Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Can I PLEASE Go Home Now?

A week is just a very, very, very long time to be away from life. It's even longer when the week is shared with people who don't have kids and keep saying things about not ever having kids. I know. I said it first, but I was joking. I've discovered that there are lots of reasons my sister and I haven't spent much time together in the last ten or so years. I'm probably on their last nerve too, so no hard feelings.

Seattle! My sister and her uber cool fiancee have done a fabulous job showing me around their strange and colorful city. There's a whole lotta freaky people 'round here! And I'm beginning to think the person who coined the phrase "Texas Friendly" was probably from here. And that person is probably dead. Dead from the shock of being around people who don't swear at you and use the one finger salute at every opportunity! People here are pretty intense. We attended the Folklife Festival downtown this weekend where I realized that I could have brought my frumpy mommy uniforms, complete with mismatched socks and non-color co-ordinated sweats and fit in better than I did in the carefully chosen "cute" clothes I dredged up to bring instead. In fact, I could have worn my socks on my hands and my bra on the outside of my shirt and been the height of Seattle-Freaky-People fashion. But hey, where else can you watch a half naked, afro wearing, silk scarf waving, has to be on something, old geezer guy dance to a live bluegrass band in the rain? I'm really not complaining at all, the visit here has been an interesting cultural experience. I've eaten some great seafood, seen some beautiful architecture, both man-made and natural, and had my horizons broadened. Who could ask for more?

When I get home, and back to the land of CABLE INTERNET *insert screaming happy banshee dance here* I'll upload some pictures, including some from my afternoon with a BLOG CELEBRITY!!! I can't wait to get back, catch up on everyone's blog-thangs and see how you all have been doing!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

The Green Ones Count

We made the flight in fine shape. J just picked out a nice, grandmotherly type who seemed encouraging and willing to play with her, crawled up on her lap, and went to sleep. Does that count as a Works for Me Wednesday? Wisdom Wednesday? Let your child talk to strangers, crawl up in their lap and go to sleep. No? Well, it was worth a shot.

The schedule sabatoge has served to eliminate her normal appetite. I usually don't worry much about if they eat or not, I figure, they aren't going to starve, if they want to eat, they will. But yesterday, we were going on day three of food strike and in a desperate attempt to kickstart her appetite, I fed my child M&M's...for lunch. Technically, when you think about it, there *is* "green" in there...right?

Now if she doesn't scare my sister out of the idea of having children, ever, we'll get this wedding show on the road.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

"Mommeeee, Mommeeee, Mommeeee"

Dearest little one,

You are working hard at expanding your vocabulary. Recently, Mommaaa, has become, Mommeeeee. However, repeating this word over, and over, and over, and over for the past 5 days has driven me to the brink of my sanity. You sing it when you are playing,you yell it at the top of your lungs when I am out of your sight, shout it when I'm standing right in front of you, and most especially, repeat it in the car. Considering we've just spent over 36 hours in.a.car together, I think you need to refrain from using this particular word for the next five days. I am your mother. Even though you've driven me crazy, I'm still able to see cuteness in the maniacle grin you give me when I finally lose it and shout "SHUT UP!!!", but I'm betting the other passengers on our 6 hour flight will NOT agree with that assessment and unless you'd like to find yourself tossed off the plane somewhere over Idaho, I'd recommend you either stop speaking for now, or expand your one word vocabulary to include something clever and funny to say when they open the hatch.


Your Mommeeee

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Incredible Days

Hard, but incredible. Saturday, we gathered at the funeral home to make arrangements, and in traditional L Family fashion, the somberness was lightened by someone making a silly remark, and it was increasingly better and better after that.

I was so fortunate and honored to be asked, with my perfect SIL, to join the three sisters in dressing D for burial. It was without question one of the most profoundly spiritual experiences of my life. I will privately journalize the details of this experience, if you need to read it someday, feel free to ask, but for general viewing, I choose not to share it just now. I will say, initially, it was very difficult for us all to see her that way. But as we gathered ourselves and set about the business at hand, it was a beautiful, peaceful gathering and we all felt an incredible oneness with her, with each other, and I daresay, with the Lord. When we finished, she was so beautiful, and the five of us had bonded with each other in a way we never expected. We found the experience to be like balm for the wound in our hearts.

