! We've found our true love.

The problem with the afore mentioned curricula is sheer boredom. Memorizing lists of words is mind numbing and as my children don't like their school work to lull them to sleep, they often push spelling to the side in favor of more exciting lessons.

When I found Spelling Wisdom, I realized what has been missing: an idea, something to engage the mind so that learning the difference between than and then occurs almost incidentally.

Sandra Shaffer uses the writings of famous men and women (Helen Keller, Beethoven, Winston Churchill...), Bible passages and quotes from quality literature...poems and novels (Robinson Crusoe, The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew, All the World's a Stage...) to teach more than six thousand frequently used word…

Rain

My sister-in-law lugs a heavy bucket of water around her herb garden, gives each plant a long sip. "It's been three weeks since we've had rain," she sighs looking out over the dusty vegetable garden and the shriveled brown grass in the pasture beyond. We help my brother pick beans and pull the weeds around them. The dry ground pulls back and some of the weeds snap off above the roots. We give up in the strawberry plants, sit on the porch, listen to the dogs pant.

We travel home in an air conditioned bubble. The whole length of the Shenandoah valley is crispy brown, the corn stunted. We pull into our Amish county driveway, greener here but the grass is short and the air hot. We breathe shallow breaths, unpack, crank the air conditioning. No rain in the forecast, three weeks and counting.

Saturday there will be a wedding, an outdoor wedding, and finally rain threatens. Stuart is on the phone with the bride. "Pray that the rain holds off," she says. Saturday w…

Until Death...

Kindred spirits, Anne would call them.  Two who complete each other, two who are better...best together,  soul mates one cannot imagine apart.  I can count the kindred marriages I know on a couple of fingers and after last week, that count is down by one.

"You look so happy," Dave says as Stuart and I stand awkward and wordless before him.  I bend down to wrap my arms around him and wonder, Where is the good in this?  Where? A week before we bumped into Dave and his wife, Deb, down at the Famous Brands.  Deb glowed with good health and good news and for the remainder of the day we basked in the unexpected good fortune of meeting these old friends.  And now there is Dave minus Deb.  How can this be?
"It is one of the mysteries of our nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."  Mark Twain's Own Autobiography
"You look so happy." We do not look happy but somehow this remark makes sense because Dave has loved with …