Monday, May 17, 2010

The Things You Learn on the Public School Bus

Yes, there have been a lot of things learned on the school bus. But what I was referring to specifically was Flurpee, the eight year-old, discovering our neighbor two houses down has a second-grade girl, too! She is unbelievably excited to have someone she can play with so nearby. And this girl is an only child, so the mom is absolutely thrilled to find someone her daughter can play with.

Win-win.


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Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why I Chose to Have Kids

Deb challenged me to figure out my reasons for having kids. My post was actually written years ago (seriously--two years ago) and shelved because I was not sure how to continue; couldn't come up with a decent segue. I do know some reasons why I wanted to have kids. Some were more important that others.

A few of my lesser reasons for choosing to have kids include some of the more fun ones. I wanted to see how I would do at being a parent. I hope my kids will be like me--I'm one of my favorite people! I wanted a chance to raise kids who might think and support the same ideas I do. They choose what to believe, but I'm hopeful. I enjoy being able to see them develop, change, and grow. My husband is good with kids and I really enjoy seeing that fun side of him with our own kids. And I think there are a couple of other reasons I cannot recall at the moment.

My most important reason for having children has to do with the intimacy that makes children possible. There is no more concrete representation of my marriage and my commitment to my husband than to create an entire other human being with him; a child that is partly me and partly him. Along with that purely physical joining, we also commit to dealing with each other for at least 18 years. Making decisions together regarding parenting issues for the duration of their minority. Though there is no guarentee that we will always be together, at the time we decided to have children, we had every intention of devoting ourselves to each other and our family for 20 or more years.

There are things I did not think were important. I did not think they would provide me with company. I can do that quite well by myself. I do not expect them to take care of me, though I hope they like me well enough to consider it. I did not worry I might screw the kids up irretrievably. I was pretty sure I could do better than that. I was not trying to compensate for any lack in my own upbringing. My own childhood was not perfect, some of which was out of my parents control, and some of which was. There are aspects of my childhood that my kids will not have to deal with and decisions to prevent those were made long before my decision to actually have children.

Guests!

We are having my husband's sister in from out of town next week! I am excited and yet my house needs so much work. Got to crack the whip!



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Friday, May 14, 2010

Being a Parent

For some people, having kids is a duty. Having children may be something you do for you humankind to perpetuate the species. It could be the hope that your religion will grow in numbers. Many people have children to assure their care into their old age. In more rural areas and times, children could be useful around the family farm or homestead. Male children can carry on the family name (depending on your culture) and estate. Daughters may be accomplished or beautiful and could increase the family esteem through a favorable marriage. Many of those reasons have been cited when people are deciding to have kids.


The sad fact is that people didn't need to decide why to have kids. Children came as a natural result of living. There were few reliable methods of contraception. Preventing children is against the teaching of Catholicism (yes, yes--they've okayed the rhythm method, but I'll bet someone could easily argue that having sex knowing you couldn't conceive is right up there with withdrawal). Fertile women could do nothing more than raise kids. Many families may have considered a child 'just another mouth to feed.' Children were a common commodity and not necessarily well-received.


I'm fortunate to live at a time and in a political environment when reliable contraception is available. My reproduction is almost completely within my control without sacrificing an essential part of what it means to be human and in love (sex--hopefully good). I am glad that I've been able to decide to become a mother.


By most accounts kids are difficult, inconvenient, costly, time-consuming, and resource-consuming. When they're infants, they wake you up, need to be fed frequently and you have to change their diapers. When they're toddlers they have nightmares, have a hard time going to sleep, still need to be fed frequently, and the diaper situation may be less frequent--but the job is necessarily bigger. As they become kids there's education, toys, play dates, and toilet training. All along you are constantly watching out for personal hygiene, removing trash more frequently, doing extra laundry, cooking, shopping, putting away toys, asking them to put away toys, trying to teach chores. It is easy to understand why people choose to not have children.

I'm not exactly sure why I knew I was going to have kids at even a young age. Perhaps it had to do with people around me talking as though it was an inevitability. In fact, even though I knew children could be rewarding, I was completely surprised by the sheer joy I felt after having them.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Today: Just Nice

After feeding all the children breakfast, I dropped the older two at school and headed to a park with the youngest for two hours. We headed to the grocery store and got some rations for the weekend. Lunch is much easier when I have fresh food. I played cars for a while and then went upstairs to work on a project for Flurpee (I signed on to make her a dress). Omega followed me upstairs and actually fell asleep while I was sewing. I made significant progress on the simple item and even used two new techniques. The big kids came home and I made us dinner just in time for Hanover's band concert. At the end of the night we had a nice, long conversation with a friend.

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A New Rule: Trying to Tame the Laundry

There are a few things that my darling, dear children do that are likely to drive me totally wild. On the current top of the list: complaining about not have clothes to wear because they are dirty. Since I am in charge of laundry, that would be a legitimate complaint to lay at my door. Except when I have done laundry and their clothes were not handed over for processing.

Usually I find their clothes on the floor of their room, on their desks or dressers, on the floor of their closet, hanging over their stuffed hampers, under beds, and even on chairs. Not only does this cause a big issue for my work of the laundry, but it also keeps their rooms well beyond navigable, not to mention how much dirtier the rooms look--and they are always at some level of disaster.

I have tried reminders and explanations to no avail. I have sat with them while they cleaned up. Since I have no job left other than toddler-parenting and housekeeping with my two oldest now attending public school, I have been very attentive of the laundry recently. Once I finished what was in the laundry room, I was quite satisfied with myself. Until I realized that I had almost as much laundry still in the kids' rooms.

