Why Parents Don't.....

Why responsible parents don't.......

Let toddlers pour their own cereal:

Although, you have to admit, he did a pretty darn good job, you know, if he were feeding the entire family......and we ate face first like the cat.....

 Let their toddlers do the cleaning:

In case you are wondering why this is an issue.....that is the toilet brush he is mopping the floor with.

Don't assume homework is being done just because a child looks busy:

Vocabulary Flashcard

Vocabulary flashcard

Um, vocabulary pictionary card?


Voice of Reason

A flip switched this weekend. Or perhaps I just reached that milestone (one of the ones that they don't keep track of once we get past adolescence) in which the Calm Voice of Prudence wins out over the Demanding Screams of the Inner Child. It took me long enough, I know. But hey, at least it happened.

You see, the Monster Dash Half Marathon was Saturday. I have been running for a few weeks now, slowly, cautiously but running none the less. Last week I was able to complete an eight mile jog, with very little in the way of repercussions afterwards. I have spent months now working through the physical therapy exercises that seem to take up far too much of my day but also seem to be helping. And so, with my new zero-gravity Hoka One One shoes in hand, well, on my feet technically, (think marshmallow boats) I decided I would go ahead and do the Monster Dash with my friend, running very slow miles, until I needed to stop. No one really thought I could do that for it isn't in my nature (the slow nor the stopping). Shoot, even I doubted my ability to keep hold of the reins under such circumstances.

But, after getting past the initial longing to line up right behind the elite runners, I soon found myself on a nice, gentle run with good company and all sorts of time to people watch. It was like being a moving spectator. Why, this isn't nearly as bad as I had imagined, I thought.

As I was nearing the point where the 10 mile race veers off to its finish and the half marathon race continues on, I told my running partner that I was not going to go the distance. I needed to stop, to play it safe, to listen to my body. I wished her well and then took the path toward the 10 mile finish. But as I neared the finish line I hesitated. I actually jumped into the grassy median between the two roads and ran alongside the 13 milers until I had to stop and make a decision: go against my gut and push on, or walk to the buses and ride to the post-race party knowing I hadn't finished the race I signed up for.

My Inner Child screamed at me: We don't quit in the middle! We don't run just some of the way! We don't stop short! Don't be a woos! But, my Wiser Self came through strong and clear: Sometimes you have to lose a battle in order to win a war. Sometimes you have to be forward thinking, not stuck in the immediate. Sometimes you have to play it safe now so that you can continue to play later. Keep your eye on the ball. (The ball is Boston, child, Boston!)

And when none of those tactics worked, Wise Old Prudence aimed low and asked the Bratty Child: Do you really want such a slow time to show up on our record? And BAM! Just like that, I walked off the course.

Point for Wisdom.

(I have learned that we often have to work with people from where they are, not from where we want them to be. That's just life and apparently it even holds true when we are dealing with our own inner discourse. I have a feeling this battle is not entirely over though. Just a hunch.)


The Homework Conundrum

I don't mean to keep coming back to the same old issues but I have to revisit the problem of homework.

Yesterday was a very difficult day. A very, very difficult day indeed. Aidan pulled out every trick he knows (did I mention it was difficult?):

"It's too hard."

"I'm not smart enough to do it."

"I can't do it."

"It's too much. It can't be done."

"It's not fair."

"I don't want to go to this school. It's too much work."

And the whining and complaining and Crocodile Tears and bumping things around went on and on and on. For over an hour. At which point he finally asked for help. And after he agreed to calm down, I got him started on his reading questions (there were four.....they took just over TEN minutes.....to finish all of them.....) And we talked about using his time more wisely and how he would be done already if....blah blah blah, same old, same old, I could be a politician, blah blah.....and then he got to work and within an hour or so had finished up two days worth of math as well. Problem solved. No pun intended.

And then this morning, I found the real answer to why Aidan can't seem to get his homework done.

Because he is doing other things......

Like creating this......

Maybe now Gibson is equipped to help fight off the evil homework demons so that Aidan can get his work done in a more timely manner......maybe.....


That Kind of Week

It never ceases to amaze me how the ridiculous things in life seem to clump together. You know, like when you can't find your car keys and you look everywhere, finally find them and are ready to head out the door, but then you can't locate your cell phone and so you call yourself from your land line, trying to listen for the ring and then you remember the battery is dead and so you have to search and of course it is right where you left it, plugged into the charger IN THE CAR and then when you arrive at your destination you realize you forgot your purse/wallet/money/grocery-list/coupons/you get the point and the story goes on and on and on. (INHALE! There's nothing quite like a good run-on sentence to set the mood....)

Or how about when you want to take pictures of something cute your kids are doing and you realize the camera battery is dead so you reach for the camcorder and find out that you have no film, so you decide to use your cell phone and find you are all out of space and by the time you delete enough photos to take the picture, your kids are off doing something far less amusing like pouring out the cat's litter box and food all over the basement floor. (SOLLY!)

