School has started just about everywhere! There are only a few schools that wait until after Labor Day to get things in gear. I love those schools! The students in those districts get just a few more weeks to enjoy the summer and well.... be kids.
For many moms, your little ones are headed off to kindergarten for the first time. For some of you it is your very first child. It isn't like it used to be. We used to stay home until we were five and then Kindergarten started. You went to school for half a day. You spent the school year learning your ABC's, days of the week, months, numbers.... You had a little plastic mat that folded into thirds or fourths that you lay on to take a nap, even though you were only there half the day. Kindergarten was cool! It was relaxing and it started you off on a path of believing that school might actually be enjoyable. It was also a little easier on the moms. You only had to let go of your little darling for half the day.
Did I mention that we walked to school? No buses. The schools were in our own neighborhoods. We walked to school. We walked home for lunch, we ate lunch at home and walked back to school for the afternoon.
Now, kindergartners go to school all day long. It is considered tantamount to abuse if you have not sent your child through one or two years of preschool first. Kindergarten is the new first grade. What we used to learn in first grade now gets taught in kindergarten. Parents give away their children at ages three, four or five to preschools. Now don't get me wrong, I am not knocking preschool, I am knocking the idea that we no longer spend some of the most valuable and impressionable years of our children's lives with them ourselves. Not only do they not get to be kids, but we are having parenthood taken away too.
It really makes me sad. Preschool is not for everyone. Not going to preschool is not for everyone. We are in such a rush to push education at our children that they loose those precious years of just being a child. Last week, one of the grandchildren started kindergarten. "Mommy" is a teacher, so the transition was smooth. Our little munchkin was already familiar with the building and is attending the same school where her mom teaches.
The oldest granddaughter goes for the first day tomorrow. I plan to be at their house at 8:00 in the morning with an industrial sized box of tissues and lots of hugs. The tissues are for Mini-Me. The thought of sending her child to kindergarten is devastating her. I plan on spending the morning mopping up tears and maybe taking her to lunch.
I don't think I ever cried when the kids went to kindergarten. I am pretty certain I sent them off with a big hug and smile. We won't talk about the tears when they went to college though. You just keep picturing me smiling as they head through the doors of school. I do remember a couple of them being concerned about what I would do without them at home. Calvin in particular, attempted Jail Breaks every day at lunch. He was sure that his mom needed him. It took several weeks before the teacher could convince him that first graders must stay at school all day.
When the kids asked me what I would do without them, my answer was "I might just sit in a chair for a while and smile, I might listen to nothing, I might listen to my music and dance." Of course, that answer provoked some pretty unusual looks. They were genuinely concerned about my well being and mental health.
It is MomSense Monday. I hope you dance!
Remember when telephones were always attached to wires? When you needed to call someone, you called them at work or home. If there was no answer, it meant that they weren't home. You called back later. Pretty simple.
Remember when you were away from home and needed to make a phone call, you put a quarter in a pay phone and dialed the number? Me too.
Well we couldn't have people call our homes and not be able to talk to us, so some "genius" invented the answering machine. Do you remember how stupid we sounded when we recorded the message to leave us a message? Eventually this handy little tool was incorporated directly into the phone. But, now there was no escape. We did have a brief moment of revenge with caller ID. If you didn't like who was calling you just didn't answer.
Then some "genius" invented beepers. Doctors carried them. If a doctor got paged, he found a phone and called the number that paged him. Another "genius" decided that our phones needed to follow us and invented the Cellular Phone. Now doctors were able to purchase a phone to carry with them. They no longer needed to "find a phone". Doc spent a small fortune on his first cell phone, which was exactly like the one used by Michael Douglas in the movie "Wall Street". Taking your cell phone with you however, was like carrying a small suitcase or large purse. At first it was pretty cool. You had to be pretty important to have a cell phone. But then reality set in. We are always available.
Phones got smaller and smaller and they could do more and more. You could text - although for me, God knows that is always a pending disaster. You could send a receive emails. You could use facebook or connect with the "Web". Our lives were permanently altered by the "geniuses" (or were they idiots) who invented these things.
