Summer Brain Drain

My soon-to-be 4th grader has a handwriting journal he’s supposed to be doing every day this summer. There’s a question prompt for each day – you know, things like, “If I had a super power, it would be….” Children’s abilities to find a way to shorten an exercise like this never cease to amaze me. Like, “My favorite color is_______ because…….” And the child responds with, “My favorite color is red because it rocks.” The end. No more.

Meanwhile, my soon-to-be kindergartener comes home from preschool typically lamenting the fact that he’s had to work on “projects” – aka, writing his name, coloring shapes, etc. Pretty much all the prep-work for kindergarten. If he hates it now…

And my soon-to-be 7th grader is happy to just read, which I think is great. She brought home a book she was given at the library that seemed a little dark to me. And yet, we’re loving reading it together.

I’m really trying not to overload them with too much. BUT, I’m also wanting to keep my kids on track and prevent summer brain drain. I found some useful worksheets online. http://www.education.com/worksheets/all/ Oh yes, I’m sure my kids will be just loving me for it. I at least want to make sure to keep my 4th grader’s handwriting improving. As of now, it’s looking like it’ll head down the path mine took – serial killer/doctor signature/hieroglyphics.

Do you make your kids do homework over the summer? Oh, and how many of you are already back to school? I just saw a friend post that her daughter started her first day back today. It’s still July!

I Hate Hitting

My youngest son has a new dirty habit: hitting. And here’s the fun part – I’m his only victim. When he gets mad, really mad he lashes out. I’ve found it’s the small things that set him off:

  • Don’t let him hang out in the arcade at the movie theater
  • Didn’t give him food fast enough when he asked for it
  • Refused to read a third book at bedtime
  • Won’t allow him to stay home alone instead of going to preschool
  • Made him put his shirt away

Any one of these infractions could (and have) lead to hitting, slapping and/or choking. And yet, again, it’s only me he does this to. Apparently this is a fairly common problem for moms out there – enough so that I found a variety of websites offering advice – everything from, “help her understand why she is getting angry” to “notice when your child is doing something positive, and reward the good behavior” to “look for patterns.”

Most of these sites talk about ways to prevent temper tantrums and/or hitting – but few actually give you a play by-play of what you should do during the actual act of violence. I think I need something more like “karate for kindergarten moms” or something like that. Although, I must say I did find some nuggets of advice on dealing with an actual attack – primarily, take them to timeout or lower your voice (reminds me of that meme about whispering to your child and how much scarier that is than yelling at them.)

Do your kids hit you? How did you get the abuse to stop?

Top 10 Alarming Calls From Your Kids

My two older kids are staying home by themselves today. They’ve been checking in with me a lot, all the time, so much my phone’s battery is dropping faster than a dollar bill at a strip club regularly. Most of the time it’s with questions like, “Can I go out and play?” or “What’s (insert friend’s name here) phone number?” and even the question-turned-tattle “How many times do I have to vacuum the floor because my big sister keeps saying I have to do it three times!” Yet, sometimes the calls I get from them end with me scratching my head and wondering what’s the rest of the story and do I need to come home right now?

And so, I bring you – the Top 10 Alarming Calls From Your Kids:

10. “I finished the laundry. Now all your clothes fit me, Mom!”

9. “Don’t worry about making dinner, Mom. We’ve got it covered.”

8. “How do I get the microwave to stop sparking?”

7.  “The dog just ate something funny but it’s okay because he threw it up and now he’s being really quiet.”

6.  “You wanted me to get my hair cut. Wait ’til you see it!”

5. “What time did you say you’d be home?” (Followed by a hushed voice in the background of the other sibling saying “We’ll clean it up before she gets here and she’ll never know.”)

4. “What kind of snacks do bears like?”

3. “Mom, where do we keep the first aid kit?” <— an actual question from my son today who wanted to know, not because someone was hurt but because he and his sister wanted to reorganize it. What?!

2. “That stuff in the bottle under the sink tastes gross.”

1. “Should I answer the door for the man with the weird bushy beard?”

 

Any more you’d like to add to the list?

There’s Bound to be a Letdown

My kids returned home today from an epic adventure spanning from Chicago to Disney World. Their days have been filled with extended family and lots and lots of fun. Tonight, I will pick them up from this whirlwind adventure and plant them back into the reality that is the typical summer vacation: food cooked at home, bike rides and chores.