Several prayers were offered that day, my incredible FIL shared with us his powerful and enduring testimony. There were many tears, and everyone's emotions were like raw, open sores. But the ability to laugh and find comfort provided balance and the day was an incredibly healing and peaceful experience.

The Bishop that serves the ward (congregation) was present and offered a family prayer, and before leaving, this kind and loving servant of the Lord authorized a private sacrament meeting to be held in my BIL's home today. He recognized that coming to the regular meeting on Mother's Day would be difficult on the family under the circumstances, and due to his insight and thoughtfulness, the family was able to have what may prove a once in a lifetime experience that was just exactly what we all needed.

We will travel to UT to bury my MIL on Wed. I have no doubt that the Lord will continue to attend us during our preparations and journey. This hasn't been easy, but growing almost never is. It has proved to bring us all closer as a family, and I'm so grateful to be a part of it. Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. It really does mean a lot to all of us.

Friday, May 12, 2006

The Surreal Life

It's always a strange feeling to wake up the day after a major event. When you first open your eyes, you wonder if it was real, and as your brain begins to function, you begin to move forward with what comes next.

I'm so grateful for the great plan of our Father in Heaven. It is beautiful in it's simplicity and comforting in it's promise. The kids have done very well with the news and have spent lots of time talking about their feelings today. I am grateful for their testimony's, which, at times, seem more vast and steadfast than my own.

The rest of the family is gathering, and preparations are being made. I'm honored to have been asked to help with preparations, I know that will be a tender experience which I've not had before, and I thank you all for the kind comments.

The Part Where Everything Comes to a Stop

Hubster's mom just passed away. It's been coming, but we had reason to hope it would be a bit farther out. My heart is breaking to think I'm not with my husband right now. Rand wanted the older children told right away, which I have done, and now I'm struggling with knowing I'll have to tell the younger kids in a few hours. I don't know what else to say or do right now. So I guess this is where I wait.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

I'm a bloggin fool today

If I were ever to resign myself to using the non-word "ya'll" as a word, I'd say that my blogging binge is to make up for the time ya'll will be missing me while I'm gone to visit my sister. (But I have to force myself to use the non-word ya'll and even had to erase "you guys" when I intended to use the non-word ya'll on.purpose.)

Now where was I going with this? Oh, yes, I discovered an awesomely funny new blog and Sabra's story gave me a blast from the past I thought I'd record for B and share with you all. (See, it's two words, and never the two should appear with an apostrophe)

B Learns to Pee

( I thought that up myself ;O) )

4 summers ago, Hubster was working in the town where my in-laws live and since their house was basically empty and there was no school age children here to shuffle, we got to go stay with him. One night, we took the kids to the park to play and were basking in the glow of each other's company as B and K played. K was about to turn two and B was three. They were playing on a grassy hill with some other children, and nearby, was the port-a-potty style rest room. B hollered to us to ask if it was OK to go potty. We said sure, thinking, "it's right there in front of us, only has room for one person, yeah, that'll be safe." I turned my attention to K when my husband started to laugh and said, "Look at your boy." There he was, in the middle of the grassy knoll, peeing. And he'd not yet mastered the intricate art of using the zip fly in his jeans for it's intended use. So, there was my kid, pants around his ankles, just a' peein', right in the middle of the kids, the park, the other parents.

Which just reminded me of another blog worthy occasion which happened pre-blog, but needs preservation as well. Lets call this one:

How to Embarrass Your Older Brothers 101

( I thought of that all on my own too, I am on a roll)

When we first moved here and I wasn't so jaded and torn down by life, I volunteered for stuff. I was on the board for the Wrestling BOoster Club and found myself in charge of the end of year banquet. We did a great job, and had a wonderful turnout. I was seated at the head table with K in the highchair next to me, facing out over the crowd, and listening to the Coach call one of my sons to the podium for "the" award of the night. I'm clapping and shooting photo's and suddenly become aware of laughter. Lots of very loud guffawing and howling. My friend seated next to me pointed and said "Look at your boy." And there was B, wild eyed, nekkid from the waist down and laughing like a maniac, fueled by the delight of the crowd. I'm usually really great in front of a crowd, but I distinctly remember the getting the feeling that my cheeks had just been sunburned in the worst way as I walked that long walk of shame to collect my giggling child and his pants from another mom who was straggling along behind him, panting, saying "I tried to stop him, but he just laughed and went around me."

