Archive for the ‘Parenthood’ Category

I happen to be one of those wierdos descriminating movie viewers who has watched the movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray at least half a dozen times. After a particularly frustrating day of parenthood last week, I realized that there are a number of similarities between the movie and parenthood. When re-reading what I’d written I almost decided it was too cranky to post. But, hey, there are moments when all of us feel that way. We might as well know we’re not alone, right?

So here are my top three reasons
Why Parenthood is Like “Groundhog Day”

1.  Because you can’t believe it is morning. Again.

2. Because you’ve been at this long enough to predict when the kid is going to fall, but you still can’t manage to catch him without (someone) getting hurt.

3.  Because the people around you act like the words coming out of your mouth are brand new. Every darned morning. (“But mom, you didn’t tell me to do my math/empty the trash/wear my shoes!”)

4. Because the only person who seems to be learning a thing is you. and yet you still don’t seem to be having a measureable impact on the chaos around you.

Your turn. What’s the most frustratingly monotonous part of your day?

(And for those of you too young to have seen this movie, see it. Just do it. If for no other reason than to better understand this post. :>) )

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My 17 year old is taking a Spanish class at our local college. Three days a week she is out the door just after 7 am for that class. I am not an early riser. But this morning I managed to straggle out to the living room just as she was preparing to leave. As I pulled bread dough out of the fridge to knead and let rise, we exchanged a few words. Then she gathered up her things and headed for the door. I had the urge to hug her, but my hands were full of bread dough and she was moving in the hurried way of someone trying not to be late. So I contented myself with an ‘I love you’ just before the garage door slammed. After reading this: The Importance of Touch, I wish I had gone for the hug.

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Quickie (warning: sour)

Before shutting off the laptop this evening, I was wandering around in my sieve-like mind trying to think of something I had energy to write about and found this fill-in-the blank from Carmen. Perfect. I have exactly that much energy this evening.

Bullet Points of Randomness

Tomorrow: Another day of homeschool. Sigh. Some days I just want to PLAY and not be the responsible (ie: thinking-about-standardized testing/college/gainful employment-for-my-progeny) parent.

Feeling: Very tired. Dealt with a kid today who tried the old ‘you’re not the boss of me’ line. (Deluded child.)

Happy Because: I survived the day. And kid did too.

Today I:
–homeschooled 9 children
–weathered one major kid-fit
–sent Eldest back to college (boohoo)
–did 4 loads of laundry
–took one kid to swimming lessons and another kid to karate while 7 other kids swam for fun
–spent $53 (ack) on two ‘family-pack’ meals from Panda Express. (remind me not to do that again)

Laundry: Nearly caught up. I am still head over heels in love with my new Whirlpool.

Something I know: Tomorrow’s lunch (leftover Panda Express)

Currently reading: UnPlugged Play (great book– no wonder I want to play tomorrow)

Wanting: to find time in the midst of schooling to play more with my little kids. (Hmm. sensing a theme. Would it be too terrible to just ditch school tomorrow? oh yeah. gainful employment. probably dependent on kids’ ability to read and do multiplication. sigh.)

Favorite gadget: washing machine

Thankful that: the school year is at least half over. Also I have a DAY OFF on Saturday, which I plan to spend at the coffee shop drinking Mexican Mochas and writing my lil’ heart out.

Wondering why: Saturday seems so far away.

Care to fill in any of these with your own (hopefully more cheery) answers?

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“How was your day off?”

Well, it didn’t end up being quite as ‘off’ as you might be picturing. After it took me half an hour to outline the homeschool plan for the day to my husband, I decided it might be a tad bit unreasonable to expect my hubby to get school accomplished while also riding herd on the 2 little girls. This was his first attempt at this, after all.

So I had mercy on him and took theyoungest two with me. This means that breakfast was at McDonalds’, where I spent an inordinate amount of time policing the orange juice. One juice for two kids– what WAS I thinking? But I got a bacon, egg and cheese biscuit out of the deal, which– heaven help me — I ADORE!

