I got the most amazing Mother’s Day present yesterday…
A decent night’s sleep.
That may seem an odd gift to some people but we are after all #HomeCrazzyHome.
But for over three years now PanKwake has had autonomy over her sleep schedule as well as her education.
That is one of the reasons that I coined the word #RadiCoolUnschooling. Because what we do to provide PanKwake with that ‘suitable education’…
“primarily equips a child for life within the community of which he is a member, rather than the way of life in the country as a whole, as long as it does not foreclose the child’s options in later years to adopt some other form of life if he wishes to do so”
is so much more than just academics. It is life skills and good decision making. Things that are woefully lacking in not only our schools but traditional parenting styles as well.
At #HomeCrazzyHome we often joke about the Zombie Apocalypse. But the hard truth is that we already live in it. When parents, schools, and society controls your minds and actions, when what others think about you is more important than what you know in your heart to be right…you have become a zombie.
It always astounds me when I hear traditional parents talking about their responsibility to control every single facet of their #LittleHuman’s life. Especially as they mature. When I hear things like…
- As long as you live under my roof…
- Until you pay the bills…
- When you have a family of your own…
- …and others…
I always think…don’t these parents realize that they are handicapping their #LittleHuman for that time?
Humans do not just wake up one day knowing how to do something. You don’t wake up one morning talking in full sentences because you are now three. You don’t go from laying motionless in your crib to walking because you turned eighteen months old.
No, everything that we learn we do so slowly, by repetition, and building upon past success…and mistakes. I dare say…no one has ever learned to walk without falling.
Yet when it comes to making good life decisions such as what to eat, when, and where…or where and when to sleep…or even what to wear…adults seem to believe that they have the right to control those choices for their #LittleHumans.
But then they magically expect them to be able to make sound decisions when they turn eighteen (or sixteen in the UK)…go off to college/uni…or move out on their own.
What practice have they ever had at making even the most basic decisions for themselves?
This is why so many young adults struggle that first year in college/uni. Suddenly, they are expected to assume responsibility for their own lives. What to eat. When to sleep. Their own money. How much to drink. And they have the expectation that they will make 9 a.m. classes too. No wonder so many fail out that first year. Or play catch up trying to raise their grades for the next two or three years.
I did. Yes, I was controlled all my life. Then thrust into the world after graduation. It took me a good five years and several attempts at cutting the apron strings to finally land on my feet. Even somewhat.
My adult offspring have a better track record. With the exception of Sunshine, my golden boy genius at Cambridge, all of them cut the strings and moved on…never looking back. Even with him, it was a negotiated and temporary situation while he transitioned from one path to another.
And while they had all been raised traditionally as #LittleHumans, by their teens they were more autonomous than most of their peers. Even their ride has not been without pumps.
I expect no less from PanKwake. She may need some accommodation. She may need to find her unique place in this world. But even at twelve, she shows a maturity that is startling.
Including being able to put others first…sometimes.
You see in the beginning…allowing PanKwake autonomy over her sleep was hard. Very hard. We lived in a tiny flat in central London. She slept most of the time on the couch in the living room and I was just fifteen feet or so away in my bedroom…with the door open and me dozing more than sleeping. But despite being up several times a night, within a few months there was a marked decrease in her night time seizures. Within a year they were gone.
Then we moved to be with Cookie Monster. The first house was even more challenging because of stairs, noise, and neighbors. So Cookie bought us #HomeCrazzyHome with eighteen inch thick stone walls and a staircase in the middle of the house.
Of course, PanKwake still had needs….water…food…reading things in her games…glitches with the computers or internet. So when she is on her up all night and sleep all day routine like she is right now…me and even sometimes in emergencies Cookie are up with her. Somewhere between a couple of times…and practically all night.
Day before yesterday was one of the latter. I lost count of the number of times I got up for something. So on Mother’s Day I felt rough. There were loads of things I needed to do…and no spoons to do them (Spoon Theory).
I mentioned that as I went to bed last night. PanKwake responded that she would try her best. And her best was twice…just twice. For water and food. It was more than good enough. I thanked her for it already before she went off to sleep.
Now it is time for me to get started on my day too. I actually love days like this. I can get so much done.
Realize too that you still have a responsibility for the relative safety of your #LittleHuman. So leaving a three year old to roam the whole house unattended is not what I am saying. I am advocating…
Article 5 (parental guidance and a child’s evolving capacities)
Governments must respect the rights and responsibilities of parents and carers to provide guidance and direction to their child as they grow up, so that they fully enjoy their rights. This must be done in a way that recognises the child’s increasing capacity to make their own choices.
The truth is that I have seen more than one parent of adult offspring who cannot, will not, or do not do this. That is sad…for everyone. Most of all for society.