Now we have a nightly inspection of each of their rooms. All clothing needs to be on hangars, in the hamper, or in their drawers. Not on the floor. Not on chairs (unless it's laid out for the next day). Not on top of dressers, desks, or chairs. Not in the bottom of the closet. For each item left out they pay me a dollar. It had to be enough to make them notice and it had to represent how much it means to me. This is no small change for them since they only get $4 and $5 a week. Just one item each night would have them in the red.

It worked well tonight, but it's a matter of discipline at this point. Discipline on my part! I have to remember to check each night (warning given first to help them plan their time, but only for a while). I have to remember to remove the amount from their allowance (there's an app for that), if there is anything to remove. Reminder added into my calendar for each night. Done!

Perhaps the money will not give them internal motivation. Maybe when they move out of the house they will keep their houses like pig sties. I could not care less. That will be their problem. This, right now, is a problem I am having with them. I am willing to try this idea for the mindless laundry pick up that needs to be done regularly.

Monday, May 10, 2010

My View on Co-Sleeping: Oh No, You Can't Sleep Here

I just had my husband drag the toddler out of our bed. He wanted to go to sleep with us instead of sleeping in his own bed. Part of our lovely routine of Omega trying to avoid going to sleep. I know there are a lot of people trying to decide whether sleeping with your baby is the best or worst thing to do. I do not have an opinion about whether it is best for the kids. I certainly have an opinion about whether it is best for me. I tried it when I was nursing my first. I have heard how fabulous it is to nurse the baby and get as much sleep as possible. Um, except I could not sleep. I didn't even get the precious hour or two of sleep between feedings. It was a combination of worrying about the child, not being able to move into comfortable positions while sleeping, not having enough room in the bed, worrying about waking up the kid, getting kicked, and more. I did not like it. I did not get more sleep. The baby/toddler/kid would sleep in their own room. And that was all I needed to know it was not for me.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

I cannot say enough about how much I love being a parent. I am so pleased that I decided to have kids. I hope I can express to my kids how much I love them and the joy they have brought to my life.


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Saturday, May 08, 2010

Book Club: Anna Karenina

An interesting comment was made about Anna Karenina during my in-real-life book club. That the book dealt with issues that we still face today. Though the book is over 100 years old, there were similar conflicts and discussions occuring today.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

In Which I Am a Bad Mom: "Mom, Why Don't You Make My Lunch Like All the Other Kids' Moms?"

From my 11 year-old, Hanover: "Mom, why don't you make my lunch? All the other kids' moms make their lunch."

Because I know you can do it yourself, just like you've been doing it since you were 7.
Because I want you to know you don't have to rely on other people for things you can do yourself.
Because you know best what you want.
Maybe the other kids don't know how to do it themselves.
Because I don't want to.

And Flurpee, at 8, is making her own lunches, too.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Ch-Ch-Changes

On Wednesday, I enrolled my youngest daughter in school. There are a few questions I think anyone might have on that news: I thought you said you were going to wait until next year? Why didn't we hear anything for warning? and Why bother enrolling her now that the school year is almost over?

The short version: I was going to wait until next year. I couldn't give any warning because I didn't know I was going to do it myself. Attending school for a couple of months is better than being at home and getting very little accomplished.

The long version: I actually had a 'revelation' while recording the podcast. I said something off the cuff that I later realized was an accurate, succint statement of why Flurpee was so hard to motivate at home. Once she knew she was going to public school eventually, she was waiting for "real" school to start. I made the statement on Saturday. I realized how true it was on Sunday. I wondered about whether the school would take such a late enrollment on Monday. Called on Monday. Had her evaluated on Monday. And had her in school on Wednesday.

Even my husband did not realize that I was planning to put her in school. Normally, this is one of those decision about our family that I would consult with him first and make sure he was on board. Since he was on-board with the plan to send Flurpee next year and we had already decided which grade to put her in, I figured the timing would not change things drastically. He was quite shocked however when I told him I scheduled an evaluation for Flurpee and asked him to pick up the health forms on his way home from work. A short talk brought him around to my way of thinking.

Enrolling Flurpee at the end of the year would mean a chance for her to learn the ropes with her big sister still around. She would have her first school experience while things were exciting and not particularly demanding. If there were any issues, I would know about them to help over the summer.

Now I am home with just Omega.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Podcast Links

Here are links to the stores, venders, and items mentioned during the podcast.

Tobin's Labs I'm glad to know about another homeschool science supplier
Home Science Tools
Rainbow Resource
Institute for Excellence in Writing
The Book Peddler
Teaching Textbooks
Amazon.com

Slide stains from Home Science Tools and Tobin Labs--in case you are literally bleeding for your homeschool and want to make a teaching moment out of it.

It's a Podcast! A Podcast for Active-Minded Parents and Homeschoolers #1: Introductions and Mass Hope

Christine and I were excited to try podcasting. It's an exciting medium that has been done so well by others. We wanted to explore podcasting for our particular interests of academic-oriented homeschooling and other general parenting. It's a fairly casual discussion and we hope to hear back from anyone who listens to let us know there are people listening.










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Monday, May 03, 2010

Blog-a-Thon

I am not sure what I was thinking, but I joined a blog-a-thon committed to posting every day in May. Obviously I did not get off to a great start. I learned about the blog-a-thon from Blogging 'Bout Boys. There are 100 participants.

I decided to do this as a personal challenge. I only like to blog when the mood strikes me. I was curious about whether I could come up with any ideas when I needed them instead of waiting for inspiration.

Obviously, this first post was a given!