"The Tightrope Walker"

"The Tightrope Walker" by Jean-Louis Forain

Friday, July 22, 2011

Friday Five.

Too hot to think/write.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Pain to the Power of 10.

I don't know what to do with my poor, sweet Molly.  She is my lovey, cuddly, free-spirited, go get 'em kid, but not this week.  This week she is clingy.  So much so that she is following me to the bathroom, cries when I leave a room, only wants me and won't even sleep easily on her own.  Her appetite is way off, didn't even eat breakfast today.  She hasn't had a b.m. since Saturday and she even woke up dry once this week after 10 hours of sleep.  She seems tired all the time, but isn't napping well and has been up during the night too.  She is driving me crazy with all her whining, but I feel badly for her too because she clearly isn't feeling like herself.

I don't know what to think (or do).  Is it the heat, terrible-two's, separation anxiety, unusual holiday schedules, a mix of it all....   I love her to death, but my back is breaking carrying her two-years of 25 lbs around.  Poor baby girl just seems so miserable, so needy.  Poor sweet girl, please feel better soon!

All this makes me appreciate my own mom so much more.  I never realized until I had my own children how a child's hurt is felt in magnification by their parents.  It hurts me to my core that she is miserable, sad even.  I feel sad too that my mom probably felt my aches as pains, my hurts as wounds, and my sad as heartbreak.  As an adult child I realize it is now my job to share all my joys with her so that she can feel the thrills as strongly as she probably felt the hurts.  Cheers to Moms!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Baby, it's hot outside!

Here it is a lovely summer day and we are inside....again.  It is just too hot to be out with the little ones and to make matters worse we have no air conditioning at home so we've been camped out at my mom's house.  This isn't a bad thing it is just hard to be away from home with the girls, and trying to find things to do.  Add to that a significant lack of sleep (due to the heat) and this week is quickly going down hill.  Tonight we are going to sleep at my mom's house in the hopes we will all get some well needed rest.

Winter we huddle inside not wanting to deal with the cold.  Summer heats up and we hide inside not wanting to bake to a crisp.  Thinking it is time to move to a more moderate climate!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Kids Say and Do the Darnedest Things

It was hot this week, sticky hot, and that included the day that I took Sophie to see the doctor.  She was sitting up on the vinyl covered exam table and fussing like she had ants in her pants.  Finally, I asked her to please sit still.  Her response, "I can't Mom!  My cheeks are sticking!"

"Your what is sticking?"

"My cheeks,"  pointing to the backs of her thighs.

Oh dear, did I ever laugh trying to explain that those "cheeks" were her bottom and not her legs.  Too cute.

Read more about a different kind of cheeks at Reflections Forward, just a funny coincidence.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Conversation About Education. Join in!

I started writing a comment on a post I read by April at Heartfelt Homeschooling, and once I'd reached the third paragraph I realized I was going on a bit of rant.  Instead of posting my long-winded opinion on April's blog I thought I would write a response to her post here.   I would encourage you to read her post, "Why would you want to teach?  America has lost its perspective" before reading mine.  I'd like to preface the following by saying that this is just me opinion, not meant to offend or hurt.  My intention is to make you think, make you form an opinion and perhaps start a bigger dialogue among parents about how to influence the track of our education systems.  So, read on and please chat back.

Dear Amy,

This is a very insightful and truthful post.  I am a supply teacher in Canada who had the pleasure of completing my teacher's training in the U.S.  Although the Canadian and American education systems are very different many of their flaws are identical.  Less and less money, bigger and bigger classes, fewer and fewer teachers, higher and higher expectations.  There is a significant imbalance between the input and expected output.

As you mentioned kids move on from grade to grade and course to course regardless of their efforts.  Kids don't "fail" and just being present is enough to progress.  Whether right or wrong I don't know, but I do believe that part of this attitude/approach is sadly closely related to current parenting trends.  So many of us reward and celebrate our kids' just for trying, just for going out.  We register our children for an abundance of activities and tell them it is about having fun and making friends.  Of course all of this is true and good, but it has little to nothing to do with how the real world works.

As adults we aren't paid to just show up for work, have a good time and make some friends.  We are expected to complete tasks, and complete them well.  We are required to meet deadlines, be responsible and held accountable for our actions or lack there of.  Yet, high school students can show up to class each day, hand nothing in, complete no assignments and pass the class at the end of the semester based on perfect attendance.  What's wrong with that picture?

