I swear I’m still here…

Straight up summer vacation was understandable, but now people feel like I’ve stopped writing.  All of the nope.

This has been a year of great change for me, personally, and it’s not over because there was a LOT to change.  And still more to change.  So I’m busy changin’ ovah heeeeyah.  Some very major things and they are all difficult and some are really painful.  Which means I have lots to blog about for the next several weeks.  Let me give you a brief summary of where we’re at…

Continue reading I swear I’m still here…

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Travel vs. vacations

So, I am back from Summer Vacation so-to-speak.  While I was gone, we suffered a death in the family and made a quick dash to New Jersey and got in almost 2 hours of salt, sand, sun and viciously brazen seagulls.  It was a glorious and needed reprieve in the grief of losing my husband’s grandmother (which I will write about eventually).  Then I jetted off to Phoenix, Arizona where the wind felt like a blow dryer but I had a great time communing with other science team coaches.

Last week, a friend had an unexpected stopover in Iceland.  Saturday, neighbors around a fire pit were talking about the deals for kids in Aruba as we welcomed back a family that had been at Disney (while others up the block had just left).  This morning, I sought out a travel agent friend for another friend looking to plan family travel to Greece or Europe.   Suddenly it occurred to me that my own family had not been on a vacation in many years…  Continue reading Travel vs. vacations

The excitement and bereavement of growing up

The most recent teen independence adventure: catch the train, get off at the third stop and go to the $1 movie. Then walk to a nearby friend’s house and eat his packed lunch:  2 GFDF burritos and some salad greens with separate salad dressings–all of which he packed mostly himself but he did not plan. To be fair, he had no clue he needed a lunch until this morning.

I sent him with $3 more than he calculated needing. I knew he needed $1 more because he was underestimating the cost of movie snacks. His goal is to come home with $3 (he self imposed that goal. I don’t care if he comes back with nothing because it’s his money).
On his last jaunt he managed to overcome the overwhelming temptation to spend his return trip train ticket money.

THAT. WAS. BIG.

I’d love to think it meant that he knew I may not bail him out except that we both know I would have gone to get him.  So that means he actually resisted an overwhelming impulse!!!

Let’s tie in the conversation we had the week prior when I went to the bank to get cash for him (from his own account).  We went through the process of adding up what he needed and then tacked on what he WANTED and then he threw on a few dollars “just in case”.  I had to enlighten him to the fact that allowances were on hold because of our family’s continuing underemployment.  We talked about how much he had in his account for these little trips and how many of those trips he could do if he took X-number-of-dollars each time.  Then we talked about how “that’s just trips to play Magic”… it didn’t even consider the many other cool things he liked to do.

His expression was bittersweet.  He got very quiet with the reality of it all.  On one hand, I was heartbroken FOR him.  On the other hand, I was OVERJOYED that he really, truly understood how finite his money was.  He started thinking about what he could (legitimately and realistically) do to make more money… walk dogs, mow lawns.  I physically felt him grow up in that conversation.

All this time I ached for him to understand the gravity and reality of the world he walked through, and now that he had–I was sad for the loss of his childhood.

He took the train with one friend and they returned together later.  He told me that he actually came home with more money than he planned.  Apparently the friend bought a 10-trip pass at a discount and allowed the ticket-taker to punch the pass once for each of them.  Immediately, I directed my son to pay his friend back the $2 train fee and later we talked about his friend being younger and the logistics of making sure we don’t take advantage.  After all, he had the money he needed for the ticket.

I heard about how they opted out of the movie snacks and instead walked past the game store where they play Magic the Gathering–where they bought cheaper candy.

*swoon*

By the time they got back to the “base” house, it was almost time for them to turn around and get on the train.  He called me using his Gizmo and posed this problem to me.  He wanted to stay.  The base-home mama was okay with that and the boy he took the train with was also okay–so they got another hour.  My son asked me to set the alarm on his Gizmo again (he can’t do that) so that it would remind him to head to the train station on time.

