Thursday, June 11, 2015

It's a Marathon not a race- 10th grade

10 th grade another year closer to graduation, and making sure our kids can live on their own. This years big discussions are about future plans, because for a lot of schools at the end of this year you will be making choices for the rest of high school.

And while I truly believe that they need to be responsible for their own school work and the consequences, life planning I am still very involved in. Because I am lucky if at this stage of the game they think about planning the term paper due in a week, thinking 5 years down the line not happening at least with my group.

They will be deciding on technical  training programs, which three of my children have done, or college in high school which one of mine has done, some schools it will be AP classes and other options. The summer in-between 10th and 11th is a good time to explore some interests, that might mean camps, volunteer work, family trips or projects. Some things that we have done is have a son interested in building, spend the summer helping a friend do a project on our house, sent one child to a summer camp about math and science. Another went to a military summer encampment, and one went on an overseas trip. You can even do things local, for example if you have a child interest in teaching, have them volunteer at camp, VBS. If hospital work is something that catches their eye have them volunteer at a hospital, or even visiting elderly family members or working as a Junior Member of a Fire Department.

Most of all keep talking and listening to them, at this stage you may have some conflicts, which I have found true with my daughters, and my husband our sons. Right now I have one that I have to keep reminding her how to speak to me, while my husband has no problem at all with her. I just take a big breath and remember her older sister going through the same thing and in the only 3 short years which seemed real long at the time she turned into a very nice young women who I enjoy spending time with. As someone said once you just have to love them until you like them.

Work on life skills too, have them sit along side you while you pay the bills, take them grocery shopping with you, talk about budgets. Teach them to clean, do laundry, meal plan and prepare a meal. I can say that my one son made some money when he went to college as there were kids in the laundry room staring at the machines with no idea on how to do laundry, and he offered to teach them for a dollar. I usually stop doing their laundry in 9th grade, it's up to them to do their laundry, also depending on the child they also start cooking a meal a week around the end of 10th grade. I have a great pasta maker, another who makes pizza every Friday Night, and one who is a little flighty in the kitchen but can cook with someone to toss advice to him. Some of these things we learned after the first child, that poor first kid.

Next up 11th grade, time sure does fly.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Things They Don't tell you when you bring them home

Since I have been looking back at pictures some things the kids have taught me over the years have come to mind.

1. Never wash a kid covered in flour, because flour + water in hair equals Paper Mache , and a Paper Mache kid is not normally something you want.

2. If the kid or kids get really quiet, usually when you are in the bathroom, find them quick because something's in life are guarantees.One is that your children will always need you when you are in the bathroom. They could be playing nicely together or by themselves but as soon as you go to the bathroom the world is ending and they " NEED" you. So if for any reason they actually let you go alone, or maybe even get a shower, guarantee number two is happening they are into something or thinking of getting into something.

3. Know the way to the ER, drive it a few times, because when you really need to get there you will not be thinking about how to get there. You will be yelling at the kids in the back to keep pressure on it, or hold it still.

4. Nose and Ears for some reason kids love to stick things that do not belong in them into them. The nose is easier, the best way to get something out is to place your mouth over theirs and press your finger against the side of the nose that doesn't have a pea, bead, vitamin, pillow stuffing in it, and blow. It should come flying out.  Ears that one is usually a trip to the doctor, and since they never tell you that they put something in there, you usually find out about it at the doctor's anyway. When you take them in for a check up and the doctor insists that your child has lost one of the tubes in his ear, and you have to insist that your child has never had tubes, and he shows you and you have to tell the doctor that looks like a perler bead.

5. It is OK to ban things from your home, your children will still grow up to be decent human beings with out perler bead crafts ( see number 4 ) , glitter, Brat dolls, gum ( for a period of time ), trampolines and anything else that you really just don't want to deal with.

6. In the summer keep a pair of shoes, clean shirt for each kid and diaper wipes in the van, because that trip to the ER is almost always going to happen just before dinner when they are the dirtiest and have no shoes on. And it's handy to have when you have a child that for some reason had two shoes when they left the house but only one when you get to the store.

7. Make rules that make sense to your home, like here we never throw or kick to third base ( see number 8 about windows), we only throw nerf balls in the upstairs hallway ( sometimes it's easier to give in a bit then to always say no)

8. Don't sweat the small stuff, correct them , teach them, ground them. But in the end paint will cover the names written on the walls, the pictures drawn, and even the red painted handprints (Blue's Clues anyone). Drywall can be patched, and windows replaced, and hair grows back.

9. Listen to them, there will be days they will have nothing to say and others when all they want to do is talk. Listen to them when they are young and they will still want to talk to you when they are teens. Mind you that there are days during the why stage when you might wish to leave it all and be a hermit, and times when they are teens that you wonder if you really needed to know that.

10. Give them hugs, when they are sweet little guys, when they are smelly teens, and if they don't come and hug you once a day go looking for them and give them a hug. I find it great that when I am in the high school and pass one of my teens in the hallway they will break away from their friends and give me a hug right there. Some kids may not like hugs, so even just sitting close is a good thing.

11. When you look out the door and count the number of teens that it looks like you will be feeding dinner to don't panic make more rice, potatoes or even an extra veggie or two. Just cut the meat pieces a little smaller.

12. Teach them to read, have them see you spend time reading, have books handy, read out loud to them, go to the library, read the same books your teens do so that you can discuss them. Find a " family" book, one that you read to all of them at that stage of life. For us that has been Dr.Suess for the non readers, Owl at Home and Father Bear for the early readers, and a favorite read aloud book has been Mother West Wind.

