Animal and Mineral — okay, all of the kids, really — are getting older. And even though I enjoy being able to have conversations with them, and I appreciate the logic they use to lie to me — if I say the baby did it, then I’m off the hook and mom can’t be too mad because the baby is just a toddler who likes to destroy/spill milk on/use a knife against everything! — it’s also much more challenging, emotionally.
I want them to share with me, but I don’t want to push them if they’re not ready.
I want them to be honest with me, but I don’t want them to think that being honest absolves them of consequences for poor decisions.
I want to give them opportunities to enjoy life without the confines of being in a classroom, but I want them to learn the basic communication skills necessary for functioning in society. (And maybe also their times tables. And some history.)
On a related note, it’s genuinely difficult to enjoy all those opportunities when
1. There are five of them, and very few activities fit everyone’s interests
2. We don’t have the financial wherewithal to explore all of their interests
3. Their interests often conflict with other interests (time-wise).
It is probably time to re-read How to Talk so Kids Will Listen and Listen so Kids Will Talk — and find out what comes after that!