Tag Archives: parenting

listen…

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She asked me to listen to her read out loud.  It is a book she is reading for school.  I said yes, I would listen.  We laid next to each other in my bed and I kept the TV on.  I only half-listened to her reading out loud.  I was watching a movie, you see, so I only half-listened to her reading her book to me.  All of a sudden she burst into tears.  Loud, sobbing tears.  I asked, what is wrong??  Why are you crying??  Through tears she told me, “she died!”  She kept crying on my shoulder.  She was so upset.  I wasn’t listening, I didn’t hear the story, I didn’t know who died, I was watching the movie.  She re-grouped and started reading the book to me again.  I turned off the TV and listened.

Listen.

really, I’m better…

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My daughter is still in her sling and brace after breaking her collar bone (read more about it here and here).  She is healing well, but having a very difficult time remaining still and not using her arm.  I want her to stay still so she does not re-injure herself.  Not too much to ask, right?

Before her injury she had soccer and basketball almost every day of the week.  She has an incredible amount of energy and needs it directed somewhere.

Right now, she can move her arm, she’s in no pain… basically, she thinks she is fine.

Now, I see just how much she needs the energy outlet.  She can’t sit still.  She thinks her collar bone is fine and wants to jump off the diving board, run in the rain (normally, quite fun – but I’m envisioning her slipping and falling), play soccer, swim, and carry small children.

I’m mentioning the “carry small children” part because that is just what happened the other day at a Railhawks soccer game.

Her team was asked to play on the field during halftime.  She couldn’t play because of her injury, but she walked with her team to the field and stood on the side to watch.

I look across the field to where she is standing and she is holding a small child.  I am trying to picture in my head how she picked up this little person with one arm.

She is literally on the other side of a full soccer field, so I can’t yell at her to put down the kid – she wouldn’t hear me.

When she got back to our seats I asked her if she was holding a little kid with her broken collar bone and she says…

“I wasn’t holding him, he was sitting on my sling.”

Sigh.

 

swim team, anyone?

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I am a total fan of swim team… not all my friends are.

I love when my kids are interested in something. Anything. And, when we sign up… there is no complaining, no skipping practices, and no quitting.

If you sign up to be a part of a team – your team needs you. They may not be able to to play the game or win the meet without you.

That said. Swim team is a huge commitment. I understand why some people shy away from it.

The kids have practice every single night. This is not a big deal to me. We are at the pool anyway (every single night) for enjoyment. When one of the kids has to pop over to swim practice, it’s not a big deal. They practice and then have a little more fun before we go home.

Also, there is a meet… every single Tuesday night. Starting tonight until mid-July… every Tuesday night is booked. All night (not joking). We bring dinner.

Swimmers arrive at 5 pm and we don’t get home until after 10 pm (sometimes even later).

Volunteers are a huge part of any swim team. It wouldn’t work without volunteers. There are:

  • Timers
  • Stroke Judges
  • Kid Pushers
  • Turn Judges
  • Hospitality
  • Clerk of Course
  • Ribbon Distributor
  • Scorers
  • Timers
  • Time Recorders
  • Ribbon Sorter (that’s me!!)

Yes, I sort the ribbons (thousands of ribbons) for our swim team. It takes me hours, but I’ve got it down to a fine art (can there be a fine art of ribbon sorting?). It takes me a very, very long time, but I’d rather sort ribbons in air conditioning than stand up all night timing the races. I am able to enjoy every meet from the sidelines with my 5 year old (and 11 year old this year – since she has a broken collar bone).

Some of my friends can’t imagine going to the pool every day and attending every swim meet. To us, it’s fun.

Not only is swim team great exercise for the kids – it’s social time for parents and kids both.

The kids have a total blast. There are lots of Sharpie Marker drawings on swimmer bodies… “eat my bubbles” for example. There are lots of snacks. And, my husband usually picks up a pizza – good times (aren’t we exciting?).

My kids ask to join swim team each year. I am more than happy to oblige. If we sign up – they will attend everything, get lots of exercise and they will hopefully have tons of fun in the process.