I know I’ve quoted my step mother’s words of wisdom before, “You’re not their cruise ship director.” And yet, I fear the letdown. I worry about what they’ll expect after two and a half weeks of constant stimulation. We do a lot of playing outside, reading books together and playing board games. That’s got nothing on Mickey Mouse.

While they adjust to normal life again – you know, the kind that doesn’t involve theme parks – I hope they take it in stride. I hope there won’t be a letdown. I hope there won’t be a meltdown. But, above all else – I CANNOT WAIT TO SEE THEM!

The Mess Remains

My children have been gone for nearly two weeks. I’d like to say in that time I have cleaned their rooms, organized their toys and shelves and read a few good books, just for good measure. I have done none of those things.

When my kids go with their dad – typically a week at a time – I leave their rooms the way they left them. Despite my constant longing for fairies to come to my house and clean it while I am sleeping, they never do. When I wake up, the mess is still there. I want my kids to know, the same goes for them. I am not the magical midnight fairy that cleans up their messes while they are away. If they made a mess, it’s still there when they get back.

Having said that, I had looked at these two weeks on the calendar – a two-week vacation they are spending with their dad – and calculated all the things I could get done. My daughter’s room is chaotic, beyond the typical mess. It needs order. She needs a place for everything to go. And we definitely need to purge some of her things. (She keeps everything from a scrap of paper she once doodled on to projects she completed in 2nd grade. She’s going into 7th.) And yet, nada. I had hoped to redesign her room so she’d come back to something all new. Then life got in the way.

The past two weeks have been filled, instead, with gardening and lots of it, and work and a week of a clean eating challenge that took two hours a night to accomplish. Oh, and lets not forget about the wildfire that danced its way toward our rec cabin – causing us to spend two days rushing up there and retrieving as many valuables as we could. Life gets busy. Messes stay messy. And while I’m not exactly zen about it, I’m just going to let it go.

So, the mess remains. And that’s okay. Because what’s that they say about cleaning while raising children? It’s like trying to brush your teeth while eating Oreos.

And Now My Couch Smells Like Urine

Furniture and children – it’s a troublesome mix. There’s bouncing off furniture – using the sofa as a trampoline and forever damaging the springs. There’s hiding candy wrappers between the cushions or otherwise leaving behind remnants like popcorn kernels. And then there’s bodily fluids.

Having a child around furniture is kind of like carrying around a beaker of highly unstable and corrosive chemicals above your living room set. You never know what’s going to happen – but it will likely result in a mess.

When they’re babies – spit up and diaper blow outs threaten your couch.

When they’re toddlers – crayons and smooshy snacks are the culprits.

When they’re preschoolers – when someone comes home with a tummy bug, it’s typically the sofa that gets the first splash.

When they’re in grade school – who knows what can happen? Soda. Snot. Sticky. Sand. And… sometimes… urine.

Two takeaways from this:

1. Never buy expensive furniture until your kids are in college. (Even then, maybe wait a few years.)

2. Does anyone know how to get urine out of my couch?

Sleepovers: The Root of Much Crankiness

Sleepovers can be fun, something to look forward to and silly. They can also be the root of drama amongst friends and siblings (and parents).

Here are the top 10 ways you know they’ll be drama:

10. One child gets a sleepover and the others don’t. “It’s not fair, MOM!”

9. The child having the sleepover’s friends are more interested in the siblings than the child. “How come when he’s over he only wants to play with my sister?!”

8. The inevitable disagreement takes place between the children and one of the following phrases are uttered: “I want to go home!” or “I want him to go home!”

7.  It’s time for the child to depart and the mess has to be cleaned up, leading to a symphony of “He made the mess, not me!”

6. Your child or a visiting child wears pull-ups at night to protect against nighttime accidents and the other kids want to know why they are “wearing a diaper”

5.  Your child is at a friend’s house and you get a call late at night asking you to pick your child up. (This usually involves vomiting.)

4. A visiting child won’t eat your food “because it looks gross.”

3. The kids never fall asleep and you find yourself moving from, “Alright boys, lights off” to “Boys, morning is going to come early” to “That’s enough! Don’t make me come in there!”

2. Your child is at a friend’s house and stays up way too late and comes home a horrible, cranky, mean, hot-tempered mess. “YOU ARE SO MEAN! I am going to move in to (insert name of friend’s house he/she just stayed at) and live there forever!” <– typically exclaimed after I have done something so vile as asking them to unpack their sleepover bag.

1. Your child forgets his/her toothbrush or clothing and comes home exhibiting a stink that is normally reserved for the elephant house at the circus.

 

 

 

 

 

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