Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Stay Calm

I'm feeling really good about my mothering abilities today. I stayed calm during three meltdowns staged by The Boy. I made sure that he knew that I still loved him, I still cared about him, and I knew that he was having a hard time. But I also stated that I could not give him what I wanted because of the logistics of the situation, and because I wasn't going to give in to his demands. (I explained all this to him in a more child-friendly way.)

We had a long drive today, to pick up my father-in-law, and I brought snacks, drinks, and books. When we took my father-in-law to his appointment, I brought the same stuff. I notice that the more prepared I am for whatever they may need, the better our day goes.

Remember Lamb Chop? I got a book from the library written by Sherri Lewis. Its' a book of games for children, and we tried one. (We only played for a few minutes.) In an empty egg carton, I wrote numbers, 1-12, in each section. Then we tossed quarters at, and sometimes in, the carton. And I had The Boy tell me what number the quarters landed in. Not the most successful projects of ours, but I'm glad we did it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

The Sound of Gravel

I just finished reading The Sound of Gravel-a memoir by Ruth Wariner. It was powerful and heartbreakingly written. It is a story of bad parenting, dangerous child-predators, and misguided/misused religious dogma. As Ms. Wariner chronicles her life, I cannot help but notice the utter failings of her mother. Written from a child's perspective, it is not always clear how the adults in the situations could have acted or reacted differently, but I desperately wished they did. Ms. Wariner is the fourth child of the second wife of a polygamist. Things are not going well financially, emotionally, academically, or developmentally for this family.
The show on TLC, Sister Wives, is possibly one of the only positive 'reports' I have ever seen on polygamy as part of the Mormon belief system. I remember watching news footage of the unholy goings-on at the Fundamentalist camp in Utah; the colony with the abuse, coercion, child-brides, and lack of education. This book is more like the latter reports.
The step-father of Ruthie is a child-predator, one who loves the idea of plural marriage because of the sex, who keeps his family around with threats, coercion, and a willingness to dispel blame to anyone but himself. He molests little Ruthie, and the church finds out, and the punishment does not at all fit the crime.
Little Ruthie's mom is willing to throw away her kid's education every time they must move; and they move to get welfare checks, because her husband told them to, and because bad things seem to keep haunting them.
As a mother myself, I cannot imagine the stress Ruthie's mom went through. That woman was bound by misogynistic and archaic church doctrine, she was bound by her lack of self-worth. She had ten babies, and many of them suffered great injustices. She was married in the eyes of the church but not by law, her husband couldn't care for any of them properly. She had to deal with her husband's lack of communication and a lack of real schedule that would allow him to see his wives equally. She must have known she wasn't being a great mom, and she tried to use her religious beliefs to support her failings. Her children were suffering and all she could do was almost nothing. But I'm sure she loved them...she just didn't have the resources and support she needed.
A well-written and heartbreaking story. I recommend it, but only if you can handle reading about family dysfunction.