The stupidity reached its pinnacle for me this weekend. I am always hassled by my family and friends for not answering my phone. Look, I have things to do and carrying my phone with me constantly is not a priority. Besides, I lose or "misplace" my phone at least ten times a day. It is bad enough that my granddaughter now follows me with and/or locates it for me even when I am not looking for it. But anyway, this weekend I decided to put their harassment to bed. I was going to carry my phone with me at all times. I started some yardwork, transplanting some Pachysandra to Pook's house. I dug up the pachysandra and some lilies and was going to put them in the Jeep and drive down the driveway to his house and transplant them. Rats! The power was off Saturday morning. Can't get the Jeep out of the garage because the door won't open without electricity. Good news! The other door is open and I can get the small tractor out and drive it to Pook's house. So, I load up the box of plants and a shovel and some gloves and start down the driveway. Wait! I forgot my phone. I think I left it on the deck near the flower bed I was digging up. Nope, not there. Maybe I set it down in the house. Nope, not there. Maybe I can call myself. Rats! Can't use the house phone (yes, we still have a land line. we are one of two households in Ohio, I think), because it won't work without the electricity. Doc always leaves his cell phone in his truck, I can use that. Rats! For the first time ever, he has taken his phone with him. Now I have to humiliate myself by driving to the barn, to borrow his phone. After the laughter subsides, he hands me his phone and I drive the tractor back to the house. I call myself at least 250 times. No ringing in the house, but when I go outside I can hear it faintly. Oh! it must be near the plants. Nope. Did I put it in the Jeep? Nope, the Jeep is not answering my phone either. I walk outside, I can hear it. I am certain it is in the garage, but I can't find it anywhere. I can still here it in front of the garage. Maybe it is by the other flower bed. Nope! But the sound is stronger. I continue to follow the side like I am on some scavenger hunt and THERE IT IS! Laying in the driveway. I must have dropped it when I was driving to Pook's. Bad News! The screen is shattered and the phone will not engage. Clearly it was cruelly and mercilessly crushed by the tractor tires. Worse News! I have to rehumiliate myself by driving to the barn and telling Doc what happened and ask him to call AT&T for my options. Good News! I have insurance! Bad News! I now have to rely on Pook and Doc to notify the rest of the family and some friends that I am incommunicado until Monday or Tuesday when a replacement arrives. Of course, this leads to all of the smart aleck comments... "Oh, so it will be just like normal, Mom won't answer her phone." or "Mom, I texted you but you didn't answer, oh wait, you can't."
I had a pretty peaceful weekend. No phone calls, no texts! This all begs the question, remember when if no one answered the phone at your house, it meant you weren't home and they called back later? Was it really so bad? Welcome to MomSense Monday!
Over the years, I have spent a lot of time teaching the kids manners. I actually bought Miss Manners book. The darn thing is about three inches thick and weighs five pounds. It probably would have been more useful to just throw it at the kids to get their attention, but I actually read it to them. PURE TORTURE! They learned quickly not to tell me they were bored in the summer. I always made sure to fill their time! Chores were the first line of boredom remedy. I always had a dozen or more chore assignments to hand out. As they got older, the chores got bigger. They learned quickly to keep themselves busy and not whine about having nothing to do.
The other deal we had, was that I would finance purchases for them in exchange for work around the house and property. We have a large storage/garage building on our property that I sent Pook and the Surprise out to paint one summer day. The boys were teenagers, and the chore was in response to wanting clothing or money for something. The first complaint was that I asked them to repaint the white building white. It had been years, and the building needed a fresh coat of paint. Keep in mind that this is not a small building. Begrudgingly the two of them headed out to paint. About thirty minutes later, they returned. I figured they were hungry or thirsty. No -- believe it or not they claimed to be done! "Great! Nice job boys. Let me go inspect your work!"
I was not born yesterday and I am smart enough to know that no building that size can be painted in thirty minutes even with two people working on it! Sure enough, as I got down there, the building seemed to look the same. They swore they painted it! I checked all around and noticed that on the south side, they had strategically placed swipes of paint over just a few areas that they decided only needed touched up. They forgot the frame of the garage door and also the window frames. Then I got around to the north side of the building and realized immediately that instead of prepping anything, they had simply painted over the moss that was growing on the cement block. They never thought I would notice.
Well, needless to say the boys got quite a lecture on doing a job the proper way and not cutting corners. They were sure that they had been ratted out by the neighbor, which I took as an insult to my intelligence and ability to evaluate their work. The shopping trip was delayed, with the possibility of cancellation if they did not head immediately back to the building to paint it correctly! To this day, their complaint is that it is ridiculous to paint a white building white again. And, I am sticking to my logic in the matter!