I'm annoying and I was attacked

Wanna know the best way to get people ticked off at you in WalMart? Take your kids, fill your cart, go to the self-checkout lane, scan your stuff, realize you've forgotten your debit card, scrounge for cash, run out of cash, scrounge for quarters, run out of quarters, scrounge for dimes, kick machine for eating three of your dimes, run out of dimes, scrounge for nickels, run out of nickles, pay the remaining .51 in.pennies. Yeah. I was *that* lady today. *sigh*

No, my attack wasn't a result of the afore mentioned incident, but I thought I'd preserve for posterity what happens when a toddler runs into your face with their mouth open.

Gearing up for Blast off

I'm trying really hard to get the house under control and all the loose ends tied up so I can leave for SIX WHOLE DAYS next week. SIX WHOLE DAYS is a long time to leave a life such as mine. Well, at least I feel needed.

tagged me and since I did the Four things thing not too long ago, I'll do the Two things:

Two for Togetherness Tag

2 things you compliment your husband on while in his presence.
1. What a great Dad he is
2. How funny he is

2 compliments you make about your spouse to your friends about your spouse.
1. He's so supportive
2. He treates me like a queen

2 traits you married him/her for.
1. His sweet nature
2. His unwavering beliefs

2 Days you cherished the most with your husband being together.
1. Our first trip to Houston
2. Our Honeymoon

2 Material things you could give your husband if you just inherited a fortune.
1. A brand new clinic
2. A bird hunting ranch

2 things you would miss the most if she/he left for two weeks.
1. No help with kids so I can do errands
2. No help with laundry

2 thoughts that crossed your mind when you first met/saw your spouse.
1. He is super smart
2. He has great kids

2 favorite dates
1. Going to the driving range and scrounging for T's to hit balls off
2. Going to the History and Science Museum

2 funny odd things you love.
1. The funny sound he makes in the shower.
2. When he bursts into song, loudly and off key

2 two places you have lived with your spouse.
1. The house we built together
2. Our dream house

2 favorite Vacations
1. San Fransisco
2. South Dakota

I tag
Maine Mom

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Wisdom Wednesday-Prepare. Prepare! Prepare?

They say a mother's work is never done. And it's true that once you bring a child into the world, a little peice of that new person will always be "your baby". But there comes a time when they have to go off into the world and just like a good buisness person, a wise parent needs to have an exit plan.

The first time we encountered this was as our oldest, M, was contemplating his upcoming graduation and trying to decide what his next step was going to be. To be completely honest with you, it sort of snuck up on us all. M had been prepared from the time he was a little shaver, to serve a full time mission for our church when he turned 19. Most of the boys do that, and he had assumed that he would do that as well....until. Ah, the dreaded until. Sometime around December-ish of his senior year, M started wondering if he really wanted to go after all. We counciled him to pray about the matter, and start checking out what his other choices were. He started to get a little apatheic about the whole thing and one day, he and I sat down with a peice of paper and I let him know what he could expect in several scenarios. Much to M's surprise, Mom and Dad weren't going to pay for a bachelor pad, tutition and books, and yes, the military is an honest to goodness option for EVERYONE, including somewhat spoiled golden boys who've had it pretty easy up to now. When he realized that real life was about to smack him full in the face, he opted to go on a mission.

He had a good experience serving in the church, and he'll never regret going, but in all honesty, some of his decision was based on what he thought his parents wanted. While obedience is a good thing in most cases, and it turned out all right in this case, it's really not a good way to make adult decisions.

