To Grandmother’s House We Go

Jun 9 2013

We work hard to teach our kids that gentle criticism, when used correctly, is an important tool to meet one’s needs. We also teach them that stopping at criticism isn’t enough; it’s essential to offer a reasonable solution to a problem. “Identify what’s not working,” we say, “and also tell us how you’re going to fix it.”

For example, the other night my 6-year-old expressed some dissatisfaction with the way our house and schedule are organized. And then he offered a reasonable solution – woohoo! – which I captured via video interview so we can all see how this works.

(The sound quality on this sucks. Sorry. A written transcript is below.) 



Me: Hi, Cael.

Cael waves.

Me: Can you tell me what you told me last night?

Cael thinks hard.

Me: About Grandma’s house?

Cael: That it is, um… That they’re more organized and they get us up at 7:00 and then we come downstairs and watch TV, eat breakfast, go back upstairs, get dressed and brush our teeth and get ready for school and go to school.

Me: Yeah. So did you say you prefer it at Grandma’s House?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: And what’s it like here [at our house]?

Cael: It’s like dirty and … you let us, like, do whatever we want.

Me: We let you do whatever you want? And it’s dirty here?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: So it’s totally disorganized?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: And how do you feel about that?

Cael: Like I want to live at their house.

Me: Like you want to live at Grandma’s house? That’s what you asked last night, right?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: Yeah. Is there anything else you want to say?

Cael: No.

Me: You’re good?

Cael: Mm hm.

Me: OK. Thank you for having this interview with me.

End Transcript


So here’s the thing.

You’ll note Cael’s conclusion is not to make our house less dirty or more organized; he understands intuitively that’s not possible. Therefore, the only reasonable course of action is to move to Grandpa and Grandma’s house.

There was a time in my mama life when this kind of bold honesty would’ve offended me. I mean, who wants to be told that her mom-in-law does a better housekeeping / child-rearing  job than she does? No one with a shred of dignity is who. My dignity’s long gone, though, so Cael’s idea just sounds practical.

I totally agree, Cael. 

Also, good problem solving, man.

So that’s why Cael and I are moving to Grandma and Grandpa’s house tonight. The rest of this riffraff can fend for themselves.

The End