Friday, September 28, 2012

4 is more (than 3)

For the past two years I  have had 3 children in elementary school.  We did homework every night, required reading and occasional projects, it was a lot of work, but manageable.   This year I have 4 children in school, and I am in over my head.

I also have a 2 year old that could be the poster child for the slogan "TERRIBLE TWO'S!"

Our days are hectic, exhausting and jam packed with education.

I attend meetings, sign up to volunteer, and run around trying to find "requested" materials (that word "donate" gets me every time...times 4)

Each day after school there is at least 2 hours worth of homework to be done, sometimes longer depending on if a child has a melt down from sheer exhaustion, or if an entire sheet of math was done incorrectly and has to be redone.  Short stories are usually too short and need more sentences added, spelling, vocab and social studies have to be studied for and the amount of signatures that I make each day for behavior, test scores, permission slips or what ever else, is causing me to consider turning a blind eye to forgery.

Although I would do anything for my children, the expected responsibilities become very overwhelming at times. A mothers work really does go unnoticed, a parents work for that matter.  Most kids have no idea what we do for them, and how much we sacrifice.

I sometimes wonder, why cant they do these things themselves...why must my life be consumed by forms, letters, parent teacher meetings,  and HOMEWORK.  I did my time...though I was not very successful.  I feel like a student again, less the new clothes every year, packed lunch, and manicured hair...

Yesterday while talking to my 3rd grader about her day, she told me that she got two answers wrong on her homework from the night before. IMPOSSIBLE...I checked it!  We went over the problems, and I realized that I actually hadn't caught her errors (3rd grade math is challenging...err I mean she's gifted and on an 11th grade level) .  I explained to her what she did wrong, and she fully understood.  After she put her homework away she looked at me and said "Mommy, you're one of the only parents who checks their kids homework, a lot of the kids in my class get things wrong"

My heart broke.  I couldn't imagine, not helping my child.  I am so proud of them, especially when they have a strong understanding of a subject and bring home high grades. I love report card day, and actually look forward to conference night.  I want to hear if my child is struggling so we can work extra hard in those area, academically or socially, I want my child to be confident in all areas.

The every day work is hard.  The constant correcting, reminding, and reinforcing is exhausting.  I have to tell my children the same things every day, they misspell the same words, use the same excuses and try to get away with the same things.  I will be a happy parent when everything sticks, and I don't have to be annoyed by my own requests.

That day will come, it will be a long, bumpy road but it will get here faster than I may want.  My children know that I check, and double check their homework, I talk to their teachers, am active in their lives and ask questions...they have no idea how hard it is, or that sometimes I don't want to do "that", but I know that they are becoming better students because of it.

One day they will bring home a test that they aced, studied for themselves and that I had no idea about.

That is why they can't do it by themselves right now, and although I may think I  have done my time this is my real time, the most important,  the most meaningful, the time that will give me the most reward.

4 is more than 3, and when my son is a little older 5 will be more than 4, the years will be more difficult before they get easier, MORE homework, MORE tests and oh so many more signatures but all this hard work will provide me with 5 children who I will have helped mold into 5  wonderful people who will do GREAT things!


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Friday, September 21, 2012

Brainy-lack

When you are responsible for as many people as I am on a daily basis, it is imperative to be aware, dedicated and disciplined at all times, also known as A.D.D. ... oh wait that's not what A.D.D. stands for.

OK so I may not be the most focused mother, my children might have to keep me on track once in a while and sometimes I get a little distracted. As long as we don't pass too many mirrors, or go to a butterfly conservatory after school to do our homework, I am usually pretty focused.

I also do several headcounts throughout the day, which looks very silly because I often forget what number I am supposed to be counting up to, and sometime I call out other children's names that are not mine, which causes complete panic..."Mommy, who's Ashley? Are you having another baby" (That question ends with me passing out, and then needing a very tall drink)

Yesterday we just happened to be at a mirrored butterfly museum...kinda...it was actually a frozen yogurt shop that was colorful, delicious and put me in a comatose state.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are by far the craziest days of the week for us.  We are building a home almost an hour away from where we live now, and have enrolled the children in the school close to the new house.  I thought it would be a brilliant idea to also sign them up for cheerleading by the new house, which means that those two days we have a 4 hour gap between when the girls get out of school and when they have cheer practice.  I am pretty sure everyone in our new neighborhood thinks we either homeless or creepy lingerers.  We hang out where ever I can afford that day, restaurants, book stores, libraries, an occasional gas station...

Yesterday the kids "earned" yogurt...and I just happened to be craving it as well...win win.  My children love food, it is their kryptonite and they will sit like perfect angels while savoring every single bite.  While we were in the store a mom walked by, counted my children and said "You have 5 kids??" .. I was thinking a mean response like "WOW, you can Count??" but instead I smiled because damnit I was eating froyo!  She then complimented me on how well behaved they were.  After they finished their treat they did their homework, and watched some TV...I told you we linger...

I couldn't help but think "I have good kids..I am a GOOD mom!" I was high on my horse...staring at my little "perfects" as I like to refer to them to strangers.

After regaining feeling in my extremities from eating way too much "strawberry delight" I decided it was time to go. I do a headcount and notice one is missing...I see a child outside...unsupervised...shoving something in her pockets...

Must not be my kid...that kid just stole a pound of skittles from the topping bar and where the heck is her mother??

My legs go numb again...that's my kid.

