Saturday, July 11, 2015

Multiple Choice

Yesterday I let my girls have a picnic in the dark at the end of the hall. Why did I do that?

a) I'm just a super awesome, cool mom.
b) The baby was asleep in the front room and I didn't want them waking him up.
c) The power went out.

Answer: B

But I got the cool points associated with answer A anyway.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Read Aloud Books: The Boxcar Children

When I was young I read so much, that I often got through more than one book a day. Some nights I even waited till everyone was asleep and took a pillow and blanket and made a bed in the bathtub and read for hours. (I never had my own room so I couldn't just keep a light on in the bedroom.)

One of my favorites was The Boxcar Children. I read all 19 originals and many more in the series that now has 130 books. My favorite was the first one. I liked to imagine that I would be as resourceful and independent as the Alden children if I found myself parentless.

Today I finished reading the original book aloud to my children. They're watching the movie (yes, there's a movie now) on Netflix. When it's done we're going to compare the book to the movie and my six-year-old, who loves opinion writing, is going to write about which version she likes better and why.

My children seem to love the book as much as I did. I found the Alden children more patronizing that anything this time around. (Oh, please can I hem the tablecloth begs Violet. Oh, Benny! the other three children laugh at Benny's antics. He's five, but acts like a toddler. It is oh so wholesome and the children sound like what an adult would like children to be rather than what they actually are.)

But who am I to deprive my kids of a story I loved, and a potential series with enough books to last them 130 days of reading if any of them end up reading as much as I did?

Friday, June 19, 2015

Unsolicited Parenting Advice

Unsolicited parenting advice is always awesome--especially coming from strangers.

One that stands out in my mind is a young woman who worked at a store in the mall telling me my baby's cry meant she was hungry--she had learned what different baby cries meant on Oprah. What made it really awesome is that I knew what my own child's cry meant without having ever watched Oprah. But for some reason I thought I'd try to finish buying my stuff before I whipped out a boob to feed her.

But really, the best unsolicited parenting advice my husband and I have ever received was last night. While checking out at a store (why does it always happen at the check out counter?), my almost one year old was chewing on the bag of bread. A couple behind us told my husband that the best way to stop kids from biting stuff was to rub the inside of their cheeks with some bourbon.

Yeah...because we're going to go right home and try that one out. I could not make stuff like that up if I tried. People telling me that my baby is hungry makes me want to punch them. But advice that involves putting alcohol in a baby's mouth is so ridiculous that I actually can laugh at it.

What's the best unsolicited parenting advice you've ever received?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Dear Dog "Parent"

Dear Dog "Parent,"

My Facebook newsfeed was recently drenched with pictures of your dog and words of your worry because of her scary surgery. She got spayed.

I acknowledge that each person's worries and fears and problems are real for them. But it is hard to care much when between pictures of your dog is a picture of a three-year-old boy I know who is fighting a rare childhood cancer. He has climbed up a sculpture and is about to jump down into his dad's arms. He is getting a chance to play before he is hooked up to IVs again; before another blood transfusion that will hopefully bring his white blood cell count up high enough for him to undergo another surgery to remove another tumor.

Admittedly, that picture puts my own worries into perspective as well. But forgive me if I say a prayer for that boy instead of your dog.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer 2015 List

Our summer break starts next week! With my first child exiting Kindergarten, we can all really use the break. The two little ones and I can use a break from the car line and the oldest is excited to spend more time with family. The month of June is going to be really exciting with a visit from an aunt and two cousins and then later from Grandma and Grandpa.

As always, I've made a list of fun things to do. But this summer we need to make a conscious effort to keep up with reading, writing, and math for our soon to be first grader. I'm new at that--any suggestions?

