Am I My Child’s Servant?

The scene: 7 am in the morning, breakfast time. Dad is in the kitchen. 9 year old is in the living room.

Dad: [Hollering from the kitchen] What do you want for breakfast?
9 yo: [Hollering from the living room] A bagel.
Dad: Come on out and make it.
9 yo: Can you make it?
Dad: No.
9 yo: UGH! [stomps on floor]

Am I my child’s servant? I’d like to think I’m not. When it’s pancake morning, I’m more than happy to make them because I’ve seen the resulting mess. That, and I don’t yet trust the 9 year old to use the stove.

We’re working on it, though.

But a bagel? He can make that. And no, I’m not going to pour his milk for him, either. I’m afraid if I were to tend to his every wish I’d soon be wiping his arse and picking his nose for him.

Eww. Gross.

Isn’t that what people think happened to the Millennials? They were coddled and babied and had everything done for them so now they can’t boil water. I’ve heard stories (and I’d like to think they’re just stories, but they’re probably not) about parents attending their child’s job interview. About parents calling university professors to get their child’s grade changed. About Millennials who eat out because they can’t cook.

I apologise to those Millennials this does not apply to.

We’ve been working on independence. Mostly in the morning getting ready for school and in the evening getting ready for bed. His ADD doesn’t really help the situation, but knowing why he’s having so much trouble is a step toward helping him better. Prior to helping him he needed constant supervision to keep him on track. He couldn’t get into pajamas and brush his teeth without being distracted by his brother, or books, or his toenails. So I would stand outside his bedroom door and give constant verbal reminders on what he should be doing.

I’m afraid of what might happen should this continue into his teen years or even later. Should I just resolve the fact that he’ll be living with us forever? Perhaps long enough that I’ll be so old I can’t cook my supper. Maybe by then he’ll have it figured out and will be able to take care of his elderly parents in their final years. Perhaps if we can get him a good job he’ll be able pay for the house and the groceries and the hover cars.

So  we are creating an independent individual today so that he can make his own bagel. If he can make his own bagel he won’t be hungry in school. If he’s not hungry in school he’ll be able to focus better. If he focuses better he’ll learn more. If he learns more he’ll get into university. If he gets into university he’ll get a good job. If he gets a good job he’ll be able to afford to feed himself. If he can feed himself he can make his own bagel.

And wipe his own arse.

Shh… It’s Quiet Here

It’s 8:35. It’s dark outside and has been for an hour and half. I’ve sat down at my computer no less than ten times today. I have two ideas for really neat posts, but they take time. The work is in progress. I had nothing for today. Every time I would sit and try to write I would 

  • read other blogs instead
  • wash dishes
  • paint the hallway
  • walk to the grocery store for peanuts for the crows and blue jays (and damn pigeons and a seagull) (more on that later)
  • go for a 5 mile run
  • email my parents (thanks ma and pa for writing back!)

So anyway.. about those peanuts… Remember that video I posted of the finches? I hung my GoPro from the bird feeder. It turned out pretty neat. I was impressed anyway. Check it out here if you’re curious. Today I walked to the grocery store for a bag of peanuts, the kind still in the shell. We like to feed the crows and blue jays. But I had alternative motives this time. I was going to catch them on video as I did the finches. 

We have a bird bath that we converted into a bird feeder by filling it with peanuts instead of water.The birds love it. We love watching the birds. I put the peanuts in the feeder and I wasn’t even back in the door yet and the jays were swooping in. Soon enough a pecking order developed. Pigeons ate the nuts that had fallen from the shell. The jays scared the pigeons away. The crows scared the jays away. Then a greedy, bastard seagull flew in and scared the crows away. We stepped in and scared the seagull away. It would eaten EVERYTHING! And I got it all on video…

Fast forward past supper. Crash and his friend were playing some more truth or dare (would you grow up to become a stipper?). Bang and his BFF were in the basement playing. Until they weren’t. They came up and wanted to join in. Crash didn’t want Bang to join. Bang screamed. Bang threw himself on the floor. Bang thew the temper tantrum of the century. 

So I delivered him to his room to cool off.

Shortly after, the friends left because it was 6:30 snack time. Or as the kids think of it, 6:30 show off time. 

Then it was bedtime routine. Or as the kids think it, show off time. They KNOW damn well what they need to do, what I expect them to do, to get ready for bed. Crash has jumped out and scared Bang going up the stairs so many times that Bang will no longer go up by himself. Crash delays bedtime by “not wanting” to brush and floss his teeth. Bang says he “doesn’t know” how to get changed. Meanwhile, I stand there shouting directions like Gunnery Sargent Harmen (Full Metal Jacket). 

