28 November 2012

why i'm glad the tv is on

I speak enough of Little B for you to know the ups and downs.
Now let me show you what life is like as winter draws her cloak closer around us, as the dark settles into our bones and the face she gives Seasonal Affective Disorder in our home, on my son.

B is asked to wake early - if he sleeps past 8, it's difficult to drag him from his bed. 7am is fine, 6am even better. He showers then sits in front of his light box for an hour while eating breakfast, reading a book, doing math, perhaps drawing comics. A book is his preference.

If he gets up at 8:30am because I've overslept (again) and he turned off his alarm, he moans and groans pulls the covers over his head. Repeatedly. By the time he has showered and finished his light it's easily past 10am.

By now he's ready to go to his room to read, listen to an audio book simultaneously, perhaps play Legos. For hours. He'd gladly skip lunch for the quiet solace of his room. When he emerges it's with fits of anger over chore time and resentment of an assignment he slipped away from with the quiet of a cat burgler.

Yes. It's a typical school day. Yes, he has chores to do and lessons to complete. But dragging him from his room becomes a chore to me in and of itself. He is peaceful in there, albeit too wrapped up in his little world. He does not bite angry words from his haven until he is called down from there. I crave peace.

He reads (and listens to) massive amounts of fantasy (dragons, space, etc), historical fiction, non fiction. He will come home from the library with a dense pile of books and need to go back in less than a week. Thus far, the reading material seems appropriate, I cannot keep up; if I read that much I would never sleep. He has a conscience and is bothered when the character kisses a girl and lets me know if there is cussing. (We keep tabs on how much, what kind, and discuss openly. If it's frequent, he stops reading the book. Willingly.)

A recent goal is to find ways for him to leave his room. Reasons to keep him downstairs. A set way to carry on the day without denying his need for solitude.

First, I'm working to have him up earlier which shifts his entire day for the better. As does the morning shower, something we discovered in 2nd grade with him.

Then, the light. It's necessary. A blessing. We didn't even stop using it in the summer. Instead we cut the time back to half an hour. This time of year it's a full on hour unless the day is sunny and we have someplace to be that cannot wait. Half of that is the need for routine, consistency.

I'm finding a designated time to expect chores. That way he expects it. Eventually, it will be habit. In the meantime....well, we're pressing on.

I'm breaking up his room time with scheduled assignments. When they're done, he can find his haven until the next scheduled item.

This week, before we've really set this into motion (I'm in the figuring-it-out stages still), he is drawn to his computer programming book, smack in the center of the house, distractions all around. He is happy to watch documentaries at length (and Phineas & Ferb, the one show all kids agree on at any given time). I am happy to see him downstairs (until the crabby side surfaces when someone annoys him).

I've decided that in the throes of too much room time, TV is preferable, better, and healthier for him and his mental outlook. It draws him out of his exclusive world and I will use it for all it's worth. It will be scheduled into his day in some form. It definitely has a place.

21 November 2012


I prefer my privacy and close friends, not large crowds and a name splashed for many to see. Facebook is a trial to me (as I've mentioned before) and the idea that my blog could be found by people who scarcely know me is debilitating (and by the nature of this post itself, doubly so).

And yet, I am typically an open faced person with little left to secrecy. Lying is a pet peeve of mine and I feel my thoughts are an open book, written upon my face. As such, I frequently feel compelled to explain myself, leaving little mystery behind. (Of course, I've learned there can be quite a difference between telling someone what is going on externally versus internally; depends on the circumstance. It's an art, my friends.)

Oddly, those two aspects of who I am both go together and also repel one another. Forthrightness is much simpler with circumstance as opposed to intent. I don't mind babbling on and on about car repairs that have me stressed out and being worn out from hard months of homeschooling - those are my circumstance. But my feelings and dreams are much harder to admit aloud. Matters of the heart are far more personal.

I have wanted to share a secret for a while. But it's hard because it's my heart. It's something I'm doing, my outlet, my dream. Tending my dream is the easy part (some days anyhow); the hard part is admitting it to others. And yet that's why I'm posting today.

I'm writing a book.

Admitting it to those not already privy to the story has been a challenge to me, colored by a million different crayons....just a few of those colors:

  • I'm probably not that amazing of a novelist; it's just a dream of mine and I'm overdue to follow it.
  • I'm content writing and never publishing, though that bug is starting to bite me a little.
  • Having someone read my book who knows me, but doesn't know me well, terrifies me - I'm not worried that they'll think I'm a poor writer; I'm afraid of the opinions they will create, the impressions my book would leave about me, based on what I choose to write.  

Truly? I love my story. And I'm working at not caring what someone else might think of it (an author on a writing blog I frequent mentioned needing tough skin....so I'm trying to grow some). I've sworn for nearly 20 years that if ever I happened to publish I would use a pseudonym. And I still might. But I'm working to not have a secret life and be open faced about my dream and what I'm doing. Of course, if it sits in my laptop forever more, unloved by the published world, I suppose none of this will be an issue.

I'm more than halfway through my first draft. I will finish it - of that I am sure. I am already anticipating my second draft and how much better it will be by then. I'm also beginning to see the seeds of another story pushing out from this one.

I've taken steps like joining a writer's association and following a few writing blogs. I can assure you they captivate me far more than the ones on parenting (I learned to throw out most of what I read on that topic long ago!), and even homeschooling.  I'm nervously considering attending a conference next year as well. This desire to write has pushed me for years. Now it's spilled onto paper and I cannot get enough.

The bottom line - I'm writing.
I am following my dreams.
(Whew....secret told.)