13. Lice happens to us all and the more children you have, and the more sports they play the higher the chance that some day you will get that call from the nurse. That makes your head itch, gives you an instant headache, and increases your house work. Grab some chocolate, a diet coke, the meds from the store and a movie that the kid likes. It's going to be a long night but your not alone.

Just a few if the things I don't want to forget, I am sure I will have more to add.


Thursday, June 4, 2015

It's not a race but a marathon - suriving highschool - 9th grade

Since this is the third time I have had a senior in high school and this time I get a two for the price of one, I wish. More like double the stress. I feel like I can give some advice for those whose children are heading into their senior year of high school, and by writing it down I might remember some of this year when the next one is a senior in 2 years, and the youngest is in high school in 7 years. Note I do not know it all, this is just what I have learned from my kids, every family is different.

First of all it really all starts in 9th grade, and it's not all that easy for them to remember what they did way way back then when they are seniors. So after the first one I learned to start a box, I use a small clear tote one for each kid. In there goes all awards, and an activity list of sports, leadership , community, clubs and school honor rolls.

Also in 9th grade I back off of being involved in school work learned this after child number one, it's time for them to own it. I use middle school as the time to bug them, teach them good habits, and be a pest. Yes I am that mom that went into school and had my child empty their locker out into boxes and sort it all, since I knew homework was being done but for some reason it never got to the teachers.

 Starting in 9th grade I still check there grades on-line, talk to them about school, remind them that everything they do starting this year counts for their senior year, and  college. I'll ask how the project is coming, but I don't ask what they need they need to say to me mom I need poster board or a trip to the store for supplies. I have had more then one learn in 9th grade that you need to give mom notice, you can't say I need to go to the store the night before the project is due, mom goes shopping 2x a month, so figure out something that we already have that  might work. This is usually when I get called a mean mom. I'll read your papers or better yet have Dad read them but that once again is something you have to say to us, here please read the paper I wrote.

If I had a child with an IEP my level of involvement would be different and it was when I helped my brother get through high school.

The choice to do their homework, study, pass that test is  theirs, and they suffer the natural consequence if they don't. Yes I have had children get zero's, go to summer school, lose computer time, and they learn from it. It's my job to make sure they have time to do homework, a place to study, and the supplies they ask me for. I would rather they learn this in high school when I am still there to be a sounding board, then the first year of college when it's costing me money which I  also learned from sending the first child to college. That being said there is a time I do nag in the senior year but it's about something that is important to me as a parent, and really doesn't have a natural consequence for the child , but it does for me.

Building that resume of activities starting in 9th grade, my girls were naturals at it, I think mostly from girl scouts they had that go to sprit of helping others. It is once again something I guide in depending on the child. Since we live in a rural area and don't have a lot of jobs for teens I do require them to be in at least one sport a year.

The girls have done scouting, and the boys did Civil Air Patrol, we provide them with church and youth group, chances to do music. We have one child whom we had to give more guidance for as far as social activities, they do not come to him naturally while academics do. But if you take him to an audition for a play, he will do it and enjoy it, same with Jazz Band or a summer enrichment program. He has come a long way since 9th grade and I think he will be able to find his own social activities in college. We also do community  things as a family, if your children see you helping at church, or a food give away program, starting when they are little they are more likely to still want to tag along when they are teenagers.

Also ninth grade is when we start taking about what do they see themselves doing as adults, what are their abilities , strengths, weaknesses, do they have a passion. We talk about and plan what can we do to help you, is there a summer program, a music program, a trip to save for, an internship. And the plans they have in ninth grade can be very different then the ones they have in 12th, or even after that first year of college.

Next up 10th grade.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Seasons of Change


Changes, we have a lot of changes happening around here in the next month, so many that it's hard to think some days. So many that I want to grab a diet coke and either hide in my room with a book or binge on Netflix.

I have known that these changes have been coming for a while, but I am a lot like an ostrich and just wanted to hide my head in the sand. But we have reached the point of no longer being able to do that.

My daughter is getting married in 17 days, yes 17 days and we have so much to do, but before all that I have  graduation party number one for our boys and nephew in 10 days. Then we have all the last week of school stuff followed by graduation, and then moving all the way from NY to Kansas.


Deep breath, I can do it, I can do it. I know I can because I have a great family that helps, wonderful friends that are there when you need them most, and most of all I get a husband in the same state as me in only 12 days.


I need my quite mornings

I am not a morning person, in that while I regularly wake up at 5:30 am, please don't expect me to want to interact with anyone. Lately as  in the last 3 days I have a little one who has been getting up at the same time as I do.

That is just not allowed, per my way of thinking. I have my morning routine, get up let the dog out, feed the animals and then some time on the computer, start a to-do list. By then I might be able to acknowledge you, but still don't expect me to meet any of your needs. Once I have the laundry going, breakfast started, and lunches packed I might want to talk to you. And weekends really children should not be up before 8, I need that extra bit of quite that I don't get on school days.

But the "little one" just doesn't get it, he wants to eat, he wants to use my computer, he wants to talk about important things, and so on. So what we have is a conflict of wants and needs, what I want or I view as a need, and the same for him to me what he views as needs I view as his wants.

What to do about this, today's solution was to send him to my room with the tv remote, and a bowl of cearl. Along with a prayer that tomorrow he will sleep a bit more tomorrow.