We have been oh, so very sleepy this month. So while our life has not been on hold, nights have been unusually quiet in our owl household. I don't remember the last stretch where I didn't wake up at exactly 2am every single night, only to find D just heading to bed. That has been our rhythm, our sacred adult time. But October just wipes. us. out. We have had Annie's gf Mac & Cheese three times in the last 4 days. With canned tuna & frozen peas. Our biggest boy is making all the breakfasts around here, with the help of some jarred fruit butter.
Lunch is the nearest stack of pomegranates & persimmons. There's been naps, at least for the grown-ups. While we've slept, the sweet peaceful boys have turned into a band from Lord of the Flies. Everything from pencils to flashlights have transformed into weapons of mass destruction & my newly-armed two year-old somehow makes perfect figure-eights with his wrists while his lips pucker in "pshew-tshew! you're dead, i'd killed you!" sounds. I killed you. These words are not only not allowed at my house, they've never even been considered here. Which may sound rigid, but please remember that our community includes former child soldiers & victims of war. So that's just not cool. Nor is the 5 year-old trying to lasso the good pottery off my counter. But I've been so very sleepy.
Well. In the car we've had "The Amazing Development of Men" running & much light has been shed on this whole phenomena. Alison is the Queen of Gender Harmony, according to me. I LOVE Love LOVE her. Like I love her. She is the reason I've made my home feel good to me. That D & I are so happy. That I take care of my needs & my family's needs in spite of myself & my creative longings towards far-flung places. And that I get myself to art classes & retreats. She says the opportunity of the Queen is to keep her tanks filled, to be well & healthy, so that she can give from a full cup without any sense of self-sacrifice. Amen. But all that has to do with me & why I love her. The CD has to do with the men that I love.
For years I heard from the great men in my life about Alison's PAX workshops. Great men, those who are mentors, who've had at least a decade of diverse personal growth work under their belts. They said it made the women in their lives glimmer & shine & finally understand them. That those same women finally knew how to support, encourage & appreciate the men in their lives.
I have to say, I never had any interest, until my girlfriend Kitty began to glimmer & shine. She broke it all down to me, how she had been completely unable to be the business owner, wife & mother she wanted to be. Her tanks were totally empty, & she had no idea. She now knew exactly what tanks everywoman has to fill (patience, graciousness, etc) & which tanks only she had (creativity, magic). And she knew how to fill them, how often to fill them, what wiped her out & how to recover. YES! So I did that workshop (The Queen's Course), & needless to say I love her. Kitty & Alison. And Shadee, the PAX staff-member / make-up artist / my girlfriend who set me up. You would love her to.
So boys are little knights-in-training, apparently. The love to be dangerous, to be brave, to win. And mostly to be honorable & to provide. And honor is won, after much frustration & trial. My peaceful oldest boy doesn't seem to fit into this on the surface, but then I see what he's up to when he makes breakfast, & how devastated he is when he's not seen clearly. That when he walks away from a frustrating experience it's because he needs our support to stick with it & to get that sense of accomplishment on the other side. I see what is at play when these boys are teaching each other & vying for the chance to be first or the most innovative in their problem solving.
And so, when they begin to fight I am not jumping in as quickly. I am watching them from the couch pillows now, curious as can be. Who are these young men in my living room? I don't know. But I am loving getting to know them. We are currently working (from the couch) on a "Gratitude Board" aka Chore Chart, which will include little buckets for them each to toss chore tags into. They will have their basic chores with no reward other than contribution to our family community, but then they will have extra chores they can do. And be acknowledged for, in a family thank-you ritual at the end of the week. They will get to add up their chore points & trade them in for an experience they are wanting, like a project, alone time with me or a drive with Dad. They will have earned this little moment & right now they are so into it! Discussing the possible chores they want, embroidering their initial on their buckets & telling me what kinds of rewards inspire them.
I hope this all goes well! "Enobling, instead of enabling," is a phrase used in the Waldorf community. If it doesn't go over, I'll just go back to sleep & probably they'll transform into something new.
The butter? As many apples & pears as you can get off the tree, grated. Zest of several lemons & their juice + at least 3 inches of fresh ginger zipped across a micro plane. Add 1/2 C sugar or a bit of maple syrup if you like. Simmer for 3 hours on low. Spoon into sterilized jars. Serve on toast.