Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 2 of the Virtual Book Tour for the new E-Book Parenting Responsively for Connection. Written by ACPI Parenting Coaches for parents to deal with the most difficult task of maintaining connection with the growing child whose behavior changes and shifts.
Yesterday, the book tour kicked off at https://HeartwiseParent.com/blog. Visit now if you haven’t had the opportunity to meet all the authors. Enjoy this book excerpt:
Embracing Accidental Routines (© 2011 by Kareen Hannon)
A couple of years ago I figured out
that I really needed a place to write
notes that wouldn’t accidently get
thrown away. I decided that putting
up a white board in my office would
be the perfect solution. I went
all out. I bought vibrant colored dry
erase markers and an eraser.
Two seconds after my board was up on the wall my sons found it. My clean white
board was instantly filled with stick figures running, dogs jumping and super
space machines flying through the sky. When they were done and had finished
leaving their marks on my board, I picked up the eraser and swiped them away
without giving it a second thought. Then I noticed at the very bottom of the
board in messy handwriting, were the words, “I love Mom.” I stopped my arm
from completing the last swipe and instead of erasing those precious words, I
picked up a vibrant blue marker and made a protective “Do not remove” circle
around them. Those words made me smile. I then picked up the red marker and
wrote in the upper right-hand corner of my board, “I love Hayden and Eric!”
Day after day our messages to each other became more ornate and quickly filled
up the board. Not wanting to erase any of my messages, I decided to take a
picture of the board - and a new routine was born. We all became more and
more creative as time went by with our messages:
“You did great on your test today, Eric!”
“I am so proud of you guys!”
“Mom is the best!”
“We need mayonnaise, Mom!”
Our whiteboard naturally provided a place where we could say anything to each
other. I loved seeing how we could connect to each other through our messages
and how excited the boys seemed about leaving me notes or pictures. Sometimes
stories were told and read out loud. Other times comic strips emerged, telling
stories of saving the planet or catching criminals.
One day after a particularly rough morning, after the school bus had come and
goodbyes had been said, I returned to my office and saw “I am very angry at you
Mom” on our whiteboard. I thought about those words. I thought about our
morning. I had yelled at Hayden to get dressed as he was running late. When he
did not move fast enough I yelled again. “Hayden, let’s go! The bus is going to be
here any minute!” It was an awful way to start the day for him and for me. I
chose a marker and wrote next to his statement, “Can we talk about it?”
Later that day when he had come home from school and had settled in, he came
to me and said, “You want to talk about it?” Gesturing for him to come and sit
down at the table with me, we talked about the morning and I asked him how
he felt. He explained that he felt rushed and that I had been snotty and had hurt
his feelings. He explained those things had made him angry. I agreed with his
assessment of our morning and explained to him that I had felt anxious that he
might miss the bus. I went on to explain that I needed him to stay on schedule
so that he would remain on time. After talking about our feelings we were able
to come up with the idea to set his alarm clock (and mine) ten minutes earlier
the next morning. I also suggested that he write his schedule on a piece of
paper so that he could tape it onto the refrigerator. I offered to help him break
down his schedule into easy-to-follow steps. Soon we had a real plan. We would
both get up a little earlier and he would be in charge of his own schedule. If he
got behind, I could then offer suggestions and pitch in to make his lunch or
provide loving reminders of time and what needed to be done next.
This incident made me truly see that our whiteboard had accidently become a
very powerful tool for our family. Hayden had felt safe enough to share his angry
feelings with me, which in turn gave me an opportunity to develop a plan to
make our lives easier. I was so grateful we were able to create a solution together.
Our thoughts and our feelings were communicated, respected, shared and
As time went on we filled up the board with messages and pictures that we
cherished. I would take a picture of the board so we could save them forever.
After some time, we decided to make a slide show of our pictures and put them
on a DVD. We were able to see month’s worth of pictures and notes that we had
created together on our television screen.
We hosted a premiere party to watch our DVD and made quite a night of it. We
invited family and friends to come watch our “movie” with us. We made
popcorn, turned the lights off and watched it together. Laughing and pointing,
recounting stories and feelings, we celebrated ourselves! It felt wonderful to
spend that time with my children and to see the looks of pride on their faces as
they watched notes and drawings flash across the screen. Together they had
created a digital scrapbook of their own work.
The next day I saw “Thank you Mom” on the board and smiled to myself. What I
had originally planned to use exclusively for business turned out to be a creative
way to make and preserve a lifelong memory. It also provided a daily way for us
to stay connected. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Be sure to follow the Virtual Book Tour tomorrow when the next stop is the blog North Texas Kids with Dr Minette Riordan
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