I tell the children its time to leave and run outside, my son doesn't want to go and says "No, not yet!"...the others follow me.  I scold my rainbow-handed daughter all the way to to the car, until I hear "Ma'am!! Ma'am does HE belong to you"

I forgot my son inside...he has a look of disgust and is on the hip of another woman...

This has NEVER happened...I may get distracted but this was a new low. You don't realize how important the little things are...such as the "headcount"..until you fail miserably without it.  Yes my daughter deserved to be spoken to for her poor decision, however I was setting a horrible example by not being responsible myself.  I allowed her to distract me and the result could have been a lot worse than it was.

My daughter IS in big trouble for her actions, and my son wasn't (too badly) traumatized.   Hopefully this was a lesson learned for the entire family.

Point of my story...stay focused..stick to a plan, regardless of the "perfect" circumstances...and never eat so much froyo that it actually freezes your brain to the point of stupidity.

Hope you enjoyed the comedy that is my real life.   Check out my FB page, and please vote for my blog by clicking on the lady that says VOTE FOR ME.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Because I said so...that's WHY!

Children, mine specifically, have a knack for asking a lot of questions.  Young ones are curious and not afraid to ask about or attempt to solve the worlds problems.   Questions can be good, they expand their minds and spark new interests.

However, "Why??" after being told to do something, is neither cute or innocent.  

It is an ancient stall tactic and as a mother, I find it to be a form of torture.

At least once a day the dreaded "Why?" tricks me into answering.  

Me: Go get in the shower

Child: Why?

Me: because you are dirty and need to take a shower

Child: Why? I don't smell.

Me: (Smells child) well no, you don't smell...but you need to take a shower.

Child: Why?

Me: Ughhhhhhh....Because!


Just because,  that is always my answer.  I have no problem answering a question about homework, our family, something that they heard about or saw somewhere, anything really...except "why?".

"Why?" is only asked when they are told to do something, they don't actually want to know why...they just don't want to do that thing, whatever it may be.

Sometimes, I don't know "why?" and that simple question can confuse the hell out of me! I will have a plan mapped out for a smooth day and that 3 letter word will derail my good intentions.  I start to wonder myself "why?" Why do they need to pick up the playroom if they have already told me that they have full intentions of destroying it later, or have at least implied that, by saying "we are going to play in there later". Why do they need to eat more pizza before they have ice cream...that's just dumb.  

"Why?" questions my judgement, rattles my confidence and makes me think under pressure. Most of the time, "Why?" doesn't work, I know the reason and that's all that matters, but believe it or not, there have been situations that have made me wonder "why?" myself..  The truth is sometimes, not often, but there have been times, that my requests may not be exactly logical.  However, once the orders leave my mouth I cant put them back in, and it is pretty embarrassing to be outsmarted by your child. 

I should really just throw the "why?" back at them when they ask, my answer could just be "I don't know, why?"   The only problem with this...children also, have all the answers.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

I want my mommy...

A few weekends ago my mom came to visit, and it was magnificent! Being that I am my mothers only daughter, her and I have a special bond, another words, I am her favorite child.  OK maybe not, my mom is just an incredible woman that goes above and beyond for all of her children (or you could just listen to all the fun we had, and be the judge of  if she plays favorites or not...kidding brothers.). We talked, baked with the children, (she) did crafts with them (while I enjoyed an adult beverage), she sat in the sun with me for 7 hours, through 3 football games that the girls "cheered" aka jumped around at, we went to the museum (which took all day - she is a teacher, science is her crack) she even babysat so James and I could have a date night with friends, and my house was cleaner after she left.

While my mom was visiting, we stopped by the house that James and I are building and I showed her the guest room, which she joked about being her room.  I wished she wasn't joking.  If I could rewind and have been nicer to her during my EVIL years I would...(karma is a real B and I'm going to get it times 4 for the way I treated her) unfortunately I cant afford a time machine (yet), so I can only be ever so thankful for her now, and I AM.  

My mom is organized, patient, logical, creative, and all things that I suck at.  I often wonder where I came from.  I am not my mothers child, but I do appreciate her for pretending I am. She makes things seem easy, and she seems to enjoy helping me make better sense of my life by continuing to support me in so many ways.  

I try to call her as much as I can, but it doesn't compare to her being here with me.  Its funny how you cant wait to get away from your parents, "When I grow up" is all we think about, and then just when you think you wouldn't need them, you really do. 

As a mother of 4 girls I often wonder what they think about me, how they really feel about my constant nagging, over protective tendencies and embarrassing antics. Well the other day I found out how one of them feels, while flipping through videos that she had made on my Ipad, it was a series of 3 videos.  The first video she said "I am going to tell you about Alexis..." Oh no I thought, she used my first name, she hates me. She had to cut the video short because I had just yelled at her to get in the shower. The next video she was in her PJ's, with her wet hair wrapped in a towel, she said "Ok, now I cant wait to tell you about Alexis!" first thought that crossed my mind - SHE HAS DIRT ON ME...oh crap what does she know??.  She turned the camera off again to go brush her teeth.  I was nervous to watch the next video, could I really handle the truth? Do I WANT to know how she REALLY feels, or am I better of pretending I know.  I decided to watch it.  There sat my daughter, about to reveal her true feeling about me, and she spoke these words "So Alexis is my best friend...I mean she's kinda my mom too, but she's my best friend". That is exactly how I feel about my mom, and I want nothing more than my girls to feel that way about me when they are grown and don't NEED me, I hope they want me, the way I want my mommy to be around more again.