After that it was on to my sister’s house, bearing cinnamon rolls as an apology for barging in on her at 9:30 in the morning so I could spend the next hour complaining. Which I did. (Why does griping about everything under the sun feel so freeing with the right person listening?? Thanks, sis)

After I got my crankies out we sat in the sunshine at a picnic table with the breeze blowing our hair, and her little girls and my little girls playing happily in the back yard. Well, there was a bit of scuffle over who got to ride the Kiddie car….and handful or two of sand tossed into cousins’ hair. But that was totally outbalanced by the good conversation, not to mention the sweetness of Niece calling “to the moon, please, Auntie Mary!” when being pushed on the swingset. It was an exceedingly nice way to spend a morning.

With time to kill before I could meet Eldest for lunch, I gathered my two kiddos and headed to the mall. Blessedly I had remembered the stroller, which gave me the ability to restrain the two year old give the two year old a nice relaxing ride, during which time I blissfully browsed the clearance racks in the kids clothing department while ignoring my 5 year old’s pleas to stop looking at ‘boring things.’ While cruising through 3 stores, I found several cute things for several of my children. Most fun was the clearance rack in JCPenney’s featuring ladies tops marked down to $1.97. Jackpot. I found two for me, two for Eldest, and two for Second Daughter.

By then it was time to zip over to the U. to meet college-student Eldest for lunch. Since we are tightwads careful with money, we opted to eat in the school cafeteria. I learned it is extremely challenging to balance a food tray on the canopy of a stroller, especially when the kid in the stroller keeps trying to fold back the canopy so as to better make meal selections.

It is also difficult to steer your stroller between way-too-close tables to find a seat, especially with everyone staring at this crazy lady who is bringing little kids to a college cafeteria. We were getting almost as many stares as the cup-stacking guys across the room — and they had an 11-cup tower going for them.

We managed to trump them though when the 5 year old fell out of her chair, snagging herself by the belt-loop on her way down, where for a moment she hung entirely upside down with a large portion of her bum undies showing. I thought the people at the next table were going to choke on their nachos, they were trying to hard to laugh discreetly. Not me. I laughed til I had to dab at my eyes. So did the 5 year old. Thankfully.

Still, the pizza was good and the Eldest as always was good company. I coaxed her to come with us to Barnes and Noble for awhile. I don’t know how I expected to have any fun at a book store with two tired little kids. I’m pretty sure my optimism was heavily dependent on a little fantasy that involved the two year old falling asleep in the car on the way there, staying asleep while being transferred into the stroller, and then sleeping for an hour in Barnes and Noble so that we could have some browsing time.

Yeah, I’m crazy.

Except it happened exactly like that.

I confess — I spent most of my time perusing homeschool curriculum. But I found just what I needed and then the 5 year old and I each carried our books to a quiet corner where we sat thumbing through crisp new books while the two year old snored and the 19 year old wandered the store happily and we had a lovely quiet hour and could barely tear ourselves away to go home.

I went home with a smile on my face and a spring in my step and new shirts and new books in shopping bags. And when I got home, everyone greeted me enthusiastically with hugs and shouts and chatter. Well, except for the one who was taking his/her turn pouting, and for a minute I felt like I’d never left except then I realized I actually had energy to deal with it. Energy. And I smiled and re-engaged, and a bit later the pouter wasn’t pouting, and I was still feeling fine, and I realized I had indeed had a day off, and my soul had been restored.

A very nice day off, indeed.

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Kids and Chores

I’m participating in Chilihead’s Children’s Chore Carnival today. We’re supposed to talk about how we handle allowance and chores. Allowance is simple: we don’t do it. In the past we have, off and on. But I always had a terrible time actually having the cash on the right day, or I’d forget…it never got to be a habit. SO we’ve just given up on it. At any time our kids can ask to do extra work and get paid a few dollars. I’m always willing to pay someone to work on my flowerbeds. And our older kids all have small part-time jobs (mostly for grandparents) that earn them spending money.