Photograph was taken of my two swimmers in all their “swim gear” before the broken collar bone incident. Hopefully, she will be able to swim by the end of the season (read about her swimming in a sling here). In the meantime, we have one great little swimmer to root for – starting tonight!

(yet another) gerbil update…

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Today, I was standing at the swimming pool talking to my friend when my middle daughter taps me on my shoulder while I was talking.  She is my little 8 year old that continually looses her gerbils (read here and here for more gerbil updates).

She proceeds to tell me that last night (yes, last night) while showing her gerbils to my youngest daughter she forgot to close the cage door.  And, the gerbils are missing.

I am standing at the pool.  In my bathing suit. Everyone has been swimming for at least 30 minutes.  She gets out of the pool and picks this moment to let me know the gerbils have been missing since last night.

So, I told my friend what the interruption was about… we laughed (if I didn’t laugh, I would cry) and I called my husband.  He said he would go start the hunt.

I called him as we were leaving the pool and he said the cats were standing vigil at the bookcase, so most likely there was at least one gerbil under it.

When we got home we moved the bookcase out a bit and got out our two gerbil balls.  We put one ball at both ends of the bookcase.  Paprika was under there.  It took about 10 minutes of waiting and she walked in to the ball.  I deposited her back into her cage.  She seemed quite happy to be home.

(Note: we are seasoned experts on catching missing gerbils and we have found that the gerbil balls are the quickest and easiest way to return a missing gerbil to it’s cage). 

We couldn’t find Ginger.

I just sat on my daughter’s bed feeling both sad and annoyed.  And, a little deflated.  Would we find the other gerbil?

One of my cats sleeps behind the gerbil cage and she was laying there… so happy to have her entertainment back.  By this time Paprika, the rescued gerbil, was already asleep when I saw the cat moving her ears and head around.  She heard something and it was close.

I laid down on my stomach and moved some items and saw a pile of chewed wires.

The gerbil had to be close.

Then, Ginger walked out from the mess of demolished wires.  I yelled for someone to hand me a gerbil ball.  Ginger walked right into the ball and I put her back into the cage with Paprika.

I can’t believe my daughter’s timing.  It is beyond me why it struck her to let me know the gerbils were missing.. the next day while at the pool.

I can’t believe we actually found the gerbils (yet again).  And, I know we would never have found them this time (or the other times) without the help of our other pets.

We lost a video game and a DVD player today (those were the wires that were chewed) but the gerbils are back safe and sound.

Incredible (yet again).

the lost art of regrouping…

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I think one of the most important things to learn in life is to regroup.

Life rarely proceeds exactly as we predict and expect.  From little things to big things…  we can either get mad and dwell on something or choose to regroup.

I know there are big things that are very hard to overcome…. I am referring to the smaller, day-to-day troubles that we might face… not necessarily the big giant ones.  Although, I imagine that regrouping would be helpful for both.

I want my kids to know that when life hands you a different outcome than the one you expected… choose to regroup!  Take a deep breath and proceed forward.

I have seen more and more adults lately that just can’t seem to regroup.  Something seemingly minor happens to them and they just can’t shake it!

Do you think this is something that you need to learn as a child?  Or, do you think you can learn to regroup later in life as an adult?

The dictionary definition of “regroup” is

  1. To come back together in a tactical formation, as after a dispersal in a retreat.
  2. To reorganize for renewed effort, as after a temporary setback

Life will give us all setbacks.  It’s how we handle those setbacks that will keep us happy or make us miserable.

We all can show our kids how to regroup from an early age:

  • If you don’t get the popcicle color you wanted?  Regroup.
  • If you miss the shot on goal?  Regroup, figure out what you did wrong and try again.
  • If it is time to go home and you’re not ready?  Regroup, it’s time.

As an adult, we can demonstrate regrouping to our kids:

  • If you miss a great parking space?  Regroup, find another one.
  • If you someone cuts you off while driving?  Regroup, you’re safe, you didn’t get in an accident, no need to freak out.
  • If your pet has an accident on your favorite rug?  Regroup, it’s just a rug.

And, just a note – the pet that had an accident on the favorite rug.  That was my house.  Last night.  I took a deep breath and I regrouped.