Much of the friction between my parents and my self came to glaring clarity as we guided our second son, E, through his last two years of highschool. I know we've raised good kids. I was also a good kid growing up, and I value so many of the things I was taught growing up, that I passed them along to my own kids. But something in the back of my mind kept nagging at me with E. Every kid needs different things from their parents, and what works with one kid, may not work with another. E reminded me so much of myself at that age. Very head strong, but basically making good enough choices to get by, and a willingness to learn on his own and take responsibility for his actions. This is where things get sticky. We all have to make adjustments to the things our parents did for us as kids, and trying to treat E the way I wished my parents had treated me during my high-school years was the hardest thing I've done as a parent. Relinquishing control while the child is still a child, and living in your home, is a very fine balancing act, indeed. This child needed more space than his brother, and now was not the time to teach or preach obedience.

Like M, E had decided to serve a mission upon graduation. Due to the circumstances during his last two years, he was much more adament about his intentions and repeatedly assured us that nothing was going to change his mind. Well, guess who ended up accepting an athletic scholarship instead of serving a mission? I found myself in the exact same position, two years later, of having to prepare a son with the facts of what we would and wouldn't be able to provide once he graduated high school. Needless to say, it wasn't quite what he was expecting, and as a result, led to some pretty hard feelings.

So having been twice burned, I am moving forward in preparing D for her graduation in two years. She has been very keen on listening to lots of people's collective wisdom in choosing her career path and school options. Hopefully, knowing that the gravy train in this house stops when you complete high school, very early on, will help her make plans accordingly, and make the transition much smother than it has been with her brothers. Her father and I have also decided to let her know starting now, what she might expect in terms of help paying for her eventual wedding. (Sometime in the very, very distant future ;O) )

I think that by providing our children very early on with a clear picture of what to expect, and in very specific, concise terms, we provide them with the tools they need to successfully transition out of the nest with as little frusteration and hardship as possible. I distinctly recall feeling somewhat betrayed when I wasn't sure I wanted to start college, but my parents were pretty insistent I do just that. When I finally gave in and started checking into what it was going to take financially for me to enroll, I was shocked to find that my family wasn't going to pay for school and I was pretty much on my own with it.

I'm not saying that parents should pay for college, in fact, I'm very much for kids having to make all the choices involved with where they school, where they live while they attend school and be responsible for paying their own tuition, books, fees, and if they decide they don't want to live at home to save expenses, then they also need to figure out how to pay for that! I think it helps them make conservative choices, appreciate their education and overall, it empowers them to know that they are capable of taking care of themselves. But I've been shown, three times now, in technicolor detail, that it is unfair and shocking to be brought to the deck of the boat and told that there's no ferry to the shore for you, you are expected to swim.

So call me dumb, but there's my short comings posted for all of you to see. They are what they are, and the best I can do is to improve the job I do with each child. If it gives you some food for thought, even just reminds you of what you already know, then, my work here is done. And *that* is this weeks' Wisdom Wednesday.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

What to do, what to do?

Ever have pesky kids in your 'hood? I do. We have nice kids, and we have pesky kids. The pesky kids show up all.the.time. Their mother rarely knows where they are, they cause strife with the other kids in the 'hood that have peaceful playtimes, and they don't leave when asked. This particular pair fabricated (according to the mom) a story that they "couldn't go home because no one was there". Nice. After I discussed this with the mother, she promptly drove off in.the.dark, leaving her children...AT MY HOUSE! I was livid. She kept the little gals home for a good couple of weeks, (punishment for the "tall tale" or keeping up appearances?) but they have been back with increasing regularity. I do not allow my children there for what I suspect would be largely unsupervised playtime, and the mother seems to have forgotten my use of the word "OCCASSIONAL" when describing my willingness to host her children. I don't like feeling badly about these kids, they are, after all, just kids, and it is a valuable opportunity for me to teach my children tolerance and kindness. But I don't like the spirit in my house when they are here, and I don't like that they are chasing off the better mannered, better suited playmates that my children do enjoy being with. Is there a graceful way to handle this one? I'm not sure. I allow my kids to play with one family's children each day after school, I would prefer to only have one set of playmates in the house at a time, and I prefer most of the time be with the kids that play well together. This is a tough one. Any ideas?

Monday, May 08, 2006

My Life Monday

I almost forgot I meant to participate in Rachelle's My Life Monday, even though I've been racking my brain to pick "My MOST Memorable Childhood Experience", so I'll pick "A Memorable Childhood Experience" and reserve the right to change my mind at anytime in the future...M'Kay?

