It's been a pleasant week of Chanukah. Very low key but all the kids were home in Safed at some point or another, so I enjoyed the pace and interactions. It always amazes me that after years of living on the edge of WWIII, my children not only get along but actually like each other, as adults/almost adults. We had a restful (and delicious) Shabbat -- I made the Khachpuri which I had been looking forward to -- good thing that I thought that it was good because I've been eating them all week. When we had lunch on Saturday, after the challah, salads (we're totally Israeli now and can't manage without about 10 salads before the main course at a Shabbat meal) and a thick red lentil-sweet potato soup, no one wanted to try the khachpuri which, admittedly, I patchke'd about a bit. So, OK, it didn't go to waste -- I had some great lunches at work.
Soldier-son didn't make it home for Shabbat but he did have leave for the last several days of Chanukah. Those were the days that the 15-year-old was in Jerusalem with her sister so again, it was very quiet. I had given her a chunk of cash for shopping and she came home with some nice sweaters and a very happy disposition -- shopping does that for her. She even helped to rake up the yard with her brother, a first!
Sometimes I simply don't know if I give into her too much, just to diffuse the tension in the house, or if I'm supposed to acknowledge that she is different, with different struggles and needs, and I have to adapt myself to meet her "where she is." I was a pretty strict mother with my older kids but it simply doesn't work with the youngest one -- she's simply a different kettle of fish and I find single-mothering to be very difficult. (My teen even told me once "you don't have any spine" -- sigh. She may be right.)
I was talking with another Safed mother today who also has an adolescent who's going through teen issues. She gave me a good idea -- write positive, building notes. It wouldn't have to be "cheesy" but may have the effect of, not only developing more positive interactions than constantly reminding her of what the kid needs to do, hasn't' done, etc, but also allowing me to express myself before she tunes me out.
I'm going to try it. Another friend once suggested that when I have something difficult to tell my older kids, that I write a letter. Then I wouldn't find myself in the back-and-forth of trying to say what I want to say, having to explain, go on the defensive, etc. I did on a few occasions and it really works. In fact, we never opened the conversation again -- it was simply presented, in the letter, and finished with.