Today’s activity is to tell each person in the house why they are special. I’m sure that when I picked this, I had delusions of grandeur about the accolades I would hear my children give one another. The reality I suspect I face is that BigGuy will make an earnest attempt to express some Asperger’s-oriented version of what makes someone special and Girly will say that what’s special about BigGuy is that he has the loudest farts. Continue reading Day 5: Why we are special
This morning, my sweet boy came into my room looking for someone to go downstairs with him… because we no longer had his daily furry protective companion to do the job. It hardly seems like a day to do a craft for the season.
Or maybe a craft if what we need… Continue reading Day 2: Craft
This is not a proud day for Mama, and that’s okay with me. We all have those days. Those days where our parenting behavior is just not stellar or admirable or what we aspire to in any way.
That being said, having one of those days every once in a while (usually) doesn’t end up harming anyone; and sometimes–it even provokes some change in the people around you. Time will tell if that is the result of today’s experiences, but a mama can hope… Continue reading This is what a bad day looks like
It’s been a less productive time lately. I have a very hard time with the shortening of the days. No amount of vitamin D or special lighting has ever provoked a response in my body. Even magnesium supplements have not helped (there is a contingent that yells loudly about the need for magnesium to help with vitamin D absorption). So things have gotten slow… and moved to the big bed.
My blog post on allowances was posted to Facebook and someone asked me “what happens when they don’t do their chores?”
Fair question… because that happens. So here is how I handle it at my house… Continue reading How I get my kids to do their chores
Saturday night, I got to go out with a group of homeschooling moms to The Melting Pot. It was gluten, dairy, chocolate, Big Gingers… total contraband evening. It was chatting about our kids, occasionally double-dipping by accident, and having the waiter catch me saying “When I’m out, I cheat” as I walked back from the bathroom and giggling with the mama I was saying it to–who caught his reaction.
It was a fun night. Continue reading Socialization… for moms
BigGuy woke up very late and I heard him sneeze twice. They were deep, chesty sneezes that may have hurt him in his chest. We’ve been skirting illness for a few weeks now; and honestly–I could not be more thankful that we haven’t been sick. The last two years (almost to the week) have been EXTREMELY hard on my family and a lot of the things we had in place that kept my kids (and the parents) healthy went largely out the window as we worked on other things that took the front seat.
One of them is how we eat. The other is stress management. Continue reading My day… Monday, Sept. 29th so far…
Things I did well this week:
- Planning an appropriate amount of work
- Planning work that BigGuy found interesting and engaging
- Planning around events we scheduled
- Reading our character building book
- Working (unexpectedly) a consignment sale fundraiser (for a friend whose kids were sick) and although EX. HAUST. ED. I really handled all my responsibilities well! WOOT!
- And on that note, bought some good shirts for BigGuy at above-referenced sale.
- Nearly kept up on our new (or rather, return-to-former) laundry routine where nobody has hampers–all laundry is collected every morning and a load is done every day. BAM!
- Not losing my sh!t on anyone. This is actually an accomplishment because my PTSD therapy in the last week was rough.
Things I did not do well this week:
- Having backup plans when primary plans fell through–which left us kind of in a not-great situation sometimes.
- Finding engaging things to do with Girly because truly, I didn’t realize how this whole new “wake up and work with Papa” thing would pan out
- Reading to either of my kids
- Doing the socratic discussions with BigGuy. To be fair, this was partly my not wanting Friday to be C O N S T A N T discussion/analysis and partly because we had an emergency plan-change for Saturday that left me missing Girly’s soccer game (and a night out for someone’s 40th birthday that I was really looking forward to) and canceling attendance at a kids birthday party.
- Apparently I may not have enforced the deodorant rules well enough to BigGuy because his Friday discussion group leader sent out an e-mail to all of us parents requesting some body odor enforcement. I’m not sure if it was BigGuy (since I didn’t notice offensive odor… this week) or someone else. But note to self: bear down on this one.
- Definitely did not enforce the bathroom chore routine well enough with BigGuy. But also didn’t enforce any chore routines with Girly, either.
- Keeping my grumpy on the down-low at times. Like when there was a detour for a field trip and I had zero contact numbers to find out where to go. I’d been told “the big main entrance–parking lot is right there, you can’t miss it” only to find out 1) there were no less than 6 parking lots; and 2) we weren’t going to the big, main entrance. And my car was out of gas. In an area I didn’t know well. And I was really, really grumpy about it to other people including adults.
Other things that happened this week:
- Girly has become a brick wall goalie. I seriously cannot even…
- BigGuy decided that he would start going to bed without a parent laying down with him “so that he could start doing sleepovers”. This is simultaneously an awesome day and the worst day of my life. I knew it was coming just like when you KNOW someone is going to die of a terminal illness and yet, it blindsides you anyway. So far, we have discovered that we need a “goodnight” routine as I wound up without a kiss goodnight.
