Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Simplicity is a Good Thing
So, this crowd is a mix of gals, some adopters, some not. But I have started reading a book called Simplicity Parenting: Using the Extraordinary Power of Less to Raise Calmer, Happier, and More Secure Kids, and I think this a gem. Though I think the author could have heeded his own advice and whittled the name of the book down, I think that anybody could find this one useful. When you adopt and are getting ready for your home study you are given a huge list of reading to do and I totally think this book should make the list. From an adoptive standpoint, apparently my future child might really really really benefit from a serious slow down. How many kids are screaming at you right now? Right this second I have one screaming at me. The other one went to SCHOOL today (happy dance), so it's just the one screamer. Ok, now my Ethiopian child is one of 100 in the same house. I imagine, first of all, that that's pretty loud. I bet smells are out of control. I bet she feels out of control. She owns little. She has no choices (what to wear, eat, do today). No one to slow down and teach her anything. This type of thing can lead to developmental delays and insecurity.
So when she gets here it's my job to sort of hit a reset button. This book was written by a psychologist who has working in developing countries, particularly with children who are part of families fighting for survival. Then he worked in England and America and found that our children behave similarly to children experiencing post traumatic stress disorder. They can be easily overwhelmed, the exhibit controlling behavior, the have attention deficit disorders, are hyperactive. The connection he has made is super interesting. His theory is that both sets of children have been dumped into an adult world with little reverence for slowness (is that a word?) and childhood. We might say we have reverence for childhood, but really the speed of our lives, the overwhelming multitude of decisions, the multitasking, the political discussions, the working from home (guilty of all of these) can't possibly make room for the pace and space that childhood really requires. I tend to agree. Now I'm getting to the good part of the book, what to do about it.
This guy is nicknamed Dr. Trashbag because he first suggests a HUGE slimming of stuff. I'm undertaking it today. Don't yell at me. I'm not all the way in this thing. I haven't even finished the book. BUT my kids aren't even playing with the toys they got for Christmas. They probably don't even know what they got for Christmas. He suggests first to take the toys (and books too!!! yikes!) and get rid of half of them. Then take the half that you are left with and half that. One half goes in the room, the other in 'reserve' to rotate through. I'm working on this while the kiddies are gone today. He largely uses Waldorf type stuff claiming that imagination and lack of crazy whacked out toys and SpongeBob help kids develop at a natural pace. In my bones, I agree. Let's test the theory. While this type of thing is supposed to be ideal for adopted kids, who in the world could not benefit from slowing down and turning off?! The Amish, maybe. But I'm going to give it a shot!
PS. Have you donated to the family of the week yet? That's why I write this craziness. So you'll give some other family money. I'd be pleased as punch if you did. This mom is meeting her 2 new babies right now. She can't spread the word about her own week since she's out of town. Could you do it for her? Just hit that red button over there at the top right.