Q: How do your kids feel about you telling stories about them?
A: My kids have complete and total veto power and use it extensively. If there is a story about them on this blog, we have discussed it ad nauseum. Regardless, I often teeter between “never ever tell their stories” and “if it might help someone and the kids approve, tell the stories in a way that honors and respects them.”
Truthfully, there are also times when I think a story is just so funny I have to tell it. Finding the humor in parenting keeps me going.
There are many people, especially within the adoption community, who adhere strictly to the never tell rule. I respect that and completely understand. At the same time, I worry about instilling in my kids a sense of shame regarding their stories. If they feel comfortable and even excited about sharing a story, with me as the medium, I want them to know that the story is one about which they can feel confident. It is a valuable part of who they are.
I believe that relationships and development suffer when we do not tell stories. Stories from other mothers, both about challenges they have faced with their children and how they handled them, have pulled me through many a dark parenting moment.
Having said that, there are many stories of my kids that I choose not to share, that I leave for my kids to tell. At other times, when I feel like the story could really help others, I try to be more vague and global than detailed and specific (like regarding their adoptions). And we re-visit the issue often.
Q: How long have you been homeschooling?
A: Our eldest daughter went to a semester of pre-school when she was four years old. We have homeschooled since then. At the time of this writing, she is 14.
Q: Didn’t you have like a million blogs at one time? What happened to them all?
A. “Lakeschooling” was my first blog and, like any first, will always hold a special place in my heart. It is now a part of this blog.
I had a blog named “Culinary Genius”, where I cataloged the various recipes I created. According to our dietary needs at the time, they were all gluten-free, mostly vegan, all vegetarian, and frequently low sugar. It was a fun blog to keep and I sure loved saying I was a culinary genius, but I really am not enough of a cook to warrant a blog. There are so many other amazing blogs out there for recipes. So I incorporated the recipes that got the greatest amount of hits into this blog and left the rest.
I started a blog called “Raising Little Spirits” after the big earthquake hit Haiti. It was about our attempt as a family to honor all parts of our children’s heritages by allowing them to explore however deeply they desired. Because this included religious exploration (as with everything, in an age appropriate manner), I received a variety of colorful comments. That was fine. I appreciate color. Soon, though, I started to receive threatening comments and comments that made my family uncomfortable. That’s just not cool — especially when a person has younger children. It was also terribly sad to me as 100% of the threatening comments came from people who maybe ought to re-read that Bible they were throwing at me. I didn’t know what to do with all that negative energy towards my family at the time, so I closed down both the blog and the modest book deal that went with it. My family is number one to me and I did not want to put them, all much younger then, in such a disquieting spotlight.
Finally, I have a blog called “In Lieu of a Midlife Crisis”. I absolutely love that blog because it allow me to explore my middle ages with others. I am incorporating it into this blog in order to simplify things.
Q: Your pictures aren’t great. Aren’t good photographs important for a good blog?
A: What?! Anyone can take good photographs with all the fancy equipment available. It takes mad skills to take a bad photo. Seriously, though, I do like to include photos, but I feel like photos are too sterilized nowadays. What’s a holiday collage without red-eyed kids with knotted hair, bra-less moms drinking coffee, and dads in tighty whiteys and a t-shirt? For the most part, I like to choose pictures that were more spontaneous than is allowed when one has to remove a lens cap and adjust whatever one has to adjust on a fancy camera.
Don’t get me wrong, I love looking at the glossy, perfect photos people put on their blogs and sometimes they beckon me, “Change your ways, Paula. Get a fancy camera, Paula. Come over to the not dark side, Paula.” For the most part, though, it is just not me right now.
Furthermore, as my kids have aged, we’ve decided I should to distort the pictures of them a little. I think I’ve accomplished this by adding some filters (that also give that old time feel). They’re happy. I’m happy. And they contribute to the retro theme I am trying to accomplish.
I do also sometimes use free stock photos when the occasion calls for it.
Q: Did you really name your children Rhubarb, Eggplant, and Blueberry?
A: Yes. Yes I did. Not really. They are pseudonyms, per the kids’ request. You can read more about that on this page, “Meet my Mookies.”