September 14, 2009

Warning: Whining Ahead

Sorry. It's just that I'm feeling all "bad mom" today. I think it's because of the conference. I enjoyed it. I really did. But now I feel like I haven't been doing enough for Jerry. It's soooo haaaaarrrrrd. He really is so difficult to motivate. I know we do stuff, but the things we do take up a very small portion of the week. He seriously spends most of his time on the couch with his laptop open and the television on. You always hear unschoolers say, "when I say my kid is watching television I don't mean he's watching cartoons all day." Well, Jerry is watching cartoons all day. He loves them. And I really do think he benefits from watching them. I mean, who knows? He may go into that field eventually. It's just that I wish he didn't watch quite so many of them all in a row, over and over again.

Okay, I feel better now that I got that off my chest. But I still feel like if I were doing more, or just doing the right things, he'd been more inclined to get off the couch. It's not that I'm not offering suggestions. I am. But he turns them down most of the time. And I have to be okay with that. So I have been. But it's getting old.

Today, in an effort to find some activities that are more appealing than cartoons, I've been thinking of all the things Jerry has expressed a real interest in, and trying to find ways to bring them into his life. I had already sent out some e-mails looking for a video game design/arduino/electronics/Maker-type/creative person to hang out with Jerry for a couple hours a week but I haven't found anyone yet. Today I sent an e-mail to a local silk screening shop (Jerry loves silk screening) about taking classes or maybe just visiting and also checked into going back to the clay studio Jerry used to go to for classes (he didn't sound super excited about it, but I'll ask again later). I also got him a pro membership on instructables.com so we can download instructions for cool projects. And we went to Radio Shack to buy the supplies for some LED pens he wants to make. I still feel kinda depressed about the whole thing, though.

It all started when we were at Radio Shack and I was about to pay and he said, "Oh, mom, I guess I should mention that I was really just showing you the LED pens. I wasn't saying I wanted to make them." Really? Why did he say he wanted to go buy the supplies if he didn't want to make the things!? It's not that he didn't want to make them. I know. He could just go either way, is what he was saying. But it still sent me into a bit of a funk.

Anyway, I'm complaining about TV but the truth is he hasn't been in front of the TV all day. And at the moment he and his friend Jackson are watching Castle in the Sky in Japanese (with English subtitles). And he does want to make the LED pens after all. So we'll do that later.

I'm freaking out over nothing. I know. But I feel it's only fair to let people know that even after two years you might still freak out over things. Thankfully, I've learned to do it quietly and to myself (well, and to you), rather than at Jerry.

In fact, last week I was very proud of myself. I had been reading Raising Freethinkers by Dale McGowan and decided that Jerry absolutely had to know the differences between the seven largest world religions. Immediately. So I got some books at the library and started reading up on them. I didn't say anything to Jerry, though. And then at the conference I asked Sandra Dodd what a parent should do when they get a sudden urge to "teach" something (like world religions, for example) and she said rent a couple good movies and maybe he'll want to watch them. Or learn about them myself and just drop some information in conversation and see if he's interested in hearing more. And that was good advice. But then Pam Sorooshian, who was sitting in front of me, turned around and said, "I have another idea. How old are you?" "Forty," I said. "How about if you decide you want him to know everything about world religions by the time he turns forty. You're learning about it at forty." And that, my friends, is the beauty of Pam Sorooshian. Needless to say the urge has past.

I feel much better now. I guess I just needed to vent.

I'm off to the grocery store now, to buy dinner for an 18th wedding anniversary picnic, which Warren and I will enjoy on our deck when he gets home from work. Wow. 18 years. How did we ever get so old?

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