I hesitate to put this out there, but sometimes I think parents are part of the problem.  When my parents grew up, in the 50's and 60's, if their teacher said they weren't achieving what they were capable of their parents (my grandparents) would be on the teacher's 'side'.  They would have expected more homework, more focus, more studying, and improved achievement.  Today when a teacher expresses concern about a child's achievement they have to be politically correct, careful not to offend and avoid all language with negative connotations.  By the time they've expressed their concerns using these rules the problem is so heavily veiled that most parents don't have a clear picture of what the problem is or how serious it may or  may not be.  Be honest now, would you rather a teacher say in politically terms that your child is "output challenged and disengaged" or would you rather them say that your child "isn't completing work and is unfocused."  As a teacher I am required to say the first, but as a parent I would rather hear the second.

Making all of this worse is the current trend to advocate for our children.  Of course it is a parent's duty to fight for the well-being of their children, but it doesn't mean taking our child's 'side' at all cost.  It doesn't mean defending a lack of interest or motivation.  It also doesn't mean defending our child's minimal accomplishment with a label, diagnosis or by attacking a teacher's skills.  I don't know if as a generation of parents we do these things because we are worried about how our childrens' accomplishments reflect on us, but I do know that it isn't always in the best interest of our children.  The truth is there are good teachers and bad teachers, there are studious children and lackadaisical ones, and there are great parents and struggling ones - denying any of this helps no one.  In my (humble) opinion education needs more open dialogue between parents, teachers and administrators.  We are all so busy being politically correct, defending ourselves and walking the line that the true purpose of education sometimes gets lost

You ask, "why would anyone want to be a teacher?"  I often wonder this myself, and worry about whether teaching is for me.  Then I meet a great kid.  A kid who is eager to learn, is friendly, polite and so excited by their own accomplishments.  A kid who takes pride in themselves!  These kids give me the drive, motivation and energy to care for the kids who aren't eager to learn or excited to be at school.  These are the kids that remind me the system might be flawed, but it isn't broken.  These are the kids that make me realize the system is ours to change!

Thank you April at Heartfelt Homeschooling for getting my brain going today and reminding me why I want to be a teacher.  A genuine thank you!

Kind regards,

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy to be Home!

Well, home from our mini vacation and glad to be here.  Holidays are always wonderful, but I've come to realize after this little trip that they are wrought with irony.  For our three-day adventure I was so looking forward to a break in the routine - beach, sun, nice meals out...then the irony of it all.

The forecast for our few days away was hot, hot and more hot.  With no air conditioning at home I was looking forward to sleeping in a cool hotel with luxurious bedding.  The irony is that the air conditioning was so loud it kept us up most of the night and the bedding was luxurious, but it just wasn't MY bed.  Why is it that even in the most luxurious bed away from home all we can think of is sleeping in our own familiar beds?

The meals out were a nice treat too, but of course the irony of a nice meal out is the expense and for some reason eating out for a few days always makes me feel 10 lbs heavier.  (Okay perhaps I did put on a solid 5 lbs in 3 days, but it does feel more like 10!)  Yummy food, but hard on the pocketbook and the waistline.  The other irony of eating out is that as wonderful as it is to not prep food, clean dinner and to just be able to sit with your family, the kids are always batty.  I spent most of every meal trying to convince someone to sit, be quieter, eat or come out from under the table, but the food was good...10 lbs heavier good!

The beach was wonderful.  The kids had a great time and the weather was ideal, but the irony is all that sticky, scratchy sand.  It is such a pain to clean off and now it is all over the car and kitchen floor.  Fun that comes with a mess!

What about that beach prep?  I agonize over how to keep my hair looking half decent, does my swimsuit cover all the right bits, and are the bits that aren't covered too day-glow white or jiggly.  The irony is that when we get to the beach everyone is looking just about the same.  Then add sticky sand, sweat and a healthy dose of sunscreen and no one really looks attractive.  Perhaps they had it right just past the turn of the century, when bath costumes were more like modern mini-dresses.

The most ironic thing of all is that when we set out on Sunday JD and I were both looking forward to a break in the routine, but by Monday morning it was so clear that the break in routine was wreaking havoc on sleep patterns, meal time and generally naughty behaviour abounded.  Yes, we had a lovely time and I wouldn't give up that time together for anything; but, it sure is nice to be home.  There is something to be said for good, old everyday routine!

P.S.  And, no I'm not complaining especially if you read a few posts back when I was peeved by someone complaining about a holiday.  I'm just sayin' it is ironic how a vacation, a break in the routine, always makes us appreciate our everyday life!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Busy weekend.

Sangria and friends until 1:30 am....packing....wedding until midnight....packing....holiday at the beach.  8:55 am now and suppose to be picking the girls up at 10 am to start our beach holiday, but not showered, packed, breakfasted.....  Lesson is girls' sangria night is not a good idea the night before a wedding!  Mommy is tired and had way too much wine!