I am hoping to lead by example and show my kids the lost art of regrouping.

Photograph of “The Orange” taken with iPhone and edited with Camera +.

i feel better already…

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So, I am feeling worried and a little anxious.  My daughter went to the doctor today to have her collar bone looked at, again.  It’s a good doctor that comes highly recommended.  He is being very thorough and is going to see her again next week.  He said they are being cautious because it’s such a bad break.

This is my daughter’s first day back at school since she broke her collar bone.  She has been at home with me and I have, hopefully, taken care of all her needs and wants all week.

I went back to work today and my husband brought our little broken person to the doctor for her appointment.  I hate getting any doctor’s information second-hand and I am sure my husband hates delivering it to me.  But, he humored my many questions and tried to answer them patiently.   I annoyed him with texts throughout the appointment with things to ask, not to forget, etc…

At one point I texted to him “I hate not being there.  Wahhh” (that is me crying via text) and he wrote back “I hate being here.  Wahhh.”  His text literally made me laugh out loud – I needed that!

I was still feeling a little down, so I decided to Google “what to do when worried.”   I thought it would give me a list of little “pick-me-ups” or ideas to overcome worry.   Not the case.

If you Google “what to do when worried” you get a list of things that you would actually need to worry about:

  • What to do if you’re worried about your fertility
  • What to do if you’re worried a child is being abused
  • What to do if you’re worried, S. Africa battles to keep blackouts at bay

And the top hit on Google was (not joking)

  • What to do?  Worried?  Scared?  Symptoms that you’re having a gallbladder attack

So, I guess I’m worried simply because it’s my daughter’s first day back at school and my first day back at work after a terrible injury to someone I love.  And, it’s okay to feel worried and a little down.

Now, I need to thank goodness that I don’t have to worry about my fertility, S. African blackouts, child abuse, and a gallbladder attack.  I am very grateful that none of those things are on my list of worries!

Thanks to Google for my list of little “pick-me-ups.”

Photo taken April 24, 2012“knock-out roses”

dick’s, here i come (again)…

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My daughters play soccer.  Almost every day of the week, one of them has a practice or a game.  Sometimes, practices overlap and my husband and I “divide and conquer” to get them to the named field at the required time.  Our calendar is full, to say the least.

My older daughter has to be in a specific uniform for each practice (i.e. Monday is white socks, blue shorts, white shirt, etc…).  I do a lot of wash and I make sure she has the uniform she needs each day.

Obviously, she also has a specific uniform for each game.  She has to wear a certain sock color and shorts.  We bring both game jerseys.  Again, I make sure she has all parts to her uniform for each game.  Everything is sitting on the countertop on game day to be checked and re-checked before we leave the house.

Sunday, I set out every piece to her uniform and handed her the blue socks on her way out of the door.  I did my part.

We are 45 minutes from home and are pulling up to the soccer field when my daughter says to me, “Do you have my blue socks?”  I nicely reminded her that I handed them to her on our way out of the door.  I’m thinking, “Are you kidding me???”

The socks were not in the car.

Luckily, we have to arrive 1 hour before game time.  I dropped my husband and daughter off at the field, I Googled “Dick’s Sporting Goods” and drove 20 minutes to purchase navy blue soccer socks.  I ran in, bought the socks and drove 20 minutes back to the field.  With a few minutes to spare, I pulled over next to the soccer field and threw the navy blue socks over the fence to my husband.

Short of physically putting the socks on my daughter’s feet – I have done my motherly duty.

I may be too accommodating…

This is not the first time I have run to Dick’s on game day.

(another) gerbil update…

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Recently, I walked into my oldest daughter’s room and saw that the gerbil cage was missing. Gone. The spot that it usually sits in… was empty. The only things that remained were the weights that normally surround the cage. (Note: If you have not read my earlier gerbil post, the weights keep the cage stationary so that the cats can’t knock it over)

The gerbils were just there the night before! Where did they go?

So, my daughter says, “They were making too much noise last night. They are in my closet.” (with the door closed)

What??? How much noise can two little gerbils make?