My memory is strange. I remember things I shouldn't due to age, and I remember dreams and smells and emotions more richly than the people, places and events. It is nearly impossible for me to choose one event and call it the most memorable. Much of this, I believe, is attributable to the fact that life seemed to move in cycles. Do I pick spring, and the way the fields would flood with the spring run off, the new baby lambs and the wild iris in the fields? Do I pick Summer, with the mosquitoes that would eat you alive, the long day's spent harvesting the hay fields, and the glorius week off that was: County Fair. Or would it be Fall, just after school was back in session and I could ride my horses in the late afternoons, when it wasn't too hot, and it wasn't too cold, and for once, it wasn't windy. Or winter, when the river froze and I skated on it's bumpy surface until my muscles ached. I guess if I had to pick just ONE event and call it the most memorable, it would be the time I rescued my sister after she'd been in an accident with an ATV.

ATV's were a part of life for us on the ranch. They were used every single day, and days off were no exception. Being young and strong as I was, I was a very accomplished rider, more-so than most adults. My family attended a barbeque at the mountain cabin belonging to Dad's boss. Amoung the attendees was another set of sisters near the age of my sister and I. The other girls' father owned a four-wheeler, and we had brought two of our three wheelers. One of the young guy's dad had working for him comandeered the faster, more agile, black three wheeler, leaving me with the green slow poke. Given his general lack of good sense, I'm sure this was a mistake, but hindsight is 20/20. My sister went with the older sister of the other family, and the younger sister rode with me on my machine. With the lack of brain cells and faster machines, the young macho-guy and the older sister soon left me and my rider far behind.

Upon rounding a curve, I saw that the two machines had stopped, and the older sister was beside the machine, jumping up and down. It wasn't until we drew nearer that I began to comprehend what had happend. The machine carrying my sister had careend off the road and hit a tree head on. My sister was bleeding profusely from cuts on her face, including one that appeared to have cut her nose in half, and everyone was standing around, frozen stupidly. It was the first experience in my life that was totally and completely out of control and the adults involved had no answers. I picked up my sister, put her on my machine and took her back to the cabin, where my parents immediately rushed her to the hospital, almost an hour away. I remember washing her blood off the front of the three wheeler, and that it took a very long time to understand that adults don't always act like adults. As it was, the medical emergency that occurred at the hospital was more life threatening than her initial injuries, and she experienced minimal scarring given the initial appearance of her injuries.

So that's my memory. Not exactly the happiest one, but certainly memorable.

Monday Musings

I just have tons on my mind today, lots of random thoughts and no real resolution to get them to "Fun Blog" status. So here they are in no particular order:

1. I almost killed or injured two of my children Saturday. Little girls should not ever sit on the ground in front of mommy's car to clean off their shoes, and mommies should always, always, always check the backseat before pulling the car forward, even if that's where you told the kids to be, and you need to move the car fast. They don't always listen to you, so plan for it. They weren't hurt at all, but I may never recover.

2. Hang Onto Your Denture's, Nettie! was going to be the name of my post Sat until the aforementioned event occured.

3. My house is a disaster. I need to be cleaning it instead of blogging.

4. My scale is broken. I could not have lost 7 pounds in one week, no matter how nice that sounds.

5. The logistics of making my sister's wedding cake may neccesitate a change of plans. Unless my sister has recently grown an affection for cooking and has purchased several big ticket peices of equipment, like a Kithen Aid and a large freezer, she may need to add "Buy a Cake" to her list of things to do. I know, Dad, that isn't sounding very frugal of me. I'll crunch the numbers.

6. I hate that my kids and hubster won't be able to go to the wedding. My parents have never *once* seen me with my husband and kids. I hate feeling like I have two lives because my large family is not very portable.

7. J's "language" is the funniest thing when you finally decipher what she's saying. "Da-ee-fwop" (Daddy throw up!) is one of my favorites.

8. The Texas Highway Patrol is a money grubbing institution, sure they'll forgo putting that little ticket on your record, but it takes a $100 bribe to get them to do it.