Hopefully our mini-holiday will be great and include some sleeping in!  I'm sure I'll have lots of great stories to share.  :-)

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's okay Honey, I'll do that.....too!

Skipping Friday Five this week because I need to get this one of my chest.  Imagine the scene that follows and then tell me, what would you have done?

You've just finished cleaning and tidying the kitchen.  The dishwasher has been emptied and refilled, and dinner is just getting under way.  Enter the husband, just home from work.

Husband is buzzing around and trying to get out of the house with friends in under an hour.  You leave the kitchen for a moment to return and find his dirty lunch containers sitting on the counter.  Not just sitting on the counter, but sitting on the counter directly on top of the dishwasher that you just emptied and now is half full with dirty dishes.  What do you do?

If you are me you start putting the containers in the dishwasher and as you do so you say (in a sickly sweet voice) to your husband who is now eating a sandwich in the living room, "It's okay Honey, I'll put your dirty dishes in the dishwasher that I just emptied and filled.  You know those dirty dishes that you left in the middle of the kitchen counter where I'm making dinner.  No problem Sweetheart!"

He says, "What's that?"

"Nothing Darling.  I'm just being a jerk!"

He says, "I thought so!"


Again, you leave the kitchen to return and now find his dirty sandwich plate and milk cup sitting on the counter.  What do you do?

a)  Do nothing.  He is such a great husband that it just doesn't mater.

b)  Put the dishes in the dishwasher and tell him how much you love him.

c)  Put the dishes in the dishwasher and sarcastically tell him how much you love tidying up his dirty dishes for the first 15 minutes he is home because you have nothing better to do.

d)  Just leave.  Walk out the front door, get a chai latte and wait until the latte is gone before deciding whether or not you are going back.

So, what would you do?  I seriously considered (d) but settled on (c) because he is generally a great husband and I do love him.  But honest to goodness, is it really that hard to put dishes in the damn washer?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Seconds, thirds, fourths....

I often feel like Molly being the second baby didn't and still doesn't receive the full, hands-on, parenting attention that Sophie did.  Last night she went to bed with mismatched p.j.'s which is something that has NEVER happened to Sophie.  Her nails are frequently too long, she often isn't given a big at meal time, and I can't remember the last time she received something new and all her own.  Today I came across Jana's illustration at Mom Illustrated and it totally sums up how I have felt about my parenting experience to our second child.  Check it out because it is a great laugh.  Thanks for making me smile today Jana!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Buggy Buggers II.

Of all the things to blog about, here I am writing a second edition about Sophie's bug bites.  They are so bad, but the itching finally seems to be subsiding.  We aren't seeing the doctor until next week so I've been documenting their various stages of itch with photos.

Sunday night.
Wednesday morning.

I know there is nothing else we can be doing for her, but I'm just hoping this doesn't mean bee allergies are next!  My poor 'Mosquito Bait' has actually worn long sleeves by choice until today and last night asked if she could have mittens because she  is trying so hard not to scratch.  Just one more thing to add to the list of unexpected parenting woes.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Buggy Buggers.

Summer really feels like it has started now.  We just spent three days at a family cottage and had a great time.  The weather was great, the bugs were REALLY bad, there was too much food, unexpected and lovely fireworks and so much fun.

Only sore point this weekend was the bugs.  The mosquitoes were the worst I have ever seen.  There were so many outside it was impossible for them not to be inside too.  My poor Sophie is so sensitive to bug bites that I actually am feeling guilty.  Not only do the bugs love her - for every one bite I have she has five - BUT she has a horrible reaction to them.  The bites sometimes blister, swell, bruise and of course they are itchy so then she scratches making it all worse.  She has reacted this way since she was little so this year I was bound and determine to battle the bugs on her behalf.  I packed extra bug spray, bandages, and children's antihistamine for allergic reactions.  We kept her in at buggiest times, sprayed her with bug spray and made her wear pants and long sleeves even when it was too warm.  Aside from keeping her inside all weekend we did everything we could, and still she must have a dozen bug bites on one shoulder blade alone.  The bites are so bad that a mother in the grocery store even asked me if she has chicken pox!  :-(  This made me feel really bad and for a split second I wanted to say yes because anyone seeing here would honestly think I'd left her naked in a boggy swamp at dusk for hours.  Poor Sophie!

Needless to say we are headed to the doctor later this week, but my gut instinct is that there is nothing he can do.  It is what it is and Sophie will be restricted to the indoors during mosquito season.  Bug spray, clothing, antihistamine, Polysporine, Benadryl (both topical and oral), bandages and still she scratches.  Every time I see her scratch I feel worse.  I've cancelled our camping plans for a week from now and I'm just hoping the bites heal quickly.  Making things worse, Sophie asked if she ever going to be allowed outside again.......