I began reading ScreamFree Parenting shortly after Rigby was born. I was this big ball of sadness and anxiety, and was actually really resistant to the idea of trying out another parenting book. I have realised that all the parenting books I have poured over have caused me more anxiety than peace - too many rules and scripts to follow that really just turned (or tried to turn) my son and I into people so far from our real selves.
Months ago something about the ScreamFree Parenting website struck me (watch the waffle house video) but I wrote it off because it is screams infomercial. Then at the library, after my meltdown, I saw the book and decided to pick it up (along with two other parenting books - I do have a problem). It is odd how naturally it flowed after reading eat, pray, love - the concepts in the book built on the concepts in the novel and both have felt instrumental in my new burst of personal growth.
I had planned on writing through my struggle to find balance within my new mind, but every time I sit down I feel like I am just repeating the same trite BS over and over ("everything's fine, we're having fun, blah, blah, blah..."). To write about the real transformation I am experiencing threatened to trivialise it - or worse, threatened to expose it as a figment of my imagination (this has happened - though usually in reference to a crafting or cooking project), that once revealed, would vanish.
Last night, however, I got my first sense of the new me. This new me doesn't care so much about Christmas consumption, it seems to me that ending our least consumeristic, most environmental year to date with a big old consumption celebration is completely wrong. But, it isn't just up to me, so I am controlling the things I can (namely the gifts he gets from us and what we do to balance out the gifts he gets from others - like donating a bunch of our used toys to needy families) and leaving the rest (not always happily - but I have a week to work on it). One of the things that I am rolling with is the whole Santa bit. We have not decided how we're going to treat the big red guy, though I don't want to take the magic away - I hate that Santa has become this all-powerful, gift-giving machine - and until last week I thought I had another year before this would be an issue. But now we'll be spending Christmas morning with Sebastian and Rigby's older cousins and the Santa bit is mucho important, the *stocking* part especially. So yesterday I braved the mall to both fill stockings and spend the money family abroad had sent for the kids. Not just any mall, but the mega-mall.
It was a place pumped full of cheerful decorations, cheerful holiday music and grumpy-assed shoppers. These poor people had probably rushed there straight after work hoping to fill their lists with a week to spare. And every store was all bright lights and exhausted sales-clerks and empty or messy shelves. People were trudging through - miserable in their duty of bringing joy through purchased gifts and miserable in their duty of selling joy. I found the whole scene hilarious.