Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Notebook

No, silly. Not that one.

Harper and I have started a new activity. She's been a bit "tweeny" as of late (shudder). And I just sense that there's been a bit of difficulty in her feeling comfortable answering some of the questions I've been asking her about her 9 year old life as of late. She's also been much more shy than usual (yes, she can be shy) about asking me questions. Add to this that we've also been experiencing some minor 9 year old rebellion - yeah 9 - we're not talking smoking in the bathroom - more like eye rolling, heavy sighing, and a wee bit 'o fibbin', and it would seem that it's time for Mom to get creative. 

Enter - The Notebook.

I thought it might be easier to ask her questions via paper and for her to do likewise with me. So, we agreed that we'd use a notebook, that would be hidden in a safe place in her bedroom where the boys would be sure not to find it.

I won't reveal what I asked her tonight, or what she answered, but I would like to encourage you to try different avenues of communication during those phases when your child seems reticent or just plain overwhelmed and confused about how to share what's on her/his mind and heart.  Don't we all have periods in life when we find it difficult to put our thoughts into audible words?  Kids do too.

Our questions won't always be deep. I think I can safely share that while I was working in my office tonight she wrote, "Can I have a snack before bed?"  I intend to throw in some light, silly questions from time to time.  Just wait until she reads, "How many freckles do you have?"

It will be fun to surprise her with new questions here and there, and I'm anxious to see what she writes to me. 

I also think that we may need to return to some traditional bedtime routines that have been tossed aside a bit as she has gotten into the habit of reading herself to sleep before bed.  My heart is sensing that while she is trying to be "big", she is craving my reading to her, and just laying in bed with her before she digs into her own book.  That will be hard to do on the loveseat she's taken to sleeping on under her loft, but my gut is telling me to "go back to the beginning" when we used to lay in bed reading together. 

That will mean adjusting my own personal nighttime routine, for we've gotten into the habit of quick kiss, prayer, and off I go to the land of "my time".

Hmmm, perhaps I should ask her, via The Notebook, what the perfect nighttime routine looks like in HER mind.

See? It's already working.


Debbie Legg said...

Fabulous idea! Love your creative parenting. :)

Amy said...

I love this idea! I'm already thinking about (sorry) the college days when you won't be able to talk to her everyday about the day's activities. The fact that she'll be accustomed to writing to you means that she won't hesitate to shoot you an email or (gasp!) write you a letter.

And, I'm jealous that you didn't get sighs and eye rolls until 9! That's like part of our morning routine right now! :)

thecurryseven said...

We have had great success with notebooks. I have been doing this with M. for about five years and started it with A. as well. Aside from giving them a safe place to ask questions and share thoughts, I find it's great for me because it helps me to not react. The notebook doesn't care if my eyes bug out of head and I must hyperventilate for a moment. Having done that, I find I can give a balance, thoughful answer instead of shrieking.

Great job of mothering!