9. My children must be part fish, part popsicle to swim in weather like this.

10. This is the freakiest looking toy in all of toy history:

Friday, May 05, 2006

What Have I Done?

My sister is getting married in September and has asked me to come help her get things lined out before hand. No problem, except that she lives 2000 miles away and I have oodles of children. I got good news in the form of an e-mail from Frontier Airlines yesterday, alerting me to a fare sale. It wasn't good enough news to buy all the tickets to eliminate "who will watch the children", but who wants to spend a week shopping, tasting food, picking flowers and trying on dresses with children in tow? Fortunately enough, I have friends that really, really like me and don't mind adding a few of my children in with their children, but I just couldn't bring myself to push the bounds of those friendships to ask anyone to keep J. I'd like to have Taxi Girl as a friend when I come back. So I booked the flight for myself and added J as an infant passenger. Then I asked some of my flights-with-kids saavy pals for advice with the logistics of transporting all the gear that goes with children under age two. It wasn't until then that I actually did the math, and realized I'd just VOLUNTARILY signed up and PAID for a 7 1/2 hour stint in a small, enclosed space, with a child who doesn't like to be held and is prone to Diva fits. So ladies, do tell, what are your favorite small-person distractions? Drugging her probably isn't an option, and allowing her to have permanent black markers, sharp objects, packing peanuts and other forbidden delights would probably be frowned upon; so I need some MAJOR distractions to keep her happy during these flights. In fact, any toddler air travel tips at all, I beg you to dish.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Wisdom Wednesday-I'm In No Hurry

Sorry for the late post today. Blogging took a back seat to the mini puke fest at my house today. Nothing too serious, just a 12 hour bug, so far.

Well, since no one writes me emails asking for my advice *sigh*, I'm going to go WAAAAAAAAAAY out on a limb here and give some unsolicited advice of the parental kind. YIPEE! Someone else telling you how to raise your kid! I know you just can't WAIT to get some more of *that*. Well, take heart, today's wisdom comes not from some book I read, some show I watched, or some class I took. Nope, this one comes from my heart, and, quite frankly, it flies in the face of some of the more "enlightened" protocol that today's parents are "supposed" to be following. It's hard to categorize this advice, maybe because it's more of an attitude than a peice of clearly defined advice.

Since the beginning of time, parent's have lamented the fact that babies do not come with instruction manuals. Some parents (and non-parents, but let's not even go there) hated the idea of no instruction manual so badly, that they decided to rectify the situation themselves, and so, we began to see books about parenting, articles about parenting, and television shows about parenting. Now, that's all well and good, hey, I'm all for learning something new! But at the end of the day, many new parents feel inadequate or confused by stringent, and sometimes conflicting information. "Back to Sleep", no pacifier, no bottles in bed, vegetables before fruits, off the bottle by one year, potty training by two, the list goes on for a mile. And just about any parent reading this has done their fair share of breaking the rules, if you haven't, then you are in the wrong blog, please exit stage left. Now the rest of you, hide in shame no more! Today's wisdom is all about throwing the rule book out the window and exercising your parental instincts.

So here's where my wisdom comes in. I'm in no hurry with my kids. Two specific rules I've broken; I have not been in any hurry to take away bottles or potty train my kids. Anyone who wants to send me some hate mail can just write it out, and stuff it in their ear. I've read all the research, I know some parents feel strongly about getting the kid off the bottle ASAP, but I've just never bought into that particular hype. If it makes you feel any better, I've never been one to let my kids walk around with a bottle in their mouth 24/7, but they got one every time they went to sleep, (and YES, I gave it to them IN BED, and I SLEPT, while my no-bottles-in-bed friends paced). The interesting thing with my approach, is that each of my three babies was off their bottle right around 18 months, and only one was encouraged in any way. Potty training was done with the same abandon. B was interested around 18 months, but it just wasn't a big deal to him until he was three, then, one day, he went to visit my BIL, the perfect one, and he was potty trained. In one day, with one promise of a Happy Meal, the kid was happy to potty in the potty, even at night. K decided just before her second birthday that she liked using the potty, and that was that. It just wasn't a traumatic thing. No Once Upon A Potty, no Barney Potty video, just kids who saw what was up and decided to get in on the action themselves. I'm not at all worried that J screams bloody murder when placed upon her throne, no-sir-ee. I figure she'll do it sometime before she goes to Kindergarten, and as long as she learns to poo in there long before that, I'm cool with it. Transitioning out of the crib falls in the same category. Unless there is someone who's gonna need that crib more, who in their right mind would take away the night-time containment system?