Now for the chores. We all have them. They are a part of life in this family. I have a chore chart on the side of the fridge, and there are things for each person to do after each meal. The majority of it can get done in 10 minutes– I doubt if kids work more than 40 minutes all day. Even the two year old has a couple jobs each day– she cleans up her own toys, and empties the silverware. The elementary-age kids run the washer and dryer, among other things. Everyone over 10 takes turns cleaning the kitchen. Basically the kids do almost all the house-cleaning chores– maintainance stuff during the week, and then a few extra jobs each on Saturdays. Although getting kids to do their jobs can sometimes feel tiring, I believe that in the long run, our kids will be better trained for adulthood by helping around the house in a real way as children.

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Thanks for the ideas…

for the good preschool TV. I’m giving the Golden Keyboard this week to Jenn of Red Thread Road for all her helpful ideas. Thanks, everyone, for participating!!

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How sweet is it…?

… that when John got home from his first day back at work since Ethiopia that his newest daughters were the first to greet him with beaming smiles and huge hugs?

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I’m inspired.

This post from Carrien was a sweet reminder of some of the traits I want to have….

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I was thinking of the power that laughter has to bind our children’s hearts to us. So often if we can get a cranky kid to laugh, we’ll win him over.

I shared quite awhile ago how when my kids get to feeling sorry for themselves I’ll sometimes sing that old HeeHaw song “Gloom, Despair, and Agony On Me” with the most pitiful face I can muster. Busts ’em up every time.

So what do you do to cheer your kids up? What makes them smile when they’ve got the doldrums? Or what can you do that makes them outright belly-laugh?

You have till Monday evening to share how you use humor in your parenting. We could all use a few more ideas in that department, so hit me with your best thought!

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…I will try to cobble together a post.

The two year old is feverish and puking today and is the Princess of Whine, poor thing. Her bug doesn’t bode well for the almost-5-year-old’s planned birthday party Sunday evening. If she doesn’t shape up by tomorrow, I’ll be calling off the visitors, I suppose. Though the party will go on. We joke that our family song is “Wherever we go, that’s where the party’s at.” My sweet 5 year old is getting breakfast in bed tomorrow morning. She has requested Aunt Edie pancakes with strawberries on top. For the uninformed, Aunt Edie Pancakes are actually crepes– really thin pancakes coated in butter and sprinkled with powdered sugar and rolled up. They were so named when I was a child and Aunt Edie, in her days as a young glamorous flight attendant came to our house for a visit and made crepes for breakfast one morning. Mmm, mmmm.

Also of interest, today we traded one of our horses for a steer and some cash. An eminently sensible move on our part, I’m sure, since all a horse does is eat — but one that has greatly displeased our other horse. He is currently charging around, whinnying piteously, and making me feel like a real clod. My hubby keeps reminding me that he’s only a horse and he’ll be ok. Still….sigh. At this point the cow is too utterly cute to even think of him gracing our freezer next year. We have named him Bulgogi (Korean BBQ Beef) and are hoping he will lose his cuteness in a year or so. But he’s a Jersey, which everyone knows is the cutest cow around, as cows go. Not sure if we’re actually the type to raise our own beef, but we will give it a shot this once. And heaven knows my big boys eat enough that a freezer full of beef will be very welcome.

Finally, the best news of the day is that our girls DID get their gift bags this week and in the words of the director of our agency, they were ‘very excited’. They were more interested in the photos than the gifts, which she said was a good sign. The group of families just 10 days ahead of us got assigned court dates of June 18th and 21st. So I am optimistic that by early July we could have our day in court, with travel 3-5 weeks later. We should find out in a couple weeks, hopefully. Oh, how I wish I could have been there to see the girls get their bags…

I’m now off to put my whiny two year old to bed….hopefully both she and the horse will feel better in the morning.

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