The growling has stopped. The littlest one had his nightly poop. The oldest is no longer naked. The books have been read. Night night kisses lovingly delivered. Lights have been turned out. 

It
    is
        quiet!

Today’s Taboo word was “be”.  To read more posts without the Taboo Word (be) or to join the challenge? Just click the blue frog…

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I’m No Quitter…

According to the internet, Mark Twain said he has quit smoking either hundreds of times or thousands of times. Either way, that’s a whole lotta quitting. I’m not a quitter. I don’t give up.

That’s why I need to quit Coke again. I went three days without last week. I think I can go four this week. No Coke ’til Friday!

Crash and I had a beautiful run this morning. I ran. He biked. The sun shined. Last week we ran/biked four miles. This week’s goal is 12 miles – four miles Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Our goal time is 34 minutes for four miles. Last week we made it in 33:52. Today we made in 32:56, a minute faster!  This is roughly three minutes slower than my best, but I’ll chalk that up to having not run for a few months. Even then my running was as sporadic as the times my kids are willing to clean. I’d like to get back to running regularly again.

I used to run at night after the boys were in bed. I have just now started going first thing in the morning. Crash is an early riser so we have a small breakfast of either a bagel or English muffin then hit the road. Skip the OJ. I love OJ with breakfast. But OJ sits heavy and will often make a reappearance at around mile two or three. Stick to water. It’ll stay down.

895ae34a9d5beca1c1df0bcef31d7b91These 7 am runs can only last the month of August, though. Come September the boys will both be in school and will have to start getting ready at 7 am. Not kosher with the 7 am run. I would go 6 am, but because of how our substitute teacher system works online, I usually start job hunting at 6 am. Will I be ambitious enough to run at 5:15 am? Considering that DW and I get our quiet time together after the boys are in bed, I don’t see myself going to bed early enough to get up at 5 am. My dad does it. Though, he gets up at 5 to go to work , not go running.

This is when I need to “up my game”. If I can’t find the time, I need to make the time. There are 24 hours in a day. That’s 1,440 minutes. I’m sure 30-45 of those can be dedicated to running. Especially if it means getting Crash out for a bike ride, too. Bang would join us, but he’s been sleeping in. Soon enough he’ll be pushed in the running stroller while Crash bikes. He loves to see the train tracks, the tanker cars (he calls the white ones ‘milk tankers’) and the tower of fire at the natural gas plant. And the ‘big fans‘ too. Hopefully, getting them out running with me will instil a desire for exercise as they grow older. I’ll cross my fingers. I won’t hold my breath.

Do you enjoy running? What part of the day do you dedicate to exercise?

running

Our view on this morning’s run/bike

 

 

The Joys of the Chaos

Have you ever had so much to do at any given moment that you felt there was no way in hell it would get done? You know you had to leave at such and such to make it without being late. While scrambling to get it all done, you know there are only two options. Option A, leave without being properly prepared. Option B, slow down, don’t forget anything and accept the fact that you’re going to be late. Option C (an option you didn’t realize existed until it was too late) continue at the mad pace your on but ultimately forget something. Hopefully, not one of the kids. Or your spouse. Or worse yet, your lunch.

That’s what happened at house this morning. Anyone who has to get kids ready for school in the morning knows this struggle all to well. It is real. Last night’s snow didn’t help our situation. It was the most exciting two inches Crash and Bang had ever seen. The first “real” snow always is. Nevermind school, they couldn’t wait to get out to play in it. So excited that Crash made oatmeal for breakfast at 6 am, put in the freezer to cool off and forgot about it. I found it an hour and half later while getting ice for water bottles. Thank God, too. He would have been awful hungry come lunch time!

Fortunately, every on in our house is capable of dressing themselves now. Bang now gets himself dressed immediately after waking up. Knowing that I was substituting today, I got myself ready immediately after eating breakfast. Sorry, WordPress, you gotta wait until after school (or recess and lunch). Then it was down to pack three lunches – Crash’s, DW’s, and my own. Then chaos arrives and threw the proverbial wrench in my gears.

I’m all for the kids going out to play. I’m even more all for going out to play with them. What I’m not for is going out before school. Normally, Crash would help get ready – I’d pack his lunch, but he’d pack his backpack. This morning, he just couldn’t wait to go out and ride his snowboard down the hill in the fresh powder. Can’t blame him, I wanted to be out there, too. Unfortunately, he neglected his morning duties. Then Bang went out to play, too. This would have been all fine and dandy except that I had to stop the scramble and help him get on all his snow clothes.

