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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

the things kids write

I was the luckiest little girl in the world. My parents were amazing. One of my favorite things about my awesome parents was their creative parenting style - especially when it came to punishments. The most common infraction in our house (5 of their 6 children were girls) was cat fighting. Sometimes they would make my sister and I balance together on a tiny popcorn tin for 15 minutes (this usually ended in laughter). Other times they would separate us and make us write poems containing 5 nice things (or reasons we love our sister) before we could come out. I have a very specific memory of being stuck in our Finley drive bathroom writing a poem for Dawn. This particular exercise planted a seed in me - a need to express myself on paper when I am emotional. When I was a teenager, I was very emotionally charged - dramatic is almost an understatement. I would write my mother notes when I was mad or felt I was suffering from some injustice. One time I wrote out this entire verse from one of my favorite hymns: "Who am I to judge another, when I walk imperfectly..."

I secretly think my mom enjoyed the letters I gave her. She always said that although I was trouble, I was still very fun and enjoyable - I think it was because I left her gems like this:
I left this on her bed one day. My mom caught me and some friends being stupid 13 year-olds. This is so mean. I have such a sharp tongue. I am glad my mom knew I still loved her. I am glad she kept this so I could see and remember what a drama queen I was at 13. I am glad she was able to laugh at this - not in a cruel way, but in a sweet motherly way that understood that I was just a stupid teenager doing stupid teenager things.

Writing has since become my therapy; after writing my emotions in a song, poem or letter, I gain new perspective, and emerge with a new ability to cope or understand. I don't write hate letters anymore. Joe would claim that I write hate songs now, but I also write love songs, and I don't keep the really mean ones. ;) I am glad my parents were able to find the humor in my teenage, over-emotional, snake-tongued self.

My mother was a saint. I am not.

I know I am in for a wild ride with my children. Here is a sampling of some of their most recent writings:

The other day, rather than finishing his math homework, Aaron decided to protest. He didn't yell or stamp his feet - he simply turned over the worksheet and wrote me this note:
Oh my...

She is dramatic like her mother. Sometimes, time-outs don't help her calm down. This did:
I wonder if my kids will be like me...
I am so excited to see the things they will write! ;)


Leslie said...

that note is hilarious. good thing your mom has some perspective and didn't get her feelings hurt by it. she obviously knows you very well!

CDHowey said...

the other day Loch kept telling me how much he hated me as his mom and was being such a brat.. I made him write a list of 50 nice things about me.. I never got the poem writing punishment.. I think mom and dad knew you could express yourself like that.. and gave that one specifically to you.
LOVE the letters from you and your kids.

The Farnsworth Family said...

I am laughing so hard at this Em! I love all the letters. Keep them for your kids to post on their blog some day too and they will laugh. I love your mom too. Quite miraculous she lived through all the teenage years! :)

Sarra said...

wow, i don't even know where to start!! those notes are hilarious - all of them! - and i think it's part of a mother's instinct to know how her kids feel even when they are being mean or snotty. i'd be nervous to find out what kinds of things my kids would say about me in a fit of anger.
as for your mom keeping the note all this time - brilliant!

mkbluebonnets said...

This reminds me of Ashley's homework the other day...She had to write a sentence with each of her spelling words, and was mad that I wouldn't dictate the sentences to her. She stomped off, and came back 30 minutes later with her homework done: every sentence was about how much she hated me, how I was the worst mom ever, etc. I'm sure her teacher got a kick out of that (either that or called CPS!) I like the idea of writing for punishment, though...kill 2 birds with one stone (intellectual and creative development never hurt anyone. Look how great you turned out, em!)

Katie said...

Oh my goodness! My favorite is I will not cry like a crazy brat. I need to try that one on my kids! I have had mean things written about me too. Last night I had the oposite happen though. I got after the kids for not getting into bed and goofing off and said that they couldn't play with friends today. Then I came in my room and opened a notebook on my nightstand that Taylor told me to read and it was a love note to me about how nice I am and how much she loves me. I wanted to run in her room and say I love you too and nevermind about being grounded!!!

Leisha said...

Hold on...still laughing my arse off at the notes!

Thank you. I needed this post!

I forget sometimes that all kids are like mine and their sassiness isn't always a sign of my bad parenting, ha!

I like your parents creative parenting, I'm seriously going to do some of their ideas! Share more!