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. 🙂

IMG_20150413_122647

Advertisements

Halfway Parenting

I am tired of halfway parenting.

I don’t mean parents who are not involved at all, or “un-parents” (see also “couch mama“). Those people are on a whole different level.

I mean parents who take their kids places or sign them up for things and then stop parenting as soon as they walk in the door.

For example, Matthew had floor hockey Saturday morning, a wonderful and inexpensive program put on by Goal Sports. It is a nice excuse to get out of the house and give the kids exposure to different sports, the idea of teamwork, commitment, etc. the games take place at a roller rink, which is divided into 3 floor hockey rinks.

We got there about 15 minutes before it started so we could grab a booth to sit in and watch, mostly so I could pin Zane the wanderer (see Brilliant or Lazy?) up against the wall and actually watch the game. This, of course, backfired because he was antsy by the time the kids finished practicing (they practice 1/2 hour and then play a game for 1/2 hour) and so Matt and I took turns holding him while Matthew was playing, and then letting him run around with his sister and I when Matthew was not.

There is an abundance of people there and most were very attentive to their offspring, but here are a couple of things I noticed as I walked Zane.

1. One of the kids from the 3 and 4 year old team running around and playing across every “rink” while his coach had the rest of the team huddled up for instruction. Look, if you are in the program to help your kid get some structure and you are letting him run around like an animal instead of encouraging him to join his team, you are a halfway parent.

2. One kid climbing all over the walls next to the “please don’t climb” sign. If your kid can’t read, the sign is for you to translate for them, halfway parent.

3. Three kids sitting on top of the Skee-ball machines, which is obviously not what they are there for. If your kid does not know about respecting property and the intended use of things, maybe you shouldn’t let them out of your sight, halfway parent.

4. A baby that was barely crawling continuously licking the disgusting carpet while being babysat by her (maybe) three year old brother, no adult in sight. Hope you enjoy explaining to your doctor how your baby was infected with Dysentary, halfway parent.

Almost everywhere I go I continuously bite my tongue. A problem that comes with being a teacher is that I correct behavior all day every day without a second thought, but when I am out in public I feel like I shouldn’t do it because I have no relationship with these kids (and they might have crazy parents nearby). I am beginning think that’s wrong.

In the parents’ defense, perhaps I just happened upon a moment of weakness and the parent was in the bathroom or taking an emergency phone call or just having a quick ciggy in the parking lot (kidding).

We need to stop worrying about the repercussions of correcting the behavior of children that aren’t ours, because sometimes parents might not drop the ball on purpose. Kids need to learn right from wrong, no matter WHAT adult is helping them. We should worry more about kids that are never getting corrected, because if they mess up, it isn’t their problem, it’s all of ours.

If you see one of my kids messing up and I’m not around, help me out. I promise to do the same. In the mean time, do you have an “unparent” story?

Why I Don’t Watch Television

IMG_1563

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?

Brilliant or Lazy?

I am an anti-crowd mom. I rarely take my kids anywhere if we can’t get there right when the place opens. I can’t decide if this is because I’m too impatient to wait in lines or because I like to know where my kids are in strange places and the more people there are, the harder that becomes.

While I need to be aware of my kids’ whereabouts, I hate hovering over them. For example, when Ryann was almost 2, I tied a balloon to the back of her jeans so that I could eyeball her location at a big hall party without actually following her around like a horse poop shoveler at a parade.

There is an age, for my littles anyway, that kids want to wander and don’t want to listen. Zane will be 2 in March and has hit that age. You would think that I would keep that in mind and would never leave home without a stroller to strap him in. You would be wrong.

The Rotary Club sponsored a “Turn Off The Violence” fun fair that was free for kids this past weekend. Matt and Ryann had plans so I thought it would be fun to take the boys for a bit so they could get tired out their faces painted and balloons twisted.

It was an excellent event and they really enjoyed it. I, of course, spent the majority of the time trying to talk Zane into staying with us by chasing him down and yelling his name (my voice was drowned out by the clown’s microphone) while carrying their ninja turtle balloon animals, a huge beach ball, and their swag bag.

When I finally caved in and grabbed the little jerk guy a hot dog, we sat peacefully for almost 7 minutes watching the magic show. Then he was off again. Luckily, Matthew can recognize my letsgetthehellouttahere face so we grabbed our things and left. Zane was asleep before we pulled out of the parking lot, and I decided that for the immediate future, when going anywhere with a crowd, we should always stop and grab a balloon on the way.

IMG_1562

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.