The building is going to need repainted soon. I wonder who will be bored next? Enjoy your week and know that every day and event in your life is a gift so make sure to look at the funny side of things!
Finance is a hard concept to teach to children. Think back, if your children are older to what it was like when you tried to teach them the value of a penny, a nickel, a dime, a quarter and even a dollar. If your children are young enough, you already know what I mean. When my granddaughter does a good deed or chores, I allow her to put coins in a piggy bank. She will ask if she can have three of them. However, she is content with the fact that she got three, not the value of each so often she will put in two pennies and a dime instead of the quarters that are available.
I think it is important to work on finances with children when they are young. Chore charts with rewards are a great tool. They teach them responsibility as well as the value of money and that sometimes you have to save up for big ticket items and you don’t always get everything you ask for just because you are cute! Giving a child everything he or she asks for allows them to develop a sense of entitlement without the effort.
We did all of those things. We used real money, play money, pretend checking accounts and even pokemon chips. Then it came time for each of the kids to go to college and I proudly took them to the bank one by one to open a checking account and of course get a debit card. “Mommy” did pretty good. She understood money in/money out. She never really liked the money out part and so has become rather frugal as an adult, which is great. Then “Calvin” came along. He simply did not get it! The whole debit card thing really messed him up. He was certain that if he used his debit card but checked off credit card when asked how he wanted to use it, all was well. I could not get it through his head that when he used that card in any way, the money came out of his checking account. Hence, we made several trips to the bank to straighten out overdraft charges. Thank God he is marrying someone with financial sense! “Mini Me” understood all of the concepts, she just never let the money stay in the account long enough to multiply! “The Blonde” struggled. She felt that the bank should be more understanding. She knew she didn’t have the money in her account, but reasoned that she only overdrew the account by ten cents and did not see the need for the bank to get so picky about it. By the time “Pook” and “The Surprise” headed to the bank, I was resigned to the fact that I should just check on their balances myself and make sure they always had sufficient funds.
I guess it is true that the younger ones get away with a little more than their older siblings. Really, they should be VERY grateful for the fact that the oldest wore me down for them! Have a great week! God Bless!
There is more than one Ninja in our gang. I know I have told stories in the past of “The Ninja” and how she is on call to the kids to repair any damage that they have done without my knowledge. In all fairness, I do not mind. She has one rule. If asked directly she will not lie for them, but will in the meantime keep their secrets. Eventually of course, the stories come out. Usually at the dinner table. All is taken quite well and of course we are in tears from laughing so hard.
I am however, always fascinated by the thought processes that take place in these people prior to the damage occurring. For example, there was the chase through the house where the older boys and my nephews were ganging up on the surprise. During the chase, it seemed logical to my nephew to hurl himself over the couch to catch my son. Apparently no forward thought was given to the fact that there was a table behind the couch with photos, etc. on it. Yea… a few things broke.
Or the idea that it was okay to play football in the family room. And yet they were shocked when they broke the globe on an antique floor lamp. Replacing it never came to mind, or confessing to it for that matter. Their little brains immediately went to athletic tape. Yes, they used athletic tape to put the globe back together. Who would ever notice that?! Just anyone who turned the light on.
More recently, within the last two years, The Blonde was watching her niece and nephew. They were headed to the car, so the baby was in his car seat and she was on her way out to put the three year old in the car and go back for the baby. Unfortunately, the three year old pulled the door closed behind her and it was already locked. The Blonde’s house keys were inside in her purse with the baby, who was sound asleep and safely strapped in his seat. After a few moments of panic, The Blonde “Ninja” kicked the door in and fractured the doorframe.
Now, you may think she is quite the hero, but I beg to differ. First, as I mentioned, the baby was safe inside. Second, several people nearby have spare keys, including my brother who lives just up the driveway. Third, I was at the grocery store ten minutes away. All she had to do was call me home.
When I did arrive home and saw what happened, the 26 year old blamed the 3 year old. Who wouldn’t?! And after making sure she did not damage the security system and wiring, we had the door frame repaired. By the way, the door closes much better than it used to, so she figures she did a good deed there too.
I am proud of The Blonde overall. She and The Ninja took their athletic skills yesterday and competed in a Triathalon Sprint. That’s my girls! Have a great week!
Wife, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother, Nurse, Grandmother, Friend...that's me in a nutshell!