They weren’t out long before traipsing back in. Lunches were being packed. Water bottles were being filled. We were nearly ready. Mostly. Bang needed his medicine (last of his antibiotic to heal his double ear infection). Bang needed his puffers. While DW administered those, I finished lunches. Finally, ready to head out the door, chaos tapped my on the shoulder and laughed.

Crash’s backpack still wasn’t packed like I asked him to do. He argued about wearing snow pants to school (his only argument was that it takes too long to put them on and he misses recess to which I told him to learn to dress faster. Duh). This required him to take off the boots and coat he had already put on. Bang was getting his coat on. I was getting my boots on. DW had started the truck so it could thaw and running like a blue arsed fly looking for her snow boots. I told her where to look in the basement, but she pulled a me and went looking and couldn’t find them fast enough. I ran down and got them. Came back up to pack Crash’s backpack. Meanwhile, the four year old is now the only one ready with hat, coat, mittens, and packed backpack standing outside waiting.

Finally, sitting in the truck, DW asks “Did you get my water bottle?”

“Nope.” And back into the house I go.

“It’s in the back of the truck,” she hollers into the house. That explains why I can’t find the damn thing. She forgot that she remembered to grab it.

Back in the truck she asks the second question, “Did you get my lunchbox?”

“Yes, but I forgot mine,” I respond with a growl and probably rolled my eyes so far back I could see myself think.

“I got it. It’s in the back of the truck.” And off we go, with a quick stop at Nanny’s to drop off the antibiotic because she will be picking Bang up from school. DW drops all three off at school (it’s great having the three of here at one time).

Ten minutes later I get paged to come to the office where the secretary tells me, “Your wife called. You forgot your lunch in the truck.”

Shit. Guess I’ll consider myself lucky if that’s the only thing I forgot.

quote-my-eyes-rolled-so-far-back-in-my-head-that-i-could-see-myself-think-janet-evanovich-41-80-78

Giving credit where credit is due. 

 

Once Upon a Bedtime

Crash, the 7 year old knows the bedtime routine. When I ask him what it is he responds with “Yogurt, Pajamas, brush teeth, rinse, pee, get in bed.” And I say “Bingo, you got it.”  But just because he knows what the routine is, doesn’t mean he’ll follow it. He would stay up until midnight if let him. Actually, he was up until 1 am last New Years with us and he still wasn’t ready for bed. Anyway, he tries every trick in the book to delay bedtime. It wears my patience very quickly because I expect him to be autonomous at this point.

Soon enough, I’m fussing at him. I think he likes to be fussed at, though. He tries to get extra screen time not by asking, but simply playing his games in front of us. Sometimes, he ends up losing screen time for the rest of the day. But it doesn’t stop him from trying again the next day.

To get to the point, we fuss at him frequently. I hope it’s just a phase and he’s testing boundaries and that once he finds those boundaries aren’t flexible, he’ll stop. Last night was no different. While I was getting Bang ready for bed in his room, Crash was supposed to be following the routine – minus the yogurt because he’d already eaten. While I was reading Bang his bedtime book, Crash “sneaks” in to listen. I let him, because, well, books are fun.

I directed him back to his routine while I finished Bang’s routine – lotion, inhalers, vitamin E on his lips, and nose blowing (his cold is getting much better). I finished all that and went to check on Crash. Was he ready for bed? Of course not. He had done nothing. He was instead “hiding” on the stairs and was going to attempt to scare me. Then our Parrot, Piper, screeched. She was ready for bed, too.

Crash asked if he could put her bed. I told him no and, naturally, he didn’t like that answer. I told him if he had followed routine and had been ready for bed, then he could have put the bird to bed (change her food and water and cover her cage with a sheet). Now he had to get ready. Fussed at, again.

Finally in bed, all tucked in and books read and lights out and star turtle turned on, I’m feeling (I think DW has similar feelings) like I’ve done nothing but fuss at him since he got home from school. I’m laying there with my eyes closed getting ready to say something to him (our nightly chat) when I feel wet lips on my forehead. “I love you, dad.”

And BOOM, just like that, all of the fussing I’ve done, all of the testing he’s done, suddenly no longer exists. He’s melted his mom like this, before, too. Little bugger. Just when we’re feeling like we haven’t a clue what we’re doing, when we feel like what we are doing isn’t working, he leaves us laying in a puddle of our melted heart.

I snuggle him for a few minutes enjoying the brief moment. Then kiss on his forehead and tell him “Night night, love you buddy. Ugga Mugga, see ya in the morning.”