Tag Archives: practical life skills

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.

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

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)

When all of that resolution crap creates a breakthrough

I am one of those people that really enjoys a good introspective workbook.  Like a “transformative change” junkie.  One of the things I find is doing these things over time–over and over again–starts to help train your brain to look at yourself a bit more objectively.  That was really helpful this week… Continue reading When all of that resolution crap creates a breakthrough

This is what happens when we unlock maturity

I had an incredible discussion with another #soccermom the other day.  The conversation meandered onto the topic of how we infantilize our children these days and how different it was when we were young.  We talked about the things we did long ago and more importantly, the character traits and skills we developed because of these differences.  We went on to identify some of the ways that behavior has inadvertently carried over into other things that were just silly… How suddenly, not just “coming home when the street lights come on” seems to have carried over into children who don’t use knives to cut their own food at age 12.

And that’s changed our kids… and their behavior… Continue reading This is what happens when we unlock maturity

To plan, or not to plan… that is the question

Next to packing lunches, planning is the complete bane of my existence.  I loathe each with equal passion.  Currently, I am detaching from reality each evening with an inflammation-inducing comfort of organic milk (we have been dairy-free for ELEVEN years) and chunky Chips Ahoy cookies (we have been gluten-free for a decade and pretty much flour free because of blood sugar issues for easily 3 years)… because I am in a quandary about how to proceed with my kids educational needs and I just don’t feel like dealing with it.

But I’m going to deal with it, obviously… Here is the quandary…

Continue reading To plan, or not to plan… that is the question

BigGuy’s first Scouting adventure

It was a weekend that feels like the first day of the rest of our lives… because Boy Scouts is NOT Cub Scouts, people.  For one, in Boy Scouts, the boys run the show.  There are adults there to be sure nobody is hurt and some basic rules are followed; but the boys live and suffer by their own hands.  So when the Scout assigned to build the campfire Saturday night didn’t get to it, everyone ate “raw” s’mores.

And this was BigGuy’s first Boy Scout campout…

Continue reading BigGuy’s first Scouting adventure

Netiquette and other technology lessons…

Oy… did mama get a lesson toDAY.  People, lemme tell you something: my Master’s is in Secondary Education with a specialty area of Education Technology.  I taught high school in the business department and that included (other people) teaching office productivity applications and an end-to-end systems architecture overview (which I taught) but it did not include teaching typing, netiquette or some of the other ins and outs of collaborating or learning online.

And you do not learn this well on your own.  This is how I found out…

Continue reading Netiquette and other technology lessons…