August 10, 2012

Yeah, yeah, yeah...I know. I disappeared, made promises I didn't keep. How will we ever trust each other again?

So, I've been a bad blogger....it's okay, we can get past this.

The cold hard truth of the matter is that we discovered something VERY VERY VERY important at Ghost Ranch, and implementing the insights from that discovery have been excruciating for everyone but da Sister.  She had already gotten used to this new and strange life while she was at college.

No TV, except old movies.

No screens, except 30 minutes of computer time some days (not all).

Ugh.  I had really grown to like the plenitude of media in my life.  Lazy parenting seemed a perfectly acceptable way of life.  Everybody else was doing it, after all...

But, at Ghost Ranch, he turned into a person.  There was no air conditioner, no cell phone service, no tv's, and nothing to do.  Playing cards and reading books suddenly were not anathema activities.  After the first four nights of wailing and gnashing of teeth, he turned into a person.  Not the demanding whining overloaded sensory monster he gets in difficult to manage environments.  This was an environment even I was having a lot of difficulty adjusting to, because it was 100+ degrees in a tiny little casita with no cross draft to mention and nothing but a tiny useless fan that moved air for about three feet beyond it.  Yet, there it was....personness.

Then, we went to Las Vegas, NM, and were delighted to be "back to civilization."  Air conditioner, a tv, wifi (of sorts) and cell phone service (of sorts).  It was half way through his first episode of a show on one of the two anti-parent stations (Nickelodeon and Disney) that it all went to hell in a handbasket.  The contrast was so immediate, so clear, so in our faces that even my dullard lazy parent spidey-sense tingled ominously.  He was a monster again.  Just like that.

And it was over.

This meant that I could not slink off to my media, could not update the blog, could not talk to my friends on plurk, could not break the silence, or I'd be a fraud.  Children can sense adult hypocrisy from a mile away and I know better.  If I require something of a child, I require it of myself.  Ask me about life without dairy products for 13 years as my daughter's immune system worked through her dairy allergy.  No milk, no pizza, no ice cream, no cheese for 13 years, and I didn't even HAVE a dairy allergy...so, no electronics is my challenge too.

I have purchased a whole FedEx truck's worth of gifted classroom toys, games, and activities.  We have started drinking tea and playing games when we are bored.  The silence is deafening at first, but it gets better. 

So, here we are...I can't blog about it often, but I strongly felt it was important to share the insight.  He is calmer, makes better eye contact, handles boredom a bit better, and is much much better at waiting.  Is he still a monster under stress?  Yes, but not nearly like before.  The smart mouthed attitude driven vengeance seeking he was learning from the anti-parent TV have faded and are being replaced with more empathy, more consideration, more compassion for others.

It has been enough improvement that I felt okay about getting him a guinea pig.  My dream of having a dog is still too far off.  I do not have the energy to raise a dog AND provide da Creature with all this interaction AND work on the side at my beloved hobby job.  So I had to settle for the less interactive house-pet.  Bear in mind I hate cats.  With a passion.  But I LOVE da Creature, and he needs this right now, in this barren wasteland we are re-learning as home, and I am content that I have made the right decision...

So, in honor of the 60 or so hours of Star Trek: The Next Generation that we have been watching this summer, da Creature has a new friend.  He has named him Spot.