Well, we moved the cage back into their spot, surrounded by the weights. Normally, she takes a little 1 pound weight and blocks the wheel at night to cut down on the noise from the gerbils running on the wheel. She said the weights were not enough and the gerbils still made too much noise. Hence, the move to the closet.

I made a huge fuss at her stating that the poor little gerbils didn’t want to sleep in the closet and that she needed to leave them right where they were at night... in their spot, surrounded by the weights. I am still in doubt that these two tiny little gerbils can cause so much of a racket that they could keep her awake at night. Really, I didn’t believe her.

The gerbils have remained in their spot, surrounded by the weights. She has not put them in the closet since.

Last night, we assembled a desk for her room. Then, rearranged the room and cleaned it. I was tired. I laid down in her bed and feel asleep

Then, I woke up to an enormous racket. Not a bump in the night or one random noise. It was a genuine racket.

It was the gerbils.

The wheel was blocked by the tiny weight. Their cage is not that large. I have no idea how they could make that much noise. But, they were. My daughter was right. I was wrong.

I have not admitted this to her… but, it took everything in me not to get up and walk that cage back into the closet (and close the door).

is it time to go yet?

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I had Thursday and Friday off of work and my kids were off of school. My husband was out of town, so I decided to treat the girls to some “Mommy Time” and take them to two fun places!

On Thursday, I checked the weather (remember, I said I would do that from now on!), I printed directions and brought the girls to the Life and Science Museum.  I thought they would be as excited as I was.  They were a little excited, but I guess I was expecting a little more enthusiasm.

On the way to our destination, there were a few arguments in the car.  Okay, I can deal with this… solved the issues and we kept going.

Then, we got to the museum and literally… one by one they were cranky.  Not at the same time – they took turns. 

When it was their appointed time to be crabby they each asked “is it time to go yet?”

I thought they would be excited to get out of the house and do something new.  I may have been wrong.

Not to be deterred… Friday, (after checking the weather!) I took them to the zoo.  Now, who doesn’t like the zoo?

Just like the day before, there were a few issues in the car.  Issues solved, kept going.

When we got to the zoo… one by one (as if they planned it) they asked “is it time to go yet?  Really, who wants to leave the zoo?

I am not sure what they were expecting at the zoo and the museum and I was obviously hoping for over-flowing happiness from them.  Apparently, we all needed to keep our expectations – in check.

All in all we had two great days.  We saw lots of great plants, insects and animals.  I also took a lot of great pictures!  I had a wonderful time with the girls and I wouldn’t trade it.

Today, life was back to normal.  Two soccer games, babysitting a friend’s dog and one swim team tryout.

Not once, did anyone hear me say… “is it time to go yet?”

Photograph taken on April 12, 2012 in The Butterfly House at the Life and Science Museum.

the hunger games, anyone?

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I read “The Hunger Games” trilogy and loved the books.  In my true form, I talked about the books constantly – to anyone who would listen.  I even convinced a few people to read them.

When you describe the books to people – post apocalypse North America, children fighting in the annual Hunger Games to the death, starving, desperate people – it’s a hard sell.  I don’t know about you, but my friends don’t want to read “that type” of book.  I had to make some pretty compelling speeches to get people to read the books.

My speeches were so compelling that my oldest daughter wanted to read the books.

I love to read.  If I can pass anything onto my kids… reading would be at the top of the list.  So, when my daughter, who doesn’t read nearly as much I as did at her age, asked to read the books.  I jumped on it.  I was thrilled.  I ordered her the books immediately.

Consequently, I actually got a little flack from “some people” for letting her read the books.  They thought the books were too violent with a terrible subject matter.  If these same people took the time to research the books, even a little, they would see that even Scholastic Books – book seller to the schools – lists the targeted age group for this series as 11-13.  (Now, maybe I should be embarrassed that I loved these books so much!)

I couldn’t be more excited that she is reading and enjoying the books.  She just finished the second book, “Catching Fire,” and has now started reading “Mockingjay,” the final book.

Only once, when I woke up in the morning, was she laying on the floor next to my bed – after reading a scary part in the book.