Some parents fall into the trap of believing that unless they enroll their kid in ballet, gymnastics, baseball, whatever sport it may be, by the time they are 3 or 4, then the kid will never reach their destiny of a college scholarship followed by an Olympic appearance. I know you don't want to hear it, but I'm here to tell you, from experience, that the chances of your kid getting a scholarship are SLIM. As the proud parent of a college wrestler, who *is* on a scholarship at a D1 school, I'm telling you A. He started the sport of wrestling in the 5th grade, B. We're not talking a whole lot of money, here, and C. Colleges that offer sports scholarships are a whole lot more expensive than those that don't, and, your college athlete won't have time to get a job, so it isn't always what you think it's gonna be anyway!

Homeschooling has been another area where I've had to learn to just let things come along at their own pace. When the kids have struggled with a new concept, I've very often found that backing off for a week or so, yeilded a child who "got it" when we came back to it weeks, or even months down the road, painlessly, and with no frusteration.

I kind of feel like if we start when the little guys are 8-10 months old, telling them to hurry up and let go of those bottles, drink like a big kid, then potty like a big kid, sleep like a big kid, etc, what business have we, of complaining when our kids want to act like teenagers and our teenagers want to act like adults? Nope, I'm content to let them come along on their own time schedule, give them encouragement to try new things, but keep the "training" and timelines to a minimum.

Every family has their own way of doing things, I've showcased a few of my own choices here, but in no way is this showcase meant as a means of telling you how to do your thing. Hey, if you feel like the mouth gremlins are going to eat your kids' teeth if you let them have that bottle past 12 months, I'm OK with that, and we can even be friends! But if you are struggling with some aspect of getting your child to move forward in their development, I would like to suggest that you back up, at least long enough to decide why it's so critical that your child does this thing *right now*. You may just find that the world won't spin off it's axis if Johnny doesn't learn how to tie his shoes before the first grade, or little Suzie insists on that night-time bottle until she's 2. And when you decide to stop setting the timeline, you just may provide your child the room they need to figure things out on their own, leaving you to cheer on their sucess, instead of orchestrating everyone's frusteration.

And *that* is today's Wisdom Wednesday.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Wired for Sound

This is the post that will make Dad pop the top three buttons off his shirt. Dad is the champion tearer-aparter-and-put-'er-back-together-better of ALL TIME. Seriously, the man once swapped the engine out of his Dodge pickup with the one in his Grandmother's cadillac (and back!) in one weekend, just because he could. He builds stuff on his lathe for people who can't get the parts they need, made anywhere else. I remember dozens of Polaroids scattered on the living room floor with pictures of various electronic components , in various states of disassembly, so that he would know how to re-assemble whatever it was he took apart. During one such session, I was given a brief lesson in looking for cracks in the soldering on the insides of a stereo. It lasted maybe 30 seconds, and "OK, whatever Dad, get on with your bad self".

Fast forward 20 or so years, when my computer speakers stopped working and I suspected a problem with where the power cord attached to the speaker. I did a quick search on E-bay and discovered my stereo speakers were still selling for about $70. That's a no-go with the budget lady in me. I put off tearing the thing apart for a couple months, but finally broke down and did it today. When I popped off the cover, lo-and-behold, the familiar sight of soldered wires on a board, and it took me no time at all to discern where the problem was. After talking M out of trying to heat up a screwdriver with my stovetop to repair the solder, I went and purchased a handy-dandy soldering iron. Upon returning to the house, M's men-only, new-tool-in-the-house-senses drew him out of his room to "complete the repair" for me. After he mucked up the soldering job, and I reassembled the speaker, only for it to break moments later, I took it apart again, and fixed it myself. Yes, Dad, all by myself, I tore apart my speaker, (twice!) cleaned and soldered up the connections and put it all back together. And it works. And there are no parts left over. And thanks, Dad.