Thursday, April 28, 2011

On failure, recovery, and leaky balloons

It's finally time.  I have had a post idea cooking in my head for a couple of weeks and between baby announcements (it's a girl!) and all the weather, it's taken me a while to get to it.

It all started with Suzanne's comment on my blanket training post.

She said:
So, I gotta know.. Is it always calm for you? Homeschooling, I mean? I feel bad now that I've never done this with any of mine and I feel like I've failed. Did I miss my window of opportunity with Baby? I need reassurance!
Upon first reading "is it always calm for you" I laughed out loud.  Then I thought, "hey! I must give the impression we've got it all together!"  And then I thought, "Oh no! I don't want to give the impression we've got it all together!"

Because we don't.  Oh things go smoothly enough.  We have our routines here and there that we adhere to with varying degrees of discipline.  I can look back over each school year and see that yes, we did make progress on things.

But there are plenty of days that I grow frustrated or despair over one thing or another, or, unfortunately, lose my temper with these precious boys.

Recently it was bugging me that we don't seem to do any fun crafty projects anymore.  

I remembered seeing yarn easter eggs much like these from Family Fun:
Only I couldn't remember where I had seen them and didn't bother looking up any directions.

I had this.  Easy stuff.

However, this project turned out to be one of the biggest disasters I've ever experienced, as far as crafting with my kids goes.

It started out ok:

But it wasn't long before the crafting was not going like it was supposed to.  And the boys began to whine and complain.  It's haaaard.  I don't want to get glue all over my haaaands.

The combination of the quickly failing craft and constantly complaining kids got to me, and I nagged.  Then it got worse, and I yelled. :(

The table cleared, the boys went off to play, and I was filled with regret.  (Ok, and still a little mad, too.)

I hung the balloons up to dry, not incredibly hopeful they would turn out.

Sure enough, later on we found them with air leaked out and looking like this:

In the end, all we had was a heap of crusty yarn:
Which, if the only failure was in the outcome of the craft, wouldn't have been that big of a deal.  The boys weren't too disappointed anyway, but the whole thing left me with a sour feeling.  If only I could have handled the whole situation better.  The good thing about 'if onlys' is the opportunity they provide for next time.

So to answer Suzanne's question, No, it isn't always calm.  Sometimes it's the crafts that go bad.  Sometimes it's cleaning the kitchen.  Sometimes it's the math.  It can be anything.  It has been everything, at one time or another.

But we've also shared priceless special moments learning, laughing and loving doing all those same things.  I am very thankful that there are more good days, more average days, more success days than whiny, leaky balloon, yelling at my kids days.   

This whole parenting/growing up thing is a process.  Isn't it amazing how having kids grows you as much as it does them?  I hope they soon forget the yarn egg flop.  I hope I never do.


Kristin said...

"I think I learned more from the stain than the paper."

Amy said...

@Kristin -
LOL! Yes! That's it exactly! Oh how I seriously laughed when I read this!

Jennifer said...

For me....just the word "craft" is a signal for stress and, most likely, disaster!! Love your honesty:)