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1. Clear room of everything,
2. Clarify each detail of colour and co-ordination, a swatch board may help
3. contact contractors for anything big or affordable
4. obtain three estimate for each part of the project
5. replace flooring or steam clean
6. buy paint and other supplies
7. paint walls
8. paint the furniture
9. buy or make new bedding
10. buy or make new curtains
11. remove all debris after this evolution
12. weed contents of room
13. replace contents of room
And that, as they say, is all there is to it, assuming you have the financial wherewithal, which many do not. It’s an easy thirteen, or it is if you do it once a decade. Around here, once a decade is all we can manage for one reason and another.
Some "families" have a subtext to such proceedings which can be difficult to "translate." I’d like to share a snippet or two, some insight into a little of what my boys experience. Some "families" also experience some of these things. "Others" have a variation on a theme.
2. You would think with only two "children" to manage rather than "four" it would be a breeze. Half the responsibility, time and chores, but life isn’t like that here. This kind of evolution, where there is change and something different fundamentally upsets them. They become all discombobulated which means that they are more stressed and on edge than usual. This in turn means that many of their coping mechanisms come into sharp relief such has repetitive behavioiurs called stims, obsessive compulsive tendencies are rife as they try to calm themselves against the sea of strange.
3. Using the telephone to make arrangements is impossible whilst they are awake. Lifting the telephone receiver is a cue for them that my attention is elsewhere. Whilst is it s good children to learn that they are not the centre of the universe at all times, this has to be balanced against the substantial element of fear that I do not fully understand. These days however they have learned that my distraction is an invitation to get up to mischief, a factor that I would like to celebrate as a great advance on the fear factor from a few years ago. Celebrations must be limited due to the chaos that can follow in the wake of unsupervised children. Lucky us!
4. Strangers coming to the house is always a cause of great angst. A few years ago strangers were either feared or invisible. These days they are welcomed by both the boys following a serious spate of social stories where we practice what to do, and reinforce their behaviour through role play and modeling. It is time consuming but very effective.
5. Additionally, social stories have been updated to take account of people who wish to engage with the stranger, as a monologue on Pokemons’ many attributes isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.
6. Strict rules must be enforced regarding sharing. The arbitrary rules about sharing one’s toys is not necessarily reciprocated by other adults and their tool boxes.
7. Children must be engaged and distracted during all periods of time involving ‘noise.’ Noise need not necessarily be loud, merely unfamiliar.
8. Strangers who remove things from the house are not burglars. Last time I checked no-one was buying tatty carpet and underlay on the black market.
9. Even if you are careful to buy non-toxic, environmentally friendly, fume free paints, the smell is still obnoxious. No amount of open windows can dispel the smell, only time will tell if you can escape from this homey hell.
10. Maintain as much of a semblance of a routine as is humanly possible throughout this tortuous period of change.
11. Removing familiar toys because they are old, no longer used and belong to your big sister in her absence is the equivalent of burying her in a coffin.
12. There is only so much that one parent can do alone at night, so know your limitations.
13. Lastly and most importantly, pay close attention to your chosen colour scheme. Wet red paint really does look like blood.
Please be kind enough to correct, add or subtract, as you see fit.
p.s. this is not meant as some kind of pity party, it didn't happen all at once but crept up on us gradually. Think of it more as a part explanation for my personal inefficiency quotient.
Well at least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.