Here's my list of summer fun for our family:

Super Fun Days
The Beach
Downtown Disney
The Gulf Coast
Orlando Science Center
The Zoo
Mini Golf

Closer to Home Fun
Family Bike Ride
Picnic at the Park
Splash Pad
Swimming Pool
Farmer’s Market

Playing Outside
Run Through the Sprinklers
Play with Water Table
Water Balloons
Hula Hoops
Sidewalk Chalk
Blow Bubbles

Rainy Days
Mosaic Art (w/ torn up paper)
Learn about Sea Animals
Write Letters
Pillow Fort and a Movie
Dance in the Rain

Summer Foods
Homemade Icees
Pizza on the Grill
Homemade Ice Cream
Jello Popsicles

Summer Learning
Sea Animals
Florida Animals
Thunder and Lightning
Learn to Tell Time

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day

I know that Mother's Day can be a sensitive time for some people. Women who want to be mothers but can't be. Children, no matter their age, who have lost their mother or whose mothers are not part of their life for whatever reason. Mothers who feel guilty for not being as good a mother as they wanted to be.

Not everyone who wants to be a mother can be. And not everyone has the kind of relationship they want to have with their mother. But I do believe that Mother's Day can be a celebration of all women. A mother is someone who loves, cares for, and nurtures. And though my own mother takes the top spot, many other women have loved, cared for, and nurtured me through the years.

My mother bore me, raised me, taught me, and has always loved me no matter what.

Many of my aunts have given me that extra long hug when I needed it and been there for me to talk to through my childhood and my adulthood.

My sisters have listened to me and helped me through the experience of being a mother myself. I can't imagine that journey without them.

My good friends have been listened to me, laughed and cried with me, and watched out for me for many years.

My husband's mother and grandmothers have been amazing grandmothers to my children.

And for that mom guilt, this is my favorite quote about motherhood.

"There is no one perfect way to be a good mother. Each situation is unique. Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children. ... What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply." - M. Russell Ballard

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Teacher Appreciation Week

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week. And I don't really appreciate my child's teacher. Nothing so bad has ever happened that I've considered having her changed to another class (mostly because I think that would be harder on my child than just staying in the class she's in).

There's been nothing really big--just lots of little things that have frustrated me. The teacher is not great at communicating with me. I ask direct questions and get responses that don't even acknowledge the questions. When my daughter pretends to read to a class of kids, she yells at her fake audience to calm down and that everyone will get a chance to see the picture and if you don't sit down you're going to have to move your color! (Their color is the system of showing their behavior that day.) Last week my daughter came home without a homework packet. I e-mailed the teacher to tell her and asked her to put one in my daughter's folder the next day. The teacher e-mailed back that she most definitely put a homework packet in the folder. Ummm... So mistakes happen, things get overlooked, I wasn't the least bit upset about it being forgotten. Until I felt we were being accused of losing it. How about a simple, "I'm sorry. I wonder what happened to it? I'll be sure to give her a new one tomorrow."

Anyway. Just lots of little things over the course of a school year.

Now regardless of my feelings about them personally, teachers have a hard job. They do something I would never attempt. They don't get paid enough. But whatever happened to a reminder about Teacher Appreciation Week and letting each parent/child decide how they want to celebrate their teacher? Why isn't a homemade card from my child enough? And even if you make some suggestions, having a certain thing we're supposed to do each day creates anxiety in a Kindergartener if she's not doing the same thing as everyone else. Is this a way to help us feel better about the fact that teacher's don't get paid enough?

I'm not buying a plant or flower for her teacher. And honestly, does she want 18 plants on her desk on Thursday?

My daughter will fill out the My Teacher is a Star Because... paper. She can wear blue on Friday. And I'll do her teacher another favor by waiting until after Teacher Appreciation Week to send back my honest teacher evaluation that she asked for. (Which she claims is anonymous but how can it be if my options are sending it in my child's folder or e-mailing it back?)

I look at this list as Mother's Day approaches and I'm thinking we need to change it to Mother's Week. Because let's be honest, teacher's are great, even the so-so ones like my daughter's do a lot of work. But mothers do a lot more.