Well, that's the kind of week I have been having. You've got to know it is one of those weeks when  you manage to step on a dead mouse in the gym parking lot the day after you clean up the dead Robin on your deck (who killed himself flying into the window, stupid bird....betcha wish you couldn't afford to fly now, don't ya, poor little robin?!)

I had forgotten about this incident actually......yes, it is in fact possible to step right into the middle of a squished pile of oozing mouse and forget about it ten minutes later.....How, you ask? Have five kids and then get back to me.

As I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself, I had forgotten about stepping into the smear of dead mouse until I was doing some physical therapy exercises later that evening and heard something scratching around in the walls. I didn't think much of it as I have all but surrendered to the fact that despite owning an eager and hungry predatory animal, we attract, and probably breed, the little buggers in our basement. I just shrugged my shoulders at the sound of scattering about in the fireplace and went to bed, leaving the hunting for the cat.

The next morning, after throwing my neck into a knot of spasms while rolling out of bed in just the wrong fashion, I proceeded to make my tomato-cheese-egg scramble when I realized I needed something downstairs. At the bottom of the staircase, I was met with a very happy kitty, gnawing away on a long-tailed, headless creature. At first all I saw was the tail shooting out of his mouth but then he decided to give me a nice little showing of the headless mouse as if to brag about his accomplishment. For some ill-conceived reason, it was at that point I tried to get Leroy to let go so that I could throw the carcass away before it made a big, bloody mess on the carpet. He clamped down hard, teeth against bone, and out shot what appeared to be a tiny stomach, duodenum and all. (At least, it is what I imagine my stomach would look like if I were a mouse...) I was so revolted yet so completely mesmerized by the tiny body part that I snatched it up in a plastic bag and took it to show everyone upstairs. (Yes, I really did.)

Needless-to-say, no one else was quite as fascinated. And no one enjoyed anymore of their breakfast either I don't think, myself included.

Later that evening, the girls, Liam, Solly and I went to the craft store to find little chickens to make Madeline's diorama for a school project, because what more fun could you possibly imagine having than taking four small children to the craft store late on a Friday night? We searched for an hour and could not find exactly what we were looking for (seriously, you'd think chickens would be easier to come by y'all). We finally opted for some brown pom-poms, googly eyes and colored paper from which we shall attempt to make our own darn chickens. I have to admit, I couldn't help but think, if only she were doing a story about dead mice.....actually, given that she has a first year teacher, the shock value alone might be worth making one up.....

And THIS is why I am not writing everyday in October....

Have a nice Sunday! You know, if you can get the images of dead animals out of your head.....


The To-Don't List

October is the month when bloggers all over the internet make the great effort to write every day for 31 straight days. You may remember my attempt at that last year....and then the following silence as I had to break from writing and get caught up with the life I had left behind for a full month. (Those poor, poor starving children.....)

This year I added the daily-post idea to my Do-Not-Do-List, my To-Don't List if you will. 

You know, most of us from time to time (some of us obsessively) make to-do lists. Some people even write things on their to-do lists that they have already done just so they can cross it out and feel like they accomplished even more, so I've heard, ahem....But have ya ever stopped and just written all the things down that you are simply not going to do today? The great thing about a To-Don't list is that when you are done making your list, you can feel totally accomplished because by not doing those things, you are done with the entire list, just like that. Genius, I know. You can thank me later. 

Things on my current To-Don't List: 

-- Scrub toilets (Seriously an overrated act.....they just get nasty again anyway.....plus, why have all these kids if they don't do the least desirable chores? It would be irresponsible of me to NOT teach them basic house care like scrubbing toilets, mopping floors and catching spiders....)

-- Run through pain (You'd think that would be instinctive, but then, you'd be wrong.)

-- Get edgy about the girls' soccer games (But seriously, you'd think the coach would teach them to NOT kick the ball right in front of their own goal so consistently.....maybe they should put that on their To-Don't Lists!) (Just kidding Kurt, the cats you are herding wouldn't listen to you anyway!)

Speaking of cats:
-- Worry about the cat getting out (Sorry cat, you're on your own if you take that risk, tsk tsk.....and for the record, I'm not saving your booty if you have to be put down because you attack the neighbor WHO'S ONLY TRYING TO PET YOU! Bad, bad Leroy Brown....)

-- Take any more music students (I currently have 5 students with the two families I kept from last year, an all-time low, but it has made quite a positive impact on our family life....amazing how much more time and less stress goes along with NOT working every afternoon! Who knew?!)

-- Become one of those moms I've heard about recently who start drinking right after dropping their kids off at school (Trust me fellow moms, I get it! The morning frenzy can be completely ridiculous and utterly overwhelming, but maybe you are taking the old saying "It's 5:00 somewhere" just a wee bit too far? Just saying'....)

-- Take up citizenship in crazy land.....My good friend told me today that I shouldn't do this and you know what? She's spot on! Thanks for the advice, Deb!

-- Blog everyday in October (You're welcome!)

So, what would you put on your To-Don't list right now?