Thursday, August 28, 2008

My Best Leading By Example Story

Sawyer can be pretty careless with her electronic gadgets. The digital camera she got for Christmas is broken, and now her ipod is dead. Gah!! Does she not realize that these gadgets are expensive, and that money doesn't grow on trees?

I sat her down and gave her the "You need to treat these pieces of equipment carefully - when they break because you are careless, we do not have the money to replace them" lecture. And then, patting myself on the back ("I rock as a parent! Yeah me!"), I left for work.

And when I got there, I couldn't find my new, expensive, cell phone.


I looked everywhere and it was nowhere to be found. I called the place I stopped on my way to work, no sign of it. After work (it was my Nanny gig, so it was in the evening) I scoured the house. I called and called it, eventually the battery ran out and it went straight to voice mail. It was lost.

That night, we had a monsoon storm.

The next morning, José goes out to look in the truck to see if I somehow missed it (whatever), and finds it in the driveway. In pieces (I had obviously run over it. More than once.), and wet (remember the monsoon?). I took back the "whatever".

He comes in, shaking his head, holding the shattered remains of my (new, expensive) cell phone in his hand. To his extreme credit he said absolutely nothing - just gave me a slight shake of his head; which was worse than being yelled at, but then, he never yells.

I had to leave for an outing with the kids, and off I went, furious at myself for my carelessness. Didn't I just give Sawyer this lecture? How stupid am I? How will I possibly be able to survive without my cell phone? It's been 10 minutes since I left the house and I am DYING!!!

When we got home, a brand new, BETTER and MORE EXPENSIVE cell phone was waiting for me. (My husband rocks!).

So, what did I teach Sawyer? If you are careless with your expensive gadgets your dad will come through and get you better stuff. Now that is the heart of a hard earned life lesson.

Yeah, I am not harping on that topic anymore. I simply always try to have my phone with me, and hope she doesn't see when it slips out of my hands (all too often).

Off I go to resume work on "Best Parenting Tips" by Marin Velarde - Super Mom.

Leading By Example

So, I am laying on my bed the other day, and Cooper comes to cuddle with me. He looks up at my ceiling and says, "Auntie? Why is there a spider web up there?"

"Because I need to clean my room", I reply

To which he says, "Why do you get mad at Sawyer when she doesn't clean her room, and you don't clean yours?"

For a 4 year old, Cooper is a very wise little guy.

And he made a great point. I am constantly harping on my kids, but do they ever see me making a concerted effort to keep things clean? On a regular basis? They are supposed to straighten their room every day; I think the last time I straightened my room I was pregnant with Rhys (and that was in the other house...heh). I really want the dishes to be done on the days the kids are scheduled to do them, but who does them one days when the kids aren't scheduled? Um, that would be no one. Ok, this is not one of my proudest parenting moments. That how-to book of parenting I was going to write has been put on hold.

So I cleaned my room last week. I vacuumed that gray mystery lump that was sitting on my dresser for so long - I had thought it was a piece of art from the kids' preschool days - it was actually my wedding photo. (I think, those kids looked so young and enthusiastic and thin...maybe it was the picture that came with the frame. No, wait, that handsome groom is José. Yeah, he's still that cute. ). I got rid of the spider web on my ceiling (sorry for the short notice, dude, hope you like vacuum cleaner bags), I got rid of clothes, I cleaned baseboards, I scrubbed the floor, I dusted(!), and by the way, my TV screen isn't dying, it was just a thick layer of dust that was making the picture blurry. My room is spotless.

José totally didn't notice. Cooper, on the other hand, was very impressed.

So, my new plan is to try to lead by example. I hate housework, and I hate cleaning, but the life lesson here is that there are certain things that need to be done in life, even if you dislike them. Plus, isn't living in a semi clean house more comfortable? My kids all shrug and roll their eyes when I pose that question. (I do the same inside my head, but don't tell them.) I am working on it, at least now that I have a leg to stand on, because they will see me doing my chores too.

Read on for my best leading by example story....

Monday, August 11, 2008

Back to School!

So, today was the first day of school. For the kids, there was nerves and excitement. For me? The same.

On a whim, I asked the kids what their goals for this year were. Not really expecting much of a response other than an eyeroll, here are the responses I got...

Sawyer - "To get better grades"

Kellan - "To read the complete "Twilight" series"

Rhys - "To learn my multiplication and division tables so well I don't need to think about them"

I was pretty impressed by these goals. My friend Sandra suggested I write them in a visible spot so none of us forget. Good suggestion - have I done it yet? Not so much.

Drop off was interesting. Rhys was pretty matter of fact. He didn't want me to walk him to class, but I insisted, only to be berated by his teacher for doing so. Note to self: listen to the boy.

Kellan took off with a confident smile in my direction. She was excited.

Abby (can't forget her) looked a little tentative, and I gave her a squeeze, and left her room, tears running down my face. My baby is in kindergarten. I think I am having a harder time with this than her parents...

Sawyer asked that I drop her off at school (we usually do the carpool thing with another family), and she was nervous. Understandably so. I remember those first days of school (for me it was high school) walking into those classes, hoping to just see one familiar face, and once a familiar face is spotted, hoping it is friendly. God, it sucked. I tried to be all mom-like and give her a speech about the opportunity of meeting new people and stopped halfway through. No - it sucks. I hated, and still hate, walking into a new situation. She hopped out of the car, with a small smile for me, and then I went off to start my day (and that is whole other blog, not written yet, see in a day or two).

Pick up time arrives. Actually, way before pick up time arrives, but me and my cronies are so excited to go back to the bench (, we arrive at school 30 minutes early.

First to be picked up - Abby. "I love school, my favorite part is the cafeteria."

Then Rhys makes his way out. "My teacher is the strictest teacher I have ever had". Looking at his short list of teachers, that probably is a true statement. He did allow that her strict rules regarding no talking in class and no running around the classroom were probably good rules to have.

Kellan finds me. "I love fifth grade!" She loves her teacher, she loves her class. Yeah!

Now to go get Sawyer. I'm all scared, because I know how hard her day most likely was, and frankly, Sawyer is a glass half empty kind of gal. She gets in the car. "How was your day?" I ask tentatively. She gives me the thumbs up. What a relief! She has people she likes in her classes, her teachers made the upcoming year sound exciting, and she is now an 8th grader - big kid on campus. Whew!

So the madness starts again. I have made the decision to be home with my family more this year, giving up a few of my many babysitting gigs so I can be around more. I am thinking that I will have all of this extra time, so I can help my kids organize themselves and cook wholesome wonderful meals for them. Yet, the first day of school has come and gone, and even though I am working less, the time - still not there. It is after 9PM, and everything that I needed to get done today, both in the house (dishes. lots and lots of dishes) and for work still sits in gigantic piles around me, mocking me.

I am taking a deep breath, and just going to go with the flow. Do the best I can. And try to have a fun time doing it, and try to make it fun for the people around me. Because if I can provide entertainment for the people around me by how scattered I am then my job is done.

Rhys telling me his day was terrible...