They must have eaten and then the boys split into groups.  One group went to the park and my son stayed behind with another boy to draw.

Eventually they made it back.  I picked both boys up at the train station and drove his friend home (they had picked my son up on the way to the train earlier).

It’s becoming “normal” now… this riding the train two towns over to explore the downtown there and our own downtown… It’s becoming “not such a big deal” for him to be without adult supervision.  The novelty of having money in his pocket.  He told me today that he had a plan for funding his trips to the game shop by way of selling his most valuable card to the shop for store credit.  It would buy him at least 8 entry fees to Magic the Gathering and that was worth it for him.  That would free up his actual money for other things.

Again, I am treasuring every moment I can.  I’m struggling under the enormous stress of our family situation and how it plays on my developmental trauma issues, but finding myself managing not to lash out as often as I might have because I am keenly aware of how limited our time is.

For that, I am thankful.

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Building independence skills

I have thought an awful lot about building independence in my kids.  I’ve written about it here and pondered the maturity changes here.  But recently one of the Parenting Partners took it to a whole new level.  One I never thought of before, but needed to.

Continue reading Building independence skills

Having parenting partners… other than a spouse

I got this great card not long ago.  It was from a mother of another teen boy in our circle.  She noted that she really enjoyed having our family involved with hers and she was glad to have other parents to share this journey with.  She is awesome for creating events for the kids that are age appropriate and I adore her because I. am. worn. right now.  Life’s undertow is catching me and my son is suffering less because of her efforts.  And yesterday I realized that I have parenting partners above and beyond my husband…

Continue reading Having parenting partners… other than a spouse

All Of The Tests

Ohforthelove… BigGuy took the ACT in April because he wanted to apply to an online high school.  He didn’t get the scores he needed (partly anxiety about the test and partly lack of knowledge) and in fact, he came in one point too low for the lab science he wants next year.  So we are taking the Stanford10 online since those scores WILL qualify for his lab science.

As usual, Girly was displeased with being left out…  Continue reading All Of The Tests

Love to all of the mothers of the world…

Earlier in the week, I selfishly dictated to my family that I didn’t want any recognition of Mother’s Day.  It was an expression of pain that I wasn’t able to keep to myself and I am deeply ashamed and remorseful for it.  Especially since my sweet girl has such profound feelings around mommies and such a deep, strange need to have every occasion memorialized.  As far as I have come, I still falter.  And the miracle of motherhood is that my children love me anyway… Continue reading Love to all of the mothers of the world…

How to avoid raising an entitled kid…

Many families in my generation and the next generation down have turned their backs on the way we were raised–when children were to be seen and not heard.  Parenting culture was different.  Expectations were different.  We began to respect these little people and recognize them as humans rather than property.  We gave them more freedom to be children and develop at their own pace.  We allowed them to have a voice.

But some of us didn’t do a stellar job at transitioning them into being respectful and compassionate young adults that could do what they were told WHEN they were told to do it and the WAY they were told to do it.  We quite accidentally created very entitled kids…

Continue reading How to avoid raising an entitled kid…

When you’re homeschooling a six-year-old (and under)

Mamas… So help me homeschooling a 6yo has got to be the worst thing ever.  There aren’t any cool classes available because all of the ones they could do last year were targeted to kids who were MAYBE taking the kindergarten year at home (and they were the upper end of the “age range” for the class.  They’re not yet 7–when some classes open up for the “obviously being homeschooled”/age of compulsory education (in most states).  Kids also go through a cognitive developmental milestone at 7 that changes their understanding of the world (and how they take in information).

But 6… Six just sucked.  So what to do for kids who are 6 (and under)?  Here are the MANY IMPORTANT THINGS you need to teach kids 7 and under (and over, too, if you need to make up for lost time).  And no, it’s not “Don’t do anything!  Just play!”  I assure you–there are things kids need to learn…

Continue reading When you’re homeschooling a six-year-old (and under)