- Girly decided to start doing HER OWN hair. Have you seen this kid’s hair, folks? This is a picture of what it looks like for her to “do her own hair”. She pretty much flattens the top with water and I’m not really sure what hair “utensil”. She does it often and is VERY proud of herself… so I compliment her every time and remind myself that we will absolutely HAVE to REALLY do her hair the next morning rather than slack.
- We went on a crazy awesome field trip to a municipal airport and aviation school that included the control tower.
- We wound up with 4 shares of Community-Sponsored Agriculture (CSA) farm shares to manage. Two that we normally get from our farm plus two more that people did not pick up from our house (which serves as a host site for a local CSA farm). This would normally be an awesome thing.
- BigGuy and Girly are clearly fighting off illness. Between Illinois being one of the 6 states with confirmed cases of Enterovirus and close friends kids coming down with Coxsackie… I’m concerned. Last night, BigGuy let out a few coughs in the middle of the night (for more on why this is a big deal, see BigGuy’s background)
Overall, I think it was a decent week. I would love to be downtown drinking with a bunch of happy women celebrating a 40th birthday right now, but I will take a hot bath and soft bed after this day of being on my feet ALL. DAY. and up since early (for a work-related meeting before covering at the sale).
Upshot is that BigGuy is happier and feels like the dynamics of the household have changed for the better with this recent change in who is getting up when and doing what.
I can’t lie that there is a very, very tiny part of me that is sad that Papa gets to connect with the boy instead of me. I mean, I know he loves me and all. I just wish I had the resources right now to connect with him more meaningfully. Or that I was at least gaining something else in the absence of that connection. Like maybe connecting with Girly. They grow up so fast. I just need to focus on the gratitude for having a husband that gives them that rather than my kids lacking it completely.
I’m sitting here listening to the sounds of Girly crying in her room and BigGuy finishing an hour’s worth of trying to clean the bathroom vanity in my room.
I’m not exactly getting this “teaching practical life skills” thing down very well.
Ideally, these are things that would have grown with us as a family–learned and added as time wore on. But that’s not what happened. Instead of gently ushering my kids into independence and the keeping of their environment, my untreated PTSD led to a rather volatile “mom can’t take any more of the mess and freaks out” method of trying to keep house. Only further derailed or enhanced, of course, by 7 moves in 4 years (Girly aged 8mo-4 and BigGuy aged 6-10… formative years).
Now my kids have grown into a lifestyle of simply not taking care of their things and not really wanting to keep the household clean. Mama’s upset about the state of all of it doesn’t really move anyone because Mama’s been kind of a b*tch for the last several years as the symptoms of her condition got worse.
So… first, Mama canceled this afternoon’s events “because obviously we need more time to get things done”. That resulted in lots of playing. Cool that they’re having a good time, but Mama can’t do it all by herself. Then I tried some consistent redirection. #fail
The biggest mistake Mama made was telling them that I sold tonights tickets to “the circus” (it’s really Cirque Shanghai). Oh my. They get upset, but they don’t exactly get motivated to do anything. In fact, sometimes BigGuy will cry and plead that “he’ll do AAAANNNYYYYthing” to get whatever he lost back and sometimes, I fall for it. I tell him to do some subset of what he was responsible for and he still won’t do it.
The whole thing is really just a parenting mess that needs to be made right. And the way I’m handling it is nothing positive… which is making everyone miserable and not exactly suring up the shaky foundation we’re working with.
Mama’s decided that I need to be WITH my kids as they do this–talking them through it and helping them find joy in the process until it becomes a habit. I need to be engaged instead of just barking out orders.
I feel like a truck hit me this morning. My back is still hurting so badly that I’m going to my first ever acupuncture appointment later this afternoon (the only time I could get an appointment AND child-coverage). Papa had calls starting at 8am but had made deviled eggs for us for breakfast. I proced to sleep on and off until 9am. We did our morning snuggles and the kids went down to eat deviled eggs.
I wish I could tell you WHAT the heck happened after that, but I have no idea. All I know is that it was quiet. So I laid in bed, realizing that I had not dug out (or purchased) the stuff I needed for BigGuy’s notebook; I did not go through the mountain of books that just arrived in the mail (okay, “mountain” is obvious exaggeration–but probably about a dozen); and I didn’t write anything in the boy’s planner.
And they were really quiet for a REALLY long time.
So I got up, got dressed, washed up… and they were still quiet.
They were so quiet that I went downstairs to investigate. Or to look for my earbuds so that I could potentially meditate. Whatever. No kids. Whaaaaa….? WHERE ARE THE KIDS? And then I caught the light under the (closed) basement door. HA! They were playing in the basement. TOGETHER.
So I ran upstairs and started my meditation (Chopra just kicked off a new free 21-day challenge and they’re made for newbies… I highly recommend it). And then I got to printing off stuff I need to teach my kids.
But dude… it’s Tuesday. Maybe we’ll just mulligan this and start again on Monday? Eh… maybe not. I’m sure I’ll have my crap together by the week of Labor Day. And since I grew up in the Northeast–that’s about when we would be starting school anyway. So this is all just “practice”. We’re easing in.
And I really hate Egypt.