When C gets her hands on freebie spiral notebooks, empty school exercise books, or one of the few fancy cartoon-character pocket diaries in her collection, she will scribble, write or draw all sorts of things that come to her mind. Over the years, there's quite a pile of these half-used notebooks lying around.
She's written stories of her own in some of them. Some are short stories, some longer ones complete with prologue and chapters. She's designed 'game books' ala computer games, she's drawn pictures of her current craze whicb usually involve the books she's been reading. And then in some, she's jotted down her feelings, usually those of daydreams like a few years ago, her crush on a boy (not joking, and she was only 6 then!), or those of dissatisfaction and anger.
Her handwriting is not the nicest and if she were to participate in a 'best handwriting' contest, I can be certain that she'll not win. There are times when she's disinterested or impatient, especially when it comes to schoolwork, that her handwriting will be the most atrocious and sometimes totally illegible. She just doesn't care when it comes to being 'forced' to write things she doesn't like. But when it comes to writing on her own free will on a subject that she's interested in, like writing her own story, she can write pages and pages of words that are reasonably legible with proper punctuation even. She is one who does things only when she's interested and wants to, not because she has to, is forced to, or fears the consequences if she doesn't. I think there's pros and cons to such character....It's a challenge to draw the line and keep her in line where this is concerned.
And even in anger, she's able to write systematically. I came to this conclusion when I chanced upon a notebook she titled Who I Hate (original edition). I chuckled when I read it, and wondered what the 'original edition' meant. Inside, she wrote the date on the top right hand corner, and on the first line, the name of one of her teachers. Then on the next line was "Why: 4 reasons" and proceeded to list the four reasons in numbered format (talk about being systematic!). And those four reasons were actually valid, in my opinion. At the bottom of the page, she ended with "no one else" i.e. that's the only person she 'hated' at that time of writing. The rest of the notebook has been empty since that first jotting of 29 March.
While some parents might think I'm invading my child's privacy by reading her jottings, I feel that at this phase when she's still young (she's only turning nine later this year), it is still okay for me to find out things that she sometimes does not tell me verbally. Most of the time, she does express verbally her thoughts and feelings, especially when she feels strongly about something. It's important to know her 'inner workings' to better understand and deal with her. As she grows older, the privacy issue can come into the picture as respecting their privacy and giving them their own space will hopefully teach them to behave responsibly, knowing that we have entrusted them with the responsibility to know and do what's right.
Of course, verbal communication and sharing thoughts, feelings and problems every now and then is also important so that they know we're there for them when they need our support and understanding, and especially when it comes to the future turbulent teenage years.
Conscious parenting is certainly not a breeze!