Report Cards

This week was a busy week as it was report card time for both my students and my daughter.

As usual, Ryann did AMAZING and received high compliments from her teachers and we of course were very proud.  This is not surprising to us, as she has been always dedicated and very organized (with regards to school, not her bedroom) and willing to put the time in to get better.  She is a people-pleaser.  At age 3 her preschool teacher said she needed to get better at cutting, and I swear she spent hours sitting in the kitchen turning every scrap paper in the house into a pile of shreds.  That same year the dentist told her it was time to lose the pacifier (I know, 2 years after I should’ve taken it) and she never touched one again.  (Of course recently, she told me that when the dentist told her that, she would have dreams that he was watching her through a telescope to make sure she didn’t take one anymore-whoops!)

I often tell my middle school students (when they come unprepared) that Ryann still has every pencil that I bought for her when she started kindergarten.  I am not exaggerating.  She keeps a separate pencil pouch in her backpack with “homework supplies” and she uses it to complete her homework and then returns everything to its spot.  She often does things like pack her gym shoes, piano books, etc. without a reminder from us.  She did not acquire these skills from me. I am always rifling through my purse/car/house looking for crap that I just HAD two seconds ago.

So I am not sure whether to attribute her wonderful qualities to the fact that she is the oldest, or she is a girl, or a unicorn child- but it is not a direct result of my parenting.  If I were to get a report card for that, I would most likely receive average grades unless death stares and teeth baring were graded (A+!).  So I tried to figure out what my grades might be if I were to be graded on MY most important job.

Subject Grade Comment
Domestic Organization D Works hard but has difficulty with subject
Instilling Fear in the Hearts of Children A Would benefit from learning self-control skills
Loving A Demonstrates positive character traits.
Domestic Sanitation C Requires guidance to remain focused and complete tasks.
Wine Consumption A Is an enthusiastic learner.
Culinary Skills C Does well when he/she slows down and checks his/her work carefully.

So as you can see, there are many areas where I definitely have room to improve and others where I feel I am excelling. However, on any given day, this report card could look very different. Like I tell my kids, the most important thing is that they are trying. 🙂

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The Evolution of a Diaper Bag

When I had my first, I was over-prepared for every situation.  I am not exaggerating when I say that our first trip up north included packing my jeep to the ceiling with every little baby thing that her heart might desire.  Was I really SO nervous that I wouldn’t hear her crying in a LOG CABIN that I had to pack her video monitor?  Was a 4 week old baby going to miss her bouncy seat so much that she couldn’t be without it for 48 hours?  Would her grandparents be able to hold her without a boppy?  Those are chances that I was not willing to take.  My diaper bag was jam-packed.  It had the obvious necessities like enough diapers to last a week, wipes, butt cream, pacifiers, etc.  But it also contained a first aid kit, manicure kit, toys, snacks (in color-coordinated containers), burp rags, bibs, sunscreen, tylenol, gripe water, bug spray, stickers, a mini etch-a-sketch, and an assortment of other things I couldn’t imagine living without.  It was always packed and ready to go, and it matched my stroller, purse, and sometimes even the baby.  I had the mom thing down.

When Matthew came along, I lightened the load a little, mostly because my diaper bag evolved into a toddler backpack that Ryann liked to carry.  It had just a few diapers and wipes, a change of clothes for the baby, a few snacks maybe, and whatever random junk she wanted to shove in there to entertain herself or her brother with.  On more than one occasion I opened the bag to find that there were no actual baby items inside, not including the things that were important to my then 2 year-old (who probably could pack a better diaper bag than me today at age 6).  Eventually the backpack became her backpack and I started carrying baby supplies in my purse, or purse supplies in my diaper bag, depending on how you look at it.  My years of motherhood had made me wiser. I found that the secret to parenting success was often the ability to produce a sucker when the kids were losing their patience.

Now Zane is lucky if I ever even have a bag with stuff for him when we are out and about.  When he was a newborn, I would try to remember to shove a diaper and a burp rag in my back pocket as we headed out the door.  Now, he’s 2.  When I realize that we will be gone for long and I don’t have a diaper bag with me, I have been known to ask him to “please not poop” while we are gone.   I have a sad little diaper that probably hasn’t fit him in 6 months shoved underneath my driver seat for “an emergency.”    I have wiped his nose on a receipt from my purse.  I have bitten off his nails in a pinch.  If he is desperate for a snack I reach into the depths of my purse with hopes of encountering at least a dusty mint or pacifier to appease him. I haven’t given up on parenting or being prepared, or even my pride (though it may not appear so).  I just have learned that there are more important things to worry about.  I have found that you can find snacks and diapers almost anywhere, most times a kiss works better than a band-aid, and that last-minute outings with the kids are fun whether we have our bag there or not.  And if push comes to shove,  I can usually throw myself on the mercy of a new mom.  Chances are she will have what I need in her diaper bag.

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Love Me, Love My Van

Like many moms, I always thought, “it could never happen to me.”

I am youngish, hip, fun.  Besides, my mom drives a mini van, and I am oodles cooler than her.

