Birthing Elephants…consistent parenting.

27 Dec

Hello lovelies! I hope your holiday life is relaxing and simplified as we head towards 2013 and the exciting prospects the New Year brings with it!

In New Zealand it isn’t just Christmas holiday time, we get to spend 6 weeks of summer holidays combined! This is wonderful for me, as I love me some summer holidays away from the daily running around during term time. It is a time to relax, reflect, restore, and resort to very tight parenting reigns – for we forget that with summer holidays comes less time apart, more sibling stirring, boredom (it’s a state of mind kids you just received 6.78960 gazillion toys from the world) and little hands and big eyes asking for Mama to play because she obviously has a lot of work to do!

elephants

It is common knowledge (in my head) that elephants have good memories.

I think it is possible, then, and almost highly likely in fact, that I have actually birthed elephants. It certainly accounts for the size of the second one and the first come to think of it, even being premature!

It definitely accounts for the stampede down the hall when tippy-toes are requested and for the trumpeting whispers inside a darkened theatre!

persia1

Perhaps it comes down to parenting.

I am a parent that follows through. I am, if nothing else, consistent.  If you know something is not done in our house, and/or you are being threatened with punishment for something and that something gets done, be sure the threat will be carried out to the letter.

Of course this is useful in teaching Romeo rascal and the Persian cat about consequences. And that ‘no’ most definitely means no! If I have learned anything about parenting from thinking about my Grandmother and how things used to be done, it is that simple things like a pepper pot sitting in the cupboard, are enough to reinforce for children that boundaries exist and so too do consequence beyond those boundaries.

I don’t like punishment, threats, or consequences that come from those but sometimes reinforcements (or the existence of) are necessary. I thank my lucky stars early parenting planning for the fact that consistency and really being very consistent has meant that Romeo and Persia are actually very well-behaved. They know what is expected of them. Thus it is very easy to remember their responsibilities for maintaining and living up to our expectations.

This also means they both have good self-esteem and feel like valued members of our family who are able to contribute their ideas, thoughts and emotions in clear and useful ways.

Of course consistency and expectations has also taught them that when Mama says something it is super proper to remind her a million times in case she forgets to follow through on the good threats promises! For personal convenience Apparently I am not fully utilising an elephant’s memory. My not utilising an elephant memory does not suit my children when it comes to promises.

Elephants have looooooong  memories. Memories that span day and night and day and night forever years. Across oceans, knowing no divides.

First thing in the morning is when the reminders begin. Because Romeo likes himself some plans. He requires knowing what’s going on when/where/how/with who/for how long/and why. If you visit he will first ask when you are leaving. Not because he already wants you to leave. The opposite. He’s so happy you are visiting that he needs to prepare himself for your departure from the start.  He’s just like that. He’ll use his elephant memory to remind you throughout thus in turn preparing himself for said departure.

Elephant memories remember: takeaway night; fun outings; outings in general; appointments; the date; the day for that matter; the exact time (no place for round numbers in an elephant’s brain); the importance of Mama helping practise spelling and mathematical equations while she’s talking to the bank/accountant/anyone else in the world; snack time when in the middle of the supermarket; being thirsty/hungry/needing the toilet once very tucked up in bed or in the middle of a long drive with no toilets in sight; asking Mama if her work is nearly/half/quarter/at all finished after she has been sitting at her desk for 43.6156349 milliseconds;  how to mimic bad words; how not to mimic best behaviour; how to josh around when Mama is very serious; how to press each other’s buttons; how to press Mama’s cranky button; where the remote is but not how to turn the television off; how to change clothes by checking every piece of clothing in the drawer was in there first; how to ensure every bathroom surface shares the bath water; what food they love; what food they loathe; movie night but not early nights; what I say/said/whispered/breathed/thought/considered thinking/future thoughts that don’t exist in my head yet.

As a parent I have come to realise that apparently children know everything. Everything. It’s based on this elephant memory. Where details are stored in their very dense, alert and superior-capacity temporal lobes.

I liken myself to a goldfish, just swimming around the bowl happy to investigate where I’ve probably just been fifty-million-times-already because sometimes it’s easier to conveniently forget. I call it flexibility. Of that, my children are not perfectly practiced, unless of course it involves adding in an extra takeaway night.

As far as teaching, and raising, children goes, I cannot say enough for consistency. This is a difficult thing to always be when two parents are involved, and especially when they have very different ideas about living, and life, and consequences and what is important and what is not.

But by my being consistent, both Romeo and Persia know what to expect and generally how to expect and contemplate things and situations. It is excellent for producing a feeling of predictability and reliability, and for allowing them both to relax in the knowledge of expectations and rules, and means for the most part that their life – which let’s face it can be very unpredictable and scary sometimes – and certainly their home life, is less confusing and certainly more stable. And much less tired. Consistent routines and bedtimes, they’re a whole other blog post, and a very significant part of positive parenting babies elephants.

The only thing I cannot rectify about raising baby elephants is the fact that they appear deaf. Regularly. You’d think those ears would be a dead  giveaway for good hearing. Maybe if I emit infrasounds by flapping my ears I will have better luck at getting my Ro and Pershi to hear me and listen all the time more! Wish me luck!

I can, however, very happily rectify that this is the reason my bottom is plump! Blame where blame is due possible.

What with octopus arms and elephant babies, I am a right old evolutionary miracle!

Now I wonder if I can work evolutionary magic to make my future workload less and my time to play more…damn goldfish brain, octopus arms, and elephant bottom – everything represents circles and that’s not exactly helpful for the evolutionary changes I’m looking for!

And then this fell into my Facebook inbox. Enjoy!

 

Happy parenting baby elephants my lovelies, and for parents and non-parents, here’s to living with consistency. It’s the mother of all motherly inventions. I just know it was invented by a woman!

Loulabel & Life

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