Baby one fit just fine in the back of my SUV, and when baby two came along they had plenty of legroom in the back of my truck.  Enter baby three, and that sexy Dodge Ram seemed silly.  What kind of fool would I look like shot-putting the baby car seat into the back and then crawling through the front to strap in the middle little?  It was time to shop for something more (gulp) practical.

I thought (and still think) a full-size SUV would be perfect.  However, with a two- and four-year-old that still needed assistance getting buckled, the thought of having to crawl in and out of a backseat to help them, (coupled with the fact that 99% of the time I am sweaty and stressed before we get in the car) made an SUV less than appealing.

Next, I considered budget.  I am pretty cheap thrifty when it comes to most things, which is why on any given day you see me dressed in head-to-toe Target.  Even a bare-bones SUV was still a couple hundred more a month than a mini-van lease, and min-van manufacturers know how to turn the heads of the most dedicated “cool” moms.  How could you turn down this deal when leather and a DVD player come standard?  What kind of mother would I be if I denied my children their fundamental right to in-car entertainment?  Did I mention that it comes with headphones, so my kids can watch Frozen 1000 times and I can listen to the radio?  And the cupholders.  MY GOD THE CUPHOLDERS.  There has to be space for 12 drinks in that thing.  And a backup camera, which I can’t imagine living without.  And the doors open at the push of a button.

So that’s it.  For now, and the immediate future, I’m a mini-van mama.  Go ahead and judge, I have enough friends; six of whom I can seat comfortably with luggage and up to two drinks per person.

Do you love your van?

Mom party.
Mom party.

Why I Don’t Watch Television

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When someone talks about current television shows, I imagine they probably think I’m some kind of freak when I let them know that I don’t watch television. The truth is, I CAN’T watch television.

Tonight, for example, Ryann and Matt went to the Daddy Daughter Date Night, leaving me alone with the boys. I have been pecking away at watching the first season of Parenthood on Netflix (5 years after it started) so I figured I could knock an episode out before bath time. Here is a clean version of how the first 10 minutes went for me.

1:12 Tell Matthew to move out of the way of the television.

1:30 Matthew asks if he can drink the rest of my water bottle. I agree. He proceeds to start shaking it up and down right next to my ear. I ignore him and turn up the volume.

1:59 Zane, now aware that there is a water bottle making fun noises and said water bottle is not in his possession, begins to chase Matthew and scream.

2:15 I ask them again to quiet down and turn the volume up again.

2:40 Matthew continues to taunt Zane and Zane chases him around the couch. I tell Matthew to give Zane the water. He complies, Zane climbs up on the couch and begins shaking the bottle and crackling it near my ear. I grab the water bottle and throw it away.

3:10 Zane is mad because Matthew is sitting closer to me. Matthew teases him by laying across me. I move to the other side of the couch.

3:43 Zane begins to wrestle with Matthew on the couch. Since they are actually quieter now that they are wrestling, I let it slide.

4:55 Since their behavior has not needed correcting in a full minute, they decide to step it up a notch. Matthew starts by sitting on the arm of the couch and then falling backwards onto a pillow he has set up. I ignore him.

5:41 Matthew is apparently sick of being the only one risking his life so he somehow convinces Zane to lay down with his feet by the arm of the couch so that as Matthew flips off backwards he can pull Zane down with him by his ankles.

6:15 I recognize that I am the only one that can stop this from happening so I yell at them to stop.

6:30 They start to wrestle on the floor by my feet. I tell them again to stop, and emphasize my point by throwing every pillow within arms reach at them.

6:42 I tell Matthew if he can’t stop messing with Zane, then maybe he should go upstairs. He goes upstairs. (This is suspicious, but whatevs-Zane will sit quietly with me).

7:33 Matthew begins to make a whistling noise at the top of the stairs like some mini Pied Piper and Zane starts to head towards the stairs. I ignore him.

8:03 I can hear the boys wrestling upstairs so I run up and grab Zane to avoid having him thrown down the stairs.

8:40 Zane heads back for the stairs. I grab him and put him back next to me on the couch.

8:50 Zane heads back for the stairs. I grab him and put him back next to me on the couch.

9:00 Zane heads back for the stairs. I grab him and put him back next to me on the couch.

Since I have missed about seven out of nine minutes of the program, I turn it off and put on Disney Junior. Like magic, Zane settles in next to me and Matthew comes down, apologizes, and snuggles in on the other side.

All television watching did for me was give me a sore throat and a headache and a messier living room, which is why my main source of relaxation is reading or sleeping, which is what I should be doing now…

How do you get your T.V. fix?

Here I Go Again…

So I’ve taken a few years hiatus from writing anything but notes to my nana and grocery lists.

After baby #3 I went from being a part-of-the-time writer to a full-time wiper.

I’ve come to realize that it is very ironic to be a writing teacher that doesn’t write.

I am starting to blog again as a way to take some time for myself and to have my stories preserved through something other than my Timehop app.

I am a loving, sarcastic, laid-back, middle-of-the-road mama and would describe myself as the same kind of wife.

I love to read.  I want to become a better writer.  I also like the idea of having something the kids can look at when I’m deep in the throes of dementia.

A friend suggested wordpress as my new blog platform, so here I am!  My old blogs can be found at http://www.downrivermom1.blogspot.com along with some writing on the Trenton/Grosse Ile Patch website.